Saturday, November 29, 2008

Updated snow forecast

Haven't changed my mind since yesterday afternoon with respect to the possibility of winter weather for late Sunday into early Monday. Still think that light rain Sunday afternoon will gradually change to light snow from north to south Sunday night. Northern suburbs could mix with light snow by late evening, while the city and points south will take a little longer - possibly midnight or later - as near-surface temps take longer to cool. I'm not expecting any accumulations in the city, as temps should bottom out in the mid 30s and the ground surfaces will be a bit too warm. However, a dusting to maybe 1/4-1/2" is possible in northern suburbs on grass/bare ground and exposed surfaces by Monday morning. Roads will be just fine as the snow melts on contact. Flurries should come to an end during the morning hours on Monday. Stay up-to-date with the latest forecast at MemphisWeather.net.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Snow? In the city?

All the buzz right now seems to be about the possibility of snow late this weekend. I'll remind all of you that we live in MEMPHIS, which if you look it up in the dictionary means "the geographic location at which snow to the north becomes rain." OK, so there IS a possibility, and a rather decent one actually, that we could see some snow flurries or perhaps a light snow shower in the area - if you wake up in the middle of the night Sunday night to look out the window. If we're lucky, some flakes will still be falling Monday morning. It will definitely feel cold enough to snow with wind chills in the 20s Monday morning and temps in the lower to mid 30s. But, don't expect schools to let out, in fact don't expect to see any accumulation here in the metro area. As for the rest of the weekend, look for on and off showers throughout Saturday and Sunday, nothing real heavy,or even moderate probably, and temps in the 40s to around 50. Monday will be mainly dry, but cold with highs still in the 40s. A quick warm-up is in store for Tuesday.

Now that I've played the snow down, we'll see what really happens. :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


If you're like this old bird (I mean the one on the table), you have a lot to be thankful for today!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM MWN!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cold weather prospects

Enjoy the warmish weather while we have it, folks! The mid 60s today and tomorrow may be the last time you see them for some time! Medium and long-range models are beginning to come around to a major pattern shift this weekend that will take us well into December. A strong trough diving out of Canada appears poised to land square on top of the region Sunday and Monday, while reinforcing shots of cold air line up upstream. Of course, the devil is in the details, but this morning's 6am model run show the potential for some moisture to work into the cold air on Sunday afternoon through early Monday. Surface temps will be critical as it will be cold enough aloft to provide frozen precipitation, albeit light. Looking at the map from the GFS model below, the temp at about 5,000' will be well below zero and there is definitely some moisture in place (light greens indicate light precip amounts).


Will the initial batch of moisture make it into the area? Will the thermal profile in the lowest couple of thousand feet be enough to melt the precip and bring us a cold rain? How long will this cold snap last? A couple of interesting blog posts, with more analysis, have been recently written by my good Meteorology bud Eddie up at JacksonWeather.net (Jackson, TN). I'd encourage you to take a look at these, and stay tuned!

Lastly, I want to wish you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for all of you who choose to read this blog and use MemphisWeather.net on a routine basis!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The coldest night of the season

After a cold day with a high of only 41 degrees at the Memphis airport and at WXLIVE! in Bartlett, temps are plummeting this evening. At 6:40pm, the WXLIVE! sensor is down to 29 degrees as wind has gone calm and skies are clear. Under strong Canadian high pressure, the dewpoint is 14, which means very dry air is in place and temps will continue to fall, probably into the upper teens, by morning. In the city center, I expect a low around 23-25. As shown in the surface analysis for midnight tonight (below), that high will be centered right over the TN Valley, setting up ideal conditions for a very cold night. As the high moves east, a light southerly wind will commence, which will help warm temperatures up tomorrow back into the lower half of the 50s.

Looking ahead, the best rain chances in a while will move in Sunday night as a cold front tracks through the Mid-South. The air behind this front is not nearly as cold, so temps will remain in the 50s to near 60 for highs through much of next week. Right now, another front and associated precipitation move towards the area by week's end. I expect that the rain will likely hold off until at least Thanksgiving night, so while Black Friday may be wet, Thanksgiving should be pleasant.

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 5

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Todays topic is winter weather safety rules for your home.

The best way to survive a winter storm is to plan and prepare for the hazards of winter weather. Although some winter storms develop quickly and with short notice...most events can be planned for.

