MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - We’re still more than a month away from the official start of winter, but the Mid-South is already dealing with its first round of winter cold.
The jet stream Is making a deep dive south, plunging weekend temperatures to as much or more than 20 degrees below average for this time of year and current forecast models are showing even more cold on the way.
High pressure that originated in southern Canada is responsible for ushering in this first round of below freezing temperatures, and a cold front originating from the same area will move south over the weekend, bringing even colder air to the region for the beginning of next week.
In advance of that front will be a brief surge from the south of warm Gulf moisture, which will lead to rain for the start of next week and could arrive as early as Sunday night.
Showers are expected to continue for much of the day Monday and into Monday night. The next round of cold air will also be moving in Monday night and into early Tuesday morning.
The big question now is will the moisture exit the area before temperatures begin to fall. After a week of showing rain exiting before the colder air arrived, Friday forecast models showed a different scenario.
New data is now indicating the leading edge of the next round or Canadian air catching up to the back edge of precipitation allowing a mix of rain and snow or a brief change over to all snow before ending.
Timing for this would be from late Monday night into early Tuesday morning. Now the even bigger question is would there be any accumulation? This is where the models diverge.
The European forecast model is indication only a trace of snow along and north of the I-40 corridor, the area where the coldest air and remaining moisture are most likely expected to converge, and the GFS forecast model is indicating an inch or more of snow for this same area.
Now, the next question is which model do we believe? Here’s what we are fairly certain of at this time, there will be rain Monday into Monday night, there will be cold air arriving Monday night into early Tuesday dropping temperatures at or slightly below freezing across the Mid-South.
But, at this time we are uncertain as to how much moisture will still be in place as the cold dry air moves in.
For now, I’m leaning toward the European solution with rain briefly changing to snow during the wee morning hours of Tuesday will little to no accumulation, but we will have to continue to monitor this and see as new data comes in.
So, stay warm this weekend and keep a close eye on the forecast for more info on what could be a wintry start to next week.