Friday, June 30, 2017

It's Independence Day weekend - who's bringing the fireworks?

It's overused, but apropos for the 4th of July. "Mother Nature's fireworks" could be a concern for the next few days as a frontal system nears our humid region. Upper level flow will favor the passage of disturbances - flies in the ointment, if you will - that will spark scattered showers and thunderstorms as we head into a long holiday weekend. We'll take this a day at a time...


A narrow line of heavy rain and thunder is moving through the metro as I type. The fortunate side to this is that it appears that should mark an end to most precipitation for the day as it pushes the instability east of the area and temperatures sit in the mid 70s behind the line, coincident with normal peak heating hours. Evening activities look to be in decent shape, though the next round of showers and thunderstorms is poised to enter the metro overnight. It'll be humid out, but temperatures should be a bit cooler than the past few evenings, likely in the upper 70s.

A Marginal (level 1/5) Risk of severe weather is forecast through 7am Saturday. This is mainly for storms that are expected overnight tonight and should occur after most evening activities are done. The main threat is isolated strong wind gusts and hailstones. (SPC)


A cold front will slip into the northern portions of the Mid-South tonight as an upper level disturbance sparks a complex of thunderstorms in OK and western AR. Some of that activity is expected to move east into the Mid-South overnight into Saturday morning. Once again, this could be decent timing for afternoon and evening activities as the morning rain could help stabilize the atmosphere a bit. There still is come question on timing of the early day rain and its exact influence on the rest of the day, so at this point, we can't rule out the re-energizing of the atmosphere and some pop-up showers and thunderstorms during the PM hours of the day, so make sure you still have alternate arrangements for any outdoor activities. We're hopeful that fireworks shows Saturday evening will be provided by those paid to put them on!

The surface map for Saturday evening shows a front draped to our north and just a low chance of precipitation in the airmass south of the front. (NWS)

The Marginal Risk of severe weather for Saturday is now southeast of the metro as storms late tonight are expected to stabilize the atmosphere locally. A few thunderstorms are still expected, mainly in the morning, as indicated by the light green ("thunder") area. (SPC)


As we get further out, the forecast becomes a bit murkier. There are no clear signs right now of any formidable systems moving through Sunday, but with the front remaining just to our north, any subtle upper level energy, combined with what is expected to be increasing heat again (approaching 90 degrees) could be enough to result in scattered showers and thunderstorms. At this point, we would expect those to be more heat-of-the-day storms which should wane during the evening in the absence of forcing to keep them going. Rain chances therefore are currently near 30% with heat indices in the mid 90s.


A work day for some, a vacation day for others... models have been leaning on the possibility of a little more organized chance of storms, particularly in west TN, during the day. Again, the situation is a little murky, but we've included a 40% chance of daytime precipitation, with things quickly diminishing in the evening. Being July 3, I know there are multiple choices for evening fireworks and outdoor events. We're crossing our fingers for a dry evening.


July 4th and the following days all look to see a fairly typical summertime patter emerge with plenty of heat and humidity with a chance of afternoon/early evening showers and thunderstorms. No major frontal systems are expected, though a weak front could move close late in the week. The overall pattern favors the potential for widely scattered to scattered diurnal thunderstorms each day. Unfortunately for those who have enjoyed our below normal temperatures in June, summer looks to make a comeback next week with highs in the lower 90s, dewpoints in the lower 70s, and heat indices pushing 100. Time to find a pool.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Summer Swing Begins in Memphis This Week

Are you ready for the summer? Are you ready for the sunshine? We've got warmth and sunshine for much of our week ahead, but some storms could rain on our parade heading into later this week. Let's dig into the details.

A Sunny Start
Sunday has brought abundant sunshine throughout the afternoon for the Memphis area and temperatures running mostly in the mid-80s. Lower humidity helps too, and that pattern is likely to continue into the beginning of the work week. Temps will slide into the mid-60s on Sunday night with partly cloudy skies, before jumping back up to the mid-80s on Monday.

The next chance of showers and storms comes on Monday night as a "reinforcing" cool front pushes through, though any precipitation should be isolated in nature and mostly remain to our north. There will be a likely increase in clouds on Monday ahead of any rain, but overall should be a good day.

