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Development of two tropical depressions likely

6 months 1 week 6 days ago Tuesday, August 18 2020 Aug 18, 2020 August 18, 2020 5:36 PM August 18, 2020 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

Some showers and thunderstorms will gradually work back into the weather through the end of the week. Appropriate for the time of year, there are a few items to watch in the Atlantic Basin.

The Tropics: A tropical wave (Invest 97L) over the eastern Caribbean Sea continues to produce an unorganized area of showers and thunderstorms.  This wave is zipping westward at 20mph therefore limiting development. However, once it reaches the western Caribbean Sea by the end of this week, a slower forward speed will likely allow a tropical depression to form. 5-Day development chances are at set at 80 percent.

A second area of low pressure (Invest 98L) 1200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles continues to show a concentrated area of showers and thunderstorms.  Environmental conditions are conducive for development, and a tropical depression is expected to form within the next couple of days while the system moves west-northwest across the central and western tropical Atlantic. Development chances are at set at 90 percent.

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The Next 24 Hours: The overnight hours will be clear and some might even say comfortable. Light, north winds will allow low temperatures into the low 70s. It would not be surprising if one or two spots north of I-12 sneaks into the upper 60s. Wednesday is expected to bring transitional weather. With mostly sunny skies, highs will surge into the mid 90s once again. However, an upper level disturbance may move in from the north and spark some late day activity. Gusty wind will be possible in any storms.

The Long Term Trend: Thursday through the weekend, isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will be in the forecast. Activity will be near the coast overnight and in the morning and inland during the afternoon. Each day, 30 to 50 percent measurable rain coverage is expected across the 13 Parish, 3 County forecast area. Highs will be in the low 90s with lows in the mid 70s. Forecast confidence is much lower for early next week. Weather will be dictated by what occurs with a tropical wave (Invest 97L) currently moving across the Caribbean Sea. The range of possibilities is too large for details at this time.

The Explanation: An unseasonably dry air mass will remain in place through Wednesday. Lower dew points will mean lower humidity. Since dry air heats and cools more efficiently than humid air, overnight lows will dip 1-3 degrees below average and afternoon highs will ride well into the mid 90s. Fortunately, the steam will be subdued. This is all thanks to an upper level trough of low pressure over the Southeastern U.S. that will be pinched westward and over the local area Wednesday through Saturday. With the axis of this trough nearby, there will be a combination of instability and lift for an increase of showers and thunderstorms. On the flip side, the atmosphere will be rather moisture deprived. Therefore, isolated to scattered (at most) coverage seems appropriate, but the drier air could allow for gusty winds in some storms. No single day looks more active than another does. By the weekend, the trough may start to flatten out a little bit, but the area will remain in a weak spot of lower pressure between a large Southwest U.S. ridge and a western Atlantic ridge. That western Atlantic ridge will be a key driver of tropical systems over (at least) the coming week. Forecast models are indicating an easterly wave, possibly Invest 97L, crossing the Gulf of Mexico as an inverted trough early next week. Depending on the proximity and strength of this feature to the local area, at least an uptick in rain coverage may be expected.  

--Josh

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