Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another upgrade to MWN!

Coming soon to

MWN StormView Interactive Radar

The next big addition to MWN will be interactive radar - where YOU have control over what you see. Zoom in to your area, add storm tracks and severe weather warnings, overlay radar-based severe weather indicators, see how much rain has fallen across the area, even see where winter precip is falling!

"All the Weather You Need for Memphis and the Mid-South" -, soon with StormView Interactive Radar

Rebounding from unusually cold weather

A couple of days of Freeze Warnings are past us now as temps are rebounding nicely into the 60s this afternoon. This morning's low was 28.5 at the WXLIVE! station in Bartlett, following a low yesterday of 30.3. At Memphis Int'l Airport, the official lows the past two days were 34 and 35. Not quite to record territory but still very cold for late October.

As we approach Halloween, temps are warming up as Canadian high pressure is replaced by a warmer airmass. Tonight's lows may still reach the upper 30s in the suburbs, but that should be the last 30 degree readings until at least the middle of next week. Highs are going to be reaching into the lower 70s for the weekend and trick-or-treat weather looks very pleasant - temps in the 60s with a few clouds.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cold snap coming

Though we've had some cool mornings so far this fall (today is no exception - low of 37 at the weather station in Bartlett this morning), the first real Canadian express cold front of the season is on track for an early evening arrival on Sunday. No precipitation (in fact no real cloud cover) will accompany the front, but its passage will be immediately noticeable as the winds switch to the north and gust to 15-20 mph and temps start falling after 6pm Sunday. So after a very nice Sunday afternoon with highs in the lower to mid 70s, I expect that we'll drop perhaps 20 degrees during the evening hours!

Then, the coldest air of the season builds in on high pressure originating in Canada for Monday and Tuesday. Monday will be the coldest daytime temps as the mercury tops out in the upper 50s and a brisk northwest wind makes it feel even colder. Morning lows Tuesday and Wednesday will be well into the 30s with a widespread frost and perhaps a couple hours of near or a degree or two below freezing temps each morning. Fortunately, the weather moderates by mid-late week and trick-or-treating weather on Friday night appears to be very pleasant with temps in the 60s under mainly clear skies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nice fall weather to be replaced by cool, wet system

We've just experienced a tremendous fall weekend weather-wise here in the Bluff City. Cool mornings (41 degrees for an average low at WXLIVE! in Bartlett the past 4 mornings) and pleasant afternoon highs (averaging 71 since last Thursday) have made for a very nice stretch of weather. According to the MWN forecast, that should last another 3 days with dry weather, highs in the lower 70s, and lows a little warmer - in the mid 50s - through Wednesday.

That's when things will change. An upper-level low pressure system will develop at the base (southern end) of a trough now over the Pacific Northwest. By mid-week, that low will strengthen over the Plains and move slowly southeast towards the Mid-Mississippi Valley. The closed low is forecast to affect our region Thursday and Friday (see the image below valid Friday evening and note the concentric black circles and yellow/orange shading over the center of the U.S.). This low will mean plenty of clouds, rain, possibly a few thundershowers, and cooler weather for Thursday and Friday. By Saturday it will pick up speed moving east and we should again see high pressure return for at least the latter half of the weekend and early next week.

The extended range guidance is indicating a more active pattern for late October-early November with below normal temps.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from the beach

