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10 p.m. forecast October 4, 2017

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After a drier end to the week, a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico and a cold front could play a role in the forecast this weekend and early next week. Some rain and cooler temperatures are both possible in the long term.

The Tropics: Tropical Depression 16 has formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. As of 10am Wednesday, the system was positioned 210 miles south, southeast of Cabo Gracias with 35mph winds and was moving northwest at 7mph. The storm will pass over part of Central America, emerging into the northwest Caribbean Sea on Friday. The environment is favorable for development and this system is expected to become a tropical storm by Saturday and potentially a hurricane by Sunday. Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to fly into the system Wednesday afternoon. At this time, the Gulf Coast should pay attention to the progress of this system and take an opportunity to review hurricane preparedness plans. The WBRZ Weather Team is here for you, on every platform. Your weather updates can be found on News 2, wbrz.com, Facebook, Twitter and the WBRZ WX App. on Apple and Android devices. 

Today and Tonight: Wednesday will be mostly sunny with high temperatures reaching into the upper 80s. Winds will be lighter, but still easterly at 5mph. Overnight will be clear with low temperatures in the upper 60s.

Up Next: The remainder of the week is expected to be mostly clear and unseasonably warm. Normal highs and lows this time of year are 85 and 63 respectively. Highs should have no problem climbing into the upper 80s with lows in the mid 60s through Saturday. A tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico could begin to influence Baton Rouge area weather as early as Saturday. Moisture streaming northward will increase the chance for showers and thunderstorms. Depending on the development and movement of that system, a more prolonged round of breezy and rainy conditions is possible late weekend into early next week. However, it is far too early to speculate responsibly about the location and strength of this yet to develop storm. Keep in mind that computer models do not resolve tropical systems well until there is a defined center of circulation, and since those models are the best guidance for these systems, the forecast remains difficult. Beyond the weekend, a cold front is expected to proceed through the area, which would flush out tropical moisture and possibly provide some cooler, drier air.

THE EXPLANATION:

An upper level ridge will push over the area from the northeast for the remainder of the week leading to mostly dry and unseasonably warm conditions. Forecast models continue to show at an area of low pressure developing in the southern Gulf of Mexico before straying northward. It is much too early to project strength or track of a system, if any at all, but this at least begs for more attention as we get closer. Then, early next week, models are hinting at a deepening trough moving across the nation with an associated surface cold front. How this front and the tropical low interact will dictate weather along the central Gulf Coast. The ECMWF model shows the tropical system being picked up by the trough, moving it across the southeastern United States over the weekend. In this scenario, most of the impacts would stay east of the area. The GFS model has a trough pass north of the region, skipping past the tropical system, before another wave grabs it later. This would result in a more westerly track of the tropical system. Obviously, this is a timing issue, which will become clearer as we get closer. If the tropical system moves into the region, winds will increase once again causing elevated tides. If the system passes east, this would be a lesser concern. Even if there is a period of unsettled weather, the front could provide a payoff in the form of considerably cooler and drier air by the middle of next week.  

--Josh

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