No end in sight to Winter 2009-2010

What a cold and snowy winter it has been so far across the region! With two winter storm events in January and one so far in February (not counting the one that is going by to our south today), no one would argue that it has been an active pattern. El Nino has at least something to do with that, as we have had several southern stream storm systems (say that three time fast)like today’s which move across the southern U.S., tapping the Gulf of Mexico as their moisture source.

While we narrowly missed out on today’s storm, we have yet another chance in the short-range forecast as a clipper system takes a nose-dive out of the Northern Plains into the Mid-South on Sunday. It will bring with it a couple of rounds of precipitation – scattered light showers ahead of the Arctic cold front, an upper-level low that will be trailing the main surface low, and then another impulse in the resulting northwest upper level flow on President’s Day.

As of now, it appears we might be warm enough to start out as rain early Sunday morning ahead of the cold front, though a little snow could be mixed in to the north where surface temps may support it. The cold front then comes through during the morning and cold air begins to move in by afternoon, accompanied by the first upper-level low. That round of precipitation could change over to snow during the afternoon hours, continuing into the evening, as much colder air pours over the region. Then on Monday, in the Arctic air behind the system, mostly cloudy skies and cold air filtering into the region could be enough to produce some flurries during the day.

A far as totals, it’s too early to say for sure, but there is the possibility of about an inch or so from late afternoon into the evening on Sunday. I don’t expect any snow that falls early in the day or on Monday to amount to anything.

This winter system will be enough to continue our streak of below normal temperatures. High temperatures at Memphis International have been below average every day since January 28, and that appears as though it will continue through the extended forecast, pushing us towards 3 straight weeks below normal. I guess maybe the groundhog was right this year? I for one am looking forward to spring!

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