Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How long will the wet pattern continue? And will spring's arrival bring warmer weather?

Over the past week we saw rain four out of the last seven days. Today (Tuesday) we got into the mid 60s after rain cleared out for some afternoon sun. Unfortunately, it looks like that trend of rain and storms will continue for the next week. We are watching potential severe weather with a passing of a cold front Thursday and into Friday. More rain could occur at the start of next week (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday).

This is a picture of a severe thunderstorm in Mountainair, New Mexico. This thunderstorm produced a small tornado about 30 minutes prior, before becoming more linear in nature. This linear nature lead to some wind reports. 

Wednesday

As clouds move in during the overnight hours tonight, temperatures will probably stay relatively steady and only drop to the mid 50s. During the day we will top out in the mid to upper 70s, with a chance of a few showers and storms. This chance of showers and storms is due to some instability which should be present in the atmosphere, as well as warm temperatures due to the metro being in the "warm sector" with a warm front lifting well to our north. Going into Wednesday night, rain chances will stay relatively steady, and the same goes for Thursday morning. Temperatures will only drop to the mid 60s overnight.

Thursday and Friday
Thursday will likely top out in the upper 70s ahead of an approaching cold front - spring-like temperatures as the solstice occurs late Thursday evening (10:49pm to be exact)! As it moves towards us the chance for rain and storms increases. Storms in our area could be strong to severe as the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has put Memphis in a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for severe storms. This event looks like it will occur late Thursday afternoon/night, so make sure you have multiple ways of getting warning information!  As of right now the storms look more linear in nature meaning the main concern will likely be high wind gusts. Thursday night into Friday temps will stay steady and only drop to the mid 60s, with the Friday daytime high expected to reach around 70 before possibly falling some in the afternoon behind the cold front. Much of the day Friday looks to remain dry and Friday night temperatures will quickly drop.

Day 3 image not available
The Weather Predictions Center (WPC) highlights the chance for severe weather with the expected cold front passage.
Per the SPC, Memphis is near the eastern edge of  a Slight Risk for severe storms on Thursday.

Saturday and Sunday
Early Saturday morning lows will likely drop all the way down to around 40 due to the passage of the cold front. This will make Saturday rather chilly with highs in the low 50s. This trend will continue into Sunday as Sunday morning lows are expected to get down to around 40 as well. There also looks to be a slight rain/shower chance on Sunday as highs only get into the low 50s. Sunday night low temps will drop to the mid 40s.

Monday and Tuesday

Monday looks like it'll be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers as temperatures top out into the lower 60s. Monday night won't get too cold because of the expected cloud cover. This means temperatures will only drop to the lows 50s. Tuesday temps will top out in the upper 60s with a chance of rain or thunderstorms as southerly wind returns, helping temperatures to warm despite the cloud cover.

Relation of Temperature and Cloud Cover
The reason thick clouds keep temperatures warmer during the night is due to the clouds having the ability to keep the Earth's emitted longwave energy in the lower atmosphere. The result is warmer temps than if there were no clouds. This is different when we're talking about daytime highs. If there is a thick cloud deck, temperatures will not get warm as if there were no clouds because those clouds keep the incoming radiation from the sun out. This incoming radiation is called incoming shortwave radiation.

This is a graphic showing what was explained just above. It shows hows clouds can modify daily temperature maximums and minimums.



A Look at Week Two
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is expecting March 25th-March 31st to feature above average temperatures and slightly above normal precipitation. I know this is frustrating for some because we have sat above average in the temperature department for most of the winter. This trend looks like it'll continue into early spring. It also looks like the wet trend will stay with us as it has most of this winter.

Latest 8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
From the CPC: it looks like the week of March 25th to March 31st has a decent chance of having above average temperatures.
Latest 8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
During the week of March 25th to March 31st, precipitation could also remain a bit above average. (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

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

February 2020 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

February Climate Recap

December and January temperatures were well above average to start the winter of 2019-2020. February pulled back to near-average for the month with a mix of above and below normal days as fronts passed through regularly. Wet weather from January persisted into February, ending nearly two inches above average. There was one snow "event" with totals of up to an inch across the metro on the night of the 6th. Flurries also fell on the 20th. Thunderstorms occurred on the 5th, 9th, 10th, 18th, and 24th, though no severe weather was observed.

The U.S. temperature anomaly (departure from normal) for the month of February shows well below normal temperatures from the Rocky Mountains into the southern plains. Excessive warmth was found in the west and northeast with mixed temperatures in the flyover states. (WeatherBell)
For the period of meteorological winter (December-February), temperatures averaged 46.7 degrees or 3.3 degrees above normal and 14th warmest on record. Precipitation totaled 16.28",  2.17" above normal and in the top 25% wettest winters on record. Snowfall totaled 0.6 inches, all falling in the snow event on February 6-7.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN


Temperature
Average temperature: 45.7 degrees (0.2 degrees above average)
Average high temperature: 54.2 degrees (0.5 degrees below average)
Average low temperature: 37.1 degrees (0.8 degrees above average)
Warmest temperature: 70 degrees (2nd, 9th)
Coolest temperature: 22 degrees (14th)
Heating Degrees Days: 555 (7 above average)
Cooling Degree Days: 0 (2 below average)
Records set or tied:  None.
Comments: No days recorded a low temperature at or below freezing, which is roughly one day less than average for the month.

Precipitation
Monthly total: 6.34" (1.95" above average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 15 (5.8 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.32" (4th)
Snowfall: 0.6" (0.7" below average)
Records set or tied: None.
Comments: Two days had rainfall exceeding one inch, but six days exceeded one-half inch.

Miscellaneous
Peak wind: Northwest/51 mph (12th)
Average wind: 9.2 mph
Average relative humidity: 71%
Average sky cover: 70%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions / MemphisWeather.net, Bartlett, TN


Temperature
Average temperature: 45.0 degrees
Average high temperature: 53.5 degrees
Average low temperature: 35.7 degrees
Warmest temperature: 70.1 degrees (2nd)
Coolest temperature: 21.1 degrees (14th)
Comments: None

Precipitation
Monthly total: 5.30" (automated rain gauge), 6.14" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 14
Wettest date: 1.36" (4th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: 1.0"
Comments: 1.0" of snow fell on the night of the 6th/7th and flurries were observed on the 20th.

Miscellaneous
Peak wind: Northwest/25 mph (12th)
Average relative humidity: 78%
Average barometric pressure: 30.10 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.12 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 66%
MWN average dewpoint error: 1.86 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 71%

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

Climate Outlook - March 2020

The March climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., particularly over the Midwest to Mid-South. Near average temperatures are expected in the western U.S. Odds favor above average temperatures for Memphis, at 62% (versus only a 5% chance of below average temperatures). Memphis averages 54.0 degrees for the month.



Wetter than normal weather is expected for the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, as well as the desert southwest. Below average precipitation is forecast for the Front Range. For Memphis, odds favor above average rainfall (47% chance), which historically averages 5.16 inches.

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Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net 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

Friday, February 28, 2020

A beautiful weekend before more rain and storms early next week.

A beautiful weekend in store! Plenty of sunshine and warmer temperatures Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before our next weather maker moves in. A cold front will begin moving through the Southeast on Monday spurring our next significant rain chance. Storms and rain continue through Wednesday with a few stronger storms possible. Thankfully we will return to sunny and pleasant conditions by next Thursday and Friday but temperatures will be cooler.

This loop shows the daily precipitation pattern for the next week. Periods of heavy rain are possible Monday night - Wednesday. (NOAA/WPC) 

Friday - Sunday

A mostly sunny day is in store for your Friday. Afternoon highs will be in the lower 50s but a 5-10 mph westerly breeze may make it feel a bit cooler. A few showers are possible this evening as as fairly energetic upper level wave moves through. In fact, a rumble of thunder is also possible, though not likely. Clouds will begin moving out of the metro area overnight and into tomorrow morning. Another chilly start on Saturday with morning lows in the mid-30s, but thankfully clouds will move out by late morning allowing for a very beautiful sunny day. Winds will become southerly and begin bringing up warmer air from the Gulf allowing for highs to be back near average, in the upper 50s. Overnight, lows will fall into the mid-40s as clouds begin to move in. This will make for a mix of sun and clouds throughout the day on Sunday. A gusty 15-30 mph southerly breeze will continue to bring in warmth and moisture allowing for Sunday's high to be in the mid-60s. A few scattered showers will be possible late afternoon with rain becoming likely overnight.

Temperature and wind barbs for 6pm Saturday. Southerly winds will help bring in warmer air and moisture ahead of our next cold front. (PivotalWeather)

Monday - Wednesday

Sadly, March comes in like a lion with another round of showers and storms starting on Monday and continuing for a good 48 hours. After it is all said and done on Wednesday, an additional 3-5 inches of rain are possible across western Tennessee. A mild start Monday with morning lows only in the mid 50s. Clouds will build with shower activity increasing throughout the day. A few thunderstorms are possible late Monday evening as a strong southerly breeze continues bringing in warmth and moisture aiding our instability as a front stalls to our north. Afternoon highs will feel very spring like in the upper 60s. Overnight, rain will continue but lows will only fall near 60.

Our greatest chance of a few stronger storms will be on Tuesday into Tuesday night. The Storm Prediction Center has issued an outlook concerning our area for those days; however, most of the severe activity should be to our south. Make sure to plan extra time on your commute Tuesday as heavy downpours and a few thunderstorms are expected throughout the day. With a lot of rainfall over the last month, this round could produce some flash flooding and river flooding on Tuesday. We'll keep a close eye on it!

Storm Prediction Center outlook issued on February 28 indicates a 15% (Slight Risk) probability of severe weather on Tuesday and Tuesday night. (NOAA/SPC)
Overnight temperatures Tuesday night will fall near 50 as the cold front moves east, but showers will continue into Wednesday morning. Scattered showers across most of the metro area throughout the day but much of the shower activity will taper off after late Wednesday morning. Overnight,cooler air begins moving back in pushing clouds out and lows back in the mid-40s.

Rainfall totals through next Friday from the GFS model midnight run on 2/28. The higher totals will be just to our north but we may see totals between 3-5 inches. The axis of heaviest rain may shift a bit, but be prepared for a 3-day period of moderate to heavy rain. (PivotalWeather)

Thursday and Friday

A gorgeous end to the work week is exactly what we need after such a dreary start. Sunshine will return on Thursday but cooler air will be in place behind the cold front. Afternoon highs will be near 60 but a light northerly breeze will make it feel a bit on the chilly side. We stay dry overnight and into Friday with lows near 40. Friday will be a very pleasant day with plenty of sunshine and highs in the upper 50s. So grab a jacket, get out, and enjoy the sun!



Allison Paige
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net 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

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Late week cold air brings a possible precip mix, then dry weather for a few days!

Another soggy start to the week but thankfully we are in for a few drier days after tomorrow! This morning a cold front finished moving through the area and took the cloud cover and rain with it. A short wave upper level trough will move through on Thursday bringing shower activity back through the southeast. Early on Thursday a few snowflakes are possible as the showers move through. Cold air will fill in behind it making the end of your week very chilly! However, high pressure will situate over us allowing for Friday and Saturday to be sunny once again! Clouds and rain return to start off next week as low pressure system lifts through the southeast Sunday through Monday. Thankfully this system will be short lived allowing Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning to be dry and mild!

Did someone say Flurries?


Wednesday and Thursday

We are in for a mostly sunny day but clouds will begin building back late this evening and overnight. Afternoon highs will be seasonal in the lower 50s. Rain chances are minimal for the rest of your Wednesday but overnight, lows fall into the mid to upper 30s and light scattered showers move back into the area. Most of the precipitation will occur Thursday morning. A few snowflakes may be mixed in with rain. The HRRR model is much more conservative suggesting flurries will be extremely minimal. The NAM suggests that a short-lived switch over to snow is possible. While these models are disagreeing on how many snowflakes will fall, we know there will be no major impacts expected! Throughout Thursday all precipitation will move out of the area allowing for some afternoon clearing and possibly some sunshine! Afternoon highs will be chilly in the mid 40s. Overnights clouds will clear leaving Thursday night clear and very cold! Overnight lows will be in the mid 20s but wind chills will be in the lower teens! Remember to bring in any outdoor pets or plants!
The 6am run of  HRRR model showing forecast radar at 7am. This highlights a very small change over to snow/sleet across northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee. (Pivotal Weather)

The 6am run of  NAM model showing forecast radar at 9am. This highlights a possible change over from rain to snow/sleet across northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee. (Pivotal Weather)

Friday and Saturday

Cold air sticks around for the southeast as the shortwave trough that brought Thursday's rain moves out. Out the door temperatures Friday morning will be in the mid 20s but a northeasterly wind will keep wind chills in the teens! Make sure to bundle up as you leave Friday morning. Thankfully clouds will be move out overnight on Thursday finally giving us a sunny day! Afternoon highs will be chilly in the mid 40s, 10 degrees below average for this time of year! Overnight and into Saturday morning lows will fall into the mid 20s under mostly clear skies. Those pets and plants need to be brought in once again. The sun sticks around for most of Saturday but high clouds will begin moving into the area into the afternoon. Afternoon highs will be slightly warming in the lower 50s leaving Saturday absolutely gorgeous! Make sure to get out and enjoy the sunshine as cloud begin to build back overnight Saturday with a low chance of rain. 


Sunday and Monday 

Sunday morning temperatures will be a bit more mild at 40 degrees. Throughout the early morning hours, clouds and rain will move back into the area as a low pressure system moves through the southeast. Rain will be likely for most of the day on Sunday with afternoon highs reaching into the lower 50s. Overnight showers will become more scattered with lows mid 40s. Rain will continue into Monday morning but quickly move out throughout the day leaving the afternoon mostly dry! Clouds will begin to clear giving us a potential for a few peaks of sunshine allowing for highs to warm near 50. 

The GFS model showing a low pressure system moving across the eastern portions of the US. This will create showers throughout the day on Sunday and into Monday morning. This image is valid at 6am Monday. This low pressure system will lift out leaving Monday afternoon mostly dry! (Pivotal Weather)

Tuesday and Wednesday 

Tuesday starts off mild with overnight temperatures in the mid 40s. Skies will continue to clear throughout the day on Tuesday until afternoon skies are partly cloudy and highs are near 60! Overnight mild conditions continue with lows in the lower 40s. Wednesday will be partly sunny with highs in the mid 50s and a chance of showers. The long-range models do have different opinions in the mid to late week period (next week) with another cold blast moving into the eastern U.S. How far south that cold air drops is uncertain, making us all ask, where are you Spring?? (Exactly one more month!) 

The first day of Spring is March 19th!

Allison Paige
MWN Meteorologist Intern

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Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net 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

Monday, February 10, 2020

The week ahead: MORE rain, a chance of storms, and a chilly Valentines Day

What a beautiful weekend we had! Wish that weather could've hung out longer, but I guess it's best that it was nice on the weekend at least!

Monday

Unfortunately, a cold front brought another round of rainfall overnight into this morning, adding another three-quarters of an inch to an inch of rain to the overflowing gauge. As of noon, that front has now pushed just south of I-40 as it moves south and stalls over MS and AL. It'll remain there for a little more than a day, which means cooler air behind it sinks into the metro and remains locked in place with temperatures mainly in the 40s after reaching 60 degrees at noon today. It's proximity, along with upper level energy aloft, will keep skies cloudy with another round of light rainfall overnight Monday night.

The morning run of the high-res NAM3 model forecast radar from noon Monday through midnight Tuesday night. Multiple rounds of mainly light rain are expected, primarily tonight and again Tuesday PM. Heavier rain and storms remain to our south. (WxBell)

Tuesday

Tuesday will feature another cloudy day with overnight rain moving out early in the day and a brief dry lull for most of the morning and early afternoon as temperatures continue to linger in the 40s. However, by afternoon, additional light rainfall will ride the southwest jet stream up and over the area, so for the most part plan on another cool and damp day Tuesday with light rain continuing into the overnight.


Wednesday

By Wednesday morning, rain intensity will pick up a bit as the front to our south lifts back towards us and low pressure develops along it to our southwest, heading towards north MS and the Tennessee River Valley. Wednesday appears to be wet all-around as that low passes just to our east. Some rain could be heavy and thunder is also possible depending on how close the low gets to the metro.  Models are still bickering on its exact track.

The morning run of the GFS model shows the track of low pressure from 6am Wednesday through 6am Thursday. This track would keep severe weather to our southeast but bring a good deal of heavy rain on Wednesday. (WxBell)

Severe weather to our south

The good news is, as long as the low stays east of the Mississippi River as it moves northeast (which it should), we won't be in the path of any severe storms. Those across MS and parts of AL may not be as lucky with severe weather a distinct possibility on Wednesday.



