Rainy forecast

Published 7:52 am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Washington Parish residents are in for a wet couple of days as officials continue to monitor the still-above-flood-stage Pearl River.

By the time the rainy weather event that began with showers yesterday and more widespread precipitation last night concludes Thursday, it is possible that 2 to 4 inches of rain will have fallen.

The Pearl River at Bogalusa is currently sitting at 20.7 feet, where flood stage is 18 feet. The river is expected to remain in the 20-foot range through at least Sunday, as far as the forecast from the National Weather Service extends, said Tommy Thiebaud, director of the parish office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Online, parish residents can view river levels at various locations by visiting www.washingtonparish alerts.org/river-readings. html.

The current level is not unusual for the Pearl, which Thiebaud said “gets up and stays up for weeks on end.” His office, though, constantly monitors the levels at both the Pearl and Bogue Chitto rivers.

“The Pearl River’s a little bit different than the Bogue Chitto in that it’s got a lot more area to spread out into before it rises,” he explained. “It’s a much wider watershed there, so 2 to 4 inches may not affect it the way 2 to 4 inches would the Bogue Chitto.

“Then again, it depends on where the water falls.”

The parish’s chance of rain is at 50 percent today, when scattered showers are expected, said Gavin Phillips, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s New Orleans/ Baton Rouge Weather Forecast Office in Slidell. A “warm sector” is in place Wednesday, meaning rain should not be seen continuously throughout the day, he said.

“Typically when we get in the warmer sectors, we don’t have all day rain,” he said. “It’s more off and on.”

Temperatures, Phillips said, will be above normal, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s.

“It’s not going to be the gloomy, all day, cold rain like we had over the weekend, but it will be a harder rain,” he said.

The seen weather over the weekend, Phillips said, was comparable to that of a Seattle winter, with light rain falling all day. Wednesday, he said, the weather will be back to norm for Louisiana, where it is likely a heavy shower will be seen and then pass through. For some of the day, it will be overcast and breezy. Overall, he said, “it might not be a bad day in between those breaks.”

The rain, Phillips said, is expected to become “more widespread as we work our way into the overnight hours,” and the chance of precipitation is 90 percent for tonight.

Thursday brings a 70 percent chance of rain, a possible squall line and a slight risk for severe weather, Phillips said.

“It mainly looks like it should move through around Thursday afternoon, late,” he said. “It should clear out of here by Thursday night.”

Phillips said things should dry out by Thursday night, but a 40 percent chance of rainfall will remain.