A warm and windy forecast with one fly in the ointment

A recent cold spell, punctuated by scattered snow showers earlier in the week, is being pushed into our collective memory bank by a return to mild conditions during the day this weekend and chilly morning lows. It will likely be totally forgotten by tomorrow afternoon as temperatures approach a mark 15 degrees above normal and overnight lows looks like typical daytime highs!  There is one “fly in the ointment” with regards to the warm forecast, and that is a brief cold snap courtesy of a fast-moving cold front on Tuesday.

Ahead of this week’s cold front, a very nice push of warm moist air originating in the Gulf of Mexico will move over the Mid-South. The air will arrive on gusty south wind, which will begin overnight tonight and last until the cold front arrives on Tuesday. Gusts could reach 30 mph or more on Monday and Monday night and a Wind Advisory may become necessary. The moist air will also mean mainly cloudy conditions and a chance of showers on Monday, but that will be offset by high temperatures in the mid 60s for MLK Day!

MWN surface map for Monday afternoon. Strong south wind escorts warm temps into the Mid-South ahead of  a cold front over the Plains.

By Monday night, the front will be moving closer and more showers and some embedded thunderstorms will be possible. Rain chances are in the high range (about 70%) Monday night, though the threat of severe weather is fairly low.  A few storms may contain a brief strong wind gust to 50-60 mph or 1/2″ hail. Temperatures will remain near 60 degrees overnight Monday night – which is 10 degrees warmer than typical daytime highs in mid-January!

The cold front will move through the region around mid-day on Tuesday and we’ll see another “upside down” day as high temperatures in the lower to mid 60s occur in the morning, followed by temperatures falling into the 40s by late afternoon. Rain and t’storm chances will be confined to the pre-frontal atmosphere, which will be mainly in the morning. Behind the front, the wind will remain strong, but shift to the northwest versus the south. Skies clear Tuesday night with lows in the upper 20s and wind chills in the teens.  The Wednesday morning “feels like” temperature could be some 40 degrees colder than Tuesday morning!

MWN surface map for Tuesday morning. A strong cold front nears the Memphis area with very cold temps in it’s wake.

The cold snap will be short-lived however, lasting about 36 hours, before 50s return on Thursday.  More warm Gulf air will move in by week’s end and we could possibly see temperatures approaching 70 degrees next weekend!  As it stands, except for possible brief cold snaps, the long-range outlook (see 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center below) for the remainder of the month predicts well-above-normal temperatures on average.  We’re likely done with snow for the month of January and will have to wait to see what February might bring!

For the complete forecast click here, and stick with MWN as we keep you updated on the rain and thunder chances, as well as our roller coaster temps this week.

What do you prefer – a warm January with highs in the 50s and 60s or cold, occasionally snowy, weather?

For weather information for Memphis and the Mid-South, where and when you need it, visit MemphisWeather.net on the web, m.memphisweather.net on your mobile phone, download our Android app, and visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

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