Saturday, December 23, 2017

Winter is back! Now how about some precip to match?

The gully-washer is over and the cold air has arrived! Just as predicted in Thursday's blog, widespread 3-5" rainfall totals were recorded along the I-40 corridor Friday and Friday night. A few locations got close to 6".

Estimated 48-hour rainfall totals across the Mid-South through Saturday morning, courtesy of NWS-Memphis.
Behind last night's cold front, cold air has infiltrated the region again and it's here to stay, with a few reinforcements arriving periodically to keep temperatures in check over the upcoming week or more. The first of these arrives tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon as a clipper system. The main precipitation chances will be to our north in the Ohio Valley, however there will be just enough moisture and upper level energy to produce sprinkles Sunday afternoon with highs in the lower 40s. Colder air quickly moves in on its heels on gusty north wind. Though low rain chances should be about done by the time sufficiently cold air arrives, a few snow flurries are possible late Christmas Eve afternoon. Skies quickly clear and wind chills drop into the 20s Sunday evening on that blustery north wind. It'll be a cold evening as you head to Christmas Eve services!

Christmas Day will be cold, but dry (sorry snow lovers, no White Christmas!) with highs in the lower 40s after morning lows in the mid 20s. Wind will be light. Tuesday continues the chilly but dry conditions as temperatures again climb from the 20s in the morning to the mid 40s in the afternoon as high pressure shifts to the east. By mid-week, we'll be watching a developing system back to our southwest. For Wednesday, it should bring mainly cloud cover and reduce high temperatures back to near or below 40. It will be a cold day!

Thursday and Friday are perhaps the trickiest of the week as atmospheric energy slides by mainly to our south, but cold air remains in place across the Mid-South. Models are still trying to settle in on how far north moisture pushes. The American GFS model from this morning keeps the systems fairly weak and the precipitation to our south, making for a dry end to the week. The morning European model, however, is a little more bullish with a stronger system that draws moisture further north into the region on Thursday and Thursday night. With temperatures borderline, and the possibility of overnight precipitation, a mix of wintry weather could be possible given this scenario. Fortunately, it doesn't look heavy, but if it's ice, it doesn't really matter! We'll be watching the latter half of the week carefully as we head through Christmas weekend.

The Saturday morning run of the European model indicates a probability of wintry precipitation in the Mid-South on Thursday. THIS WILL CHANGE, we just don't know how yet. The pattern supports the chance of winter weather mischief. Stay tuned.
For those looking ahead to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Saturday, right now cold high pressure looks to be ion control with very cold temperatures in the 30s. The GFS model wants to bring a little foolishness into the picture late in the day though, so that will also bear monitoring. (Hey, the Tigers have played in just about every other kind of weather this year right??)

The 6-10 day temperature outlook that extends through the New Year's weekend continues the cold pattern. It looks like there are at least a few opportunities over the next couple of weeks for some winter weather mischief. Stay tuned to the MWN Forecast for the latest!

The temperature outlook for December 29-January 2 indicates a high probability of below normal temperatures through New Year's weekend. (NOAA/CPC)

On behalf of #TeamMWN, Merry Christmas to you all!

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