Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WXLIVE! climate summary for 2008 - Happy New Year!!

Here's a recap of 2008 Climate Data as taken from WXLIVE! - my personal weather station in Bartlett, TN. Official data from the NWS for Memphis Int'l Airport will be available in the next day or two.

WXLIVE! Climate Summary for 2008
Average temperature: 62.2F
Total precipitation: 47.58" (10-13" more than 2007 or 2006)
Average humidity: 70%
Average barometric pressure: 30.05"

Maximum temperature: 102.0F (July 29)
Minimum temperature: 11.7F (December 22)
Days w/ max temp 90F or higher: 60
Days w/ max temp 100F or higher: 3
Days w/ min temp 32F or lower: 78
Days w/ min temp 20F or lower: 12
Growing season (last frost to first frost): 168 days (April 16-October 28)
Warmest month: July (81.8F average temp)
Coolest month: January (39.1F average temp)
Wettest month: March (8.81")
Wettest day: December 9 (2.80")
Driest month: July (0.35") (so it was hot AND dry!)
Maximum daily snowfall: estimated 3.8" (March 7)

Dominant wind direction: South
Maximum wind gust: 46 mph (January 29 and February 5)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 MWN Recap and a huge thank you!

It's hard to believe that 2008 is almost in the books! What a great year I've had in the weather business. My "daily" weather job has been challenging, educational, and rewarding. My "side job" with (MWN) has also brought me a great deal of satisfaction. MWN celebrated it's 5th anniversary in existence in April and WXLIVE! hit the 3-year mark in July. I've launched several new products and services in 2008, including WXLIVE!-Text, a mobile version of MWN, MWN StormView Radar, and this blog! I've also hit new records for viewers, so I know that my efforts are appreciated. Thanks to each and every one of you who has been a part of it! Even though I enjoy doing it, I don't do all of this for myself - I do it to fill a need and because I have people who look to the site for their weather information. Thank you!

My web stats for this year show that over 600 of you visited MWN more than 1,400 times on December 15th (the ice storm that narrowly missed Memphis), which is very close to the same number that visited on February 5th (the day the tornadoes roared through the metro area) and March 7th (in the middle of the 4-7" snow storm)! The total number of visits to MWN for 2008 will approach 26,000 by midnight on January 1, 2009!

As for this blog, this is post #161 of the year. By tomorrow night, the blog will have been seen by about 2,700 visitors since I started keeping stats in late July, with over 4,000 pages viewed. Dec. 15-16 were the two biggest days with over 500 visits during that 48-hour period. Once again, I offer my thanks to you for your patronage and encourage you to pass the word on to your friends, family, and co-workers that and The MWN Blog are two sites that every Mid-Southerner needs to have bookmarked as their source for weather information.

Thanks for a fabulous 2008! I already have some tricks up my sleeves for 2009, so don't go anywhere! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday mid-day update

Temperature records are falling across the region. As of 1pm, Memphis Int'l has broken the 119-year-old record of 76 degrees with a new record high of 77! Wind gusts have reached 46 mph at the airport as well. In Jackson, TN, the previous record high of 70 degrees has been obliterated by 5 degrees already, with the potential for another couple degrees of warming yet. Wind gusts have also reached the 40 mph mark in Jackson.

The severe weather threat remains in place, and in fact has been upgraded for locations north and west of Memphis. A MODERATE RISK is now in effect for northern AR, southeast MO, and southwest IL. The timing of the squall line (which is moving into central AR at 1pm) is still on track for a 6-9pm arrival in the metro area. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio and commercial TV or radio, plus, for the latest on the severe weather threat. I expect a watch box will be issued for the region late this afternoon.

Memphis weather items of note

Several weather-related items of note this morning, and since I haven't written about the weather in a few days, I'm behind!

Yesterday's high of 73 was 1 degree off the record here in Memphis. And this morning's balmy low of 67 would shatter the record for highest minimum temp of 59 if we didn't have that pesky front coming through this evening, which will drop the daily low below that record by several degrees. High temps today will be in the mid 70s with a little sunshine. The record is 76, so once again we'll get close. I am expecting 74, but with more sunshine than expected, 76 may be in jeopardy!

