Does a warmer winter mean a record hot summer? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Does a warmer winter mean a record hot summer?

(WMC) -

The unseasonably warm winter has continued into February as expected. We have hit the 70s for highs seven times in Memphis so far this month. We’ve hit the 60s several times as well. Our average is in the 50s. And many nights have been well above freezing.

If February ended today (February 21st), it would end up being the fourth warmest February on record. Our average temp is 53.27 degrees, which accounts for highs and lows. You can see where that would fall in the top ten warmest Februaries in the chart above. It's also the reason we are seeing an early bloom with some trees and plants. Check out the photo from Sherry Vaughn Peters below. That is also why some of you may already be dealing with allergy issues.

There is one question I’ve gotten over and over from friends, family, and viewers related to the unseasonably warm winter. Does this mean it will be a really hot summer? The short answer…no.

There is no significant correlation after looking over climate data between the two. I even looked at years where January and February were both in the top 10 warmest. It only happened twice--1890 and 1990. In both of those years, we did not have record heat the following summer. If an El Nino occurs, it could impact our temps some by August. But it would be late summer at best. At this point, it could go either way--really hot or more mild. 

For now, expect the warmer winter to continue at least the next 10 days or so. In fact, the European model 14 day outlook has us mainly in the 60s through early March and above freezing at night. It's been pretty reliable this winter season.

We could still see a cold outbreak or two and even snow in mid to late March. If the winter we’ve had so far is any indication, the chances are lower it will happen this year. But it’s not zero, snow fans, so there is still a little hope! 

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Morning Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: 
Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @spencerstorm5

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