Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Strong to severe storms likely Wednesday night

Another severe weather event is poised to affect a large area, including the Mid-South, on Wednesday. The area under a heightened risk includes much of the Ohio Valley, mid to lower Mississippi Valley, to as far west as Dallas.  Locally, the main threat window is Wednesday night between about 9pm-3am. (The event will not last that long, but models still disagree on exact timing. Expect storms to last for an hour or so, likely no more than two hours.)

But first, a chance the kids join you in bed tonight...

Prior to tomorrow night, scattered thunderstorms are again expected to fire up tonight along a frontal boundary that lingers over the area. As it lifts north as a warm front and the low level wind picks up overnight, storms will develop, and could be noisy. The well-known HD "HRRR" model thinks they could affect the area for multiple hours overnight. That could be overdoing it, but it might be one of those nights where the kids and pets crawl in bed with you. Fortunately, it appears the severe threat is not too high. We are in a level 1 risk in Memphis, with a few strong gusts or small hail the main threats.

A level 1 (Marginal) risk of severe weather exists tonight. (SPC)

Wednesday primes the pump for nocturnal storms

Much of Wednesday daylight hours will be dry, very muggy and warm, and windy. About what you would expect before a strong storm system in the spring! A few showers are possible, but overall the day sets the stage for the night by priming the pump with a lot of storm fuel (based on temperatures in the mid 80s and dewpoints near or above 70). The wind profile Wednesday night will also be fairly strong which will be supportive of  the maintenance of severe storms once they get going. That means high wind to 60-70 mph is possible. Also, cold air aloft will support the potential for large hail (up to 2") in any storms that tap into the unstable air and wind shear. While tornadoes are a bigger threat well to our north, the wind shear values will be supportive of rotating storms that could spawn a spin-up tornado or two. Heavy rain is also expected, perhaps 1-2".

The severe weather threat for Wednesday night, likely between 9pm-3am

After the storm

By sunrise Thursday, storms will be long gone and we will actually get some sunshine. North wind will bring in drier air, though temperatures will still make it to the low 80s. Cooler air arrives Thursday night as we drop into the 50s. Friday-Sunday will see very nice springlike conditions with sunshine, morning lows in the 50s and afternoon highs in the 70s.

Prepare now!

But first, we'll get through Wednesday night by preparing ahead of time. Garage (or carport) your vehicles tomorrow night if at all possible, secure anything outdoors that you want to keep around a while, and have multiple ways of receiving severe weather warnings while sleeping. We of course highly recommend our own StormWatch+ app, available for iOS and Android in your app store. Wake-me-up audio for Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings is included in the alert subscription.




p.s. In case you had not heard, we are rolling out a brand spanking new website on Saturday! Be sure to check MemphisWeather.net around noon for the unveiling!

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

Friday, May 3, 2024

April 2024 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

April Climate Recap

The month of April was warmer than normal by almost 2 degrees, a trend repeated across a large portion of the country east of the Rockies. As is typical in April, large temperature swings occurred with high temperatures ranging from the upper 50's to the mid 80's, while lows ranged from near 40 to the upper 60's. Overall, the month was skewed warm through as the temperature reached 85 twice towards the end of the month, which was 12 degrees above normal. Overall, two-thirds of April days ended above average and a record high minimum (warmest low temperature) was set on the 1st (68 degrees), breaking the old record of 66 in 1884.

Departure from normal temperatures for April for the Lower 48 states

Precipitation was over 2.5" below normal for the month (about 55% of normal), despite recording rain on nearly half of the 30 days in April, which is four more than average. Most rain that fell was spotty and light although the wettest period was between the 7th-11th, with nearly 2" of rain falling.  Totals for the month ended up at 3.32" at the airport and 3.82" in Bartlett, while the normal amount for the month is 5.87". 

Severe weather occurred on the 2nd, 7th, and 8th with multiple reports of hail and wind damage. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were in effect each of those days, while a couple of Tornado Warnings were issued north of the Memphis metro on the 2nd after storms moved out of the immediate area.

