Friday, May 15, 2015

Staying Unsettled Through the Weekend

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

May 15th WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- scattered to numerous showers and t-storms through the weekend

Today’s first wave of showers and storms moved inland off the Gulf around 10:00am, reaching the Baton Rouge metro area right around the lunch hour.  That band of rains continued to march to the north at about 25-30 mph, reaching the LA/MS state line around 1:45pm.  Doppler radar detected some small hail in a few of the t-storms within the first wave, but none of those storms were deemed ‘severe.’

At the same time, a second, broken band of rains began developing over the coastal parishes and it too headed north.  Both of these bands of rain and storms had a Gulf “sea-breeze” look to them, fueled by a very moist and unstable air mass over the region.

Rains will taper off later this evening, but unlike the past two days, we will keep isolated rains in the overnight forecast.  In fact, for Saturday’s sunrise we’re anticipating spotty showers - - most likely to develop closer to the coast.  The flow off the Gulf continues tonight and through the day on Saturday: our muggy air mass keeps Saturday morning lows in the 70°s for the Capital area, with mostly cloudy skies and pockets of fog for the morning start.

Rains will slowly increase into mid-day and the afternoon on Saturday: we’re calling for a 50% to 60% rain chance through the day.  Much like today, we don’t expect a severe weather outbreak, but one or two storms could be on the strong side, capable of small hail, frequent lightning and locally-heavy downpours.  Most folks should get through the day with one-half inch of rain or less, although a one-inch bull’s eye here and there are certainly possible.

A disturbance over South Texas appears to be slowly headed in our direction and that could enhance Saturday’s rain chances along the Central Gulf Coast.  A look at the models through the next several days shows a  series of upper-level troughs rolling into the U.S. from the Pacific, with upper-level disturbances sliding around the “bottom” of those troughs and riding the upper-level flow into our region. 

Translation: more of the same likely for Sunday and right into next week.  Keep the umbrella within reach!

None of these days are likely to become “all day” rains, but at this point we’re going with rain chances at 50% or better through mid-week, and carrying scattered mainly-afternoon rains in the forecast for the end of the work week too.  The muggy air mass means morning lows at or above 70° for metro Baton Rouge just about all week, with afternoon highs ranging from the mid to upper 80°s for most days, depending on the onset timing of the afternoon rains.

Here’s hoping that you can get some outdoor time this weekend!

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