Saturday, February 28, 2009

Snow totals in past two hours

These snowfall totals were received by the National Weather Service in the past 2 hours. Amazing amounts in a swath north of the city of Memphis. Some places were reporting drifts of 12-18"! At 9:40pm, I had 5.8" in Bartlett.


0800 PM SNOW 4 W DYERSBURG
02/28/2009 E4.0 INCH DYER

0800 PM SNOW HENDERSON
02/28/2009 E2.0 INCH CHESTER

0800 PM SNOW 1 N JACKSON
02/28/2009 E3.0 INCH MADISON

0802 PM SNOW 2 N JACKSON
02/28/2009 E3.3 INCH MADISON

0804 PM SNOW ALAMO
02/28/2009 E6.0 INCH CROCKETT

0810 PM SNOW STANTON
02/28/2009 E8.0 INCH HAYWOOD

0815 PM SNOW GERMANTOWN
02/28/2009 M2.2 INCH SHELBY

0815 PM SNOW GILT EDGE
02/28/2009 E8.0 INCH TIPTON

0825 PM SNOW MANILA
02/28/2009 E4.3 INCH MISSISSIPPI

0825 PM SNOW KENNETT
02/28/2009 E5.5 INCH DUNKLIN

0842 PM SNOW BLUE GOOSE
02/28/2009 M3.0 INCH HENDERSON

0855 PM SNOW 6 SE COVINGTON
02/28/2009 E7.0 INCH TIPTON

0856 PM SNOW 2 N JACKSON
02/28/2009 M5.1 INCH MADISON

0900 PM HEAVY SNOW 5 E RIPLEY
02/28/2009 E10.0 INCH LAUDERDALE

0900 PM SNOW 4 SSE GADSDEN
02/28/2009 M6.5 INCH MADISON

0908 PM SNOW BEMIS
02/28/2009 M5.5 INCH MADISON

0910 PM SNOW 2 S WALCOTT
02/28/2009 M8.2 INCH GREENE

0915 PM SNOW UNION CITY
02/28/2009 M5.0 INCH OBION

0920 PM SNOW GILT EDGE
02/28/2009 M9.3 INCH TIPTON

0920 PM SNOW ATOKA
02/28/2009 M7.0 INCH TIPTON

0930 PM SNOW GREENFIELD
02/28/2009 E1.5 INCH WEAKLEY

0944 PM SNOW 3 N BARTLETT
02/28/2009 M5.8 INCH SHELBY

0945 PM HEAVY SNOW WILSON
02/28/2009 M12.0 INCH MISSISSIPPI

0950 PM SNOW HENDERSON
02/28/2009 M4.0 INCH CHESTER

Snow totals so far

Boy do I live in the sweet spot! As of 6pm, the snow is tapering off to flurries, but we've gotten 5.3" since it started at about 2:30pm. Light rain initially transitioned to sleet shortly after 2:30pm, then about 10-15 minutes later was transitioning again to snow. It snowed hard and steady for 3 hours, at a rate of about 1.5-2.0" per hour! I've already posted video from early on in the event and will attach some pics to this post.

Other totals I've seen include: 6.0" in Gilt Edge (Tipton Co.), 5.0" in Millington, 4.0" in Lakeland, 2.5" in Germantown, 3.0" in western Mississippi Co. (AR), and 2"+ in Union City (as of 5:00pm), and only 1.0" at Memphis Int'l! North Jackson, TN started later in the game and measured 0.4" at 6:00pm, while south Jackson had 1.3". ** snowfall totals updated at 7:30pm **






Video of snow falling in Memphis

This was taken shortly after the snow started falling around 3:00pm. By the time I edited the video and posted it half an hour later, the ground was covered, including the streets!

Precip approaching


Happy snow day! Just a quick update for everyone... I know you're all hoping for a big snow event!

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the area until 6am Sunday.

My forecast on MWN is up to date and is calling for light rain to begin after lunchtime, mixing possibly with sleet or snow by around 2pm, then changing to all snow around 4pm. There could be minor accumulations on grassy surfaces prior to dusk, but heavier snow will hold off until after 6pm and last on and off through midnight before tapering to light snow showers for a few hours thereafter. Total accumulations in the metro area are expected to be 2-3" with higher amounts north and east of the city. Places like Jackson, TN could see up to 4-5" from this event! This should be a wet, fairly heavy snow, so it would be good for making snowmen if you wanted to do it after dark tonight!

By tomorrow, the sun will be out and temps will rise above freezing (after an overnight low around 27-28) by mid-morning, so melting will be fairly quick. As far as road conditions, I don't think there will be any problems until possibly after 7-8pm, when some slush might start showing up in areas that get heavier snow bursts and temps approach freezing. Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses.

Stay with MemphisWeather.net and this blog for the latest updates.

Winter Storm Warning for Memphis

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 AM CST SUNDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SLEET AND SNOW, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 AM CST SUNDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. RAIN WILL CHANGE OVER TO SLEET AND SNOW THIS AFTERNOON THEN TRANSITION OVER TO ALL SNOW BY EARLY EVENING. SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS BETWEEN 2 TO 4 INCHES ARE EXPECTED THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW... SLEET... AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winter Storm Watch posted for Memphis

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE SATURDAY NIGHT...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE SATURDAY NIGHT.

RAIN WILL CHANGE OVER TO SLEET AND EVENTUALLY TO ALL SNOW SATURDAY AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE WATCH AREA. MUCH OF THE ACCUMULATION WILL LIKELY BE ON GRASSY SURFACES, BUT SLIPPERY ROADS WILL BE POSSIBLE WHERE THE SNOW COMES DOWN HARD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW, SLEET, OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

Special Weather Statement from MWN

...ACCUMULATING SNOW IS EXPECTED ACROSS MUCH OF THE MID-SOUTH ON SATURDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT...