Severe weather reports received by the National Weather Service for the month of April (hail shown as pink/white icons and wind damage as yellow icons)


Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 65.1 degrees (1.9 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 73.8 degrees (0.4 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 56.3 degrees (3.3 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 85 degrees (26th & 30th) 
Coolest temperature: 41 degrees (5th & 22nd)
Heating Degrees Days: 93 (37 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 102 (26 above average) 
Records set or tied: Record high minimum broken (68 degrees on the 1st)
Comments:  None

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 3.32" (2.55" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 14 (4.4 days above average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 0.76" (2nd) 
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: South/45 mph (29th) 
Average wind: 10.4 mph 
Average relative humidity: 65%
Average sky cover: 59%

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

MemphisWeather.net Headquarters, Bartlett, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 65.2 degrees 
Average high temperature: 76.0 degrees 
Average low temperature:  55.2 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 86.2 degrees (27th) 
Coolest temperature: 37.0 degrees (22nd) 
Comments: None

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 3.82" (automated rain gauge), 3.72" (CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 15
Wettest date: 0.74" (7th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: Northwest/27 mph (11th)
Average relative humidity: 67% 
Average barometric pressure: 29.98 in.
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

Average temperature error: 2.06 degrees 
Forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 68% 
Average dewpoint error: 2.53 degrees 
Forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 63% 

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

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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

Saturday, April 27, 2024

All-NEW MemphisWeather.net coming soon!

Background

MemphisWeather.net began in 2003 as an expansion of a personal website ("Erik's Memphis Weather Page") that was designed primarily for friends and family to get local forecasts and other Memphis-centric weather information. With a brand established, word got out and the website visitor numbers grew - slowly most of the time, but by larger numbers during "big weather events." In 2007, the website was redesigned and a mobile version of the site was released a year later.

The front page of MemphisWeather.net as it looked in 2005. Who remembers this??

With the advent of social media in the late 2000's and launch of our first mobile app in 2011, the site's visibility was boosted across the greater Memphis metro. MWN, as it came to be called, continued a steady growth phase and the site itself grew as well, adding more pages and features. The framework of the main website and its mobile counterpart, however, did not change.

Upcoming changes

It has been 17 years since the last major refresh of the site as we sit at a bit of a crossroads. Mobile app development costs have increased significantly. Routine app updates are basically required to meet store specifications and remain compatible with device improvements and new features. However, the majority of us are using our phones for just about everything, so being "mobile friendly" remains vital. The main MWN website was built for full screen viewers (desktops/laptops), while the mobile site has remained fairly basic. Given a need for a flexible web presence, and also our desire to continue to invest in app development for StormWatch+ to serve a national audience, we made the choice to rebuild the MWN web experience to reach users with an array of content accessible on all platforms, while bidding farewell to the legacy MWN app. (More on that in a minute.)

MWN in 2024

The all-new "2024 version" of MemphisWeather.net (preview below) is very close to being released! So what can you expect from the new MWN? 
  • A completely new and modernized web layout, with distinct mobile and full-screen experiences, built on a single platform for ease of maintenance and upkeep.
  • A seamless integration of the MWN Blog, as the site is built on WordPress and all previous blog posts will be migrated to the new site.
  • All of the content you have come to expect from MWN, plus an expanded offering of products for the mobile user!
  • Opt-in "push notification" style messaging to keep you updated - on new content, approaching severe weather, or even maintenance events - in a proactive fashion.
  • New technology that allows you to drop MWN onto your phone's home screen, launching and interacting with it just like a mobile app, without requiring us to spend big bucks to develop standalone mobile apps. A win-win!

MWN mobile app being sunset

Returning to the legacy MWN mobile app, we are aware that it has fallen into a bit of disrepair of late, but unless we completely rebuild it to the latest requirements of the app stores, we were unable to just fix the little things. Therefore, with the release of the new website, the current MWN app will be removed from the app stores and no longer supported. (We'll provide easy steps to create the "app experience" you are used to with the new site, so stay tuned!)

Unfortunately, this change also means that the push notification-based severe weather alerts in the MWN app (StormWatch+ Alerts) will also no longer be available at some point in the near future. We know that a LOT of you rely on these alerts from the MWN app. Not to worry! We will be providing information on transitioning to our recently rebuilt StormWatch+ app with nationwide severe weather alerting, which offers enhanced features as compared to MWN alerts. More on this in the near future as well!

