Monday, March 9, 2009

Front positioned just south of Memphis

The surface map above shows the position of the stalled out front that moved through the Memphis area last evening, sparking rain showers for some. The front is very obvious when looking at dewpoint temperatures (green numbers - a dierct measure of moisture content in the air) and wind direction (black barbs) on the map.

At 11am in Memphis, the temperature had risen nicely to the upper 60s after a cooler morning, which is not too much cooler than areas south of the front. However, the dewpoint is near 40 (the 40 degree dewpoint line, or isodrosotherm, is drawn in blue on the map), while just south of us in Tunica, it's in the lower 60s! Tunica is in the warm, moist Gulf air, which is being blocked from the metro area by the front. Also notice that wind north of the front is generally out of the east, while it's out of the south on the south side of the front.

This front will lift north this afternoon and we will see our dewpoints rise quickly back to near 60 by this evening. Temperatures will not be affected as much by the frontal passage, as the colder air remains further behind the front, well to our north. Dry conditions (outside of possibly an isolated shower along the front this afternoon) will persist through tonight and probably most of tomorrow before our next chance of rain and thunderstorms moves in with another front.
P.S. As a side note, no temperature records were broken yesterday or today at Memphis International. The temperature dropped below 65 (the current record) before midnight last night following the cold frontal passage, so the daily low temp did not set a maximum low for the day.

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