Cold gives way to milder, unsettled weather

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2016

There was frost on the grass and ice in the birdbaths at my house yesterday morning.

Early Sunday and Monday mornings we experienced our first light freezes of the season across Pearl River County.

Those with fireplaces finally had an excuse to fire them up. Folks who look forward to wearing their warm wool sweaters were able to make use of them after the passage of a strong cold front early Saturday morning.

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Will the cold snap carry over to Thanksgiving?

High temperatures since the front passed have been in the 60s. However, today the afternoon temperature will be climbing back into the 70s. On Wednesday, after starting out in the low 50s in the morning, temperatures will be flirting with 80 degrees by mid-afternoon, and humidity will be rising.

During the day on Wednesday, a cool front will be moving southeastward from Arkansas and Texas into the relatively warm and moist air over our area. There’s a slight chance, about 25 percent, that the front will lift enough of that moisture to kick off a few showers on Wednesday or Wednesday night.

Last weekend’s strong cold front had a solid line of showers ahead of it as it passed through western Louisiana, but that line fell apart and dried up as it advanced through our area. It looks like the showers ahead of Wednesday’s front may do a repeat performance.

However, there are some big differences between last Friday night’s cold front and the one headed our way this week.

The cool front arriving Wednesday night will be much weaker than the front that brought us the sharply cooler weather over the weekend. The air behind this front is not very cold. Temperatures on Thanksgiving and Friday are expected to start out in the middle 50s and then rise into the 70s in the afternoons.

Will it be sunny or cloudy on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday? Forecasters are struggling with the answer. Computer weather models indicate that this front, unlike the one last Friday night, may become stationary just to our south.

Also on Thursday and Friday, winds several miles above us will be from the west rather than the northwest as they were after the last cold front. That westerly flow aloft will extend westward to the Pacific Ocean. Weak disturbances in that flow could produce off and on cloudiness. To further complicate matters on Friday, another weak cool front will approach from the northwest.

Even combining all of those factors, it is still likely that Thursday and Friday will stay dry, and that we will see more sun than clouds on those days.

By Saturday high pressure centered over Arkansas will have pushed a dry, cool air mass into our area resulting in a sunny day with highs in the upper 60s. Yet another front, the third to affect us in five days, will approach on Sunday. By Monday that front is expected to give us our best shot at rain since November 7th and 8th.

By Skip Rigney