Sunday, February 4, 2018

Progressive weather pattern yields rapidly-changing conditions & an important anniversary

The various rodents from across the nation - including Punxsutawney Phil, Gen. Beauregard Lee, and Chattanooga Chuck - have all agreed that we've got six more weeks of winter.  I for one am rooting against them! It'll be a busy week ahead in the weather department, but global patterns suggest that we might begin edging away from a wintry pattern in the eastern U.S. as we move through the second half of February. However, I never rule out a snow day until we get past the first week of March! (In fact, you may remember the very light snow we got on March 13-14 just last year!)


Mother Nature was kind to bring us rain last night, but to keep it confined to the overnight hours. She left us with mostly sunny skies and near average temperatures today, though an upper level trough that follows last night's system arrives late this afternoon with gusty northwest wind and cloudy skies. A sprinkle or flurry this evening can't be ruled out, but I have no concern. A flurry or a few would melt immediately as they reach the ground.

An upper level disturbance (orange/red colors) delivers a glancing blow to the Mid-South as we head into the overnight hours. An increase in northwest wind, cooler temperatures, and a very small chance of an evening sprinkle or flurry accompany it. (PivotalWx) 

We'll feel the post-trough cold air Monday with morning lows back into the 20s and highs remaining below 50. Morning wind chills will be in the teens again tomorrow so add a layer to the kiddos as they head out the door. We should get a fair amount of sunshine on Monday to partially modify the cold airmass.

The next rainmaker - Tuesday

The pattern begins to change again Monday night as southerly wind and clouds return, holding temperatures up near 40 as rain chances re-emerge. Tuesday and Tuesday night bring our next chance of rain. In fact, we could see a good deal of it, particularly Tuesday night, though Tuesday will be fairly wet as well, just not as heavy as could occur Tuesday night. By the time it's all said and done Wednesday morning, portions of the Mid-South could see as much as a couple of inches of the wet stuff. As low pressure tracks through the southern portion of the region Tuesday night and instability increases in the mid levels of the atmosphere, a few rumbles of thunder are also possible. Tuesday's highs will be near 50.

Forecast precipitation totals for our Tuesday/Tuesday night weather system. A few rumbles of thunder are also possible Tuesday night but no severe weather will occur. (NWS via WxBell)

The second half of the week

The mid-week period provide a short, cool reprieve from the rain (once any lingering showers depart early Wednesday) with highs generally in the mid to upper 40s and lows in the mid 30s Wednesday and below freezing Thursday. Though clouds stick around Wednesday, Thursday will be sunny. By Friday, south wind will push temperatures into the mid 50s with continued sunshine, as it looks right now. Overall...

Next weekend

The next weather system (our third in a week - who debates that we are in a progressive weather pattern?) arrives next weekend. The European and American GFS models are once again battling over how the weekend plays out like it's the Ryder Cup . If you want at least half of it to be decent, you're rooting for the Euro. If you like wet weekends, we Americans seem to be good at forecasting that. #EuroFTW

Stay in tune with rapidly-changing and often only partially-predictable conditions with the MWN mobile app. The forecast is updated daily to give you insight into our latest thinking and our social media feeds will keep you in the know on how to plan your day! Links are below in the footer.

The anniversary of an important weather day

Monday marks the 10 year anniversary of the Super Tuesday tornado outbreak that included among its 87 tornadoes an EF-2 that moved from Southaven, MS into the Hickory Ridge area of Memphis while being shown live on WREG-TV during the afternoon rush hour. In addition, no one will forget the EF-4 that tore through the Union University campus in Jackson, TN, but miraculously took no lives.

A screen-capture of the tornadic storm carried live on WREG-TV on February 5 ,2008. The flash of light in the lower right is likely a power flash caused by the downing of power lines by the tornadic wind. (YouTube/WREG-TV)
In addition, it is National Weatherperson's Day and the 8th birthday of Cirrus Weather Solutions, LLC, my private company that serves as an umbrella organization for, and StormWatch+. For more on the events of this day in history, see this blog post from last year.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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1 comment:

Barfolomew said...

Looking back at the Channel 3 video, I am amazed at how obvious it is the local TV meteorologists did not really understand what they were seeing. At one point about a minute into the video, the camera captures a series of power flashes (which the weather guys refer to later as “flashes of lightning” and “light flashes”), yet continues to pan the camera away from the flash. That can only mean they did not realize they were looking at strong evidence of where the tornado was actually on the ground. In fact, they just kept talking through it. As Gary England would say, “Power flashes, power flashes! Tornado on the ground!”. Where tornadoes are more common, even layman in the public know and dread the meaning behind power flashes. Maybe I am just spoiled from time spent in the Great Plains where severe weather coverage included helicopters tracking the tornadoes live on-air (even at night!) and where each local news affiliate had their own small fleet of trained storm chasers whose goal was to provide precise intersection locations of the funnel as it moved across an area.

With an average of 14 tornadoes resulting in 5 deaths each year in the Memphis warning area, I am a little surprised that a more robust “offensive line” of trained and knowledgeable storm chasers has not developed in our region and/or that local media outlets do not draw more upon this resource in their storm coverage. These individuals are often the best source of information regarding real-time storm status and location in Tornado Alley.

Regardless, three cheers for our local “weather persons”! They may be under appreciated here, but I know from firsthand experience there are other places in the US where they are virtual rock stars. May our local weather person community come to enjoy such support and recognition.