Saturday, April 6, 2013

March 2013 Climate Data and MWN Forecast Accuracy

Temperatures averaged well below normal during March, which was no surprise to those hoping for a long string of spring weather!  In fact, while not making the "Top 10" for coldest Marches on record, it was the 2nd coldest March in the past 40 years in Memphis (trailing only 1996)! For the first 3 months of the year, Memphis average temperature of 47.7 degrees is just shy of 1 degree above normal, thanks mainly to a warm January. Precipitation was below normal for March by about 1 3/4". For the year, precipitation is above normal by almost 3.5" due to a wet start to 2013. Two days recorded trace amounts of snowfall (2nd and 21st). No severe weather occurred in the Memphis metro for the month of March - which typically sees the beginning of our spring severe weather season.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

The average temperature for the month of March was 48.5 degrees, or 5.5 degrees below normal. The average high temperature was 57.8 degrees and the average low was 39.2. The coolest temperature of the month was 22 degrees on the 3rd, while the highest temperature was 77 degrees on the 15th. There were 6 days on which the low temperature fell to freezing or below and no temperature records tied or broken for the month.

Precipitation for the month totaled 3.38", which was 1.78" below average. There were 11 calendar days with measurable rainfall, but only 1 day with at least 0.5" (1.07" on the 10th - see image below for Mid-South totals). Snowfall totaled a trace on March 2nd and 21st.  The peak wind gust was 45 mph from the east on the 24th with an average wind speed for the month of 8.6 mph. Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions, Bartlett, TN

The average March temperature at Cirrus Weather Solutions was 47.6 degrees with a maximum of 79.0 degrees on the 15th and a minimum of 19.7 degrees on the 3rd. March precipitation measured 2.79" via the Cirrus automated gauge and 2.69" in a manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program. 0.2" of snow was measured on the 1st-2nd and a trace on 21st. The measured peak wind gust was 29 mph on the 24th. Average relative humidity was 69%. Click here for a daily recap on

MWN Forecast Accuracy

For the month of March, the average temperature error in all MWN temperature forecasts was 2.68 degrees, lower than all available full-range computer model data and the National Weather Service forecasts. More than 55% of the MWN temperature forecasts for the month were within 2 degrees of the actual temperature. MWN's forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). For dewpoint accuracy, the MWN forecast averaged 2.88 degrees error and fell within 2 degrees of the actual dewpoint over 59% of the time. Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

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