A BIG change today as the warm front has finally progressed northward. This has caused an increase in southerly winds and temperatures to push 80 degrees in some spots this afternoon. Still a warm, soupy airmass as moisture moves northward with the warm front. Temperatures not expected to fall that much tonight as the warm air will continue to stream northward from the Gulf. A few thunderstorms possible tonight across the central and northern parts of the state associated with lift from the warm front. Cloudy skies, fog, and patchy drizzle is expected to continue for Acadiana through the overnight.
SATURDAY…Very warm temperatures expected Saturday as some areas could top out near 80 degrees. South winds will stay elevated as a low pressure system moves north of the area. A surface cold front will work into eastern Texas Saturday morning, working across Acadiana Saturday afternoon and evening. Thunderstorms are expected along the front, with the possibility of a few severe storms across the Mississippi River valley.
Doing an atmospheric analysis, severe weather indices, which we usually look at to determine severe weather potential, are all much higher north of Alexandria and into Mississippi. This includes atmospheric wind speeds, atmopsheric spin, and the temperature drop with height. This is due to proximity to the mid-upper level low pressure system, which will mainly track north of Acadiana.
BOTTOM LINE….Severe weather chances will definitely be greater north and east of Acadiana. Coastal areas have a “Marginal Level 1″ risk, northern parts of Acadiana and central/northern LA have a ‘Slight Level 2 risk,” and Mississippi northward has an “Enhanced Level 3’ risk. I expect several tornado warnings across Mississippi tomorrow afternoon/evening. Warnings will be more sparse across central parts of the state and Acadiana’s severe weather may be limited to a storm or two, if we see any at all. Main hazards will be damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. Timing will be from Noon until about 6pm, when storms should begin to exit the area from west-to-east. Early afternoon Mardi Gras parades may be dicey, but the Krewe of Carnival en Rio parade in Lafayette tomorrow evening may be okay if storms can move out early!
~Meteorologist Trevor Sonnier