Friday, April 29, 2022

Details on this weekend's weather for Beale Street Music Festival #BSMF

It's back!! After a couple years hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beale Street Music Fest is back at full volume, albeit at a new location (temporarily) while Tom Lee Park receives a major renovation. Liberty Park at the Fairgrounds is the new location, with stages and vendors setup on Tiger Lane and the area west of the Liberty Bowl for the three-day festival. 

Because it occurs during the rainy/stormy season, Memphis in May, and BSMF in particular, tend to also be referred to colloquially as "Memphis in Mud," although a couple of factors may make this year's rendition unable to live up to that name. First is the abundance of concrete, which, though harder on the feet, may keep festival-goers from having to trash the foot gear at the end of the weekend! Secondly, with one important exception, most of the weekend looks to be warm and dry! Let's break down the forecast, with particular focus on that "exception" mentioned above.


You really can't ask for much better weather for opening day. Gates open at 5pm to mostly sunny skies with a warm breeze from the south and temperatures in the lower 80s. As the evening goes along, some clouds will float by, but it remains dry as temperatures slip through the 70s with a fresh south breeze continuing. By the time headliners take the stage, temperatures will be in the lower 70s. Overall, a great way to start the weekend!


Saturday looks pretty good for the majority of the day. Those warm southerly breezes will have picked up and occasionally gust to about 30 mph as temperatures again reach the lower 80s by the time music starts at 2pm. There is a small chance of a couple passing showers late afternoon into the early evening, but nothing I am overly concerned about. (After all, it is a "rain-or-shine" event.) A bit more cloud cover foreshadows that slight increase in rain potential late in the day, but the majority of the musical acts are likely to have no issue other than some sweat from a corresponding increase in humidity! 

Late in the evening to early overnight, a cold front will move through. This brings our "exception" referenced earlier, and a pretty good chance of rain and a few thunderstorms along the front. Timing could still waver a bit, and later would be better in this case as we hope it holds off until after the music ends, but as of Friday morning, the potential for storms increases pretty quickly after about 10pm, and drops off after 1am. While lightning and heavy downpours would be likely with any storms, the risk for severe weather is low. A few strong wind gusts or small hail are the primary threats should storms become strong. 

The HRRR model "forecast radar" product valid from 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday. The time period from about 10pm-1am Saturday night is when this model believes storms are possible in Memphis. (WeatherBell)

Note that while BSMF is "rain-or-shine," lightning and more significant storms are not "rain" by this definition. Some of you have probably been to Memphis in May events in which storms resulted in an evacuation of the park for a time. We'll cross our fingers that the forecasted storms either arrive just after music ends, or dodge the Fairgrounds entirely. (Full disclosure: MWN provides on-site meteorologists for all Memphis in May events, keeping MIM officials constantly informed in the event of inclement weather. MWN does not issue evacuation orders.)


With the cold front to our south in north Mississippi by Sunday morning, the sunshine returns, wind is lighter, and humidity levels will also be down just a bit, making for a perfect day to be outdoors! Music starts at 2pm with temperatures again just above 80 degrees, but I expect 80 on Sunday will feel better than 80 on Saturday. As the sun sets in the evening, temperatures will be in the 70s and falling towards the upper 60s by the time the gates close. 

Whatever you have planned this weekend, have fun and stay safe! We'll be keeping you updated on our social media feeds all weekend along.

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

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Nearing the end of a cool and wet April; early look at #BSMF weather

As we sit right now, on April 24, and despite a few recent days in the mid 80s, April has averaged cooler than normal and also wetter than typical. The trend looks to continue into the last week of the month. And since, Memphis in Mud May officially kicks off in April this year (next weekend), we'll take a look at what you need to be anticipating if you have plans to attend Beale Street Music Festival at the Fairgrounds at Liberty Park.

Sunday night/Monday: rain chances return

Those 80s I mentioned above have provided a teaser of early summer, but some 80s in spring is not unusual and don't typically have staying power. That is the case this weekend as well, with a cooler airmass poised to move into the Mid-South behind a front Monday morning. Rain chances tick up tonight, especially towards morning. A few rumbles of thunder are possible with warm, moist air in place and a lift provided by the front sufficient to trigger some thunderstorms. Those are most likely late tonight into Monday morning. Fortunately, severe weather really isn't a concern. 

