Wednesday, June 7, 2017

May 2017 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

May Recap

For the first time in a calendar year, May was actually cooler than average in Memphis, the first below normal monthly average since last May. The average first 90° day in Memphis is May 24, but the month came and went with the highest temperature being 89° reached twice at the end of the month. (Subsequently, Memphis reached 90° for the first time in 2017 on June 6.) High temperatures were just below average, but low temperatures were cooler than normal by almost 2 degrees, which included a couple days in the first week of the month that dropped into the mid 40s.

Precipitation-wise, May was overall drier than average with rainy systems moving through about once a week and dry periods between. Nearly half of the month's total precipitation fell in the last week or so, including heavy rain and severe thunderstorms on Memorial Day weekend (more below).

Despite the rainfall deficit, May saw a couple of episodes of severe weather. The first were reports of sporadic wind damage on May 5. The last, and much more significant, was a bow echo/derecho that moved through the metro during the late evening on May 27. This storm, which resulted in widespread wind damage and peak wind that topped out above 100 mph in a microburst downburst near Frayser and 60-80 mph over a large part of the Shelby and DeSoto County, resulted in the second largest loss of utility power by customers in MLGW history (188,000 customers, or 45% of the customer base of the utility). It took 10 days to fully restore all power with approximately 100 utility crews, sourced locally and hundreds of miles away, working 16 hour days.

May also marked the end of meteorological spring, the period from March through May, averaging 64.7° (1.8° above normal) with precipitation totaling 13.19", or 2.72" below average.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 70.7 degrees (1.0 degrees below average)
Average high temperature: 80.8 degrees (0.4 degrees below average)
Average low temperature: 60.5 degrees (1.7 degrees below average)
Warmest temperature: 89 degrees (27th, 31st)
Coolest temperature: 47 degrees (4th, 6th)
Heating Degrees Days: 23 (4 above average)
Cooling Degree Days: 206 (20 below average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Year to date, the average temperature of 59.6° is 4.5° above normal and second warmest on record (2012).

Monthly total: 4.22" (1.03" below average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 13 (2.7 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.17" (28th)
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Year to date, precipitation has totaled 18.85" or 78% of normal.

Peak wind: West/66 mph (27th)
Average wind: 8.6 mph
Average relative humidity: 68%
Average sky cover: 50%

Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 72.1 degrees
Average high temperature: 82.7 degrees
Average low temperature: 60.7 degrees
Warmest temperature: 89.1 degrees (30th)
Coolest temperature: 47.9 degrees (7th)
Comments: Data only covers the period May 6-31.

Monthly total: 5.71" (automated rain gauge after May 5, prior rainfall recorded via manual gauge), 5.84" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 10
Wettest date: 1.11" (28th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: West/38 mph (27th)
Average relative humidity: 72%
Average barometric pressure: 29.92 in. Hg
Comments: Data only covers the period May 6-31.

Click here for a daily statistical recap for Bartlett, TN.

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 1.95 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 70%
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.65 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 55%

MWN's forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

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