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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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The upper level ridge that provided a hot, mainly dry week will budge east allowing a few more showers and thunderstorms over the weekend. Into next week, we will be monitoring a potential development area in the southern Gulf.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: The week will end with similar warm, humid and mainly sunny weather. High temperatures will peak near 90 degrees with sparse shower coverage. It should be a nice if not muggy evening for high school football. Overnight lows will be in the low to mid 70s beneath mostly clear skies.

Up Next: Dew points are forecast to stay elevated in the mid 70s allowing high afternoon humidity and uncomfortably sticky nights. On Saturday, a bit more instability in the atmosphere will allow scattered showers and thunderstorms to develop across the area, primarily during the afternoon. This general trend is pegged to continue well into next week. There are no signs of significant cool air in the Southeast and the Climate Prediction Center maintains high probability for above average temperatures through mid-October.

The Tropics: An area of low pressure located near the eastern border of Honduras and Nicaragua is accompanied by an extensive area of disturbed weather extending from Central America eastward across Hispaniola.  Although strong winds aloft are located just to the north of this system, the upper-level environment is expected to be conducive enough to allow for some development, and a tropical depression could form by late this weekend or early next week over the northwestern Caribbean Sea or southern Gulf of Mexico as the system moves slowly northwestward. The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center indicates a surface low pressure on their forecast surface map by the middle of next week and there and some forecast models acknowledge a more organized system. Model consistency and agreement is poor though and with no storm yet developed, it is too early to place much stock on model solutions and far too early for any specifics.

Historically, tropical activity has a secondary peak in Mid-October with the western Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico the favored development areas. Tracks tend to be north and northeasterly due to interactions with continental systems such as fronts—something the local area has been sorely lacking so far this fall. Interestingly though, forecast models are in decent agreement that a front will be approaching the area by the end of next week.

Depending on timing of the front, this could have a significant impact on the position of any tropical low or associated moisture. Obviously there is some time to work out the details, track and strength of the potential tropical system and if whether or not that front will make it through the Baton Rouge area. All of this is just more reminder to keep preparedness plans in mind until the season is officially over. 

Tropical Storm Leslie is positioned well east of Bermuda, but close enough to create large swells and high surf, even as far west as the New England Coastline. With 65mph winds, the storm will hook sharply east and accelerate over the weekend. As this occurs, gradual weakening is expected.

Football Forecasts: Friday night high school games will be warm and muggy, but without rain. LSU will travel to Gainesville and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium only to find more heat. “The Swamp” will be humid with highs near 90 degrees and minimal rain chances.

THE EXPLANATION:

Over the weekend, an upper level ridge will slide eastward and the atmosphere will uncap a bit. Continued east, southeast flow will maintain above average moisture in the low levels of the atmosphere. Due to that combination, more convective coverage is anticipated for Saturday as this occurs and slightly deeper moisture sets up in the atmosphere. By early next week, the large scale, upper level pattern will amplify further with a deep trough in the west and a large ridge in the east. The weather into the middle of next week will be highly dependent on what happens with an area of low pressure that may develop in the southern Gulf of Mexico. While it is too early for good confidence in the forecast, a period of wet weather could be possible Wednesday and Thursday. See the tropical forecast above and stay tuned for further updates. There are still no significant signals of a cold front which would deflect any tropical mischief or bring cooler, less humid air.   

--Dr. Josh

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