Chance of severe storms with potent Sunday night cold front

Yesterday, we wrote about the potential for thunderstorms this weekend and infiltration of Arctic air into our unseasonably warm early December weather pattern. The thunderstorm pattern has been born out this morning as rumbles of thunder and scattered heavy rain showers have popped up throughout the metro.

For the rest of the day, expect a general “lull” in activity this afternoon with another round arriving this evening into the overnight hours. If you have outdoor plans this afternoon, plan on temps in the 60s and hit-and-miss light showers – a waterproof jacket would be appropriate.  We’ll continue to bring you the most up-to-date weather info through our social media nowcasting on Facebook and Twitter.

On Sunday, a well-advertised cold front will march into the Mid-South.  The difference between the airmass ahead (very warm & moisture-laden) and behind it (much colder) will cause the formation of thunderstorms along the front. With strong wind blowing over the top of and into the system, some thunderstorms could be strong to severe.  Currently, the Storm Prediction Center has the metro included in a Slight Risk of severe weather for Sunday evening into the early overnight hours (see graphic below).

Southeast AR, northwest MS, and far southwest TN are included in a Slight Risk of severe storms late Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening. Damaging straight-line wind & large hail are the main threats.

While scattered t’storms are possible ahead of the front from Sunday afternoon into the evening, a squall line of storms is expected to form along or just ahead of the front itself, bringing a threat of damaging straight-line wind and a chance of large hail. The tornado threat is very low for this system.  The line will likely move through in the late evening hours, or sometime between 8pm and midnight.

Behind the line, we’ll see widespread rainfall that will last into the morning hours on Monday, as well as rapidly falling temperatures. In fact, temps will stay in the 40s all day Monday – or some 25-30 degrees colder than Sunday!

Severe weather is certainly possible in early December, as we are still in the tail end of our secondary severe weather season (recall the West Memphis tornado of December 14, 1987 and the Germantown tornado of November 27, 1994).  Now is a good time to make sure you have multiple ways of getting severe weather warnings, especially if you are asleep. Weather radios are a great tool. The other, more customizable, way is via smartphone apps that will wake you up, but only if the storm will affect your precise location. Check out our MemphisWeather.net mobile app with StormWatch+ severe weather notification.  It was designed with the requirements above in mind.  Plus it’s a great way to “shop local” AND stay informed and safe!

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