Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping a wet mess?

It's Thanksgiving week which means lots of food, family, and that dreaded shopping on Black Friday.  [ Editor's Note: Sorry ladies, you can already tell a male wrote this. ;-) ] Over the last week we've had below normal temperatures, but some pleasant days thrown in. Everyone is in agreement that yesterday was nasty. It didn't even hit 50 with a tough stratus deck and nasty mist that came in spurts. 

Given that it is a holiday week with abundant rain chances and temps averaging around or below normal that's usually not good news. Tuesday we are expecting a cold front to come through and bring some heavy rain showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms. On Thanksgiving we could get some afternoon/evening rain showers, with Black Friday having a chance of showers as well. Saturday another cold front is expected to come through and bring more heavy rain with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Monday through Wednesday

Monday we are expecting temperatures to be in the mid 60s with winds at about 10 mph from the south. It will be very nice during the day so if you are off work, make sure to take advantage of it and get a breath of the fresh fall air. Monday evening clouds will increase along with a slight chance of rain as a cold front approaches. Monday night lows are only expected to get down to the mid 50s due to the cold front approach. 

Tuesday we are expecting highs in the mid 60s along with a cold front bringing a decent amount of rain to the Memphis area. Totals are expected to range form half an inch to three-quarters of an inch. The rain and cold front should move out late Tuesday, making for a chilly day on Wednesday. Due to the passage of the cold front, highs will only get to the mid 50s on Wednesday, but there will be a brisk northerly breeze making it feel a little cooler than it actually is. Wednesday night lows are expected to drop into the lower 40s with sky cover increasing. 

The Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF), or total rainfall, from late Sunday through late Wednesday, shows rain totals expected to be from half an inch to about three-quarters of an inch. Most of that should fall on Tuesday. (WPC) 

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Saturday

Unfortunately it looks to be a dreary Thanksgiving day, so stay inside and get stuffed with as much food as you can! Temperatures will only peak at around 50 with a chance of showers, the highest chance in the afternoon. Thursday night temperatures will only get down to the mid 40s with clouds overhead and rain chances continuing.

Black Friday will be much of the same story, except  a little warmer, a high around 60, and rain chances that will stay with us. Even if it is raining on Black Friday I do not think it will stop all you crazy shoppers from getting your holiday gifts. Friday night lows are expected to get down to the mid 40s with that cloud deck still sticking with us. [Editor's Note: we'll also be closely watching the forecast for the Memphis Tigers football game versus Cincinnati Friday afternoon. Crossing our fingers that the best rain chances hold off until Friday night. Go Euro model!]

Saturday we are looking at another cold front expected to come through and bring heavy rain showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs on Saturday are expected to be in the mid 60s because of the southerly winds providing the "juice" for the rain. Saturday night lows are expected to get down to the lower 40s.

The Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF), or total rainfall, from this Sunday through early next Sunday, shows rain totals expected to be from about two to three inches.  Overall, a fairly wet week is in store. (WPC) 

Historical Look at a Weather Record for Memphis

Some of you may have noticed on the November 21st climate post that we had a daily rainfall record of 10.32" in 1934. That's crazy, right?! Well, with some digging by both myself and Erik, we found the daily weather maps from November 21st and 22nd of that year. What looks to have happened is a slow-moving cutoff low pressure system pulled copious amounts of moisture north from the Gulf. We believe this led to training of thunderstorms that resulted in 10.32" of rain on November 21st, 1934. This was the most rain ever recorded for a single day in Memphis!

Daily weather map from November 21st, 1934 showing a low pressure system centered near Dallas, Texas and the thunderstorm symbol over Memphis. (WPC Archives)
Daily weather map from November 22nd, 1934 showing a low pressure system centered over southeastern Wisconsin, with some cloud cover still over Memphis. (WPC Archives)

Max Magness
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fall? Is that you?

Finally some fall-like temperatures!
A beautiful start to the week with high temperatures in the 60s! These temperatures seem pretty warm when compared to last week’s arctic blast. (A new record low of 17° was set last Tuesday morning, the earliest we have dropped into the teens!) The end of the week brings back another cold front keeping with the pattern we’ve been seeing. However, this cold front will not bring back those arctic temperatures. Thankfully overnight lows will only drop down into the thirties! By the weekend temperatures rebound quickly giving us another beautiful start to Thanksgiving week.

These beautiful days are all thanks to a high pressure system situated to our northeast. Due to the clockwise flow of air around the high, winds have become southerly, bringing warm air back into the southeast U.S. Clear skies and highs in the upper 60s will hang on for Wednesday but the story begins to change for Thursday. Clouds will increase throughout Wednesday night and Thursday ahead of the next low pressure system. Highs will be in the mid 60s Thursday, but a chance of a passing shower returns by Thursday afternoon.

Weather Prediction Center's Surface Analysis valid 9am 11/20/19
Thursday Night-Saturday
Overnight lows for Thursday will only be down into the low to mid 50s as clouds and rain chances increase. Friday will mostly likely start off with rain for most of us! Rain along the cold front will continue pushing through the area by mid-morning on Friday. Temperatures will only warm into the upper 50s ahead of the cold front. This means that Friday’s high temperature will most likely occur around mid-day and fall throughout the afternoon behind the passing cold front. Overnight lows for Friday will fall well into the 40s, so don’t forget a warm rain jacket if you have plans!

Total rainfall Thursday through Friday night  could approach 2" according to NOAA's Weather Prediction Center.

Rain chances will decrease by early Saturday, leading to a chilly day with highs in the lower 50s! Cloud cover will hang on for most of the day on Saturday, which will keep the air feeling cool when combined with a north wind. Clouds diminish overnight.


After a chilly start with lows in the mid 30s, Sunday will be a bright and beautiful day. Skies will be mostly sunny throughout the day with afternoon highs in the mid 50s. This holds true into Monday with lows in the upper 30s but highs back around 60! On Tuesday, clouds and rain chances return as a cold front moves through the area. This cold front looks to have a bit more punch to it with cool air behind, semi-warm air ahead, and a fair amount of wind energy. Thunderstorms are possible with this front as it moves through Tuesday. Cooler temperatures return on Wednesday with highs in the lower 50s, but clouds will decrease, leaving the day mostly sunny! 

A weather system early next week could bring a chance of thunderstorms as low pressure strengthens as it moves towards the Great Lakes, dragging a front through the Mid-South on Tuesday. (WPC)
[ Editor's Note: we're withholding judgment on that all-important Thanksgiving/Black Friday forecast for now. Suffice it to say, there's too much uncertainty. You can read that as "there's no consensus on beautiful weather." More later... ]

Paige Davide
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

October 2019 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

October Climate Recap

The hottest September on record bled into the first week of October with five of the first six days reaching 89 degrees or higher. In fact, the high on the first three days of the month was 96 degrees or hotter! However, a pattern change brought cooler weather and by the 11th, nearly every day for the remainder of the month averaged below normal, culminating in our first fall freeze on Halloween morning with a high remaining in the 40s that day. 

The U.S. temperature anomaly (departure from normal) for the month of October shows relative warmth east of the Mississippi River into TX and well below normal temperatures across the northern and western portions of the country. (WxBell)

In addition, October started in a drought for the metro after almost no rain fell in September. Mother Nature made up for lost time in October, setting a new rainfall record for the month and beating the previous record by over two inches! In fact, there were five days that saw over 1" of rain and two with over 3" of rain, both of which set daily rainfall records. Severe weather occurred on the morning of the 21st when a line of severe storms brought widespread wind damage across the metro, as well as a confirmed EF-1 tornado that touched down at the airport and moved into southeast Memphis. The storm system prompted Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings. In addition, some minor flash flooding occurred on a couple of days that received very heavy rainfall.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 64.0 degrees (0.1 degrees below average)
Average high temperature: 73.8 degrees (0.6 degrees below average)
Average low temperature: 54.2 degrees (0.4 degrees above average)
Warmest temperature: 98 degrees (3rd)
Coolest temperature: 32 degrees (31st)
Heating Degrees Days: 147 (27 above average)
Cooling Degree Days: 121 (29 above  average)
Records set or tied: The first three days of the month all set record high temperatures - 96 degrees on the 1st, 97 degrees on the 2nd, and 98 degrees on the 3rd.
Comments: Four days recorded a high temperature of 90 degrees or warmer, 3.7 days more than the average for the month. One day also reached a low of 32 degrees.

Monthly total: 12.95" (8.97" above average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 11 (3.5 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 3.39" (6th)
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: The month was the wettest October on record in Memphis. Daily rainfall records were set on the 6th (3.39") and 26th (3.01").
Comments: Two days saw a total of more than 3 inches of rain each, while five days recorded more than an inch.

Peak wind: West/53 mph (21st)
Average wind: 7.1 mph
Average relative humidity: 71%
Average sky cover: 50%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 58.4 degrees
Average high temperature: 69.2 degrees
Average low temperature: 48.9 degrees
Warmest temperature: 86.5 degrees (10th)
Coolest temperature: 31.4 degrees (31st)
Comments: Temperature data was only recorded from the 6th through the 31st of the month following station relocation.

