Friday, November 27, 2009

Remembering the Germantown tornado, 15 years later

Erik Proseus, MemphisWeather.net
Originally published - November 27, 2009
Updated - December 11, 2009

What was expected to be a festive family gathering on Thanksgiving weekend turned into a nightmare during the afternoon hours on Sunday, November 27, 1994. Sixteen family members and friends had gathered at the Germantown, TN home of landscape architect Walter V. Person, Jr. for a family reunion. Person's home was located on Gotten Way in the Dogwood Grove subdivision, which his family had moved into only two weeks earlier.

Outside, environmental conditions were primed as temperatures ahead of a cold front were in the 70s and wind shear existed throughout the atmosphere. These conditions came together to support the formation of tornadoes earlier in the day across portions of central AR, including Sharpe and Van Buren Counties, as well as a small twister in West Memphis and another in Crockett County, TN that resulted in the death of a 75-year-old woman.

By the time the storms reached southeastern Shelby County, conditions came together to spawn a major tornado that blasted through upper-middle class suburban Germantown neighborhoods of Dogwood Grove, Farmington East, and the Woodlands of Forest Hills. The area, shown in the map below, is roughly bounded by Dogwood Road on the north, Houston Levee on the east and Johnson Road on the west, including the immediate area around Houston High School. Though there was damage to the southwest and northeast of this area, these subdivisions received the brunt of the storm.


The tornado that struck Germantown on that day touched down about 3:15pm in the southern part of Germantown and moved northeast (as depicted on the track below) for 16 miles before lifting just north of I-40 near the Shelby/Fayette County line. The city of Germantown was the most densely populated area it traveled through, though it also went through the eastern portion of the county (east of Cordova and near Eads). The maximum width of the twister was about 200 yards, over a tenth of a mile, and it was rated an F-3 with maximum wind between 158-206 mph.

Personal property damage was extensive, including roofs caved in, second stories collapsed, homes lifted off their foundations, windows broken, fences blown away, and trees downed, in addition to water damage from the heavy rain that accompanied the storm. In terms of structural damage, 28 homes were destroyed and 300 others damaged, with damage estimates totaling $25-30 million. There was significant structural damage to the front of Grace Evangelical Church on Dogwood Road and roof damage to Houston High School, located across the street from Grace church. Houston H.S. ended up closing until after the Christmas break for repairs. Students at Germantown High School made room to share their facilities with their rivals from Houston H.S. for the last few weeks of the fall semester. There were also 30 utility poles downed and two mobile homes in Fayette County were destroyed just before the tornado lifted. To view damage photos taken mostly by (at the time) Battalion Chief Edgar Babian with the Germantown Fire Department, follow this link.

Besides property damage, three people lost their lives in the Person home, including Walter Person, his brother, and his 11-year-old son, while another 25 were injured along the storm's path in Germantown. In fact, the damage to Person's Gotten Way home was so extensive that rescue dogs, helicopter-mounted infrared cameras, search probes, and heavy equipment had to be used to locate the bodies of the dead under all of the rubble. Two people were not recovered until the following morning. A command post was set up at Houston Middle School, west on Dogwood Road from Houston High, to coordinate efforts by various agencies, who all “just showed up” without an official request going out and no initial coordination effort, according to acting Fire Chief Dennis Wolf. Amateur video of search-and-rescue efforts conducted by members Tennessee Task Force One and the Germantown Fire Department, can be found here, or watch below.





Shortly after the tornado struck, Shelby County Sheriff's Reserve Officer Art B. was called out to the area as part of a group of officers assigned to patrol and secure the neighborhood from possible looters and gawkers. Art remembers vividly the extensive damage, specifically recalling a 2x4 piece of wood "impaled diagonally with surgical precision" through a car door. The car itself was untouched and still sitting in the carport!

