Spring-like weather returns; severe t’storms possible Saturday

UPDATED POST — 3/8/19, 2:15pm


Our severe weather risk for Saturday has increased and is now in the Enhanced Risk zone (level 3/5).

What to expect

Thunderstorms are expected in the morning. After an early afternoon lull, additional scattered storms are possible, but will not be as widespread. Some people may get no rain in the afternoon, while others could see a strong to severe storm. The chance of severe weather is fairly low in the morning and moderate to high in the afternoon, even though more people will see rain in the morning. All storms should be east of the metro by about 6pm as a front passes through.

The severity of afternoon storms will depend primarily on the amount of “recovery” the atmosphere is able to do after morning rain. Sunshine and dry weather aids in increasing instability – the severe weather ingredient in question. If temperatures soar into the mid 70s with dewpoints in the mid 60s, severe weather chances increase. Wind energy is less in doubt and capable of supporting severe storms should they have the storm “fuel” of instability to get them going.

Morning (about 9am-noon)
Storm chance: 90%
Severe weather chance: Slight
Threats: Large hail, damaging wind

Afternoon (about 2pm-6pm)
Storm chance: 40%
Severe weather chance: Enhanced
Threats: Large hail, damaging wind, a few tornadoes

Note also that it will be very windy tomorrow, even outside of storms in the afternoon. Expect southerly wind gusts as high as 40 mph or so.


ORIGINAL POST — 3/7/19, 6:30pm

We have finally said goodbye to old man winter, at least for the foreseeable future. Temps are not expected to get near freezing over the next week, so get ready for some semi-spring like weather!

Unfortunately after a mainly dry (much-needed!) week, we will begin to transition back into a wet period starting late tonight. Showers are expected tomorrow with continuing showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. Keep the umbrella handy over the next few days!

Tonight and tomorrow

Clouds will continue to increase for the remainder of the evening, ahead of showers arriving later tonight. Temps currently sit around 50, and will only drop a few degrees overnight. Light rain is expected to develop around midnight with scattered showers continuing through the morning hours.

The high-resolution HRRR model simulated radar through midnight Friday night shows scattered showers remaining prevalent across the area for a good part of the next 30 hours or so. (WeatherModels.com)
The high-resolution HRRR model (shown above) shows scattered showers expected to continue through the afternoon and into tomorrow evening. Highs tomorrow will reach near 60. Other model data indicates the potential for a brief lull late tomorrow afternoon into the early evening hours, however, before more rain arrives early Saturday morning.

Saturday

I will start Saturday’s discussion with this: 
One key Saturday will be the amount of instability. It’s still in question, based mainly on the amount of rain & cloud cover early in the day. If it’s raining all morning, that’s actually good. Afternoon/early evening is the time period of concern for severe. #memstorm (2/2)

— MemphisWeather.net (@memphisweather1) March 7, 2019

We will need to keep an eye on things on Saturday. As previously mentioned, rain in the morning could be a good thing. If the rain breaks and we get some sunshine, that could become problematic. If we get any sunshine, that could increase the instability over our area. If we get enough instability, some afternoon thunderstorms could become severe. Without this instability, storms may remain sub-severe.

Regardless, the main concerns with any severe thunderstorms are damaging winds, although a tornado cannot be completely ruled out. Additionally, heavy rainfall at times could lead to some ponding on roadways. No major effects are expected on area rivers, streams, or lakes above what is already still elevated from the recent crest of the Mississippi River.

The GFS model has scattered showers hanging around through Saturday AM hours, with heavier showers and storms in the afternoon to early evening hours. (TropicalTidbits)

We will continue to monitor this threat over the next couple days. If you have plans Saturday, be sure to keep a close eye on the weather as the day progresses, particularly in the afternoon and early evening hours. We’re hopeful that the storms will move out in time for start of the Memphis 901 FC soccer match Saturday evening, but it could be close!

Sunday

No rain. Highs in the the lower 60s. I’m not sure what more you could ask for for a weekend day! If you have any outdoor plans this weekend, Sunday will definitely be the day to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. 

Rest of next week

The majority of next week will consist if a semi-normal spring weather pattern. Monday and Tuesday temps will remain right around average for the time of year, with highs in the upper 50s to 60s. There is a chance of showers both days, we aren’t expecting any widespread showers.
By the middle of next week, another cold front is expected to push through the area, bringing even more rain along with it. This is almost off in la-la land, so we will just leave it at that.

The Weather Prediction Center’s Day 6 and 7 outlook (Tuesday/Wednesday) shows lots of precipitation over the Mid-South. (NOAA/WPC)

Caroline MacDonald
MWN Meteorologist

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