A LARGE UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE INTO THE CENTRAL PLAINS TONIGHT AND REACH THE MID-SOUTH BY SATURDAY EVENING. AHEAD OF THE UPPER LOW...WIDESPREAD RAIN IS EXPECTED TO FALL ACROSS THE AREA. AS THE UPPER LOW MOVES INTO THE MID-SOUTH...MUCH COLDER AIR NEAR THE LOW WILL CHANGE THE RAIN TO SNOW. THE CHANGEOVER FROM RAIN TO SNOW WILL OCCUR IN THE MEMPHIS METROPOLITAN AREA AROUND MID-AFTERNOON, EARLIER TO THE NORTH AND A LITTLE LATER TO THE SOUTH.

AS THE UPPER LOW MOVES ACROSS THE REGION SATURDAY EVENING, SNOW WILL CONTINUE TO FALL. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE MAINLY ON GRASSY SURFACES. THE AMOUNT OF SNOW THAT FALLS WILL BE HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON THE TRACK OF THE UPPER LOW SO THERE REMAINS QUITE A BIT OF UNCERTAINTY. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MAY BE ISSUED BY SATURDAY MORNING. ROAD CONDITIONS COULD BECOME HAZARDOUS FOR A PERIOD DEPENDING ON HOW HEAVY THE SNOW FALLS.

PERSONS IN THE MID-SOUTH SHOULD MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS ON SATURDAY AND BE PREPARED FOR POTENTIAL WINTER WEATHER. FURTHER UPDATES WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND MEMPHISWEATHER.NET AS WARRANTED.

$$

NWS/MWN

Snowfall possibilities

Now that the thunderstorm possibilities have diminished, we can turn our attention to more important matters - snow! (Side note: rain moves back in tonight with the chance of some thunder, but nothing like last night.)

A low pressure system currently over the Upper Midwest/Northern Plains is moving southeast and bringing with it some very COLD air. As it nose-dives just to our west tomorrow, showers will break out by late morning as temps hover near 40. By mid-afternoon, the cold air aloft will push into the region and surface temps will also fall into the 30s. This combo will begin changing the rain over to snow.

One model (GFS) actually makes this transition earlier in the afternoon (maybe around noon), while another (NAM) is closer to 3pm. The other model differences are in precipitation amounts after the changeover. The GFS believes amounts will be fairly light, but with the earlier transition we could see an inch by the time it ends. The NAM is more bullish and actually gives us closer to 2-3" even with the later transition - most of this falling in the evening hours. Both move the precip out by midnight. The NAM has done exceptionally well with cold air intrusions this winter and I tend to favor it's timing, but think that the precip amounts from it might be overdone. Thus, I think the transition will be ~3pm with an inch of accumulation possible between 3-9pm. I do believe that areas north and east of Memphis, such as Dyersburg, Jackson, Selmer, etc. could see up to 2". I'll look for the models to come into more agreement and update the forecast tonight or early Saturday.

Cold weather will continue Sunday and it will be a windy weekend, so wind chills will be pretty cold (teens to 20s). Dry weather wand a warming trend will commence for the first week of March, which will come in like a lamb!

Severe Weather Awareness Week (part 5) - NOAA Weather Radio

Today is the last day of Severe Weather Awareness week and the focus shifts to NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System.

...NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM...

WEATHER RADIO IS THE VOICE OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. IT PROVIDES CONTINUOUS WEATHER INFORMATION 24 HOURS A DAY... EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. THE NATIONWIDE NETWORK OF WEATHER RADIO STATIONS PROVIDES THE PUBLIC WITH THE FASTEST MOST RELIABLE SOURCE OF UP-TO-DATE WEATHER INFORMATION DIRECTLY FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

YOU NEED A SPECIAL RADIO TO RECEIVE WEATHER RADIO BROADCASTS...A RADIO THAT IS CAPABLE OF RECEIVING SIGNALS IN THE VERY HIGH FREQUENCY PUBLIC SERVICE BAND.

BROADCASTS MAY VARY BUT GENERALLY INCLUDE AREA FORECASTS, PRESENT WEATHER CONDITIONS, SHORT-TERM FORECASTS, CLIMATIC DATA, RIVER AND LAKE STAGE FORECASTS, AND OTHER SPECIALIZED INFORMATION. THE BROADCASTS ARE UPDATED CONTINUOUSLY.

WEATHER RADIO IS USEFUL ANYTIME BUT IT IS MOST IMPORTANT WHEN SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS. DURING PERIODS OF SEVERE WEATHER, ROUTINE PROGRAMMING IS INTERRUPTED AND THE FOCUS SHIFTED TO THE LOCAL SEVERE WEATHER THREAT. IN AN EMERGENCY, A WARNING ALARM TONE IS BROADCAST THAT ACTIVATES SPECIALLY DESIGNED RECEIVERS TO TURN ON AUTOMATICALLY, OR PRODUCE A VISUAL OR AUDIBLE ALARM.

A PRIMARY SOURCE OF WEATHER INFORMATION IS THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM. EAS IS A SYSTEM OF COMMUNICATIONS LINKS THAT UTILIZE DATA IN A DIGITAL FORM. IT IS A RELIABLE MEANS OF LINKING THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES, AND THE RADIO AND TELEVISION BROADCAST MEDIA TOGETHER. EAS HELPS PARTICIPATING RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS RECEIVE AND RELAY WEATHER WARNINGS AND OTHER EMERGENCY INFORMATION IN A TIMELY MANNER.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WEATHER RADIO...CONTACT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN MEMPHIS TENNESSEE.

courtesy NWS/Memphis

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on severe weather... and possible snow?

The atmosphere, and the computer models, are still coming into line on a possible severe weather scenario for early Friday morning. This is an update to my post from yesterday.

The Mid-South remains under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for late tonight and Friday morning. It appears the best chance for strong to severe thunderstorms will be along the front itself, which will pass through the metro area sometime between 3-9am, slowing significantly as it nears the area and then stalling out over north Mississippi on Friday. The most likely forms of severe weather will be damaging wind gusts along a squall line and possibly large hail. After midnight tonight, isolated cells could form ahead of the main line, which could also become severe in the moisture-laden and windy atmosphere ahead of the front. Another ugly rush-hour could be upon us for Friday morning...
Afte frontal passage, wind will shift to the north, but with the front in close proximity, any impulses along the front will bring more showers, which will be fairly likely Friday, but tapering overnight Saturday.

