January 2013 Climate Data and Forecast Accuracy

Temperatures once again averaged above normal, while precipitation was finally well above normal. Drought conditions continued to abate, even though rainfall was below normal. Northern parts of the metro were still classified “abnormally dry” at the end of the month, however drought was over for the rest of the metro.

There were two strong to severe thunderstorm events.  On January 12-13th, thunderstorms produced flooding in many areas of the metro, while a Moderate Risk event on January 29-30th produced dozens of high wind and flooding reports in our area and a tornado outbreak across middle TN.

Icing also created very hazardous driving conditions on January 14th (0.04″) and 15th (0.20″).

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

The average temperature for the month of January was 44.9 degrees, or 3.7 degrees above normal. The average high temperature was 53.9 degrees and the average low was 36.0. The coolest temperature of the month was 26 degrees on the 4th and 22nd, while the highest temperature was 76 degrees on the 29th, which also tied a record high for the date. There were 17 days on which the low temperature fell to freezing or below.

Precipitation for the month totaled 9.72″, which was 5.74″ above average and narrowly missed making the top 10 wettest Januarys on record. It was also the wettest month in Memphis since April 2011. There were 11 calendar days with measurable rainfall; 5 recorded totals of 1″ or more (maximum 3.78″ on the 29th-30th). Snowfall totaled a trace on January 14th-15th.  The peak wind gust was 61 mph from the southwest produced by a severe storm on the 29th with an average wind speed for the month of 8.1 mph. Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions, Bartlett, TN

The average January temperature at Cirrus Weather Solutions was 42.9 degrees with a maximum of 74.9 degrees on the 29th and a minimum of 20.0 degrees on the 3rd. January precipitation measured 7.84″ via the Cirrus automated gauge and 8.79″ in a manual gauge used for the CoCoRaHS program (which included 0.62″ that fell from the afternoon of December 31 through the early morning on January 1). Snowfall recorded was a trace. The measured peak wind gust was 28 mph on the 30th. Average relative humidity was 78%. Click here for a daily recap on MemphisWeather.net.

MWN Forecast Accuracy

For the month of January, the average temperature error in all MWN temperature forecasts was 2.80 degrees, lower than all available full-range computer model data and the National Weather Service. More than 56% of the MWN temperature forecasts for the month were within 2 degrees of the actual temperature. MWN’s forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). For dewpoint accuracy, the MWN forecast averaged 3.13 degrees of error and fell within 2 degrees of the actual dewpoint over 51% of the time. Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

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