Winter weather in the South is a roller coaster of conditions, emotions

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, January 29, 2020

If there is one thing about winter in the south that amazes me, it’s the roller coaster ride we get every year from November to March.

Let’s face it, that old adage of “if you don’t like the weather, just wait and it’ll change” is very true when it comes to winter in the South, where you scrape the frost (or maybe ice) off your car windshield one day and walk around in shorts the next — or maybe in the same day.

There are times I remember getting a new basketball or football for Christmas and going out to play wearing shorts on a bright, warm December day. Then there was the Christmas in Baton Rouge that was so cold we kept the soft drinks served at the family Christmas dinner outside and several froze.

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Or my senior year in high school where it was 80 degrees during the day and that night dropped into the 20s with snow. We lived behind the high school I attended, and my father offered to drop me off at school. I refused.

“I want to tell my children I walked to school in the snow,” I told him. As usual with snow, even in small amounts, the schools closed early and I walked home.

I came on this topic of weather after looking at the weather forecast for this week, which features the usual rain and temperatures with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s slowly working their way into the 60s by the weekend. I keep two weather apps on my phone; one says it will be 65 and sunny Sunday, the other says 68 and sunny. Both say rain next Monday and Tuesday to start the week.

It is no secret winter in the South is our rainy season. Other areas of the country have it in the spring, other countries that are far more humid and hotter than our climate have their monsoons in the summer.

And the winter rains are all part of the roller coaster. We wake up in the morning and it’s pouring rain and 35-40 degrees. You bundle up with the long-sleeved shirt or top, covered by a sweater and topped by a warm coat to brave the cold and grab an umbrella to keep the rain off your back.

You slog through the puddles to the car, get in and drive to work. At some time during the day, the rains quit, the temperatures go up, and you’re shedding the outer garments because now you’re burning up.

Some days you experience the reverse — it’s raining, the temperature is in the 70s, you dress for the warm weather, and at some point during the day the temperature drops 20 or 30 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind. And if you’re downtown, it gets worse, because the wind whipping off the Mississippi River shoots through the Washington Street wind tunnel to make it almost arctic.

As I write this it’s raining pretty heavily outside and it’s 54 degrees. Soon I will leave the warm confines of the environment around my desk and head home. I’ll be wet and cold by the time I get there and will get ready to do it all again tomorrow.

I’m gonna start praying for summer.


John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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