National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Record High January Sea-Level Pressure Set in
Lake Charles, LA

by Donovan Landreneau, Forecaster

A very strong 1056mb surface high pressure system moved south across Western Canada into the Northern Rockies on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day. Only weakening slightly to 1049mb, the high dominated most of the Midwest into Texas on the 2nd. At 9:53 am on January 2nd, Lake Charles, LA broke the January sea level pressure with 1045.3 millibars, or 30.87 inches of mercury (see map below). This pressure ranks as the third highest ever measured in Lake Charles, LA (see table below).

While morning temperatures were cold, only the lower to mid 20s (except 18 degrees at Alexandria Esler Field, LA) were noted for the mornings of the 2nd and 3rd. During the other notable record high pressure events listed in the table below, morning lows reached the lower to mid teens.
Surface Analysis January 2, 2008 15z
Surface analysis of record high pressure January 2, 2008 at 15z (9 AM CST). Click here for an animation of this chart from January 1-4, 2008.
Top Four Record High Sea Level Pressures for Lake Charles, LA
Pressure in inches
Pressure in millibars
December 23, 1989 30.91 1046.7
February 4, 1996 30.88 1045.7
January 2, 2008 30.87 1045.3
December 30, 1983 30.82 1043.7
Also noteworthy was the cold air stratocumulus clouds that formed over the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Atlantic Ocean (see image below). Cold air stratocumulus clouds are formed when very cold air moves over much warmer water. In this case, most of the Southern United States had much above normal temperatures for December. Without many cold air intrusions over the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Atlantic, sea surface temperatures were around 1-2 degrees above normal for this region.
16km visible image
4km visible image 1km visible image Satellite animation