We are also under a WIND ADVISORY until midnight tonight as it will be another very warm, very windy day. Wind gusts could approach 40 mph during the daytime hours. Make sure that outdoor objects are buttoned up or you could lose them! Driving high-profile vehicles could also be difficult today due to the wind gusts.

The other note for today relates to the possibility of severe weather as the front passes through this evening. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the metro area under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather, with the greatest threat being damaging wind and small hail as a squall line passes. The line will likely pass through the city between 6-9pm tonight. Conditions will quickly improve after the front passes, with skies clearing after midnight.

The New Year's week forecast looks pretty good right now with highs generally in the 50s and lows in the 35-40 degree range, which are both slightly above normal. Dry conditions are expected Sunday through New Year's Eve. A frontal system will move through Thursday or Friday (timing of this one is still a little fuzzy), so expect some rain late in the week and cooler temps headed into next weekend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reno NEXRAD failure due to high wind and lee waves

High wind in Reno, NV during the early morning hours on December 19th left the NWS NEXRAD radar in... well... "less than ideal" condition. This would be deemed "radar failure." Check out the photos below of the aftermath of an estimated 140 mph wind gust! More information can be found here. Some very interesting meteorology went into the conditions that caused the destruction of this radar, which are described briefly in the link above. There were "lee waves" occurring downwind of the Sierra Nevadas that morning which caused intense vertical motion that was picked up on satellite. The lee waves were the likely cause of the extreme gusts. The fact that the radar is located at almost 8,300 feet above sea level contributed.
It will take quite a while for this radar site to be back in working order, but in the meantime, forecasters at the Reno NWS office will have to resort to using surrounding radar sites for their radar data. I've seen pictures of one other such radar failure in the past decade - the Laughlin AFB radar near Del Rio, TX radar that was hit by a presumed downburst with 90-100 mph wind on May 24, 2001.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas week forecast and a slight chance of wintry weather Tuesday

Bitter cold air has settled in over the region this morning as Arctic high pressure is centered over MO/AR and will move east-northeast into the Ohio Valley by this evening. Temperatures are running about 15-20 degrees below normal with wind chills in the single digits to teens. The morning low at MEM today was 14 while the high will be near 30.

As the high shifts east, the next storm system will begin to encroach from the west with clouds increasing this afternoon. The nighttime hours will be dry, but shortly after daybreak Tuesday, some very light precipitation could begin to fall from mid-level clouds. Fortunately the low levels of the atmosphere will start off very dry tomorrow, but there is a slight chance that some precip could reach the ground between 7-10am as very light freezing rain or sleet. I put the chance of this at 20%. By 10am, temperatures will be warming on an increasing southeasterly wind, the lower levels will saturate, and rain will become widespread by afternoon as highs reach to near 50. Tuesday night will be wet and very windy, with a chance of t'storms by Wednesday morning as a cold front approaches. Temps Tuesday night will actually rise slowly through the 50s.

Christmas Eve will start off wet and windy, but the cold front should pass through Wednesday afternoon, bringing an end to the rain and allowing temperatures to fall back through the 50s. It should be dry for most people's Christmas Eve worship services on Wednesday evening. Christmas Day looks mainly dry right now, but the aforementioned front will be moving back north as a warm front, bringing a low chance of light rain by late afternoon and evening. Sorry, but no White Christmas this year! The unsettled pattern will continue into the early part of the weekend with above normal temps.

Illustration above courtesy Dewey Bryan Saunders.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome Winter!

As the winter solstice occurred this morning at 6:04am CST, winter was ushered in with unreasonably (in my opinion) cold temperatures as Arctic high pressure settles overhead. The high today occurred at midnight as cold air poured into the Mid-South behind a strong front that pushed through last evening. Mid-day highs are running around 30 degrees with wind chills in the teens thanks to a cold north wind at 10-20 mph. Tonight, the wind will calm only slightly, which in actuality is a good thing, as it will keep temps from totally bottoming out. With dewpoints running in the single digits, a calm night could send temps that low. Thankfully the breeze will keep the atmosphere mixed just enough that lows should *only* reach the low to mid teens (he says with sarcasm...). ;-) Tomorrow's highs will be similar to today, only starting from a lower point - so expect afternoon temps to again be in the 20s area-wide with a high near 30 under mostly sunny skies.

