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Unsettled weather to begin 2019

9 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, December 31 2018 Dec 31, 2018 December 31, 2018 6:22 AM December 31, 2018 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

While rain remains in the forecast through Thursday, runoff and river flooding should not be aggravated. The temperature forecast is difficult.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: Thermometers will remain steady at unseasonably warm readings through midday. An approaching cold front will help to develop scattered showers and thunderstorms. By about 3pm, showers will begin to end from west to east with westerly winds pulling thermometers back into the 60s and eventually 50s overnight. Clouds will ring in the new year, but most locations should be dry.

Up Next: Despite a front being stalled along the Louisiana Coast, dry conditions will persist through most of New Year's Day, with only a spotty shower possible. Clouds may stick around keeping a gloomy look. Yet another front will journey through our region Wednesday and Thursday with another round of light to moderate rain. Amounts should stay below an inch or so through that time so no additional flood concerns are expected.  The temperature forecast through this time is very difficult, see below for a discussion. High pressure will build into the region on Friday beginning a much needed sunny and dry stretch with gradually moderating temperatures.

THE EXPLANATION:

A weak low pressure system in the northwest Gulf has stretched northward with an ample supply of tropical moisture. Dew point temperatures have reached unseasonably high levels in the low 70s as of dawn on Monday morning.  A cold front approaching from the west will continue to allow showers and thunderstorms develop through the afternoon. It remains to be seen how much marine layer influences will inhibit deep instability and convection as high-resolution models show such development ahead of the front. Given the unusually high warmth and moisture, it does seem plausible that one or two storms may approach severe levels farther inland away from marine layer influences. Therefore, the Storm Prediction Center’s 1 out of 5 “marginal risk” from I-12 northward seems warranted, but the window of opportunity will be limited to about 2pm. Gusty wind is the most likely hazard from any stronger storm. Rain and storms will wrap from west to east around dusk and should be well over by 2019. The cold front will then stall along the Louisiana Coast presenting a challenging temperature forecast through mid-week. While much of the area will notice cooling as the front settles south, the boundary will become more diffuse, possibly allowing some warmer air to retreat north. Temperatures have been blended with forecast model guidance but confidence is poor. An area of low pressure will develop along the tail end of this front near the Texas Coast by late Wednesday. Forecast models bring another round of rain across the area from that point into Thursday before significant drying comes as a newly developed front crosses. Colder and drier air will settle into the region for the weekend.

--Dr. Josh

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