Active weather pattern beginning by the weekend
Another cool, sunny day will welcome the middle of the week. Forecast focus now shifts to a severe weather threat this weekend.
Today and Tonight: Wednesday will stay dry with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 60s. Overnight, some thin clouds may start to work into the region and, as winds turn easterly, lows will stop in the mid to upper 40s.
Up Next: Moisture will return to the scene on Thursday giving way to increasing clouds and setting the stage for the next storm system. A cold front will approach on Friday beginning the possibility for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Especially as the front crosses early Saturday, rain chances will increase. For that same time, the Storm Prediction Center is also highlighting severe weather potential. Several ingredients will be in place to warrant a slight or possibly enhanced risk for strong thunderstorms in the local area. A few tornadoes will be possible ahead a squall line which will continue the tornado threat and increase the possibility of damaging wind gusts. Due to the timing of this system, it will be important to have a way to receive weather alerts—as you may be asleep as it comes through. Fortunately, the active window will be short and by Saturday afternoon, the area will start to clear out and remain quiet through Sunday afternoon.
However, a stormy pattern is setting up for Monday and Tuesday as well and heavy rain is possible. This could lead to a wet and therefore slow game day drive to New Orleans and put a damper on outdoor festivities for the National Championship. Stay tuned.
Return flow will commence on Thursday, allowing dew points to increase and moisture to saturate the atmosphere. A warm front may lift through the region and generate enough lift for isolated showers. The bigger game though will come on Friday night and Saturday morning as a cold front approaches the region. This cold front will act on the moisture and milder air to produce scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms. The associated surface low will take a track close to Arklatex, which is favorable for severe weather in the local area. The Storm Prediction Center has placed a day 4 outlook of 15-30 percent chance for severe weather over the local area—coincident with a “slight to enhanced risk” and the most favorable areas for severe weather will be from Baton Rouge and locations north and east. Ahead of the low, rich Gulf moisture will stream northward across the central Gulf Coast with dew points climbing well into the upper 60s and lower 70s. This broad sector of instability will sit beneath quite a bit of speed and directional wind shear. A strong, southerly low level jet stream will interact with an even stronger southwesterly upper level jet stream. A line of strong thunderstorms will likely cross the region on Saturday morning with damaging wind gusts and possibly a few tornadoes. However, any storm development that precludes the line could have an increased threat of producing a tornado. Since this will be occurring in the early morning hours, it will be especially important to have a way to receive alerts while asleep. The front will push through rather quickly, ending precipitation from west to east on Saturday afternoon.
The break in active weather will be short as the cold front will retreat north as a warm front late Sunday. Showers and thunderstorms then return to the forecast and may last through Tuesday. Since the front will lag across the region for up to two days, there could be a threat for heavy rain.
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