Warmer than average for early April

Published 1:13 pm Saturday, April 2, 2022

By Skip Rigney

High temperatures of 80 degrees or warmer will be typical for much of the upcoming week. But, don’t pack away all your sweaters quite yet. Computer weather models hint that cool air will likely make a brief return toward the end of the week.

A brief, light shower or two are possible this morning (Saturday) as a warm front approaches from the Gulf. The moisture will get pushed back down into the Gulf as a weak cool front passes through the state on Saturday night. The operative word is weak, because on Sunday most of Pearl River County will start out in the 50s and climb to near 80 under the strong April sunshine.

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By Monday, winds will shift to a southerly direction bringing an increase in humidity and a slight chance of showers. Rain chances will continue to rise Monday night and Tuesday as a trough of low pressure several miles aloft in the atmosphere moves eastward from Texas toward the Gulf South.

Although not as potent as the systems on March 22nd and 30th that spawned tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in southeast Louisiana and south Mississippi, forecasters say there is a slight risk of severe weather Monday night and Tuesday. They may revise the probabilities over the weekend into Monday.

Computer models predict that quite cold air three to five miles aloft in the atmosphere will accompany the upper-level trough as it approaches. That could cause some thunderstorms to produce hail. Although unlikely, the hail threat is worth mentioning given how rarely we experience frozen precipitation of any kind in Pearl River County.

The trough in the upper altitudes of the atmosphere will have moved to our east by Wednesday, but the surface cold front will still be lagging back in Texas. Forecasters expect us to stay in a warmer-than-normal air mass on Wednesday.

In fact, it could be one of the warmest days so far this spring with Wednesday afternoon’s highs reaching the middle or even upper 80s.

The average historical daily high temperatures for April 3-9 in Pearl River County are in the middle 70s. However, in about one-quarter of the years over the past century, the high temperature has climbed to 85 degrees or warmer at least one day during April 3-9 in Poplarville at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station. The most recent example was in 2015 when the mercury reached 85 three times during the week. The record high of 88 degrees for April 6th in Poplarville was set in 1986.

Don’t let Wednesday’s warmth fool you. By Thursday, the surface cold front back in Texas and Arkansas will finally get the push it needs from the high-altitude jet stream to start surging southeastward.

Behind the front, a cold, surface ridge of high pressure centered over the northern Rocky Mountains will push its way southeastward. That should drop our temperatures toward the end of the upcoming week back down to near, or even slightly cooler than, the historical averages.