Rainfall and flooding potential

By Wednesday night, the low moves away, dragging the front all the way through the region and mercifully bringing an end to the rainy pattern for a bit. Rainfall totals from last night through Wednesday night however will likely be above 3" and may approach 4" in spots. Again, fortunately, the axis of heaviest rain, where 6" or more is possible, is not too far to our south. Flooding (flash and river/stream) is likely on those areas, though we'll also see streams rise and some low-lying and urban flooding possible due to saturated ground.

The Excessive Rainfall Outlook through early Tuesday morning indicates a high risk of flooding rain to our southeast. (NWS)
Total precipitation forecast through Thursday morning by the NWS calls for 2-3" in the metro (in addition to than received in the past 24 hours), while 4-6" is likely across the Deep South. (NWS via WxBell)

Valentine's weekend

The end of the week features much cooler temperatures Thursday through Saturday with highs in the 40s and lows Friday and Saturday mornings in the mid to upper 20s! You might be able to stoke up the fireplace or fire pit for Valentine's Day with temps that chilly, but bundle up if you head out to your favorite romantic restaurant!

The forecast map for Valentine's morning features a massive area of cold high pressure dominating the eastern 2/3 of the country. (NWS/WPC)
Long-range prognostications show a return to above average temperatures and rainfall heading into next week once again.



Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net 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

Friday, February 7, 2020

January 2020 Climate Data for Memphis, TN

January Climate Recap

December started the winter of 2019-2020 four degrees above average and January continued the trend, and in fact, built on it - ending 5.5 degrees above average. So, for the first two months of meteorological winter (December-January), the average temperature ranks eleventh warmest on record. Only six days in January ended below normal, most in the third week of the month. There were eleven days that reached at least 60 degrees, while only five dropped below freezing (nine less than usual).


The U.S. temperature anomaly (departure from normal) for the month of January shows well above normal temperatures across much of the nation east of the Rocky Mountains except for the Northern Plains. The Rockies and western U.S. were a mixed bag of above and below average temperatures. (WeatherBell)
January precipitation typically averages four inches, but that was also exceeded by nearly two and one-half inches, making for a warm and wet month with no snowflakes falling. There were three days that recorded more than an inch of rain and they were spaced out over the course of the month.

Thunderstorms occurred on the 10th, 11th, and 15th (coincidentally, the three days that also reached at least 69 degrees). There was one severe weather event, on the morning of the 11th, which resulted in a flurry of mainly weak tornadoes across the Mid-South as a squall line moved through the region. A total of 13 tornadoes were documented in the NWS-Memphis warning area, six of which occurred in the greater Memphis metropolitan area and MWN coverage area. These include an EF-2 that passed east of Hernando to south of Olive Branch in DeSoto County, causing the most damage, two EF-1's (one on either side of Arkabutla Lake), and EF-0's in far southwest Marshall County and southern Fayette County. Windspread wind damage from the associated line of storms also swept through the metro with about 40,000 MLG&W customers losing power as trees and a few power lines were felled.


Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN


Temperature
Average temperature: 46.7 degrees (5.5 degrees above average)
Average high temperature: 54.7 degrees (4.9 degrees above average)
Average low temperature: 38.6 degrees (6.0 degrees above average)
Warmest temperature: 72 degrees (11th)
Coolest temperature: 23 degrees (20th)
Heating Degrees Days: 559 (179 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 0 (1 below average)
Records set or tied: Record high minimum set on the 15th (59 degrees)
Comments: Five days recorded a low temperature at or below freezing, 9.5 days less than average for the month.

Precipitation
Monthly total: 6.44" (2.46" above average)
Days with measurable precipitation: 16 (6.5 days above average)
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.80" (11th)
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Three days had rainfall exceeding one inch. The average for January is one.

Miscellaneous
Peak wind: South/44 mph (10th)
Average wind: 8.4 mph
Average relative humidity: 72%
Average sky cover: 70%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions / MemphisWeather.net, Bartlett, TN


Temperature
Average temperature: 45.4 degrees
Average high temperature: 53.8 degrees
Average low temperature: 37.5 degrees
Warmest temperature: 70.1 degrees (11th)
Coolest temperature: 22.7 degrees (20th)
Comments: None

Precipitation
Monthly total: 5.84" (automated rain gauge), 6.25" (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge)
Days with measurable precipitation: 14
Wettest date: 2.05" (11th) (via automated gauge)
Snowfall: Trace
Comments: A few snow flurries fell on the morning of the 20th.

Miscellaneous
Peak wind: South/30 mph (11th)
Average relative humidity: 79%
Average barometric pressure: 30.15 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.34 degrees
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 66%
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.88 degrees
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 51%

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

Climate Outlook - February 2020

The February climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for the eastern and southwestern U.S. Below average temperatures are expected in the northern Great Plains. Odds favor above average temperatures for Memphis, at 39% (versus only a 28% chance of below average temperatures). Memphis averages 45.5 degrees for the month.



Wetter than normal weather is expected for the southeast U.S, as well as the northern Great Plains. Below average precipitation is forecast for the eastern Plains and California. For Memphis, odds favor very slightly above average rainfall (34% chance), which historically averages nearly 4.39 inches.

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Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net 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

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Could it be? A snow forecast we can all get behind?

We ran a poll a couple of days ago for Groundhog Day asking whether you were ready for spring or wanted some snow. The results were very close to split among the 500 or so votes. In fact, we might have the best of both worlds on deck!

A very warm (but wet) pattern has gotten us through the first half of the week. But now that we are "post-frontal" (the cold front is shifting east of our area), cold air will mix with the next round of precipitation late Thursday, potentially bringing the snow-lovers out there something pretty to stare at out the window. For those that don't want to bother with it, anything that falls should be relatively harmless. And for those that don't want to figure out how to shuffle the kids on a school day, the impacts should be minimal enough that that won't be an issue come Friday morning! Winner winner, French toast dinner! Let's get into the details.


A cold day is in the cards for Thursday. We may start off with a little light rain in the morning with temperatures near 40 degrees. With an upper level trough approaching, cloud cover sticking around, and northerly wind, temperatures will likely remain steady all day. By mid-afternoon, temperatures aloft will begin to cool as the upper level low/trough moves closer. That trough will also serve as a trigger for the development of precipitation near our area by mid to late afternoon.

An upper level trough (the "valley" in the pressure lines) moves through the area over the next 48 hours according to the mid-day GFS model. That trough is responsible for providing the energy and cold air necessary to produce light snow Thursday evening. (WeatherModels.com)

With temperatures still likely up near 40, initial precip could be a rain/snow mix. But those cooling temperatures aloft will change precipitation over to light snow fairly quickly, despite temperatures still in the mid to upper 30s at ground level. As the sun sets, surface temperatures will cool into the mid 30s as light snow chances continue. The departures of the upper level trough by about midnight will bring precipitation to an end as temperatures approach the freezing mark in the wee hours of Friday morning. So, the high level details:

  • What: Good chance of light snow
  • When: Late afternoon into the overnight hours Thursday (~4pm-2am)
  • How much: Maybe 1/2" on non-asphalt/concrete surfaces (light dusting)
  • "Boom" forecast: 1"
  • "Bust" forecast: Flurries
The Wednesday evening run of the high-res NAM3 model, showing forecast radar between 8am Thursday and 8am Friday. Snow breaks out late in the afternoon near the Mississippi River and continues into the evening hours. (WeatherModels.com)

What impacts are we expecting? Very few. With temperatures above freezing for most, or all, of the event, most snowflakes melt on contact with the ground. I expect it could be pretty to look at in the evening in the street lights, and if it comes down hard enough we could see a dusting on elevated/exposed surfaces and outdoor objects. Roads should remain above freezing and thus will be no worse than wet, even the elevated ones. 

Low temperatures will be just below freezing Friday morning, but even the roads should stay in pretty good shape. There conceivably could be a few slick spots on elevated roads early Friday morning, but that chance is deemed to be very low given the forecast.

There remains some discrepancy between the various computer models, but nearly all produce snowflakes tomorrow evening. This should be just the kind of event that will appease some of the snow-lovers while also not interfering with the activities of those that prefer it never happen! Stay tuned to our social media channels for the latest information throughout the day Thursday.


Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
Complete MWN Forecast: MemphisWeather.net on the mobile web or via the MWN mobile app
Download our iPhone or Android apps, featuring StormWatch+ severe weather alerts!
MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder