March 2023 Climate Report for Memphis, TN


March Climate Recap

Temperatures for the month of March in Memphis averaged 0.9 degrees above normal, though that departure was driven exclusively by overnight lows averaging more than two degrees above normal due to extensive cloud cover and precipitation. Those same conditions actually resulted in daytime high temperatures averaging below normal for the month.  March started out with highs in the 70’s, followed by a cold front on the 8th that pushed highs into the 50’s & even upper 40’s by the 13th.  After a brief warm-up, another reinforcing front resulted in highs in the 40’s and 50’s from the 18th to 22nd and lows dropping into the mid 20’s on the 19th and 20th, freezing many early blooming plants. Highs rose back above normal to the 60’s to 70’s for the remainder of the month, with lows in the 40’s and 50’s.

March’s precipitation was almost three inches above normal and totaled nearly nine inches for the month. Overall, rain fell on almost half of the days during the month with a few rounds of severe weather mixed in as well. Over three inches of rain was recorded from the 1st to the 3rd.  Additional rain fell from the 8th thru the 12th, 16th-17th, 21st-22nd, and 1.6 inches fell on the 24th.  Light amounts fell from the 27th through the end of the month. Thunderstorms occurred on the 1st-3rd, 12th, 24th and 31st. Sporadic wind damage and flash flooding were reported across the metro on the morning of the 3rd and the evening of the 24th. Hail was also reported in northern Marshall County on the evening of the 1st. 
To end the month, a severe weather outbreak, producing multiple strong tornadoes from a small handful of supercell thunderstorms, affected the Memphis region on the evening of March 31. A total of 14 tornadoes touched down in the Memphis County Warning Area (CWA), which encompasses west TN, northeast AR, the Missouri bootheel, and north Mississippi. Three of these tornadoes were rated EF-3 and another five were EF-2. The graphic below summarizes their tracks.  More information from the NWS can be found here & in our recent blog post here.
Tornado tracks from March 31-April 1 in the NWS-Memphis county warning area

All NWS warnings issued and subsequent storm reports received for March 31-April 1

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, TN

Average temperature: 55.1 degrees (0.9 degrees above average) 
Average high temperature: 63.7 degrees (0.5 degree below average) 
Average low temperature: 46.4 degrees (2.1 degrees above average) 
Warmest temperature: 79 degrees (23rd & 26th) 
Coolest temperature: 25 degrees (19th & 20th) 
Heating Degrees Days: 318 (34 below average)
Cooling Degree Days: 20 (2 above average) 
Records set or tied: None
Comments: Five days dropped to freezing or below. A cold snap mid-month, with lows of 25 degrees on both the 19th and 20th, was damaging to early growth on plants. However, the last spring freeze of the season occurred on the 20th, only two days later than average.

Monthly total: 8.67″ (2.93″ above average) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 14 (3.5 days above average) 
Wettest 24-hour period: 2.04″ (1st-2nd) 
Snowfall: None
Records set or tied: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: West/38 mph (24th) 
Average wind: 9.5 mph 
Average relative humidity: 66%
Average sky cover: 56%
 Click here for a daily statistical recap for Memphis International Airport.

Cirrus Weather Solutions /, Bartlett, TN

Average temperature: 54.0 degrees 
Average high temperature: 64.6 degrees 
Average low temperature: 44.2 degrees 
Warmest temperature: 83.5 degrees (26th) 
Coolest temperature: 26.1 degrees (14th) 
Comments: None 
Monthly total: 8.25″ (automated rain gauge), 7.75″ (manual CoCoRaHS rain gauge) 
Days with measurable precipitation: 15
Wettest date: 1.63″ (24th) (via automated gauge) 
Snowfall: None
Comments: None

Peak wind: 33 mph (occurred twice – from the northwest on the 24th and south on the 31st)
Average relative humidity: 69% 
Average barometric pressure: 30.05 in. Hg

Comments: None

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


MWN Forecast Accuracy

MWN average temperature error: 2.13 degrees 
MWN forecast temperatures within 2 degrees of actual: 67% 
MWN average dewpoint error: 2.13 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.

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