Warm weekend gives way to spring rain. Is winter over?

The past week ended cool, but just like last weekend, beautiful spring weather arrived just in time for the weekend! We’ve certainly enjoyed temperatures in the 60s the past couple days with a breezy south wind.

Early week forecast

A weak front arrives tonight, bringing a slight chance of showers mainly in the late evening hours, before stalling and basically washing out over north Mississippi on Monday. Temperatures remain above normal tonight in the mid to upper 40s then rise well back into the 60s on Monday with sky conditions no worse than partly cloudy on average.

High-resolution model simulated reflectivity indicates a few showers will pass through early this evening ahead of a cold front. Graphic courtesy WxBell.

The next major weather system arrives on Tuesday. Strong southerly wind help to “reload” the atmosphere, but March won’t exactly come in like a ferocious, hungry lion. Low pressure going by to our north will push a front into the region Tuesday afternoon. Some instability will be available and moisture levels will be high for this time of year, meaning thunderstorms are probable, but wind shear will be at moderate levels so severe weather is expected to be limited at best.

Tuesday afternoon instability values, as measured by Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), will be sufficient for thunder, but the upper level dynamics will be insufficient for much severe weather. Graphic courtesy WxBell.

The severe weather risk Tuesday is Marginal (category 1 of 5), indicating no widespread severe storms are anticipated. A few storms could have gusty wind. 

With the high atmospheric moisture content (about two times normal for early March), rainfall could be heavy on Tuesday though, even though it won’t be prolonged. Some areas could see up to an inch during the afternoon and early evening hours.

Total precipitation early this week could be near 1″, especially across northern portions of the Mid-South, according to the NWS. Graphic courtesy WxBell.

Extended forecast

Following the front, a couple of days of cool weather is anticipated with another decent chance of rain on Thursday as yet another low pressure system moves through the region. The good news is that the weekend trend continues with temperatures rebounding back towards the 60s by the first weekend in March. This is a trend I certainly don’t mind!

OK, so is winter over?

This is the question I’ve been getting of late. Last year, our biggest snow storm of the year came on March 4-5. Given that no snow is expected for the first week in March, we’ll be back in the 60s next weekend, and the week 2 outlook for the second week in March forecasts above normal temperatures (as average highs climb close to 60°), I am fairly confident that measurable snowfall is done for this year. That doesn’t mean we won’t still see a cold snap, more frost, or even a sub-freezing low over the next couple of weeks, as that is possible well into March, but chances of any more snow are dropping by the day. With one near-miss of a big snow storm, this winter will go down with very little measurable snow in a strong El Nino season.

There is a high probability that temperatures will be above normal across much of the eastern U.S. for the second week of March according to NOAA.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee. Check out our SWAW website for details on topics that will be covered. We’ll also have a few giveaways this week and host a preparedness chat Monday night at 8:30pm via Google+ Hangout. Check out our social media feeds for the latest details.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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