Thank you!

We're grateful for the thousands of you who are longtime MWN "fans," and appreciate the trust you place in MWN for your local weather needs! We'll work with you through the transition to ensure that your overall MWN experience is a positive one! Further information on the new site, how to consume the information from it, and transitioning to the StormWatch+ app for alerts, will be communicated through social media, on our site and in this blog. Thank you for your continued support in the weeks, months, and years ahead!

 Erik Proseus & Richard Hoseney
Co-Owners/Meteorologists
Cirrus Weather Solutions, LLC
MemphisWeather.net and StormWatch+


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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

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Severe weather season delivers a couple thunderstorm chances this week

We've made it into the heart of spring, which means we're also into spring severe weather season, which continues for the next month to six weeks. High temperatures in the 80+ range are 5-7 degrees above normal, so with a couple of frontal systems moving through this week, we'll need to keep an eye on the threat for strong storms. 

Tuesday

The first of those threats, and the one with the highest potential, arrives Tuesday evening. Ahead of the front, breezy south wind and an approaching upper level trough will bring high moisture levels into the region from the Gulf of Mexico. As the front approaches, thunderstorms are likely to erupt to our west and move east, reaching the area late afternoon to evening. 

The European model predicts atmospheric moisture content over the area to be near 200% of normal on Tuesday evening, more than enough to support strong to severe storms and locally heavy rain. (WeatherBell)

Strong wind at the surface (expect gusts as high as 40 mph Tuesday) and aloft, along with available storm fuel created by temperatures near 80 and dewpoints in the mid 60s, should allow the storms to be strong to severe, especially in areas near and west of the river, including the metro. For now, a Level 2 (Slight) risk of severe weather is forecast for this area, but will probably be tweaked a bit in the next 48 hours. The primary threat will be damaging wind, but a couple of tornadoes can't be ruled out. The threat should end before midnight as it currently stands. Stay in touch the next couple days.


Thursday

Looking beyond Tuesday night's front, the atmosphere won't cool off much and moisture levels return to high levels by Thursday as the next front heads our way. The severe threat appears lower with this front, despite it being more potent in terms of trailing cool air, as there will not be the dynamics created by strong low pressure accompanying it. It's still several days out, so we'll keep an eye on it for any changes. Behind that front, much cooler air arrives for next weekend, with the potential for additional showers, as highs drop back to the 60s for a few days.

The European model simulated infrared satellite imagery shows the potential for a line of thunderstorms along a cold front on Thursday evening. (WeatherBell)

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

March 2024 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

March Climate Recap

The month of March was warmer than normal by almost three degrees. High temperatures ranged from the 50's to the low 80's, while lows ranged from 29 to the low 60's. Overall, only 11 days during the month saw an average temperature below normal (as low as 13 degrees below normal), while some days were as much as 20 degrees above normal.

Departure from normal temperatures for March for the Lower 48 states

Precipitation was nearly an inch below normal for the month. The wettest period was between the 14th-15th at 2.12" at the airport, while MWN headquarters in Bartlett saw 1.49" during that time. Totals for the month ended up at 4.90" at the airport and 3.79" in Bartlett.

As far as lingering drought goes, there was continued improvement across the area. Much of the portion of the Memphis metro in west Tennessee is now out of drought status, while northwest Mississippi continues in a abnormally dry to moderate drought, but has also seen improvement in the past month.

Drought conditions as of April 2, 2024 (UNL)


Change in drought conditions over 4 weeks as of April 2, 2024 (UNL)



Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 57.0 degrees (2.8 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 66.7 degrees (2.5 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 47.3 degrees (3.0 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 81 degrees (4th) 
Coolest temperature: 29 degrees (19th)
Heating Degrees Days: 260 (92 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 19 (1 above average) 
Records set or tied: Record high tied (81° on the 4th)
Comments:  None

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 4.90" (0.84" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9 (2.5 days below average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 2.11" (14th-15th) 
Snowfall: None (0.5" below average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: Southeast/55 mph (25th) 
Average wind: 8.2 mph 
Average relative humidity: 65%
Average sky cover: 56%

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

MemphisWeather.net Headquarters, Bartlett, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 57.0 degrees 
Average high temperature: 68.3 degrees 
Average low temperature:  45.6 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 83.0 degrees (4th) 
Coolest temperature: 27.4 degrees (19th) 
Comments: None

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 3.66" (automated rain gauge), 3.78" (CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 7
Wettest date: 1.72" (25th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: South/34 mph (25th)
Average relative humidity: 67% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.01 in.
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

Average temperature error: 2.06 degrees 
Forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 71% 
Average dewpoint error: 2.21 degrees 
Forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 69% 

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

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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

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Eclipse, severe storms, and heavy rain - oh my!