The Sunday mid-day run of the HRRR model showing forecast radar from 6pm Sunday through 6pm Monday. Most rain and storms remain in AR overnight, then showers increase locally around sunrise Monday before trailing off in the afternoon. (WeatherBell)

The cold front moves through around mid-morning, switching wind to the north. Precipitation ahead of the front is likely to be scattered, while we could see some steadier rain (though not particularly heavy) trailing behind it into the afternoon hours. Those precipitation chances drop off by mid-afternoon though leading to a fairly dry evening. We'll only see temperatures bottom out in the mid 60s overnight, and though they may rise a few degrees in the morning, I expect they'll start to fall some again by mid-afternoon. Overall - 60s most of the day is the most likely scenario.

Tuesday/Wednesday: Chamber of Commerce weather!

By Tuesday morning, lingering clouds from Monday night should be clearing out quickly. Coupled with a northerly breeze, much drier air arrives leading to a very pleasant day. Morning lows will be in the lower 50s and highs in the mid 60s. Wednesday is expected to be very similar with a slightly wider temperature range. Morning lows start in the mid 40s with highs in the lower 70s. Overall, nearly perfect for late April! 

The surface pressure map for Tuesday evening shows sprawling high pressure across the Mississippi Valley, leading to comfortable conditions and sunny skies. (Euro model via WeatherBell)

Thursday/Friday: rain chances tick up

Most of Thursday continues the trend of pleasant weather. Clouds will increase some as temperatures warm a bit, but not uncomfortably so. Lows will be near 50 with highs around room temperature (mid 70s). A southerly wind means moisture increases a bit. The upper level pattern shows northwest flow over the area and a trough entering the Plains, so a little energy in the upper levels could result in a few showers or thunderstorms slipping out of Arkansas into the metro Thursday night or Friday. Friday will be warmer and stickier as highs near 80 degrees once again. Computer models are not unanimous on the chances of precipitation so, for now, we'll keep them fairly low as Beale Street Music Fest kicks off Friday evening at the Fairgrounds.

Beale Street Music Fest: more concrete may be a good thing

Typically rain chances in early May result in "Memphis in Mud" in Tom Lee Park. But this year, with more concrete at the Fairgrounds (and the event occurring mostly in April!), Music Fest may have less mud, but not necessarily because of a dry forecast. The next front looks to arrive Saturday, bringing rain and probably some thunderstorm chances, as well as sticky conditions. I'm hopeful that the front will move south into Mississippi by Sunday, leaving a drier day to end the weekend. Confidence is only moderate in that happening though. If the front stalls, look for rain chances to increase Sunday. As far as temperatures, mornings appear mild (lower 60s) with highs in the lower 80s Saturday and upper 70s Sunday. 

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

Monday, April 18, 2022

March 2022 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

March Climate Recap

The first two months of 2022 ended up cooler than average, and although March was overall warmer than normal, one cold spell in particular resulted in a late winter snowstorm. The first week of the month was very warm, with three temperature records being set or tied. Then, five days after a record high of 81 degrees, four to six inches of snow fell roughly along the I-40 corridor on the 11th, followed by a high temperature of 34 the following day. Four days later, Memphis was back up to 70 degrees and another stretch of warm days ensued. cooler than average weather moved back in for the last week of the month. The average temperature for the month ended up 1.0 degrees above normal, driven by the average high temperature which was 2.5 degrees above average.

In addition to the snow storm (which also featured some thundersleet!), thunderstorms occurred on the 6th, 22nd and 30th. The storms on the 30th brought severe wind damage to northern DeSoto County, southern Shelby County, and southern Fayette County, as well as Tornado Warnings. Tree and power line damage occurred as a result of wind, and a wall collapsed on a warehouse in Southaven, MS (DeSoto County). Overall though, precipitation ended up very near average for the month at just over 5.5 inches.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 55.2 degrees (1.0 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 66.7 degrees (2.5 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 43.7 degrees (0.6 degrees below average) 
Warmest temperature: 81 degrees (6th) 
Coolest temperature: 25 degrees (12th) 
Heating Degrees Days: 311 (41 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 12 (6 below average) 
Records set or tied: Daily record high temperature was tied on the 3rd (80) and set on the 6th (81). A daily record warm minimum temperature was also set on the 6th (66).
Comments: Three days saw temperatures fall below freezing.