Curt B., a young man in his mid-twenties at the time, recalled "leaving church on Sunday morning with a feeling that the warm, humid November day just wasn't right." He continues:

"My afternoon job at the pharmacy led me to deliver medications to the Hickory Hill area, south of Germantown. As I travelled, I followed a dark, ominous, rotating cloud from the south near Olive Branch as it crossed the border into TN. I never saw the actual tornado, but [later] saw numerous emergency vehicles speeding down Poplar towards Germantown. It was confirmed shortly thereafter that a tornado had touched down off Houston Levee and Dogwood. I was forced off of Poplar to drive back home via Collierville Arlington Rd. and upon nearing Fisherville, it was obvious the tornado had crossed the road here as several large transformer towers were completely bent to the ground.

"Back then, the internet was not as widespread, so word really didn't spread of the massive destruction and fatalities until the news at 10pm. My mother was a teacher at ECS, which met at Grace Evangelical Church which was heavily damaged. Had this been a school day, the tragedy could have been even worse as the playground would have been full of children waiting on their ride home from school. I recollect my mom telling me that the playground equipment was never found."

Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, who toured the destruction that evening, was quoted as saying, "[the area] looks like it's been blown up by some kind of explosion. [...] It looks like Sarajevo or one of those places that's in the news, where you see tremendous, tremendous damage."

In an interview with Germantown Fire officials, who were the first responders on the scene that day, Fire Chief Wolf recalled responding to a call for aid at the Person home without knowing the extent of the damage he would encounter. Initially, Chief Wolf could not reach the scene due to downed power lines across Dogwood Road. A Shelby County Engine Company cut the lines, allowing him and other responders to reach the scene, which was much more widespread than initially reported. Chief Wolf also specifically recalled one home in which the first story had collapsed and the second story was resting on it. The residents of the home were escaping through a second-story dormer window that was now just feet off the ground.

Then-Assistant Fire Chief John Selberg was aware of the Tornado Warning and said he put his family in the closet as the storm approached, before also responding to the scene. Asst. Chief Selberg was placed in charge of operations at the Person home and used the home next door, which was not as severely damaged, as a triage center for those who were injured. He also relayed a story in which a nearby home, which was for sale at the time, was being inspected by a potential buyer. The buyers (a couple) had left their daughter in the car in the driveway next door while they visited the home for sale. The tornado tore through the neighborhood while they were in the sale home and their daughter was in the car – there simply was not time to get back to the car before the storm hit. Fortunately, all parties were okay.

Interestingly enough, the tornado sirens in Germantown were activated by an alert firefighter at the southernmost fire station in the city as he recalled seeing a funnel go directly over the station and activated the warning sirens.

In response to the tragedy, there are several “positives” that came about as a result, according to Assistant Chief Selberg. Mutual aid efforts between various departments from surrounding municipalities is now much better coordinated and policy and procedures help ensure that all responding personnel are able to provide the maximum effort to aid in the situation. The lack of coordination and communication on that day resulted in some efforts being duplicated and other opportunities being missed, which prevented the best use of all responders. A training program for mutual aid, “Incident Management Teams,” has been developed, which teaches emergency responders the right way to accomplish their mission in mutual aid scenarios.

In addition, many of the responders, particularly from GFD, were a part of TN-TF1, which was a fledgling urban search-and-rescue (SAR) unit at the time. Now, TN-TF1 is one of the premier urban SAR units in the country and have responded to such incidents as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, multiple hurricanes (including Katrina and Ike), and the space shuttle disaster. Asst. Chief Selberg is the Task Force Leader for TN-TF1.

The Germantown tornado served as a wake-up call 15 years ago, and stands as a reminder still today, that severe weather and tornadoes can form at any time in the Mid-South. The Thanksgiving weekend tornado is often cited when meteorologists educate the public that November is secondary severe weather season in our region. Of course, since then several other storms have also served as reminders that metropolitan areas are not immune from Mother Nature's wrath. We remember today the lives of those individuals who perished in the storm and pray that the circumstances of their passing serve as constant reminders that we should all be prepared for, and heed the warnings of, the possibility of severe weather. We are also very grateful for the service and heroism of all first responders.