Fortunately, temperatures won't drop much Monday night as skies cloud up and a chance of precipitation moves in by morning. I'll try and write more on that tomorrow, but right now it appears that there could be a wintry mix possible early on Tuesday before temps warm enough to change it to all rain by mid-morning. Stay up to date with the latest forecast from

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inside the FedEx SuperHub in Memphis, TN

For those of you curious about what it's like inside the Memphis SuperHub of FedEx Express - the world's largest air express cargo company - see the video below. This time of year is considered "Peak" at FedEx, when the company will process the its highest volume of packages. Even with the economy down, millions of packages will flow through the SuperHub five nights a week.

A five mile perimeter. Parking slots for 175 aircraft. 300 miles of conveyor belts. That's the Memphis Super Hub. With over 4,000 employees during the day and 8,000 at night, this unbelievable facility keeps Memphis and FedEx connected any point on the globe. Supporting the largest air cargo fleet in the world, the Memphis Hub handles about 3.3 million packages per day.

Chances of a White Christmas in Memphis

So, what are the historical chances of a white Christmas in Memphis? Good of you to ask!

The average high temperature on Christmas Day in Memphis is 50 degrees, while the average low is 33. The only Christmas in recorded history (since 1872) that measurable snow fell ON Christmas Day was 3.5" in 1913! A trace of snow was recorded in 1975, 1980, and 1992.

As for snow on the ground on Christmas Day (a white Christmas), the greatest recorded snow depth was 10" in 1963. Other years in which the snow depth was at least 1" on Christmas Day were 1962 (2"), 2004 (2" - remember that one?), and 1998 (1"). A trace was present on the ground in 1966, 1980, and 1990.

Interestingly enough, Jackson, TN, which seems to get all the good weather, has not had a measurable snow on Christmas Day in their recorded history (records date to 1948)...

Christmas Day is in my extended forecast beginning today, so keep an eye on it for our forecast (not climatological) chances.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nowhere to go but up!

It is somewhat unusual, though not as much in the wintertime as in other seasons, for the temperature to rise during the overnight hours, but how about doing it for three nights straight? That may be exactly what we see, as a warm front pushing up from our south and abundant cloud cover are working in tandem to cause temperatures to hold steady or rise for almost 72 hours!

At Memphis Int'l Airport, beginning last night (Tuesday) at 11 pm local time, temps have been steady or rising each hour. I expect that trend to continue overnight tonight as abundant cloud cover has helped keep the lid on temperatures today and a warm front pushes a little closer to the area overnight. They will continue rising tomorrow, to a high at least in the upper 40s. Thursday night, the warm front should make it all the way through Memphis, so I expect that temps will again hold steady in the evening before rising overnight as a stiff south wind kicks in. By Friday, a little sun might peek through and highs should reach well into the 60s. This would make a stretch of almost 3 days (Tuesday night to Friday afternoon) that temps will have held steady or risen every hour.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freezing rain and drizzle over... for now

Temperatures across the metro are now above freezing, ranging from 33-35F at 2pm. StormView Radar shows the precipitation has pretty much departed the area and the Weather Service allowed the Freezing Rain Advisory to expire on schedule at noon. With highs just a few degrees above freezing and low overcast conditions with virtually no wind overnight, some drizzle will be possible that could freeze if temps drop to 32. I'm not certain that the heart of the city will see 32 as temperatures should remain nearly steady, but suburbs could see the freezing point, including Autobahn-connah (Bill Morris Parkway). If any precip falls early in the morning on Wednesday, I would avoid that stretch of road once again! The scenes from this morning were just ugly... After tomorrow morning, I expect we won't see freezing conditions again for at least several days.

Memphis metro school closings for Tuesday

As of 7:00am, the following school districts have announced their intentions for Tuesday:

Shelby County - OPEN
Memphis City - OPEN
Memphis Catholic - OPEN
Fayette County - OPEN
Tipton County - OPEN
DeSoto County - opening one hour late
Crittenden County - assumed OPEN

Many school districts across west TN, outside of the metro area, will be closed today. Visit WMC-TV ( for the latest information.

Dodged the bullet?

It appears that the Memphis metro area has dodged a major bullet that appeared to be headed right for us last night as the mysterious freezing precipitation pulled a Houdini act. Other than a couple of brief evening freezing rain showers that left no more than a 0.01" in their wake, the immediate region remained dry overnight! Given that, most schools ARE in session today. (That will teach you kids to postpone the homework because "surely schools will be closed tomorrow"!)

