Mild and mostly cloudy for February

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

By Skip Rigney

We are riding the weather rollercoaster that is typical of winter in the Deep South. After a cold, dry week to end the month of January, the first week in February looks to be much milder with several chances of showers.

A cold air mass that covered the eastern two-thirds of the country gave Pearl River County two of our coldest nights of the winter. Temperatures across much of the county dropped to at least the lower 30s. The Poplarville Experiment Station recorded minimum temperatures of 27 degrees early Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

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That tied the four other coldest mornings this winter in Poplarville. One other 27 degree reading was recorded in November, two in December, and one earlier in January.

Overall, January 2019’s weather in our area was fairly typical with most weather stations’ monthly average high and low temperatures within a couple of degrees of the long-term monthly averages. The January climatological normals are near 60 for daily high temperature and the upper 30s for low temperature.

Despite a damp start during the first week of January 2019, rainfall accumulations for the entire month ended up being near or below the historical average, which ranges from five to six inches across the county.

Light showers are possible several times between now and Friday, although the timing is difficult to forecast. Forecasters are confident that there will be many more hours without rain than with it.

Rain accumulation for the entire week is forecast to be less than one inch by the National Weather Service.

The pattern on the upper air weather map for North America has undergone a major flip in the last couple of days.

Starting last Tuesday, a trough of cold air extended southward from Canada over much of the central and eastern portions of the U.S., with truly frigid air over the Midwest.

Today that trough is gone, replaced by warm, high pressure several miles above the surface, and temperatures have moderated across the nation. Even parts of the country such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, where just a few days ago temperatures plummeted to 30 below zero with wind chills of 60 below, will rebound into the 40s by Sunday. Talk about a weather rollercoaster.

In the coming week, the upper level winds from Texas all the way to the southeast Atlantic Coast will be from the west and southwest.

This will keep moisture flowing over our region giving us mostly cloudy skies. Several weak counterclockwise swirls in that upper flow are expected to be strong enough to at least give us several chances of showers at various times during the upcoming week.

By tomorrow, Sunday, southerly winds will bring in warmth from the Gulf of Mexico, and above-normal high temperatures from the upper 60s into the 70s, are forecast each day through at least Thursday.

The cold ground will not warm up nearly as fast as the air temperatures. That means that as mild, moist air moves over cold concrete patios and driveways, expect quite a bit of condensation.

The same process could result in fog developing over one or more of the next several nights.