Nicholas contributes to already soggy year

Published 2:20 pm Saturday, September 18, 2021

By Skip Rigney

I am tired of writing about rain. I’ve written more columns focusing on rain in 2021 than in any other year since I began writing these articles in 2015. But, in a year that is on pace to threaten the annual record for the most rain in parts of Pearl River County, it is a topic that is hard to get away from.

This past week the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas have added to our already soggy total. The center of the Category 1 hurricane came ashore early Tuesday morning 400 miles to our west on the Texas coast. But, the broad counterclockwise circulation spread numerous showers all the way to the Florida Panhandle as the center of low pressure meandered slowly into Louisiana.

Three to five inch totals have been common across Pearl River County since Monday. That brings total rainfall for the year to between 80 and 90 inches in the southeastern part of the county. An observer six miles east-northeast of Picayune, who makes their reports available online through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, had recorded 87.74 inches of rain in 2021 as of Friday morning.

The northwest quarter of the county has accumulated about 65 inches of rain in 2021 according to estimates based on the National Weather Service radar in Slidell (online at https://water.weather.gov/precip/). Although less than the rest of the county, it hardly qualifies as dry given that the average rainfall for an entire year is about 65 inches.

We still have over three months to go to continue to add to our totals. But, 2021 is not a shoo-in to be our wettest year on record. One year towers above all the rest in the historical record in terms of rainfall. In 1991, over 100 inches of rain fell in some parts of Pearl River County and adjacent counties and parishes.

All that is left today of what once was tropical cyclone Nicholas is a weak trough of low pressure over Louisiana. That still will be enough to enhance the development of showers and thunderstorms over the Gulf South this weekend. While not a certainty, it’s more likely that rain will fall at your location in Pearl River County than it is that you will stay dry.

By Monday the trough that was once Nicholas is forecast to have disappeared entirely from the weather map. However, our winds will remain from the south transporting warm, moisture-laden air onshore from the Gulf. That will continue to support a better-than-even chance of showers, especially in the afternoons, through Tuesday.

Signs of a change to more fall-like conditions can be found on today’s weather map. A cold front is moving ashore in the northwest United States across the states of  Washington and Oregon.The cool Pacific air mass will continue to surge southeastward. Forecasters expect that it will arrive here sometime Wednesday. The passage of the front will shift our winds to the north, ushering in low humidities, mild temperatures, and fair skies for Thursday through most of next weekend.

Perhaps next weekend my column will focus on an aspect of the weather other than rain.