Tuesday will see any early clouds decreasing with continued low humidity and warm temperatures. Wednesday continues the pattern of warmth, albeit with slowly rising humidity. It could become a bit more sticky, but temperatures remain in the mid to upper 80s for highs the middle of the week. The sun will remain a prominent feature in the forecast those days, while overnight will see mostly clear skies and lows in the upper 60s to near 70. Be sure to keep yourself and your pets cool in the heat of the summer coming up.

Here are some smart tips on how to keep your pets safe and cool this summer.

Summer Storms Are Coming

As the latter part of the week approaches, there is an increasing chance of pop-up showers and thunderstorms around the metro area. With the heating of the day where temperatures could approach 90 degrees, along with increased humidity, it would not be surprising to see some storms fire up late in the afternoon and into the early evening hours.

Temperatures continue to remain warm through the rest of the week with highs in the upper 80s to near 90. Lows will be on the rise too, with most nights dropping into the lower 70s.

Heading into the weekend, we will be watching an approaching cold front from the west that could bring more widespread rain and thunderstorms just in time for the weekend. Fortunately, this messy weather should clear just ahead of the July 4th holiday coming up.

Be sure to follow along with us on social media for all the latest weather for the Mid-South. Follow @memphisweather1 on Twitter or like us on Facebook. You can also download the MWN app from the Apple or Google Play stores, featuring pinpoint severe weather alerts from StormWatch+.

And one last request - the Commercial Appeal's #MemphisMost contest ends Monday morning at 9am, and we've been nominated for "Most Accurate Forecast" for the first time ever! Please consider casting a vote at tonight or early Monday. You can even vote once an hour! Thanks much and have a great week!

Alex Herbst, Meteorologist
MWN Social Media Intern

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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse: A Viewing Guide for Memphis and the Mid-South

On August 21, the first total solar eclipse to make an appearance over the continental United States since 1979 will pass within 150 miles of Memphis. The last time a total solar eclipse spanned the contiguous U.S. (as this one does) was 1918, nearly a century ago, and the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the CONUS in 38 years. Despite the area of totality missing Memphis by a short drive, most of North America, including the Memphis metro, will experience a partial eclipse. In the case of Memphis, the sun's obscuration will be 93%, so nearly total!

What is a solar eclipse?

From NASA's total eclipse page, eclipses occur when the sun, moon, and Earth periodically align. Solar eclipses happen when the moon moves between Earth and the sun. When the moon eclipses the sun, it produces two types of shadows on Earth. The umbral shadow is the relatively small area on Earth where an observer would see a total eclipse. The penumbral shadow is the much larger area where an observer will see a partial eclipse. Here, the sun is not completely covered by the moon.

During a total solar eclipse, there is as noticeable drop in light level (like twilight) and, subsequently, air temperature. The brightest stars and the planets become visible. Animals act like it is nighttime with birds and squirrels nesting and crickets chirping. In other words, there is nothing quite like it during the middle of the day!

Solar eclipse of July 22, 2009 taken by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar from Bangladesh.

Mid-South Path

The Memphis metro will not be in the path of totality of this year's solar eclipse, but will be well within the area of a partial eclipse. In fact, for the Memphis area specifically, the sun achieves 93% obscuration, or very near totality. The nearest areas which will have a total eclipse are about 150 miles northeast of Memphis as shown in the map below.

The path of the total eclipse is shown above in the map generated by NASA. Times of maximum eclipse at various points are provided as well as the duration of the total eclipse (which is higher the closer to the center of the shadow you are).

As for the timing of the partial eclipse event here in the Memphis area, here are the pertinent details:

If you are considering a trip to see the total eclipse, the closest large cities within the path of totality are Nashville and Paducah, although anywhere along the path shown in the map above will do!

Eclipse details for Nashville:

Start of partial eclipse: 11:58am CDT
Start of total eclipse: 1:27:26pm CDT
Point of maximum eclipse: 1:28:25pm CDT
End of total eclipse: 1:29:23pm CDT
End of partial eclipse: 2:54pm CDT

Eclipse details for Paducah:

Start of partial eclipse: 11:54am CDT
Start of total eclipse: 1:22:17pm CDT
Point of maximum eclipse: 1:23:28pm CDT
End of total eclipse: 1:24:39pm CDT
End of partial eclipse: 2:49pm CDT

You can look up these same details for any location in the United States from this site.

Will weather cooperate?

