WEIRD WEATHER: Why it’s happening and how to stay healthy when temperatures fluctuate

Published 4:13 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

There is a saying, “If you don’t like the weather today, just wait a few minutes.”

With the erratic temperatures felt the past few weeks, this has indeed been the case for those living in Mississippi. One day, it’s warm enough for shorts, and the next, a winter coat is needed.

While some may be questioning why the weather has been so inconsistent, Jackson-based National Weather Service meteorologist Daniel Lamb said in Mississippi, fluctuations from hot to cold are typical this time of year and it is due mainly to jet streams.

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“During this time of year, jet streams tend to dip further to the South and as a result of that, it helps transport drastically different air masses into our region,” Lamb said.

In addition to the jet streams, Lamb said, the country is also in the middle of a La Niña — a larger scale weather pattern.

“This (La Niña) is something that can lead to above-average temperatures during the winter in our part of the country, so that is why we were seeing (warmer temperatures) in December,” he said.

However, even though a larger scale weather pattern like a La Niña can “on average” influence above-average temperatures, Lamb said, “It is still winter. So even during those situations, we tend to experience some bouts of colder air — the types of weather we would consider to be more typical of this season.”

Lamb said this type of weather pattern will usually continue on into April.

“When we get into May, we will still get weather systems from time to time, but we will usually stop having the drastic back and forth changes as much,” he said. “And that will probably be the case this year, but every year is different.”

In Vicksburg, Tuesday’s temperature hovered in the mid-60s, with highs in the mid-70s for Wednesday. But on Wednesday night, they will dive back down and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the lows are predicted to drop into the 20s.

The website suggests Mississippians dress in layers to combat a sudden change in temperature. Other suggestions given to stay prepared for weather fluctuations include checking the weather forecast daily and keeping a stock of cold medicine and facial tissues since vacillating weather changes mean one could likely get sick more often.

Local physician Dr. Carlos Latorre, who is a family medicine specialist, said he has seen an increase in patients who are sick due to the extreme changes in the weather.

“The weather is changing so rapidly, and people are a little congested and the weather changes seem to affect that,” Latorre said. “And also, their allergies — we are seeing more people with that (allergies).”

Latorre said while his practice is seeing many patients with COVID-19, they are also seeing an increase in patients who are just experiencing an upper respiratory infection.

“Even without COVID-19, when you have these rapid weather changes, people tend to get upper respiratory infections a lot more,” he said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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