December 2020 Climate Report for Memphis, TN


December Climate Recap

The month of December ended warmer than average for the most part, but there were swings in temperatures throughout the month, including a cold mid part of the month, and of course one of the coldest Christmas Days in the past couple of decades. Below average precipitation in November was made up for in December with over six inches of rain at the airport and nearly 7.5 inches in Bartlett. During the mid-month cold spell, a trace of snow was recorded on both the 15th and 16th. Despite a wet month and large temperature swings, no records were set. Thunderstorms with strong wind occurred on the 23rd, leading to the Christmas Day cold snap, but wind gusts did not reach severe criteria. There were no severe weather watches or warnings issued.
Temperature departure from average for December 2020. (

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 44.3 degrees (0.7 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 53.5 degrees (1.4 degrees above average) 
Average low temperature: 35.0 degrees (0.1 degrees below average) 
Warmest temperature: 73 degrees (10th) 
Coolest temperature: 21 degrees (25th) 
Heating Degrees Days: 634 (31 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 0 (2 below average) 
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Nine dates recorded low temperatures at or below freezing versus an average of 12.4.
Monthly total: 6.39″ (0.65″ above average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9 (0.7 days below average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 2.66″ (30th-31st) 
Snowfall: Trace 
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None
Peak wind: West/38 mph (23rd) 
Average wind: 8.0 mph 
Average relative humidity: 68% 
Average sky cover: 51% 
 Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 42.9 degrees 
Average high temperature: 53.1 degrees 
Average low temperature: 33.1 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 73.3 degrees (10th) 
Coolest temperature: 20.2 degrees (25th) 
Comments: None 
Monthly total: 6.83″ (automated rain gauge), 7.48″(manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 9
Wettest date: 2.14″ (31st) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: Trace 
Comments: Snow flurries were recorded on the evening of December 15

Peak wind: West/50 mph (23rd)
Average relative humidity: 77% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.10 in. Hg

Comments: None

Click here for a daily statistical recap for Bartlett, TN.


MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.61 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 56% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.34 degrees 
MWN forecast dewpoints within 2 degrees of actual: 64% 
MWN’s forecasts extend out five periods (2.5 days, or roughly 60 hours). Historical accuracy statistics can be found here.

Climate Outlook – January 2021

The January climate outlook for the United States from the Climate Prediction Center is shown below. Above average temperatures are forecast for much of the United States, with highest probabilities in the Great Lakes and northeast. Odds favor above average temperatures for Memphis, with a 44% chance of this occurring, against a 23% chance of below normal temperatures. The average temperature for January is 41.2 degrees, a couple degrees cooler than December.

Precipitation is expected to be above normal across much of the eastern U.S. and well above average along the Pacific coast in January. Near average precipitation is forecast for the Rocky Mountains and interior western U.S. For Memphis, odds favor above average rainfall (a 47% chance) versus only an 20% chance of below average rainfall. Precipitation historically averages 3.98 inches.
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MWN is a NOAA Weather Ready Nation Ambassador Meteorologist Erik Proseus is an NWA Digital Seal Holder

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