Saturday, June 16, 2018

May 2018 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

May Climate Recap

After an April that will be remembered as the third coldest on record, averaging over six degrees below normal, May flipped the script and went into the record books as the warmest on record, nearly six degrees above the long-term average! The average temperature for the month was over 21 degrees warmer than April. Averaging the first five months of the year together, Memphis is right at "normal" year-to-date, which just goes to show you that there is no such thing as normal! Three May days saw high temperatures set or tie their daily records, while only a single day (the 5th) recorded a below average daily temperature, and that was by a single degree. The warmth began when the calendar turned to May and was persistent.

Officially, precipitation for the month was below average by nearly two inches, however scattered thunderstorms on several days resulted in a wide range of precipitation amounts. As an example, MWN in Bartlett recorded nearly 3" more rain than the airport from localized deluges under these storms. Severe weather was not widespread, though a few of the scattered "summertime" cells that formed in the May heat produced severe reports. Hail fell in Shelby County on the 19th and 20th and there were wind damage reports in Crittenden County (20th) and Tate County (31st). There were multiple Severe Thunderstorm and Flash Flood Warnings during the month in the metro, but no Tornado Warnings. Most Flash Flood Warnings were in Shelby County for urban flooding from localized heavy downpours.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 77.4 degrees (5.7 degrees above average)
Average high temperature: 87.0 degrees (5.8 degrees above  average)
Average low temperature: 67.8 degrees (5.6 degrees above average)
Warmest temperature: 93 degrees (14th, 15th)
Coolest temperature: 56 degrees (1st, 6th)
Heating Degrees Days: 0 (19 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 390 (226 above average)
Records set or tied: The month was the warmest May on record. Record high temperatures were set on May 14 and 15 (both 93°). A record high temperature was tied on May 10 (90°).
Comments: Eight days recorded high temperatures at or above 90 degrees, which is 6 days above average. The May average temperature was more than 20 degrees warmer than the April average temperature.

Monthly total: 3.32" (1.93" below average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 11
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.06" (17th)
Snowfall: 0.0"
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Only a single day recorded more than 1.0".

Peak wind: Southwest/41 mph (19th)
Average wind: 7.0 mph
Average relative humidity: 70%
Average sky cover: 50%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 76.1 degrees
Average high temperature: 87.7 degrees
Average low temperature: 66.2 degrees
Warmest temperature: 94.2 degrees (15th)
Coolest temperature: 50.8 degrees (1st)
Comments: None

Monthly total: 5.76" (automated rain gauge), 6.21" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 13
Wettest date: 1.60" (20th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: South/26 mph (20th)
Average relative humidity: 75%
Average barometric pressure: 29.96 in. Hg

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 1.79 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 75%
MWN average dewpoint error: 1.87 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 73%

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Minimal rain chances, but it'll be hot for the foreseeable future

Summer "officially" starts 6 days from today, but Mother Nature has decided to bring on the full-on summertime pattern to our area early. This weekend into next week, our forecast pattern will be primarily influenced by a high pressure that has developed over our area. This high pressure will keep our rain chances to a minimum, but will allow our temps to reach around 5 degrees above average for mid June. Main story lines will be our poor air quality and dangerous heat index values through the weekend.

Poor air quality today, could continue into tomorrow

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert (AQA) is in effect for today for Shelby and surrounding counties. This means forecast ozone levels near the surface are expected to be potentially hazardous. With our light winds and very hot temperatures, this has contributed to the poor air quality.  

We are under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert, which means sensitive groups are the most likely to feel impacts from the air today. 
While this may not impact most peoples day to day activities, people should limit their prolonged outdoor activities. This especially applies to sensitive groups such as active children/adults and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Visit for more information on the Code Orange and additional safety tips. 

While this AQA has not been extended into tomorrow yet, I would not be surprised if this continues through the weekend. 

Today & this weekend

Satellite imagery as of 10:15 AM today shows some cloud coverage to our north and south, but not a lot of clouds over our area. (College of DuPage)
Under mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies, the main story over the next few days will be our temperatures. Daily highs will creep into the low to mid 90s with overnight temps only falling into the mid 70s. Our dew point temps will stick in the 70s, which will keep our humidity levels pretty high through the weekend. With our temps and humidity levels being this high, there are some heat index concerns. 

The National Weather Service begins issuing Heat Index Advisories when the heat index reaches 105 degrees and Heat Index Warnings when these values reach over 110. (NOAA/NWS)
Right now, our local NWS has issued a Special Weather Statement highlighting these dangerous heat index values. For today, these values will likely coast in the 100 to 105 degree range. However, heat index values will near 105 tomorrow, so a Heat Advisory may need to be issued.

6/15 12:30 PM Update: Our local NWS just issued a Heat Advisory for northeastern Arkansas, including Crittenden County, through 9 PM tonight. Heat index values are expected to reach 106 to 108 degrees this afternoon. Exercise caution with strenuous outdoor activities, especially in this area.

Starting today through this weekend, it would be a good idea to follow heat safety tips. Limiting prolonged outdoor activities, staying hydrated, and applying plenty of sunscreen will be your best friend this weekend. 

Here are a few heat safety tips. For more information, visit (NOAA/NWS)
The good news is that rain chances will be fairly small over the next few days. While we can't completely rule out an afternoon shower/thunderstorm with how much moisture is present, any showers that develop will stay isolated. The "best" day for these afternoon thunderstorms appears to be Sunday, but even then there is no guarantee that storms will be able to fire under high pressure. So if you do have outdoor plans this weekend, while it'll be hot, you shouldn't have to worry about rain chances until Sunday. 

Glance at next week

Next week appears to be a continuation of our current weather pattern with no real relief in sight. High pressure will continue to dominate the area, although models vary as to when the ridge will begin to break down. What would this mean for us? Afternoon rain chances vs minimal afternoon rain chances. If the high pressure remains well in place, which I lean towards this happening, then our small, isolated rain chances will continue. If the high pressure begins to break down, then we may get slightly higher rain chances each day. 

Taking a look at the 500 mb level, there is a ridge that has built in over the area which will continue to hold on next week. This loop from Monday through Wednesday shows minimal mid level winds with this ridge staying in place. (Pivotal Weather)

Regardless, high temps appear to remain in the low 90s into next week. Dew point temps look to coast in the low 70s, which will keep our humidity levels pretty high. Overnight temps will fall into the mid 70s, so we won't have much relief then as well. 

Overall, stay hydrated this weekend and into next week folks. It'll be hot, but at least outdoor plans shouldn't be hindered by any rain. As always, if our AQA is extended or a Heat Advisory is issued, we will be sure to let you know on our social media platforms.

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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