Monthly total: 5.64" (0.10" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 11 (0.5 days above average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 2.05" (22nd) 
Snowfall: 2.0" (1.5" above average)
Records set or tied: Set record daily snowfall - 2.0" (11th)
Comments: In addition to the 2" of snow recorded on the 11th, a trace of snow fell on the 12th. [The 2.0" recorded on March 11th is believed to be erroneously low based on surrounding stations.]

Peak wind: South/45 mph (30th) 
Average wind: 9.4 mph 
Average relative humidity: 58%
Average sky cover: 54%

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

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 54.0 degrees 
Average high temperature: 67.1 degrees 
Average low temperature: 42.0 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 82.0 degrees (3rd) 
Coolest temperature: 22.8 degrees (12th) 
Comments: None 

Monthly total: 5.05" (automated rain gauge), 5.39"(manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 11
Wettest date: 1.69" (22nd) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: 3.8"
Comments: Snowfall on the 11th totaled 3.8".

Peak wind: Southwest/38 mph (30th)
Average relative humidity: 61% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.04 in. Hg
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.43 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 60% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 3.27 degrees 
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 53% 

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

Climate Outlook - April 2022

The April climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for much of the southern tier and up the east coast with strongest chances in the Southern Plains into New Mexico. Below average temperatures are expected for the Pacific Northwest. Odds slightly favor above average temperatures (37%) for Memphis over the course of the month versus a 30% chance of below average temperatures. The average temperature for April is 63.2 degrees.

Precipitation is expected to be above normal across the Great Lakes into the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Valleys into the northeast, as well as the Pacific Northwest. Highest odds of wet conditions are in the Great Lakes. Below average precipitation is forecast for the Rio Grande Valley into the Southwest U.S. For Memphis, odds favor near average precipitation, which historically averages 5.87 inches in April, the wettest month of the year.

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

Friday, April 15, 2022

Easter weekend starts with overnight storms, continues with periods of showers

Overall, it appears most of the area made it through Wednesday's Level 4 severe weather risk pretty well, thank goodness! Outside of a funnel cloud over West Memphis, stealthily captured on video from a vantage point on Mud Island by Jordan Booth, no there were no tornado sightings or damage locally. 

The biggest problem seemed to be very heavy rainfall that caused minor flooding issues around the area. Thursday was a welcome respite from the storms with clear blue skies and low humidity. Unfortunately, the pattern changes quickly this time of year!

For those hoping for a delightfully warm and sunny Easter weekend, Mother Nature has other plans. The good news is I don't expect a washout of a weekend, and not a lot of severe storms. The tougher news is that many of our activities - including Easter egg hunts, proms, Sunday morning worship services, and Grizzlies playoff parties on the FedExForum plaza - might have to deal with some rain. Let's talk it through....

Friday into Friday Night: storms arrive

Clouds increase today as high pressure has shifted to our east and southerly wind becomes re-established. That also means an increase in moisture and building rain chances, especially by this evening, though a couple spotty showers are possible this afternoon. Look for highs to reach the mid 70s after a cool start to the day.

By tonight, we'll be involved in a "squeeze play" as a warm front pushes north from the deep south and a cold front advances into Arkansas from the north. Once the warm front arrives, showers and thunderstorms will become likely. In addition, some thunderstorms forming ahead of the cold front in northern AR will move southeast into our area. All of this means rain chances increase this evening and it is likely to be a wet overnight period with periods of thunderstorms to wake the kids and dog. I expect the highest probability of some storms will be from around midnight through the wee hours of the morning. 

The HRRR model forecast radar loop from 6pm Friday through 6am Saturday shows showers and thunderstorms moving through the Memphis area much of the night. (WeatherBell)

As for severe weather, we are in a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for scattered strong to severe storms. Main threats are large hail, strong wind gusts, and heavy rainfall. I really am not concerned about tornadoes tonight and the better chance of severe storms is to our west in the Ozarks and central AR, however some storms in the wee hours of Saturday morning could produce hail stones and strong wind gusts. Flooding could become a concern in spots as rainfall will likely be "efficient" owing to a very saturated airmass overhead and thunderstorms dropping heavy rain. The sinking cold front will overtake the lifting warm front and push south through the metro by sun-up Saturday, bringing the thunderstorm chances to an end. However, the front looks to stall over central MS, which brings us to the rest of the weekend...

