Timing Louisiana’s Severe Weather Outbreak Today
Yesterday's clear blue skies over much of Louisiana were simply the calm before the storm. That storm is expected to push across Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans later this afternoon and into the evening hours. The storm system is bringing with it the possibility of severe storms and significant wind damage.
The National Weather Service Office in Lake Charles has already posted a High Wind Warning for much of South Louisiana today. In the warned area winds of 20 to 30 mph will be common. There could be gusts as high as 50 mph as well. If you don't recall, tropical storm force winds begin at 39 mph, so you get the idea of just how blustery it's going to be today.
Compared to the way forecast models were playing out the storm scenario yesterday it does look as if forecasters have "sped up" the arrival of the worst of the weather today. Yesterday the thinking was mid-evening into the late night hours but some of the models have shifted the worst of the weather's arrival a few hours earlier.
This graphic from the HRRR Model run done by KATC's Rob Perillo suggests the worst of the weather will be between Lake Charles and Lafayette by 7 pm tomorrow night.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, this system will generate an enhanced risk of severe storms from the Lake Charles area through Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and on into Mississippi and Alabama. Helicity values in the atmosphere will be increasing as the storm system moves across Louisiana's coastline this afternoon. Helicity values give forecasters an idea of how much rotation a storm is capable of producing.
If there is a silver lining to this system it is that forecasters expect it to move in and move out of the area quickly. Therefore flooding should not be a problem. However, rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches will be common with some of the stronger storms. Some areas might see between 3 and 5 inches of rainfall but those will be the exceptions and not the rule.
If the timing of the system stays true to the forecast models we can expect passing showers and downpours off and on during the morning and early afternoon hours. By mid-afternoon showers and storms will start to increase from the west and southwest. The heaviest line of storms should push through the area between 7 and 9 tonight.
Behind the system, you can expect much calmer and cooler conditions. It won't be frosty but it will be colder. We can expect nice conditions with those colder temperatures to stay in the area through the weekend when the area will see its next chance of rain.
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