May 2010 Climate Recap and MWN Forecast Accuracy


Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN
A warm and wet pattern in April continued into May, as temperatures were again above average and precipitation was record-setting in many locations across west and middle Tennessee thanks to an historic rainfall on and severe weather on May 1-2. At Memphis Int’l Airport, the average temperature for May was 74.2 degrees, which was 3.6 degrees above normal. The maximum temperature for the month was 91 degrees on the 22nd and 23rd and the lowest was 52 on the 10th. No temperature records were set or tied in May.

An historic storm system on May 1 that brought flooding conditions measured in the 100-500 year category for parts of the area, particularly Millington and Arlington, made May a wet month overall. There were 10 days during the month in which measurable precipitation fell, 4 of those with more than 1.00″. The airport recorded a total of 9.26″ of precipitation, which was 4.11″ above average. The maximum precipitation in a 24 hour period was 3.51″ on the 1st (continuing over from April 30th), but this amount paled in comparison to rainfall totals from areas north of the airport (see the Bartlett summary below for an example). The peak wind gust was 46 mph on the 16th. Click here for the NWS climate recap for May.

Bartlett, TN
The average temperature for May at the WXLIVE! station in north Bartlett was 73.1 degrees, about one degree cooler than the airport, with a maximum of 92.7 on the 23rd and a minimum of 48.9 degrees on the 9th. Precipitation was again the story of the month with several inches more rain falling in Bartlett than at the airport.

May 2010 was the wettest month on record for the WXLIVE! station (which has been operating nearly 6 years). The automated WXLIVE! gauge recorded 15.01″ of rain for the month, with 10.51″ on May 1st! In fact, the monthly airport total of 9.26″ was recorded in less than 5 hours on the morning of May 1 by WXLIVE! Subtracting that day, the total for the rest of the May still would have constituted an “above average” month. A co-located manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program measured 14.72″ in May. There were 12 days with measurable precipitation, with 3 of those days recording more than an inch of rain. The peak wind gust was 29 mph on the 7th. Click here for a daily statistical recap on

MWN Forecast Accuracy
For the month of May, the average temperature error in all MWN temperature forecasts was 1.52 degrees, or nearly 0.20 of a degree better than the NWS and the best computer model. Nearly 80% of the MWN temperature forecasts for the month were within 2 degrees of actual. For dewpoint accuracy, the MWN forecast was also the best of the data sources at 2.27 degrees average error. More detailed accuracy statistics can be found here.

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