Friday, February 10, 2012

First look at potential winter storm on Monday

In Memphis, as in many other "southern" cities, the word snow can cause all sort of reactions - from jubilation to trepidation.  I believe we'll hear them all this weekend as the word is spreading that we could finally see some winter in the Mid-South (well, at least the first "winter" since early December when 1-3" of snow fell across the area).

Winter-like conditions, in the form of brutally cold air, will actually arrive tomorrow, which sets the table for Monday's weather. After getting used to temperatures in the 50s/60s the past month or so, the cold air behind an Arctic front that arrives tonight will be a shock to many Mid-Southerners systems! By the time you go out to get the morning paper tomorrow, temperatures will be in the mid 20s with wind chill values in the teens - and it really doesn't improve any from there. Despite the sunshine, highs will barely crawl above freezing tomorrow afternoon. By Sunday morning lows will be in the teens for the entire region, including the city proper, with some outlying areas possibly nearing 10 degrees! Sunday's highs will only be in the upper 30s.

Saturday mid-day temperature forecast
Sunday morning temperature forecast
The cold and dry air will linger into Monday as our next weather system moves in.  Based on current computer guidance (which at 72+ hours out could, and likely will, change), precipitation looks to arrive in the metro during the afternoon hours. Temperatures will probably be in the 30s, but well above freezing. Combined with dry air in the low levels, we will likely see a mix of precipitation types, especially for the first few hours, and maybe longer.  I would expect a sleet/snow/rain mix given these conditions.  If most of it is snow, the potential exists for 1-2" by dusk, but mixing with rain or sleet, it could be on the lower end of that, with some ice mixed in as well.  Below is a POSSIBLE scenario from a decent mid-range computer model, the European, or ECMWF, regarding snowfall during the 3-6pm timeframe.  Remember that this is a model forecast, not necessarily what is going to happen!

Potential snowfall Monday afternoon (3-6pm) from the European model
The threat of freezing rain or an ice storm doesn't appear likely right now, however a couple of degrees difference in temperatures could make a huge difference in the ultimate mix of precipitation.  By evening, it looks like temperatures will actually be rising just a bit and it's conceivable that the mix turns to rain with temps in the upper 30s.

We'll continue to monitor the situation very closely and bring you updates via the MWN Forecast and on our social media feeds, including Facebook, Twitter, and this blog (links below).  In addition, our mobile apps for Android and iPhone include StormView Radar with precipitation type (which shows you rain/snow/ice), the forecast, current conditions, and our Twitter feed (without having to sign up for Twitter).  Finally, within the apps, you can upgrade to StormWatch+ which will push you notifications of any Winter Storm Watches, Warnings, or Advisories as soon as they are issued by the NWS.

For weather information for Memphis and the Mid-South, where and when you need it, visit on the web, on your mobile phone, download our iPhone or Android apps, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

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