A break from the heat and protection from Ian

Published 11:58 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

By Skip Rigney

By the time you read this on Saturday, tropical storm Ian will probably have formed in the Caribbean Sea and be somewhere south of Jamaica.

Also this weekend, a cool front will be sweeping southeastward across the Great Plains and into the lower Mississippi River Valley, passing through Kansas on Saturday and Arkansas on Sunday. By Monday night the cooler air is forecast to surge into south Mississippi.

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The same pattern of jet stream winds three to seven miles high in the atmosphere that will be pushing the surface cool front through our region will also protect us from Ian as the storm turns north and strengthens during the upcoming week. That’s good news for us, but probably bad news for folks somewhere in Florida.

Winds at ground level here in south Mississippi will switch to a northerly direction once the front passes on Monday and are forecast to remain from that direction for most of the week. Meanwhile, the winds in the atmosphere several miles above us will have a strong component from the west, essentially pushing the northward-moving Ian to our east.

Of course, tropical weather systems are full of surprises, so I’ll be visiting the National Hurricane Center’s website at www.nhc.noaa.gov over the next few days to get the latest forecasts and make sure that Ian doesn’t make any unexpected lurches to the west.

After the hot weather of this past week, I am looking forward to the arrival of Monday’s cool front and the milder air that will be spreading across the Gulf South behind it. New daily high temperature records were set on Thursday at Gulfport (97), Slidell (96), and New Orleans (96).

This weekend won’t be that hot, but it will remain much more like summer than fall with lows in the 70s and highs in the lower to middle 90s. There’s a chance that the heat will bubble up an isolated shower or two on Sunday afternoon. However, rain chances are lower than they usually are ahead of an approaching front because the atmosphere above us contains very little moisture.

Behind the front beginning sometime Monday, even lower humidity air will be blowing in, not only in the upper atmosphere, but also down at ground level. The very dry air is expected to stay entrenched over the Gulf South west of Florida all week long, closing out the month of September on a dry note.

That will mean many parts of Pearl River County will end the month having received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain during the last half of September. The exceptions are in southern and eastern locations in the county where one-quarter to one inch of rain fell last weekend.

Ahead of the front on Monday, it will still be hot with Monday’s high temperature forecast to be near or above 90 degrees. But once the front passes, a milder, dare I even use the word “cooler” air mass will blow in. Low temperatures on Tuesday morning will fall into the lower 60s, and the rest of the week we could easily see 50s each morning. High temperatures are predicted to only reach the lower to middle 80s Tuesday through Friday.

This looks to be a cool front with multiple benefits.