Saturday, May 8, 2021

April 2021 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

April Climate Recap

While March was much warmer than average, April cooled down a fair bit relative to average, ending almost two degrees below normal. While there were several days of above average warmth, only a couple were excessively so. On the other hand, there were several days were it was abnormally cool, including a few days with morning lows in the 30s to start the month, and another particularly cold shot centered around the 21st, when frost occurred again and high temperatures were quite cool. A daily record low was set on the 22nd with a minimum temperature of 37 degrees. As usual though, a wide range of temperatures occurred, from a few lows in the mid 30s to a few days with highs in the mid 80s.

Precipitation ended well below average (56% of normal), even though there were several days with rain, as only one day recorded more than an inch of rain. In fact, two-thirds of the total April rainfall fell in the last week of the month. Surprisingly, in what historically is one of the busiest months of the year for severe weather, no severe weather reports were received and only a couple of weather warnings were issued in the metro during the month, on the evenings of the 7th and 9th.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 61.0 degrees (1.9 degrees below average) 
Average high temperature: 71.3 degrees (1.7 degrees below average) 
Average low temperature: 50.6 degrees (2.3 degrees below average) 
Warmest temperature: 84 degrees (12th) 
Coolest temperature: 35 degrees (2nd, 21st) 
Heating Degrees Days: 166 (29 above average)
Cooling Degree Days: 51 (24 below average) 
Records set or tied: April 22 - daily record low minimum (37 degrees)
Comments: There were no days with high temperatures above 90, nor any days with low temperatures below freezing.

Monthly total: 3.10" (2.40" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 7 (2.6 days below average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.17" (29th) 
Snowfall: 0.0"
Records set or tied: None
Comments: One day recorded precipitation of more than an inch, 1.0 day below average for April.

Peak wind: Southwest/40 mph (22nd) 
Average wind: 8.1 mph 
Average relative humidity: 61% 
Average sky cover: 48% 

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 60.7 degrees 
Average high temperature: 72.8 degrees 
Average low temperature: 49.1 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 85.9 degrees (9th) 
Coolest temperature: 29.2 degrees (2nd) 
Comments: None 

Monthly total: 3.72" (automated rain gauge), 3.90"(manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 8
Wettest date: 1.69" (29th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: 0.0"
Comments: None

Peak wind: Southwest/29 mph (8th)
Average relative humidity: 68% 
Average barometric pressure: 29.98 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.36 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 64% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.90 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.

Climate Outlook - May 2021

The May climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for all of the southern US., with highest probabilities from the southern Plains to Desert Southwest. A low probability of below average temperatures is forecast in the upper Great Lakes. Odds favor above average temperatures for Memphis (41%) versus only 26% chance of below average temperatures. The average temperature for April is 71.7 degrees.

Precipitation is expected to be below normal southwestern U.S. in May. Above average precipitation is forecast for much of the Mississippi River Valley east to the Appalachians. For Memphis, odds favor above average precipitation (41%) versus only 26% chance of below average precipitation. Rainfall historically averages 5.25 inches.

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MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder

With apologies to all the mommas, more severe weather could be on the way

It's been a fairly active spring weather pattern this year in the Mid-South and the trend continues this weekend. The last few days have been beautiful, interrupted only by a strong, but brief round of storms on Thursday afternoon. Today we transition into the warm sector of the next weather system. A warm front moves through during the day, having brought a round of showers this morning. By afternoon, a bit of sunshine is possible with increasing southerly wind and warmer temperatures that top out in the upper 70s.

Mother's Day severe weather

By Saturday night, the warm sector is fully established over the area with gusty south wind and temperatures that remain in the 60s all night long. An isolated shower is possible. This pattern continues into Sunday morning with a few more showers possible, particularly northwest of the Bluff City. Strong wind in the low and mid levels of the atmosphere, coupled with increasingly unstable air by early afternoon as temperatures rise through the 70s, sets the stage for late afternoon to evening thunderstorms - with our apologies to all the mothers out there! As the front approaches from northern AR, thunderstorms become likely ahead of it and across our region. 

The HRRR extended model showing simulated radar from 10am Sunday through midnight. Note the increase in coverage and strength of echoes during the afternoon and evening hours. A few storms in the late afternoon/evening could be severe. (WeatherBell)

The ingredients mentioned above will allow some storms to become severe, mainly from mid-afternoon through early evening. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) currently has the entire Mid-South included in a Slight Risk (level 2/5) for severe weather. The primary hazards will be damaging wind gusts, as well as large hail due to cold air aloft. Though the wind shear profiles are not ideal for tornadoes, the fact that the wind will be quite strong means we can't rule out the potential for a couple tornadoes somewhere across the region.

The SPC outlook for Sunday shows a Slight Risk (level 2) of severe weather (upper left), a 5% probability of a tornado within 25 miles (upper right), and a 15% risk of large hail and damaging wind (lower left and right, respectively). (PivotalWeather)

The cold front will pass through by early evening, bringing the threat of severe weather, and most storms, to an end. Showers will be possible into the late evening behind the front.

Early next week

With the front well to our south and surface high pressure building in from the north, Monday appears to be dry with sunshine, especially in west TN and east AR, but cooler temperatures again - back in the mid to upper 60s for highs. Overall a great start to the week!

Models are having some difficulty with the upper level pattern for the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe. Despite high pressure at the surface, a large trough of low pressure aloft over the eastern U.S. puts our area in northwest flow. A passing disturbance aloft could bring a few clouds and perhaps a few showers during this period though I believe we'll have many more dry hours than wet ones, and a decent amount of sunshine. The trough aloft means below normal temperatures - highs in the 60s and lows near 50 or so.

Mid/late week - Memphis in May

The pattern begins to trend a bit warmer, but still cooler than average, for the latter half of the week with high pressure moving to the east of us. That should mean dry weather for the majority of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest - a welcome sight after having not had the contest last year! We expect highs in the 70s and morning lows in the 50s. 

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
Complete MWN Forecast: on the mobile web or via the MWN mobile app
Download our iPhone or Android apps, featuring StormWatch+ severe weather alerts!
MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder