On heat, flooding, and more heat

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My posts of late have been few and far-between. I pledge to do better! If you know me well, you know I like stats, so I figured I’d throw out some Memphis weather stats on heat and rain for you.

Leading up to today, Memphis International Airport (the official recording site for the city) has recorded high temperatures that met or exceeded the “normal” (though I prefer the term average) high temperature for 53 consecutive days, dating back to May 21. Thanks to periods of thunderstorms yesterday and today, Memphis only managed to eek out a high of 90 today, two degrees short of the normal high – the first “below normal” high temperature since May! That streak ends.
However, when taking into account both the high and low temperatures (which produce a daily average temperature), our average of 82 today was “normal,” and so we maintain a streak in which average daily temps have been at or above normal for 55 days, which started May 20. In addition, the high temperature of 90 degrees today means we have had 36 consecutive 90-degree days, dating back to June 7. The average high temp during that period was 91.8. You already knew that it’s been hot based on your latest utility bill…
The “break” in the heat (though not humidity) today was thanks to a series of thunderstorm complexes that began late Sunday evening and continued through this morning, with no less than a half dozen complexes affecting some portion of the Mid-South. Rainfall totals in the metro area have been impressive, following near record-setting dry conditions over the previous 6 weeks or so.
While Memphis Int’l picked up only 0.31″ of rain for the month of June, 5.56″ of rain fell since midnight Sunday night (Monday morning), including a record 4.56″ on Monday. At the National Weather Service office at Agricenter International in Cordova, 5.44″ of rain fell in the same period. And at MemphisWeather.net’s headquarters in north Bartlett, 5.08″ of rain fell. It’s been quite the 36 hour period with flooding of roads and underpasses, creeks over their banks, a couple of water rescues, treacherous rush hours, and amazing cloudscapes.
Looking ahead, unfortunately the 90-degree streak will not end anytime soon. In fact, Heat Advisories are once again posted for Wednesday and Thursday as strong high pressure builds back over the Mid-South in the upper levels of the atmosphere, capping off any thunderstorm development, and bringing more dangerously hot conditions. High temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 90s into the weekend. With recent rains, low-level moisture will also be high and heat index values will climb well above 100 – perhaps to 110 on Thursday – through the rest of the week.
The upper level high will weaken slightly this weekend, which could allow a few more clouds and a low chance of afternoon thunderstorms, but early indications are it could build back in early next week, bringing more heat. Stay hydrated, stay out of the heat if possible, and check on those most susceptible frequently. Light-colored, loose fitting clothing is best and drink even if you are not thirsty. We’ve already had two heat-related deaths this year, we don’t need more.


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