Big chill followed by weekend warmup

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

By Skip Rigney

The next several days will be adding to the chill of what has been, thus far, a colder-than-average winter. But, if you’re tired of heavy coats, gloves, and running the water at night to keep your pipes from freezing, hang in there. Warmth is on the way for the weekend.

After a pleasant day Monday, another sharp cold front will pass through Pearl River County and the rest of the Deep South early today. Behind the front is yet another extremely cold air mass that just a few days ago was sitting up near the Arctic Circle in northern Canada.

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Temperatures will start out in the 30s this morning and will climb only into the 40s today under mostly cloudy skies.

A few hundred miles behind the surface cold front, a strong wave in the jet stream three to seven miles high in the atmosphere is sweeping southward out of the Great Plains and into the Gulf States today.

This could make for hazardous travel conditions in north Louisiana and north and central Mississippi and Alabama as a band of snow moves southward today and tonight.

The limiting factor will be moisture. Less and less moisture will be available as the band moves south. Hattiesburg has about a one in three chance of snow Tuesday afternoon or early evening. In Pearl River County there’s only about a one in five chance that we will see a little light rain, which could eventually mix with ice or snow Tuesday night as temperatures fall near freezing.

Even in the unlikely event that some snow does fall in our county, no accumulation is forecast.

Skies are forecast to clear on Wednesday, but it will be a bitterly cold day for south Mississippi. Temperatures are forecast to start in the 20s and even though the actual temperature will rise into the 30s, the brisk wind will make it feel like it is in the 20s most of the day.

Wednesday night is forecast by the National Weather Service’s Slidell meteorologists to be one of the coldest nights of the winter with six to twelve hours of sub-freezing temperatures bottoming out early Thursday morning in the low 20s to upper teens.

Thursday, though still cold with a forecast of high temperatures in the middle 40s, should be a more pleasant day with light winds.

This is because the center of the surface high pressure system associated with the cold air mass will be passing very close to Mississippi, and winds near the center of a high are usually light.

As the center of the high pressure slides to our east on Friday, the clockwise circulation of air around the high will cause our winds to veer around to the south.

Milder, more moist air will move in from the Gulf, and this flow is forecast to continue on Saturday and Sunday.

The result will be a chance of showers over the weekend, especially Sunday, and high temperatures pushing 70 degrees. Break out the short sleeve shirts.