Significant severe weather event possible tonight – plan now

Weather models have continued to
come into agreement over the last 24 hours on the storm system that will
impact the Mid-South tonight. Unfortunately, ingredients
are coming into place that favor the development of organized and possibly significant
severe weather.
Currently, a warm front is surging north and will move across the
metro area late this afternoon. As this happens, strong southerly winds and rapid
temperature rises to near 70 degrees are expected.
Additionally, dewpoint temperatures will climb above 60 degrees as well,
leading to an increasingly unstable and volatile airmass for the area.  As this occurs, a powerful upper
level disturbance and surface low pressure area will begin to lift out of the
Central Plains, passing just northwest of the area this evening through Missouri. The strong dynamics of this system will help to overspread
significant wind energy and wind shear across the Mid-South.
In response to the expected
combination of increasing moisture, wind energy, instability, and with a cold
front moving in from the west, thunderstorms are expected to rapidly develop and
intensify over Arkansas late this afternoon into the early
evening then spread east across the metro. At first, thunderstorms that
develop will be individual cells, or supercells, but will eventually organize
into a large, robust squall line during the evening hours.
The factors expected to be in
place tonight favor all modes of severe weather: damaging winds, large hail, and
tornadoes. Tornadoes, which may including the chance for a strong tornado or
two (EF2 or higher, winds greater than 110 mph), are most likely with
individual supercell storms early. Meanwhile, widespread, possibly significant
straight-line damaging winds may occur once the squall line fully organizes, though
the risk of isolated tornadoes remains as well. With the threat of widespread
and/or significant severe weather, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk
of severe storms
 (see below)

Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook places all of the metro in a “Moderate” risk for severe storms

The most likely time for severe weather in the
metro will between 6PM and midnight. The threat of supercell thunderstorms with tornadoes, large hail, and strong wind will occur throughout the evening.  The squall line that could produce widespread damaging wind gusts will move through the metro between 10pm and midnight.

Severe weather timing/impact graphic from the NWS Memphis office.
With most if not all severe
weather expected to occur after dark, it is of even more importance that area
residents are aware and prepared to take action in the event of severe weather

  • Know what you would do and where you would go if a Severe Thunderstorm
    or Tornado Warning is issued during the affected time period.
  • Do not go outside to try and “find” the tornado if a warning is issued. It will be dark and storms will be moving at up to 50 mph! Take cover immediately.
  • Have your cell phone charged in advance
  • Have your NOAA Weather Radio programmed and fresh batteries installed
  • Have flashlights with fresh batteries in your safe place
  • Follow our StormWatch Twitter feeds and activate mobile following for alerts by text
  • Android users: download the MWN mobile app then upgrade to StormWatch+ for location-specific severe weather alerts
  • Please consult our MWN Safety Tips
    for more information on actions you can take.
MWN will be in “wall-to-wall”
nowcasting mode tonight on our social media feeds (linked below) and will keep you updated throughout the event.

Stay safe and be weather aware!

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

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