Our friends just to the north are not nearly as lucky however, as a major ice storm has hit northeastern Arkansas, southern Missouri, and western Kentucky. Significant accumulations of sleet and freezing rain have fallen (up to an inch in many locations) and it will be a while before they climb back above freezing as the stationary front to the south of MEM takes until Wednesday to lift back that far north.

So what to expect for the city of Memphis and it's suburbs? As I had forecast yesterday, and am still sticking to, chances for precipitation today reside at about 30% and any precipitation that falls will be very light. The temp should rise above freezing at around noon, so it's going to be a cold day and the wind blowing at 15mph won't help. For tonight, things are still a little tricky. It appears the precip chance is slightly higher, but the temps are going to be an issue. They should hold steady in the mid 30s, and that is what I currently call for. However, there is some indication that they could drop back to 32, or perhaps not rise higher than 33-34 during the day, which would mean some areas, particularly outside the city proper, have another shot at seeing light freezing rain. Will hold off on that until we see how today progresses. I should have a better idea on this afternoon's forecast update around 3:00. Things definitely get better on Wednesday with highs well into the 40s - and 60s are expected late in the week before the next big cold front!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Storm Warning downgraded

At 10pm, the National Weather Service has downgraded the Ice Storm Warning for the metro area to a Freezing Rain Advisory, due mainly to the lowered expectation for the amount of ice expected. Less than 1/4" of freezing rain, possible mixed at times with sleet, is expected by noon Tuesday.

Also at 10pm, the I-40 and I-55 bridges across the Mississippi River are at a standstill thanks to a light coating of ice and several wrecks. Check the road conditions links to the right for more info.

First bit of freezing rain falls on metro Memphis

As depicted in the image from MWN StormView Radar in winter mode on the metro view at 8:09pm, freezing rain was falling in Shelby County thanks to a passing shower. It passed right over the WXLIVE! sensors in Bartlett, where it immediately froze due to a surface temperature of 29F. StormView nailed the precip type and appears to be doing a great job of picking up the areas of freezing rain and sleet. To the northwest of the city where cold air is a bit deeper, it is showing sleet. Jonesboro has just over 1/2" of sleet on the ground. If you experience winter weather, feel free to drop a comment on this post! I'd love to hear from you.

I've also added some links to the top right of this blog for area road conditions, school closings, and the latest storm reports from the National Weather Service. The scenario appears to be unfolding as forecast so far. Please exercise caution if you must be on the roads from now until noon tomorrow.

Classic freezing rain setup for the Mid-South

Conditions have set up nicely for a freezing rain event overnight into early Tuesday morning along the I-40 corridor in the Mid-South. Surface temperatures have dropped as forecast and are now at or slightly below freezing across the area. The current temperature profile (going up in the atmosphere) has sub-freezing temperatures through the lowest couple of thousand feet, and then a pronounced warm layer (well above freezing) above that. Therefore, as moisture moves back into the region late this evening, it will fall through the warm layer, becoming rain, and then hit the cold layer. Some precip could form into ice pellets (sleet) prior to reaching the ground, but most of the precip will not actually freeze until it reaches the surface. Thus - freezing rain.

Fortunately (if there is a positive to this event), the amount of precipitation expected during the night in the metro area should be less than 1/4" based on the computer model that seems to have the best handle on things right now. This should limit some of the collateral damage from the ice (like power lines down, branches down, etc.), but will still create hazardous driving conditions late tonight and for Tuesday morning's rush hour, particularly on bridges and overpasses. Pavement temperatures (except bridges and overpasses) are running around 40 degrees right now, so it will take some precipitation falling on the roadways before they collect a glaze - bridges and overpasses are not this warm and will freeze first. Please exercise extreme caution if you must travel prior to about noon tomorrow, when temperatures will be back above freezing.

Be sure to stay up to date with the latest conditions and forecast at

Memphis metro school closings... as of 1pm

As of 1pm on 12/15/08, the following school districts will be closing early due to approaching winter weather:

Shelby County - closing 2 hours early
Memphis City - closing at 1:30pm
Memphis Catholic - closing at 2:00pm
Fayette County - closing at noon or 1:00pm depending on start time
Tipton County - closing at 1:00pm
DeSoto County - closing 2 hours early
Crittenden County - no word yet

Visit WMC-TV ( for the latest information.