Next week will be a busy week to be a meteorologist! Let's set expectations as we head into it...


Saturday

The cooler weather of the past few days is relenting as high pressure shifts east and a southerly flow of air moves over the region. Temperatures will moderate today, especially once morning high clouds depart, allowing for highs in the upper 60s. A perfect day to begin your outdoor planting, as it appears the frost potential is probably over for the spring.


Sunday

A weak front moves into the area Sunday night. Ahead of it, south wind will become gusty, reaching 30 mph in the afternoon, and temperatures will reach the mid 70s as clouds also increase. We'll see scattered showers and a few t'storms, mainly in the afternoon and evening. A couple of these storms could get a little feisty from late afternoon until just after sunset, so the Storm Prediction Center has outlooked the area for a Marginal Risk of a severe storm. That's just a level 1 on the 5-point scale, so no widespread problems are affected, but isolated storms could have some hail or gusty wind, and a brief tornado can't be completely ruled out due to the wind shear in place. All of this comes to an end by 9-10pm.



Eclipse Day!

We've been watching this closely every day for the past week and are finally getting into a window of time where our high-resolution models are seeing the early afternoon hours Monday, offering more guidance on the forecast. I am fairly confident that morning low clouds will occur as the Sunday night front washes out over us. I'm also confident that conditions will remain dry through the afternoon. 


Confidence dips a bit as we look at lingering clouds Monday afternoon when the eclipse occurs. Morning clouds should be breaking up by noon, but to what extent remains to be seen. The most likely scenario is that they will mostly clear during the afternoon, but timing is a bit uncertain. Also, high thin cirrus clouds will be arriving in the afternoon. These will have less effect on eclipse viewing. Like a 5-year-old lying about whether he broke your favorite vase, you should be able to see right through those. All that said, I think there is a good chance the eclipse will be visible at times during the nearly 3-hour event. At maximum eclipse around 2pm? Here's hoping we all get a glimpse! 

Forecast cloud cover at the time of the eclipse on Monday afternoon, courtesy NWS-Memphis

For those heading west, in general, a similar forecast for the I-40 corridor in Arkansas. There is probably a better chance of decent viewing conditions north of I-40 than south of it due to those lower clouds. However, for the experience of totality that simply cannot be matched in a 97% coverage area like Memphis, it's worth the trip in my book, and I'm taking the opportunity! 

We'll start to see those clouds to our south pull further north as the afternoon and evening progress, both here and in Arkansas, as a very wet pattern starts to set up. Monday night could see the first of several rounds of showers and thunderstorms as a warm front moves north. A few of those storms could contain marginally severe hail and some wind gusts overnight.



Tuesday-Thursday

We're expecting what may be more wet hours than dry for a couple of days mid-week, with bouts of thunderstorms embedded in rain. Some of those could be strong, especially Wednesday to Wednesday night, though more likely in north MS and southern AR than west TN. With repeated rounds of rainfall, multiple inches of pollen-cleansing rain are in order! We'll hope the severe stuff stays away, but you'll want to stay in touch for further updates as overnight storms are a possibility. 



By Thursday, low pressure responsible for all the rain will be moving through the Mid-South, tapering the stormy weather off to showers. By Friday, rain should be done and the drying process can commence as we head into the middle weekend of April. Overall, temperatures throughout the mid- to late-week period will be mild as high temperatures will be within a few degrees of 70 and lows will fall only into the 50s and 60s. 


