Climate Overview

Overview of Memphis and Mid-South Weather

The Memphis metropolitan area lies in what is called a “mid-latitude, moist continental” climate. What does this mean? In a nutshell, if you enjoy experiencing all four seasons, you will find something you like here! With cool but not bitterly cold winters, hot and humid summers, and a high degree of variability during spring and autumn, along with a fair amount of precipitation year-round, the Mid-South has a little something for everyone.

In the spring and fall, polar air masses drop south from Canada and tropical air masses push north from the Gulf of Mexico into the region. This interaction helps to produce cold and warm fronts, which increase the rainfall and thunderstorm chances as they pass through. Severe weather, though not uncommon, is not usually violent and is mostly likely during the spring (March-May) and, secondarily, the late fall (November-early December). In the summer, afternoon and evening thunderstorms can produce gusty straight-line winds and heavy rain. One side benefit of these storms are the amazing sunsets over the Mississippi River!

Summers are very warm and muggy due to the predominant south-southwesterly wind that brings moisture into the region from the Gulf of Mexico. Though extremely hot days occur, there are not too many days that Memphis reaches 100° during the summer. “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” is a commonly-heard phrase during the summer when heat indices exceed 100°, even with temperatures in the lower 90s. The all-time record high for Memphis is 108°, set in July 1980.

Winters are cold, though not brutally so. Rarely does the high temperature remain below freezing for more than a couple of days at a time, although low temperatures below freezing are common. The all-time record low for Memphis is -13°, set on Christmas Eve 1963. Memphis averages 2.7″ of snow annually and usually receives a few days of snow each winter with amounts almost always totaling less than 1-2″ per event. However, it is also not uncommon to have a winter with almost no snow, or to have a snowfall exceed 3-5″ once in a while. All in all, the Mid-South has enough variability that the saying “If you don’t like the weather, stick around, it’ll change” has more truth to it than you might think! and the NOAA/National Weather Service are providers of the information on this page, which is deemed reliable and accurate, but is not guaranteed as such. Data below based on 1991-2020 climate normals, except rain days and temperatures above 90 and below 32, which are based on 1981-2010 climate normals.

Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020)