Hard Freeze Warning issued for entire viewing area

(WAFB) - Get prepared for the coldest night of the season -- and quite possibly the lowest readings in more than 15 years! Our forecast for Baton Rouge calls for a low of 17 degrees for Tuesday morning with a low of 14 degrees for McComb!

Baton Rouge hasn't seen readings that low since the back-to-back 15 degree readings on February 4th and 5th of 1996.

Just about everyone sees an extended 'hard freeze' through the overnight and early morning hours. (As a reminder, the Slidell NWS office defines a 'hard freeze' as an event with temperatures at or below 26 degrees for several hours.) The coastal marshes may miss-out on those criteria but not the rest of us.

For metro Baton Rouge, we expect temperatures to drop to or even below freezing by or before sunset this evening and stay there into the late morning on Tuesday -- that's on the order of 18+ hours of freezing temps on the way for the Capital City region. Red Stick temps are expected to be in the 'hard freeze' zone for something on the order of 12 to 15 hours!

Some WAFB communities didn't get above freezing today and it looks like many will still be near freezing even into the lunch hour on Tuesday. For our viewers near and north of the LA/MS state line, they can expect a total of 35+ hours at or below freezing before they get a little relief -- albeit very brief -- on Tuesday afternoon.

And it won't be a whole lot warmer for Wednesday's wake-up either. We're calling for a metro BR low in the low 20's, with 'teens again for those close and north of the state line.

We'll finally break this Arctic spell on Wednesday -- Wednesday afternoon highs should range from the upper 40's (north) to mid 50's (south) across WAFBland. And we've got all of our WAFB neighborhoods staying above freezing for Wednesday night into early Thursday.

In fact, we flip from bitterly-cold to a steady warm-up for the latter half of the week, with highs in the 60's for Thursday and Friday and flirting with a high around 70 degrees by Saturday as Gulf air takes over. However, with the warming trend comes an increase in rain chances: isolated showers for Thursday, scattered rains for Friday and rain likely on Saturday as our next front approaches.

Thankfully, we won't have to deal with another Arctic air mass following Saturday's front. For now, we expect the weather to be only slightly cooler behind Saturday's front and the weather remains unsettled for both Sunday and Monday.

So by Thursday, put away the heavy coats and reach for the rain gear.

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