Sunny spring weather the rule this week

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Picayune Spring Street Festival was graced with deep blue, sunny skies and mild temperatures this past weekend. Saturday was a little windy at times, but, overall, vendors and fair-goers couldn’t have asked for better weather.
This week, with one brief exception, forecasters are predicting continued near-perfect weather across the Gulf South. Sunny days and clear nights will be the rule with early morning temperatures in the 40s and 50s climbing into the 70s on most days.
Some fair-goers, weekend yard enthusiasts, and others who took advantage of the beautiful weather over the weekend, likely discovered that even on a mild early April day you can get a sunburn in south Mississippi.
How long it takes to get a sunburn on a sunny day is highly dependent on the angle of the sun’s rays. The most direct sun angles occur each year on the first day of summer, June 20th or 21st. That’s still about 75 days away. But at our latitude the sun’s rays are already getting high enough that if you’re going to be out in the sun for an extended period during the middle of the day, consider using some sunscreen.
The only clouds and showers on the horizon this week are expected late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night.
The cause of the late Wednesday showers will be a cool front approaching from the north. The front should have enough lift ahead of it to set off some showers, and maybe even a thunderstorm or two, as it passes by.
The front won’t have much moisture to work with though, so rainfall totals should be one-quarter inch or less.
Behind the front on Thursday we should see a return to dry, sunny weather. We aren’t likely to notice much of a cool down on Thursday as afternoon highs are forecast to again be in the 70s.
However, a second, reinforcing shot of cool air is expected to pour south from the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and reach the Gulf Coast by Thursday night. Temperatures are forecast to be ten to fifteen degrees below average on Friday night and Saturday night. Those at the baseball field or otherwise outside on those evenings will want a jacket or sweater as temperatures fall into the 50s after sunset and bottom out in the 40s early Saturday and Sunday mornings. Some folks in Pearl River County may even dip into the upper 30s.
Most of us will still consider the afternoons pleasant since highs should continue to reach the 70s, or at least the upper 60s, even in the cooler air mass.
For most of the week the humidity will be low. That makes the atmosphere more transparent to energy transfers. More energy from the sun reaches the ground during the day, and more energy is lost from the ground at night. That translates into large ranges between maximum and minimum daily temperatures. With this week’s dry air, those ranges will be 25 to 30 degrees.
All in all, a delightful work week and upcoming weekend for outdoor activities is ahead. Don’t forget the sunscreen though, especially for the kids, if you plan to be outside during midday for an extended amount of time.

By Skip Rigney

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