Ice Storm Warning for Memphis

An Ice Storm Warning has been posted for the Memphis metro area and I-40 corridor in west TN and east-central AR this morning, which is in effect from noon until 6am Wednesday. From the NWS: "SOUTHERLY WINDS ALOFT ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE AND OVERRIDE THE SHALLOW COLD AIR IN PLACE... A CLASSIC SETUP FOR AN ICE STORM." The Arctic front has arrived and temps are quickly falling - 19 degrees between 4:30am-6:00am at the Memphis airport. There could be some light freezing rain this afternoon in the city, but the big story could be overnight tonight, when up to 1/4" of ice falls on the city. This could be enough to down some power lines and cause some tree damage and is enough to create dangerous traveling conditions by Tuesday morning. Further updates are coming... stay tuned to commercial TV and radio, NOAA Weather Radio, and for the latest on the developing winter weather scenario.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice potential for Memphis metro

This will be the third potential shot for winter precipitation in Memphis in the past couple of weeks, and this may perhaps be the best chance of the three. A strong Arctic front is sweeping towards the Mid-South tonight and will move into the Memphis area tomorrow morning around daybreak/rush hour. This front will cause temps to fall from near 60 overnight to the 30s by tomorrow afternoon in the city with wind shifting from strong southerly to a stiff northwest breeze Monday morning. Rain will commence late this evening, but much of the rain is expected to fall after the frontal passage, as the temps are falling.

The critical temperatures that will be monitored are in the lowest 2-3,000 feet of the atmosphere. Temps above that (up to several thousand feet) will actually remain warm, promoting rain. However, by early afternoon, those low level temps will fall below freezing. As this sub-freezing layer gets deeper, a little sleet could start to mix with the rain after 3pm. Surface temperatures will still be above freezing, but in the 30s. As the surface temperature approaches freezing around 6-8 pm, the potential for freezing rain increases.

Temps will remain around freezing all night Monday night and up until about 9am Tuesday, so any precipitation that falls could freeze on contact from 6pm Monday to 9am Tuesday. Rain amounts are not expected to be significant, but one-tenth of an inch of ice is possible by Tuesday morning in the metro area. This would be enough to coat bridges, overpasses, and other exposed surfaces. For this reason, the National Weather Service has issued a Freezing Rain Advisory for Memphis (and much of the Mid-South from I-40 north) beginning tomorrow through Tuesday morning. The MWN forecast will remain updated on a regular basis throughout the potential winter weather event. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Special Weather Statement from

456 PM CST SAT DEC 13 2008







A wet week ahead, and maybe freezing precip?

Enjoy this weekend, as it may be the last couple of dry days we have for a while! There will be only a little sun, but a lot of wind, the next couple of days as temperatures climb into the 50s today and 60s on Sunday thanks to strong warm southerly wind. I expect a Wind Advisory will be needed Sunday as gusts occasionally approach 40 mph. By Sunday night, scattered showers will break out ahead of a potent cold front. Those showers, and wind, will continue into Monday with the front passing through sometime Monday afternoon. Behind the front, temps will drop precipitously, from near 60 at lunch time to the 40s by rush hour and into the 30s in the late evening.

Unfortunately, rain could continue into Monday night and early Tuesday, setting the stage for possible freezing rain during that period. Freezing rain because the temperatures above the lowest 1000 or so feet will be way too warm to support snow or sleet. Freezing rain is defined as rain that falls as a liquid then freezes on contact with surfaces that are below freezing. It is also potentially the most dangerous form of winter weather due to its ability to accumulate quickly, forming a slick coating of ice on bridges, overpasses, trees and power lines, and vehicles. I am not expecting large amounts of ice by any stretch in the Memphis area just yet, but northeast AR and northwest TN should definitely be preparing for this possibility. It's still too early to determine whether the air will be cold enough and enough rain will fall in the metro area to promote accumulating freezing rain.

For the rest of the week, the front will hang around the area all week, continuing the rain chances throughout the week. Models are having a difficult time with its placement and any upper-level waves that might move through, triggering rain events, so you'll just have to stay tuned!

