Return of warmth brings a risk of severe storms, and a few words to close out 2022

Another year with overall above average temperatures and precipitation is wrapping up, though this month will end up slightly cooler than average, but marked by large temperature swings. It’s also been wet this month with nearly 6 inches of rain. The major cold spell that marked the days leading up to and through the Christmas weekend has reversed course, with well above average temperatures the past couple of days, which will lead us right into 2023. Of course, 60s at this time of year means we need to keep an eye on the potential for storms as the pattern changes once again!

Ringing in 2023 with warm air

As for the New Year’s weekend, you really can’t ask for much better, particularly for outdoor celebrations, as temperatures will be in the 60s today and Sunday during the day and in the 50s overnight. In addition, rain chances are basically nil, so grab the light jacket if you are headed out tonight and enjoy your time responsibly! Despite a lack of rain, lots of clouds will mark the sky condition with maybe some afternoon peeks of sunshine later this afternoon and again Sunday afternoon. 

As we head into the first Monday of 2023, the next major trough of low pressure starts to approach the area and precipitation chances ramp up as gusty south wind brings in even more humid air, forcing temperatures towards the 70 degree mark. Best chances of rain Monday are in the afternoon and scattered thunderstorms will be possible as a warm front moves through the area. A couple of these could be strong with a few strong wind gusts and small hail, but the warm front itself will escort in an airmass with a bit more instability that sets the stage for overnight storms.
An early look at forecast radar for Monday afternoon from the high-res NAM model shows the potential for a batch of storms to move through with a warm front. This is NOT the most likely time for severe weather, which would be during the wee morning hours on Tuesday. (WeatherBell)

Severe weather potential Monday night

Monday night is the most likely time for severe weather, as storm chances increase late in the night. However, the trend today versus yesterday is for a slightly lower chance of severe storms in our area. To our southwest though, severe storms containing high wind and a few tornadoes appear likely from east TX into LA and the southern half of AR. Nonetheless, heavy rain and thunderstorms are likely overnight locally, and probably late at night (after midnight) as the system moves east. Due to more uncertain severe weather parameters, including instability levels and stronger upper level dynamics, the chance for severe weather in the Memphis area currently sits in the level 1-2 range (Marginal to Slight Risk). The storms could produce a few strong to severe wind gusts, as well as copious lightning and periods of heavy rain that could result in minor flooding with saturated soil and a couple of inches of rain expected. Stay abreast of this situation for later updates as details are still to be refined and our risk could increase.
The greatest severe weather risk is to our southwest, although severe storms are possible in the metro as they move out of AR into north MS and west TN late Monday night. (NWS/SPC)

Rest of the week trends “normal”

A few lingering showers could last into Tuesday morning, but we should see a general drying trend Tuesday afternoon, even as the cold front associated with the overnight system finally moves through. Because most of the day will be in the warm sector, any breaks in the clouds could easily push the temperatures up to 70 degrees, which might spark a few showers along the front late in the day.
Beyond that, dry conditions and another cooldown is expected from mid-week to next weekend. Highs recede to the 40s to end the week as lows drop to near freezing, which is much more typical for this time of year. 

Looking ahead to 2023!

I’d like to close with a word of sincere appreciation for following this past year and continuing to tell friends and family in the area about us! We’re grateful that you include MWN as one of your trusted local weather sources and we look forward to a great year in 2023! 

Our plans for 2023 include a significant shift in our delivery of information online, particularly via mobile app, as well as more timely updates in a live format. Of course, we’ll be continuing our tradition and calling to serve as a training ground for the next generation of talented young weather professionals, as they hone their skills in a practical, real-world environment. Our interns are the best and we’re grateful for their service to us, and all of you! Special thanks to MWN veteran Caroline Sleeper who wraps up her second stint as a meteorology intern today and then finishes up her Master’s Degree this spring! She is looking forward to “landing” a career in aviation meteorology, while gaining hours as a private pilot.

Blessings and good health in the New Year!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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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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