BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was a beauty of a day Wednesday with little if anything to complain about as we ease our way down through the 70°s and into the mid 60°s by Thursday's sunrise. After a clear sky start to Thursday, expect mostly sunny skies in the afternoon with highs in the upper 80°s. That's certainly warm for this time of year, but the low humidity will make those upper 80°s more than tolerable.
Expect a near repeat for Friday: clear skies in the morning, start in the low to mid 60°s, with mostly sunny skies in the afternoon and highs returning to the upper 80°s.
Rain returns to the WAFB First Alert Forecast for the weekend, but the question remains: How widespread will the weekend rains be, especially on Sunday?
Obviously, the answer depends upon where the tropical system currently in the SW Caribbean ends up. That system is TD #16 and it's almost certain to be named Nate by the time it reaches the central/east-central Gulf this Saturday.
The latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast takes a strengthening Nate from the central Gulf to the northeast and into Florida, likely making landfall as a hurricane sometime on Sunday. That would put the WAFB area well to the west of the system and on the drier side of the broad counter clockwise circulation. Given this scenario, we will go with rain chances running roughly 20 to 30 percent on Saturday and then 40 percent on Sunday, with highs for both days in the mid to upper 80°s.
Keep in mind, a minor shift to the west in this NHC forecast track and we can expect our weekend rain chances to rise. What we are seeing right now is a difference of opinion between the highly-vaunted European forecast model (ECMWF) and American model (GFS): the ECMWF takes the potential Hurricane Nate towards Florida with a Monday morning landfall, while the GFS has a weaker Nate heading right into the Bayou State and getting here early Sunday. The NHC is clearly leaning towards the ECMWF at this stage, but with a faster approach.
In the end, while the latest official forecast takes a strengthening Nate well to our east, Louisiana is far from in the clear with all the uncertainty involved at this stage. Now is the time to be thinking about your state of preparation should Nate end up coming our way this weekend.
Assuming that Nate will not be in immediate or local threat for the WAFB area, we can plan for rain chances running about 30 percent or so for next Monday and Tuesday with highs in the mid to upper 80°s for both days.
Our extended guidance suggests a cold front will arrive sometime Wednesday. While our current forecast carries slight rain chances for Wednesday, once that front gets through, we should not only see a nice dry out, but also much more seasonable temperatures for this time of year.