As Harvey continues to slowly move to the north and north-northeast, he can be expected to deliver rains to the Bayou State through the night and into Thursday.
Yet no one can deny that the WAFB viewing area has been quite fortunate with Harvey: severe weather has been very limited and rain totals have been quite manageable for most WAFB neighborhoods over the past several days. Most WAFB areas are reporting 3” to 8” of rain for the event, although there are some pockets that are in the double digits for totals since Friday. However, those bigger numbers have been very isolated and we are not seeing serious impacts in terms of community flooding nor big rises along area rivers.
Minor flooding is occurring or anticipated in the lower reaches of a few of our area rivers – – like the lower Amite, lower Tickfaw, lower Natalbany, and lower Tangipahoa, but the majority of that is the result of persistent east and southeast winds over the past days, pushing lake water into the bottoms of those basins.
We’ve been in the “dry” slot on the southern and western fringe of Harvey for a couple of days now. That may change a bit overnight as Harvey moves farther north. We are anticipating a few rainbands through the overnight hours and into the morning, and as we’ve seen the past 24 hours or so, one or two of these bands could produce some local heavy downpours. Fortunately, however, those heavier rains should be relatively brief, at least for most neighborhoods.
Given the potential for rainbands through the night, we cannot entirely take severe weather out of the overnight forecast. However, as we’ve seen the past couple of days, we expect strong-to-severe storms to be very limited in our area, if they develop at all.
So we will call for scattered showers and maybe a few t-storms through the night and into Thursday morning, with a morning start for the Capital City in the low 70°s. Set rain chances for the daylight hours of Thursday at about 50% for the viewing area as we deal with the last of Harvey’s impacts. We are expecting a high on Thursday in the low to mid 80°s across the viewing area.
Our forecast is noticeably “drier” for Friday and Saturday, with rain chances running at about 30% for both days. Highs will be in the upper 80s for both days as well.
You have likely heard some chatter about this already: our two key extended-range forecast models — the GFS and the ECMWF — are both suggesting some type of low-pressure development in the southwestern Gulf over the weekend and into early next week. The two models currently differ considerably in their solutions, which means “low confidence” in terms of the development, direction, and intensity of any low-pressure system there. However, the basic ingredients appear to be in place and the National Hurricane Center has taken note, so this will need to be watched.
Given that Gulf low potential, we will nudge rain chances to 40% on Sunday, 50% on Monday and then up to 60% into the middle of next week. Be aware, these numbers are likely to change as the models continue to modify their forecasts for any western Gulf development.
At the same time, in the eastern tropical Atlantic, we now have newly-upgraded T.S. Irma. Irma is expected to become a hurricane by or before the weekend as ‘she’ marches to the west. However, regardless of what Irma does any time soon, ‘she’ is too far to the east for us to be concerned with right now — even if she were to make a bee-line for Louisiana, it would take more than 10 days to get here.
And so, we will be cautiously optimistic that Harvey exits the region with little or no impact over the next 24 hours and that we can slowly dry-out for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And with just a little luck, maybe the western Gulf will behave .. and we get a couple of decent start-of-September weather days for Sunday and Labor Day Monday!
All flights to Houston from the two major airports in south Louisiana are canceled. No one can get to Houston from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport or the Baton Rouge Airport. However, there are some flights available to Dallas.
Stay alert this week and follow the WAFB First Alert Stormteam on air, online, and on social media for continuous updates.
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