Monthly total: 10.04" (automated rain gauge), 11.68" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 12
Wettest date: 2.33" (26th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: West/30 mph (21st)
Average relative humidity: 79%
Average barometric pressure: 30.03 in. Hg
Comments: The above data was only recorded from the 6th through the 31st of the month following station relocation.

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.02 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 72%
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.26 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 66%

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

Climate Outlook - November

The November climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Below average temperatures are expected across the northern tier of the nation from the High Plains to New England with slightly below average temperatures through the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys into the Southern Plains. Above normal temperatures are likely to be found in the western U.S., most pronounced west of the Rockies. Odds favor slightly below average temperatures for Memphis in November. Memphis averages 53.2 degrees for the month, or about eleven degrees cooler than October.

The forecast is mixed as far as precipitation is concerned across the country. Drier than normal weather is expected for the Inter-Mountain West into the southern Rockies, as well as the Mid-Mississippi Valley. For Memphis, odds favor below average rainfall, which historically averages about five and one-half inches in November.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Arctic blast to engulf the Mid-South. Winter weather too?

On an afternoon like we've had today, with high temperatures just a few degrees shy of 70°, it's hard to imagine just how cold a wind chill of 8° feels... but we're about to find out! I hope you've enjoyed this beautiful fall weekend!

It's all about that front

The first half of Monday sets up fairly mild all things considered as pre-frontal southerly wind keeps overnight lows from dropping much below 50°, leading to a decent start to Veteran's Day. However, an increase in clouds will eventually bring scattered showers into the picture during the morning hours with temperatures in the mid 50s.

By lunchtime or shortly thereafter, rain rates pick up and, between about 2-4pm, an Arctic cold front slices through the metro. No severe weather, or even thunder, is likely, but a definitive wind shift is! That northerly wind will force temperatures to fall the rest of the day (and night) as it gusts to 25-30 mph by late afternoon. Look for temperatures to be in the mid to upper 30s by 6pm with rain continuing.

The high-res NAM3 model forecast of wind speeds at 3pm Monday clearly shows the position of the front bisecting the Memphis metro. (WeatherBell)

Monday evening mischief

As the mercury continues to fall through the 30s, colder air aloft will also push in, and we know what that means... the moisture departs! :-) In actuality, there is a narrow window of a few hours, probably between about 8pm and midnight, in which a mix of cold air and moisture could result in a changeover of rain to sleet, snow, or freezing rain. The deepest moisture will indeed be pushed south by the arrival of cold air, but enough could linger to produce very light accumulations of snow or sleet. We're talking potentially a dusting of snow or a thin layer of ice pellets, but likely no more.

The mid-day run of the high-res NAM3 model, showing forecast radar from 6am to midnight Monday, indicates rain chances increase during the day with a possible changeover to wintry mischief on Monday evening. (
With the latest model data today, including the most recent high-resolution data, confidence is increasing to "moderate" that we'll get some form of wintry precipitation falling, but is still "low" on any impactful accumulation. Bread and milk index? Very low.

By midnight, it all is pushing to our south as north wind gusting to 30 mph continues to cause temperatures to fall through the 20s. That wind should be enough to help dry most streets overnight, preventing a major "flash freeze" of lingering precipitation. However, we won't know the exact ramifications of lows in the lower 20s until we see just what, and how much, winter precipitation falls Monday evening.

Forecast snow amounts Monday evening, via NWS. At dusting at most is expected, mainly north of I-40.

Tuesday - brutally cold

As we wake up Tuesday morning to head back to work or school (yes kids - right now you need make sure that homework is done from the long weekend!), the bus stop wind chill will be a #StupidCold 5-10°! With sunrise temperatures in the lower 20s and the wind still kickin' it at 15-25 mph, it truly will feel like a cold day in January! Parents, against their will, layer the children up and grab your winter coat and gloves as well. While it'll be a sunny day, the breeze continues and wind chills never get above the 20s as highs struggle to reach freezing. In fact, Tuesday morning's record low of 23° is in jeopardy and the day's record minimum high temperature of 37° will be broken by a few degrees.

Tuesday morning wind chills, via NWS

Wednesday starts a slow recovery

Tuesday night, the wind dies off as high pressure presses overhead. This is good and bad. Wind chills won't be that much colder than temperatures - good. Temperatures will plummet into the teens - bad. I expect in the city proper it'll be near the record low, once again, of 20°. Outside the concrete jungle? 15-18°. Novembrrrr! However, with sunshine and wind turning southerly, highs recover all the way into the lower 40s! Yes, you'll need the winter coat another day.

As we head into the end of the week, we'll be back near 50° Thursday and the lower to mid 50s Friday through Sunday with dry weather continuing. Morning lows remain in the 30s. Normal highs are in the 60s this week...

How to plan for the week

Take an umbrella and warm coat with you Monday morning. The afternoon drive will be in rain and wind chills in the 30s.

The threat of winter precipitation Monday after 8pm is real, but accumulation looks minimal. Plan to get up early Tuesday to take a peak out the window and check your favorite local news and weather sources for the latest info.

Bundle up in layers Monday night through Wednesday. The cold air isn't messing around.

Make sure pets are warm and outdoor plants are protected during the same period. And, in fact, it'll likely be a good idea to slow-drip faucets on exterior walls Monday and Tuesday nights.

Slowly shed a layer or two by the end of the week!

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Cold air is knocking on our door! How cold will it get and how long will it last?

With Halloween now in our rear-view mirror we are moving into more "fall-like" conditions. Over the last week we've had below-normal temperatures, but very pleasant conditions overall. Temperatures have stayed between the mid 50s and mid 60s for the highs, while lows have stayed between the 30s and 40s.

Over the next week we will see another chance or two of rain, with below normal temperatures draped over most of the area. Thursday we are expecting a cold front to come through and bring cold temperatures to the region for the next week or so. Friday morning could be bitter cold with highs only expected to get into the mid 40s. Fortunately for us the temperatures are expected to rise until late Sunday. Monday we could see some rain showers that will need to be monitored carefully as the cold air pours in again Monday evening. After the front passes, we will see high pressure build back in, bringing more cold air with it for the foreseeable future.

Thursday through Saturday

The rain is expected to start around midnight Thursday with the heaviest during morning commute hours. Temperatures are expected to drop from the mid 50s early Thursday all the way down to the mid 30s before Friday comes around. A cold front will bring winds that will be sustained from 15-20 mph, with gusts close to 30 mph. Expect much cooler conditions on your way home tomorrow than when you leave for work or school in the morning!

Early Friday morning temperatures are expected to drop to close to 30 due to the cold front bringing arctic air to the region. Wind chills Friday morning could be as low as 20 - the coldest air of the fall to this point! Even though Friday will be sunny it will unfortunately be very chilly due to a northerly wind component sustained at around 10 mph, and temperatures only expected to reach the mid 40s. Make sure you bundle up if you are attending a sporting event Friday evening! Saturday morning will again be very cold with lows expected to be around 30 once again, with wind chills in the mid 20s. Good news though is that the wind should start to shift towards more of a southerly component, bringing highs for Saturday to the mid 50s.

The Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF), or total rainfall from Thursday through late Saturday, shows rain total expected to be from one-quarter of an inch to about half an inch. All of that should fall in the next 24 hours. (WPC) 

Sunday through Tuesday

Sunday we are expecting a pleasant day with highs expected to be in the lower 60s and maybe some cloud cover moving in late ahead of our next weather system. Monday morning temperatures should stay in the 40s, while daytime highs are only expected to hit around 50. Rain showers are a decent chance on Monday with a small chance of s*** showers on the backside of the system. We'll keep a close eye on it, but aren't ready to commit to anything this far out. Just know that after the cold front moves through it will bring with it yet another burst of cold arctic air. This cold air will be accompanied by a large dome of high pressure leading to the possibility of it staying with us for an extended period of time.

Monday evening temperatures are expected to sharply drop until Tuesday morning where lows could get all the way down to the low 20s! A hard freeze is likely and it may get cold enough to drip faucets Monday night. Tuesday should be cold and mostly sunny with a high only around 40 - more typical of the dead of winter than November! Tuesday evening temperatures should drop sharply again as we move into Wednesday. Wednesday morning lows will again be in the mid 20s due to the cold air over the region. The cold temperatures are expected to stay with us per the Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) latest outlook (more details below).

The expected surface map Tuesday morning shows a strong dome of high pressure centered over southeastern Nebraska, influencing our area, bringing cold air. (WPC) 

Peeking into Week 2

Over the week from November 14th to November 20th, the CPC outlook shows we will likely continue to deal with below average temperatures. A dome of high pressure is expected to park over the area bringing with it cold arctic air. This had been further supported by most models agreeing that there will be a dome of cold, high pressure over the most of the central and eastern U.S. for the middle part of November. It appears we will probably stay below average through the first half of November, but will that change in the latter half of November, or will persistence prevail? To be determined...

Temperature departure outlook (relative to normal) for November 14-20 indicates that much of U.S east of the Rockies will be cooler than normal. (CPC)

Max Magness
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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