At home...the primary concerns are for the potential loss of power...heat and telephone service. Food supplies may also run low if conditions persist for several days. Some items that should be readily available around the home prior to the onset of winter weather include...

-extra food and water...especially canned goods
-a flashlight with extra batteries
-first-aid supplies and extra medicine
-extra baby items
-extra wood for emergency heating
-a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio

If power is lost...never use a gasoline or diesel-powered generator inside the house...in the garage...or any other enclosed space. Generators can cause carbon monoxide to build up to deadly levels in enclosed spaces. Operate such generators outdoors only.

Another winter threat is house fires. December...January...and February are the leading months for house fires in this country. More than one-third of fire deaths occur during the winter months.

Here are some precautions you can take...

-central heating systems should be kept in proper working order. This includes regular inspections.
-Space heaters need to be at least 36 inches away from any flammable materials. The heaters should not be left on when no one is present or when people are asleep. The heaters should have automatic shut-off switches that turn the unit off if it tips over.
-Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. The fireplaces should have a sturdy screen... and only wood should be burned.
-Wood stoves should be installed...used...and maintained in accordance with instructions from the manufacturer. Use of a stove board will protect the floor. Only wood should be burned in the stove.
-Kitchen ranges and ovens...charcoal grills...and hibachis should never be used for heating.
-Carbon monoxide is another hazard. It is a colorless... odorless gas and is produced by gas-fired appliances... charcoal grills... and wood-burning furnaces and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed to provide an early warning when the gas begins to build up.

This concludes this week's series on winter weather, brought to you by MemphisWeather.net and the Memphis office of the National Weather Service.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another cold blast coming for winter weather awareness week

Winter weather awareness week has brought one round of cold weather already this week. Early this morning, another cold front moved through and cold air is once again settling over the region on a brisk northerly wind. Temperatures leveled out around 50 early this afternoon and will fall back into the upper 20s tonight with a steady north wind continuing overnight. Tomorrow will be another day like Tuesday when the high was only in the mid 40s - only perhaps a couple of degrees cooler.

The coldest night of the fall is on tap for Friday night! Temps in the "urban heat island" will fall into the mid 20s, while a few spots in rural areas outside the city could see a low in the upper teens Saturday morning! South wind Saturday will help warm it back into the lower 50s by mid-afternoon. The next rain chance doesn't come until early next week, but temps are not forecast to be nearly as cold behind the front early in the week as the past two have been. Normal highs this time of year are near 60 while lows are typically in the lower 40s. Below normal temperatures will thus continue into next week.

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 4

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Today's topic is winter precipitation types.

Snow -- snow forms in the clouds and remains as snow all the way to the ground. It most commonly takes the form of snowflakes...which are the familiar six-sided ice crystals. It may also fall in the form of snow pellets or snow grains.

Snow flurries are most commonly seen as a few snowflakes falling...although visibilities can be reduced at times. In the Mid-South...the term snow flurries is used to indicate that no accumulation is expected.

Snow showers is a term not often used in the Mid-South. In this type of precipitation...the snow falls at varying intensities over brief periods of time. Accumulation may occur...especially during moderate to heavy snow showers. Blowing snow most commonly refers to snow that is already on the ground and is lifted into the air by the wind.

In the Mid-South...heavier snows most commonly occur when cold air is already in place over the region and a strong upper level low pressure system moves out of the southwestern United States. The low serves to pull moist air northward into the cold air. Light snow or snow flurries can also occur in the cold air that follows the passage of an Arctic cold front.

Sleet - sleet consists of pellets of ice. In fact...for people who have trouble with the difference between sleet and freezing rain...it may be easier to associate sleet with its technical name...which is ice pellets. For sleet to form...snow begins falling from the clouds but then goes through a layer of above-freezing air thousands of feet above the ground. This causes the snow to change to rain. Then...the rain goes through a layer of below-freezing air...usually at least two to three thousand feet thick...and the precipitation turns into pellets of ice.

Sleet typically occurs in a fairly narrow band. This band usually moves...but at times may remain nearly stationary...resulting in accumulations of sleet. In the Mid-South...sleet most commonly occurs in a narrow band between an area of rain to the south and an area of snow to the north.

