BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A First Alert Action Day remains posted for Saturday due to the potential for a significant severe weather event to impact the Baton Rouge area.
The main threat window appears to be from a little before daybreak Saturday through about lunchtime. Now is the time to review your severe weather plan, including knowing your safe room, making sure you have more than one day to receive severe weather warnings, and finding alternate accommodations if you live in a mobile home.
The severe weather event will begin to unfold to the west of Baton Rouge Friday as storms initially fire over Texas and Oklahoma. The Storm Prediction Center has upgrades areas near ArkLaTex, including most of NW Louisiana, to a Moderate Risk (4/5) of severe weather Friday.
The greatest concern is damaging winds, but tornadoes (including a few strong), and large hail are also possible. Locally, we are under a Marginal (1/5) to Slight (2/5) Risk of severe weather from Friday into Saturday morning, mostly to cover the threat of storms developing in the Baton Rouge area late Friday night.
By Saturday morning, a squall line will likely be marching eastward across Louisiana. The primary threat from the line itself will be damaging winds, but tornadoes and large hail will also be possible. The tornado threat will be higher in any isolated (discrete) storm cells that develop ahead of the main line. The Storm Prediction Center has now placed the entire viewing area under an Enhanced Risk (3/5) for severe weather Saturday. Additionally, they have hatched in much of the area for potential “significant” severe weather, equating to a 10% chance of strong tornadoes (EF2+), wind gusts over 75 mph, and/or hail 2″+ in diameter occurring within 25 miles of a point. Ranking the local threats, damaging winds are mostly likely, followed by tornadoes, with a smaller risk of hail and flooding.
It’s important to note that regardless of severe storms or not in your neighborhood, Saturday is likely to be a windy morning. Wind gusts into the 40s should be expected, with some gusts into the 50s not out of the question, even outside of thunderstorm cells. With that in mind, it’s quite possible we will see some non-thunderstorm related power outages.
Once the cold front moves through by lunchtime Saturday for most, we should get a brief period of drier weather from Saturday afternoon through most of Sunday. However, rain becomes likely once again by Monday, with an unsettled weather pattern expected to continue for much of next week.