December 2010 Climate Data and MWN Forecast Accuracy

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Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN
December 1 marks the beginning of meteorological winter with the winter solstice on the 22nd. December 2010 held up it’s end of the bargain as it felt much like winter throughout the month. After a slightly above normal November temperature-wise, December fell well below average. The month continued the generally dry trend of the past several months until a bout of rain (and some marginally severe thunderstorms) fell on New Year’s Eve and into the early morning hours on New Year’s Day. As of December 28, the region was still classified as being in a moderate to severe drought and the month ended with just 44% of it’s average rainfall for December.
The average temperature was 40.3 degrees for the month, which was 3.0 degrees below normal. The average high temperature was 48.7 degrees (3.5 degrees below average) and the average low was 31.9 (2.6 degrees below average). The freezing mark was reached 21 times during the month. The lowest temperature for the month was 16 degrees on the 13th and the highest temperature was 70 on the 31st ahead of a strong line of thunderstorms.
Precipitation for the month of December totaled 2.52″, or 3.16″ below the normal of 5.68″. There were just seven days with measurable rainfall and the maximum 24-hour total was 1.22″ on the 31st. There was 0.3″ of snow that fell on the 18th, while traces were recorded on the 12th, 25th, and 26th. The peak wind gust was 40 mph, while the average wind speed for the month was 8.7 mph. Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International for December.
Bartlett, TN
The average temperature for December at the WXLIVE! station in north Bartlett was 38.1 degrees with a maximum of 69.9 on the 31st and a minimum of 13.5 degrees on the 14th.
December precipitation ended below normal with a precipitation total of 2.81″. A co-located manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program measured 3.27″, including precipitation that fell prior to 8am on January 1, 2011. A trace of snow or sleet/ice pellets was recorded on the 1st, 12th, 16th, and 26th, while 0.1″ depth was measured on the 18th. All snow/sleet measurements are taken at approximately 7am daily. The peak wind gust was 29 mph on the 12th. Average relative humidity was 66%. Click here for a daily recap on MemphisWeather.net.
MWN Forecast Accuracy
For the month of December, the average temperature error in all MWN temperature forecasts was 2.30 degrees, lower than all compared computer models, including the National Weather Service. Nearly 60% of the MWN temperature forecasts for the month were within 2 degrees of the actual temperature. MWN’s forecasts extend out five periods (or 2.5 days). For dewpoint accuracy, the MWN forecast was also the best of the data sources at 3.22 degrees average error and was within 2 degrees of the actual dewpoint over 50% of the time. Detailed accuracy statistics can be found here.
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