Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Memphis is the 20th largest city in the United States, with a population of about 675,000 surrounded by a metropolitan area of 1.3 million, making it the third largest of the cities I am considering. Founded in 1819 at the site of an earlier Spanish Fort, Memphis is situated on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It is the northernmost of all the cities I am studying.
Although Memphis weather is classified as being a humid subtropical climate like the more southerly cities I'm considering, its weather patterns are actually subject to greater extremes of both hot and cold, because of its unique position. In summer it can receive extremely hot and humid air from Texas or hot and extremely humid air from the Gulf Coast. Similarly, in winter Memphis can be struck with cold from the Upper Great Plains or warmth from the Gulf Coast. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are frequent during summer, but usually brief, lasting no longer than an hour. Early autumn is pleasantly drier and mild, but can be hot until late October. Late autumn is rainy and cooler; precipitation peaks again in November and December. Winters are mild to chilly, with average January high and low temperatures of 49.8 °F (9.9 °C) and 32.6 °F (0.3 °C). Snow occurs sporadically in winter, with an average yearly snowfall of 3.9 inches (99 mm). Ice storms and freezing rain pose greater danger, as they can often pull tree limbs down on power lines and make driving hazardous. Severe thunderstorms can occur at any time of the year though mainly during the spring months. Large hail, strong winds, flooding and frequent lightning can accompany these storms. Some storms spawn tornadoes.
Memphis has a rich cultural heritage, since it was at various times inhabited by American aborigines, French and Spanish colonists, and attracted settlers from many other parts of the country. It is particularly renowned for its musical heritage, having been home to such greats as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, and some guy named Presley. Memphis also features several well known museums and cultural events. More information about Memphis is provided in this article on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis,_Tennessee.
Memphis has the largest inventory of low cost houses of any city I'm researching. However, the majority of the lowest-priced homes have been ransacked for the copper in their plumbing and electrical systems, so the actual number of affordable and habitable homes may not be that much greater than most other locations. The cost of living in Memphis is also low, but not exceptionally so.
Memphis has a well-served major airport with airfares and travel times comparable to those in Indianapolis.
There appear to be quite a few dojo already serving the Memphis area, so it has the population to support a new dojo, but it might take time to become well established.
There are several moderately priced golf courses in Memphis and its surrounding areas, but they are not as inexpensive as some of their more southern counterparts.
As hot as Texas. As humid as Florida or the Gulf States. And colder than anywhere else in the Sun Belt (which Memphis lies at the northern boundary of). So the weather extremes are one it the city's major disadvantages.
The only other significant disadvantage appears to be its crime rate, which was below US averages prior to Hurricane Katrina, rose sharply from 2005 to 2009, and has been in decline ever since. Nevertheless, Memphis is often included as one of America's ten most dangerous cities.
And that brings us to the eternal question: what do you think? Is moving there a good idea or a bad idea for me? What are your impressions of Memphis? If you know me, would you be more inclined or less inclined to visit me in Memphis than you would in Marion ... or any of the other locations I'm considering?