Cool and wet for the first week of June, and Atlantic hurricane season begins!

Summer weather has held off for about as long as possible across the Mid-South. May temperatures finished off below average, coming on the heels of a cooler than average April. Overall, it was quite a nice spring across the Memphis area and for most of the Southeast! Rainfall was also a bit below normal, due to frequent cold fronts pushing Gulf moisture out of the area. We still have yet to hit 90 degrees this year, and are now almost a week behind the average first 90° reading of the year! 

Temperature departure from average for the month of May. Much of the country experienced cooler than typical weather. (WeatherBell)

Forecast overview – wet and cool

Now as we enter the month of June, another pattern shift will bring tropical moisture back into the region and set the stage for daily chances of showers and thunderstorms. Persistent lower pressure in the upper atmosphere over the central and eastern U.S., along with increased cloud cover from daily rain and storms will keep temperatures below average over the next week. We should finally be back in the 80s by Thursday, but temperatures will only slowly climb to the mid 80s as we enter this weekend and next week. Not an above average day in sight! 
We were a bit below average for rainfall in the month of May, but that trend looks to quickly be reversed as we enter the month of June. The Mid-South will be positioned between a ridge of high pressure to our east over the Atlantic and another large ridge over the western U.S., which is bringing very hot temperatures all the way into the Pacific Northwest. This pattern allows moisture to be pumped off the Gulf. When combined with a trough of low pressure over the area and repeated disturbances moving through the trough, we’ll see daily chances of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms. 
The upcoming pattern (as depicted by this upper level forecast chart for Wednesday night) features a trough of low pressure in the middle of the country and ridges of high pressure to the east and west. This pattern is very favorable for showers and storms, as well as cooler than normal temperatures. (WeatherBell)

Rain chances and amounts

Tonight and Wednesday look to have an almost guaranteed chance of rain across the area as a disturbance moves through the Mid-South. Rain chances diminish a bit Thursday through Saturday, but there will still be a chance for widely scattered to scattered afternoon showers and storms. By the latter half of the weekend and into the beginning of next week, another disturbance is poised to move through the area, once again bringing more widespread coverage of showers and thunderstorms. 
Over the next week, models are showing most of us picking up a healthy dose of rain – around 1.5 to 2.5 inches by next Tuesday. However, it is important to note that this time of year, storms can be fairly random, and it can rain 2 inches on one side of town but be completely dry on the other. Forecasting exactly where and who will get a storm is nearly impossible with pop-up storms, but just know there will be at least  a chance nearly every day. Severe weather doesn’t look to be a threat, but any storm could have lightning, torrential rain, and gusty wind. Just because it isn’t warned doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful, especially if lightning is present.
The European model forecast of rainfall over the Mid-South through next Tuesday morning. Due to the random nature of storms, a wide range of rainfall accumulation is likely across the area. (WeatherBell)

Atlantic hurricane season begins

Something else of note as we enter the month of June – today is the first day of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season! While we may be a few hundred miles away from the coast, tropical cyclones can still have a significant impact in Memphis, with flooding rains and the potential for spin-up tornadoes. Nothing is on the radar in the Atlantic at the moment, but just something to keep in the back of your mind, especially if you are planning on a beach vacation later in the summer.  NOAA’s prediction for this year is a 60% chance of above normal activity with 13-20 named storms. (We’ve already had Tropical Storm Ana – another early-bird that formed in May – that affected Bermuda!)
NOAA’s prediction for the 2021 hurricane season.

Overall, as long as you don’t mind some rain and humidity, the pattern is not looking bad for us. We have really lucked out on missing any big-time heat so far this season, and that trend looks to continue for at least the next week. However we know our luck can’t last forever, and 90 degree days are probably lurking just around the corner. Stay tuned, and enjoy this first week of meteorological summer! 
Christian Bridges
MWN Social Media Intern

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