The focus then shifts to Saturday. The front will still be positioned just to our south and a fairly potent upper-level low pressure system will dive into the Mid-South from the northwest. This system will be accompanied by cold air at the surface and aloft, so while scattered showers are expected ahead of the low Saturday morning and early afternoon, as the low gets closer Saturday afternoon and evening, rain showers could conceivably chance to light snow. Computer models are still not exactly in agreement on this scenario, so it bears watching. At worst, it appears a dusting of snow is possible.


Severe Weather Awareness Week (part 4) - Flooding

Severe Weather Awareness Week continues with a look at the dangers of high water - flooding and flash flooding.

...FLOOD AND FLASH FLOOD AWARENESS DAY...

FLOODS AND FLASH FLOODS OCCUR EVERY YEAR IN THE MID SOUTH. RIVER FLOODING OCCURS SEASONALLY WHEN WINTER OR SPRING RAINS OR TORRENTIAL RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL STORMS FILL RIVER BASINS WITH TOO MUCH WATER TOO QUICKLY. FLASH FLOODS OCCUR SUDDENLY, USUALLY OCCURRING WITHIN HOURS OF EXCESSIVE LOCALIZED RAINFALL. THESE FLASH FLOODS CAN BECOME RAGING TORRENTS WHICH RIP THROUGH RIVER BEDS URBAN STREETS OR VALLEYS SWEEPING EVERYTHING BEFORE THEM.

WHEN A FLASH FLOOD WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR COUNTY, OR THE MOMENT YOU FIRST REALIZE THAT A FLASH FLOOD IS IMMINENT, ACT QUICKLY TO SAVE YOURSELF. YOU MAY ONLY HAVE SECONDS.

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HEAVY RAINS WILL CAUSE FLOODING IN THE SPECIFIED AREA. STAY ALERT TO THE WEATHER AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF WATER BEGINS TO RISE OR IF YOU RECEIVE A WARNING. WATCH FOR DEVELOPMENT.

HERE ARE SOME FLASH FLOOD SAFETY RULES.

* GET OUT OF AREAS SUBJECT TO FLOODING. THIS INCLUDES DIPS, LOW SPOTS, VALLEYS, STREAM BANKS, AND FLOOD PLAINS.

* AVOID ALREADY FLOODED AND HIGH VELOCITY FLOW AREAS. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS A FLOWING STREAM ON FOOT WHERE WATER IS ABOVE YOUR ANKLES.

* IF DRIVING...KNOW THE DEPTH OF WATER IN A DIP BEFORE CROSSING. THE ROAD BED MAY NOT BE INTACT UNDER THE WATER. DON'T DRIVE INTO A POOL OF WATER OR WHERE WATER IS FLOWING. WATER UP TO THE BUMPER WILL LIKELY STALL A CAR.

* IF THE VEHICLE STALLS...ABANDON IT IMMEDIATELY AND SEEK HIGHER GROUND. RAPIDLY RISING WATER MAY ENGULF THE VEHICLE AND ITS OCCUPANTS AND SWEEP THEM AWAY.

* BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE FLOOD DANGERS. HEAVY RAIN EVENTS FREQUENTLY OCCUR AT NIGHT!

* DO NOT CAMP OR PARK YOUR VEHICLE ALONG STREAMS OR DRAINAGE AREAS PARTICULARLY DURING THREATENING CONDITIONS.

courtesy NWS/Memphis

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chance of strong to severe storms Thursday night

The scenario is setting up over the next 36 hours for a possible strong to severe weather episode over the Mid-South. Low pressure will be developing over the Plains along an approaching front. Southerly flow has already established itself over the region with moisture levels increasing, evidenced by rising dewpoints (about 20 degrees overnight last night). As the front nears and the low strengthens, that southerly flow will increase with very warm temperatures and strong south wind (gusts to 30 mph likely) on Thursday. Highs will reach to near 70 with dewpoints nearing 60 by late in the day. The low will move rapidly northeast along the front, which will enter the Mid-South Thursday evening. A line of thunderstorms is expected to develop Thursday afternoon to our west and enter the Memphis area very early Friday morning (probably between 3-8am). The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for late Thursday night and early Friday.

The front looks like it will stall out just to our south on Friday so continuing rain, and possibly a few thunderstorms, will linger Friday during the day. It will also be cooler Friday as the wind switches to the northwest with the frontal passage. At this time, it appears the main severe weather threat will be in the form of damaging straight line wind, though large hail or an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Saturday will be much cooler with scattered showers as an upper-level disturbance traverses the region.

Severe Weather Awareness Week (part 3) - Tornadoes

Today is the third day of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Here is some information from the NWS on tornado awareness. Note that there will be a statewide tornado drill held today.

...TORNADO AWARENESS DAY...

YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON BEING CONSTANTLY ALERT TO THE POSSIBILITY OF TORNADOES FROM THE THUNDERSTORMS THAT APPROACH YOU. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING TORNADO WATCHES. A CAREFUL LOOKOUT SHOULD BE KEPT DURING ANY PERIOD OF SEVERE WEATHER ACTIVITY. PLAN IN ADVANCE WHERE YOU WILL GO AND WHAT YOU WILL DO IF A TORNADO THREATENS YOU.

REMEMBER, A TORNADO WATCH MEANS THAT TORNADO DEVELOPMENT IS POSSIBLE, SO WATCH THE SKY FOR DEVELOPING THUNDERSTORMS AND ALL THE HAZARDS THEY BRING. STAY TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO, COMMERCIAL RADIO OR TELEVISION FOR WEATHER STATEMENTS OR WARNINGS.

A TORNADO WARNING, USUALLY ISSUED FOR 1 OR 2 COUNTIES AT A TIME, MEANS THAT A TORNADO HAS BEEN SIGHTED OR INDICATED BY WEATHER RADAR. PERSONS IN THE PATH OF THE STORM NEED TO IMMEDIATELY FIND SHELTER, PREFERABLY IN A STURDY BUILDING, BELOW GROUND IF POSSIBLE.