Here's to amazing eclipse viewing conditions and sturdy umbrellas next week!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

----
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

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Early look at potential weather trends for the eclipse

The BACKGROUND

If you are a longtime follower of this site/blog and our content in general, you know I'm not real keen on looking beyond a week out in our forecast, especially when details unresolvable several days out could end up producing wild swings in the resulting weather. For instance: pinpoint temperatures that could mean the difference between rain, snow, or ice. Or temperatures, dewpoints, magnitude of the wind, and cloud cover that could mean the difference between severe storms and rain showers. All of these details can make a big difference in forecasts beyond 3-4 days, let alone a week.

However, trends in the overall meteorological pattern are a little different. While specific timing or forecast details may not be discernible, a colder/warmer or wetter/drier pattern CAN be discerned out to a week or more. So I may not be able to say WHEN on day 6 or 7 an upper level trough will drive a cold front through the Mid-South. But I could say if there is some overall model agreement on the pattern and can probably tell you that we'll see a cool-down, or a wetter than average pattern, a week or more out.

All that said, we have a MAJOR astronomical event occurring about 10 days from now that I know you are all aware of, and many of you (like me) are greatly anticipating! A total eclipse, like that which that will cross the state of Arkansas and block out 97% of the sun here in Memphis for a couple of minutes on April 8, will not occur again for another 21 years. And far be it from me to withhold information for such an event once we start to creep into the "forecast-able period" of said event.  



The DISCLAIMER

Information presented here, on March 28, is provided as a very early look at the possibilities, or trends, and includes NO guarantees. Do not change any plans you have based upon information presented. Do not tell me on April 9 how good/bad my "forecast" was on March 28 (believe me, I will be well aware!). Do not sue me. Do not TP my house. And do not call me or my family bad names. This is NOT a forecast - it is general "trend" information. It is presented vaguely on purpose, because anyone who will tell you on March 28 exactly what will happen at 2pm on April 8 is lying. I present the trends, because there is agreement amongst our various computer model sources on those trends - but certainly not the details. Moving on...

The OUTLOOK

To get to April 8, we start with the general trends leading up to it. 

The next several days will be influenced by building high pressure aloft and surface high pressure sliding to our east. That means dry weather and warming temperatures with increasing southerly breezes. That trend continues through the weekend. By early next week, models are in concurrence that low pressure will form in the Plains and move by to our north on Monday/Tuesday with an upper level trough advancing from the southwest U.S. This will lead to a generally wet and possibly stormy pattern to start next week. (Without diving into too many details, because we're 4-5 days out, the most likely severe weather threat appears to be to our west and north Monday and then to our southeast Tuesday.) 

Behind that system, high pressure builds back in for the latter half of next week and into the weekend. Then (are you sensing a pattern?), by the weekend of April 6-7, long-range models generally concur on upper level troughing (low pressure) forming  in the Plains again. With surface high pressure to our east, southerly flow sets up over the Mid-South by the 8th. This pattern typically results in building cloud cover and increasing rain chances. BOOOOO!!!!! 👎

Comparisons of the mid and surface level pattern on April 8 from the European and GFS (American) ensembles show fairly remarkable agreement on the overall pattern for an 11-day forecast. (WeatherBell)


Below, I have placed graphs from three of the major global model ensembles - the European, American (GFS), and Canadian. Ensembles basically are iterations of the model, run many times with slightly different parameters and schemes, to provide a range of potential outcomes. They are the BEST way to look at long-range trends. The models themselves can change multiple times a day. An ensemble effectively averages out all of those different possibilities. The averages, or oftentimes probabilities, of a particular scenario give us a much better idea of the range of possible outcomes than a single model does.

I've chosen to show precipitation in 6-hour increments, since if the model shows rain falling, that would also mean some amount of cloud cover - which ultimately is the forecast element we most care about for an eclipse! Each of the three model ensembles are shown below. Each ensemble is run four times a day, and those "runs" are stacked horizontally (oldest on top, most recent at the bottom) with time going out into the future from left to right and precipitation amounts shown in dark grey to green boxes for each 6-hour time increment. 

On each graph, I have boxed April 8 in red. There is one thing that stands out to me immediately when looking inside those red boxes (and either side of the box to see what might happen before and after the 8th). Each model ensemble, and each of the previous several times that ensemble has run (going back at least a few days), shows precipitation occurring on April 8 in Memphis. Essentially, what is shown is the culmination of hundreds of runs of the three models over the past 3-5 days. And each of those averages has rain falling in Memphis on April 8.