A Level 2 (Slight) Risk of severe storms is forecast for Friday night. (NOAA/SPC)

Saturday: Easter eggs, NBA playoffs, proms, and rain showers

With the cold front to our south, but not too far away, I expect a cloudy day with  mild temperatures and a northeast wind. We should stay in the 60s most of the day. We also will likely be dodging rain showers off and on. Model data has been inconsistent on the most likely timing, even the "good" high-resolution model runs this morning. While lingering showers are possible early in the day behind the front, upper level energy could also prompt some showers throughout the day. The normally reliable HRRR model says more wet than dry hours during the day Saturday, while the also very good NAM3 model thinks most of the daytime will be dry. Take your umbrella. 

Comparison of "future radar" from two well-respected models for noon Saturday. #shrug

The good news here is that with northeast wind and the front to the south, thunderstorms should be few and far between.  Saturday night looks to continue the trend with additional chances for rain showers throughout the night, as well as chilly conditions with lows dropping below 50 by the time any Easter Sunrise services start early Sunday morning, while leads us to Easter Day...

Easter Sunday: rain chances continue

Unfortunately, Easter Sunday may not bring excellent opportunities for family photos in your Sunday best, at least outside with the azaleas. Overnight rain chances will likely continue into the morning hours. If there's a dry period Sunday, it could be late morning through mid-afternoon, because by late afternoon and evening, one more wave of moisture production arrives as a reinforcing cold front moves through. I can't rule out some thunderstorm activity late Sunday afternoon and evening with the front, but severe weather chances look slim to none. All of that activity moves out Sunday night though. As for temperatures, it'll be cool Sunday. Starting in the upper 40s, we'll only see temperatures top out in the lower 60s, or about 10 degrees below average.

Rainfall totals for Easter weekend will likely be close to 2" total, more to the east of the city and less to the west. Keep the umbrella handy! (NWS-Memphis)

Next week: mostly dry and warming by mid-week

Behind this weekend's systems, we finally look to catch a multi-day break from rain and storms, though below average temperatures continue. Generally, expect sunny skies Monday and Tuesday with lows in the 40s and highs in the mid 60s. Clouds increase Wednesday leading to a minor chance of rain Thursday, though it looks like it might stay to our west as warmer high pressure builds over the southeast U.S. and temperatures climb back into the 70s for highs mid to late week.

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

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Spring's arrival means additional rounds of strong storms this week

Spring has definitely sprung across the region, though with a few bumps along the way (like Friday's high of 50° that led into a light frost Saturday morning), but now there is no doubt we are in "The Pollening" (can I get an AMEN from those who park outside??)!

With spring comes the potential for severe weather, as we are now in the heart of spring storm season as well. We were fortunate to make it through a couple of side-swipes by Mother Nature over the past 10-14 days, but the week ahead looks like it could be rocky once again. Overall, the general pattern is fairly well fleshed-out, but the details are still TBD, which means there is still some uncertainty in the forecast. Let's dive in to what we know and don't, under the overall theme of "be weather aware," especially through mid-week.

Sunday night-Monday

Very gusty south wind has been bringing moisture levels back up today as temperatures rose to about 30 degrees warmer than just two days ago, topping out near 80. The warmth and southerly flow sets the stage for multiple rounds of inclement weather the first half of the week. Starting tonight, we'll see increasing clouds and mild temperatures in the 60s. By morning, an initial wave of showers - possibly a non-severe thunderstorm - arrive early with a chance of showers continuing into the mid-day hours. Gusty south wind will continue, but not as strong as Sunday, allowing highs to reach the mid 70s under abundant cloud cover.

The HRRR model produces a round of showers and maybe a thunderstorm early Monday morning with a chance of showers into the afternoon. This forecast radar loop is valid from 5am to 5pm Monday.

Monday night-Tuesday night

By early Monday evening, a cold front approaches from the northwest. It is expected to fire off storms in AR and southern MO, some of which could be severe, that push into the metro. It remains to be seen how long they maintain some level of strength and how far southeast they go, but I expect we'll see scattered showers and thunderstorms after 8pm or so Monday evening, lasting well into the night. 

Similar to that above, the HRRR model forecast radar loop from 5pmMonday to 5am Tuesday shows the potential for some storms in the late evening hours tomorrow as storms move northeast through AR into the metro.

The best chance of severe storms - with hail, strong wind, and maybe a stray tornado threat - will be late evening, or about 9pm to midnight-ish. The higher chance of severe storms will be to our west, but we are included in a Level 2 risk for Monday night in most of the metro. While Wednesday will get all the publicity, let's first not overlook Monday evening, and be prepared in case a severe storm comes knocking around bedtime. 