References:
http://www.midsouthtornadoes.msstate.edu - NWS Memphis Tornado Database
http://www.commercialappeal.com/ - CA archives
A special thank you also to those who provided personal accounts and photos for this writing, especially officials at the Germantown Fire Department.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Climate trends, El Nino, and waterfowl

I have seen several interesting weather items of note in the past couple of days that I thought I would touch on today. Here they are, in decreasing scale order (globally to locally):

October Climate Stats
While the U.S. experienced its wettest, and third coolest, October in recorded history, that didn't bear out across the rest of the globe. NCDC indicates, and Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground reports, that last month was the 6th warmest October on record globally. In the U.S., temperatures averaged 4.0F below normal, while precipitation was almost double the typical October average. It appears from the graphic above that outside of the continental U.S., northern Europe was the only other region where temps averaged below normal. In addition, U.S. drought and fire activity both decreased in October.


El Nino Strengthens
According to the Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) weekly El Nino report issued this morning, El Nino conditions have strengthened across the central and eastern Pacific in the past month, with sea surface temperatures now averaging 1.0-2.0 degrees above normal. In fact, the most watched region of the Pacific (dubbed "El Nino 3.4") has now crossed a threshold that allows this El Nino event to be classified a "strong" event. Model forecasts call for moderate to strong El Nino conditions to continue through the 2009-2010 Northern Hemisphere winter. Three-month forecasts for the Mid-South reflect semi-typical El Nino considerations, including slightly below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. More on the current El Nino conditions can be found here.


Another Winter Forecast
My blogosphere friend Paul Yeager of CloudyandCool.com wrote yesterday about a computer model called the NCEP coupled forecast system (CFS) that has advantages over typical day-to-day models in forecasting long-range (read Paul's blog for a great explanation). In the FWIW category, the CFS output agrees with the CPC and most other winter forecasts that have taken into consideration the effects of El Nino and forecasted cool and dry winter months for the Mid-South. For a look at U.S. temperature forecast maps from the CFS, click here, and for precipitation, click here.


Doppler Ducks
Ryan Vaughan with KAIT-TV in Jonesboro woke up Saturday morning to reports of large flocks of waterfowl (likely geese and some ducks) flying south over northeast AR. As he checked NWS Doppler Radar, he noticed what appeared to be light rain showers headed south over the area (while other returns were moving northeast through north MS). Putting two and two together, it was determined that the migratory birds were showing up on radar! (Read more on Ryan's blog, including a radar loop of the occurrence.)

While a very cool thing to witness, birds on radar is certainly not unprecedented (see my previous blog, "The Birds"). In fact, during certain times of year, at sunrise, "expanding donuts" of radar echoes appear near Reelfoot Lake and other areas around the region known to be excellent sleeping spots for our feathered friends. As the waterfowl take off in all directions, they show up as an ever-expanding ring of echoes.

So hunters, not only will checking the early morning forecast on MemphisWeather.net be helpful in determining the weather conditions for your stakeout, but accessing Doppler radar on MWN Mobile might net you a heads-up to an approaching flock!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving travel forecast

Many Mid-Southerners are making plans to travel later this Thanksgiving week, so here is a general overview of expected weather conditions for the U.S. for the holiday period.

Wednesday - For the big travel day, much of the country will be in decent shape with a few exceptions. A cold front and low pressure system over the Florida peninsula will mean scattered showers and thunderstorms for the peninsula and Carolina coastal areas. Also, very cold low pressure over the Great Lakes will likely bring snow showers for portions of the Midwest from the Twin Cities towards Chicago, while light snow is possible over the western Great Lakes. Very cold air will also be diving south through the northern Plains while the leading edge of that cooler air will be filtering into the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. Dry conditions are expected across much of the south and west.

Thanksgiving Day - The south and west will continue to be mainly dry. Cooler air continues pushing south thanks to a strong upper level trough over the Great Lakes and Midwest (where it will continue to be cold with scattered light snow showers). Look for unseasonably cool air for the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley, as well as interior portions of the southeast U.S. A storm system pushing onshore in the Pacific Northwest will bring wet and potentially windy conditions to portions of that region south to northern California. The big story will be a developing system off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Details are still sketchy, but it appears that it could be a cool and wet day along the I-95 corridor from Boston to New York City.

