Monday, March 16, 2015

Warm, Mainly Dry Again on Tuesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- another mild day for Tuesday
- rain returns to the forecast by mid-week

It would be hard to complain about the weather over the past weekend … and today was a nice one too.  Today’s high cirrus clouds did little to filter the sunshine, allowing temperatures around the Capital City to return to the 80°s for the second consecutive day.  Our forecast for Tuesday calls for a third straight day in the 80°s -- the first time that’s happened since late October.  Yes, spring is finally on its way. 

The mild-to-warm weekend prompted at least a half-dozen people to ask, “Is Baton Rouge done with freezes?”

Let’s start with the historical statistics.  Based on data back to 1893, there is still a slight chance that we could have another freeze: roughly a 12% chance, or odds running about 1-in-8.  The last time we had a freeze after March 15th was just two years ago, when a rogue winter blast delivered a low of 29° on March 27th.  In fact, over the course of the 120+ year-long record, there have even been two late-season freezes in April: in 1940 (31° on April 13th, the latest ever for Baton Rouge) and in 1987 (32° on April 4th).

But in the greater scheme of things, another freeze this year seems rather unlikely -- even below those 1-in-8 odds.  And if another freeze were to sneak into the region, it would likely be very brief and fairly inconsequential.  Yes, again, spring is finally on its way.  At this time of year, our weather concerns shift for cold spells to severe weather and flooding.  And we’ve been lucky (so far) on both counts.

Tuesday will open with another mild morning under a partly-to-mostly cloudy sky with Red Stick temps in the 60°s at sunrise.  We could see some patchy fog for the morning drive, but we don’t anticipate anything so “soupy” as to be a problem for the commute.  For the afternoon, plan for a sun/cloud mix, a slight uptick in humidity -- although not uncomfortably humid -- and highs in the low 80°s. 

After that, however, we return to an unsettled weather pattern where we’ll be dodging rains right into the weekend.  An upper-level low that has been locked in place to our west will finally begin moving eastward, increasing rain chances as it approaches and passes-by this week.  At this point, we don’t anticipate anything severe through the coming week, nor are we concerned at this point about heavy, flood-potential rains.  Our preliminary guidance is suggesting rains of up to 2.0” to 2.5” between now and Sunday – very wet but not enough to generate serious problems.

A slight chance of showers even creeps into the local forecast late Tuesday. Then it’s scattered rains and highs in the 70°s for Wednesday through Friday with morning starts for Baton Rouge in the 60°s for all three days.  As of now, it looks like things get wetter for Saturday into early Sunday before we start to see some clearing.  Saturday and Sunday will be cooler too, but still far from cold.

Yes, spring is finally on its way.  In fact, we think that it has arrived!  (Craneflies, mosquitoes and yellow-green pollen on your windshield … all the signs are there!)

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