Rain makes a welcome but short-lived return

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Did you remember where you stored your umbrella? Did it take a few seconds to figure out how to turn on your windshield wipers?

By the time you read this, I hope you have been called upon to remember these and other tasks you usually do when it rains.

You could be forgiven for being a little rusty on these routines, because it was way back on September 18th when we last experienced widespread rain with totals more than one-quarter of an inch in Pearl River County.

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At the surface we are between a broad area of low pressure in the western Gulf of Mexico and a surface high centered over the Carolinas. The counterclockwise circulation around the low and clockwise circulation around the high is causing east winds to bring moisture into our region from the Atlantic and Gulf.

The ridge of high pressure anchored several miles above us for most of the last six weeks has finally been replaced by a trough of low pressure, which extends from the Great Lakes southward across the Central Plains and into northern Mexico.

Waves in the upper level southwest winds blowing above us along the leading edge of that upper trough have caused

the moist air in the lower levels of the atmosphere to rise and become clouds yesterday and today, giving us our first better-than-even chances of rain in weeks.

However, as I write this on Monday morning, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how much rain we will get.

The computer weather models predict that we will be on the northeastern edge of the blob of rain that will be centered to our south and west in the Gulf of Mexico.

That adds up to uncertainty as to whether this rain will be enough to bust our drought, or whether we will continue in a drought status as our rain potential decreases for the rest of the week.

By Wednesday the surface low pressure in the Gulf will slide eastward and weaken. The upper level trough and a cool front that was to our northwest will have passed by us and moved to the East Coast of the United States.

In their wake surface high pressure will cover us and most of the eastern half of the country for the rest of the week. This means a return to mild and dry conditions for Thursday through most of Sunday. We should see more sun than clouds. Highs are predicted to be in the lower or middle 70s and lows in the upper 40s to lower 50s. Those are very close to the historical average temperatures for this time of year.

The computer weather models continue to indicate a pattern flip could occur in the middle or late part of next week across North America. If that comes to pass, it would finally put us in line for colder and at least slightly wetter weather for the last half of November and the first half of December.

By Skip Rigney