Two shots of cold with storms in between

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

By Skip Rigney 

cold front was forecast to move through south Mississippi early today kicking off a round of showers and a few thunderstorms.

The cool, dry high pressure system behind the front will drive away the rain and most of the clouds for the rest of the work week.

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With mostly sunny skies, afternoon high temperatures will warm into the 60s.

Evenings and early mornings over the next few days will feel a bit more like late winter than early spring as overnight temperatures fall into the 40s and bottom out in the 30s early Thursday and Friday morning. While no freezing temperatures are forecast, clear skies and nearly calm winds early Thursday and Friday may allow some light patchy frost to form in the coldest spots in the county.

For those who are anxious to bring their tender plants back outside and leave them, or for those gardeners wanting to plant their warm weather vegetables, this week’s cold mornings are a reminder that we can still have frosts and freezes in March.

In the 84 years of weather records for Poplarville, the median date for the last freeze of the winter is March 7th. That means half of the years had the last freeze before March 7th, and half of the years it occurred later than March 7th.

The records for both Poplarville and Picayune show that freezing temperatures have occurred in every week of March, and, in a few rare years, the first two weeks of April.

Our next cold front should arrive Saturday night or Sunday. Some weather models are hinting that the air behind this next front could be even a little colder than what we see this week, bringing a chance for more lows in the 30s early next week.

However, in between the cool, dry weather over the next few days and the next cool snap early next week, there will be a surge of warm, humid air on Saturday. Confidence among forecasters is building that a strong low pressure system will be moving eastward across Arkansas and Tennessee on Saturday, which will turn our winds to the south and be close enough to us to cause showers and possibly some strong thunderstorms.

It’s worth remembering that the chance of severe thunderstorms in south Mississippi and southeast Louisiana increases in mid-March and continues to increase to a peak in May.

We could be forgiven for being a little rusty when it comes to being alert for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. The last severe storm damage report logged for Pearl River County by the NWS was back on August 30th when a severe thunderstorm and an associated small tornado caused some minor damage in areas southeast of Poplarville.

Before that, the last report in the NWS’s database of damage from severe weather in Pearl River County was filed last March.

Winds from a severe thunderstorm blew a large pine tree onto a home just south of Picayune on March 25, 2017.

Stay alert on Saturday and Saturday night. 

Make sure that you have the warning notifications enabled on your cellphone’s weather app. Hopefully, we will only have the rain to contend with rather than severe thunderstorms.