Through the 12th of March, the temperature at the Lafayette Regional Airport is running well below-normal. In fact, the average temp is down 6°. The cooler-than-normal weather will last thru Thursday, before a big warm-up kicks in Friday afternoon, carrying us into the upper 70s to around 80° on Sunday and Monday. The second half of the month will likely feature normal to above-normal temperatures for Acadiana.
Rain totals were pretty impressive across the central and eastern parts of Acadiana from late Sunday thru early Monday. Many spots picked up over an inch of rainfall, which was nice to see after a roughly two-week dry spell. We’ll see another dry spell take hold for the next several days with no rain in the forecast until the early to middle portion of next week, at the earliest.
A strong storm system is making its way across parts of California. That storm system will arrive here Sunday night, giving us a chance of showers and storms. The storm system will weaken as it moves into Acadiana, so at this point the severe weather chances look low. A few strong to severe storms are possible but not likely. In advance of this storm system, we will see a breezy day tomorrow with a partly sunny sky, and most of Sunday will be dry during the day, so the weekend will be nice. A cold front will move through with this system early Monday and colder air returns early next week. Temperatures Tuesday morning will be in the upper 30s to low 40s. Warmer air will return by the middle half of next week. Have a great weekend!
For the fifth consecutive year, the Live Doppler 10 Storm Tracker Weather Team is joining forces with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles to offer a FREE SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Class. This joint class is coming up on Tuesday, March 12, from 7:00-8:00 PM at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We’ll be using Abdalla Hall, which is actually located off the main campus on Cajundome Boulevard, near LITE. Find a map and directions here. Learn how to identify and report severe weather through a series of pictures and videos. We need trained spotters across Acadiana to help in the warning process, so please consider attending. Spread the word!
The blast of cold air over the weekend is in the books as the coldest of the 2012-2013 winter season. The low at Lafayette officially reached 30°, eclipsing low temperatures from earlier in the winter. The record for Sunday, by the way, was 25° set in 1980. We’re not done with lows in the 30s, as we’ll see those readings again Wednesday and Thursday mornings, with another shot of chilly air early next week.
For only the second time this winter season Acadiana is under a Freeze Warning with Rapides and Avoyelles under a Hard Freeze Warning. The combination of clear skies and calm winds will allow temperatures to plummet near 31° in Central Acadiana. Any fragile vegetation needs to be protected before tonight and don’t forget a warm place for the pets outside as well. Anyone living in Rapides or Avoyelles should protect any exposed outdoor pipes as temps look to hold in the mid 20s for a sustained period of time. This could be our last real freeze for the rest of the winter season.
Meteorological winter runs from December 1 thru February 28, so it’s time to look at the past three months and tally the rain numbers. As you might imagine, winter was a wet one in South Louisiana. Many of us picked up over two feet of rain, well above normal. Looking ahead to March, we’ll be much drier for the first week of the month. That’s not too surprising as March is typically one of our driest months of the entire year.
We may see the coldest air of the winter this weekend as temperatures will dip into the upper 20s to low 30s. The coldest reading at Lafayette Regional Airport this winter was on the morning of December 27th. It went down to 31 degrees. On the same morning, Acadiana Regional Airport went down to 32 degrees. For early Sunday morning, we are forecasting a low of 30 degrees. There’s a chance we may see the coldest air of the winter during the first weekend of March. Highs over the weekend will only be in the low to mid 50s. You will want to protect the tender plants, and make sure the pets have a warm place to stay, but this is not pipe bursting weather. No snow is expected with the cold air.
A passing cold front Monday evening will bring about the end of any rainfall and usher in cool and windy weather for Tuesday. An even stronger blast of cold air arrives for the end of the week and weekend. This is one computer model’s projection of the temperature at 850 mb, or about 4,500′ for us, this Saturday morning. The eastern half of the country will be unseasonably cold, which may lead to a freeze in Acadiana, especially Saturday night. At this point we’re forecasting a low of 31° for Sunday morning, which means the Hwy 190 corridor may dip into the upper 20s and Alexandria may fall into the mid 20s. While such cold in early-March is unusual, it’s not unprecedented. In fact, the record low for Lafayette Sunday is 25° set in 1980, while Monday’s record is 22°, also set in 1980.
Stop me if you have heard this before but once again all of Acadiana is outlined in a slight risk for severe weather on Monday. Unlike the past few events I feel this one is more warranted. Energy that is in the middle portions of the atmosphere which is associated with a low will pass closer to Louisiana this time. Also, in combination with that energy the instability at the surface (which causes air to be lifted) will be decent enough that a few storms could reach severe criteria. The severe threat should reach our coastal parishes for Monday as well. Damaging straight line winds will be the main threat.