The RECAP

Now, before we break all the guidelines and disclaimers mentioned above and cancel all our plans, it is still many days before the eclipse happens. A "pattern" is NOT a "forecast!" There is not enough detail in this outlook to make any rash decisions. All we really need is partly cloudy skies for a few minutes on April 8 (preferably around 2pm) to see a pretty amazing astronomical spectacle. I'll continue to watch the trends, and as we get within a week, our daily forecast found on our website or app will reflect the latest information.

A final p.s.: For those that spent a bunch of money on a place to stay in Arkansas to see totality... I looked at this same data for Little Rock and there was almost no difference. They are in the same pattern we are according to the data. It is also too far out to define the details that could make a difference between here and there. Keep those reservations (I am!) and go chase the eclipse! If the sun doesn't shine, hopefully you still have had a nice day or two away from the daily grind.

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

Saturday, March 9, 2024

2024 Total Solar Eclipse Details

Many of you recall the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 that passed directly over Nashville and provided the Memphis area with a view of 93% obscuration of the sun. In fact, some of you might still have your eclipse glasses from that event, hanging on to them in anticipation of the next total eclipse 7 years later! Well, that time is drawing closer, as we're under a month from the 2024 Total Eclipse!


We've assembled some resources and put them here to guide you through observing the 2024 eclipse safely and enjoyably! Like its 2017 counterpart, the "total" portion of the 2024 eclipse will just miss Memphis once again, but we'll still be close enough to it to see 97% of the sun blacked out during the early afternoon hours. A short drive to the north or west an hour or two will put you squarely in the path of totality... and it will be worth it!

Memphis-area viewing details

If you are staying local, here are the stats you need to know about this year's eclipse.

Beginning of the partial eclipse: 12:37pm
Maximum obscuration / time: 97.4% at 1:57pm
End of the partial eclipse: 3:17pm
Weather forecast: Too early - check back around April 1!


Here is a simulation of how the eclipse will look from Memphis:

  

Regional viewing opportunities

If you are looking to take a road trip, here are some regional locations that will experience a total eclipse. Totality occurs around 2:00pm (plus or minus 15 minutes) at all locations:

Jonesboro, AR: 1 hour drive; 2 min 23 sec totality
Little Rock, AR: 2 hour drive; 2 min 27 sec totality
Conway, AR: 2 hour and 20 minute drive; 3 min 52 sec totality
Hot Springs, AR: 2 hour and 45 minute drive; 3 min 36 sec totality (1 of 2 national parks to experience totality)
Cape Girardeau, MO: 2 and a half hour drive; 4 min 5 sec totality
Cairo, IL: 2 and a half hour drive; 3 min 7 sec totality



Viewing tips

The most important advice for viewing of an eclipse is to NEVER look directly at the sun without specialized glasses or a specially designed lens for solar viewing. Looking directly at the sun for any length of time can cause permanent eye damage. There is only one short period of time when it is safe to remove the glasses for viewing, and that is during the period of totality - the couple minutes when the sun is completely obscured by the moon's shadow. You will know the eclipse is total because you will not be able to see ANY portion of the sun through eclipse glasses. And as soon as a sliver of the sun re-appears, it is time to put the glasses back on. 



Always use glasses or solar viewers that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard, which are thousands of times darker than standard sunglasses. Be sure to closely monitor children for proper use of glasses as well. In addition, do not use eclipse glasses or viewers with cameras, binoculars, or telescopes, which require different types of solar filters. And of course, do not use those devices without any supplemental eye protection either! Here is a good source for more information.

Fun fact! Did you know that the largest manufacturer of 3D and eclipse glasses in the world is based in Bartlett, TN? Tens of millions of pairs of eclipse glasses, in a wide variety of designs, are created and manufactured at American Paper Optics. There is a good chance that your eclipse glasses were made right here in the Memphis metro! You can even buy directly from them here (this is not an affiliate link; we make nothing on purchases made).

Driving tips

Pack your patience and fill your gas tank! Thousands of sightseers will be flocking to the path of totality, likely clogging road networks in and out of the path. This is especially true on the morning of the eclipse (Monday, April 8) and especially right after totality is complete, as everyone returns home. 

