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No need to bundle up this Halloween

By Skip Rigney

Remember those cold, blustery Halloweens when the kids had to bundle up with extra layers before putting on their costumes? The day before they may have been wearing shorts and t-shirts, but the weather changed, and to keep their teeth from chattering they needed some extra insulation to augment that silky-thin superhero or ballerina outfit.

Well, that won’t be the case when Halloween 2018 arrives this Wednesday.

Here in south Mississippi, late October is in the middle of the seasonal transition from hot to cold. One year trick-or-treaters may get home only to find that the highly prized chocolate candies have started to melt from the heat. The next year may be so cold that even the soft candy in their bag seems to have turned hard.

Forecasters are pretty confident that this Wednesday will fall on the warm side of the spectrum. The computer weather models are in good agreement that we will be in the middle of a wide strip of warm air extending from the Gulf of Mexico northeastward all the way to New England.

High temperatures in Pearl River County during the afternoon on Halloween are forecast by the National Weather Service to be near 80 degrees. Once the sun goes down, the temperature will fall into the lower 70s, giving at least a little relief to those trick-or-treaters with costumes heavy enough to double as outdoor wear in wintertime Canada.

Of course, most parents are less interested in the temperature forecast than they are in whether or not it’s going to rain on their little scavengers as they run door-to-door in search of candy. Unfortunately, as I write this on Friday morning, there is a lot more uncertainty about rain chances than temperatures.

The warm air in which we will be immersed on Wednesday will be pooling ahead of a cold front approaching from the northwest. A batch of showers and thunderstorms will be out ahead of the front, but it is still too early to nail down when those showers will begin to affect Pearl River County.

A change of six to twelve hours in the timing of the front will result in a dramatically different Halloween experience. Usually confidence in the forecast timing increases substantially within a day or two of the time of interest. So, those who plan to be outside Wednesday afternoon or evening would do well to start paying closer attention to forecast updates beginning Monday and Tuesday.

Between now and Halloween we are in for a stretch of what I consider lovely weather: mostly clear skies with temperatures ranging from early morning 50s to near 80 in the mid-afternoon.

Whatever our weather turns out to be this Halloween, it will be far from the worst in the U.S. That honor may well go to someplace in the Rockies such as Teton County, Wyoming, whose main town, Jackson, is about the size of Picayune. The Halloween forecast for Teton County is for near freezing temperatures with snow.

The kids of Jackson, Wyoming, may still decide to brave the elements, however, if they think there’s a chance some of the area’s famous celebrity residents will open their doors. I’m trying to imagine what kind of treats Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, and Vice-President Dick Cheney may be giving out this year.