Just got back today from an enjoyable weekend in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, AL. Our family met my sister and parents there for a weekend playing in the sand and in the pool at our condo in Phoenix V. Click the link for a look at where we stayed, complete with live webcam of the beach! A pic from our balcony is below. We had a terrific time! My 6 year old daughter loved spending as much time in the water (the non-saltwater variety) as possible, while my 3 year old just played on the steps to the pool and in the sand. The last time we were at the beach was 5 years ago, so this was a good trip! The weather was interesting - warm and windy with no rain. In fact, it was very windy, with gusts in the 20-25 mph range during the day nearly the entire time, leading to pretty good waves ("moderate chop" or "Small Craft Advisory") and yellow flag conditions (which bordered on red flag) all 3 days we were on the beach. The second pic below shows a little of the surf conditions. Even the sand was being blown into the air pretty good (could see sandstorm-like conditions down the beach a mile or so). If you've been to the area, leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Back home, after being out of touch with local weather for several days, I see a nice fall trough is on our doorstep with one more warm day before it really cools off late this week. Could we see a few 30s in cooler spots across west TN Saturday morning? At least it appears that the 80s may be done for a while after Wednesday! Autumn is probably my favorite season, so I'm glad to see 70s and sun in the extended forecast! Nice football (and marching band) weather!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cold-air funnels reported in West TN this morning

1148 AM CDT WED OCT 8 2008




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

T'storms move through the Mid-South

After a lengthy period of dry weather, I woke up this morning just before 5:00am to the sound of rain on the roof and thunder overhead! We had a torrential, albeit brief, downpour with 0.30" of rain falling in 10 minutes from a storm that had developed along a warm front traversing the region. It was also a very loud storm with nearly continuous lightning producing offspring-waking thunder! My 6-year-old, Grace, came trotting into our room a couple of minutes after I woke up (she hears thunder pretty quick, but not as quick as her Meteorologist pop) complaining about the continual cacophony outside her bedroom window. Fortunately, it was over almost as quick as it started and she was once again sound asleep under her Princess covers. Another line of storms (depicted in the radar image above) moved through a couple of hours later, around 7:00, and doused the entire city with roughly 3/4"-1" of precipitation.

We've now had our break for the day and more storms have fired as a fairly slow-moving, but strong cold front approaches from the west. Current radar indicates a developing batch of storms moving through the metro area and extending south along the MS River. Very heavy rain and likely some small hail is falling from some of these storms. This pattern will continue into the evening hours, before becoming mostly scattered showers overnight. A low chance of rain still exists tomorrow as the upper level trough follows behind the front. At the least, cloud cover will keep temps in the 70s throughout the day. A clearing pattern will commence in the wake of the trough, with partly cloudy skies and warming temps expected Thursday through the weekend.

As for me, I'll be enjoying a warm and dry weekend on the beach with family! Orange Beach, AL is our destination for a fall break excursion to the Gulf Coast. Wish you were me! ;-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A wet mid-week, and 100 posts

Thanks to building high pressure, temperatures have warmed the past couple of days after a very nice week. Humidity will follow suit, creeping up the next couple of days as high reach the mid to possibly upper 80s. Thanks to higher humidity, morning lows won't be quite as cool as the past several days.

This week, we will have a fairly significant trough move through mid week. Though it's origins in the Pacific mean there is not a lot of cool air behind it, it will pick up on the increasing moisture and bring us our best chance of rain in probably several weeks. Rain and some t'storms will be moving in from the west Tuesday afternoon and evening and it could be fairly wet through Wednesday, before tapering off with the passage of a "cool" front Wednesday night. Conditions look to be dry and warm on the backside of the trough for the end of the week and into the Fall Break weekend - for those who are tied to the local school's calendars.

I'd also like to point out that this is my 100th blog posting since starting several months ago. Thanks to all of my readers for their comments, questions and support! Also don't forget to check out MWN Mobile when you get a chance at!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

MWN enters the 21st Century with 'MWN Mobile'

Many of you have been waiting for this for a long time - I know I have! ;-)

Well, the time has come to officially unveil the MOBILE version of!! As of 5:10pm on 10/4/08, MWN Mobile is online! To access the site from your PDA or other wireless device, go to Initial features include current conditions from WXLIVE! in Bartlett updated every 5 minutes, Memphis radar (which is zoomable and can be looped thanks to the good folks at Weather Underground), and a fast forecast for anywhere in the world! Soon, I'll be adding the most accurate forecast for Memphis - the MWN Forecast - to the mobile site, as well as many of the other features available on the original.

