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Greater Baton Rouge area under a tornado watch

6 months 1 week 14 hours ago Sunday, April 19 2020 Apr 19, 2020 April 19, 2020 2:50 PM April 19, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ Weather

A frontal system will move across the WBRZ Weather forecast area this afternoon and evening with rain and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could be severe. Rain will end overnight with a dry start to next week.

Severe Weather Threats:

  1. Damaging wind – could exceed 58mph
  2. Hail – 1 to 2 inches in diameter
  3. Isolated tornadoes – more likely with any storms ahead of the line, but possible along it too
  4. Downpours – particularly heavy storms could produce a lot of rain in a short time.

Area Outlooks:

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed the entire forecast area in an “enhanced risk” (three on a scale to five) for severe weather, with northern parishes and counties in Mississippi included in the "moderate risk" (four out of five). This means numerous severe storms are possible within the risk area. A few intense thunderstorms are possible. To add specificity to the large enhanced risk area, maximized wind shear and brief daytime warming will make the chances for severe weather a little higher north of I-10/12. For this area, the SPC has marked “significant severe” possible. This means some wind gusts could exceed 75mph and some tornadoes could reach EF2 strength or higher. There is also a potential for damaging hail to occur, which would be quarter size or larger.

Estimated Timeline:

After a quiet start to Sunday, thunderstorms are expected to develop as temperatures warm during the late afternoon hours. Ingredients for severe weather will maximize through the evening hours, peaking after 6 PM. During this time, wind fields will be at their most favorable for tornadoes to develop.

Later in the afternoon and evening, the winds will be less favorable for rotating storms, but plenty of instability, or energy, for thunderstorms will continue. During this time, damaging wind and large hail will be the main threats from any severe storms.    

Actions to Take Now:

Think about where you will be through the rest of the evening and identify the place in that structure that is central, low and away from windows. That is where you should go if a warning is issued. Mobile Home residents should find a nearby brick and mortar home of a family member or friend as it is recommended you prioritize the near term weather threat over social distancing. Go there as soon as a watch is issued, as you should still have plenty of time.

Please have access to alerts through Sunday night. You can download or activate the WBRZ WX App on your Apple or Android device or turn on a NOAA Weather Radio for bulletins such as watches and urgent warnings. Of course, WBRZ, WBRZ+ and the Cable Weather Channel will have updates as active weather dictates.  There will be a constant stream of updates and alerts on wbrz.com as well as WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter.

Detailed Weather Discussion:

There is plenty of instability, warmth and moisture available for thunderstorms this evening. In fact, the instability is expected to be quite a bit higher than the event last Sunday. However, the wind shear is expected to be somewhat lower. It appears that, similar to last Sunday, the atmosphere will be capped through the mid-morning hours before warming initiates thunderstorms.

Through the remainder of the evening storms may begin to cluster together, and continued high instability will allow a few to produce damaging wind gusts and large hail. Once a cold front pushes eastward overnight, the severe weather threat will subside and drier, quieter conditions are expected Monday and Tuesday.

Safety Ideas:

In a safe structure, you should have protective headgear for everyone. It is also a good idea for everyone to have a portable air horn (to get the attention of first responders if you need help), and be sure and wear hard sole shoes (you don’t want to walk over a debris field with tennis shoes, or bare feet). Leash pets and take them with you to avoid being separated.

Keep your cell phone charged and a charger nearby. Avoid driving in thunderstorms. If you must, never seek shelter under a bridge, find a nearby sturdy building. If you encounter a water covered road, please turn around. Remember, a watch means “conditions are favorable, and a particular threat could develop” and a warning means that “threat is happening and you should take action immediately.” Never rely on an outdoor warning siren; you have little hope of hearing them indoors. There is no need to be afraid. Events like this are common and are NOT unprecedented. Stay in touch with the forecast, know your severe weather plan, be able to receive warnings, and we will get through the day just fine.

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