Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Relief in sight, with a price

It's become clear to us that everyone is sick of the heat, us included. If this is actually true, we do have some good news in this forecast blog. The only problem? This dry spell we've had the past several days is finally coming to an end, because any good thing has to come with a catch.


Our nighttime forecast has become a broken record for the past week almost now (not just daytime). Plan on clear skies tonight. As for temperatures: despite those clear skies, conditions will be very mild with a low around 75 and dew points hanging around 70 (that dew point means it's muggy!).


Tomorrow, the ridging over the southeast continues, bringing in muggy conditions from the south with southerly flow. Source: Tropical Tidbits (GFS MSLP and 10m winds)

The "Death Ridge" as I'm calling it remains in the south tomorrow. That means that we are going to remain dry as temperatures again soar into the mid 90s and heat indices linger around 100. With winds wrapping around that high from the south, muggier air from the Gulf will be brought in during the day. What does that mean: bad hair day, uncontrollable sweating, swearing every time you step outside and you feel like you are stepping into an oven. The only thing we've got going for us in the forecast tomorrow is mostly sunny skies. As for tomorrow night, an increase in clouds is expected. Temperatures drop to a not so cool low of 75, once again.


Friday, especially in the afternoon/evening, we start watching a front that will be working its way into the Mid-South. With it comes our break from the heat. Source: Tropical Tidbits (12km NAM Reflectivity and MSLP)

Here's where we finally break free of that bland, intolerable forecast. Friday will start with a mix of sun and clouds, along with humid, hot conditions (but not as hot with highs around 90). Later in the day, we start watching an inbound front that will start dipping down towards us. With it comes the chance for showers and storms for the afternoon and evening. That rain chance will hang on through the night, meaning clouds will be stuck in the forecast keeping our low in the 70s, but slightly cooler around 72. Along with those clouds during the night, rain chances remain as we deal with that front starting to stall.

The Weekend

Plans for the weekend? They might be a little difficult. That front coming Friday stalls over the Mid-South. That means each day, throughout the entire day, we will be dealing with scattered showers and storms. That said, it won't be a total wash out. We will see some breaks in the rain. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler with the arrival of the rain. Saturday will see temps topping off in the mid 80s and Sunday will be even cooler in the lower 80s (oh sweet relief). Now despite the cooler weather, clouds at night mess up any chances at crisp fall-like temps overnight. Instead, look for lows around 70. For those heading to the Liberty Bowl for Memphis Tigers football game Saturday, it's still TBD how exactly rain could/will impact the game, but know that there is the chance for it. But hey, cooler temperatures at least!

Next Week (Monday-Wednesday)

That stalled front from the weekend? Yeah, about that. It stays in our forecast for Monday as it weakens, meaning we hang on to our rain chances; however, they do drop slightly as the energy for the front dissipates. While that energy drops, we will start to see a weak southerly flow start to be reestablished. All of this adds up to our temperatures starting to climb slightly. Despite that, we don't return to the 90s and dewpoints should remain below 70. Despite the falling rain chances, plan on more scattered shower and storm activity, rather than more organized precipitation like we will have during the weekend. Nights should be mostly dry as lows keep hovering around 70.

A Bigger Cool Down In Sight?

Models are picking up on a bigger cool down near the end of next work week. What exactly will the temperatures be? They will be noticeably cooler, but we want to wait before giving any exact details since we are still a week or so out. But it is conceivable that we could see lows into the 50s. The week 2 temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a strong likelihood of below normal temperatures - the first time we have seen that in recent memory!

The week 2 (Sep 27-Oct 3) temperature outlook for the U.S. indicates a strong chance of below average temperatures for a large portion of the central U.S., including the Mid-South. (NOAA/CPC)

Reggie Roakes
MWN Meteorologist

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Is it August or September? Hot temps will remain all of this week

There really are no major weather talking points for the Mid-South region this upcoming week as our forecast will be primarily dominated by hot temperatures and not a whole lot in terms of precipitation.

Unfortunately, there are parts of the U.S. that have been seeing historic amounts of rainfall lately. As we discussed in last week's blog, former Hurricane Florence eventually made landfall along the North Carolina coastline and has since brought catastrophic flooding to both North and South Carolina. Florence, now a tropical depression in wind strength, continues to bring bands of heavy rainfall to both states and has been doing so since last Thursday. Some areas have received over 30" of rainfall in this event alone.

