Warmest Mardi Gras on record?
The National Weather Service office in Slidell has weather data for Mardi Gras in New Orleans dating back to 1874. Over 144 years, only 7 “Fat Tuesdays” have exceeded 80 degrees in the Crescent City. Without a doubt, this will be the warmest Mardi Gras that has fallen on February 28 (previously 76 in 1911). The warmest Mardi Gras for any date was 83 degrees in 1917 and the record high for the date of February 28 was 85 in 1972 – both numbers are within reach today.
Today and Tonight: In the Baton Rouge area, mainly dry and mostly sunny conditions are expected for Mardi Gras which should go down as one of the warmer “Fat Tuesdays” in recent memory. High temperatures will climb into the low or even mid 80s. Winds will be out of the south at 5-10mph. Overnight will be partly cloudy and sticky with lows in the upper 60s.
Up Next: Wednesday is a transitional one with a cold front bringing showers and storms. It is not expected to rain all day, rather a squall line should bring action in during the late morning/early afternoon. At this time, severe weather is not anticipated. Prior to any rain, highs will still take a run at 80 degrees. For Thursday and Friday, ample sunshine and light northerly breezes will lead to weather very becoming of Early March. Highs will be in the mid to upper 60s.
THE SCIENCE: In between warm and cold front, southerly flow will continue to bring the area unseasonably high temperatures and humidity. A capping inversion will make it difficult for widespread cloud cover on Tuesday and therefore, beyond any morning fog of stratus deck, mostly sunny skies are anticipated. On Wednesday, a cold front will drop southeastward from the Midwest and is expected to cross the area early afternoon. While mid-level moisture is somewhat lacking, frontal lift will be enough to get showers and storms going along the boundary. Instability and shear are both modest but not exceptional and thus widespread severe weather is not anticipated. One or two storms could produce gusty wind or small hail. As the cold front passes south of the region on Wednesday Night, clouds will clear and northerly wind will send temperatures into the upper 40s. Thursday and Friday Afternoon will welcome high pressure to the Mid-South, keeping light, northeasterly winds and high temperatures in the mid to upper 60s. A weak trough and associated positive vorticity advection will interact with some low to mid-level moisture on Saturday and Sunday introducing the possibility for isolated showers, but forecast models are understandably no showing very much QPF from this system which lacks organization.