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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