Entering a dreary and chilly stretch, wintry weather possible next week
A round of heavy rain is behind us. Most locations received 1-3 inches but some locations just north of Baton Rouge saw as much as 6 inches on Thursday morning. Dreary, chilly conditions are expected into the weekend followed by a shot at some wintry weather Monday and Monday night.
The Next 24 Hours: Overnight will remain damp and cloudy with occasional light showers and low temperatures in the low 40s. Light northerly winds have taken hold of the area and chilly air is here to stay for a while. On Friday, clouds will stick and scattered showers remain a possibility. High temperatures will be in the upper 40s.
After That: A stalled front in the northern Gulf of Mexico will hold lingering clouds and a few showers in place through Saturday. Valentine’s Day will start just above freezing but finally have a chance for dry time. However, clouds are likely to hang around and a stray shower is not out of the question. The next forecast challenge comes early next week. A strong storm system moving across the southern United States will spread precipitation across the Gulf Coast on Monday morning. While this will begin as rain, cold air rushing in behind it could support a period of frozen precipitation Monday afternoon and evening. If that happens, the local area is more likely to deal with problem-causing sleet and freezing rain rather than a more pleasant snow. Even if no changeover occurs, temperatures are expected to fall into the mid 20s Tuesday morning and that could cause any leftover wet spots to turn icy. Fortunately, the day will be mostly sunny and warm into the 40s helping with melting. CLICK HERE to view your complete 7-Day Forecast.
The Explanation: A cold front will stall in the northern Gulf of Mexico through Saturday. While low level winds turn north to bring in much cooler temperatures, upper level winds will stay out of the southwest. This will cause moisture to be forced over the cold front leading to a prolonged period of clouds, light rain and chilly temperatures. The front will finally escape far enough south for some dry times on Sunday, but mostly cloudy skies are held in the forecast due to lingering mid to upper level moisture. Consequently, a stray shower is still possible, but overall it will be drier than the previous days. One positive of the clouds—the lack of maximized radiational cooling overnight will likely keep lows at or just above freezing Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. A strong upper level trough will move across the Four Corners region on Sunday and eject southeastward into the western Gulf of Mexico by Monday. This storm system will send a broad swath of precipitation across the Mid-South with heavy snow likely in a corridor between Dallas, Texas and Little Rock, Arkansas. Farther south and into the local area, temperatures are expected to be above freezing Monday morning as another round of chilly rain begins. The biggest challenge is timing the arrival of very cold air that is expected to dip in behind this system. Should the low levels cool fast enough on Monday afternoon and evening, there could be a window for precipitation to transition over to sleet and freezing rain. Chances for snow are lower as the column of cold air in the atmosphere does not look deep enough to support it. Even if the cold air lags just behind the precipitation and no mix or change happens, temperatures will fall into the mid 20s fast enough for leftover wet spots to flash freeze and cause patches of ice on Tuesday morning. This, of course, would be an impactful issue for the local area so continue to check in with the forecast and expect changes and updates over the coming days.
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