Of course the other major consideration on an eclipse day is cloud cover. If it is overcast, it won't matter whether an eclipse is occurring because you won't be able to see it! NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI, formerly NCDC) has done research on local climate data (cloud cover specifically) to determine the "viewability" of many locations within the eclipse area. Shown below is a map of eclipse viewability in the region of interest for Memphians. Each dot is shaded according to how likely that location is to produce good viewing conditions based on historical record (of course anything could happen on August 21, 2017!).

Here in Memphis, the climatological record says there is a 51% chance that the eclipse is viewable, with cloud cover being scattered or less 61.6% of the time historically. In Nashville, the "viewable ratio" is just 44%. The closest locations with the best potential for good viewing conditions within the path of totality are Paducah and Cape Girardeau, MO (both 77% "viewable").

The area of total eclipse is shown in dark red and at least 90% obscuration is in orange. The surrounding lighter orange color will have more than 75% obscuration. The shaded dots represent the historical "viewability" for indicated areas with a whiter dotter indicating a better chance of less cloud cover, or greater "viewability." For an interactive version of this map, click here.  (NOAA/NCEI)

Viewing tips

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the totality phase of an eclipse, when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality as described above. That will NOT occur in the Memphis area, as we'll experience only a partial eclipse (even though only 7% of the solar disk will be visible locally, it's enough to burn your retinas if you look directly at it).

The only safe way to directly view a partial eclipse sun is through special solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the international standard for such products. One of those manufactures eclipse and 3-D glasses for worldwide use right here in the Memphis area - American Paper Optics of Bartlett!

All glasses or solar filters should be inspected before use. If scratched or damaged, discard them. To view the eclipse, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.

If you decide to travel to a location that experiences totality, you can safely remove your solar filter or glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases (see above tips).

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. You may remember doing this for previous partial eclipses in the past. Here are instructions to make a very simple projector out of cardboard.

Viewing an eclipse can be done with solar glasses or with a "pinhole camera," which is diagrammed above.

For more information on the eclipse, we recommend the following sites, which are full of great information:
Now we need to all cross our fingers for a sunny day on August 21!

(By the way, if the weather doesn't cooperate, there's a rain date. On, April 8, 2024, we will see another near-total eclipse in Memphis (actually 97.5% obscuration instead of 93%) at 1:56pm. So if the clouds abound, hang onto those glasses for six years!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Remnants of Cindy to pass over the Mid-South Friday

We've been keeping a close eye on (potential, then actual) Tropical Storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico the past few days. For the first time in several years, the remnants of a former tropical system are set to pass directly over the Mid-South. First, here is the latest forecast track of Cindy (click any image on this page for a larger version):

Latest forecast track of Cindy from the National Hurricane Center.

Forecast Path

As you can see from the graphic above, as of early Wednesday evening, Cindy is expected to make landfall early Thursday morning near Beaumont, TX, or along the TX/LA border. It will be a moderate tropical storm with maximum sustained wind near 45-50 mph when it makes landfall. From there, it heads north up the TX/LA border then begins a right turn Thursday night, heading into southern AR, That right turn continues, moving what will likely be Tropical Depression Cindy, over the Mid-South, if not Memphis proper, on Friday around mid-day. There are some model discrepancies on the exact track of the center of the low and the timing, but it will be during the day Friday.

Effects on the Mid-South

The effects here in the Mid-South will primarily be those that were problems to our south today - some gusty wind, not-insignificant rainfall which could lead to some flash flooding, and as with any landfalling/remnant tropical system, a few strong storms that could produce brief tornadoes. We'll take them one at a time.


Wind has not been a major factor even while Cindy was a tropical storm today. Strongest wind of up to 40-50 mph was primarily right near the center and in convective bands well removed east and north of the storm. Cindy will weaken after landfall, but we'll see breezy conditions (10-20 mph, some higher gusts) through Thursday night. On Friday, as the low approaches and depending on its exact track, some areas could see sustained wind of 20-30 mph with a few gusts to 40+ mph, mainly in convective (thunderstorm) bands and near the path of the low. By Friday evening, any strong wind will subside back to the baseline of 10-20 mph. Widespread power outages are not anticipated, but with a slightly weakened grid due to remaining tree limbs on lines, etc. from recent storms, sporadic or scattered outages are possible, mainly Friday.

Heavy rain and flooding

The primary threat from Cindy is, and will continue to be, periods of heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding. Timing of any "bands" or "slugs" of moisture is very difficult more than several hours out, so trying to pinpoint exact times of when they will occur is borderline futile. Suffice it to say, rain chances will be high from late tonight until the system passes late Friday, however it is not expected to rain hard the entire 2-day period.

For now, it appears showers will begin to overspread the area tonight with the first main band moving through early Thursday morning. After this round, there could be a lull during the mid-day hours tomorrow, although given the unstable and very moist atmosphere that is in place, scattered showers and thunderstorms are probably a decent bet. Another round could affect the metro late tomorrow into the early overnight Thursday night, though that may set up just to our north. (Again, this is not set in stone.) Then, indications are that we'll see one more period of rain, probably the heaviest, associated with the approach, passage, and departure of the low itself during the day Friday, quite possibly lasting into Friday evening. Again, this is HIGHLY subject to change. (If you have tickets to Live at the Garden Friday night or plan to attend a Levitt Shell concert, watch for information from those entities on their plans and stay tuned to the forecast. Even if it isn't raining during the concert times, conditions may be too wet leading up to the events to get them properly setup.)

Overall, rainfall totals could vary quite a bit from one place to another but are expected to generally fall in the 2-3" range between tonight and Saturday morning with some areas seeing up to 5". Flash flooding and urban ponding/flooding are possible. Flash Flood Watches are not currently in effect but I put odds at better than even that they will be before Friday. Our area is under a Moderate Risk of flash flooding for the Thursday night/Friday period, as shown below.

Rainfall projections from the NWS through Saturday morning show a band of 2-3" of rain expected across the metro. A few locations could see more, and possibly less, as these numbers are approximates. Memphis is just northeast of the 2-3" annotation in the center of the image. (NWS/WPC)

The Weather Prediction Center forecasts a Moderate Risk (10-15% chance) of flash flooding on Friday for the metro. (NOAA/WPC)

Brief tornadoes

Thunderstorms associated with remnant tropical systems build in highly-sheared environments where wind at various levels of the atmosphere is blowing briskly, and in varying directions. This can lead to the threat of spin-up tornadoes in some of these storms, even those that may not contain lightning or be severe by any other definition. (Storms from tropical systems tend to have much less lightning than a "normal" summertime thunderstorm and are also not as tall, but they can still pack a punch.) The greatest threat for any tornadoes will be to the right of the track of the storm. On Thursday, that threat will mainly be to the south of the metro in LA, southeast AR, and western MS where there is a Slight Risk of severe storms. The Memphis area is in a Marginal Risk on Thursday, meaning a few storms could contain brief damaging wind gusts or a spin-up tornado. (Hail is generally not a threat with tropical systems as their "core" is warm, not cold like classic low pressure systems.)

The Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook for Thursday, showing the Slight Risk (where a tornado is most likely) south of the metro. (NOAA/SPC)
On Friday as the low passes near the metro moving northeast, the most favorable position for brief tornadoes will be in the southeast quadrant of the storm. If the low passes to our north, Memphis could be in that quadrant. If it passes just to the south or overhead, the favored area will be to our south. Currently, the Storm Prediction Center, based on the Hurricane Center track, places the Slight Risk south of Memphis with the metro in a Marginal Risk once again. That could change and will bear monitoring. Overall, the probability of tornadoes also will go down a bit from Thursday to Friday as the system weakens in general. As a last comment, the tornadoes associated with weak remnant systems in general are not the monsters we see in the Plains or Dixie Alley associated with supercells. They are more akin to the brief spin-up's that are possible with a squall line moving through, but we still need to prepare for the possibility that they could occur, and probably with little notice.

The Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook for Thursday, showing the Slight Risk (where a tornado is most likely) southeast of the metro. (NOAA/SPC)

After the storm

By Friday night, it appears the worst will be over with perhaps a lingering shower that lasts until Saturday morning. Most of Saturday looks like it could be dry (though precipitation may hold back a little longer than current thinking) and Sunday introduces another conundrum, as computer models have fought like pre-teen siblings over whether an upper level system brings additional rain chances. Right now those chances appear fairly low. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on social media for the absolute latest on this dynamic weather situation; download the MWN app for radar, currents, the MWN Forecast, and our social feeds as well as StormWatch+ optional severe weather alerts; and check out the MWN Tropical page (optimized for desktop browsing) with more information on the current status and future of Cindy! All social and app links are listed below.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Atlantic/Caribbean tropics getting started early

Atlantic hurricane season just started on June 1, but already things look to be "heating up" in the warm waters of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic - about a month to six weeks earlier than average.

