Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas week forecast and a slight chance of wintry weather Tuesday

Bitter cold air has settled in over the region this morning as Arctic high pressure is centered over MO/AR and will move east-northeast into the Ohio Valley by this evening. Temperatures are running about 15-20 degrees below normal with wind chills in the single digits to teens. The morning low at MEM today was 14 while the high will be near 30.

As the high shifts east, the next storm system will begin to encroach from the west with clouds increasing this afternoon. The nighttime hours will be dry, but shortly after daybreak Tuesday, some very light precipitation could begin to fall from mid-level clouds. Fortunately the low levels of the atmosphere will start off very dry tomorrow, but there is a slight chance that some precip could reach the ground between 7-10am as very light freezing rain or sleet. I put the chance of this at 20%. By 10am, temperatures will be warming on an increasing southeasterly wind, the lower levels will saturate, and rain will become widespread by afternoon as highs reach to near 50. Tuesday night will be wet and very windy, with a chance of t'storms by Wednesday morning as a cold front approaches. Temps Tuesday night will actually rise slowly through the 50s.

Christmas Eve will start off wet and windy, but the cold front should pass through Wednesday afternoon, bringing an end to the rain and allowing temperatures to fall back through the 50s. It should be dry for most people's Christmas Eve worship services on Wednesday evening. Christmas Day looks mainly dry right now, but the aforementioned front will be moving back north as a warm front, bringing a low chance of light rain by late afternoon and evening. Sorry, but no White Christmas this year! The unsettled pattern will continue into the early part of the weekend with above normal temps.

Illustration above courtesy Dewey Bryan Saunders.

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