I'll do my best to keep the forecast updated throughout the weekend, and definitely into next week, so that you have the latest and greatest information from the most accurate source in Memphis!

Did you see it?

Did you get a glimpse of the perigee full moon last night? It was pretty cool. Very bright, very large, especially on the horizon. Anti-climactic? Perhaps a little, but still a sight to see. I tried to take some pics, but it's difficult with a digital point-and-shoot with something that far away. It's always smaller in the picture than what you see through the naked eye. Here's the best one I got, cropped down some.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Full moon mania tonight!

Remember that tonight is the night for the biggest full moon of the year - literally! See my previous blog on the subject. Moon rises at 4:46pm, sun sets at 4:48pm. Sky conditions should be optimal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow in the Deep South!

A strong, and still developing, low pressure system headed northeast across AL this morning is dragging in very cold air on it's back side, producing SNOW for portions of Mississippi, Alabama, and even Louisiana! Check out the traffic cam image from I-610/I-10 in New Orleans about 9:30 this morning! Yes, that is New Orleans! The latest observation from the airport indicated 33 degrees and heavy snow, with visibility reduced to 1/8 mile! Checking other southern Louisiana cams, there is snow on the ground from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Lafayette, and even some visible in Lake Charles, near the Texas border.
From Wikipedia:
New Orleans experiences snowfall only on rare occasions. A small amount of snow fell during the 2004 Christmas Eve snow storm. On Christmas Day, a combination of rain, sleet, and snow fell on the city, leaving some bridges icy. The last significant snowfall in New Orleans fell on Dec. 22, 1989, when most of the city received 1–2 inches.

Looks like the Memphis area has missed it again though. MWN StormView radar (image at 9:43am above) shows the back edge of the rain shield is just east of the immediate metro area. While it could pull slowly back to the west for a few hours this morning, the rain will be shifting east with the aforementioned low by noon time. A slight rain chance exists for the city this morning.

The largest full moon of 2008

Tomorrow (Friday) evening, Dec. 12, might be a good time to take in a little astronomy. According to NASA, the moon will be at perigee (it's closest point to the earth) at the same time that it is full, promising a spectacular view (provided there are few or no clouds) of the largest full moon of the year! It will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than other "normal" full moons. Not only that, but it will rise here in Memphis at 4:46pm, 2 minutes before official sunset! So, be sure to check the eastern sky between 4:45-5:15pm Friday for a large full moon rising during twilight. I'll try and post a few pics on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gullywasher yesterday... and what about the snow?

Two weather topics on everyone's mind today... the rainfall totals from yesterday and the snow potential for tonight.

#1. Wow, what a rain! Check out the map below for a look at 24-hour precipitation reports from this morning for the eastern U.S. Note the 1.5-5"+ totals across the Mid-South, Tennessee Valley, and lower Mississippi Valley. These reports come from the CoCoRaHS network of trained precipitation observers. Reports from inside Shelby County are all between 3.50-3.75" while totals to our east are generally about 0.50-1.00" higher! At WXLIVE in Bartlett, the automated weather equipment recorded 2.85", while the manual "official" rain gauge right next to it reported 3.59" for the event. The difference is larger than I usually see between them (usually the automated gauge is ~10% under, depending on the wind). That's still the most rain recorded in one calendar day since WXLIVE was installed in June 2005. The 3.48" recorded at the airport on the 10th was also a record for the date. Wow!!

#2. As cold air filters in today, holding temps in the upper 30s in the metro area, a developing low pressure system over the northern Gulf of Mexico will strengthen and move northeast tonight. The Mid-South will be on the back (cold) side of the low and precip will wrap around the low overnight as it moves northeast. Anything more than a tenth of an inch should remain east and south of the city and there is potential for some accumulating snow in northeast MS and eastern areas of west TN (nearer the TN River). However, in the metro area, expect mainly light drizzle or a light shower with temps in the mid 30s. Some snowflakes could mix in between 3am-10am but no accumulation is expected. Sorry school kids!

