Talking heat and just a little relief
The Baton Rouge area will loop the forecast with above average temperatures ahead for the fifth straight day. Monday marked the second 95 degree reading of 2018 and summers have seen many more of those over the last several decades. More on that below.
Today and Tonight: This Tuesday will once again bring well above average temperatures with thermometers reaching 90 degrees by late morning and topping out near 94 degrees by early afternoon. Continued high humidity will result in a “feels-like” temperature over 100 degrees. Keep in mind, this is the more important number as it is what the body will sense. Look before you lock and stay hydrated! One or two spots may briefly benefit from a cool-down shower with some isolated activity expected in the afternoon. Approximately 30 percent of the 13 Parish, 3 County forecast area will receive rainfall. Overnight will be mostly clear and muggy with temperatures back into the mid to upper 70s.
Up Next: The same forecast will be carried through the remainder of the week. Very little change is expected in highs, lows and feels-like temperatures. The rain coverage forecast may be adjusted slightly up or down on a day-to-day basis but the area is well locked into the typical summer pattern.
The Tropics: The Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico are quiet. No tropical cyclone formation is expected over the next 5 days.
More Hot Days: As reported by Climate Central, climate change is driving up summer temperatures across the country. We often talk about warming in terms average temperatures, which can be perceived as small to the public, but any rise in the average temperature leads to a rise in the number of days that are extremely hot. To understand what is happening, we look at a classic bell curve, which represents the distribution of all temperatures at a location. The bulk of temperatures — those close to average — sit near the middle of the curve. Record temperatures, which are rare, sit on the fringes, with hot on right and cold on the left. As the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases, the whole curve shifts to the warmer side, the right. This shift results in a large jump in the number of extremely hot days and a drop in the number of extremely cool days. It also means heat records are more likely to be set than cold records. And it is these extremes that impact our lives. That is what we are seeing across much of the country. The increase in extreme heat has repercussions for health, farming, and the energy grid that we rely on to stay cool in the summer. More extreme heat raises the risk of heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion, and allows insects to move into new areas, potentially increasing the spread of vector-borne diseases. It stresses crops accustomed to a milder climate and can worsen drought. Extreme heat is also associated with air stagnation, which traps pollutants and can worsen respiratory illnesses like asthma. The additional heat raises the demand for air conditioning, increasing cooling costs and straining the electric grid.
The summer pattern will continue across southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. A weak ridge will continue to persist in the upper levels of the atmosphere as a trough moves across the upper Mississippi River Valley. This feature should not be close enough to have a major impact on the local forecast but could provide a slight uptick in convective activity. Highs will continue to be in the mid 90s with isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Dew points in the mid 70s will keep daytime feels like temperatures in the low 100s with overnight lows stopping in the mid 70s. Of course, heat advisory criteria is based on meeting a specific number, but falling a degree or two shy of that does not mean the same precautions are not needed. Over the weekend, another upper level ridge will center over the Appalachian Mountain putting the local area in less of a subsidence region, which could mean higher rain coverage during the afternoons.
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