Friday, January 7, 2022

December 2021 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

December Climate Recap

While November was cooler and much drier than average, December turned the tables as the majority of the country ended above normal, and the central and eastern portions finished, in most cases, warmer than the month of November. This was especially true in Memphis where the average temperature for the month was nearly 6 degrees warmer than it was in November and second warmest all-time! Multiple temperature records were broken, including the warmest Christmas Day since records began in 1875 - 77 degrees. Only four days during the month recorded below average temperatures.

As for precipitation, there was a fair amount spread throughout the month, however the month still ended nearly an inch below average, totaling just over 4.5 inches. Nearly 2 inches of that fell on the 11th though, and this was by far the most active weather day of the month, as severe storms rolled through the metro. The day will best be remembered for the violent tornadoes in northwest TN and Kentucky among other locations. That day also set a record high temperature at 80 degrees. Below are a few graphics that depict the character of the day, starting with storm reports issued by NWS offices in AR, TN, and KY. It is easy to pick out three distinct "tornado paths" from the reports, as well as all of the wind damage in the Memphis metro. A single tornado was briefly spotted in the MWN area of responsibility near Somerville in Fayette County.

Storm reports memorialized by NWS offices in AR, TN, and KY (whose jurisdiction partially extends outside those three states). Tornado reports are red icons, wind damage is orange, and flooding is green. (National Weather Service)

This image shows areas where rotation was detected by NEXRAD radars across the region. "Rotation tracks" are where storms were rotating, but not necessarily producing tornadoes. The paths of primary supercells are evident and match well with the tornado reports above. (MRMS, NWS)

Finally, thunderstorms also occurred on the 29th with minor tree damage in Shelby County. Overall, the exceptional warmth fed into multiple rounds of thunderstorms during the month and would lead to a record warm New Year's Day as well.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 57.2 degrees (12.4 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 66.5 degrees (13.1 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 48.0 degrees (11.8 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 80 degrees (10th) 
Coolest temperature: 30 degrees (20th) 
Heating Degrees Days: 258 (370 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 25 (23 above average) 
Records set or tied Record high temperatures - 76 degrees (3rd), 80 degrees (10th), 77 degrees (25th), 74 degrees (tied-28th); record warm low temperatures - 64 degrees (10th), 64 degrees (27th), 65 degrees (28th).
Comments: Three days dropped below freezing versus an average of 11.5 days in December.

Monthly total: 4.52" (0.97" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9 (1.2 days below average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.87" (11th) 
Snowfall: 0.0"
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: Southwest/51 mph (10th) 
Average wind: 9.1 mph 
Average relative humidity: 71% 
Average sky cover: 61% 

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 54.7 degrees 
Average high temperature: 64.9 degrees 
Average low temperature: 44.2 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 78.6 degrees (10th) 
Coolest temperature: 25.1 degrees (20th) 
Comments: None 

Monthly total: 5.23" (automated rain gauge), 5.64"(manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 8
Wettest date: 1.70" (29th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: 0.0"
Comments: None

Peak wind: Southwest/31 mph (10th)
Average relative humidity: 77% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.03 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.32 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 66% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.69 degrees 
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 59% 

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

Climate Outlook - January 2022

The January climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for the southern U.S. into the Desert Southwest. Below average temperatures are expected across the Upper Midwest, Northern Plains, into the Pacific Northwest. Odds favor near average temperatures for Memphis over the course of the month. The average temperature for January is 42.1 degrees, which is the coldest m.

Precipitation is expected to be above normal for the northwestern U.S. and the Great Lakes south into the Tennessee Valley, while below average precipitation is forecast for the southern U.S., particularly over the Southern Plains. For Memphis, odds favor slightly above average precipitation (44%) versus a 23% chance of below average precipitation, which historically averages 4.14 inches in January.

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

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