FOX13 Meteorologists investigate new weather patterns across the country

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sometimes, cold can’t even describe it.

It’s bitter...


And record-breaking.

If you recall last winter, this is probably what comes to mind:

The February freeze brought:

  • Feb. 15: 15°F
  • Feb. 16: 1°F
  • The coldest ‘day’ of the year was Feb. 15―with a high of just 15 degrees
  • Feb. 16 was the coldest night at just one degree

‘Miserable’ for the Mid-South.

“It’s very cold out here and I can’t feel my hands,” a child was heard saying.

This phenomenon was called a Polar Vortex.

It was set up by a stratospheric warming event that happened in January 2021 that shifted and split the Polar Vortex from over the arctic spilling into the lower 48 for a historic cold wave and snow all the way south to the gulf.

But while that extreme sticks out in your memory, it was just February, in what was otherwise an unusually warm winter.

New climate normals are released every 10 years and you can see winter has the most drastic change of any season.

Since 1970, the average temperature in Memphis in the wintertime has increased by 3.1 degrees.

Last spring was warmer but also wetter than usual including a record-breaking rain on March 27 of 3.77 inches.

We also saw tornadoes that day and for that month, almost 10 inches of rain.

But when it comes to rain, the big story happened in the summer, which went on record as among the warmest and wettest we’ve seen with major flooding, drenching DeSoto County.

“Just kept raining harder and harder and by the time I came to work I step out on the porch it was two feet deep,” said FOX13 Meteorologist Yasser Kishk.

That is a typical pattern of La Nina which is a cooling of the Pacific and steers the jetstream that impacts our weather.

It brings us more rain in the summer and also gives us a more active hurricane season.

But in the winter, it keeps us warmer and dryer than usual and we just saw the second warmest December on record in the Mid-South.