Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chance for severe weather to ring out the old year?

After a pretty (cold) Christmas weekend with snow flurries and/or snow showers depending on where you were, the weather has taken a turn and southerly wind is starting to bring in warm air and Gulf moisture by the truckload. In fact, temperatures are somewhat difficult to forecast (especially overnight lows) this week as the lows are occurring in the evening hours with steady or rising temp overnight for 3 straight nights! In the end, we'll be near 70 Friday afternoon for the kickoff of the Autozone Liberty Bowl featuring the Georgia Bulldogs and Central Florida Knights. Intermittent rain showers will also be possible through Friday.

Most of my readers who have been here for a winter or two know that when we hit the 60s at this time of year, it likely ends with a crash - typically a crash of thunder! By Friday, a potent weather system will collide with the moisture-laden Gulf air over the lower and mid-Mississippi River Valley. Wind at all levels of the atmosphere will be strong with this system (and out ahead of it) as well. The stage will be set for thunderstorms, possibly some strong ones, Friday afternoon and evening.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed the area under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather (see graphic) with the impending cold front as ingredients could phase enough to produce damaging wind, large hail, and possibly isolated tornadoes due to strong low level wind shear. We'll keep a close eye on this situation, but at this time I would encourage those attending the Liberty Bowl game to be prepared for rain and thunderstorms and keep a close weather eye to the sky in case severe weather approaches. The time frame most conducive for any severe weather appears to be between 3-9pm. I expect that after 9pm (or about when the cold front passes through), rain will stick around for New Year's Eve festivities downtown (and elsewhere) but the storm threat will be over. Temperatures will fall quickly from the 60s to the 40s behind the front and wind will remain gusty, but from the northwest rather than the south. will have complete coverage of the weather event on Friday. Follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter (@memphisweather1) for up-to-the-minute information. Also, be sure to sign up for FREE severe weather alerts by e-mail for any metro county, or on Twitter follow @shelbyalerts for Shelby Co. alerts.

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