Friday, May 1, 2015

Beautiful First Weekend of May!

May 1st WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- great weather through the weekend
- rain eases back into the forecast next week

Another beauty and the great way to start the month of May. The evening will be just about perfect for anything: downtown BR’s Live-After-Five, dinner-and-a-movie, a walk around the block, or just a sit-down in the backyard.

And … it’s a sunscreen weekend ahead: plenty of sunshine for both Saturday and Sunday with morning starts in the mid to upper 50°s and afternoon highs in the low 80°s. Humidity stays on the low-side for both days, in part due to a weak, dry cool front that pushed through the area today.

Of course, this fine weather can’t last forever ... and with summer not too far down the road … we encourage you to make some plans to take advantage of it if at all possible.

As we head around the calendar corner into next week, winds will come around off the Gulf. That means a return of low-level moisture and slowly increasing rain chances too. The increase in moisture will be reflected by rising morning minimums and slight chances for mainly-afternoon showers through mid-week. Towards the latter half of next week, we’re anticipating highs to reach mid 80°s and noticeably higher dew point readings. Also add scattered t-showers to the outlooks by Thursday and Friday.

May 1 -- one month until the official start of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. We’ve reviewed several early-season projections from notable forecast groups … and the consensus calls for storm numbers to be below-normal this season. Two key reasons for that line of thinking are (1) the likelihood of a ‘moderate’ El NiƱo, which is associated with increased mid-level shear over the Atlantic basin and cooler-than-normal waters expected over the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean.

However, as we often remind everyone, low storm numbers do not always translate into a reduced threat: 1957’s Audrey, 1965’s Betsy, and 1992’s Andrew all formed during seasons with fewer than nine storms. Indeed, at least one of the early-forecast teams has made note of the fact that while waters of the open tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic are cooler-than-normal, the western Atlantic (near the U.S. Eastern seaboard) and the Gulf of Mexico are abnormally warm. This is a set-up that could support rapidly-developing storms that provide much less lead time for warnings!

Then, to highlight this very point, you may have noticed Steve’s comments over the past two days regarding a potential for a tropical/sub-tropical/hybrid system to form somewhere north of the Bahamas around the middle of next week. In fact, both the American GFS and European ECMWF are suggesting this. 

We aren’t overly concerned ... and don’t want to make a big deal about it … but it is just nature’s way of sending us a reminder that it will soon be that time of year.

Oh, and speaking of May 1st, today marks the start of Louisiana’s Ozone Season too! We’ll be tracking the AQI daily through the next five months.

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