Drier air arrives locally, Dorian strengthens in the Atlantic
Hurricane Dorian will approach the east coast of Florida by early next week. The threat to Louisiana is low at this time, but please continue to monitor the situation. In the Baton Rouge area, a cold front will bring a stretch of sunny, slightly less humid weather Thursday into the weekend. That cold front triggered heavy thunderstorms on Wednesday evening.
Those storms dumped 2-4 inches of rain in some neighborhoods along and south of I-10/12 and produced frequent cloud to ground lightning. Rain coverage was on par with the forecast; some 40 to 50 percent of the northern half of the viewing area remained dry.
Today and Tonight: In the wake of a weak cold front, there may be some lingering moisture for areas south and west of Baton Rouge, which would be the only locations that could receive a shower on Thursday. Otherwise, expect mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the low 90s. A touch lower humidity may be noticed, but more sensible changes will be felt overnight with low temperatures in the low 70s.
Up Next: A dry and stable air mass behind the front will stay in place through much of Saturday. Expect mainly clear skies and dew points in the mid to upper 60s, which will maintain more comfortable mornings and warm but not oppressively humid afternoons. Highs will still reach in the low 90s, with lows in the upper 60s and low 70s. Both LSU and Southern football fans may enjoy drier conditions than what is usual for the first game of the season. This welcome weather pattern will not last too long, as rain chances will slowly increase by the end of the weekend.
The Tropics: Hurricane Dorian is forecast to strengthen into a major hurricane over the next couple of days. As of 5am, Dorian was located about 150 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and a minimum central pressure of 991mb. The storm was moving northwest at 13mph and that motion is expected to continue through Friday. A west-northwestward shift will begin Friday night and continue this weekend. Dorian will therefore move over the Atlantic and approach the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday. Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday. The two key forecast models have more than a 100 mile difference in projected landfall sites, hence a very wide “cone” from the National Hurricane Center. This should encourage preparation from South Carolina to south Florida. With potential for the storm to cross over Florida as well, those on the west coast of the state and the panhandle should make preparations as well. While this current forecast is not overly alarming for the central Gulf Coast at this time, you should continue to check-in for updates. The latest advisories are posted as soon as they are issued on wbrz.com/weather, WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter.
Make no mistake, the frontal passage will allow lower dew point temperatures but no significant change in temperatures—afternoons will still be hot. However, drier air will likely keep the heat indices out of the 100s. Lower atmospheric moisture will result in almost zero rain coverage as well. This welcome change will hang around into the weekend before the next surge of deep moisture moves back into the area. A very weak surface low along the cold front will move offshore and then southward to southern Florida before turning west and moving out over the central Gulf. This feature will send a pool of moisture to spread over the area by Sunday. This is also the period that Dorian should be approaching the east coast of Florida. The cold front will still be located along the northern Gulf, which will continue to make the track forecast for Dorian difficult beyond 3 days. Forecast models spread out quite a bit at the point where Dorian arrives in the northern Bahamas and begins to interact with the front and associated upper level trough.
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