Monday, February 6, 2023

January 2023 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

January Climate Recap

Temperatures for the month of January in Memphis averaged above normal with high temperatures almost 6 degrees above average, and low temperatures over 6 degrees above average. The month started out warm with highs in the 70's, but by the 4th highs were back to the 50's.  A brief warmup occurred from the 10th to the 12th, with a cold front dropping temps back to near normal by the middle of the month.  Another warmup to the 70's happened around the 17th-18th, with a cold front dropping temps on the 19th back to the 50's.  Highs stayed in the 50's with lows just below freezing for the rest of the month, with the exception of the 31st, where we didn't get above freezing that day due to winter weather.

The temperature anomaly map for the month of January shows above average temperatures across the eastern half of the country, including the Mid-South. Some locations across the Northeast and Great Lakes averaged 10 degrees above normal. (PRISM temperature data via WeatherModels)

January was a wet month overall - almost 5 inches above normal - with 15 days in the month receiving precipitation. The 1st-15th of the month had almost 5" of precipitation, with the bulk of it falling on the 3rd (4.51" at the airport and 3.78" at MWN in Bartlett).  The last half of the month saw scattered amounts of rain fairly regularly, with over 1" of rain falling on the 29th and almost another 1" on the 30th-31st.  Multiple waves of sleet and freezing fell from the 30th through February 1st.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 48.3 degrees (6.2 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 56.7 degrees (5.8 degrees below average) 
Average low temperature: 39.9 degrees (6.6 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 74 degrees (1st) 
Coolest temperature: 25 degree (31st) 
Heating Degrees Days: 512 (198 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 2 (1 above  average) 
Records set or tied: Daily high minimum (62 degrees on 12nd)
Comments: January's average temperature tied for 11th warmest on record.

Monthly total: 9.13" (4.99" above average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 15 (5.0 days above average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 4.51" (2nd-3rd) 
Snowfall: 0.2" sleet, trace snow. (0.7" below normal)
Records set or tied: Daily maximum (3.84" on 3rd)
Comments: 0.2" of sleet was measured on the 31st and a trace of snow on the 25th.

Peak wind: Northwest/41 mph (12th) 
Average wind: 8.5 mph 
Average relative humidity: 73%
Average sky cover: 62%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 47.2 degrees 
Average high temperature: 56.5 degrees 
Average low temperature: 38.1  degrees 
Warmest temperature: 73.9 degrees (1st) 
Coolest temperature: 25.1 degrees (31st) 
Comments: None 

Monthly total: 9.74" (automated rain gauge), 9.28" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 17
Wettest date: 3.78" (3rd) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: 0.3" (sleet) (Trace on 30th, 0.3" on 31st)
Comments: None

Peak wind: South/31 mph (29th)
Average relative humidity: 79% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.07 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.25 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 64% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.05 degrees 
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 69% 

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

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

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday evening update on this week's ice potential

This is an update to the blog posted on Saturday

Recent model data, including high-resolution data that now extends out through Tuesday/Wednesday, has trended a bit cooler than previously. For those that were hoping we might miss out on icy conditions in the Memphis metro, it's not necessarily good news. For those hoping for a "snow day" (or ice day), your chances might be increasing. Now we have to hope that significant impacts will be avoided. Let's get right to it.

Monday night/Tuesday morning

There are two time periods of concern for freezing rain in the metro. The first is Monday night/Tuesday morning. Light rain is expected to move in Monday evening with temps falling slowly in the 30s. High-res models have surface temperatures reaching freezing by about midnight with a low around 30 degrees. Precipitation from this first round should move out Tuesday morning shortly after sunrise. While precipitation should be light, it is possible that one-tenth of an inch of ice could accumulate overnight between midnight and mid-morning Tuesday. 

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

The second round of precipitation arrives sometime Tuesday afternoon or early evening. Highs Tuesday will be in the mid 30s, so it is appearing likely that by evening, we'll once again see the mercury drop to the freezing mark. While some melting of Monday night's light icing will occur in dry and "warmer" conditions Tuesday, additional accumulation appears likely Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, before temperatures once again rise above freezing. Right now, our best guess on when that happens is mid-morning Wednesday. While additional rainfall is likely Wednesday through Thursday, we expect temperatures to remain above the critical 32° point after mid-morning Wednesday. It is possible that round two could bring another 0.10-0.20" of ice. 

The highest potential for seeing total accumulation of one-quarter inch or more are along and north of I-40. Lighter amounts appear likely in northwest MS (DeSoto, Tunica, Marshall Counties). The city of Memphis can expect some minor icing that will likely make travel hazardous both early Tuesday morning and likely Tuesday night into Wednesday. Whether it will be enough to result in tree damage and widespread power outages is to be determined, but scattered power outages seem likely by Wednesday morning. Preparations should be made in the next 24 hours for this potential. 

The Probabilistic Winter Storm Severity Index from the NWS, shown above, shows the probability of "minor" impacts, in this case through Wednesday morning. It feels inevitable that these percentages will increase as we get closer to the event. (NWS)

Also as an FYI, Winter Weather Advisories are issued by the National Weather Service when impacts to travel and commerce are expected within 24-36 hours. Winter Storm Warnings are issued when there is higher confidence in more significant impacts that may necessitate avoiding travel and preparing for more widespread power outages - which equates to at least 1/4" of ice.

Continue to monitor your local weather sources that can interpret the flood of data meteorologists are seeing over the next few days, and be aware of hyperbole or social media shares that seem "extreme." Some model data that is likely to be shared WILL be overblown and unrealistic. Rely on trusted sources that can properly filter the information. We'll keep you posted!

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