Strong thunderstorms to threaten area Saturday morning
As temperatures climb and clouds build, an active pattern is set to emerge by the weekend. Severe weather and heavy rain are both possible.
Today and Tonight: As southerly winds take hold and return moisture to the area, temperatures and clouds will increase on Thursday. If the moisture advance is aggressive enough, a stray shower or two could develop, although most locations will stay dry. High temperatures will top out in the low 70s. With continued clouds overnight, low temperatures will stop in the mid 60s.
Up Next: Friday will be even warmer with highs approaching 80 degrees. Skies will stay cloudy and a shower or thunderstorm is possible. The unseasonable warmth and humidity will set the stage for a cold front that will arrive on Saturday morning. At that time, many ingredients will be in place to support strong thunderstorms and therefore the Storm Prediction Center has issued an “enhanced risk” (3/5) risk for severe weather.
NEW THIS MORNING: @NWSSPC issues "enhanced risk" for severe weather in the @WBRZweather forecast area Saturday... I'll comb through the details today on @WBRZ from 5-9a and 12-1p. #LaWX #MsWX pic.twitter.com/jKp6e08pFi— Josh Eachus (@DrJoshWX) January 9, 2020
A few tornadoes will be possible ahead of a squall line, which will continue the tornado threat and increase the possibility of damaging wind gusts. Due to the timing of this system, it will be important to have a way to receive weather alerts—as you may be asleep as it comes through. 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. Think about where you will be on Friday night and Saturday morning and identify the safest spot to go at that location in the event of a weather warning. Fortunately, the active window will be short, and by Saturday afternoon, the area will start to clear out and remain quiet through Sunday afternoon. However, an unsettled pattern is setting up for the first half of next week and several rounds of rain are possible. Stay tuned.
Return flow will commence on Thursday, allowing dew points to increase and moisture to saturate the atmosphere. A warm front may lift through the region and generate enough lift for isolated showers. The bigger game though will come on Friday night and Saturday morning as a cold front approaches the region. This cold front will act on the moisture and milder air to produce scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms. The associated surface low will take a track close to Arklatex, which is favorable for severe weather in the local area. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the entire forecast area in a 3/5 “enhanced risk” for severe weather.
Ahead of the low, rich Gulf moisture will stream northward across the central Gulf Coast with dew points climbing well into the upper 60s while ambient temperatures remain in the 70s. This broad sector of instability will sit beneath quite a bit of speed and directional wind shear. A strong, southerly low level jet stream will interact with an even stronger southwesterly upper level jet stream. This will allow a squall line with strong thunderstorms to cross the region on Saturday morning with damaging wind gusts and possibly a few tornadoes. However, any storm development that precludes the line could have an increased threat of producing a tornado. There is high confidence in a strong squall line moving through the area, but confidence is lower in how much activity can form ahead of the line. Therefore, the tornado threat is a little less known and conditional. However, due to the highly favorable winds in the atmosphere, any tornadoes that do form could be strong. The fact that the best forcing created by the cold front will come during the pre-dawn and early morning hours should cut into instability somewhat, and therefore the severe weather threat is even greater north and east of Baton Rouge where temperatures will be a bit warmer later in the day. Since the action will be occurring in the early morning hours, it will be especially important to have a way to receive alerts while asleep. The front will push through rather quickly, ending precipitation from west to east on Saturday afternoon. The break in active weather will be short as the cold front will retreat north as a warm front late Sunday. Showers and thunderstorms then return to the forecast and may last through Wednesday. Since the front will lag across the region for up to two days, expect multiple rounds of rain.
The WBRZ Weather Team is here for you, on every platform. Your weather updates can be found on News 2, wbrz.com, and the WBRZ WX App. on Apple and Android devices. Follow WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter for even more weather updates while you are on the go.
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