Monday, November 11, 2013

Arctic cold front poised to blast through the Mid-South overnight

Our weekend blog discussed this week's "big chill" - this is mainly an update and to remind you that, yes Virginia, weather cold enough for Santa Claus is still coming (though missing one key ingredient, a word I won't mention lest the roads get salted). :-)

At 10am Monday (map below), temperatures have plummeted across the Northern Plains as the front barrels through the Midwest. In fact, near-zero readings were found along the North Dakota-Canada border this morning!

Monday 10am CST temperatures. The Arctic blast is easily noted across the north-central U.S.
The front will continue to dive south, reaching the Memphis area around midnight tonight. Behind the front wind increases considerably from the north (steady at 20-25 mph with gusts to 30+) and very light rain is possible from the early morning through mid-morning hours. As clouds move out by mid-day, sunshine will help to offset the falling temperatures, but the damage will be done.

Look for the mercury to be in the lower 40s on the way to work and not get much, if any, higher all day long. In fact, wind chills will be in the 30s throughout the day!  By dusk, temperatures will begin falling again, reaching freezing by midnight or shortly thereafter as wind lightens. Wednesday morning lows will be in the mid to upper 20s across the metro. In fact, as shown by the high-resolution NAM model below, freezing temps could be found as far south as the central Gulf Coast Wednesday morning!

Widespread teens and 20s will be found Wed morning across most of the eastern half of the U.S.

Wednesday morning lows in the southern U.S., as projected by the high-res NAM. Note the sub-freezing temps as far south as Louisiana and southern MS and AL!
Because the immediate metro (Shelby County) and points west and south have not experienced a freeze yet, and temperatures of 28 or less are likely for all but the city itself (where lows will still drop below freezing), a Hard Freeze Watch is in effect from 9pm Tuesday through 9am Wednesday for these areas.  Tipton, Fayette, and Marshall Counties are NOT included as these areas have already experienced a freeze and the growing season has ended, even though they will also be well below freezing (more on why this is).  Everyone with outdoor vegetation that is sensitive to a freeze should take precautions to protect those plants Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Fortunately, a warming trend begins by Thursday afternoon, though most areas will drop below freezing again Thursday morning. A mild and more unsettled pattern looks to emerge for the weekend. Details can be found in the MWN Forecast.

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