Freezing rain -- this weather phenomenon is sometimes called glaze...because of the glaze of ice it puts on surfaces at the ground. Freezing rain most commonly occurs when precipitation falls from the clouds as snow...then goes through an above-freezing layer...which turns the precipitation to rain. Then...the rain reaches the ground where temperatures are below freezing. The rain then freezes as it hits exposed objects. In the worst cases...everything becomes coated with a layer of ice.

In the Mid-South...freezing rain commonly occurs as an Arctic high pressure system begins to move away from the state. In this situation...cold air is still lingering at the ground...but warmer southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico begin bringing moisture back over the top of the cold air. Since the air at the ground has not warmed above freezing...the rain that falls freezes on the ground and other objects. Freezing rain...and its cousin freezing drizzle...often develop during the late night hours...creating icy conditions for morning rush hour.

Freezing fog -- while this is not precipitation falling from the clouds...it is another winter weather hazard. Freezing fog typically develops on clear...calm nights when temperatures are below freezing. Fog forms and freezes...usually on bridges...overpasses...and other elevated roadways. It can create quite a surprise for motorists...due to the presence of clear skies overhead.

Frost -- frost describes the formation of thin ice crystals on the ground or other surfaces in the form of scales...needles...feathers...or fans. Frost forms when water vapor in the air turns directly to ice crystals on an object. The temperature of the object must be below freezing for frost to occur. However...frost is sometimes seen on the ground when official temperatures are reported to be above freezing. This is because the official temperature is taken about five feet above the ground...where the air can be a few degrees warmer than the temperature at ground level.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 3

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Today we will focus on winter weather travel tips and safety rules.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and other holiday travel is coming soon. Now is a good time to focus on winter travel. About 70 percent of deaths linked to wintry weather happen in automobiles. Here are some tips to help from being part of that woeful statistic...

Make checking the latest weather reports part of your travel plans so you can avoid storms. Carry a NOAA Weather Radio along to tune into local weather information 24 hours a day. Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.

Carry a winter storm survival kit in your car. The kit should include ...
1. Blankets or sleeping bags
2. A flashlight with extra batteries
3. A first aid kit
4. A knife
5. Some high-calorie, non-perishable food
6. Extra clothing to keep dry
7. A large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
8. A smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water
9. A sack of sand or Cat litter for traction
10. A shovel
11. A windshield scraper and brush
12. A tool kit for emergency repairs
13. A Tow rope
14. Battery booster cables
15. A clean water container
16. A Compass and Road maps.

Keep your Gas Tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Try not to travel alone. Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

A last reminder...a Winter Storm Watch means that winter weather is possible...a Winter Storm Warning is when winter weather has begun or is about to begin. Start your preparations now for the safest winter season possible and stay tuned to the forecast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 2

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Todays topic is frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite causes numbness and white or blue-tinted skin and occurs most commonly in the fingers...toes...ears...and nose.

Hypothermia...an abnormally low body core temperature...is caused by prolonged exposure to cold. Hypothermia can occur indoors as well as outside. Body functions slow to a dangerously low level. Symptoms include slurred speech...incoherence...drowsiness...poor coordination...a slow heart beat...uncontrollable shivering or no shivering at all.

To avoid hypothermia...keep your clothes dry. Wet clothing loses all insulating value and should be changed as quickly as possible.

Mittens and a warm hat are necessities. The body loses about 50 percent of its heat through the head...so whether you are outdoors or inside an unheated home...day or night...a hat will go a long way in helping you stay warm.

Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases...heat is carried away from the body...driving down the body temperature. Remember that animals are affected by wind chill as well.

Avoid overexertion...such as shoveling heavy snow or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor may cause a heart attack. Wear loose...light-weight...warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air is an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be water repellent and hooded. Always cover your head...as you can lose half of your body heat through an uncovered head. Be prepared for the storm by listening to NOAA Weather Radio...commercial radio or television for the latest winter storm advisories.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 1

...WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS IN THE MID SOUTH...

NOVEMBER 17TH THROUGH 21ST IS WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE MID SOUTH. PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO TAKE SOME TIME AND PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.

OVER THIS WEEK WE WILL BRING UP A FEW WINTER WEATHER ISSUES AND WAYS TO AVOID DANGEROUS SITUATIONS. DURING EACH WEEKDAY...A DIFFERENT WINTER WEATHER TOPIC WILL BE COVERED...

