Storm Threat Returns Wednesday Afternoon/Evening
Tuesday Night Forecast Update
Tuesday Night Forecast Update for January 17th:
It has been a wonderful Tuesday for most of West Tennessee with highs up near 70°. The humidity will increase tonight and that could lead to some patchy fog. Breezy southeast winds will usher in excess gulf moisture tomorrow that will fuel a couple rounds of showers and storms. Most of the activity early in the afternoon will stay close to the Mississippi River, but as the afternoon goes on, the storms will move further to the east. Strong storms are likely and severe weather seems more likely than not as of now. We will be watching things very closely tomorrow in the WBBJ 7 Storm Team Weather Center. Gusty winds and a tornado or two cannot be ruled out so please stay weather aware. Today marks the 24th anniversary of the 1999 EF-4 tornado that injured 100 people and killed 6 people in Madison county. We will have the latest forecast details coming up here.
The humidity will increase tonight as a stationary front will slowly lift northward and transition into a warm front. This will lead to increasing cloud cover and some patchy fog for some of us. The winds will stay light out of the south and be calm for most of the night. Overnight lows will stay warm and only fall down to the low to mid 50s. Rain showers are not expected tonight.
Wednesday will be warm and humid all day with highs reaching the upper 60s and overnight lows falling down to around 50°. The winds will be quite pesky most of the day and come out of the southeast between 15-20 MPH. Rain showers and storm chances will start around noon and increase in intensity and coverage as the afternoon and evening progress. We could see some gusty wind storms and even a tornado or two cannot be ruled out, so please stay weather aware.
We could see a few weak rotating storms between 11am and 4pm but the main storm line we think will move through between 4-10pm with gusty winds being the main threat. A quick spin up tornado could occur in this evening line of storms as well.
January tornadoes are not common but some of the biggest tornadoes ever to hit West Tennessee occurred on January 17th, 1999. On the day, Twenty-two tornadoes were confirmed. They impacted the states of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. The strongest were in West Tennessee with two-EF3s reported and the strongest and deadliest, an EF4 that moved through Madison County and hit Jackson.
The tornado formed east of Bemis and tracked northeast for 16 miles. It moved through south Jackson. The Hollywood Shopping Center sustained severe damage. A funeral home near it was destroyed. 200+ homes were destroyed and 300 more had lesser damage. One of the hardest hit subdivisions was Orchard Hill.
That doesn’t mean we are expecting a similar fate across West Tennessee on Wednesday, but even in the winter, we need to take the threat for severe weather very seriously. We will likely pick up 1-2″ of rain before the system clears out Wednesday night.
The showers and storms should move out before the sun comes up on Thursday and we are expecting cooler and mild weather to stick around for the end of the work week and start of the weekend. Highs will reach up to the mid 50s on Thursday before falling behind the front down to around freezing by Friday morning. The skies will clear our during the day and mostly clear skies can be expected overnight. The winds will be quite gusty most of the day and come out of the west between 15-20 MPH.
Friday is going to be pretty chilly day but we should stay dry and see a mix of clouds and sunshine. Highs on Friday will only reach the upper 40s and will again drop down near freezing overnight into Saturday morning. The winds on Friday are forecast to come out of the northwest and be light between 5-10 MPH.
The weekend is going to start our cool and dry. Highs on Saturday will reach the low 50s and overnight lows will fall down to the upper 30s. We should see plenty of sunshine early in the day but clouds will return in the evening and rain showers will try to return overnight into Sunday morning. We are expecting it to be too warm to produce any snow as of now, but it the forecast drop 3-4°, it could be something we start to discuss. Highs on Sunday will reach up to around 50° and the showers should clear out into the afternoon for most of us. Sunday night lows will again be chilly and fall down into the mid 30s. The winds look to come out of the northeast on Saturday and more out of the northwest on Sunday helping to keep the temperatures down a bit.
After the coldest Christmas in decades here in West Tennessee, warmer weather has returned for most of the start of the new year. This warm up will lead to more rain chances and the potential for some stronger storms as we kick off 2023. We had our first confirmed tornado on January 3rd near Brownsville. The next chance for rain showers and maybe a few storms will return on Wednesday. You need to stay weather aware to changing weather patterns and monitor the forecasts closely. We got you covered in the WBBJ 7 Storm Team Weather Center as always.