Spring is arriving! Is severe weather far behind?

January 20temps.png
Leave it to Mr. Groundhog to get one right once in a while, despite the long-term track record. (A broken clock is still right twice a day!)
The month of February has, despite a couple a short-lived cold spells, been much warmer than average overall. Through Saturday, only five days this month have been colder than average. With highs in the 70s the next few days, there is a strong possibility that this month ends in the top 10 warmest Februarys on record, after last year also finished top 10 warmest. 
Warmest Januarys on record. 2024 is 12th on the list with 5 days remaining in the month. (xmACIS)
Accompanying the 70s will be strong southerly wind that has gusted to 30+ mph today and could reach 40 mph by Tuesday ahead of the next cold front that will approach the area Tuesday night. Until then, mainly dry and very warm conditions are expected to start the work week with a mix of sun and clouds. One potential rain chance will be late Monday night, likely gone by sunrise Tuesday, as a surge of moisture moves into the region. A stray thunderstorm is possible early Tuesday. Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week. With a bit of sunshine, highs could soar into the upper 70s (the record for the day is 80). 
Probability of 40 mph wind gusts on Tuesday. (NWS)

We’ve been watching this coming Wednesday the past few days for the potential for severe weather. On Thursday, a day 7 severe weather risk included Memphis for this coming Wednesday. Since then, models have started to back off the severe potential a bit. 
The severe weather outlook for Tuesday and Tuesday night shows the best chance of severe weather north of the area. At this time, no severe weather area is outlined Wednesday. (NWS/SPC)
It now appears that the cold front will arrive around sunrise Wednesday morning with the low pressure dragging it through well north of the region in the Midwest. 
The forecast weather map valid at 6am Wednesday shows a strong cold front on our doorstep. (NWS/WPC)

This scenario results in much less instability (storm fuel) due to the front arriving during the coolest part of the day, and also less lift and cold air aloft associated with low pressure that will miss the region by hundreds of miles. The one factor to still watch is wind energy, as wind will be strong from the surface into the upper atmosphere. Even a defined line of showers and some thunder could bring strong wind gusts. Continue to monitor our social media feeds this week for the latest!
The European model forecast temperatures at 6am Wednesday. Expect a “backwards” temperature day with highs at sunrise and north wind blowing cold air into the 40s by afternoon! (WeatherBell)

Once the front clears the area and rain chances drop off by midday Wednesday, temperatures also plummet Wednesday afternoon, likely falling into the 40s after starting the day in the 60s. Mostly dry weather is expected for the last day of the month on Thursday with the sixth day of below average temperatures possible. Moderating temperatures are expected as we head into early March to end the week with low rain chances that are hard to define at this point.
Looking beyond that, early March appears to favor the continuation of above average temperatures, along with wetter than average conditions, as shown below (March 4-10 temperature and precipitation outlooks).

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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