Weather getting ready to turn toward normal, forecasters predict

Weather getting ready to turn toward normal, forecasters predict
From AP, staff reports
Rock salt remains stockpiled in highway crew bunkers. Snow days languish unused in school system plans. The calendar indicates winter, but the weather is near spring-like.
Forecasters say that’s about to change across Tennessee.
“This has been much milder winter than last year,” said Bobby Boyd, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Nashville. “It’s been a very mild one so far.”
Mild and then some, statistically.
The average mean daily temperature in Nashville in January was still being calculated, but Boyd said it will come in about 5 degrees above normal. For December, the mean temperature was 43.8 degrees — 3.4 degrees higher than usual.
Union City’s high temperature Thursday was recorded at 64 degrees at the A.L. Strub Wastewater Treatment Plant — compared to a high of just 26 degrees Feb. 2, 2011. Thursday’s low was 34 degrees, while the low a year ago today was a chilly 18 degrees with a trace of rain.
The average high in the Obion County area in January is usually around 46 degrees and the average low is usually around 29 degrees. The county was about five to seven degrees above that last month, according to local weather watcher Brent Callicott.
He said February, on the other hand, normally has an average high of around 43 and an average low of 24 locally.
Callicott said last year was a totally different story, with temperatures hardly climbing above the 40-degree mark and periods of snow for this same period.
In Memphis, January was 6.5 degrees warmer than normal with a mean reading of 47.7 degrees against a usual reading of 41.2 degrees.
East Tennessee too has had mostly mild conditions so far during the meteorological winter, which encompasses December, January and February.
Knoxville’s mean of 43.2 degrees was 5 degrees warmer than the usual tally of 38.2 degrees.
In Chattanooga, it was 4.5 degrees warmer than January’s usual 40.5 degrees. The mean last month was 45 degrees.
For the Tri-Cities, a mean of 40.1 degrees was 4.9 degrees above the normal monthly average of 35.2 degrees.
“This winter we’ve been dominated by a southwest flow,” said Shawn O’Neill, a meteorologist in the NWS office in the Morristown. “The northern jet stream has been staying well to the north.”
Forecasters say there’s a change in the air that will manifest itself the first part of next week.
“There’s some indication that the pattern is going to shift to deeper troughs in the northeastern U.S., giving us a more northwestern flow that will draw cooler air into the Tennessee Valley,” O’Neill said.
In Memphis, forecaster Phil Baker with the weather service said the computer models haven’t agreed totally, but he sees a swing to colder weather.
“Winds will be from the north first part of next week,” Baker said. “Colder air coming in from central Rockies, but not from Canada. It will put us back to near normal.”
Baker said the jet stream will still keep the coldest air bottled up over northwestern Canada.
He said Tennessee should be in for a couple of weeks of near normal temperatures.
That would indicate highs from the mid and upper 40s into the low 50s across the state.
A benefit to colder conditions could be less chance of violent weather, Boyd said. Unusually warm weather followed by winter cold fronts can trigger strong thunderstorms.
“Since 1950, there have been 58 tornadoes in January in the state,” Boyd said. “The most was 1999 when we had 18 with 9 people killed.”
Precipitation has been plentiful this winter, but nearly all of it has fallen as rain. There has been some snowfall in the mountains and on the northern Cumberland Plateau, but only a dusting if that in most of the state.
Boyd suggests knowing where the snow shovel is, though.
“Some of our deepest snows have come in February and March,” he cautioned.
has been staying well to the north.”
Forecasters say there’s a change in the air that will manifest itself the first part of next week.
“There’s some indication that the pattern is going to shift to deeper troughs in the northeastern U.S., giving us a more northwestern flow that will draw cooler air into the Tennessee Valley,” O’Neill said.
In Memphis, forecaster Phil Baker with the weather service said the computer models haven’t agreed totally, but he sees a swing to colder weather.
“Winds will be from the north first part of next week,” Baker said. “Colder air coming in from central Rockies, but not from Canada. It will put us back to near normal.”
Baker said the jet stream will still keep the coldest air bottled up over northwestern Canada.
He said Tennessee should be in for a couple of weeks of near normal temperatures.
That would indicate highs from the mid and upper 40s into the low 50s across the state.
A benefit to colder conditions could be less chance of violent weather, Boyd said. Unusually warm weather followed by winter cold fronts can trigger strong thunderstorms.
“Since 1950, there have been 58 tornadoes in January in the state,” Boyd said. “The most was 1999 when we had 18 with 9 people killed.”
Precipitation has been plentiful this winter, but nearly all of it has fallen as rain. There has been some snowfall in the mountains and on the northern Cumberland Plateau, but only a dusting if that in most of the state.
Boyd suggests knowing where the snow shovel is, though.
“Some of our deepest snows have come in February and March,” he cautioned.

Published in The Messenger 2.3.13.

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