TODAY...WINTER WEATHER WATCHES...AND WARNINGS
TUESDAY...FROSTBITE...AND HYPOTHERMIA
WEDNESDAY...WINTER WEATHER TRAVEL TIPS AND SAFETY RULES
THURSDAY...WINTER PRECIPITATION TYPES
FRIDAY...WINTER SAFETY FOR YOUR HOME

HERE ARE A FEW TERMS THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE USES WITH WINTERWEATHER.

WINTER STORM WATCH...A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THAT DANGEROUS WINTER WEATHER IS POSSIBLE AND YOU NEED TO BE ALERT TO CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND AVOID UNNECESSARY TRAVEL.

WINTER STORM WARNING...A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER HAS BEGUN OR IS ABOUT TO BEGIN IN YOUR AREA. STAY INDOORS DURING THE STORM. IF YOU MUST GO OUTDOORS...SEVERAL LAYERS OF LIGHTWEIGHT CLOTHING WILL KEEP YOU WARMER THAN A SINGLE HEAVY COAT. WEARING GLOVES AND A HAT WILL PREVENT LOSS OF BODY HEAT. COVER YOUR MOUTH TO PROTECT YOUR LUNGS. UNDERSTAND THE HAZARDS OF WINDCHILL. WALK CAREFULLY ON SNOWY...ICY SIDEWALKS.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE REMINDS YOU TO BE PREPARED BEFORE WINTER STORMS STRIKE. HAVE EXTRA BATTERIES FOR FLASHLIGHTS...FOOD AND WATER...EXTRA MEDICATION...FIRST-AID SUPPLIES...AND BLANKETS FOR ADDITIONAL WARMTH AVAILABLE IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES. BE READY FOR WINTER STORMS BY LISTENING TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR LOCAL NEWS STATION.

DURING WINTER STORM EMERGENCIES...STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO FOR INFORMATION AND EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS. POST EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS BY THE PHONE AND KEEP ENOUGH SUPPLIES IN YOUR HOME TO MEET YOUR NEEDS FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS. PREPARE FOR WINTER WEATHER BEFORE IT ARRIVES.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

MWN StormView Radar is now live!



StormView Radar has two "flavors" - a regional view and a metro Memphis view. Fully-interactive and driven by the latest Flash technology, you'll find it easy to use and packed with features! Make sure you visit MemphisWeather.net and select StormView from the Radar menu. Its first images (one of which is shown above) are of cold air advection showers over portions of the metro area, which are moving quickly southeast in the wake of a strong cold front that passed through last evening.

As a side note, if you operate a small or medium-sized business in the Memphis area and want to have your banner ad on both StormView pages, you can sponsor MWN StormView Radar. Send me an email or click the banner on the StormView page.

Friday, November 14, 2008

T-minus 1 day and counting...


COMING TOMORROW -- SATURDAY NOV. 15!!

Just another reason MWN is "all the weather you need for Memphis and the Mid-South..."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's coming... MWN StormView Radar

It's right around the corner! Coming in a matter of days...


The next big addition to MWN will be a Flash-based interactive radar - where YOU have control over what you see. Zoom in to your area, add storm tracks and severe weather warnings, overlay radar-based severe weather indicators, see how much rain has fallen across the area, even see where winter precip is falling!

"All the Weather You Need for Memphis and the Mid-South"
-- MemphisWeather.net, soon with MWN StormView Radar --

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Definitely not a "dove" for those in the Caymans and central Cuba


Hurricane Paloma (or "dove" in Spanish, how ironic is that?) has punished the Cayman Islands overnight, passing over Cayman Brac (where the calm of the eye was noted for a few hours)and almost directly over Little Cayman, and sideswiping Grand Cayman, after intensifying in a matter of two days to a destructive Category 4 storm. Paloma has put 2008 in the record books once again as the only noted hurricane season to have major (Cat 3+) storms in five separate months - July (Bertha), August (Gustav), September (Ike), October (Omar), and November (Paloma)! 2005 was the only other year with majors in 4 separate months (no major hurricane in November 2005). Paloma is also the second strongest November hurricane on record, behind only Lenny (1999).

I've included a few satellite images, and one infrared loop, of extremely dangerous Paloma below. The visible satellite, and zoomed VIS shot above, are the first space shots of the morning after the sun rise over the storm.

