Monday, September 19, 2011

A wet start to the week, but "fall-like" weather to arrive for the official start of autumn!

This week has started on a wet note, with showers and thunderstorms occurring for much of the first half of Monday, associated with a cold front now moving through the region. Many locations in the metro area have seen more than an inch of rainfall in the last 24 hours. Just to our north, especially across portions of northwest Tennessee, Doppler radar estimates and spotter reports indicate a whopping 3-6” of rain have fallen (see image below), which led to isolated morning flash flooding in Milan. The rainfall did help to greatly reduce a growing monthly precipitation deficit that had been adding up here in Memphis for September.

Memphis Doppler radar estimated rainfall totals since Sunday Morning (9/18).
Note average amounts of 1-3” in the Memphis metro, with totals upward of 6”
estimated in NE Arkansas and NW Tennessee.
Even as the cold front moves past the region tonight, its influence will be slow to leave as it eventually stalls just to our southeast for the next 24-36 hours. This will help prevent dry air from building in behind the front, keeping some clouds and a very small chance of rain around Tuesday into Wednesday. There may also be some overnight and morning fog to contend with late tonight and early Tuesday, so motorists should be prepared to slow down and drive with extra caution if they run into areas of reduced visibility. Temperatures will be near their late-summer average, in the low to mid 80s for highs and mid 60s for lows.

The remnant cold front will wash out completely by Wednesday, but the next storm system to affect the region will not be far behind, bringing another increased chance for rain, particularly on Thursday. This front looks as if it will have more “push” to it thanks to strong high pressure building in it's wake. It will clear the region quickly, allowing for a great, and perfectly-timed, first day of fall on Friday (with the autumnal equinox occurring at 4:04 am).  The fantastic weather looks to continue on Saturday. Highs and lows will be back in the 70s and 50s, respectively, just below the now early-fall average, with mostly sunny skies. Any outdoor activities or events being planned appear to be in great shape at this point!

Uncertainty returns to the forecast by Sunday into early next week. A strong upper level system will take shape in the Great Lakes region, and may bring impacts to our weather for Sunday, Monday, and possibly beyond, in the form of cloud cover and rain chances. Confidence in this scenario is low at this time, however, as computer models disagree on their handling of this system.  Future forecasts are subject to change in this period. For the full and up-to-date forecast details, visit MWN.

--Kevin Terry,

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