Summer is in high gear; what about thunderstorm chances?

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Several of you have commented that it seemed like a decent spring in Memphis this year turned pretty suddenly to summer about a week or so ago. Though May was a couple of degrees above average as a whole, that was mostly driven by warm overnight lows. We first hit 90 degrees on June 9 and it was a few days later that the 90s became a daily occurrence, To date, this month is actually running a bit below average, HOWEVER we’ve only had one day below average in the past week, and that was Tuesday, after a gully-washer on Monday.

Looking ahead, unfortunately I see a lot of 90s in the forecast. In fact, I see a lot of mid and upper 90s, extending through the next week and beyond. In addition, most of our 90s temperatures have so far been paired with relatively decent humidity, with dewpoints largely in the 60s, allowing for low 70s or cooler in the mornings and decent evenings. We’re now entering a period that will rank higher on the “miserable” index, as dewpoints climb to 70°+. That will mean warmer sunrise temps and more sweat! The NWS National Blend model temps for the next 10 days (below) bear out this forecast, while the extended range temperature probabilities offer little in the way of relief all the way into early July.

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So where does some form of relief come from?
Well, tomorrow and “back door” cold front slides through the area. Back door fronts arrive from the opposite direction fronts usually move from – meaning it will move northeast to southwest. That could spark a couple of isolated showers or thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and evening, though most of us stay dry. If a storm forms, the hot and humid air in place could result in strong wind gusts, thus a Marginal Risk (level 1 of 5) outlook for severe weather for west TN and northeast AR, as shown below.

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The front will do little to help with the heat and humidity. In fact, Sunday will be the most humid we’ve had yet this early summer with dewpoints in the mid 70s. Air will be a bit drier Monday (near 70 dewpoints) but that will allow the air to get hotter; we’re looking at upper 90s.

Beyond that, a northwest flow regime sets up for the middle of next week, which means storms to our northwest could “flow” into the area on upper level winds. The best chance for storms, which is fairly decent, is Wednesday. Slight chances will be seen Tuesday and Thursday too. Heat relief would be brief and we’re still expecting a high in the 90s Wednesday, though the bust potential is a bit higher depending on storm coverage. The severe weather threat would likely be to our north on Wednesday, if at all. So at least for the coming week, prepare for typical Memphis summer weather and stay hydrated and as cool as you can!

Nw Flow
With upper level high pressure to our west, wind rotating clockwise around the high would move from northwest to southeast into the Mid-South, a classic “northwest flow” pattern that favors storms from the Plains moving into the region. (Euro model/WeatherBell)

Final remarks from a valued #TeamMWN intern
This week marked the end of intern Lei’s year-long tenure with MWN. Lei was a valuable team member, helping maintain the social media feeds, covering several severe weather events, always willing to assist others on the team, and even covering some late night events for us. We wish him well as he starts his graduate studies at Mississippi State University this fall. Here are his “closing remarks.”

Hi all! It was a great pleasure to serve the Memphis metro for the past year! I am extremely grateful to have worked alongside Erik and MWN to provide countless weather updates for you all. Covering severe weather events and seeing all the “thank you” messages from everyone was especially heartwarming to see! This opportunity has given me the communication knowledge that I’ll put forth toward my graduate studies at Mississippi State this upcoming fall, where I’ll be studying different societal influences on disaster communications. Thank you all for allowing me to provide you with daily updates for Memphis! /LN

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