Now you never have to wonder what it's like back home when you're away on vacation or business trip! You can get the latest conditions from Bartlett anywhere, anytime using the power of the mobile web. Be sure to let your friends, co-workers, family, classmates, and even total strangers know about the new MWN Mobile @!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The front page of tells you to check this blog for more information on the upcoming release of the mobile version of MWN. Well, here it is! Expect the first version of MWN Mobile to be released this coming weekend. I'll post the URL on the front page of the main site, as well as on this blog when it's released. Expect features included to be updated current conditions from WXLIVE!, radar, a quick search for weather across the country, and, if I can make it work by this weekend, my MWN forecast. The forecast WILL be there eventually, just don't know if it will make it in the first release. At some point, I hope to be able to include more of my regular site in the mobile format, so be watching for upgrades over time.

Make sure you tell all your "friends on the go" that they will be able to get the latest weather info from MWN on their Blackberrys, Treos, PDAs, or other WAP-enabled device very soon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Upper levels dictating early October weather pattern

October has started off unseasonably cool and dry thanks to the weather pattern in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Take a look at the map below, showing the weather features at about 18,000 feet up. You'll see a large trough (or elongated low pressure system aloft) delineated by the dashed brown line extending through the eastern U.S. and a ridge (or elongated area of high pressure aloft) over the western U.S. We're on the backside of the trough, which is feeding cool Canadian air across the eastern U.S. Being on the back of th trough, our air at this level is feeding into the Mid-South from the northwest - what we in the business commonly refer to as "northwest flow." Typically, this will mean cooler a cooler airmass and the potential for fast-moving upper-level systems to dive around the backside of the trough and bring us some form of "weather." One of those is passing by this evening and bringing a few clouds, but nothing more due to very dry conditions below 18,000 feet.

The trough will continue to affect our weather for the next 36 hours or so, until the ridge to the west scoots east and lands overhead. Ridges aloft typically mean warmer weather and dry conditions. So, the forecast calls for warmer temps (back into the 80s) this weekend as the ridge moves in, with no rain in store. By the middle of next week, the next trough, shown on the map over the eastern Pacific, will move in and bring a chance for precipitation. Now you know how upper-level systems can affect our weather down here on the ground!

Happy New (Water) Year!

Happy New Year! And no, I'm not off my rocker and I'm not talking about the government's fiscal year, though that also starts today.

I'm talking about the Water Year! Many of you are scratching your heads right now thinking "what is he talking about?" With many thanks to Nolan Doesken at Colorado State University (he of CoCoRaHS fame), here is his explanation...

The water year is the best approximation of the consecutive 12 months thatn span the "water storage/water usage" hydrological cycle. The water year cycle is particularly obvious in the Rocky Mountains and western U.S. where snow begins to accumulate at high elevations in October and doesn’t melt until the next spring and summer.

Another way to think of the "Water Year" is the resting/replenishing season followed by the growing, harvesting and water-consuming season. As October begins, the summer growing season comes to an end. With the coming of colder weather, evapotranspiration shuts down. In the mountains and the northern states, snows begin to fall. For much of the country and especially the northern states, the months of October through March are months where precipitation from the sky exceeds evaporation from the ground. This means that soil moisture and ground water can recharge. Runoff that reaches the rivers and streams may increase (except in cold areas where the water remains frozen). Then, when next spring comes the temperatures rise again, plants come back to life, snow melts, rivers surge. Then evapotranspiration increases as plants begin to grow. By the summer months, evapotranspiration will once again exceed precipitation for most of the country. This means that soils dry out, river flow may decrease, and little or no water recharges aquifers. Drought becomes especially problematic when precipitation falls short of expectations during the spring and summer months. By next September, crops will be harvested, temperatures will again cool, and yet another water year will come to an end.

So there you go! Happy New (Water) Year!