Friday, October 18, 2019

Fall weather is in full force! Looking ahead to the second half of October...

It seemed like fall took a while to get here! The 90s hung on into early October, following the warmest September on record, but now the tide has turned and the usual roller coaster of the changing seasons has arrived!

We've been alternating between cool mornings and warm afternoons with a front every several days that brings decent rainfall - much appreciated after briefly entering a moderate drought to start the month. As we head into the back half of October, mild temperatures will continue with regular frontal passages bringing bouts of rain and some storms. Let's get into it!

Saturday and Sunday

Very pleasant fall weather continues from Friday into the weekend, which is good news for Tiger football fans, Mempho Music Festival attendees, and probably most of the rest of you! Earlier in the week there was some concern about a system in the Gulf of Mexico bringing some rain Saturday. That system, now Tropical Storm Nestor, will safely slide by to our southeast.

Tropical Storm Nestor formed today in the Gulf of Mexico but will be short-lived and have no effect on Mid-South weather outside of some cloud cover.  (NHC)

We'll see some high cloud cover at times, but temperatures should be, well, temperate! Mid 70s Saturday and near 80 Sunday with slowly increasing humidity as wind turns southerly. Morning lows will generally be in the 50s, though a few 40s are possible in cooler areas Saturday early morning.

Sunday night and Monday

The next big frontal system approaches Sunday night, bringing the potential for a few sporadic showers late in the day Sunday and into the overnight hours. With southerly wind, it'll get more muggy and warm Sunday night as lows stay in the 60s. The front is progressive - meaning it will move through quickly and completely, not have a political agenda...

It will bring a fairly substantial round of rainfall on Monday, but end just as quickly. Right now, the morning hours including rush hour look to be much wetter than the afternoon or evening. In fact, the system may be east of us by Monday afternoon with skies clearing by late afternoon.

The surface map for Monday morning shows a strong fall front bearing down on the Mississippi Valley. Thunderstorms are likely along and ahead of it Monday morning, followed by a few more nice fall days! (WPC)

The NWS forecast for precipitation from this front, valid Sunday night and Monday, indicates a good deal of rain in a relatively short period. 1-2" is likely, mostly Monday morning. (WPC)

There are also likely to be some thunderstorms as dewpoints recover into the 60s ahead of the front. Instability will be fairly low, but wind shear will be high, which is typical for this time of year. Storms could pack a brief punch with some gusty wind not out of the question.

Areas east of the Mississippi River are currently forecast in a severe weather risk that equates to "Slight" (or level 2 of 5) on the Storm Prediction Center scale. This could change though by Monday, so well provide daily updates on our social media feeds. After a warm start, temperatures may actually fall a bit behind the front Monday but should still remain mild with a breezy wind shifting to the northwest.

The Storm Prediction Center places areas east of the Mississippi River in the Mid-South under a Slight Risk of severe weather on Monday with strong wind gusts the most likely impact. There is currently a 15% chance of severe weather within the metro. (SPC)

Tuesday through Thursday

Once again, the Mid-South will enjoy lovely fall weather between fronts with mild temperatures that peak in the 60s to near 70 degrees in the afternoon and drop into the 40s at night. We should also see plenty of sunshine, which will help dry things out after a good dose of rain Monday.

End of the week through end of the month

The next system approaches Friday-ish with models still needing some time to come to a unified solution. It doesn't appear that we'll have as strong of a "recovery" of the atmosphere ahead of the late week system, so severe weather chances look minimal. Overall, a cooler than average pattern looks to continue from the middle of next week to the end of the month. Any early guess at Halloween puts fairly strong odds on a cooler pattern than one where we're all sweating by the end of the trick-or-treating rounds!

The temperature outlook (relative to average) for October 26 - November 1 indicates much of the country east of the Rockies will be cooler than normal. (CPC)

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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