Friday - The biggest effects from the developing East Coast storm could be felt Friday. It's still too early to determine where the rain/snow line will set up, but the potential exists for some accumulating snow, most likely in interior portions of the Northeast and northern Appalchians. It could stay just warm enough along the coast and in major metro areas that a cold rain could result, but the Northeast will not have good weather conditions for shoppers. In addition, it will be windy throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Dry conditions, cool in the Mississippi Valley, will exist for much of the rest of the U.S., with the exception of interior portions of the Northwest. Temperatures warm up for the Plains.

Saturday/Sunday - The Northeast storm weakens and moves into eastern Canada, leaving behind cool conditions and a few lingering rain or snow showers. The Pac Northwest low emerges over the Plains, dragging another cold front across the northern U.S. with very cool air trailing it, blanketing the Plains and upper and mid-Mississippi Valley. A few showers could be found along the front.

For detailed conditions for the Memphis area, please see the MWN Forecast, which will be updated this evening for the upcoming week.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter Weather Awareness Week 2009 - part 5 (Safety Rules at home)

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

NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH 20TH IS WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE MID-SOUTH. PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO TAKE SOME TIME AND PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.

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 TYPICALLY 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 OUR WEEK-LONG LOOK AT WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS. WE HOPE THAT THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN USEFUL AND THAT IT WILL MAKE YOU BETTER PREPARED TO DEAL WITH WINTER WEATHER SCENARIOS WHEN THEY ARISE. THOUGH WINTER WEATHER IN THE MID-SOUTH DOESN'T OCCUR AS OFTEN AS OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, THIS CAN LEAD TO COMPLACENY... WHICH CAN BE OFFSET BY PREPAREDNESS.

STAY WITH MEMPHISWEATHER.NET ON THE WEB... THE BLOG... FACEBOOK... AND TWITTER FOR COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL COVERAGE WHEN WINTER WEATHER STRIKES.

$$

NWS/MWN

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Winter Weather Awareness Week 2009 - part 4 (Precip Types)

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

NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH 20TH IS WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE MID-SOUTH. PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO TAKE SOME TIME AND PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.

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.

$$

NWS/MWN

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winter Weather Awareness Week 2009 - part 3 (Travel Tips)

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

NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH 20TH IS WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE MID-SOUTH. PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO TAKE SOME TIME AND PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.

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 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 FROM LOCAL NEWS OUTLETS... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE... AND MEMPHISWEATHER.NET. WE WANT THIS AND ALL WINTER SEASONS TO BE THE SAFEST POSSIBLE.

$$

NWS/MWN

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter Weather Awareness Week 2009 - part 2 (Effects on the body)

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

NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH 20TH IS WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE MID-SOUTH. PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO TAKE SOME TIME AND PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.

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. IN ADDITION... MEMPHISWEATHER.NET ON THE WEB... FACEBOOK... AND TWITTER WILL STAY UPDATED WITH THE LATEST WATCHES AND WARNINGS... FORECAST INFORMATION... INTERACTIVE RADAR... AND SAFETY TIPS.

$$

NWS/MWN

Winter Weather Awareness Week 2009 - part 1 (Watches/Warnings)

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

NOVEMBER 16TH THROUGH 20TH 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 INCLUDING...

...WINTER WEATHER WATCHES AND WARNINGS
...FROSTBITE AND HYPOTHERMIA
...WINTER WEATHER TRAVEL TIPS AND SAFETY RULES
...WINTER PRECIPITATION TYPES
...WINTER SAFETY FOR YOUR HOME

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

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 ARE 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 OR 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. IN ADDITION... MEMPHISWEATHER.NET ON THE WEB... FACEBOOK... AND TWITTER WILL STAY UPDATED WITH THE LATEST WATCHES AND WARNINGS... FORECAST INFORMATION... INTERACTIVE RADAR... AND SAFETY TIPS.

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.