AL93 - Yucatan/Gulf of Mexico

Near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in the southern Gulf of Mexico, home to resorts like Cancun and Cozumel, a large area of low pressure will move northwest across the peninsula with heavy rain and sub-tropical wind speeds this weekend before emerging into the southern Gulf early next week.  There is still a large disparity between various computer model solutions on where this system heads once it reaches the Gulf, ranging from the Rio Grande Valley of deep south Texas/northeastern Mexico to the central to northeastern Gulf coast of the United States (think of some of our favorite beaches along the AL/FL coastline or perhaps as far west as New Orleans).

Model tracks for AL93, which will cross the Yucatan this weekend then emerge into the Gulf early next week (WxBell)
In any scenario, it would be late next week before that occurs and none of the models turns "beast mode" on for AL93 (area of investigation #93), but it'll still bear watching! ANd it's also still much too soon to know if it will have any effect on local weather in the Mid-South. If a tropical storm forms from this system, it would likely be called Bret (see 2017 storm names), owing to the fact that premature Arlene formed in the vast reaches of the central Atlantic a couple of months prior to the official start of the season. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are fairly close to average (within about 1° F, with actual water temperatures near 83° F), though they are warmer than average off the Texas coast.

This map from shows sea surface temperature anomalies in shades of red (warmer than average) and blue (cooler than average), as well as ocean currents. The Loop Current is well-established in the southeastern Gulf and the well-known Gulf Stream can also be seen flowing from the Loop Current up the east coast. The position of AL93 is shown and has near average water temperatures ahead of it, unless it heads towards the Lower TX coast.  

AL92 - Windward Islands and beyond?

If the Caribbean system isn't called Bret if/when it develops full tropical storm status, it'll only be because "AL92" in the south-central Atlantic beats it to the punch (see first graphic above)! Moving abeam the northern shores of South America in the next few days, this tropical disturbance seems to have less a chance of development in the long-run, but could be the earliest tropical developments in this part of the world on historical record! Check out the graphic below, which shows no previous development recorded in the central Atlantic during the middle part of June!
The early months of the Atlantic season are typically reserved for development in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, while the long-haul trackers across the Atlantic that are born from storm systems in western Africa that take a drink in the eastern Atlantic don't start gearing up until well into the tropical season. Here are the potential tracks for AL92, which are fairly tightly clustered towards the Windward Islands in 3-4 days:

Model tracks for AL92 as it heads towards the Windward Islands in a few days (WxBell)

New for 2017

There are a couple of interesting items of note that are new for the 2017 hurricane season. First, the National Hurricane Center will have the option this year to issue advisories, watches, and warnings for disturbances that are not yet a tropical cyclone, but which pose the threat of bringing tropical storm or hurricane conditions to land areas within 48 hours.

Previously, a system must have attained tropical depression status for watches and warnings to be issued or NHC advisories to be initiated. Now, a "Potential Tropical Cyclone" can trigger advisories or watches/warnings for land prior to the storm actually officially "forming," thereby allowing more preparation time for those who might be affected in its path (but only if within 48 hours of potential impact to land).

In addition, this will be the first year that Storm Surge Watches and Warnings will be officially issued for tropical cyclones that pose a threat to U.S. soil. This additional warning type will help coastal communities to know about, and respond to, significant water rises above normal tidal levels, another step in alerting impacted communities to the various threats of hurricanes, separate from just the wind speeds expected. To learn more about these, and other new products and services that will be available from the Hurricane Center this year, check out this link.

A potential storm surge flooding map for a sample hurricane making landfall along the upper Texas coast. This is just an example of the types of maps that will be available for any U.S. land-falling tropical system this year, developed by the Storm Surge unit of the National Hurricane Center. (NOAA/NHC)
For additional resources during the 2017 hurricane season, be sure to check out MWN's Tropical Page, which we do our best to keep up-to-date throughout the season! Also, StormWatch+ is being updated to include push alerts for Storm Surge Watches and Warnings for coastal areas (remember StormWatch+ works nationwide!), so you can rest assured that if you visit your favorite beach this year, you will receive all of the pertinent alerts from the Hurricane Center and local National Weather Service office while you are there (as long as you program the alerts for your vacation destination)!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A summer pattern yields chances of strong storms Thursday

