Colder-than-average on tap for next two weeks

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

By Skip Rigney

You don’t  have to be a meteorologist to know that it is supposed to be cold in January. However, forecasters with the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center expect temperatures to be even colder than average across most of the United States the last two weeks of this January.

Here in the Deep South we can expect several mild days to be interspersed in this cold period, but overall we are in for a chillier-than-normal stretch.

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A strong low pressure system moving eastward out of the Great Plains began drawing the cold air mass down out of Canada on Friday. The front at the cold air’s leading edge will move through Mississippi today on its way into the Gulf and the Atlantic. Showers and thunderstorms will accompany the front as it pushes into relatively mild, moist air.

We will be fully immersed in the cold air behind the front on Sunday. Clearing skies are forecast to, as the hit 1960s song by The 5th Dimension proclaimed, “let the sunshine in” most of the day. But, the sun will be shining through some truly cold air. Temperatures will start in the 30s and top out in the upper 40s Sunday afternoon. A light freeze is predicted for Sunday night and early Monday morning.

This cold snap will be short-lived, however. By Monday the west winds in the upper atmosphere will have pushed the core of the cold to our east. Also, the cold air that just last week was over Canada, will have warmed up under the influence of the South’s warmer ground and more direct sun’s rays.

By Tuesday mild air with temperatures in the 60s will be returning northward from the Gulf of Mexico along with enough humidity to bring a chance of showers Tuesday through Wednesday.

More cool air will already be headed our way, however, and is expected to end the brief mild respite by Wednesday.

The computer weather model predictions for the latter half of the upcoming week have not yet zeroed in on a likely solution, but instead are showing a wide range of possible scenarios.

Check the evolving forecast online by searching for “National Weather Service Picayune MS” or “National Weather Service Poplarville MS”.

I can’t be the only one in our county who would enjoy some winter magic in the form of fluffy, frozen flakes falling from the sky. A few of the various model solutions show the possibility of a little snow or ice behind the next cold front on Wednesday night or Thursday farther north in Mississippi, but the chances remain quite low for us.

It’s a different story for our neighbors in the Midwest and Northeast this weekend.

A swath of snow cover three to six inches deep already stretches across parts of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. A new low pressure system is expected to add an additional three to six inches in those states today.

But it’s as the low pressure system moves into the Northeast United States that it is forecast to produce some truly impressive snowfall amounts. Central and western parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and New England are forecast to get one to two feet of snow.

That’s even a little much for a snow enthusiast such as myself.