Sunday, March 18, 2012

More near-record temperatures and rain chances in the week ahead

Its technically not even spring yet, but the Mid-South has transitioned into a weather pattern more reminiscent of early summer over the last week, with very warm  - even record breaking – temperatures and scattered afternoon “pop-up” thunderstorms. As we begin a new week, the near-record temperatures look to stay a bit longer, but a new system to the west will be bringing our next significant rain chance as well as a break in the streak of early-summer weather.

Near to record breaking temperatures look to continue at least Monday and Tuesday, as strong high pressure at the surface and aloft remains in control, which will help keep conditions dry as well. Highs will reach the low to mid 80s, a solid 15 to 20 degrees above normal.  Meanwhile, a strong upper level low pressure area developing across the Southern Plains states will meander in much of the same area most of the week. As the interaction between the high and low pressure areas increases on Tuesday, windy conditions will develop over the region, with gusts to 40 mph possible.

Upper-level low position from the GFS model Wednesday evening
With the upper level low moving so little, it will take until at least Wednesday before rain chances start increasing in our area.  In fact, the latest computer models now suggest that most of the rainfall will hold off until Thursday afternoon and especially Thursday night as a surface cold front slowly advances east ahead of the upper low. An area of rain with some thunderstorms will move across as it passes, perhaps persisting into part of Friday. So far, it appears that atmospheric conditions will not be favorable for widespread severe weather in the metro area, but some stronger thunderstorms and heavy rainfall amounts could still occur. More clarity on any severe weather threat will be available in the next few days.

GFS model depiction of rain/thunderstorms moving into the area overnight Thursday
Once this system passes, it will help to break the string of 80-degree weather, sending high temperatures back closer to 70, much closer to the average, with dry conditions likely returning for most of the weekend and into early next week.

Stay with MemphisWeather.Net throughout the week for up-to-date information on the rain and thunderstorms arriving later in the week, as well as the upcoming record warm temperatures.

--Kevin Terry, MemphisWeather.Net

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