A look at the 7-day observed precipitation total over the Carolinas displays a large area that has received 20+ inches of rain over this period. The majority of this rain has come over a 3 to 4 day span. (NOAA/NWS)

An additional crazy statistic from this event is that Wilmington, NC has already broken its annual rainfall record. The previous record, set in 1877, was 83.65 inches over the 12 month period. The area has already broken this record by reading 86.79 inches so far, and we still have three more months left in the year!


Back to the Mid-South, expecting for a generally quiet evening tonight as temps slowly begin to cool off after sunset. Additionally, clear skies overnight will help our temps to cool with lows expected to reach near 74 in the city and a bit cooler in the suburbs by early tomorrow morning. 

Tomorrow through Thursday

In general, the first several days of this week will be extremely similar with no major weather pattern variations. There will be plenty of sunshine to go around each day with mostly sunny skies expected to dominate our weather pattern. Highs each day will reach into the low 90s with tolerable humidity. We could even sneak into the mid 90s range on a day or two. Dewpoint temperatures will generally stay around 70, which isn't comfortable but isn't completely miserable either. The good news from this is that heat index values to go along with our highs in the 90s should near 100, but shouldn't go much over that. Nonetheless, it'll be toasty outside this week! 

For the evening and overnight hours, clear skies will help temps to cool each night with temps falling into the lower to mid 70s. 


The end of the work week appears to be the only day with a slight variation from the rest of the week. Overall, expecting for a similar weather pattern in terms of temperature with highs in the lower 90s and lows in the mid 70s. Our difference maker will be that rain chances will slowly begin to re-enter the forecast starting on Friday. 

A cold front will approach the Mid-South through the second half of the work week, but will slowly push into our area this weekend and eventually stall out. So what will this mean? We should eventually get a little relief from the heat we have experienced all of this week, but not as much relief as we all really want. 

The WPC shows a cold front slowly making its way southward by early Friday morning (NOAA/WPC)

WPC's Day 7 (Sunday morning) surface front map shows very little movement as compared to Friday's chart with Friday's cold front becoming a stationary front draped over the Mid-South. (NOAA/WPC)
We aren't expecting a washout for Friday; showers and thunderstorms will likely stay scattered at best. 

Week in review

Overall this upcoming week looks to dip a little back into the summer-like category rather than fall-like, despite the autumnal equinox occurring on Saturday evening. Hopefully Mother Nature won't make us wait too long to finally get some of that fall weather we are all craving. Fingers crossed!

A glance at next weekend 

In short, this upcoming weekend appears to keep the above average temperatures in place with a few additional rain chances becoming possible. To put things in perspective, "normal" high temps for mid-September are generally in the mid 80s with "normal" low temps in the mid 60s. We are expecting to be near 90 for our high this weekend with overnight lows in the lower 70s. These temps sound more like mid-August than mid-September if you ask me. 

The CPC has temps remaining well above average next weekend through the first part of the following week (Sep. 22-26). (NOAA/CPC)

The CPC keeps the Mid-South in the above average category for precipitation from Saturday through the beginning of next week, largely due to the presence of the front in the area during a good part of that timeframe. (NOAA/CPC)

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Warmer temps/dry conditions return, and let's talk Florence

The stationary front that has been placed to our south recently has finally begun to move away allowing us to begin warming starting today and especially by Thursday. Our sky remains mostly cloudy with a few showers continuing to dot the radar. Luckily, today appears to be the last day that this will be the case. Who's ready for a little change?


Temps will stay well below average today as highs are only expected to reach around 80 degrees. Our constant cloudiness will help to keep temps this cool. Scattered showers are certainty possible as we move into the afternoon and evening hours, but my guess would be the majority of us will stay dry. If you do get a sprinkle or two of rain, congratulations you've won the rain lottery!

Clouds overnight will help to keep our temps from cooling too dramatically overnight, but still expect temps to fall to near 69. 

Warmer temps return tomorrow 

We will finally begin our transition from this dreary weather pattern on Thursday as high pressure begins to build into the eastern half of the U.S. Temps will warm back to near normal tomorrow with highs reaching around 88. By Friday into this weekend, highs will continue to push into the upper 80s. Normal for our area in mid-September is around 87 degrees, so we should stay around to a degree or two above this over the next few days.

