Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early week front will bring rain, then a major cool-down!

After our first rainfall in 16 days occurred this past Wednesday, the weather pattern over the Mid-South has returned to the dry and mild regime we’ve seen much of the last couple of weeks. However, a significant pattern change will be evolving over the region and much of the nation in the next few days thanks to a powerful cold front that is currently located in the Central Plains. This front will move through our region late Monday night and Tuesday morning first bringing rainfall, and then a sharply cooler air mass that may lead to the first widespread frost of the Fall season!

In advance of the approaching front, southerly winds that have returned today have brought very warm and breezy conditions to the area. Temperatures have been very close to record highs, in the mid to upper 80s, and this will likely repeat on Monday afternoon just before the front’s arrival. These warm temperatures will be a distant memory though by the middle of the week.

The cold front will begin to enter the region Monday night, and rainfall is expected to have developed along and behind the front. Rain should be entering the metro area during the overnight, and will continue into Tuesday morning, meaning you should expect a wet commute for your morning rush hour. A few thunderstorms will also be possible, but because most precipitation is expected to be behind the front, rather than ahead, in much more stable air, thunderstorm coverage is not expected to be widespread and severe weather is not anticipated. Most rainfall will be moving out by mid-morning Tuesday. Rainfall amounts up to a half inch, locally higher, will be possible.

NWS total precipitation for late Monday night into Tuesday morning, showing rainfall amounts between 1/4" and 1/2” over the metro area. Locally higher amounts will also be possible.

The biggest and most immediate change in the wake of the passing front will be falling temperatures. Readings will quickly fall into the 50s by Tuesday morning, with gusty northwest winds, and will recover little during the day. Strong, large, and Canadian high pressure will be building in behind the front, feeding even cooler and drier air into the region Tuesday night into Wednesday. By Wednesday morning, readings will be in the lower 40s, and it appears temperatures may not climb out of the 50s on Wednesday afternoon!

The coldest temperatures are expected Thursday and Friday mornings as high pressure makes it closest approach to the region, leading to clear skies and light winds. It appears increasingly likely that the region will see readings dip into the 30s, at least in the Memphis suburbs and outlying areas, and this could lead to the first widespread frost of the fall season. Jackets, blankets and other cold weather gear will likely be in use by many Mid-Southerners during this time! Temperatures are only expected to slowly moderate as we head into next weekend, with highs returning to the lower 70s, but lows remaining cool - in the 40s.

GFS model forecast temperatures Friday morning, showing readings possibly in the 30s, which may lead to a widespread frost.

Stay tuned to MemphisWeather.Net during the week for the latest details on Monday’s cold front and the coming week’s much cooler temperatures, including the possibility of a frost!

--Kevin Terry, MemphisWeather.Net
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