What do you have to say about yesterday's rain? How about the chance of snow? Leave me a comment!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A messy weather day in the Mid-South

As advertised, rain and some t'storms are overspreading the region this morning ahead of a developing low pressure system that will pass to our west and a strong cold front. Temperatures this morning are running in the low to mid 50s and wind is gusty out of the south. Expect more of the same throughout the day with wind gusts as high as 35-40 mph, prompting the issuance of a Wind Advisory. Rainfall totals through midnight tonight will be in the 2-3" range, especially east of the MS River, so minor flooding in areas normally prone to flooding will be possible. In addition, some thunderstorms this afternoon and through rush hour could be strong. The Storm Prediction Center has placed north Mississippi under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather today. The best chance for strong storms will be just ahead of the cold front, which will pass through Memphis in the early evening hours. A few storms cold contain hail and damaging wind gusts, mainly south of the city.

Following the cold front, much colder air will infiltrate the Mid-South with temps dropping overnight to around 40 by daybreak Wednesday, but not recovering much, if at all, during the daytime hours on Wednesday as a steady northwest wind pours cold air into the region. There is a chance of ...winter weather... (gasp!) Wednesday night/Thursday, again mainly to the south of the city. More on this in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned, and stay dry!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Large-scale storm system approaches

It's not wonder so many people are sick this time of year! The weather just can't make up its mind. After a chilly weekend with highs lingering in the lower 40s Sunday, a large-scale storm system heads towards the Mid-South to start the work week. Strong southerly wind ahead of it will pump the Gulf moisture into the region beginning today and continuing in earnest overnight as the first drops of rain fall late this evening. Wind will increase with gusts over 25 mph this afternoon and possibly near 40 mph overnight, particularly after midnight when the rain should begin to fall steadily. A few elevated t'storms are also possible late in the night, particuarly west of the river. The warm air conveyor will keep temps from falling much overnight after highs today reach the upper 50s.

For Tuesday, rainfall will be widespread and potentially heavy after noon through the evening hours, with upwards of 2"+ possible. In fact, parts of west TN and north MS have been identified as having a slight risk of flash flood-producing rains, where 3"+ could fall. See the NWS precipitation forecast for 6am Tuesday through 6am Wednesday to the left. Additionally, thunderstorms will be a better bet and the wind will continue to howl with gusts near 30 mph all day. Look for a high in the lower 60s.

The cold front will move through early Tuesday evening, possibly with an associated line of storms, and temperatures will begin their descent back to below normal (even for December). Wednesday will continue to be cloudy with isolated showers and temps struggling to stay around 40-43 degrees. In fact, there's a pretty decent chance that northern suburbs may not see 40 on Wednesday at all. At this point it does not appear snow is in the forecast on the backside of this system - abundant moisture will move out before the air cold enough to produce snow moves in.
BTW - did you catch the series of beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the past few days? See my blog from Friday about the "frozen sunrise." Though it was not frozen, the sunrise this morning was just as incredible, and Saturday night's sunset was also pretty awesome. Gotta love the wintertime cirrus that contributes to such a spectacular show!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Frozen sunrise

Ever seen a frozen sunrise? Sure you have, you've just never heard it called that! The Memphis area got to experience a gorgeous frozen sunrise this morning as high clouds (between 10,000-15,000 feet) wafted over the area on a strong westerly jet stream as the sun rose in the eastern sky. Temps were in the upper 20s - making it a frozen sunrise! I'm a fan of gorgeous sunrises and sunsets (see my Photo Gallery for proof) and this morning's did not disappoint. It's just further proof that someone much greater than any of us is in charge. I would have missed it if it weren't for the orange glow coming through the east-facing windows, even with the blinds closed. The clouds were present over the entire region this morning - anyone else catch a glimpse?

November Climate Summary

November ended drier and cooler than normal... here are some stats from Memphis International and Bartlett. Notice the pronounced heat island effect at Memphis, particularly with respect to average low temperatures.

Memphis International Airport

Average high temp - 59.2 F (2.9 F below normal)
Average low temp - 41.3 F (1.3 F below normal)
Mean temp - 50.3 F (2.1 F below normal)
No. days low temp was below 32 F - 5
Maximum temp - 76 F (11/5)
Minimum temp - 25 F (11/22)

Total Precipitation - 2.36" (3.40" below normal)
Maximum precipitation in one day - 1.10" (11/24)
No. of rain days (0.01" or more) - 8
No. days with 1.00" or more - 2 (which means most of our 2.36" of rain came on just 2 days)

Peak wind gust - 40 mph (11/14)

WXLIVE! - Bartlett, TN

Average high temp - 59.6 F
Average low temp - 36.1 F
Mean temp - 47.6 F
No. days low temp was below 32 F - 12
Maximum temp - 76.3 F (11/5)
Minimum temp - 18.0 F (11/22)

Total Precipitation - 2.00" (driest Nov. in 4 yrs of record-keeping)
Maximum precipitation in one day - 0.98" (11/12)
No. of rain days (0.01" or more) - 9
No. days with 1.00" or more - 0

Peak wind gust - 29 mph (11/20)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TSO and Christmas lights - a great combo!

