After a morning of freezing temperatures across much of the area, Saturday will begin the warm-up across the Gulf Coast. Temperatures will start in the 20s and 30s, warming to around 60 Saturday afternoon. It won't be as cold Saturday night with lows around 40 as winds begin turning back onshore. Moisture levels will increase significantly on Sunday ahead of a cold front that will arrive Monday. Temps Sunday afternoon will reach the mid 60s with increasing clouds through the day. By Sunday night rain will begin breaking out to our west, pushing into the region by Monday morning.
Christmas Eve will be the beginning of a period of very wet weather for the region, lasting through Wednesday. A storm system will develop to our west and track into the region Christmas Day. The front that moves through the region on Monday will stall offshore Monday night and lift back to the north as a warm front. Rain will spread across the region ahead of the warm front Christmas morning. As warm air gets pulled back onshore from the Gulf and low pressure strengthens over MS/LA, the environment will become favorable for severe thunderstorms. It appears we will see two threats. The first threat will be from rotating supercell storms that will spread inland from the Gulf of Mexico and track onshore. These storms will tap into an environment that is unstable with warm, humid air in place and strong wind shear in the atmosphere. Any storm developing in this environment will be capable of producing damaging winds and tornadoes. The second threat will be from a line of storms along the cold front with damaging wind potential as it moves through by Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Locally heavy rainfall will also cause localized flooding issues. It is IMPERATIVE that you stay alert Christmas Day and have a way to receive warnings.
The storm is still developing and the forecast could change either for the better or for worse. If the storm is not as strong as forecast, the threat for severe storms will be somewhat less, but storms are still expected. Keep it tuned to Local 15 through the weekend into early next week for the latest updates on this developing storm system.
The storm will track east of the region on Wednesday, with colder air filtering in behind it. Temperatures will fall into the 50s on Wednesday and stay chilly through Friday. Low temperatures will fall below freezing again Wednesday night and Thursday night, before warming back up on Friday.
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley