Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 2012 Climate Data and MWN Forecast Accuracy

The trend of very warm weather, which began this past winter, continued through the spring as once again another month went into the "Top 10 warmest" on record. The average temperature for May 2012 at Memphis Int'l Airport ranked #4 at 76.3 degrees. There were four daily temperature records tied or broken during the month, including record highs on the 2nd (90 - tie) and 4th (91) and record warm minimums on the 2nd (70 - tie) and 5th (73).

Precipitation was also well below normal with a total of 3.17" recorded for the month - 85% of that amount fell on just 2 days! The metro is now classified as being in a moderate drought, which is a far cry from the past two years when record spring flooding was occurring during the month of May!  In fact, on May 10, 2012, the Mississippi River at Memphis was 34 feet lower than one year ago on that date.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

The average temperature for the month of May was 76.3 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal. The average high temperature was 86.4 degrees and the average low was 66.1. The coolest temperature of the month was 55 degrees on the 10th, while the highest temperature was 95 degrees reached on the 28th and 29th. There were 13 days in which the high reached 90 degrees or higher and only 6 days in which the average daily temperature was below normal (and all were within 3 degrees of average).

Precipitation for the month totaled 3.17", which was 2.08" below average. As mentioned above, 85% of the rainfall for the month fell on 2 calendar days (1.78" on the 31st and 0.90" on the 7th).  There were only 7 calendar days with measurable rainfall. The peak wind gust was 29 mph (from the south) on the 24th with an average wind speed for the month of 6.8 mph. Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions, Bartlett, TN

Data from Cirrus Weather Solutions in north Bartlett is incomplete for May as the weather station was taken down for maintenance on the evening of the 21st through the end of the month. The average May temperature at Cirrus Weather Solutions through the 21st was 73.8 degrees with a maximum of 96.8 degrees on the 6th and a minimum of 49.8 degrees on the 10th. May precipitation taken from a  manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program measured 8.86" - more than 5.5" greater than Memphis International due to the passage of very heavy training storms on the 6th/7th and 31st. 94% of the monthly rain was recorded on just 2 days. The measured peak wind gust through the 21st was 26 mph on the 2nd, though a severe storm on the 31st produced an estimated 50 mph wind. Average relative humidity was 67%. through the 21st. Click here for a daily recap on

MWN Forecast Accuracy

For the month of May, the average temperature error in all MWN temperature forecasts was 1.75 degrees, besting all available computer model data. Nearly 80% of the MWN temperature forecasts for the month were within 2 degrees of the actual temperature. MWN's forecasts extend out five periods (or 2.5 days). For dewpoint accuracy, the MWN forecast averaged 2.34 degrees of error and fell within 2 degrees of the actual dewpoint nearly two-thirds of the time. Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

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