OK, so this has nothing to do with weather, but I love Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the Christmas lights synchronizations to music are pretty awesome. This one is particularly good, set to "Christmas in Sarajevo," and it's from 2007 so it's not recycled a ba-zillion times like a bunch of these videos are. (Oh, and if you want something closer to home, check out the YouTube videos of the family in Daybreak Subdivision in Bartlett that does this too -

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today's balmy weather to end this evening

Taking a look at StormView radar at 4:00pm, isolated light showers are beginning to pop up in northeast AR ahead of a strong winter cold front. Along the front, stretching from north-central to west-central AR, Little Rock NEXRAD is detecting a narrow band of rain, with some embedded heavy downpours. These showers will increase in intensity and coverage over the next several hours as the front sweeps east. Look for the front to pass through the metro region between 9-11pm this evening, with some showers ahead of it, moderate to heavy rain right along the front, and continuous light to moderate rainfall for a couple of hours after the front passes. Rain totals of 0.75"-1.00" are possible tonight.

In addition, the passage of the front will signal an end to today's "balmy" 60+ degree weather, with temps dropping up to 15 degrees in the hour or two after the front passes and bottoming out in the morning in the mid to upper 30s! Very little recovery will take place tomorrow with highs in the 40-45 degree range.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another cold spell coming

Abnormally cool weather will continue for some time, based on the latest information from the Climate Prediction Center, which shows us to remain well below normal temperature-wise for the next couple of weeks. See the map above for Dec. 10-16 temperature probabilities that gives us a 50-60% chance of below normal temps. The eastern 2/3 of the U.S. will remain under the dominance of an upper-level trough which will serve to push cold Canadian-influenced air into the eastern U.S. Look for the pattern to remain similar to this past week with a couple of "mild" days separated by cold blasts behind potent cold fronts.

Tomorrow will be one of the "hills" between the "valleys" as we top out near 60 with strong, gusty southerly wind. The cold blast arrives tomorrow evening, accompanied by moderate to possibly heavy rain for a few hours between 5-10pm, and a sudden switch to strong northerly wind dropping temperatures during the evening hours - possibly on the magnitude of 15 degrees over the course of an hour or two. We will then stay cold again for a couple of days with highs in the mid 40s at best on Thursday and Friday. Recovery takes place over the weekend, with another strong front early Tuesday of next week.

Snow? What snow?

It seems appropriate to borrow a portion of a line from the late super-voice of the Memphis Grizzlies, Don Poier: "Only in ... Memphis."

I'm referring of course to the recent snowfall (or lack thereof in certain areas of the Mid-South). Reports from across the region, including Jonesboro, Jackson, Nashville, Crossville, north Alabama (!), and even as close as Cordova and Arlington, TN, indicate that light snowfall was widespread early Monday morning, and into the afternoon east of the city. I'm glad that those of you who live outside the city got to see some snow, because the airport officially recorded NADA. The city is always right on the line, whether it be the rain-snow line, the precip-no precip line, whatever.

And at my weather station in Bartlett, we also got nada, nothing, zip, zero zilch! My young daughters need to be able to continue to think of me as super-dad - a blown forecast (in their eyes - they didn't see any snow) doesn't help matters. :-) I guess I'll have to go back to fixing their toys and kissing their boo-boos...

So, did you see any snow? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

StormView Radar detects first snow flurries!

Looks like the snow flurries missed most of Memphis proper as temps hung out near 36-37, but according to StormView radar, light snow flurries were falling at 6:20 this morning across a decent portion of West TN and extreme northeast MS. The airport in Jackson, TN was reporting snow flurries and 34 degrees at the time this radar shot was taken. Notice the greens (drizzle/light rain) in the warmer metro area vs. the grays (light snow) farther out from the city. Sorry kids - no snowmen this time!