3/31 – The Chief’s “Unsettled Weekend Pattern” Friday Afternoon Forecast

At the surface, high pressure was centered off the Virginia coast. Low pressure was centered over Nebraska with a trailing cold front to west Texas. Moisture has been surging northward all night, with temperatures and dew points elevated across the area.

The surface low will track from Nebraska into Michigan by Saturday. The main forcing will remain well to the north of our area, perhaps a bit further north than last Friday’s storm system. For the local area, we’ll see a good bit of cloud cover today with southerly winds (15-20 mph) continuing to increase moisture in the low levels. However, forecast soundings show relatively dry air in the mid-levels. With the main forcing so far north and the ridge over the Gulf, the cold front with this system is going to have a very difficult time making it through the local area. I can’t rule out the tail end of a line of thunderstorms crossing northern portions of the area well after midnight tonight into early Saturday morning, but areal coverage would be isolated to scattered at best.

We’ll see a wind shift to the west and northwest as the tail of the front makes it into the area on Saturday, but the drier air behind the front will have a difficult time making it to the Louisiana coast. Dew points in the upper 40s and 50s may make it to about Interstate 10 on Saturday, lowering humidity levels, but not much further south. Clouds should decrease, especially during the afternoon.

Saturday night and most of Sunday should be rather nice with temperatures a little more reasonable for early April. A compact disturbance will move through the southern Plains toward our area late in the day Sunday and Sunday night. This will have the potential to impact the local area as moisture surges back north ahead of the system. There will likely be an area of thunderstorms and heavy rainfall with the disturbance on Sunday night into Monday morning. Current indications are that the heavy rain threat should primarily be north of Interstate 20, but there are a few solutions that indicate northern portions of the local area could be impacted.

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