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NWS/MWN

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Occluded low to bring much cooler temps

A brief post with a discussion of these week's weather, which will remind you that it is autumn and things can change fairly quickly...

The mid 70s and sunshine that we enjoyed this weekend will be replaced as the overall weather pattern undergoes a transition this week. While high temps were 10-12 degrees above average yesterday and today (the average high is 62 for this time of year), tomorrow marks the transition. A cold front will move into the region from the west, and low pressure that moves along the front will then stall out (or occlude). An upper-level low will accompany the surface low and also stall out north of the region by Monday night and Tuesday before slowly lifting north Wednesday.

Low pressure in the upper parts of the atmosphere this time of year typically mean cool weather, cloudy conditions, and scattered light showers, and that's exactly what we are looking for, especially Tuesday. The updated MWN Forecast reflects those expected conditions with highs only in the 40s on Tuesday (25 degrees cooler than today!) and low chances of rain Monday night through Wednesday.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why "normals" don't necessarily always seem normal

I make it a practice to almost never use the word "normal" when referring to temperature and precipitation trends. Even though it is a widely used term in Meteorology and Climatology, I prefer the more mathematically correct term "average." As far as I am concerned, there is nothing normal about a weather pattern that changes every day, no matter how minuscule the change may seem.

The latest weather patterns in the Mid-South are a good example. 2009 has been, overall, a very wet year for the region. In fact, last month ended up as the wettest October on record in Memphis. After recording 14 days of measurable precipitation for the month, the city went over its climatological "normal" precipitation for the year by the end of October, which means anything we get from November 1 until the end of 2009 just adds to the "wetter than normal" yearly total.

The problem is, since October 30, the city hasn't recorded a drop of rain. As of Sunday the 15th, the dry spell will reach 16 days, which will be the second longest dry spell of the year behind an 18 day streak from June 16-July 3. Our dry streak will likely end on Monday as a cold front moves in, but very wet spells, like September and October are often balanced by periods like we have just been through and the last part of June and August, which were exceptionally dry.

In sum, though 2009 will end up with above average precipitation, dry and wet spells can make a normal year seem unusual!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday afternoon Ida update

As of 3pm this afternoon, Ida has weakened to a just-below-hurricane strength Tropical Storm, but is maintaining 70 mph wind in its inner core. The end is rapidly nearing for Ida though as it encounters a hostile environment and will be merging with a frontal system over the next 12-24 hours and becoming extratropical.

The Gulf coast, particularly from Mobile east to Pensacola, could see sustained tropical storm force wind overnight tonight and early tomorrow as the storm makes landfall shortly after midnight tonight in the Mobile area. Very heavy rain, as much as 6-8" in some areas, will result from this storm, as well as flooding from storm surge and the heavy rain. After landfall, the storm will slow and make a sharp eastward turn as it moves along the frontal system, so rains will continue over the Deep South for the next couple of days.

For the Memphis area, clouds will clear out Tuesday and, other than a steady 10-15 mph breeze, there will be no effects from Ida on the metro area. A great forecast is on tap for the rest of the week!

MemphisWeather.net will continue to cover the storm on the Tropical Weather page.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ida update

The latest projection from the National Hurricane Center (valid 9pm CST Sunday) is above. (Click the map for more detail.) The storm is forecast to make landfall near Pensacola, FL around dawn Tuesday morning as a minimal hurricane, though according to Dr. Jeff Master's blog, the intensity forecast remains problematic due in large part to a trough over the northwestern Gulf, increasing shear, and much cooler waters over the northern Gulf. The current track would bring a small inner core of minimal hurricane-force wind and a larger swath of tropical storm force wind to the Gulf Coast from as far west as the New Orleans area to east of Appalachicola and perhaps a hundred miles or so inland.

For updated information, visit the MWN Tropical Weather page and the links therein, especially the StormPulse website.

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Ida's effect on Memphis metro weather

Hurricane Ida has become a strong category 2 storm as it enters the southern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon, packing 100 mph wind as it passes east of Cancun. Forecast tracks and strength are complicated by several factors including upper-level low pressure over the northwestern Gulf, an approaching trough that will move into the southeastern U.S., and shear and cooler water over the northern Gulf.

Forecast models seem to be handling the resultant storm somewhat differently. It will continue to bear watching, but the net effect appears to be that portions of the Gulf Coast, most likely southern AL and MS, a part of the FL Panhandle, and possibly southeastern LA, could see minimal hurricane force wind, plenty of rain, and some storm surge flooding. We'll continue to monitor. Stay up to date by visiting the MWN Tropical Weather page.

As for the effects on Mid-South weather, I believe the Memphis metro area itself will see little effect other than increased wind (breezy conditions of 15-20 mph) Monday night through Tuesday night, cloudy conditions during this period, and slight chances of rain. In fact, these conditions are more a result of an upper-level low that will be moving into the area, southerly flow ahead of it bringing in upper-level moisture, and the interaction of that low and the approaching Gulf storm that will bring the windy conditions. Check the MWN Forecast for the latest expected conditions in the metro area.

Areas southeast of the metro, particularly northeast Mississippi and points further south and east will see a much higher chance of rain and fairly breezy conditions.

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Hurricane Ida Advisory - 3pm Sunday

HURRICANE IDA ADVISORY NUMBER 20
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
300 PM CST SUN NOV 08 2009

...CENTER OF IDA MOVING INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO...

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA TO MEXICO BEACH FLORIDA. THIS WATCH DOES NOT INCLUDE THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS.

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN TO CABO CATOCHE. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION IN THE WARNING AREA.

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO FROM TULUM TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO FROM PUNTA ALLEN NORTHWARD TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN AND FROM CABO CATOCHE WESTWARD TO SAN FELIPE. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF PINAR DEL RIO.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE ISLE OF YOUTH.

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE ALONG THE NORTHERN COAST OF THE GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF IDA. ADDITIONAL TROPICAL CYCLONE WATCHES OR WARNINGS MAY BE REQUIRED TONIGHT OR MONDAY.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA
OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

AT 300 PM CST...2100 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IDA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 22.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 86.3 WEST OR ABOUT 95 MILES...155 KM...WEST-NORTHWEST OF THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA AND ABOUT 510 MILES...815 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

IDA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH...17 KM/HR. A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTH AND AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ARE EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 TO 36 HOURS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...IDA IS EXPECTED TO CROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO TONIGHT AND MONDAY...AND BE NEAR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST ON TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 100 MPH...160 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. IDA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED TONIGHT...AND IDA IS FORECAST TO GRADUALLY WEAKEN ON MONDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 35 MILES...55 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES...220 KM.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE JUST REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS 976 MB...28.82 INCHES.

IDA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AND WESTERN CUBA...WITH POSSIBLE ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES.

RAINS WILL BE INCREASING WELL IN ADVANCE OF IDA ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST...BUT WILL BECOME STEADIER AND HEAVIER BY MONDAY INTO TUESDAY. TOTAL STORM ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM TOTALS OF 8 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE THROUGH TUESDAY FROM THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST NORTHWARD INTO THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AND THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS.

A STORM SURGE COULD RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS 3 TO 4 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

...SUMMARY OF 300 PM CST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...22.2N 86.3W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 330 DEGREES AT 10 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...976 MB

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 600 PM CST FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 900 PM CST.

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FORECASTER BEVEN/ROBERTS

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida forms in the southwest Caribbean Sea

After a relatively quiet period in the tropics for several weeks (the last tropical system to threaten any land areas was Erika two months ago, which passed over the Leeward Islands), a newly-formed depression has quickly become Tropical Storm Ida over the southwestern Caribbean. At 3pm CST, the center of Ida is about 75 miles east of the coast of Nicaragua and has sustained wind estimated at 60 mph. Current projections (shown on the map above) indicate that Ida will strengthen a little more before interacting with, and crossing over, the Nicaraguan coast and then eastern Honduras, before re-emerging into the Caribbean Sea and heading towards the popular vacation spots of Cancun and Cozumel early next week, then into the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Get the latest on Tropical Storm Ida on the MemphisWeather.net Tropical page.

