Dry conditions follow Cristobal and cool front

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 13, 2020

By Skip Rigney

The first rain band from Tropical Storm Cristobal moved into southern Pearl River County midday last Saturday. On Sunday Cristobal’s rain shield covered most of the county. On Monday, we were still on the moisture-rich eastern side of the system, and most locations saw a few more showers.
Based on rain gauge reports and estimates from the National Weather Service (NWS) radar in Slidell, Cristobal dumped the most rain in the southern part of the county, including the communities of Carriere, West Union, and Salem where around five and one-half inches fell between midday Saturday and early Tuesday morning. The far northwest part of the county only received two to three inches of rain from Cristobal.
As is often the case with tropical storms and weak hurricanes, Cristobal never developed an eye, and the strongest winds were displaced quite far from the center. The center of the circulation came within 50 miles of Pearl River County as it passed over Lake Pontchartrain. Based on both personal and official weather stations, sustained winds in our county were less than 25 miles per hour, and only a few gusts made it into the 30s.
Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, which, as the crow flies, is about 12 miles southeast of the Pearl River County line, recorded a wind gust of 44 miles per hour on Sunday afternoon.
The highest winds recorded on land from Cristobal occurred on Ship Island, 12 miles south of Gulfport. A weather station on the island recorded a gust of 64 mph according to the storm summary from the NWS Slidell Forecast Office, and an anemometer in Gulfport recorded a gust to 60 mph, both on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday and Tuesday, what was left of Cristobal moved northward through the Mississippi River Valley.
By Wednesday morning, the remnants of Cristobal were north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula causing wind gusts of 50 mph over Lake Superior.
Also on Wednesday morning, a cold front stretched from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf of Mexico. The front kicked off a round of showers and thunderstorms in our area. Once again the rainfall varied significantly with the southern half of the county receiving around one inch and some locations north of Poplarville receiving less than one-tenth of an inch.
Behind the cold front on Thursday and Friday, high pressure and a drier, milder air mass overspread most of the eastern one-third of the United States. The drier air was signaled by dew point temperatures dropping into the 50s, which felt much better than the muggy dew points in the upper 70s earlier in the week. Drier air allows more heat to be radiated away from the lower atmosphere at night. This has allowed temperatures to fall into the middle 60s the last three mornings, which is a couple of degrees cooler than the historical average lows for these dates.
Sinking air from above will keep skies mostly fair and rain chances slim during most of the upcoming week. Bright June sunshine will push afternoon highs into the low 90s.
Humidity will increase today and Sunday, before falling back to dry, comfortable levels on Monday. By the end of the week, dew points are forecast to slowly inch their way back into the muggy range.

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