Seatbelts on in Santas sleigh
A strong cold front pushing through the region will bring the threat for strong thunderstorms today.
Today and Tonight: Before Santa's sleigh arrives in South Louisiana, we'll need to buckle up for a bumpy ride. Some strong thunderstorms are expected around the region today. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center indicates all severe weather threats are on the table-damaging wind gusts, heavy downpours, hail and perhaps an isolated tornado. Be sure you have access to weather information today for possible alerts-including watches and warnings. You can keep up with the latest by following Meteorologists @Josh_Eachus and @RG3wbrz on Twitter. It will also be mild and muggy out there with highs getting into the 70s. The thunderstorm threat will quickly diminish from west to east across the region shortly after dusk with temperatures rapidly falling by some 30° during the overnight hours.
Looking Ahead: By the morning of Christmas Eve, weather conditions will be significantly different. Cold air will be rushing in behind the showers and thunderstorms leaving daytime temperatures in the low to mid 50s, at best. Any lingering cloud cover will give way to sunny afternoon followed by a clear night and the coolest lows foreseen in the week ahead-many locations will head into the mid 30s. Christmas Day is shaping up to be tranquil too, with sunshine and highs near 60°. Friday will be a transitional day with milder air and increasing clouds prior to the arrival of another shower producing cold front on Saturday.
Forecast Discussion: a strengthening low pressure system and cold front will slide from southwest to northeast through the Gulf South today lending to the possibility of the some strong to severe thunderstorms. Thanks to an unseasonably moist air mass, stamped by near 70° dew points at the surface, the atmosphere is thoroughly juiced for action. The front will provide the surface lift necessary to raise this unstable air mass into cooler, drier air aloft and spark off thunderstorms. A strong jet stream aloft, deep level moisture and surface to mid-level lift will all be available. With these ingredients, all types of severe weather may be a concern, including heavy rain, hail and damaging wind gusts. There is even a rotating component in the wind field from surface to aloft (shear) making an isolated tornado possible. Morning clouds, showers and fog may somewhat dampen the severe threat-especially for locations well away from the coast. Areas south of I-10/12 currently stand the greatest risk for severe storms. Action will wane from west to east as a cold front sweeps through the area tonight, rapidly dropping temperatures and humidity. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be sunny and cooler than average before another quick surge of moisture sets up the next rain-maker on Saturday.
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