Wednesday morning light freeze expected

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By Skip Rigney

Tonight will probably be the coldest night of the week due to a cool air mass over us in combination with clear skies, low humidities, and nearly calm winds allowing much of the heat gained from the sun today to be lost into space overnight.

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures Wednesday morning to be near the freezing mark with widespread frost possible.

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Temperatures will warm during the rest of the work week before the arrival of the next cold front on Friday. However, temperatures over the weekend behind the front are not expected to get too cold, ranging from the upper 30s and 40s for lows to near 60 for highs.

On Saturday Pearl River County saw its second major rain event of January with most locations in the county receiving between 1.5 and 3.0 inches of rain.

The only other weather event this month with similar heavy rainfall totals occured back on January 8th.

Saturday’s heavy rains were the result of a low pressure system in the northern Gulf of Mexico moving slowly eastward along a frontal boundary that was stalled along the Gulf Coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle.

The wave of low pressure moved to our east by Sunday afternoon. In its wake a cool, dry air mass moved southward. By this morning the dome of high pressure associated with the cool air will stretch from the Great Lakes all the way into the Gulf of Mexico.

The gently sinking air associated with the high pressure system will make for mostly fair skies today and tomorrow.

However, by Thursday the ridge of high pressure will have continued its slow slide eastward placing us on the western edge of its circulation.

That means southerly winds and a return of humidity from the Gulf of Mexico.

Also by Thursday, our next cold front will be sweeping southeastward through Oklahoma and Texas.

Forecasters predict that a few showers may develop near the front in our area sometime Thursday or Thursday night. Rainfall is expected to be relatively light with this system.

There will be a break in the rain Friday and probably Saturday, but weather models are predicting rain will return to the region Saturday night or Sunday as another cold front approaches from the northwest. Rain amounts with Sunday’s system are expected to be higher than with Thursday’s front. Some locations could receive over an inch.

As of now, the weather models are forecasting that the cold fronts that make it into our region over the next two weeks will not include anything as strong as the outbreaks of arctic cold air we saw in late December and mid-January.

Looking even farther out in time the National Weather Service’s outlook for February is that the monthly average temperature along the Gulf Coast will most likely be warmer than the historical average.

That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be several more hard freezes before the winter is over. But, it is a reminder that later this week we enter February, a month where at least a few days likely will give us our first taste of spring here in south Mississippi.