GFS 500mb analysis shows a general ridging pattern over the Eastern half of the U.S. (with the exception of Hurricane Florence). This ridging will allow temps to warm back to above average and keep rain chances low. (Pivotal Weather)
The other benefit from this high pressure building into our area will be less shower activity. Generally speaking, rain chances will be non-existent over the next few days with only a few clouds across the sky. 

For those with #FridayNightLights plans either at the high school or college level, Mother Nature will provide some very nice conditions. Temps will be near the mid 80s at kickoff and will steadily drop through the game to near 80. Additionally, we are not expecting any rain. Sounds like good football weather to me. 

Next Week

Overall, no major weather changes are expected for next week, but rather a continuation of the weather pattern we will experience beginning tomorrow. High pressure will remain over the area. The only potential change will be the direction of our local winds. As the eventual remnants of Florence drift westward (don't worry, no rain from the storm is currently expected locally), the influences could aid in turning our winds from northerly to northeasterly. Overall, not expecting any big  changes though!

In short, above average temps will continue next week with highs in the upper 80s to near 90 and overnight lows in the low 70s. Drier conditions will remain as well with minimal rain chances through the extended period. 

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has highlighted our area in the above average category for much of next week. (NOAA/CPC)
CPC maintains below average precipitation over the Mid-South next week. (NOAA/CPC)

A look at Hurricane Florence

While Hurricane Florence does not pose any threat to our area, this is a very powerful system that is worth mentioning. Hurricane Florence is currently a high-end category 3 located in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to be very near the U.S. coast on Friday and Saturday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows Hurricane Florence maintaining major hurricane strength as it nears the North Carolina and South Carolina coastlines. The cone represents where the center of the storm could be, but does not necessarily represent the direct impacts related to this system. Damaging wind and storm surge could both occur outside of the cone.  (NOAA/NHC)
There are some interesting atmospheric features that have made forecasting Hurricane Florence's long-range track particularly interesting. A stationary front and mid-level ridge of high pressure has begun to set up along the Appalachian Mountain range that will act to slow down Hurricane Florence and not allow it to push inland as quickly as previously thought. Because of this, Florence will slow to  a crawl and bring torrential rainfall to parts of North and South Carolina.

NHC's key messages highlights the potentially life-threatening storm surge and rainfall that could occur in North and South Carolina due to the Hurricane Florence.  (NOAA/NHC)

If you have friends or family in the area, this is a serious situation and all local evacuations and orders should be followed. More information can be found at or through local emergency management in North and South Carolina.

Again, this system will not affect the Mid-South area, but since it is a major weather event, we felt that it should be discussed in the blog. As always, for the latest information on our local weather, reference the links below. 

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cooler weather? Yes, please! Plus a look at Florence

The front that seemed to bring endless storms yesterday evening/last night is finally pushing through, despite the clouds lingering around. Behind this front is some much needed heat relief and lower humidity that should last through a majority of the coming week.


A large stratiform cloud deck remains placed across the Mid-South behind the rain as the front moves through. Source: College of DuPage

Clouds held strong across the Mid-South, but at least the rain moved out as the front pushed southeast of the metro. You probably noticed that the temperatures were much cooler thanks to the cold air coming in behind the front, along with the ample cloud cover preventing any day-time heating. In fact, our daytime high of 70 degrees was the coolest we've been since late April! How's that for some relief? As we head into the night, plan on very crisp temperatures with a low of 63. Too bad the clouds won't be budging. If they did, maybe we could get even cooler since they act like a blanket holding in the "heat." Some might even say today and tonight are a tease of what fall has to bring.


Those Monday feels shouldn't be as bad as usual thanks to the cool morning air as you head out the door. The only downfall with tomorrow will be that we won't get the clouds out of here. Part of the reason for the persistent clouds will be that the first front will be to our south, but a upper level trough will be diving south and moving through the area late Monday into Monday night. The arrival of this trough will not initially have any adverse effects, but it could lead to some very isolated showers Monday night, with the greatest chance in north Mississippi. Plan on little change in temperatures with Monday's high only in the mid 70s. Monday night, aside from the chance of an isolated shower, skies will be mostly cloudy and temps drop to the mid 60s. 

Tuesday Through Friday

Don't look for much change in the forecast at this point of the forecast. The upper level trough that moves into the area Monday sets up camp over the Mid-South. That means each day we will see a small chance of a shower with a good coverage of clouds, especially Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday it scoots slightly further south: enough to drop rain chances and clear skies up slightly. Any rain on Tuesday and Wednesday will be very light and scattered, so not everyone will see it each day (or maybe not even either day). Temperatures through this period will slowly be on the rise, going from a high of 78 Tuesday back to the upper 80s by Friday. Yup...the warm weather returns. Lows follow that same trend, starting in the upper 60s Tuesday and climbing to the lower 70s.

The Weekend

Next weekend is on track to be decent with the upper level trough to our south. Skies will be partly cloudy each day with highs near 90 degrees. Nights will feature mostly clear skies and lows in the lower 70s. A brief return to summer for a few more days!

Hurricane Florence

The current forecast from the National Hurricane Center brings Florence to the east coast as a Cat. 4 hurricane before landfall late this week.
If you haven't heard by now, eyes are on Hurricane Florence that is currently located in the Atlantic. Current projections have this tropical system making landfall along the east coast. Now, we are going to take a moment and encourage you to be careful about where you are receiving updates about this system. An exact landfall location is still not known, since just small changes in the ridge to its north and the front moving across the US now can have big changes in where this goes. 

Current multi-model forecast graph of strength for Florence. Source: Tropical Tidbits.
Looking at intensity forecasts, you can see that Florence is forecast to continue to rapidly strengthen as it enters warmer water and experiences less wind shear (which tends to put a lid on strengthening). There is good agreement among the best models that Florence will maintain major hurricane strength right up until it nears the coast, a "major" problem for wherever it ends up! The graph above shows a rapid fall in intensity, however that is due to land interaction, as those models have it moving ashore after about 96 hours (4 days). Besides the wind and accompanying storm surge, the big story from this storm is likely to be significant to record inland flooding over the Mid-Atlantic as it appears the center of circulation could stall out in the region for perhaps a few days.

Numerous model plots of projected track for Florence as the storm approaches the east coast. Source: Mike's Weather Page
Regardless of strength, those along the east coast should remain aware of what local forecasters are saying over the next several day to remain safe. We don't expect any direct impacts from Florence on our weather here in the Mid-South.

Reginald Roakes
MWN Meteorologist

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Gordon brings rain chances; wetter/cooler to start next week

Tropical Depression Gordon is currently set up over the Mississippi Valley and continues to push slowly northwest. While the center of the storm is not expected to pass over our area, we could see some showers and thunderstorms reach our area later today into tomorrow. Dreary conditions may linger till the end of the week before the system pushes off to the northeast heading into this weekend. By early next week, a front stalls out over the Mid-South, which could potentially bring even more rain to our area.

So what will all of this mean for us over the next week? Overall, we are expecting for some fairly wet conditions with temps right around to below normal thanks to the cloud coverage associated with these showers.

The Weather Predication Center 7-day quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) brings around 2" of rainfall to the Mid-South from now through next Tuesday. (NOAA/WPC)

Today & Tomorrow

As of mid-day, temps sit in the mid 80s with winds already around 10 mph. As we move through the remainder of today, expect for increasing clouds and increasing shower and isolated thunderstorm chances.  Wind will continue to increase this afternoon as well with sustained winds around 15 mph with gusts a bit higher. Currently satellite imagery shows a band of clouds associated with Tropical Depression Gordon pushing up into the Mid-South.

Morning visible satellite imagery shows increasing cloud coverage across the Mid-South. (College of DuPage)
I would expect most of our Tennessee counties to stay dry through the first half of the afternoon with only our Mississippi counties possibly seeing a scattered shower or two. As we move into the late afternoon to evening hours and into tomorrow,  our rain chances will continue to increase with thunderstorms becoming more likely on Thursday. 

The NAM 3km model shows scattered showers moving through the Mid-South tonight into tomorrow. (Tropical Tidbits) 
Overall, temps will remain in the upper 80s for our highs and mid 70s for our lows over the next two days.

Friday & Saturday

As we reach the end of the week and beginning of the weekend, scattered showers are anticipated to stick around. Luckily, we are not expecting a wash out, just scattered cloud coverage with the occasional shower/thunderstorm or two. Highs will remain near 90 both days with overnight lows in the mid 70s. 

Sunday into the beginning of next week 

Clouds and showers will begin to return on Sunday as we enter back into another wet period. A surface cold front will begin to swing down to our area to start next week, but it won't ever completely pass through our area. Instead, the front is expected to stall out over our area and hang around for the first half of the week.

WPC surface forecast for Monday shows a surface low pressure over the Ohio River Valley with a corresponding front draped over the Mid-South. (NOAA/WPC)
WPC shows this same front (48 hours later) still draped over the Mid-South, but has now become stationary. (NOAA/WPC)

The good news is that this will help keep clouds and rain over our area, which in turn will help our temps stay in the mid 80s for the first half of next week. The bad news, depending how you look at it, will be that scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible each day Sunday through Tuesday.

The best advice we can give at this point is to expect cooler temps next week with showers being possible each day. The forecast will become more fine-tuned as we head towards the beginning of next week, so be sure to reference the links below each day for the most up-to-date forecast.

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Gordon's effects on the Mid-South

As Tropical Storm (maybe Hurricane, depending on when you read this) Gordon heads towards the central Gulf Coast for a landfall likely to occur somewhere along the MS or AL coastline, many of you have expressed interest in how it will affect our weather.

Forecast track and intensity

Latest forecast track of Gordon from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The track forecast has been spot on and relatively easy for several days (in fact, almost a week ago, the European model depicted a landfall near New Orleans for the middle of this week, before the Hurricane Center started publicizing the possibility of the storm). A strong mid and upper level ridge of high pressure over the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley is basically steering the storm northwest. That trend will continue through landfall tonight and into Wednesday and Thursday, though a slower forward speed is expected after landfall. While Gordon may briefly reach hurricane strength before landfall tonight, it will quickly diminish in strength once it encounters land.

Primary threats remain to our south

The primary threats with the storm will be hurricane force wind in a small area near the center where it makes landfall, storm surge for the MS/AL/west FL panhandle coastlines, and copious amounts of rain across along and just to the right of its track into the Lower Mississippi Valley and western Mid-South. Along that path, rainfall amounts of up to 6-10"+ will be likely, resulting in flash flooding in some areas. The most recent rainfall potential graphic is shown below.

Potential for heavy rain and flash flooding will remain to our south the next couple of days. (NHC via WPC)

Mid-South rainfall

The heaviest and steadiest rain will miss the greater Memphis area it appears, though we will start to see scattered showers and thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon as the center moves across south-central MS. The trend will continue Wednesday night as it moves into southern AR, though with fewer thunderstorms. The Storm Prediction Center believes any strong wind or isolated tornadoes common in landfalling tropical systems will remain to our south.

The SPC severe weather outlook for Wednesday indicates the potential for severe storms should remain to our south. (SPC)

By Thursday, as the center of the remnants of Gordon move through western or central AR, we will be in a position to see continued chances of showers and thunderstorms. It is worth pointing out that no prolonged heavy rains are expected, but some localized areas could get a downpour, especially in thunderstorm cells. Overall, an inch of rain or so can't be ruled out over the next couple of days but most places should stay under a half inch.

NWS/WPC rainfall forecast through Thursday evening shows 1"+ rainfall amounts to our south.

Rain chances looks to dip a bit Friday into Saturday as the storm moves well to our west, though with ta humid and moist airmass left behind, a chance of thunderstorms, especially in the afternoons can't be ruled out. By late in the weekend, it appears a frontal system could slowly approach, resulting in increased rain chances as it moves into the humid air.

Mid-South wind impacts

As for wind, the strongest sustained wind in our area will likely be Wednesday afternoon when the storm is still at its strongest and in close enough proximity to generate easterly gusts to 25 mph or so. That is expected to calm down to 10-15 mph Wednesday night and Thursday as Gordon falls apart. No major power or tree issues are expected, just a fresh breeze from a semi-unusual direction tomorrow!

We encourage you to check out the MWN Forecast for the latest information via the mobile app or our website, and stick to us on Facebook and Twitter for hyper-local updates as needed. All links are below. Hopefully, the best news from Gordon is increased cloud cover and some showers that knock the edge off the heat of late!

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