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Celebrate the first cool front of the season

By Skip Rigney

I believe we should have a local holiday each fall the day after the passage of our first significant cool front of the season. That is a day that everyone should be able to spend outdoors enjoying our first break from the humidity after the oppressive mugginess of the south Mississippi summer.

I suppose that one of the challenges in establishing such a holiday is that we never know more than a few days in advance exactly which date to declare First Cool Front Day. It occurs most commonly in mid-September, but it can be as late as early October.

Note that I’m talking about the first significant cool front, not the feeble and frail boundaries that sometimes slide meekly past us in August and early September raising barely an eyebrow except among die-hard weather enthusiasts.

What I’m talking about is the first cool front which elicits from everyone with a pulse the exclamation, “Wow, this feels nice!” when they walk outside the next morning.

Those words were on the lips of many south Mississippians Friday morning. If you were outside early enough you were able to experience temperatures in the lower 60s. A few locations in the county even had upper 50s. 

Even if you were a late riser, or didn’t manage to get outside until later in the day, you undoubtedly noticed that the air did not have that muggy, humid, sticky feel that is quasi-permanent from June into September here in the Gulf Coastal Plain.

The dew point, the temperature to which the air must be cooled for condensation to begin and a measure of how much water vapor is in the air, had fallen from our usual summertime 70s into the 50s. This is the driest air that we have experienced since May.

The cool front marking the leading edge of this glorious air mass passed through Pearl River County on Thursday.

Even by Thursday afternoon, the air had a noticeably drier feel to it. The entire day Friday was lovely.

One of the best reasons for giving everyone a day off in celebration of the First Cool Front, is that the splendid weather is always temporary. Although the humidity will remain low today (Saturday), by Sunday tropical moisture from the Gulf will return.

Dew point temperatures will surge back into the lower 70s, ushering in a week that will have more in common with summer than with fall. The NWS Office in Slidell forecast for Pearl River County for Sunday through most of the upcoming week is for morning lows in the lower 70s, afternoon highs in the middle to upper 80s, and a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms both day and night.

Despite the obvious merits of declaring First Cool Front Day an annual holiday, I doubt that I will be able to persuade our supervisors, city officials, or state Legislature to ratify this splendid idea.

I hope that, like me, you were able to spend at least a portion of Friday, the unofficial First Cool Front Day of autumn 2021, outside enjoying the beautiful weather.

If not, don’t let today (Saturday) go by without immersing yourself in low humidity air.

By Sunday afternoon, summer humidity will return.