Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Get Ready For Severe Weather Season...

NWS has designated this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week for SE LA.  Why?  Because, historically, we are about to enter that time of the year when early spring warmth collides with lingering winter cold.  When a strong upper disturbance accompanies a cold front, the clash often produces strong T-Storms with damaging winds & a stray tornado.  Fortunately for us, the upper dynamics are usually well to our north resulting in more storms north of Lake P. than south.   Our current warm spell (currently day 6 of 80+) will finally come to an end this weekend.  RIGHT NOW, it doesn’t appear likely we’ll see any severe weather with this front, but it’s a reminder that the next 6-8 weeks will require us to pay attention as we transition from Winter to Spring.  In the short term, more record warmth is likely for Wed-Friday.   This is resulting is an explosion of grass & tree pollen so allergy sufferers are under attack.  There is quite a temperature contrast behind a slow moving front that has Oklahoma City at 25 while Shreveport is 72!  That front should arrive here Saturday or Sunday, but the core of the cold will stay well to our north.  However, we’ll see a return to sweaters and jackets as highs in the 80s will be replaced by the 60s, which is the normal/average high for late February.   Heavy rains (5-8”) will fall for the next 2-3 days to our north & west, but I am not expecting that kind of rain here since the front will be moving rather quickly across SE LA/MS.   The real changes will occur during the second & third week in March as the current west coast trough realigns itself over the Great Lakes & east coast.   We will be wondering how can March be colder than February?  The easy answer is the upper level steering currents shift from a huge SE ridge to an east coast trough.  The ridge kept cold fronts away while the trough keeps them a coming.  It reminds me of the great March blizzard of 1993 that brought snows into the deep South(Atlanta, Birmingham) following an early Spring warm up.   It’s not too late for Old Man Winter to keep on rolling.  Stay tuned!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Record Warm February...

Watching Bruce & David show the February highs today and you clearly saw how most of this month has been very warm.   With a little over one week left, it appears this will go down as the warmest February on record.   Long range computer guidance indicates at least 5-7 more days above normal/average with no real cold coming until the 2nd week in March.   I can almost promise March will end up colder than February and we’ll be back to wearing sweaters & coats again.   That will please many of you cold air “freaks”  as we have been way too warm way too early.   Today was another record breaker (83) making 5 out of the last six days with record warmth.  That streak could easily extend to 10+ days as the next cold front won’t arrive until the weekend at the soonest.   After a really cold December & early January, the last 4-6 weeks flip-flopped into the warm mode.   Not surprisingly, models are hinting the return to an east coast upper trough that will drive down the bitter cold still covering Canada.  RIGHT NOW, the trough is over the west coast & Rockies making places like Salt Lake City & Denver very winter-ish.  While Denver sits at 10 above zero, south Texas is near 80.  With that kind of temperature contrast, the battle zone is setting up for days of heavy rains moving along the same track with the potential for 6-12” over a wide area from Dallas to Little Rock to Louisville to Pittsburgh.  There are no signs that show heavy rains coming to us.   Over the weekend and into next week the cold front will slowly sag into the deep south.  That will bring us some rain and finally end our early Spring preview.  Stay tuned!

 

Was finally back to fishing with Capt. Hylton out of Shell Beach.   With no live bait available, we struggled to get 20 trout over 2 days, but they were quality trout between 13-17” with one topping 20” !   It was good to get back on the water & seeing trout start to bite again.   It was strange to see the shrimp bait wells at Campo’s totally dry & empty.  I suspect it will be well into April (if we have a cold March) before live shrimp are available for purchase.  Until then, the word is PLASTICS.   

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Too Warm, Too Soon...

While you know I enjoy all this early spring warmth, the weather often goes in the opposite direction and I still feel we are not done with the freeze threats.  The next 14-21 days look to stay above normal, but during the second week in March, be prepared to go back to the heavy weather gear.   Our current warm spell has really shot up local waters with Lake Pontchartrain back into the mid-60s after being in the upper 40s several weeks back.  That will be important in March IF we get any Arctic blasts as a warmer Lake will protect the South Shore during a freeze.   The warmth is getting everything to grow again and that could be bad if we get a late season freeze.  RIGHT NOW I don’t think areas south of Lake P.  will have a freeze issue in March, but there remains a ton of Arctic air in Canada  and signs point to that coming southward during the middle of next month.  In the short term, a weak front is getting close and might sneak through late tonight briefly turning around our winds and cooling us 5-8 degrees on Sunday.  The front will retreat northward for the rest of next week with highs generally 80+.   With a deep southerly flow in place, we could see some showers but without a front coming, no major rainfall is expected.  That could change the following week, but for now enjoy the warmth as it won’t stay forever. You cold air “freaks” can fly to New York or Boston where it’s snowing tonight.  Or head out to visit my son in Missoula, MT. where the high on Tuesday is expected to soar to 10 above after starting 5-10 below.    A big surge is coming down the Mississippi River and I expect it to rise 3-4 feet during the next several weeks.   That will present no issues as the River had been low for many weeks and it’s time for the usual spring snow melt & rainfall rise.  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Waiting For Other Shoe....

Our recent warm spell has me wondering when will the other shoe drop? That’s an old saying I remember hearing when things are going really, really good, it’s only a matter of time before it goes really, really bad.  Well, if you believe the long range computer models, the rest of February here will be way above normal/average with no hints of any major cold coming.    I still think “the other shoe will drop” temperature-wise, but it won’t happen until the 2nd or third week into March.  We still could get a frost of light freeze, but the higher sun angle & longer days will not allow the kind of cold we saw in December & early January.   In fact, I went over to Perino’s again just to see what kind of flowers they have & yep, they’re getting more and more varieties plus bigger & bigger sizes.   I plan to do more yard work tomorrow which might include cleaning out my 4 bird houses & doing some repainting.  The main house needs to come down so I can repair a collapsed floor.  It has 12 openings, but one family on the second story evidentially had too many tenants & their weight collapsed the ceiling into the 1st floor.   No big repair, but I’m thinking of raising their rent or requiring a bigger damage deposit!!!

 

We broke another record today hitting 83 for the second straight day and tomorrow could do it again  There is a front just to our north with a significant temperature fall off of 20-25 degrees, but that front will stall over south LA/MS on Sunday.  IF it pushes to our south, Sunday’s highs could stay in the 60s, otherwise we’ll be 75-80.  Next week the front will retreat back northward and we’ll be 80+ almost every day.     We could use some rainfall, but until the temperatures get hotter,  it’s no big deal.    I’m seeing new growth spring out is some things, but my hibiscus & shrimp plants look to be toast.  I gotta play doctor and have some patients, err…patience.  Water temperatures have climbed back into the 60s in Lake Pontchartrain and near 70+ along the coast.  Once above 70, the shrimp will start moving back into the marsh & the trout will follow.  I’ll let you know how I do with Capt. Hylton next week.   Stay tuned!