FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Drier days finally ahead; watching the tropics

FIRST ALERT 5 P.M. FORECAST: Wednesday, July 29

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An end to our rainy pattern is finally in sight, but not before we have to get one more day of scattered to numerous showers and t-storms. Even with elevated rain chances again today, the good news is that rains should be much shorter in duration.

Future Radar (HRRR model) showing scattered showers and t-storms moving through the area by early afternoon on Wednesday.
Future Radar (HRRR model) showing scattered showers and t-storms moving through the area by early afternoon on Wednesday. (Source: WAFB)

Look for a 60% chance of showers and t-storms by afternoon, with a later start to the rains allowing highs to climb into the upper 80°s for most of us. A few heavy downpours can’t be ruled out, but we’re not expecting any significant flooding.

Not only have we been in a rainy stretch as of late, but a look at rain totals since the beginning of June shows some impressive numbers in our area. Baton Rouge Metro has picked up 17.58″ of rain since the start of June, a surplus of more than 6 inches, or about 150% of normal for that stretch. It also ranks as the 8th wettest June-July in Baton Rouge since 1892.

Baton Rouge rainfall for the months of June and July. The June-July combined total this year is the 8th highest on record since 1892.
Baton Rouge rainfall for the months of June and July. The June-July combined total this year is the 8th highest on record since 1892. (Source: WAFB)

Other areas in SE Louisiana have picked up even more, with some totals topping 25 inches around metro New Orleans since the start of June!

Rainfall over the last 60 days as of July 29, 2020. Much of the Baton Rouge area has picked up 15” to 20” during that stretch, with some totals topping 25” closer to New Orleans.
Rainfall over the last 60 days as of July 29, 2020. Much of the Baton Rouge area has picked up 15” to 20” during that stretch, with some totals topping 25” closer to New Orleans. (Source: NOAA)

Suffice to say we’re all ready for some drier weather and that will certainly be the case on Thursday and Friday. Rain chances will run 20% or less on both days, with highs in the low 90°s.

By the weekend and into next week, it looks like we’ll settle into more of a typical summer regime, with daily rain chances around 40% and highs in the low 90°s.

10-day forecast from the WAFB Storm Team as of Wednesday morning. Drier weather is finally expected by Thursday and Friday.
10-day forecast from the WAFB Storm Team as of Wednesday morning. Drier weather is finally expected by Thursday and Friday. (Source: WAFB)

In the tropics, Potential Tropical Cyclone #9 has yet to close off a surface circulation, preventing it from getting the upgrade to Tropical Storm Isaias. However, it has clearly gotten better organized since yesterday and the upgrade could happen at any time. While the official forecast does now show the storm moving into the eastern Gulf, it’s got some hurdles along the way. A good bit of land interaction with Hispaniola and Cuba is expected, and there could be some wind shear in play as it gets closer to the Gulf.

10 a.m. Wednesday update and forecast track for Potential Tropical Cyclone #9. While the system may eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico, an upper trough would tend to keep it from getting much farther west.
10 a.m. Wednesday update and forecast track for Potential Tropical Cyclone #9. While the system may eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico, an upper trough would tend to keep it from getting much farther west. (Source: WAFB)

And while anything potentially entering the Gulf is certain to get our attention, an upper trough currently forecast to develop over the eastern U.S. by this weekend would tend to prevent the system from getting much farther west in the Gulf than currently forecast. In other words, the news is good for us locally as it stands right now, but we’ll continue to monitor.

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