Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scattered, Mainly Afternoon Storms Persist

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

May 20th WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- scattered rains return for Thursday & Friday
- a little “drier” for Saturday?

Once again a round of energetic storms cut through portions of the WAFB viewing area today, delivering some active lightning, brief heavy downpours, and possibly a little hail for portions of Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge and the Felicianas during the early afternoon. Those storms continued moving east into Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes while slowly dissipating.  A second cluster of storms over central Acadiana fizzled out during the mid-afternoon as they approached the Atchafalaya Basin.

As of 3:30pm, there had been no warnings issued anywhere in or near the WAFB area, and Doppler activity across the southern parishes continued to wane.  While it is not likely to be entirely dry through the late afternoon and evening, it does look like it will be reasonably quiet -- at least weatherwise -- through the evening commute.

Our forecast for the next couple of days calls for a return of mainly-afternoon showers and t-storms for the next two days: set rain chances at about 50% for Thursday and then 40% for Friday. 

A weak cool front will sag southward through the southern parishes over the next couple of days.  The latest projections for the NWS Weather Prediction Center show the front draped along the coast by Thursday evening and then slipping into the northern Gulf waters by Friday morning.  After that the front is likely to meander near and along the coast before effectively dissipating on Saturday.

That should give us some slight relief from the recent summer-like humidity and allow lows to drop into the 60°s for the Red Stick on Friday and Saturday mornings.  More importantly for many of us, the set-up should deliver a relatively dry Saturday: we’re going with just a 20% rain chance for the day.

By Sunday, however, the warm-and-moist Gulf air mass will have fully recovered ... and that means back to scattered afternoon showers and t-storms for both Sunday and Memorial Day Monday.

Our outlook through the next seven days keeps us out of the 90°s, with highs still hanging in the mid to upper 80°s each day -- about normal for afternoon highs for this time of year.  In fact, some of the wetter days in the upcoming run may be a tad cooler-than-normal, depending on the timing and arrival of afternoon rains.  As for lows, most will be a couple of degrees above normal -- often at 70° or more for the Capital City area -- at least partly due to Gulf humidity maintaining dew points near 70°.

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