Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rain on Beale Street Music Festival?

That seems to be the hot question right now! "I have tickets to Music Fest. Is it gonna rain?" There are two answers to this question: 1) "It's Music Fest. When have you ever known it NOT to rain!" and 2) "There's a 50/50 chance." Nobody seems to like either answer, but unfortunately, they may both be correct!

This week has been one of those that gives a Memphis meteorologist a headache that doesn't seem to go away. I started off the week with some chance of rain in the forecast every day. Each day I have added another day to the end of the forecast cycle and I have yet to predict a dry day through the middle of next week. As you can tell, this does not mean everyone gets rain and it doesn't mean a washout by any stretch. This time of year has its challenges with high pressure over the southeast U.S. battling cold fronts that make a run at us from the northwest. Sometimes the fronts come through, many times they stall. Where they stall always contributes to these never-ending migraines!

This week, a front has stalled out just to our north thanks to fairly strong high pressure to our east. Because it was a little farther north than originally expected, the rain chances didn't really materialize in the metro area early in the week, though Flash Flood Warnings have been out at times for northeast AR. By mid-week, we got into a more diurnal (daytime-driven) shower and thunderstorm pattern with some folks getting brief deluges and others getting nothing. As we head into the latter part of the week and weekend, that front retreats north and we are left trying to time upper-level impulses and determine their effect on our sensible weather in a warm, humid environment.

So to answer the original question, I think that old shoes are a must for Music Fest, because I think the ground could be wet from rain we will likely get in the next 24 hours. Am I that confident in rain on the festivities? Not so much. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be the rule as another front seeps into the area for the weekend, so it could be a downpour one minute and partly sunny the next. Some storms could be strong, particularly during the warmest part of the day, with gusty wind. What it will be is warm (probably 80s before dark and 70s after) and sticky, with a noticeable breeze.

So go enjoy Music Fest and maybe take a small umbrella (oversized not allowed). I've never known a little rain to stop any of you fest-goer's anyway! For more info on the Beale Street Music Fest, go to - and to keep up with my forecast, visit the MWN forecast, or go to the PDA version ( if you're on the banks of the mighty Mississippi!

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