HERE ARE SOME TORNADO SAFETY RULES:

* IN HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS...GO TO THE BASEMENT OR STORM SHELTER OR TO AN INTERIOR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET OR BATHROOM ON THE LOWEST LEVEL. GET UNDER SOMETHING STURDY, SUCH AS A HEAVY TABLE OR A BED.

* IN MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES...ABANDON THEM AND GO TO A STORM SHELTER OR STURDY STRUCTURE. IF THERE IS NO SUCH STRUCTURE NEARBY, LIE FLAT IN A DITCH, RAVINE, GULLY, CULVERT, OR A LOW SPOT WITH YOUR ARMS AND HANDS SHIELDING YOUR HEAD.

* IN LARGE BUILDINGS SUCH AS SCHOOLS, FACTORIES, HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES, AND SHOPPING CENTERS...GO TO THE PREDESIGNATED SHELTER AREA. INTERIOR HALLWAYS ON THE LOWEST FLOOR ARE USUALLY BEST. STAY AWAY FROM ROOMS THAT ARE LARGE IN AREA BECAUSE THEY HAVE WEAKLY SUPPORTED ROOFS.

* STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

courtesy NWS/Memphis

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Severe Weather Awareness Week (part 2) - Lightning

Today is the second day of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Here is some information from the NWS on the hazards of lightning.

...LIGHTNING AWARENESS DAY...

SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES TODAY WITH A LOOK AT LIGHTNING SAFETY.

HERE ARE SOME LIGHTNING SAFETY RULES.

ANY LIGHTNING SAFETY PLAN SHOULD INCORPORATE THE 30/30 RULE. THE 30/30 RULE STATES PEOPLE SHOULD SEEK SHELTER IF THE FLASH TO BANG DELAY (LENGTH OF TIME IN SECONDS BETWEEN A LIGHTNING FLASH AND ITS SUBSEQUENT THUNDER) IS 30 SECONDS OR LESS AND THAT THEY REMAIN UNDER COVER UNTIL 30 MINUTES AFTER THE FINAL CLAP OF THUNDER.

MOVE INSIDE A WELL CONSTRUCTED HOUSE... A LARGE BUILDING... OR AN ALL METAL VEHICLE. STAY AWAY FROM ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES AND DO NOT USE THE TELEPHONE.

IF YOU ARE IN A BOAT... GET OFF THE WATER AND INTO A SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING... OR AT LEAST INTO AN ENCLOSED AND ALL-METAL VEHICLE WITH THE WINDOWS UP. IF YOU'RE CAUGHT IN AN OPEN METAL BOAT... LIE DOWN IN THE BOAT WITH CUSHIONS BETWEEN YOU AND THE METAL SIDES AND BOTTOM.

IF YOU ARE CAUGHT OUTDOORS... GET DOWN TO AVOID BEING THE HIGHEST POINT FOR A LIGHTNING DISCHARGE. IF YOU'RE CAUGHT IN A FLAT OPEN FIELD OR IF YOU FEEL YOUR HAIR STANDING ON END... CROUCH DOWN AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS. THAT WAY ONLY YOUR FEET WILL TOUCH THE GROUND.

MOVE AWAY FROM MOTORCYCLES... SCOOTERS... GOLF CARTS... BICYCLES... TRACTORS... AND OTHER METAL FARM EQUIPMENT. AVOID WIRE FENCES... CLOTHES LINES... METAL PIPES... DRAINS... RAILROAD TRACKS... AND OTHER METALLIC OBJECTS.

AVOID LONE TREES AND THE TALLEST TREES. IF CAUGHT IN THE WOODS... PICK A SMALL GROVE OF TREES AS YOUR SHELTER... AND STAND AT LEAST 5 FEET FROM THE TRUNK OF THE NEAREST TREE TO AVOID FLYING BARK IF THE TREE IS STRUCK.

AVOID STANDING IN A SMALL ISOLATED SHED OR OTHER SMALL UNGROUNDED STRUCTURE IN OTHER AREAS.

IF IN A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN AN OPEN AREA... SPREAD OUT BEFORE YOU KNEEL DOWN.

ON WEDNESDAY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL CONDUCT A TORNADO DRILL BETWEEN 9 AND 10 A.M. IN TENNESSEE AND ARKANSAS.

courtesy NWS-Memphis

Monday, February 23, 2009

Severe Weather Awareness Week (part 1) - Severe Thunderstorms

No snow, but rain coming...
Well, the snow didn't materialize on Saturday as hoped. Honestly, I'm not exactly surprised. Each day last week, the situation looked a little grimmer and the rain just ended too early on Saturday afternoon for the cold air to catch up with it. It was cold... but not cold enough.

This week will see a warming trend with slight chances of rain Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning, then a pretty good chance of t'storms later on Thursday and Thursday night. See my forecast.

TN Severe Weather Awareness Week
This week (Feb. 23-27) is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennesse, with a different type of severe weather highlighted each day. You can visit this NWS-Memphis site for more information. I'll also post blogs each day this week highlighting the topic of interest for that day. Below is today's topic: Severe Thunderstorms.

...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AWARENESS DAY...

THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY TWO THOUSAND THUNDERSTORMS IN PROGRESS AROUND THE WORLD AT ANY GIVEN TIME. MOST OF THESE STORMS ARE BENEFICIAL AND BRING NEEDED RAIN. ONLY A SMALL FRACTION LESS THAN ONE PERCENT ARE CLASSIFIED AS SEVERE. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE THOSE THUNDERSTORMS THAT PRODUCE HAIL THREE QUARTER INCH IN DIAMETER...OR LARGER...AND OR STRONG WIND GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR GREATER. HAIL THAT IS THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH IN DIAMETER IS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A PENNY.

A SMALL FRACTION OF THESE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE TORNADOES. ALL THUNDERSTORMS ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DEADLY LIGHTNING. THE HEAVY RAINS OR THE LIGHTNING ACTIVITY IN A THUNDERSTORM DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A THUNDERSTORM BEING CLASSIFIED AS SEVERE.

SOME OF THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS SAFETY RULES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

* FIND SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. GO TO A STURDY BUILDING THAT WILL WITHSTAND HIGH WINDS. AVOID ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES AND TELEPHONES.

* IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO BRING YOUR CAR INSIDE A GARAGE AND TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS.

* REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING MEANS THAT A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM IS OCCURRING. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM HAS BEEN DETECTED BY THE DOPPLER RADAR...OR REPORTED TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BY OUR SKY WARN SPOTTER NETWORK...OR THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN A PARTICULAR COUNTY.

* A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS TO DEVELOP...BUT NONE HAS BEEN OBSERVED. FOLKS SHOULD KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY AND LISTEN TO COMMERCIAL BROADCASTS...OR WEATHER RADIO FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT WARNINGS.

* WHEN A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR LOCATION....TREAT IT THE SAME AS YOU WOULD A TORNADO WARNING. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN PRODUCE DAMAGING WINDS LARGE HAIL AND DEADLY LIGHTNING.

Courtesy: NWS-Memphis

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Special Weather Statement

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NWS-MEMPHIS / MEMPHISWEATHER.NET
745 AM CST SAT FEB 21 2009

...DUSTING OF SNOW...MAINLY ON GRASSY AREAS...POSSIBLE TODAY IN NORTHERN AND EASTERN SUBURBS OF MEMPHIS...

A COLD FRONT WILL SWEEP THROUGH THE AREA FROM THE WEST TODAY AND THIS EVENING. PRECIPITATION BEHIND THE FRONT WILL QUICKLY CHANGE TO SNOW ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST ARKANSAS...THE MISSOURI BOOTHEEL...MUCH OF WEST TENNESSEE NORTH AND EAST OF MEMPHIS...AND EXTREME NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI. LIGHT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE POSSIBLE NORTH AND EAST OF THE CITY. ANY SNOW IN THE EXTREME SOUTHEAST CORNER OF WEST TENNESSEE AND NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI WILL NOT OCCUR UNTIL LATE THIS AFTERNOON OR EARLY EVENING.

ANY SNOW THAT DEVELOPS IS ONLY EXPECTED TO LAST FOR ONLY A COUPLE OF HOURS AT MOST... PRODUCING NO MORE THAN A DUSTING MAINLY ON GRASSY AREAS AND ELEVATED SURFACES.

TEMPERATURES WILL DROP INTO THE UPPER 30S AS THE SNOW OCCURS BUT WILL REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING. THIS IN COMBINATION WITH THE RECENT WARMTH WILL HELP TO KEEP TRAVEL PROBLEMS TO A MINIMUM. STAY TUNED TO NOAA ALL-HAZARDS RADIO AND MEMPHISWEATHER.NET FOR ANY UPDATES.

$$

JCL/EAP

Friday, February 20, 2009

Update on Saturday winter weather

It's going to be a beautiful late winter day across the Mid-South after a cold start to the morning. South wind will kick in and push those temps up into the 50s this afternoon under sunny skies. Try to take advantage of it because the weekend doesn't look so great.

I've written a couple of times about possible winter weather for Saturday, but I'm becoming less bullish on snow with each new model run. I am now fairly certain that we will see about a 6-8 hour window of rain tomorrow beginning by mid-morning and ending around 3-4pm. Cold air will follow a cold frontal passage around noon tomorrow, but I think that most of the moisture will have moved east by the time it gets cold enough to snow. That begin said, I am still carrying a slight chance of very light snow in the MWN forecast after 3pm tomorrow afternoon. I just can't rule it totally out at this time. Highs will be in the 40s, but will fall into the 30s by late afternoon.

Sunday will be sunny again, but cool with highs in the mid 40s. A warm-up is expected to commence by Tuesday with scattered showers and t'storms by mid-week, lasting a few days.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First call on Saturday's potential winter weather

A few more models runs have passed and two of the primary runs - the morning NAM and GFS - are in good agreement for the next 48-60 hours. Both indicate precipitation holding off until Saturday morning after dawn and starting as rain with temps in the 40s and warm air aloft. The cold front will pass through around noon time, allowing much colder air to filter into the region. Both models also keep the precip over the area through the afternoon hours, ending it by dusk. I also think that the surface temps the models are showing Saturday (50-52 for highs and mid 40s Saturday afternoon) are too warm, maybe by 5 degrees. I can't see 10 degrees of warming from AM lows during the few hours prior to cold frontal passage with extensive cloud cover and rain, even with a southwest wind during the AM.

The timing of that cold air (temps will be falling from morning highs down into the 30s in the afternoon) and the precip shutting off will be critical, as usual for our Mid-South location. It appears as though there is a potential for 1/10" of liquid equivalent (precipitation) between noon and about 5 pm. If that were to all fall as snow, we'd see somewhere around an inch (given a standard 10:1 snow to liquid water ratio). However, I think that air cold enough to support snow will be delayed a couple of hours behind the front.

My best guess at precip amount and timing at this point then is this: rain changing to snow by mid-afternoon with a dusting on elevated, grassy, or exposed surfaces, ending by 5 pm. No accumulation on streets and right now I don't expect to see any ice. Locations well east of Memphis (say closer to the TN River) will have the best chance of seeing an inch or more. I'll update again as conditions warrant.

Anyone care to comment? Remember my poll from ~3 weeks ago? 6-in-7 of you said we weren't yet done with the snow - you may be the best prognosticators in the business!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

All eyes on Saturday

It's hard to discuss the possibility of winter weather a mere 60 hours out when it's currently in the lower 70s, but we're in Memphis and it's February. Anything can happen! A cold front is passing through the region today, so the 70 degree weather will be a thing of the past in just a couple of hours. We're looking at high temps tomorrow a good 25 degrees colder than today with highs in the mid 40s! Mid 20s on Friday morning will definitely remind us that it is still winter.

The next storm system will be a quick-moving "clipper" that will dive out of the Midwest on a fast northwest flow, arriving in the Mid-South late Friday night and Saturday. With cold air in place and colder Arctic air accompanying the system, there is a real possibility for rain showers to turn to snow showers on Saturday. While I am not not predicting any sort of accumulation and timing is still not certain, there is a decent chance of seeing some of the white stuff on Saturday sometime. I'll continue to follow it and update the forecast and blog as things become more apparent. See the map below for this morning's GFS model run showing the near-surface freezing line in blue and the expected precipitation placement on Saturday afternoon. Remember it doesn't have to be 32 or lower to snow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Possible severe weather tonight

After a cold start and a few reports of very light sleet around the area this morning (including at Memphis Int'l), temperatures have risen across the metro area as rain showers move through. I expect a break from this showery activity this afternoon before the main event begins tonight.