Here are the latest details: As of 9am CST, Paloma was located 130 nm/ENE of Grand Cayman with sustained wind maxing out at 140 mph. The storm is moving ENE/9 mph and on this track will cross the central Cuban coast overnight, still as a major hurricane, with a devastating storm surge of 17-23 feet. The mountainous Cuban landmass, as well as increasing shear, are expected to do a number on Paloma and it will emerge back into the Atlantic in a much tamer form, though at least tropical storm force conditions are likely for the central Bahamas. The extended forecast calls for the low-level center of the storm to stall out between the Bahamas and Cuba, while the upper-levels get sheared out and continue northeast.




video

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cool weekend on tap; extended looks wet!

Astrong cold front moved through the Memphis area late yesterday afternoon bringing much cooler and breezy weather today. High pressure will dominate through the weekend with a reinforcing shot of cool air Saturday evening. That will keep temperatures mainly in the 50s for highs this weekend with lows dropping into the 30s each night, particularly in the suburbs. Widespread frost is anticipated Sunday morning and, if the wind goes calm, some places will see the freezing mark. Right now, I am forecasting about a 5 mph wind, so that may be enough to keep temps "up" in the mid 30s in the suburbs.

For next week, another pattern change is coming as we start seeing Gulf moisture flow back into the region and with a very slow moving front and low pressure systems riding up along the front, we will be set up for perhaps more than one bout of moderate to heavy rain. The first comes Monday night and early Tuesday with cloudy skies and slight chances of rain lingering until another possible round on Wednesday or Thursday. Hopefully by Friday, the front will have moved through and cleard everything out in time for the weekend! Next week's rainfall totals could easily surpass 2" in many locations.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can't blame it on the rain

Borrowing from a 1989 Milli Vanilli hit that reached the top of the charts, if you don't vote today, you can't "Blame it on the Rain!" A gorgeous day is setting up for Election Day across the Mid-South, and in fact a large portion of the country. The only weather problems of significance will be some showers and upper-elevation show showers in the Rockies and rain in the Mid-Atlantic from DC south to the Carolinas. Temps across the Mid-South will be in the 70s, nearly 10 degrees above average!

This beautiful weather will last one more day, before a strong cold front and thunderstorms rumble across the Mid-South on Thursday afternoon and night. This system is currently winding up in the Rockies and will move into the flyover states tomorrow. The map below shows the risk of severe weather for Wednesday.


As we head into Thursday, the lower Mississippi Valley, including Memphis, in under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather, primarily for the low risk of damaging straight-line wind and hail. I expect a squall line to form to our west during the afternoon and move through the metro area during the evening hours. The probability of severe weather for Thursday and Thursday night is shown below. Check back tomorrow and Thursday for further updates and be sure to check MemphisWeather.net for the latest forecast.

Monday, November 3, 2008

October recap and a look ahead

October is in the books, Daylight Savings Time has ended, and Election Day is tomorrow!

October Recap
Temperatures at Memphis International Airport were slightly below normal for October with an average high of 73.8 and an average low of 53.2. Precipitation was above normal by just over an inch. The airport received 4.34" during what is climatologically the driest month of the year.

As for WXLIVE! in Bartlett, the average temperature was 59.7, which is almost 4 degrees cooler than the airport, thanks in large part to much cooler morning lows that we experience out in the suburbs. Precipitation was almost identical to the airport at 4.32", though my CoCoRaHS "official" rain gauge pulled in an impressive 5.78." It is located right next to the WXLIVE! station. Overall, October really was a great weather month. The pleasant days and cool nights are just what I like!

The week ahead...
The very mild weather of the past several days will continue for a few more as high climb well into the 70s. Low temperatures the past couple of morning have been lower than I expected, even dropping back into the 30s this morning in Bartlett. This is thanks to the very dry air in place and no wind or clouds overnight. As the next storm system draws closer, moisture will increase and a wind of a couple miles per hour will be steady through the night, which should help to keep those lows up a little higher than in recent mornings. Bottom line... great weather is on tap for Election Day 2008 on Tuesday, so make sure you exercise your right to vote, despite the expected crowds. Every vote counts!

The next cold front is due to arrive late Thursday evening. This front will likely bring a round of showers and thunderstorms to the region Thursday afternoon or evening, followed by much cooler temperatures. Highs behind the front will once again be back into the low to mid 60s as we head into next weekend.