Sunday, September 29, 2019

More hot weather... but a (relative) end is in sight!

Two weeks ago in this space, we asked the same question and didn't get an appropriate answer: "when will the heat finally end?" This time we ask with more desperation and urgency!

Never-ending summer brings record heat and drought

 Summer 2019, though it started a little late, seems to never want to end! Relative to normal, September has been particularly brutal, ranking warmest on record and top 3 driest through the 28th.

In addition to the heat, moderate drought conditions have developed rather quickly the past couple of weeks for parts of the metro, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates a large portion of TN is now in "Moderate Drought" conditions, including much of the TN portion of the Memphis metro.

The lack of precipitation this month has brought the drought conditions, but also contributed to the record high temperatures due to dry ground, despite increasingly lower sun angles as we head into fall. Officially, just over 0.10" of precipitation has occurred this month, which ranks third driest on record, with no more projected until at least the end of the week.

As we head into the final days of the month and the calendar turns to Halloween month, record high remains in the forecast and 90s are growing supremely tiresome.

So, when does it end?

A few more days of heat

Unfortunately, we'll have to get through another few days of likely record-breaking heat as mid-summer high pressure bakes the parched southeast U.S. We will probably tie or break a couple of daily record highs, and the all-time October high temperature of 95° will get threatened Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, I have high confidence that we'll set a new monthly record this week.

Normal and record maximum temperatures for the first week of November in Memphis. The all-time record high for October is 95°, which could be broken this week.

By Thursday, the high will start to lose its influence a bit as a strong trough (that has brought winter weather to the northern Rockies this weekend!) shifts east while weakening. That shifting trough should push a cold front into the Mid-South Thursday night or Friday, which should take the top layer off our heat cake as we head into next weekend. Look for temperatures to drop about 10 degrees by Friday into the weekend, with highs in the mid 80s or so. While still above normal (which by the end of the week will be around 80), it will be a welcome shift in the right direction. Rainfall will likely be limited with the front.

A pronounced ridge of high pressure at the mid levels (18,000 feet) dominates the eastern U.S., while a strong trough dominates the west to start the week. By week's end, the ridge flattens (weakens) as the trough pushes over the top of it, resulting in a reduction of the record heat in our area by week's end. Colors are based on the amount of anomaly present in the pressure pattern. (European model via WxBell)

As we head later into the weekend, or early the following week, models are hinting at reinforcements arriving. That could bring higher rain chances and additional likely put a cap on any additional "re-warming." I expect this week will be the last string of ninety degrees days we will see this year.

#TeamMWN staff changes

Over the past couple of weeks, we've had a series of changes in the "intern department" with #TeamMWN. Recall these Mississippi State University meteorology students are the ones that keep our social media channels updated and do occasional blogging and forecasting. I am eternally grateful for the work that the "retiring" interns have done and look forward to the new students showcasing their skills and talents over the coming months.

Those who have departed recently include Ethan Black, who is now a mathematics major at MSU, and Jennifer Lambers, who has just started her first broadcast meteorologist position at WALA FOX10 in Mobile, AL! Congratulations!

Our new interns include:

  • Paige Davide - a first-year Meteorology graduate student
  • Max Magness - a first-year Meteorology graduate student
  • Alexa Santa - a sophomore majoring in Meteorology

Each will bring their own "flavor" to the social media feeds, while serving to keep all of you informed on the latest trends in Memphis and Mid-South weather. (I'm lowering the hammer though if they cannot collectively figure out how to push the summer heat out of here!) In addition, spring addition Caroline Sleeper remains on the team as our "senior-most" intern. She is a Junior in Meteorology at MSU. On their behalf, I say #HailState and Go Bulldogs!

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Seriously, where is fall?? And a final note from intern Jennifer...

At this point in September I'm feeling a little relatable to Veruca Salt - I want fall and I want it now. I know we're all wishing for some cooler weather, but not seeing much relief in sight for the foreseeable future. For the past week our highs have been about 10° above average for this time of year. In addition to this heat, we are also getting dry. We're halfway through September and have had 0.00" of measurable rainfall. Wow! Let's go ahead and dive in to what we can expect for this next week, and look at some long term models to see what they're thinking.

This map shows the precipitation totals for the mid-south for the past 30 days. As you can see, most of the Memphis metro has not received even an inch of rain in the past month.  

