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Warmth to weekend storms

5 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago Thursday, April 12 2018 Apr 12, 2018 April 12, 2018 5:55 AM April 12, 2018 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

Slightly warmer temperatures are expected over the next two days. The next round of rain and thunderstorms will occur on Saturday due to a strong cold front.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: More sunshine is expected on Thursday with highs reaching for the 80s. A shift to southeasterly winds of 5-10mph is expected. Mostly clear skies will carry into the overnight hours with lows stopping in the low 60s. 

Up Next: Similar high temperature numbers are in store for Friday as the atmosphere begins to change. Onshore flow will result in some humidity and clouds coming back. In the return flow, a shower or two may develop late Friday. A strong cold front will work into the area early this weekend with a round of rain and thunderstorms. This system could result in gusty thunderstorms and a couple of inches of rain. The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the WBRZ Weather Forecast Area in a 2 out of 5 "slight risk" for severe weather. This means within that area, one or two storms could turn severe with wind gusts exceeding 60mph and possibly a tornado.

The timeframe is beginning to narrow and it appears most of the action will occur around the middle of the day Saturday. The cold front will quickly work eastward by Sunday allowing sunshine and unseasonably cool temperatures for the end of the weekend into early next week.

THE EXPLANATION:

As surface high pressure shifts to the east and winds turn around, temperatures will moderate into the 80s for Thursday and Friday. Return flow will also bring climbing dew points and it may feel stick by Friday afternoon and overnight into Saturday. In the meantime, an anomalously deep trough will move from the Pacific Northwest into the Midwest by Saturday morning taking on a neutral tilt. Ahead of the boundary on Friday, severe weather parameters are high but forcing is limited beneath a strong cap. Therefore, only a few showers, if that, are expected to develop. By the time the front arrives on Saturday and forcing increases, severe weather parameters are modest. CAPE values will be in the 1,500-2,000 j/kg range with 0-3km storm relative helicity between 150-250 m/s. The lifted index will be near -4°C. These values are indicative of instability and shear in a low end severe weather event. The current expectation is that a line of thunderstorms will be ongoing as it moves into the forecast area on Saturday morning. Cloud cover, pre-frontal showers and overnight cooling should limit instability somewhat as the storm arrive. For those reasons, widespread severe thunderstorms in southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi are not expected. Accordingly, historical analysis of the expected scenario shows the greater likelihood for severe thunderstorms in northeast Texas, north Louisiana, Arkansas on Friday and Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday.

The Storm Prediction Center has outlined much of the forecast area with a “slight risk” of severe thunderstorms on Saturday. Similar to previous events, a squall line with damaging wind gusts would be the most likely threat although a tornado spinning up along the line is always possible. Perhaps more so than the last several fronts, heavy rain may be a concern this time. Precipitable water values will be in the top 10 percentile for the time of year and nearly unidirectional vertical wind profiles may result in a slow moving batch of rain and thunderstorms along the front with some training possible. Forecast models give potential of up to four inches of precipitation. Timing of this event is becoming a bit more clear with the GFS slowing down to agree with the ECMWF and Canadian models on a Saturday frontal passage—most likely in the late morning or early afternoon hours. The cold front and trough will rapidly move east on Sunday allowing skies to clear out and temperatures to fall. Cool and dry weather is anticipated through Monday.

Dr. Josh

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