Beryl becomes first hurricane of 2018, high weekend rain chances
A brief and slight decline in rain is expected on Friday followed by more active showers and thunderstorms this weekend. A warmer, drier pattern is then around the corner. Thursday's forecast verified well with 50 percent of the 13 Parish, 3 County viewing area receiving rain, as forecast. A tornado warning was issued for Baton Rouge between 9 - 930pm Thursday, but fortunately did not verify or cause any damage.
Today and Tonight: Highs temperatures will make it into the 90s on Friday beneath partly sunny skies. Isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible during the afternoon hours. High resolution model guidance suggests most of the action will be south of the highways. About 30 percent of the area will receive rain. Overnight will be partly cloudy with lows in the mid 70s.
Up Next: Due to a stalled front providing off and on showers and thunderstorms, rainfall amounts could reach 1-2 inches through Sunday. This will add to the 1-3 inches that fell through the first half of the week. While major issues are not expected, some nuisance flooding will be possible as the ground is saturated. While enjoying the outdoors this weekend, please keep in mind that while we all "run from the rain" it is lightning that is deadly. Take a break inside until you can no longer hear thunder. Both weekend days should see at least some sun though and highs will peak near 90 degrees. Nightly lows will be in the mid 70s. By early next week, warmer and drier conditions are expected.
The Tropics: Diminutive Beryl became the first hurricane of the 2018 season overnight. As of 4am, Beryl packed maximum sustained winds of 75mph and a minimum central pressure of 995mb. The storm was 1100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles moving west at 15mph. A faster west-northwestward motion is expected through the weekend. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will remain east of the Lesser Antilles through early Sunday. Satellite data indicate the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast today. Beryl is forecast to quickly weaken by late Saturday and become a tropical storm or degenerate into a strong open trough near the Lesser Antilles late Sunday or Monday. Beryl is a very compact hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles.
A well-defined low pressure system located about midway between the southeastern United States and Bermuda is producing disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms. Environmental conditions appear conducive for some gradual development during the next couple of days while the system moves slowly northwestward then northward off the coast of North Carolina. Although the system is forecast to interact with a frontal zone early next week, it could linger off the southeast U.S. coast where a 50 percent chance of formation is given.
A broad upper level ridge will continue to grip the CONUS through the next several days. A weakness south of this ridge over the central Gulf Coast will allow a cold front to sneak into the Mississippi River Valley before stalling out. The proximity of the front, daily marines breezes and typical summer heat will result in scattered showers and thunderstorms over the weekend. Through that time, another 1-2 inches of rain will be possible. This front will dissipate by Monday as the ridge expands southward. Resulting subsidence should relax daily rain coverage and allow high temperatures to increase.
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