Summer is here! I've seen several references the past couple of days to "sweating as soon as I step outside" and "rain falling while the sun is shining." Both are clearly indications that it is summer in the city! Here's another good sign of the same:

Visible satellite imagery at mid-day Wednesday, described below. (SSEC/RealEarth - data is preliminary and non-operational) Click here if image does not loop.
Visible satellite loops this afternoon from our amazing new GOES-16 satellite, which produces a high-resolution picture every 5 minutes, clearly shows abundant moisture in place (evidenced by a widespread cumulus cloud field across the region) and small showers popping up seemingly at random (the brighter, more "agitated" clouds). It looks a lot like a tropical airmass. These small downpours have been popping up the past 3 days as temperatures have reached near or just above 90° each day. In fact, combined with increasing humidity, today is the first day this year that the heat index has reached 100° and it was also the warmest day of the year at 92°! Hopefully those of you working outside have been taking it easy, with frequent breaks and plenty of water.


The scenario changes a bit tomorrow as storms will upstream of the Mid-South start infringing on the northern periphery of the high pressure system dominating our area tonight. As they do, outflow boundaries from said storm systems work their way south and encounter our warm, moist airmass. I expect that by Thursday morning we'll start seeing increasing thunderstorm chances. I currently have a 50/50 chance of storms in the Thursday forecast, including during the morning hours. Scattered storms could continue into the afternoon unless a more organized complex happens to move through during the morning, in which case it could scrub the instability from the atmosphere long enough to put a damper on afternoon storms. In any case, be prepared for more thunderstorms tomorrow than we have see previously this week.

The late afternoon run of the HRRR high-resolution model, showing "future radar" through 11am Thursday. It indicates the possibility of a few t'storms overnight (which I'm not sure will actually happen) and more organized chances by mid-morning. The HRRR can be a bit aggressive in its handling of precipitation, but gives us an idea of what to watch out for! (WxBell - click here if image does not loop)

Severe weather chances

As for severe weather, the Storm Prediction Center says we have a Slight Risk (category 2 of 5) of damaging wind in storms on Thursday. Any storms will also be capable of very heavy rain thanks to humidity thick enough to slice with a knife, and perhaps some small hail.

A Slight Risk (category 2/5) of severe weather is forecast Thursday by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). 
The good news is that it appears that by Thursday evening most of the storm chances will have moved east and south of the metro, leaving humid but likely dry conditions in place for outdoor activities like Levitt Shell and the Memphis Redbirds.

This weekend

Heading into the weekend, I expect conditions not unlike what we've experienced to start the week. Hot and humid with a few afternoon and evening showers or thunderstorms. By Sunday evening, a "for real" cold front looks to make a run at us and move through overnight. This front will bring increased chances of rain and thunder late Sunday into early Monday, but then drier and less humid weather to start next week. Let's hope!

As always, get the latest weather information for Memphis via our social media feeds and MWN Forecast, which you can find online and in our apps. Also in the apps, local radar and current conditions, as well as our Twitter feed for the most recent updates. Be sure to check it out!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer returns this week - heat, humidity, and PM rain chances

Following an early week cold front, an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. and high pressure at the surface provided for some very pleasant early-June conditions! Low dewpoints provided for cool mornings, warm but not humid afternoons and very pleasant evenings this week.

The upper level pattern on Thursday evening shows the reason for pleasant weather locally - a large trough that brought cooler conditions to the eastern U.S. However, a large ridge to the west was lurking. (PivotalWx.)

One by-product of the stable conditions provided by surface high pressure late this week has been a buildup of ozone at the low levels. While ozone high in the atmosphere is a good thing, near the surface, it means difficulty breathing for those with asthma and other lung-related diseases, as well as the very young and old, and those who do strenuous work outdoors during peak heating hours. The ozone buildup resulted in the Shelby County Health Department issuing a "Code Orange" advisory for Friday and Saturday, indicating that the air was unhealthy to breathe for the sensitive groups listed above. In addition, ozone rose to a high enough level that a "Code Red" advisory (one higher than Code Orange) was issued for a few hours late Friday afternoon and evening, indicating that the ozone levels could cause difficulty breathing for all groups of people. You can monitor air quality status by visiting or the MWN Air Quality/UV Forecast page.

