Saturday’s storms brought wind and heavy rains

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018

By Skip Rigney

Saturday was a stormy day as a squall line swept through our region.

The National Weather Service issued 42 separate tornado warnings and 61 severe thunderstorm warnings in Louisiana and Mississippi. These included two severe thunderstorm warnings and one tornado warning for Pearl River County.

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The NWS reported that, according to social media reports, several trees were blown down near McNeil and Carriere and that a building had some wind damage in Carriere.

Like many weather systems that affect us, Saturday’s line of thunderstorms accompanied by frequent lightning moved from west to east across Louisiana and then Mississippi.

Behind the squall line a large area of rain took the rest of Saturday afternoon and evening to move eastward out of south Mississippi.

Heavy rain during the initial thunderstorms followed by six to nine hours of lighter rain resulted in three to four inch totals across most of the county with some totals near four and one-half inches in the southern part of the county.

The weather system slowed its progress Saturday afternoon after the heaviest downpours had moved to our east.

Unfortunately for nearby counties that meant being stuck under the heaviest thunderstorms for many hours. Parts of Harrison County north of Gulfport received six to eleven inches of rain.

Saturday’s wet and rough weather was caused by a surface cold front, a strong low pressure system at higher altitudes, and plenty of humid air streaming northward from the Gulf of Mexico. On Saturday morning the front and low pressure system stretched from Minnesota down to Louisiana.

By Sunday morning they had moved eastward and stretched from Michigan to Florida.

In their wake on Sunday, cool and dry high pressure built into south Mississippi and extended westward and northward into the Rocky Mountains and the Dakotas.

This air mass was unseasonably cool for this late in the spring dropping our low temperatures on Monday morning into the low 40s, which is about ten degrees cooler than the average for this time in April.

Today we will see warmer temperatures as the bright April sun adds warmth to the ground and atmosphere.

The warming trend will continue with forecast highs in the lower 80s on Wednesday.

A weak cool front is predicted to pass through on Wednesday night.

It might kick off a few isolated showers, but most of us won’t notice much of a change in the weather with this mid-week system.

While that weak front is moving through our neck of the woods, the next major storm system to affect the United States will be coming ashore in California.

The large stormy, cyclonic swirl covering over 100,000 square miles will quickly move toward the Mississippi River Valley.

Most computer weather models are predicting that showers and possibly thunderstorms will form on the eastern side of the disturbance. It’s still too early to predict exactly when the showers will arrive in Pearl River County over the weekend or whether there will be another threat of severe storms.

I suspect most of us hope that it rains while we’re sleeping Saturday night so that we can get outside and enjoy more fine spring weather during the daylight hours of the weekend.