Where is our first fall coot front?

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Die-hard Saints fans spend the summer looking forward to the kickoff of the regular season.

The kickoff part of their wish was fulfilled this past Sunday, even if the end of the game didn’t quite live up to expectations.

When the last out is made in the World Series each fall, baseball fans begin looking forward to the start of spring training. Not too long ago the last out was always made in October, but with expanded post-season play we now always have at least the possibility of November World Series play.

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Many people agree with the song that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” In the not-too-distant past, Thanksgiving marked the beginning of anticipation for the Yuletide season. Advertisers now make sure we begin thinking about Christmas at the same time we’re buying Halloween candy.

For those of us who grow tired of south Mississippi’s hot and humid summers, one of our most eagerly anticipated seasonal events is the arrival of the first cool front of autumn. The cool air usually only lasts a few mornings before the muggy heat returns for another week or two, but the first cool front gives us a tangible break from the hazy monotony of summer, and it shores up our hope that long-term relief is just around the corner.

The first fall cool front can be seen in our local weather records by looking for the day when the minimum temperature falls from the 70s into the lower 60s or even 50s.

The average date for our first

cool front from 1996 through 2015 was September 18th. In seven of those years it was between the 15th and 19th, which makes that five day period the most frequent time for the first front.

So, late this week into early next week is statistically the most likely time for us to see fall’s first cool front. Before you run to unpack your sweaters, consider that there are considerable differences from year to year. In 2011 the first significant cool front arrived on September 5th. In 1998 we were kept in sweaty suspense until October 8th.

This year it appears we will have to wait a little longer than average. Forecasters expect that this week we will remain on the western side of the Bermuda High at the surface and under a ridge of high pressure aloft.

This is a typical summer pattern, which will give us typical late summer humidity, scattered afternoon showers, and lows in the 70s and highs in the upper 80s.

A cool front will approach us this weekend and early next week. Chances are about fifty-fifty that it will struggle past us, but even if it does it will be weak and falling apart.

There is hope on the horizon, however, for fans of fall.

The long-range computer weather models are predicting that, not next week, but early in the last week of September, we could have our first significant cold frontal passage since last spring.

Whenever it does get here, enjoy a few crisp mornings before you drag out the Christmas decorations.

By Skip Rigney