As low pressure works it's way across the Plains, a warm front will move through the Mid-South and the stage will be set for a rapid increase in the coverage of showers and thunderstorms this evening. Some of these storms could touch severe limits, mainly in the form of large hail and a brief damaging wind gust, across the region. The Storm Prediction Center has the same idea and has placed the Mid-South under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather overnight.


The associated cold front will move through by mid-morning tomorrow with a decrease in cloud cover following. However, with the warm front passing through tonight, I expect temps to continue to rise overnight, probably up to around 60 by daybreak, so look for a high tomorrow in the mid 60s before temps begin falling in the afternoon. It will also be very windy with this system with gusts to 30+ mph overnight and early tomorrow and well into the 20s throughout the day Wednesday.

Dry weather will persist under high pressure through Friday before the next system drops swiftly into the area on northwest flow aloft. We'll talk more about this one later, but it bears watching for the potential for winter weather...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mid-South max wind speeds for Feb. 11, 2009

Location                speed              time
---------------------------------------------------
Paris TN (PHT) 55 mph 256 PM CST
Jonesboro AR (JBR) 53 mph 1241 PM CST
Jackson TN (MKL) 53 mph 148 PM CST
Blytheville AR (HKA) 52 mph 822 AM CST
Dyersburg TN (DYR) 52 mph 155 AM CST
Union City TN (UCY) 51 mph 151 PM CST
Memphis TN (MEM) 51 mph 1144 AM CST
Millington TN (NQA) 48 mph 150 AM CST
North Jackson TN 47 mph 130 PM CST
Tunica MS (UTA) 47 mph 615 AM CST
Tupelo MS (TUP) 44 mph 142 PM CST
Savannah TN (SNH) 43 mph 1236 PM CST
Lexington TN (PVE) 43 mph 338 PM CST
Yalobusha MS (YAL) 43 mph 809 AM CST
Harrisburg AR (LPS) 41 mph 110 AM CST
West Memphis AR (AWM) 41 mph 103 AM CST
Tishomingo MS (TIS) 40 mph 114 PM CST
Bartlett TN (WXLIVE) 39 mph 1111 AM CST
Marianna AR (SF2) 37 mph 1239 AM CST
Winborn MS (WIN) 35 mph 909 AM CST

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Power outage affecting MWN


WXLIVE! data and MWN StormView radar is currently out of service due to a power outage. We apologize for the inconvenience. There is no estimated return to service at this time. See above for a snapshot of the outage summary for Memphis as of 2:50pm or the link to the right which provides the current outage information.
UPDATE: Power was restored at about 4:20pm - the outage lasted right at 3 hours. Seems there was a large tree that came down a couple of miles away that took out a main power line and caused ~1000 customers to lose power.

Hang on to your hats!

The wind behind this morning's squall line seems to be packing quite the punch. I've received reports of metal facade being ripped off the the roof of a building, a fairly good size tree down (6-8"), and a wooden privacy fence blown over, all in Bartlett, as well as tree "debris" (twigs, small branches, and leaves) strewn everywhere. You can see the latest conditions from Bartlett on my WXLIVE! page, where the max wind gust recorded so far today is 39 mph. A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 3pm with a Wind Advisory after that until 7pm.


Also, interesting to look at from my Davis Vantage Pro2 personal weather station, are graphs of conditions from the frontal passage this morning (see below). The front passed over the sensors just before 7am (the red lines on the graphs). Note especially the substantial drop (and subsequent rise) in barometric pressure, the temperature and dewpoint dropping after it passed, and the wind shift from south to southwest/west. Also, the wind speed peaked at 36 mph when the front passed, then started rising again after 8am behind the front to a max gust of 39 mph a little after 11am. Very nice data signature with this frontal passage!

6:30am - Narrow squall line crossing the river


At 6:30am, MWN StormView Radar (shown above) is depicting a fast-moving but narrow squall line crossing the river into downtown Memphis and Shelby Forest and also approaching the airport in south Memphis. This line will move across the metro area over the next hour, bringing brief torrential rain and wind gusts as high as 40-50 mph. Behind this line, showers and isolated thunderstorms will continue for a couple of hours, but I expect most precipitation to be east of the city by 9:00-9:30. Wind will shift to the southwest but remain very gusty through the morning and early afternoon.
Have any damage reports? Things being blown around that usually aren't? Leave me a comment below!

4:30am update on severe weather threat


At 4:30am, MWN StormView Radar and neighboring radars are showing an area of showers and embedded thunderstorms approaching the MS River with the back edge about at Little Rock. I expected more of a classic squall line about this time this morning and it hasn't really materialized as the rain and t'storms have outrun the cold front somewhat. This has decreased the severe weather threat, particularly for tornadoes, a great deal. Stronger storms, mini-bow echo lines, appear to be staying south of the metro area at this time, though a fairly strong embedded line also appears to entend north from Jonesboro.

However, caution should still be exercised as wind ahead of and behind the frontal system will still be very strong and some 50-60 mph gusts are not out of the question. The current Tornado Watch goes until 6am and I expect it will be dropped then or replaced with a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for a couple of hours longer. The morning commute still looks to be wet and very windy, so please exercise caution and watch out for others on the roadways this morning.

A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 3pm as those non-convective winds (unrelated to storms) will be fierce until later this afternoon in the wake of the cold front.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

High Wind Warning for Memphis

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MEMPHIS TN / MEMPHISWEATHER.NET
345 PM CST TUE FEB 10 2009

...WINDY CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR OVER THE MID-SOUTH TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...

