Saturday, May 15, 2010

A thunderstorm repeat likely today

As meteorologists, there are several atmospheric conditions that we watch for when forecasting precipitation. However, one thing that all Memphis-area forecasters should look at when forecasting wet weather and thunderstorms is the calendar. Is it a Memphis in May weekend?? If the answer is yes, you're probably best advised to include that rain chance! Yesterday was yet another exhibit in the long line of evidence...

Scattered thunderstorms broke out by late afternoon as a cold front moved across the metropolitan region. Many of these storms became severe with multiple reports of large hail to the size of golf balls, along with very heavy rain from the slow-moving storms. Storms affected the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest for a couple of hours between about 5:30-7:30pm. Fortunately the strongest storms missed Tom Lee Park. The first picture below was taken by an airline employee jumpseating in the cockpit of a regional jet as it made it's approach into Memphis from the south during the storms. By 8pm, most of the storms had dissipated as the sun set. The second picture was taken looking southeast from northern Bartlett as clouds began to break apart.

Today looks like it could be a repeat event. The front has stalled out over the region and another atmospheric disturbance will be moving through this afternoon. With temperatures recovering into the 80s, the presence of the front and disturbance will set off another round of storms. Today's storms could fire off a little earlier in the afternoon than yesterday's and once again the Mid-South is in a slight risk of severe weather (see graphic below). The main threats are similar to yesterday: large hail, isolated damaging wind gusts, dangerous lightning, and heavy rain.

If you're headed out this afternoon or evening, take your umbrella and be alert to quickly changing weather conditions. MWN resources you should monitor include our Facebook and Twitter pages (@memphisweather1, or @shelbyalerts for Shelby County watches and warnings), MWN Mobile weather (with radar), and the new MWN Storm Center webpage.

Get the latest weather conditions and much more by checking out on Facebook and Twitter!

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