As we head deeper into the weekend, the trough over the east is being replaced by a very strong upper level ridge, which extends south into the Mid-South. This will mean much warmer temperatures (records in fact) for the next few days over the Midwest and into the Northeast, while we start to see warmer temperatures and increasing humidity thanks to high pressure over the southeast U.S. that is bringing more moisture from the Gulf. While the weather remains dry and partly cloudy, southerly wind and the building high aloft will push temperatures into the upper 80s to near 90 this weekend. Sunday in particular will see dewpoints rise well into the 60s, which will make it feel more muggy.

By this weekend, the ridge described above has shifted east, bringing with it hot air and high pressure. Under the ridge, a developing upper level low in east TX will trigger this week's heating-of -the-day thunderstorm chances. (PivotalWx) 

For next week, unfortunately, an unsettled pattern will be in place, promoting daily chances of showers and thunderstorms, particularly in the afternoon and evening when heating is at a maximum. With the high pressure ridge aloft in place to our northeast, surface high pressure over the southeast, and an upper level low over Texas, temperatures will be in the upper 80s to near 90 during the afternoon when scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected and lows will remain above 70 degrees, making for muggy and warm mornings. The pattern looks to let up, if not break, by late in the week to early next weekend when a weak cold front moves into the region. Until then, plan to keep an umbrella handy each day and prepare for downpours where slow-moving cells form. Severe weather threats appear minimal as wind energy and upper level dynamics remains weak.

The MWN app featuring the human-generated Memphis forecast and our social media feeds will keep you on top of the latest on what areas can expect to be affected by storms on a daily basis! Pertinent links can be found below.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

May 2017 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

May Recap

For the first time in a calendar year, May was actually cooler than average in Memphis, the first below normal monthly average since last May. The average first 90° day in Memphis is May 24, but the month came and went with the highest temperature being 89° reached twice at the end of the month. (Subsequently, Memphis reached 90° for the first time in 2017 on June 6.) High temperatures were just below average, but low temperatures were cooler than normal by almost 2 degrees, which included a couple days in the first week of the month that dropped into the mid 40s.

Precipitation-wise, May was overall drier than average with rainy systems moving through about once a week and dry periods between. Nearly half of the month's total precipitation fell in the last week or so, including heavy rain and severe thunderstorms on Memorial Day weekend (more below).

Despite the rainfall deficit, May saw a couple of episodes of severe weather. The first were reports of sporadic wind damage on May 5. The last, and much more significant, was a bow echo/derecho that moved through the metro during the late evening on May 27. This storm, which resulted in widespread wind damage and peak wind that topped out above 100 mph in a microburst downburst near Frayser and 60-80 mph over a large part of the Shelby and DeSoto County, resulted in the second largest loss of utility power by customers in MLGW history (188,000 customers, or 45% of the customer base of the utility). It took 10 days to fully restore all power with approximately 100 utility crews, sourced locally and hundreds of miles away, working 16 hour days.

May also marked the end of meteorological spring, the period from March through May, averaging 64.7° (1.8° above normal) with precipitation totaling 13.19", or 2.72" below average.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 70.7 degrees (1.0 degrees below average)
Average high temperature: 80.8 degrees (0.4 degrees below average)
Average low temperature: 60.5 degrees (1.7 degrees below average)
Warmest temperature: 89 degrees (27th, 31st)
Coolest temperature: 47 degrees (4th, 6th)
Heating Degrees Days: 23 (4 above average)
Cooling Degree Days: 206 (20 below average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Year to date, the average temperature of 59.6° is 4.5° above normal and second warmest on record (2012).

Monthly total: 4.22" (1.03" below average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 13 (2.7 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.17" (28th)
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Year to date, precipitation has totaled 18.85" or 78% of normal.

Peak wind: West/66 mph (27th)
Average wind: 8.6 mph
Average relative humidity: 68%
Average sky cover: 50%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 72.1 degrees
Average high temperature: 82.7 degrees
Average low temperature: 60.7 degrees
Warmest temperature: 89.1 degrees (30th)
Coolest temperature: 47.9 degrees (7th)
Comments: Data only covers the period May 6-31.

Monthly total: 5.71" (automated rain gauge after May 5, prior rainfall recorded via manual gauge), 5.84" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 10
Wettest date: 1.11" (28th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: West/38 mph (27th)
Average relative humidity: 72%
Average barometric pressure: 29.92 in. Hg
Comments: Data only covers the period May 6-31.

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 1.95 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 70%
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.65 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 55%

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