Top 5 Weather Stories from 2018


Meteorologist Jacob Dickey recaps some of the highlights from 2018’s weather in Mississippi and Alabama.  Here’s a rundown of some details from the past year.

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See Meteorologist Jacob Dickey’s Personal Top 5 Weather Events from 2018!

January – The month of January was cold and dry.  Temperatures were 4.5 degrees below average, which led to a pair of wintry weather events in the area (Jan 12, Jan 16-19).  The snow event on the 16th was particularly notable, as temperatures quickly plummeted afterwards, turning many roads into an ice rink.  Highs on the 17th and 18th were in the 20s with lows at night dropping into the single digits.  Amazingly, just 3 days later, temperatures were in the 70s again.
     Story: Inclement Weather Expected to Cause Icy Roadways and Bridges

February – February was a stark contrast to January as 2018 temperatures were 8.5 degrees above average.  It was also a top 5 wettest February for us, with many areas seeing over a foot of rain.  Heavy rains caused significant flooding in areas, and many roads were washed out in Calhoun and Yalobusha Counties.  Highway 178 in Mooreville also closed due to a landslide causing part of the road to crumble away.  From February 20th through February 25th, temperatures soared into the 80s in places all but the 24th, that day the high was 78 in Starkville.

     Story: Heavy Rain Causes Landslide that Closes Highway 178

March – An average month in terms of rainfall and temperatures.  A severe weather event on the 19th brought baseball sized hail to Belmont in Tishomingo County and spawned a tornado outbreak in North Alabama, while another severe weather event on the 28th spawned 2 EF1 tornadoes in Attala and Choctaw counties.  The highest temperature was 85 on March 1st.

April – A cool and wet month, almost 6 inches of rain fell thanks to a number of lower end severe weather events.  On April 14th, several EF0 and EF1 tornadoes were confirmed, and straight line winds swept through North Columbus downing trees and damaging the Sonic on Highway 45.
     Story: Severe Storms Strike: A Summary of the Damage

May – Summer swept in with a vengeance in May.  Hot and dry weather settled in quickly with highs in the 90s occurring nearly every day after May 9th.  Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall on May 28th in the Florida Panhandle, but it did result in some scattered downpours the 29th and 30th in our area, particularly in Alabama.

June – A typical summer with scattered pop-up storms and heat.  Temperatures were 4 degrees above average with typical rainfall.  June 2nd/3rd brought damaging winds from a derecho across parts of North Mississippi.  Another derecho tore through parts of North Mississippi and West Alabama on the 28th, bringing winds  Of note, an unusual atmospheric set-up on June 22nd spawned 2 strong tornadoes in Central Alabama.  A tornado watch was in effect for our West Alabama counties.

July – The beginning of the month brought several rounds of severe storms.  One person was killed at Pickwick Landing State Park during a 4th of July celebration.  Overall, the month was hot with scattered pop-up summer storms, leading to near average temperatures and rainfall.
     Story: One Killed at Pickwick State Park During July 4th Storms

August – Another near average month as far as temperatures and rainfall goes.  Several days had a few minor reports of wind damage from strong summer storms.  Storms did cause some damage in Choctaw and Webster counties on August 17th.  That same day, a rare August tornado touched down in Madison, causing extensive damage to trees and powerlines.  Several homes also had roof damage near the Reservoir.
     Story: Rare August Tornado Strikes Jackson Metro

September – Another record month for rainfall, as some areas saw 3 to 4 times more rain than the entire monthly average.  Temperatures also ended up about 5 degrees warmer than average.  Much of the rain occurred when Tropical Storm Gordon passed through the area after making landfall near Pascagoula.  Heavy rain caused a dam to breach in Carroll County and widespread flooding along I-55.  A tornado was also reported near Poplar Springs in Montgomery County.
     Story: Gordon Makes Landfall Late Tuesday Night
     Story: Murdock Lake Dam Breaches

October – Near normal in terms of rainfall and temperatures across the area.  A severe weather outbreak on the 31st resulted in over 60 tornado reports across Louisiana and Mississippi.  Locally, one EF0 tornado touched down in Winston County, and another touched down near Red Bay, AL.  The event lasted into November 1st during the early morning hours.

November – An outbreak of severe weather continued on the early morning hours of November 1st.  Damage was reported in Calhoun County where a tornado touched down near Vardaman.  There were other numerous reports of damage around the area.  Another outbreak of severe weather on November 5th/6th resulted in an EF2 tornado that tore through Tupelo.  Other tornadoes were confirmed in Lamar County, AL and near Mayhew.  Things turned quickly as a wintry mix fell in parts of north Mississippi on the 14th, leading to a light snow.  The month ended up cooler and wetter than average.
     Story: Tupelo Mayor Holds Meetings After Tornado Tears Through

December – Another wet month with near average temperatures.  Mother nature brought another wintry mix event to the area on the 9th.  Oxford saw up to an inch of snow, while other areas saw flurries.  The 31st brought some severe weather to the area as trees and powerline were reported down thanks to gusty winds.

Information as of December 31st, 2018.

Tupelo, MS
2018 Rainfall: 71.84″
Average Rainfall: 54.63″
2018 Mean Temperature: 63.5°
Average Temperature: 62.6°
Maximum High Temp: 97° (July 5th, 11th, 13th)
Maximum Low Temp: 7° (January 17th)

Starkville, MS
2018 Rainfall: 68.33″
Average Rainfall: 54.19″
2018 Mean Temperature: 64.4°
Average Temperature: 63.8°
Maximum High Temp: 99° (August 16th)
Maximum Low Temp: 7° (January 17th)

Storm Reports:
2018 Mississippi Tornado Count: 67*
Average Mississippi Tornado Count: 45*
2018 Alabama Tornado County: 52*
Average Alabama Tornado Count: 47*
*preliminary and subject to change

All severe weather reports from 2018 in Mississippi.  Blue = Damaging Wind (496), Red = Tornado (67), Green = Hail (79)
All severe weather reports from 2018 in Alabama.  Blue = Damaging Wind (464), Red = Tornado (52), Green = Hail (68)
2018 recorded 0 EF4/EF5 tornadoes in the United States, the first time this has happened since records began.-