.STRONG...POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT IN ADVANCE OF A POWERFUL UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM LIFTING FROM TEXAS INTO THE OZARKS. LATE TONIGHT...THE STRONG WINDS WILL PREVAIL FROM THE SOUTHERLY DIRECTION...BUT SWITCH TO THE SOUTHWEST FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF A SQUALL LINE IN THE EARLY MORNING DAYLIGHT HOURS. THE STRONG WINDS WILL GRADUALLY MODERATE DURING THE MID TO LATE AFTERNOON.

...WIND ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 3 AM CST WEDNESDAY...
...HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 3 PM CST WEDNESDAY...
...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM TO 7 PM CST WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 3 PM CST WEDNESDAY. A WIND ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT PRIOR TO THE HIGH WIND WARNING...FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 3 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING...AND FOLLOWING THE HIGH WIND WARNING...FROM 3 PM CST WEDNESDAY TO 7 PM CST WEDNESDAY.

SOUTH WINDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND PERSIST THROUGH THE OVERNIGHT HOURS. PORTIONS OF WEST TENNESSEE... INCLUDING THE MEMPHIS METRO AREA... WILL LIKELY SEE GUSTS OF 45 MPH WITH ISOLATED GUSTS OF 50 MPH AFTER 3 AM CST. A SQUALL LINE WILL PASS THROUGH THE METRO AREA BETWEEN 5-8 AM CST. FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE OF THIS SQUALL LINE...SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH WILL PREVAIL. WIND GUSTS MAY REACH AS HIGH AS 45-50 MPH IN THE LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON.

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT SUSTAINED WINDS OF 25 TO 39 MPH ARE EXPECTED...OR GUSTS WILL RANGE BETWEEN 40 AND 57 MPH. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT... ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXP ECTED OR OCCURRING. SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR MORE CAN LEAD TO PROPERTY DAMAGE.

RESIDENTS OF THE MID-SOUTH ARE ENCOURAGED TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS... AND BE READY TO ADJUST TRAVEL PLANS AS NECESSARY. LOOSE OUTDOOR OBJECTS SHOULD BE SECURED BEFORE THE STRONG WINDS ARRIVE. STAY WITH MEMPHISWEATHER.NET... BLOG.MEMPHISWEATHER.NET... NOAA ALL-HAZARDS RADIO... AND COMMERCIAL RADIO AND TV OUTLETS FOR THE LATEST ON THIS WEATHER SCENARIO.

$$

NWS/MWN

Update on severe weather threat

Below are the latest severe weather maps from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) - the nation's experts on severe weather. The first map covers the period through 6am Wednesday. The second map is the potential for severe weather after 6am Wednesday. Right now, I'm pegging Wednesday's AM rush hour (6-8am) for the line to move through Memphis - not a good time at all unfortunately. High wind will be the primary threat, with isolated tornadoes and large hail as secondary threats. For an outlook on the severe weather covering the entire risk area, read the SPC's Public Severe Weather Outlook, issued only when an outbreak is expected.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Latest severe weather threat for Memphis metro

Not a whole lot has changed since my previous blog on the possibility of severe weather for the Mid-South on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. As we have moved 24 hours closer, a couple of things are a little more clear - timing and severe weather mode. More on those in a bit. The maps below show the Storm Prediction Center's delineation of the areas where severe weather could occur before and after 6am Wednesday.



Though thunderstorms will be possible Tuesday afternoon and possibly some Tuesday evening, I believe the greatest threat will be with a line of storms along the cold front which will likely cross the river shortly after daybreak or around the morning rush Wednesday morning. Think Hurricane Elvis timing... (though I am not predicting Hurricane Elvis intensity!)

As far as the severe weather mode, with a strong squall line and high wind ahead of and behind the line, straight line wind damage seems to be the greatest threat. Non-convective wind could reach 50 mph early Wednesday, so convectively-generated wind above severe limits (58 mph) is entirely conceivable. I've also read several commentaries on the tornado threat and believe that while there is a minimal tornado threat, that threat is somewhat low right now. The possibility of hail also exists within the squall line.

I encourage you to review severe weather safety tips, make sure your NOAA Weather Radio has fresh batteries, and be prepared for the possibility of severe thunderstorms Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. This is the first potential severe weather event of 2009 and it is only a week removed from the anniversary of the Super Tuesday Outbreak, so it should be no surprise that severe thunderstorms can and do occur at this time of year. Stay abreast of changing conditions with MemphisWeather.net and this blog.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

70s in February can only mean one thing...

What a fantastic February day! Highs across the metro area hit 70 degrees this afternoon with much less wind than yesterday and filtered sunshine. I expected to see more low clouds today so I forecast a couple of degrees cooler than Saturday. Didn't happen! We definitely saw our share of high level clouds, but that didn't keep the temps down too much. As we head into the early part of the week, we'll remain near 70 or a touch higher for high temperatures through Wednesday. And you know what temps that high this time of year mean!

Thunderstorms.

It looks like we might get our share, and the weather could become severe overnight Tuesday night into Wednesday. Our first round will start Monday night and continue Tuesday with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, though most should remain below severe level. However, an intense cold front of Pacific origin and strong low pressure system will likely bring a squall line into the region sometime after midnight Tuesday or Wednesday morning. The greatest threat at this time appears to be damaging straight line wind gusts, though the possibility of tornadoes exists as well. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted portions of the Mid-South under a SLIGHT risk of severe weather Tuesday night and a broad portion of the eastern U.S. on Wednesday, an indicator of the large scale of this system and the uncertainty that still exists in the model data. These areas will likely be better defined in the next day or two. The severe weather areas are indicated in the maps below.

The MWN Forecast will be updated throughout the week to bring you the latest on the possible late winter severe weather.



Saturday, February 7, 2009

Great weather day... if you don't mind the breeze

After a cold winter, we've been blessed with a beautiful early February weekend. Though only a little sun intermittently pokes through the clouds and the wind is blowing steady at 15-25 mph with gusts near 30, temperatures are amazingly nice. At mid-day, most locations around the metro area are in the middle 60s with highs near 70 expected today. More clouds will be around tomorrow, but the wind will die down some, so the slightly "cooler" temperatures in the mid 60s will again provide for a nice day. No rain is expected through the remainder of the weekend - the clouds are just a sign of increased moisture in the atmosphere.

