Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dry, Still Chilly on Friday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- sleet reports extend all the way south to the I-10/12 corridor today
- ‘Hard Freeze’ potential for northern portions of the WAFB viewing area overnight

Once again, Mother Nature pushed the frozen precipitation line farther south than Jay expected, although there were little if any ground-layer accumulations to be found.  However, a concern for icing on roadways prompted some evening cancellations in the region.

All in all, it was close to a “non-event” from a winter weather perspective, with those accumulations that were reported -- and photographed -- mainly occurring on windshields, metal objects (e.g., car hoods), elevated porches and vegetation.  But even those were a bit of a surprise!

So what happened?  The temperatures stayed a few degrees cooler through the day then our guidance suggested, and that was just enough to get the “wet sleet” and pockets of snowflakes down to places as far south as New Iberia (according to the automated weather station there).

Indeed, we still think the temperature story over the past 24 hours is the biggest weather story of the event, with a number of sites reporting 50° temperature changes over a 24-hour window.  Admittedly, we don’t have an easy way to assess this, but we’d bet ‘dollars-to-donuts’ that such a temperature drop is an exceedingly rare occurrence in our area.  Something that has happened only a very few times over the past 100 years?  (We’re not ready to say never before -- but it’s not out of the question.)

Skies will continue to clear from west-to-east through the evening, setting us up for a very cold night.  Some of our northern viewers will drop down to near freezing during the evening and we’ve got metro BR at freezing by midnight.  That’s cold enough -- with freeze durations long enough -- to prompt the NWS to issue Freeze Warnings for the viewing area.  In fact, we expect that some folks up along and north of the LA/MS state line might just meet ‘Hard Freeze’ criteria -- temperatures at or below 26° for several hours.  We’re anticipating a low of 26° for Metro Airport for Friday morning.

Abundant sunshine under mainly clear skies through the day on Friday should get metro Baton Rouge into the low 50°s by the afternoon -- certainly much warmer than today but still nearly 20° below normal for early March.  Then it’s back below freezing for many of us on Saturday morning, with a Saturday afternoon high in the low 60°s under fair skies.

After that, the forecast gets rather “cloudy” (unclear) through the work week.  A series of west-to-east traveling mid/upper-level disturbances will keep our weather “unsettled,” with decent rain chances each day.  Most of these will be scattered rains, so not everyone gets wet every day.  Monday looks to be the “wettest” day of the week, but for now we see no “rain-free” days through the entire upcoming week.

In addition to the scattered rains through next week, temperatures will remain below-normal too.

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