A wet weekend is in store, but will temps remain “warm?”

If you were hoping for a string of dry days, you’ll have it wait a while longer! The second half of January was relatively dry, with just two rain days after the 16th. However five of the first eight days in February have had measurable rainfall and the wet pattern looks to continue for at least a few more days, if not longer.

In a nutshell, a cold front will slowly make its way south into the Mid-South by Saturday, finally pushing out of the area Sunday. However, with southwest wind aloft basically blowing parallel to the front, multiple upper level disturbances will traverse the area, bringing rounds of rainfall that continue through Sunday night. 

Animation of surface maps from Friday morning through Monday morning as a slow-moving front crosses the region. Green colors indicate rainfall, while orange (ice) and blue (snow) stay to our north. (NOAA)

The initial shower activity with this weekend’s slow-moving system arrives around rush hour tonight. This activity will “prime the pump” by raising dewpoints and moistening up the atmosphere. Behind those showers, steadier rain, as well as some isolated non-severe thunderstorm activity, will engulf the region overnight and continue Saturday. If you have outdoor activities Saturday, I’d call them a washout at this point. Saturday is when the front slowly crosses the metro, so again, a few claps of thunder can’t be ruled out. Overnight into Sunday morning, look for rainfall to dwindle to showers as the front pushes further south. Much of the PM hours on Sunday could be dry, though a chance of passing light rain is possible. One more piece of upper level moves through Sunday night, bringing a last round of light rain before exiting early Monday morning.

National Weather Service rainfall projections indicate weekend totals of around 2″ are likely across the metro, especially along and south of I-40. Lighter amounts will fall in northeast AR and amounts nearing 3″ are possible in portions of middle TN. (WxBell)

As for temperatures, very mild weather is expected ahead of the front with the mercury generally in the 50s. Once the front passes, temperatures will drop Saturday night to around 40 in the city and likely linger there for much of Sunday with a cool north wind. There will be a noticeable difference between Saturday and Sunday with “feels like” temperatures dropping from the 50s to the 30s. Sunday night will see lows approach freezing. We’ll be watching that carefully as the last wave of precipitation moves through, but for now the expectations are for light rain in the metro counties and perhaps some light freezing icing or snow to our north across northwest TN and northeast AR.

The NWS-Memphis hazardous weather outlook highlights the potential for some icy conditions this weekend in areas of northeast AR and far northwest TN while a few thunderstorms with heavy rain are likely south of I-40. (NWS-Memphis)

Once rain departs Monday morning, we’ll be dry for about 48 hours before the patter shifts again to a wet one for the second half of next week. This time, it looks even warmer with temperatures in the 60s for highs and chances of thunder re-emerging.

The overnight model ensemble run of the European Prediction System predicts a wet week ahead, with 50+ members of the European model averaging over 4″ of rain in the coming 7 days and about an inch and a half this weekend! 75% of those members are between 3-5″ in the coming week. (WeatherModels.com)

Bottom line: keep the rain gear handy this weekend and plan for mild weather through the first half of Saturday, then colder for Saturday night through Monday! You can always find the latest forecast on our website and apps linked below and be sure to stay up to date with our radar updates and supplemental information on our social media channels all weekend long!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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