Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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TORNADO WATCH until 9pm for entire WBRZ viewing area

3 years 3 months 6 days ago Wednesday, March 17 2021 Mar 17, 2021 March 17, 2021 1:31 PM March 17, 2021 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather


A mix of discrete supercells and storm clusters will spread east-northeast from southwest Louisiana into southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Over the next several hours, a few tornadoes are likely with a couple of intense tornadoes possible, scattered damaging winds and isolated significant gusts to 75mph are possible and isolated very large hail events up to 2 inches in diameter possible.

A TORNADO WATCH means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and/or damaging winds in and around the watch area. Be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings. If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter in a low-level, interior room of a sturdy building. Take pets (on a leash) with you, have on hard-soled shoes, monitor storm coverage on a wireless device and cover your head in the event of wind or tornado impact. For more on tornado safety, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE, 12:52am Wednesday: From the National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center… A regional outbreak of severe storms is expected today and tonight across portions of the lower Mississippi Valley into Alabama. Widespread severe storms capable of producing tornadoes (several of which may be intense), very large hail and intense damaging wind gusts are expected. More than one round of severe storms are possible across parts of Mississippi into Alabama during the afternoon into the overnight hours.

Wednesday: A frontal system will move across the WBRZ Weather forecast area Wednesday afternoon and evening with rain and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could be severe. A warm air mass will become increasingly supportive of thunderstorms through the day on Wednesday. While skies will be mostly cloudy, some sunshine is possible early which will help to destabilize the atmosphere. Expect temperatures to top out around 80 degrees. It will feel humid and that moisture will provide more fuel for thunderstorms to develop.

Especially after 1pm, when peak daytime warming hits, showers and thunderstorms will pop and could quickly strengthen. Any isolated thunderstorm during the afternoon hours should be taken with caution. A cold front will then approach between the evening commute and nightfall with a messy line or cluster of thunderstorms. The threat for severe weather will likely be maximized between 4pm and 8pm when our area is just ahead of the front. All hazards are possible including damaging wind, large hail and tornadoes. You can read an in depth analysis of the situation from the Storm Prediction Center, HERE. Once the cold front passes east, and winds shift northwesterly, the threat will end by 10pm.   

Area Outlooks:

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed the areas north of I-12 in a 4/5 "moderate risk" for severe weather. For Baton Rouge and locations south of I-12, there is a 3/5 “enhanced risk” for severe weather. This means numerous severe thunderstorms are possible within the risk area. A few intense thunderstorms are possible. Not everyone will experience severe weather, but should prepare just the same.

Estimated Timeline:

  • Begin: afternoon
  • Peak: early evening
  • End: by midnight

Severe Weather Threats:

  • Damaging wind – gusts over 58mph
  • Hail – 1 to 2 inches in diameter
  • Isolated tornadoes – ahead of and along a line
  • Downpours – particularly heavy storms could produce street flooding

Actions to Take Now:

Think about where you will be this afternoon and identify a structure that is central, low and away from windows. That is where you should go if a tornado 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 Wednesday evening. 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.

Up Next: The week will end on a tranquil note. Not only will the cold front sweep away rain, but it will also usher in drier and cooler conditions. Thursday and Friday will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the mid 40s. Similar weather will carry into the weekend. Click here to see the 7-day forecast.

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