The forecast for the last few days of Mardi Gras are not looking good. A very active weather pattern is shaping up for the region beginning late Sunday and continuing through Ash Wednesday. The jet stream, fast winds high in the atmosphere that separate the cold air to the north and the warmer air to the south will park itself over the region early next week. In this strong jet stream, several upper level disturbances or storm systems will track across the region. As each one passes, chances for rain will be high. A cold front will stall out across the area and remain in the vicinity, increasing the chances for rain.
The biggest question is where the front will eventually reside. This is important because depending on where it is positioned will determine who sees the heaviest rainfall and possibly severe weather early next week. At this time, the front is expected to push across the area Monday and stall along or just offshore by Tuesday morning. The front will then begin lifting back to the north as a warm front during the day Tuesday and push north of the area Tuesday night as low pressure develops and tracks along the front. The entire storm system will drag through the area by Wednesday, taking the rain chances with it.
The image below shows how much rain is expected over the next 5-7 days beginning Wednesday 2/6 and ending 2/13. Notice the bulls-eye of 3-5" over our neck of the woods!
This is the GFS model forecast for noon on Tuesday and you can see the areas of green indicating rain breaking out along the front across the Gulf Coast. This scenario will change a few times, but it will be interesting to see exactly how this pans out over the next few days. If you have plans to attend any of the parades, make sure you keep in mind that it will be mild, temperature-wise, but quite wet.
As always, The Weather Authority will keep you posted on any changes we see in the forecast through next week.
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley