Monday, June 8, 2015

Increasing Rain Chances...

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

June 8th WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- scattered-to-likely rains return to the local area
- clouds and showers mean a break from the 90°s for many

Hit 95° at Metro Airport (BTR) this afternoon just after 2:30pm -- the hottest day of the year thus far and the highest temperature recorded since August 24th of last year.

The upper-air ridge that kept our area hot and mostly-dry last week and over the weekend is slowly weakening a bit and will shift to the southwest in the next day or so, taking the lid off the atmosphere and allowing our moist-and-unstable air off the Gulf to do its thing this week. 

Translation: rain is back in the forecast.

(And yes, Tiger fans, we saw the heavy downpour that hit ‘The Box’ in the late innings on Saturday night.  It seemed as if Mother Nature wanted to add ‘her’ two cents to what was already a great game.  If you were watching the radar that evening, it seems like EBR Parish was the only real target … and that after a bone-dry day!)

After our recent run of dry weather, some of us could use a little shower for the lawns and gardens.  However, our forecast for the next several days is something even a little on the “wetter-side-of-normal” for June.  On average, Metro Airport (BTR) has roughly 12 raindays during June - - that works out to a long-term average rain chance of about 40% each day.  However, our forecast for the coming days will go with rain chances running something more like 50-50 or better through the work week and possibly right through the weekend.

You’ve probably already noticed the return of full-on summertime humidity, and that’s going to remain in place this week.  The low-level moisture will serve two roles: (1) deliver somewhat muggy early mornings, with sunrise temperatures running in the low to mid 70°s for the Red Stick, and (2) fuel the daily development of clouds, followed by showers and t-storms.

Our morning drives in the 70°s will be dry for most, although we do expect to see isolated rains, especially closer to the coast, early in the day.  By mid-day, building clouds will mean a sun-cloud mix with isolated-to-scattered showers already popping up around the region.  The earlier jump-start for the clouds and showers will mean less sunshine and daytime heating: that should keep most neighborhoods in the mid to upper 80°s for daytime highs rather than the 90°s.

But factor in the humidity before the rains arrive and it will ‘feel like’ the 90°s around mid-day for many neighborhoods.  Mid-day and afternoon rains, however, should take a bite out of the daytime heating for many of us just about every day.

Last week, you might have heard some chatter -- via the internet or social media -- about potential tropical development in the Gulf this week.  The tweets and posts started early last week, but have died down considerably over the past few days.  While some models are still suggesting “something” may try to form in the Gulf later this week, the odds for something substantial look very, very low.

There is a lesson here: tropical model projections out more than 7 days are far from reliable.  While they should not be ignored, they shouldn’t become cause for alarm either, especially at this time of year.  The First Alert Storm Team keeps a close eye on such developments and yes, we were aware of the model trends last week.  However, we chose NOT to report them because of our low confidence in their projections.  Had there been good reason to alert you, we would have. 

We’re barely a week into Hurricane Season -- let’s all keep our wits about us and not “Cry Wolf!” too soon.

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