Freeze Warning Posted for South Louisiana as Winter Returns
We had Christmas with the air conditioner on. We celebrated New Year's Day by taking a dip in the swimming pool. No, the last two weeks of 2021 were not "normal" as far as meteorological terms are concerned. That is about to change, or to be more accurate, is changing as we speak.
This graphic from the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles shows the estimated progression of a strong cold front across the area during the day today. As you can see, most of us have experienced the front's passage. Now we are waiting on the wind shift and the significant drop in temperatures.
As I am writing this, this is what was happening at my house at 7 am.
The winds went from basically calm for an hour or so to blowing like a bandit and the wind has shifted from blowing strongly from the south to blowing strongly from the north. This will bring in the cooler air that Louisiana has been lacking during the final few weeks of December.
The average high temperature for Lafayette and the I-10 corridor during late December is in the low 60s. The past several days we've had afternoon temperatures top out over 80 in many locales. That is changing as we go from above-normal temperatures to below normal temperatures to being the new work week.
Yesterday afternoon Lafayette's High temperature was 79. Today, we have likely reached the high-temperature reading for the day. Forecasters with the National Weather Service say that by this afternoon temperatures will be in the 40s and by sunrise, on Monday we could be looking at temperatures at or below the freezing mark.
In advance of this huge temperature swing, the Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for almost all of the I-10 corridor in Louisiana tonight. Basically, the coldest weather will take place between 10 pm this evening and 10 am tomorrow. Here's what the weather service is advising.
Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. To preventfreezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes they shouldbe wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.
Now, this won't likely be a real pipe busting cold for South Louisiana but it could get cold enough to cause some plumbing problems if you don't address a few of those exposed pipes today. You might also want to bring in the most tropical of your outdoor plants. They seem to have the most difficulty battling temperatures that are at or near freezing.
As far as people are concerned, you will want to wrap up this afternoon as there is also a Wind Advisory. That means that wind gusts in excess of 30 mph will be common until later tonight. If you factor in the falling temperatures it will feel even colder than that on your exposed skin.
Overnight temperatures will likely be near freezing for tonight and tomorrow night, then temperatures will moderate toward the middle of the week. However, another cold front is expected to move across the area by Thursday, which will drop temperatures back close to the freezing mark for Thursday morning.
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