Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First look ahead to Christmas weather in the Mid-South

Everybody and his cousin  (who lives in the Memphis area) are inquiring minds and want to know: "Are we going to get a White Christmas??"  I'll answer that 2 ways. First, read this excellent blog post MWN intern Kevin put together a couple of days ago. Historically speaking, it's highly unlikely. But that's not the answer you want a week out. So here is our first "official" look at holiday weather, using actual forecast data.

We first have to get through the next several days, which bring us a couple of rounds of precipitation - the first one overnight tonight and another Friday afternoon and night. Sunday and Monday look pleasant with increasing temperatures (50 Sunday, mid 50s Monday), then the next weather system arrives Tuesday the 23rd with a good chance of rain.

Tuesday's system should clear out by Wednesday morning, so Christmas Eve looks to be  windy chilly but likely dry. Right now we're calling for temperatures in the 40s with partly sunny skies and gusty north wind. In fact, to our north, a huge low pressure system is being predicted by multiple long-term models to be over the Great Lakes region with  impacts across a wide expanse from the Northeast to the Tennessee and Mid/Upper Mississippi Valleys (see GFS model solution below). This system will be responsible for our wind and could get a few snow showers as close as middle TN on Christmas Eve.  If you have travel plans, particularly by air, north and east of Memphis on Christmas Eve, this system could cause all kinds of delays.

GFS forecast surface map and precip type late Christmas Eve. A "mega-low" over the Great Lakes region would have ea large sphere of influence over the eastern half of the country. Graphic courtesy WeatherBell Analytics.

As for Christmas Day, as the large low pressure system to our north moves slowly into southeast Canada, it's influence on the Mid-South will lessen and high pressure will build in. Therefore, as of this minute, I expect an "average" Christmas Day with cool and dry conditions. Of course, things can still change rapidly between now and then and details are yet to be ironed out.

Experimental GFS modeled temps and precip for the next 10 days. This is NOT a forecast, just one possible solution. Days are listed near the bottom from left to right, temps are the red/black lines and rain amounts are the blue bars. Graphic courtesy WeatherBell Analytics.

So while we may not have the White Christmas you would like, hope is not lost! The same models showing the mega-low are showing a rapid warm-up to end Christmas week, but beginning the last weekend of the year in to early January, signs are pointing towards a general cool-down. Perhaps we can get some moisture to work its way into below average temperatures and bring some snow for early 2015! No bets on that this far out though!

We'll continue to keep you updated on our latest thinking on our social media channels below and will update the blog again as needed.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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