Monday and Tuesday

Ah, I went ahead and clumped these two days together because they have the exact same forecast. At this point I think you can assume what it is (hint it's been the same weather for the past several days). Highs in the mid-to-maybe-upper 90's with heat indices maxing out around 102°. Mostly sunny skies with a 0% chance of precipitation. Those open skies make way for some cooling overnight with lows in the mid-70's. It's a scorcher, so be sure to continue practicing those precautions for hot days.

A surface analysis map showing the high pressure system in control of the mid-south. (NWS)

Wednesday and Thursday

Is this Memphis? Feels like it. 

Mostly sunny and hot conditions will persist as that upper ridge of high pressure above us sticks around and strengthens in fact. Highs for both days are in the mid-90's and lows in the mid-70's. However, as clouds begin to pick up on Thursday, we do have a slight change in the forecast beginning Friday. 

The Weekend

Friday we start to see a slight chance for some thunderstorms developing, but only bringing that up to a 20% chance for now. In other words, don't get your hopes up! Drought tends to beget drought. Not a huge cool down expected with this however, with highs still in the lower-90's.  Lows in the mid-70's for Friday night. Partly cloudy skies will linger into Saturday and Sunday, cooling it down just a tad with highs near 90. By the end of the weekend and into next week high pressure may once again take over, but it appears that this week may be the end of the extremely hot conditions. Let's hope for some 80s! 

Long term

Pumpkin Spice products may be filling the shelves, but with these 8-14 day outlooks, it seems by the end of September fall-like weather still won't be here. Precipitation for the mid-south is "near average" (which might actually mean some rain will fall!),but to our north in the Plains it is looking to be even drier. The temperature map is showing about a 50-60% probability that our temps will be above average. Don't unpack those sweaters quite yet, but rather appreciate the last couple of pool days we can squeeze out of this season!

An 8-14 day outlook for precipitation probabilities in relation to our average. Memphis is considered normal (not above or below average) for the next 2 weeks. (NWS)
An 8-14 day outlook for temperature probabilities in relation to our average. Memphis is predicted to have above average temperatures (50-60% above) for the next 2 weeks. (NWS)

A final note...

This was a bittersweet blog post, because it is my last one with MWN. I am very happy to announce that I have accepted my first on-air position as a meteorologist down on the Gulf Coast in Mobile, AL at the WALA FOX10 station. I will be working in the evenings alongside the Chief Meteorologist. I have had a wonderful time living in Memphis and interning for MWN. I appreciate all of our loyal followers who interacted with me through the social media platforms. Also a huge thank you to Erik, who helped me develop as a meteorologist and also assisted in my social media presence growing. I enjoyed my time in the mid-south, and I will come back to visit plenty. Thank you to everyone!

Jennifer Lambers
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Summer 2019 just won't give up

A few weeks ago, it looked like we might be starting to see a reprieve from summer conditions as we headed into September. It seemed like a good forecast at the time! Meanwhile, here we are in the second week of September dealing with another string of mid 90s temperatures. In fact, Monday's high temperature of 98 degrees was the warmest of the summer - or last summer for that matter! What can we expect in the week or so to come? Glad you asked...


We might end up with a bit of an unexpected reprieve today - thanks to a persistent mid-level cloud deck - as temperatures sit in the mid 80s just after the lunch hour. The clouds are slowly lifting to the north and we should end up with some afternoon sunshine that will warm things up pretty quickly. But there might not be enough daylight at that point to make it much over 90. We'll take it!

The sun returns Wednesday and Thursday with mid-summer-like high pressure building at the upper levels. That will warm the low levels back up to the mid 90s for mid-week with almost no rain chance. It's been a long time since we've had meaningful rainfall and that dry ground is contributing to warmer temperatures! Dewpoints will run near 70 degrees, which is humid, but not intolerable. That will mean heat indices likely peak in the 100-105 degree range. Keep that in mind for any outdoor activities!

This weekend

By this weekend, the upper level ridge of high pressure starts to break down a bit, but hot weather continues, abating just a bit as we get towards the end of the weekend. It still looks mainly dry, though a stray shower can't be ruled out as the high weakens a touch.  Look for highs in the mid 90s through Saturday then a bit cooler Sunday.