As we head into Tuesday, the severe weather threat shifts well to our west, in the Plains, where some very strong storms and tornadoes are possible. Locally, a few showers are possible and wind continues to crank at 20-30 mph from the south, pushing highs back towards 80 once again. Another warm and breezy night is expected Tuesday night with lows in the mid 60s. We could start to see some "runaway" showers or storms from our west infringe on Mid-South airspace Tuesday night, but those appear most likely as we head towards dawn Wednesday morning.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) severe weather outlook for Tuesday into Tuesday night shows the highest potential for severe weather, including a potential outbreak of severe storms, from Iowa to Texas.

Wednesday - Weather Alert day

Once we get through Monday evening's modest threat, the focus clearly is on Wednesday. A very large area, including the Mid-South and areas to our west, is outlooked for severe weather at the equivalent of a Level 3 risk as of this writing, but with a decent chance of being elevated further come Wednesday. A potent upper level system, cold front, and strong winds and shear will be capable of producing both discrete (stand-alone) supercell storms, as well as an eventual squall line with embedded severe storms. This means all hazards (damaging wind, large hail, tornadoes, lightning and torrential rain) are possible, and we will likely see multiple rounds of storms.

The SPC severe weather outlook for Wednesday includes a large area with enhanced probabilities of severe weather, including the Mid-South. These threats will be further refined as we get closer to Wednesday.

Starting early, models are hinting at some early-day convection, possibly before sunrise and into the morning hours, moving out of AR and across the area. A few of these could be strong and worth keeping an eye on, though it is likely that the main threat would be gusty wind and hail with these.

After they move out by mid-day, it appears the next threat will be during the afternoon hours. This is where the confidence drops a bit, particularly with the mode that the storms will be in. Supercell thunderstorms appear possible, though it is a bit early to know for sure if they will occur this far east. (I do suspect that risk is a bit higher to our west.) If they were to occur, tornadoes and large hail would be possible with the damaging wind threat. 

The surface weather map forecast at 7am Wednesday shows the entire Mississippi River Valley and adjacent areas in a "warm sector" ahead of a strong cold front moving out of the Plains. (NOAA/WPC)

By late afternoon or evening, the front itself moves in. Storms to our west are likely to coalesce into a squall line and sweep through the area. This scenario could be more like the one from two weeks ago on a Wednesday, where a well-established line moves through with a damaging wind threat, but also embedded circulations that could produce tornadoes. 

All of that said, Wednesday will be a Weather Alert day and you should be keeping a close eye on the forecast and making plans for potential severe weather. Being 72 hours or so out, there are unknown details - timing, storm mode, threats, etc. - so stay in touch and review the tips below. It is possible that with enough morning precipitation, the afternoon threat will be tempered a bit. Obviously, as typical, a lot of sunshine and higher than expected temperatures would not bode well as instability (storm fuel) would be higher.

Late week

Once the cold front moves through Wednesday evening, a cooler and more settled pattern arrives for a couple of days on Thursday and Friday. Thursday in particular should be very nice - sunny skies, highs in the upper 60s following lows in the upper 40s, and light wind. More clouds will slide in on Friday but we expect it will continue to be dry. Morning lows will be in the upper 40s and highs in the lower 70s with an easterly breeze.

Easter weekend

It's about a week out, but an unsettled pattern could return for Easter weekend. I'm more concerned about Easter Day than Saturday. However, a few showers could return on Saturday as wind switches back to the south and humidity values start to rise again as temperatures reach the mid 70s. Overall, it does not appear to be a wash-out kind of day, so it might be the best option for outdoor egg hunts. 

By Sunday, another potentially strong front is knocking on our door, which will usher in another round of below normal temperatures to start the following week. Any time there is a pattern flip on the horizon this time of year, the antennae go up... I'm carrying scattered showers and thunderstorms and mild temperatures in the forecast for Easter Day right now - with a giant "TBD" on anything more than that. If you have a plan A for Easter Sunday, you might as well have a plan B!

So for this week, we encourage you to just "be prepared, not scared." It's been an active spring, so you should have your safe place and warning methods ready by now just in case, as well as your alternate plans if the weather dictates. We'll continue to bring you the latest on our social media feeds.

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
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