Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wet and stormy Thursday, followed by a beautiful start to the weekend

[ Editor's Note: This is the first MWN Blog post written by new intern Christian Bridges, with only light editing by yours truly. Hope you enjoy this informative read! ]

Hope everyone has been enjoying the wonderful spring weather we have been experiencing across the Mid-South the past few days! While the weather is warm, clouds and breezy south wind have been the story for most of today. Dewpoints are near 70 degrees, really helping to add to the warm, humid summertime feel to the air. Breezy south winds will continue pumping warm air and moisture into the Mid-South, setting the stage for widespread rain and scattered thunderstorms tomorrow. 

Slow-moving cold front = wet Thursday

A cold front to our northwest has been the focus for very heavy rain and severe weather across Arkansas and Missouri, and as it slowly sinks south tonight and into tomorrow our rain and storm chances will really ramp up. The southerly winds and high amount of moisture in the air will also keep us mild overnight, with a low around 70°.

The cold front will slowly approach the region tonight but most precipitation will remain close to the front and to our northwest overnight. Tomorrow, showers and a few thunderstorms could start by morning rush hour and continue through the morning. The front will finally move through in the afternoon, bringing a slightly better chance of scattered thunderstorms.

The HRRR model depiction of forecast radar echoes from 10pm Wednesday through 1am Friday. (WeatherBell)

The Storm Prediction Center has us in a Marginal Risk (level 1/5) of severe weather Thursday, and a few strong storms in the area does not seem like a bad bet. While this won’t be a major severe event by any means, tomorrow is a good day to keep an eye on the skies (and our social media feeds) just in case a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued. The main threats with any strong or severe storm will be strong winds and isolated large hail. 

The Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook for Thursday has the area in a Marginal Risk (level 1/5) for a few strong storms capable mainly of gusty wind. (via Pivotal Weather)

As storms move through the metro during the afternoon hours, some places could pick up some notable rainfall totals, especially if heavy storms repeatedly move over the same area. The Weather Prediction Center has placed us under a level 2/4 (Slight) risk for excessive rainfall tomorrow, and low lying areas and underpasses could see minor flooding during heavier storms. Models show a consistent 1.0-1.5” of rain with this event.

The Weather Prediction Center Excessive Rainfall Outlook for Thursday has the metro in a Slight Risk (level 2/4) for potential flash flooding. (via Pivotal Weather)

The National Blend of Models (NBM) total precipitation through Friday at 1am indicates over an inch of rain will fall across the metro. (WeatherBell)

Spring sunshine to start the weekend

Our reward for putting up with heavy rain and storms comes on Friday, with an absolutely gorgeous day in store. The cold front will sweep out the Gulf moisture, leaving Friday feeling cooler, sunny, and fresh. Expect a high of 74 with breezy NE winds around 10-15 mph. Friday night looks a bit cool, with a low in the low 50s and continued mostly clear conditions. Saturday is the pick of the weekend, with highs in the upper 70s and partly cloudy skies. Rain is once again in the forecast for Sunday, so if you want to do something outdoors it would be best to plan it for Friday or Saturday!

Looking ahead

A persistent trough over the center of the country will keep the pattern unsettled as we go into next week. An upper level low pressure system lingering over the Southwestern US over the next few days will finally push east into Monday, bringing shower and storm chances Sunday through Tuesday. Temperatures look to be seasonable, in the upper 70s and low 80s each day. Depending on how far north the warm front gets and if all of the right ingredients come together, severe weather could also be possible next week. Timing and threats will begin to shape up over the next few days, so stay tuned for that. 

The European model depiction of the upper level pattern through early next week shows an upper level low (blues) moving into the Mid-South, then being absorbed by a larger trough that moves into the area late in the weekend. Overall, an unsettled pattern results with the exception of Friday and Saturday. (WeatherBell)

Christian Bridges
MWN Social Media Intern

Follow MWN on Facebook and Twitter for routine updates and the latest info!
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MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder

Monday, April 26, 2021

Warmer spring conditions return; farewell from an intern

Early in April, the Mid-South recorded a string of days with high temperatures that averaged near the 80 degree mark. On this blog, I wrote a blog that indicated in the title that cooler spring weather "appears persistent." Sure enough, every day since then has had an average temperature that was below normal for that day. Today marks another turning point.

Pattern shift = warmer weather 

High pressure at the surface and aloft have built into the region. After a "Chamber of Commerce" weather day on Sunday, temperatures warm back above average for the next few days under the ridge of high pressure. We should see highs back to 80 degrees this afternoon with abundant sunshine and breezy south wind. Look for slowly increasing high cloudiness heading into Monday night and Tuesday though as the next system slowly approaches from our southwest. Wind picks up a bit further the next couple of days with southerly gusts in the 20-30 mph range under those high clouds. Highs still reach the low 80s though, and morning lows also rise into the 60s. 

Mid-week "fly in the ointment"

By Wednesday afternoon and evening, a stray shower will be possible as atmospheric moisture increases and we're caught between a weakening upper level low pressure system to our west and strong high pressure over the southeast U.S.

The European model shows the upper level pattern over the coming week indicates above average pressure values (oranges) through much of the week before an upper level low pressure center moves by just to our south late in the week. (WeatherBell)

The high finally relinquishes control Thursday and Friday as the upper low moves into the region, bringing higher rain chances Thursday and Thursday night. A few thunderstorms are possible, but the  severe weather threat appears low. With a surface front moving in coordination with the upper low, additional cloud cover and rain will hold down temperatures on Thursday with highs in the mid 70s. 

Trailing the front, the upper level pattern does not feature as strong of a ridge as earlier in the week. So despite clouds departing, temperatures will remain cooler but still very pleasant - in the 70s for highs and 50s for lows. That should result in a very nice weekend ahead for those of you planning outdoor activities, events, or perhaps graduation parties! 

Farewell to an MWN intern

This is #TeamMWN intern Grace Anello's final week on our social media feeds. Here are some parting thoughts from Grace:

Looking back on the last year, I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed! In late April of 2020, Erik hired me on as an intern in the midst of a pandemic and began training me and shaping my meteorological knowledge from the ground, up. So much of what I know about our field and the analysis we do everyday is from members of the MWN Team. I have so enjoyed getting to craft forecast updates and interact with all of our readers online via Facebook and Twitter! I am excited for the future and for my next chapter at WKRN News 2 [Nashville] as one of their interns but I will always remember and be thankful for the foundation that MWN gave to me! You all have taken this Atlanta girl, moved me 400 miles to the west and still made me feel at home. Thanks for a great year and please keep in touch via my Twitter or Facebook, both @AnelloWX.  -Grace Anello
Grace has been a valuable part of the team for the past year, as has recently-departed intern Justin Bowles. While both have/are moving on to other adventures, the mark they have made on MWN and me personally will live on. They have both served all of you diligently and learned a great deal in the process. 

I'm grateful to be able to provide this "real-world learning laboratory" to the next generation of great meteorologists who will take their knowledge and experiences into the field in the coming years. Grace has one more year at Mississippi State and will then be sharing her forecasts with a lucky TV market after that. We wish nothing but the best to Grace and Justin! Your futures are bright!

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, April 14, 2021

Cool pattern for spring appears persistent; #TeamMWN intern update

We've experienced a beautiful run of spring weather over the past week or so with mild temperatures in the 70s and even a few low 80s, lows generally in the 50s, and fairly dry - with a couple of exceptions. The pattern has shifted though and cooler weather has settled in, perhaps for a while! Let's dig into a few details.

Why the cooler air?

The cause for the upcoming string of below average temperatures can be seen if we look up a little ways - specifically about 18,000 feet up! At that level (what meteorologists refer to as 500 mb), a pair of low pressure centers dominate the eastern and western U.S. this evening. Over the coming week, the eastern U.S. low shifts east and strengthens (or "deepens") while the western U.S. low expands and shifts east as well. By this weekend, the western low becomes a very strong low over the Mississippi Valley. On its heels as it continues east early next week, more low pressure spills south from Canada into the eastern U.S. 

The loop below shows that progression, with blue shades representing below average pressure at that level of the atmosphere. Below average pressure aloft tends to result in below average temperatures at the surface and that is what much of the eastern and central U.S. will experience for at least the next week or so. In this case, it will also spell below average precipitation for our region over the coming week, but not necessarily perfectly dry as smaller upper level disturbances rotate around their parent low pressure centers.

This loop shows the 500mb (18,000') pressure levels over the coming week according to the European model. Blue to green shading is anomalously low pressure and yellows to reds are above normal. Note that the blues tend to stick around for much of the nation east of the Rockies for this time period. (WeatherBell)


Clouds depart late tonight and we start Thursday with sunny skies, but the next system (much like this morning's) moves in late in the day tomorrow, bringing clouds and eventually a slight chance of rain Thursday night. Even with sun, look for highs in the mid 60s Thursday.  

There won't be much time between a weak system Thursday night and a stronger one Friday night, which brings perhaps our best chance of rain overnight. Some showers are possible by late afternoon Friday with the highest chances after dark. Fortunately, thunderstorms are not predicted with this round of rainfall. Friday's high will be in the low 60s with lows in the upper 40s as you wake up to drying conditions Saturday morning. 

The Memphis Tigers spring football game #FridayNightStripes may look a lot like a regular game in late October!

With the main upper low to our north Saturday and Sunday, we expect more clouds than sun this weekend, though primarily dry weather - 10-20% rain chances is about it. Highs remain in the mid 60s with lows in the mid to upper 40s into Monday morning.

Next week looks primarily dry through mid-week with varying degrees of cloud cover, highs in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the 40s. Average for mid-April is low 70s and low 50s.

Intern update

As the spring semester comes to a close, a couple of transitions are occurring on #TeamMWN. Two excellent nowcaster/interns will be moving on. Justin Bowles will be graduating with a Master's Degree in Meteorology from Mississippi State in a couple weeks after serving MWN very well this past school year. And Gracie Anello will be shifting her focus to broadcast this summer as she finishes her junior year and begins an internship at WKRN-TV in Nashville. She has likewise done an exemplary job on our social media feeds for the past 12 months. We wish them both well on their next adventures!

Taking their places are another Gracie (Gracie Dencausse), who will start her senior year at Mississippi State this fall in broadcast meteorology, and Christian Bridges, who has one more semester left at MSU (this fall) as he completes his undergrad degree in professional meteorology with a minor in Broadcast. Both have made their first posts on our social channels and are excited for what will likely be a few hundred more over the coming months! 

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

March 2021 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

March Climate Recap

The month of February was very cold and one of the snowiest on record, but the script flipped heading into March with temperatures for the month averaging more than four degrees above normal at 58.3 degrees. The first week of the month featured near to slight below normal, but the middle half of the month recorded highs in the 70s to just above 80 degrees, well above average. Temperatures dropped back to near average to end the month.

Precipitation was near normal until the last week of the month when a total of 6.74" fell starting on the 25th, which would have been above normal for the entire month if the first 24 days of the month were thrown out. In sum, precipitation totaled more than 4 inches above average. Nearly 4" of rain fell on the 27th, when severe weather also occurred, a daily record. Severe weather occurred on the 27th. On the 27th, scattered wind damage occurred across the area and a total of five weak (EF-0, EF-1) tornadoes touched down in the region, including four in Mississippi County and one in Tate County. Additional reports of localized flooding were received on the 1st, 17th, and 27th.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 58.3 degrees (4.3 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 68.8 degrees (4.9 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 47.9 degrees (3.8 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 81 degrees (16th, 27th) 
Coolest temperature: 31 degree (3rd) 
Heating Degrees Days: 219 (139 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 20 (3 above average) 
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Only one day recorded a low temperature at or below freezing, two days below average for March.

Monthly total: 9.37" (4.21" above average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 10 (0.5 days above average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 3.77" (27th) 
Snowfall: 0.0" (0.4" below average)
Records set or tied: Record daily maximum rainfall - 3.77" (27th)
Comments: Four days recorded precipitation of more than an inch, 2.4 days above average for March.

Peak wind: Southwest/47 mph (27th) 
Average wind: 8.7 mph 
Average relative humidity: 62% 
Average sky cover: 56% 

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 57.2 degrees 
Average high temperature: 69.2 degrees 
Average low temperature: 45.9 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 75.6 degrees (28th) 
Coolest temperature: -0.3 degrees (16th) 
Comments: None 

Monthly total: 8.04" (automated rain gauge), 8.85"(manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 10
Wettest date: 2.41" (27th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: 0.0"
Comments: None

Peak wind: West/31 mph (17th)
Average relative humidity: 69% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.08 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.60 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 58% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 3.80 degrees 
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 45% 

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

Climate Outlook - April 2021

The April climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for a large section of the United States with highest probabilities from the western Great Lakes through the Plains. Below average temperatures are forecast in the Pacific Northwest. Odds favor above average temperatures for Memphis (49%) versus only 18% chance of below average temperatures. The average temperature for April is 62.9 degrees.

Precipitation is expected to be below normal from the central Rockies into the southern Plains and across much of the Deep South in April. Above average precipitation is forecast for a small section of the Upper Midwest. For Memphis, odds favor near average rainfall. Precipitation historically averages 5.50 inches.

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 
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