Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dreary for now; windy conditions tomorrow with severe t'storms possible

After a few days of sunny skies, our dreary conditions have returned once again. Luckily, after some showers tomorrow and Thursday, we should remain dry for a while. Additionally, temperatures are expected to remain near to above average for the next few days.

If you are wanting to know Memphis' weather for the next few days without a nerdy tidbit, go ahead and skip forward to the "today" section. If you want a nerdy tidbit here you go. We are expecting showers and thunderstorms beginning late tomorrow afternoon and continuing through midday Thursday. While this may seem like a normal Springtime system for us, it is actually quite the opposite for some people. The system that will be bringing us showers and thunderstorms is associated with a low pressure system currently in Colorado, drifting towards the Central U.S. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, this system will go from around 1000 mb (pretty typical for a low pressure system) to around 976 mb (not typical for a mid-latitude low pressure system; i.e. this is as low as some land-falling hurricanes, crazy right?!). 

The Weather Prediction Center's Forecast for Wednesday shows a complex system moving across the Central U.S. This system will bring lots of snow to portions of the Western U.S. and Northern Plains while bringing rain across the Ohio River Valley and to us here in the Mid-South. (NOAA/WPC)
While this system will bring us some showers and thunderstorms, many in the Western to Central U.S. will experience blizzard conditions from this system. Additionally, this low pressure being so strong will help to drive some of the windy conditions we will see tomorrow and Thursday.


We've already seen a few showers pass by bringing about a quarter of an inch of rain to the airport so far. Unfortunately, today just looks to be another one of those dreary types of day. While we aren't expecting any widespread showers, scattered showers will continue to pass by throughout the day.

Highs will reach to near 63. I would expect most of us to stay dry this afternoon and evening, but a stray shower or two cannot be ruled out. As for this evening into the overnight hours, clouds will continue to hang around the region. Overnight lows will drop to 56.

Wednesday & Thursday

The first half of Wednesday will be warm and windy. Highs are expected to reach near 75 (yes 75!!) with pretty windy conditions. Sustained southerly winds around 25 mph with gusts upwards of 35 to 40 mph can be expected. If you have any lose items that easily get blown around, I would go ahead and tie them down/bring them inside. These windy conditions will continue throughout the day Wednesday into Thursday.

By the late afternoon to early evening hours on Wednesday, showers with a few thunderstorms will begin to move through the area. Both the GFS and Euro model show the heaviest showers and thunderstorms passing through our area sometime in the evening, between 6 PM and midnight. 

GFS shows showers beginning in the late afternoon hours and continuing throughout the overnight hours into the early morning hours on Thursday. The heaviest showers appear to pass by before midnight. (Tropical Tidbits)
A few strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible as the main line of showers/storms moves through Wednesday evening. Damaging winds are the primary concern but a tornado or two cannot be ruled out.

SPC highlights the Mid-South in the Marginal Risk (1 out of 5) category. Damaging winds and an isolated tornado are the primary concerns. (NOAA/SPC)
In addition to severe storms, heavy rainfall is possible as these lines of storms move through. Since our ground is still pretty wet from all of the previous rain we have seen, it will not take a lot of additional rainfall to get some ponding in low lying areas.

The Weather Prediction Center includes much of our area in a Slight Risk for excessive rainfall/flash flooding. (NOAA/WPC)
While the majority of heavy showers will move through during the overnight hours, the cold front associated with these showers and thunderstorms is not expected to push through the Mid-South until the morning to mid-day hours on Thursday. For this reason, scattered shower chances will remain in place. Additionally, a few of these thunderstorms could become strong to severe, with damaging winds and an isolated tornado once again being the primary concern.

SPC once again highlights the Mid-South with a Marginal Risk (1 out of 5) for severe weather. Damaging winds and an isolated tornado are the primary concerns. (NOAA/SPC)
By Thursday afternoon, showers and thunderstorms are expected to push out of our area, leaving behind some more cloudiness. As the afternoon progresses, we may get a peak or two of sunshine. Highs are expected to reach into the low 70s.

Really the big story for Thursday, during and once showers pass through, will be our winds. Sustained southwesterly winds of around 20 mph with gusts upwards of 30 mph can be expected.

When all is said and done, our area could see anywhere from 2 to 3 inches of rainfall, with locally higher amounts possible.

Extending now through Friday morning, most of the Mid-South could see anywhere from an inch up to three inches of rainfall. Most of the Memphis metro region could see between 2 and 3 inches. (Pivotal Weather)

Friday and this weekend

We have not had a rain-free weekend since February 2nd & 3rd, meaning we have seen 6 straight weekends with some type of precipitation. This is finally set to change this weekend as we are expecting our first dry weekend in a while.

So what is allowing this dry weekend you may ask? Well, a high pressure system is expected to move into the Central and Eastern portions of the U.S. following Thursday's cold front system. 

The Weather Prediction Center's Medium Range Forecast for this upcoming weekend shows several high pressure systems across the Central and Eastern half of the U.S., including high pressure over the Mid-South region. (NOAA/WPC)
What does this high pressure mean for us? This will help to keep away any cold fronts that could bring precipitation into our area, meaning we are not expecting any type of shower activity this weekend. Beginning Friday and continuing throughout the weekend, skies will remain partly cloudy to mostly sunny. Additionally, highs will remain in the 50s, making for some pretty nice Spring-like weather. 

Glance at next week

Prepare for more spring like weather folks, as next week is shaping up to be a pretty pleasant week. With high pressure systems expected to remain over the Mid-South, conditions should remain sunny and dry throughout the majority of next week. 

The Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 outlook for next week, extending Sunday through Thursday, expects below average precipitation, meaning dry conditions will remain in place throughout the Mid-South. (Pivotal Weather)
In addition to this sunshine, highs will remain in the upper 50s to lower 60s, leaving us right around average to just a hair below average for mid-March. All in all, next week looks pretty pleasant if you ask me, just don't forget to keep the sunglasses handy. 

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist

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