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Dry and warm again, watching weekend storm system

8 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago Thursday, March 23 2017 Mar 23, 2017 March 23, 2017 5:50 AM March 23, 2017 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

The week will end quiet though some changes will be noted Friday ahead of stormy weather into Saturday.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: A very weak front crossed the area yesterday leaving slightly drier air in the local area. So once again, sunny skies are anticipated on Thursday with high temperatures reaching the mid 80s. A few more clouds can be expected during the overnight hours. Winds shifting southeasterly should result in lows in the mid 60s—a bit higher than the previous mornings.

Up Next: Friday Afternoon thermometers are still expected to reach the low 80s despite increasing cloud cover. A shower cannot be ruled out but long lasting and widespread activity is not anticipated. A stronger storm system will move into the region overnight into Saturday with most of the area receiving showers and thunderstorms. The Storm Prediction Center continues to highlight the Central Gulf Coast as having a “slight risk” for severe storms. At this time, the setup favors damaging wind as the main threat and most of the action is likely to occur before noon. Severe weather or not, keep an eye on this time period if you have outdoor plans Saturday. The second half of the weekend will be quieter and still mild.    

THE SCIENCE: A weak cold front will fall apart over the region Thursday with little to no additional cloud cover noted due to a fairly dry air mass aloft. This will begin to change on Friday as southeasterly winds begin to inject moisture into the atmosphere. Clouds will increase ahead of an approaching upper level trough and an isolated shower can’t be ruled out, but any activity would be short-lived. That trough will have an associated surface low and a cold front stretching from Kansas to Texas on Friday. As the upper trough moves from the Midwest to Mid-Mississippi River Valley into Saturday, the surface storm will begin to occlude. A weakening cold front will then slide into western Louisiana on Saturday Morning as an area of positive vorticity advection moves across the Gulf Coast. Like the surface low, the upper trough basin will remain north of the area. Forecast helicity appears to be strongest north of the local area, closer to these features and that certainly makes sense. With that noted, a decaying front, and unfavorable time of day, the severe weather threat does have several limiting factors. The Storm Prediction Center does highlight much of the WBRZ Weather forecast area with a slight risk for severe weather anticipating a squall line that can maintain for a considerable distance. Given this, damaging wind gusts appear to be the primary threat on Saturday Morning as that line crosses the area. This is a situation worth monitoring, especially if outdoor events are planned early Saturday. Some clearing is anticipated beyond the storm system with a break for the second half of the weekend. Above average temperatures will continue. An active upper level pattern with several troughs spinning across the country will lend to several chances for showers and thunderstorms next week. Forecast models continue to hint at a particularly impressive trough toward the end of next week which, in the early going, has characteristics of another severe weather event. But of course, this is beyond the short term outlook where confidence is considerably lower and the forecast often changes. 

--Josh

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