Spring here, but winter hangs on elsewhere

Published 12:55 pm Saturday, April 23, 2022

By Skip Rigney

A generally quiet, though occasionally breezy, weather pattern is in store for Pearl River County this weekend and for most of the upcoming week. There is a window when a few showers and thunderstorms are possible beginning Sunday night and extending through Tuesday, but any rain that does fall is forecast to be light.

Winds during the daytime hours this weekend are predicted to be from the southeast at 5 to 15 miles per hour. With mostly sunny skies expected, some saltwater boaters may be tempted to venture into Mississippi Sound. They should take note that National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters predict that today (Saturday) winds over those waters will run 15 to 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots.

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The cause of breezy conditions along the north-central Gulf Coast is the sharp difference in surface atmospheric pressure between high pressure centered over South Carolina and a strong low pressure system that is moving across the northern Great Plains this weekend. As air moves from areas of higher to lower pressure, the rotation of the earth turns it to the right. Today the result will be a corridor of strong southerly winds stretching from the northern Gulf all the way to the Great Lakes.

A cool front stretches southward from the low pressure center in the Dakotas all the way to Texas. As it creeps slowly eastward, instability associated with the front may tap into the mild, humid air in our region and produce a few widely scattered showers beginning as early as Sunday afternoon. NWS forecasters put the odds of showers Sunday afternoon at about 20 percent, which, of course, means we have an 80 percent chance of staying dry.

The cool front moves closer on Monday and Monday night, raising our rain chances to about 50/50 ahead of and near the front. The heaviest rain is expected to stay well to the north and west of Mississippi. Here in Pearl River County rainfall totals are likely to be from a few hundredths to one-quarter of an inch.

By Monday night or Tuesday the cool front will pass through the area. As high pressure builds in for the latter half of the week, expect fair skies, mornings in the 50s, and afternoons in the 80s.

For those who would prefer to hang on to winter a little longer, it’s too bad you didn’t plan a vacation to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota for this weekend. You could have seen the majestic presidential monument at Mt. Rushmore, visited Black Hills National Forest, and toured the quintessential Old West town of Deadwood.

You could have done all of those things as long as you don’t mind driving around in a blizzard. Today’s forecast for Deadwood, South Dakota, is for heavy snow with winds gusting to 50 miles per hour. By the time the storm is over on Sunday, one to two feet of snow will have fallen in many locations in the Black Hills.

Maybe fighting the summer crowds at Mt. Rushmore isn’t such a bad idea after all.