As we head into next week, a stormy pattern will set up, though temps will continue to be well above normal through Tuesday. Showers and some thunderstorms will move in Monday evening and continue off and on through Tuesday as a cold front nears the area, but high pressure to our east serves to hold it back just west of the Mid-South. We'll nonetheless be close enough that most areas will see rainfall and some thunder and lightning. The main system will move through Tuesday night or Wednesday, bringing a pretty good chance of thunderstorms and the possibility of severe weather not non-existent. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted the Memphis area for a chance of severe weather during that time frame. Following that system, temperatures look to come back down closer to normal. I'll stay on top of the severe weather possibility and make sure you are kept informed via this blog and the MWN forecast.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

National Weatherperson's Day!

I just wanted to take a minute to pat myself, and all of you like me, on the back for a job well done! ;-) Today, February 5, is National Weatherperson's Day! Very strange that the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak also occurred on National Weatherperson's Day... we all earned our keep that day. (See my previous blog for more on the outbreak.)

For more info on this very special day, here are a couple of links:

You can even send me an e-card from Blue Mountain!

Seriously, I consider it an honor and privilege to love what I do everyday and be able to serve others in a small way too. Thanks for your support of us, the oft-maligned forecasters, and don't forget to hug your local meteorologist today (and then tell them why you are doing it, because they probably won't know either and will think you're just plain creepy...)

p.s. In honor of National Weatherperson's Day, I bring you a warmer forecast.

Remembering the Super Tuesday Outbreak in the Mid-South



It was one year ago today that many Mid-Southerners were placing their votes on Super Tuesday with the threat of severe weather hanging over the region. That threat became reality late in the afternoon when the first tornado warning for Shelby County was issued as a tornado set down near Arlington and tore through NE Shelby County. About an hour later, another twister, this one stronger, touched down in DeSoto County south of the Memphis airport and moved quickly ENE into the airport area and Hickory Hill, destroying whatever was in its path and killing 3 in a warehouse. This tornado was briefly caught by live TV cameras mounted high above the city as it moved through Hickory Hill.

Later that evening, we all remember the tragedy, and yet good fortune, as an EF-4 hit Union University in Jackson, TN, injuring 51 as it tore apart the full dorms, but miraculously sparing everyone's life. In all, 23 tornadoes touched down on Super Tuesday in the Memphis National Weather Service's area of responsibility, 9 of which touched the 5-county metro area and 7 of which were rated EF-2 or higher. Nine souls were lost that day and over 100 injured. It is a day that will live on in Mid-South weather lore - February 5 ,2008.

Though much of the damage has been repaired and life goes on, many people will never outlive the memories of that day. Below are a couple of the pictures I took in the days following. You can view all of my pics here. The map at the top shows the paths of all tornadoes from 2/5/08 in the NWS-Memphis area. For more information on these storms and other tornadoes in the Mid-South, visit the very complete and detailed Mid-South Tornado Database.
A home in northeast Shelby County missing the second story


The Sharp Manufacturing plant in Hickory Hill, heavily damaged by a tornado

Monday, February 2, 2009

MWN Blog readers expect more snow this winter

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but in a very unofficial poll of readers of The MWN Blog, the vast majority think that last week's (Jan. 28) snowfall will not be our last of this winter. Fully 86% said that there will be, or probably will be, another snowfall here in Memphis this winter, while 14% thought that might be it for us. Thanks to all who cast their vote! I'll post another poll soon - be sure to cast your vote at http://blog.memphisweather.net/

6 more weeks of winter? Or not?

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow this morning, so we're looking at six more weeks of winter... right? Well how about the Southern variation of Phil, Gen. Beau Lee - "Georgia’s Official Weather Prognosticator?" Gen. Lee did NOT see his shadow this morning, indicating an early spring! While Phil may be o-"phil"-cial, Gen. Lee is southern, so I think Lee trumps Phil in this game of rodent-prognosticating!
The National Weather Service may tend to agree too. Check out the maps below showing the expected departures from normal for temperature and precipitation for the month of February. They indicate a high likelihood of a warmer (in the Lower MS Valley much warmer) February than average, while below normal temps would be confined to the Northwestern states. The Midwest looks like it might have a wet month, while in the northern half of the Mid-South, precipitation could end up slightly above normal. The shaded bands indicate a 33%, 40% and 50% chance of above (or below) normal temps and precip. So while it doesn't mean we won't see some cold weather, chances are decent that our average for the month will end up above average. Bring on Spring!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

This week's weather (post #200)

First off, welcome to post #200 on The MWN Blog! I'm glad enough people look at this to make it worth my while to post 200 times in the +/-11 months. Thanks to all of you who follow this blog on a routine basis. I have discovered one thing - school closings are very important to you all! Last week when I posted on area schools being closed due to the snow (BTW, I recorded 3/4", while the official reading for Memphis was 1" at the airport), this blog recorded just shy of 1,000 visitors on one day and almost 1,500 over two days, with over 2,500 pages viewed. Thank you!

Now on to the stuff you really want to know about. I haven't had a lot of time the past few days to post, so I'm one of the few in the region that has not talked about our chances of winter weather this coming week. It's a good thing too... Late last week, models were hinting at (OK, they were pretty much insistent on) at least a little bit of snow tomorrow morning. I carried it in my MWN forecast. It's now been removed, though a shot at light rain showers remains likely. The next chance is from a clipper system on Tuesday that looked like it might be a flurry-maker, or perhaps bring even a few snow showers. Well, I'm less confident on that now too. So while I still have a slight chance of snow in my forecast for Tuesday, that may have to come out by tomorrow too. It will definitely be colder than this weekend though (hasn't it been gorgeous!), so prepare for another round of cold weather early this week.

The good news is that the long-range models that had been predicting much wamer temperatures for the first couple of weeks in February now seem like they were on to something. I expect a pattern shift to occur after the middle of this week and we will start to see warmer, and likely more moisture-laden, air masses dominating the Mid-South as we head into next weekend and the following week. That doesn't mean we won't get a cold snap, but the main storm track appears as though it will favor warmer weather. We'll see how this plays out. Maybe Mr. Groundhog will be able to tell us tomorrow morning! I'll let you know what he says.