My suggestion? Make a long weekend out of it! (But book your accommodations now. Many hotels in the path are already full.) Travel to (or near) the spot where you want to be on Saturday or Sunday, and delay returning home until Monday night or, even better, Tuesday morning. This is a rare event and the difference between totality and "almost" is literally like night and day, so many people will be taking advantage of a short drive to be in a spot where full obscuration occurs. Expect drive times to be MUCH longer than typical for Monday travelers, even on interstates.

The All-Important Weather Forecast!

While we can't provide an actual forecast this far in advance, the scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) have created an interactive map that uses historical weather data to determine the "viewability" for spots across the United States. For Memphis, the following are the historical sky conditions for April 8th at 2pm:

Clear/Mostly Clear - 31.9%
Partly Cloudy - 14.2%
Mostly Cloudy/Overcast - 53.9%

So it looks like there s a slightly less than 50% chance that conditions will allow for decent viewing. It doesn't take a perfectly clear sky to get a good view of the eclipse - just not a poorly-placed cloud! And as noted above, the eclipse covers a 2 hour and 40 minute time period, so hopefully we'll get to observe at least part of it, and maybe we'll get a perfectly sunny day! (For those traveling west to view totality, the historical chance of mostly cloudy to cloudy skies is very similar to Memphis.) 


When is the next total solar eclipse?

You'll have to go to Alaska to see the next total eclipse in the U.S., and that is in 2033. After that, the next one will be in 2044, but again, you'll have to head north - to North Dakota or Montana! The next total eclipse visible to a large population will be August 2045 (21 years from now!) as the path of totality crosses the southern U.S. from Florida to California. So don't miss this one!

Additional Resources

Great American Eclipse - comprehensive resource
Eclipse2024.org - another excellent website

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

Friday, March 8, 2024

February 2024 Climate Report for Memphis, TN

February Climate Recap

The month of February was warmer than normal by over six degrees, ranking it the sixth warmest February on record. High temperatures ranged from the 50's to the upper 70's, while lows ranged from near 30 to the mid 60's. Overall, only six days during the month saw an average temperature below normal.

Departure from normal temperatures for February for the Lower 48 states

Precipitation was slightly below normal for the month, with our wettest day coming on the 10th at 1.64", followed closely by 1.27" on the 4th. In total, both the airport and MWN headquarters in Bartlett saw 3.82". A trace of snow fell on the 12th at both stations as well.

As far as lingering drought goes, there was continued improvement across the area. Much of the portion of the Memphis metro in west Tennessee is now out of drought status (or nearly so), while northwest Mississippi continues in a moderate to severe drought, but has also improved in the past month.


Drought conditions as of March 5, 2024

Change in drought conditions over 4 weeks as of March 5, 2024

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 52.4 degrees (6.3 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 62.8 degrees (7.3 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 42.0 degrees (5.3 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 78 degrees (27th) 
Coolest temperature: 25 degrees (18th) 
Heating Degrees Days: 363 (169 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 7 (5 above average) 
Records set or tied: Record high minimum of 65 on the 27th, breaking the old record of 62 from 1955.
Comments: This month was the 6th warmest February on record. 

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 3.82" (0.73" below average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9 (0.9 days below average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 1.64" (10th) 
Snowfall: Trace (1.0" below average)
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: South/48 mph (27th) 
Average wind: 9.6 mph 
Average relative humidity: 64%
Average sky cover: 54%

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

MemphisWeather.net Headquarters, Bartlett, TN

Temperature 
Average temperature: 51.4 degrees 
Average high temperature: 63.5 degrees 
Average low temperature:  39.6 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 78.9 degrees (27th) 
Coolest temperature: 19.7 degrees (18th) 
Comments: None

Precipitation 
Monthly total: 3.82" (automated rain gauge), 3.90" (CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9
Wettest date: 1.46" (4th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: Trace
Comments: None

Miscellaneous 
Peak wind: South/30 mph (27th)
Average relative humidity: 69% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.02 in.
Comments: None

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

MWN Forecast Accuracy

Average temperature error: 2.16 degrees 
Forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 70% 
Average dewpoint error: 2.80 degrees 
Forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 56% 

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

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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