Unseasonable cool front for Mother’s Day

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 9, 2020

By Skip Rigney

Temperatures Tuesday afternoon hit 90 degrees in Pearl River County for the first time since October. But a cool front Tuesday night and another on Friday has ushered in an unseasonably cool weather pattern.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, weather stations in Carriere, Picayune, Stennis International Airport, and at the airports in Slidell and Gulfport all measured afternoon highs of 90 degrees.
Tuesday night a cool front slipped southeastward through the Gulf South. The front kicked up a few showers to our north around Hattiesburg and Tylertown. Unfortunately, those showers evaporated before they got to us.
That meant a continuation of the abnormally dry conditions that have held sway in Pearl River County since late February. By this time in May we historically have received, on average, about 20 inches of rain for the year.
But, this year, after a wet start in January and February, most locations in the county had received three to seven inches less than the average for January 1st through Friday morning.
Friday’s cool front was forecast to be much more successful in bringing significant rainfall to the county. As I write this on Friday morning, heavy thunderstorms are racing southeastward from central Louisiana. Hopefully they will make a dent in our rainfall deficit without becoming severe.
Behind the front, today and Sunday, northeast winds will bring cool, dry air into our region. That air mass will effectively eliminate our rain chances through Wednesday.
As the cool air spreads over the Gulf South today, temperatures aren’t expected to make it out of the 70s, which will be five to ten degrees cooler-than-average.
Saturday afternoon may have the coolest high temperature we see until autumn, with the exception of a few rainy, cloudy days this summer.
The low on Sunday morning is forecast to be near 50 degrees, which is also about ten degrees cooler-than-average for May 10th.
During the day Sunday, the bright May sunshine will add enough energy to begin the warming process for the cool air mass that just a few days ago was in Canada. That modification process is expected to continue Monday and Tuesday, allowing our afternoon temperatures to creep back into the 80s.
Looking further out into the week, as winds veer to the southeast, warmer, muggier air from the Gulf will return. By Thursday, it will feel more like early summer and less like late spring.
However, even with the increased humidity bringing a slight chance of showers toward the end of the week, computer weather models don’t show any major weather disturbances on the horizon. That’s why the National Weather Service estimates that any rain that does occur towards the end of the week will be very light.
Even though Friday’s rain helped raise vegetation moisture levels, the return of dry conditions through at least Wednesday means anyone doing outdoor burning should be extra careful. This past week there were six large wildland fires in Gulf Coast counties, including Hancock and Harrison in Mississippi and several in the Florida Panhandle east of Pensacola.
The fires produced so much smoke that they were easily visible from weather satellite imaging systems 23,000 miles above the earth.

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