Forecast: hard freeze expected again Sunday morning
The coldest temperatures so far this winter season are expected over the next two nights. The National Weather Service has issued a HARD FREEZE WARNING from 11pm to 9am for the entire viewing area except St. Mary Parish. Temperatures could reach as low as 24 degrees. Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing. Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. To prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes they should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above ground pipes to protect them from freezing.
Next 24 Hours: Skies will clear out overnight allowing temperatures to tumble from an already low starting point. Low temperatures will end up in the mid 20s and brisk north winds of 5-10mph will cause feels-like temperatures, or wind chills, in the upper teens and low 20s. Abundant sunshine is expected on Saturday and this may even make it feel a little warmer than the last few days. However, temperatures may not quite make it up to 50 degrees—about 10-15 below average for the time of year.
Up Next: The second half of the weekend may begin with a second consecutive hard freeze with Sunday morning temperatures in the mid 20s. By that time, the winds will have finally calmed. Afternoon sun will help temperatures cruise into the mid 50s. Thermometers could hit freezing for a fourth straight morning to begin the new workweek. Highs will stop in the mid 50s on Monday as clouds increase and a batch of rain moves in overnight into Tuesday. Temperatures will stay warm enough to keep that event all liquid. CLICK HERE for your detailed 7-Day Forecast.
The Explanation: Clouds will continue to break apart overnight into Saturday as a high pressure system settles south into the Midwest. Due to this feature, surface winds will remain out of the north and the funnel of cold air will continue, driving low temperatures into the mid 20s and setting up HARD FREEZE conditions as far south as Assumption Parish. With the breeze at 5-10mph, this will be enough to cause dangerous wind chills in the upper teens and low 20s. The proximity of the surface high will allow for ample afternoon sunshine and temperatures striding for the upper 40s and low 50s. The surface high will settle almost directly over the central Gulf Coast Saturday night into Sunday maximizing the radiational cooling potential—that is clear skies and light winds. As a result, Sunday morning should end up a degree or two colder than Saturday for a second straight hard freeze. Moving into next week, an upper level trough of low pressure will race across the area Monday into Tuesday with an associated surface low. By the time it arrives, the coldest air will have retreated well to the north and enough moisture will be injected into the atmosphere for a large swath of rain to develop. In fact, this system could drop a respectable late January rain total of 1-2 inches. This should not cause any serious problems and might help ease some of the short-term drought issues.
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