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October climate data and forecast accuracy

October continued the trend started in September by being much wetter than normal - in fact, record wet! The excess clouds and precipitation contributed to cool temperatures for the month. Following are climate summaries for Memphis and Bartlett, TN.

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN
At Memphis Int'l Airport, the average temperature was 60.7 degrees, which was 3.1 degrees below normal. The highest temperature for the month was 85 degrees on the 8th and the lowest was 38 on the 18th. No temperature records were set in October. Though October is climatologically the driest month of the year in Memphis, October 2009 went into the books as the wettest October on record. The airport recorded 10.56" of rain for the month, which was over 7.25" above normal and bested the previous record by 0.43". There were 14 days with measurable rainfall, 6 days with over 1" of rain recorded, and one day with more than 2" of rain (2.12" on the 30th). The peak wind gust was 36 mph, recorded on the 9th. Click here for the NWS climate recap for October.

Bartlett, TN
WXLIVE! also recorded a very wet month with below normal temperatures. The average temperature for October was 58.9 degrees, with a maximum of 84.7 on the 8th and a minimum of 31.9 degrees on the 18th, one of 4 days for the month that dropped into the 30s. October precipitation totaled 9.79" at the automated WXLIVE! gauge, while a co-located manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program measured 10.71". (An adjustment to the calibration of the automated gauge was implemented in the last week of the month.) The peak wind gust was 29 mph on the 30th. Click here for the MWN recap.

MWN Forecast Accuracy
The MWN Forecast continues to best the available computer models and the National Weather Service. In October, the average temperature error in all MWN forecasts was 2.37 degrees, or about 0.20 of a degree better than the NWS and almost a half degree better than the best computer model. In addition, the number of forecasts produced for the month (47) was the just a couple short of the September total, which was the highest in a decade. So, the quantity of forecasts remained well above average, as did the overall quality! More detailed accuracy statistics can be found here.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Regional precipitation totals for October

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NWS-MEMPHIS TN / MEMPHISWEATHER.NET
0835 PM CST SUN NOV 1 2009

...OCTOBER 2009 RAINFALL SET RECORDS ACROSS THE MID-SOUTH...

THE MEMPHIS AIRPORT RECORDED 10.56 INCHES. THE NORMAL IS
3.31 INCHES. A RECORD WAS SET THIS MONTH. THE OLD RECORD
WAS 10.13 INCHES SET IN 1919.

WXLIVE IN BARTLETT TENNESSEE RECORDED 9.79 INCHES. THIS IS
THE HIGHEST OCTOBER TOTAL EVER RECORDED FOR WXLIVE.

JACKSON TENNESSEE RECORDED 7.35 INCHES. THE NORMAL IS 3.32
INCHES. THE RECORD IS 8.72 INCHES SET IN 2007.

JONESBORO ARKANSAS RECORDED 11.71 INCHES. THE NORMAL WAS
3.89 INCHES. THE RECORD IS 15.66 INCHES SET IN 1984.

TUPELO MISSISSIPPI RECORDED 10.98 INCHES. THE NORMAL IS
3.38 INCHES. A RECORD WAS SET THIS MONTH. THE OLD RECORD
WAS 9.75 INCHES SET IN 1932.

HERE A FEW TOTALS FROM AROUND THE REGION:

IN ARKANSAS:
POCAHONTAS RECORDED 12.29 INCHES. 3.63 IS NORMAL.
WYNNE RECORDED 11.94 INCHES. 3.71 IS NORMAL.

IN TENNESSEE:
PARIS RECORDED 7.79 INCHES. 3.35 IS NORMAL.
MILAN RECORDED 8.18 INCHES. 3.33 IS NORMAL.

IN MISSISSIPPI:
OXFORD RECORDED 9.74 INCHES. 3.80 IS NORMAL.
BATESVILLE RECORDED 8.57 INCHES. 3.48 IS NORMAL.


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NWS/MWN