Early next week

Unfortunately, there are no big cold fronts sitting on our front door waiting to push through, but with high pressure loosening its grip just a bit, a front will likely stall out near our area. There also could be a subtropical or tropical wave near the Gulf coast early next week that could have an influence on our weather pattern early next week. We'll look for highs near 90 degrees with a measure of humidity and mainly afternoon rain chances. Speaking of rain, it's certainly gotten dry the past couple weeks after an overall wet summer hasn't it??

The European model ensemble (51 "runs" of the European model with slightly different parameter sets) predicts mid 90s temperatures into this weekend, then a general downward trend next week. Average highs and lows for each day are represented by the red and blue solid lines, respectively. (

Unfortunately, even the longer-range outlooks still paint our area with a strong chance of above normal temperatures. The only good news is that those "average temperatures" cool a fair amount during September, so mid to upper 80s could be above normal within a week or so. Hang on folks! Fall will be here soon!

The Climate Prediction Center forecasts a high likelihood (60%+) of above normal temperatures across the Mid-South for the period September 17-23.

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

Thursday, September 5, 2019

August 2019 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

August Climate Recap

Following a slightly cooler than average July, August cranked the heat up a bit and ended just above normal, and about on-half of a degree warmer than July. August also featured the hottest temperatures of the summer at 97 degrees on two different days. The first and last third of the month featured cooler than average temperatures, but the middle third made up for that with very warm days between the 11th and 23rd. No days strayed too far from average though with the greatest deviation from normal only being five degrees.

June and July were both top ten wettest for their respective months and August also ended above average at Memphis International Airport, but not record-breaking by any means. In fact, once again, the airport received much more rainfall than the northern metro, as evidenced by under two inches of rain at MWN in Bartlett.

Average temperature anomalies for the U.S. in August show a cool month for the Great Plains and hot weather in the west and southeast. The Mid-South was on the dividing line between the different airmasses and ended near average. (NWS data via WeatherBell)

Precipitation anomalies for August in the Mid-South shows wetter than average for much of the metro. (NOAA data via WeatherBell)

The only severe weather reported in August (which is typically a slow severe weather month) was on the evening of August 13 when strong wind caused downed trees and power lines in Memphis and north MS. In addition, the wind pushed two rail cars up a gentle grade at the Canadian National Railway yard in southeast Memphis. In addition, lightning that evening knocked down a tree, which hit power lines that subsequently fell on a house and briefly trapped people, in Independence (Tate County), MS. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were posted for that storm, as well as one on the 7th. Additional Urban Flood Advisories were issued at times during the month due to localized heavy downpours, but no flooding issues were reported.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 82.2 degrees (0.2 degrees above average)
Average high temperature: 91.1 degrees (0.2 degrees below average)
Average low temperature: 73.2 degrees (0.5 degrees above average)
Warmest temperature: 97 degrees (13th, 19th)
Coolest temperature: 66 degrees (29th, 30th)
Heating Degrees Days: 0
Cooling Degree Days: 538 (11 above  average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Twenty days recorded a high temperature of 90 degrees or warmer, 0.8 days more than the average for August.

Monthly total: 4.48" (1.60" above average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 10 (3.2 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.01" (13th)
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Five days recorded more than 0.5" of rain and one day recorded over 1.0" of rain.

Peak wind: West/58 mph (13th)
Average wind: 5.4 mph
Average relative humidity: 73%
Average sky cover: 50%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 80.2 degrees
Average high temperature: 91.8 degrees
Average low temperature: 70.7 degrees
Warmest temperature: 98.3 degrees (13th)
Coolest temperature: 58.2 degrees (29th)
Comments: None

Monthly total: 1.70" (automated rain gauge), 1.88" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 10
Wettest date: 0.60" (7th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: Northwest/25 mph (20th)
Average relative humidity: 82%
Average barometric pressure: 29.97 in. Hg

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 1.61 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 79%
MWN average dewpoint error: 1.53 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 82%

MWN's forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

Climate Outlook - September

The September climate outlook for the United State from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Below average temperatures are expected across portions of the Midwest and Great Lakes region. Above normal temperatures are likely to be found in the western and southern U.S. Odds favor very slightly above average temperatures for Memphis in September. Memphis averages 75.2 degrees for the month, or about seven degrees cooler than August.

A wet September is forecast for the Rockies, Northern Plains, and East Coast. For Memphis, odds favor near average rainfall, which historically results in just over three inches in September, the second driest month of the year on average.

Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
Complete MWN Forecast: on the mobile web or via the MWN mobile app
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MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder