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Unusually cool nighttime temps slated


Nathan Gregory



When was the last time you remember temperatures dipping below 60 degrees in the middle of July? 


If you were born after 1967 your answer is "never," but that could change this week. 


The Golden Triangle Area could potentially see temperatures drop below 60 tonight and Wednesday night, more than 10 degrees below the normal low of 72 and unusually cool for what is typically the hottest portion of the year. National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Byrd said lows in some parts of the state could tie records, depending on location, but the cold front will be short-lived. 


"We're getting the outer edges of this high pressure system here, but it's really not going to go far enough south over our area to really affect our weather that much other than to bring us drier and cooler conditions for a day and a half," Byrd said. "It will make for a nice day Wednesday and into Thursday because the humidities are going to be quite a bit lower." 


The NWS collects archived climate data for six Mississippi areas, the closest to Columbus being Meridian. Statistics indicate the coldest that area has been on July 15 was 55 degrees 47 years ago. The record low for July 16 was 58 degrees that same year. 


The NWS in Chicago, one of the areas currently seeing temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below normal for this time of year, backed off from describing the system concentrating on the area as a return of the "polar vortex" that brought on brutal cold to the Midwest and Northeast in January. Multiple media in that region have labeled the system as a summer version of the "polar vortex," while other outlets have refuted the claim. 


The Golden Triangle does not appear to have a chance at setting any record cool high temperatures over the next few days, Byrd said. High temperatures for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are forecasted by NWS to reach 85, several degrees above the records for coolest high temperatures on each of those days. The coolest July 16 high temperature in Meridian was 77 degrees in 1953, while the coolest July 17 was 80 degrees in 1990. The average high temperature for this area for those days is 91. 


Lowndes County Extension Agent Reid Nevins said while cotton typically thrives under continuous hot weather, he doesn't expect the short cool snap to affect most crops because temperatures are expected to return to normal levels this weekend. One crop that will be helped by the cooler weather is corn, he said.  


"Cooler weather helps pollinate corn," Nevins said, "so some of this later planted field corn, it will probably help that." 


Scott Enlow of Black Creek Farms, a produce farm in Columbus, said it won't have an affect on his product, and he's looking forward to the brief respite from the typical summer heat and humidity. 


"It's Mississippi," Enlow said. "If you don't like the weather, give it 24 hours and it will change. It's going to be here and gone before we ever knew it was here."


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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