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Major mid-MO warming trend on the way thanks to… the Rocky Mountains?

Yeah... we usually pin our warm ups as a result of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. This time, things are a bit different. Our warm air will be coming from a place that may seem a bit counter-intuitive...

The Rocky Mountains.

It will be an impressive round of warmth taking over the next two days. In fact, we may edge into the upper 60s, to near 70 in some spots by tomorrow afternoon. That would put temperatures some 20-25 degrees above normal!

We've mentioned it's going to be a quick hit! Get out and enjoy it while you can! Winter makes a quick comeback this weekend.

So how are the Rockies generating this warm air? Well, there are TWO features we're eyeing.

High Pressure

A strong area of winds with a *clockwise* rotation have developed over the central Rockies. This is indicative of an area of high pressure, which is comprised of SINKING air. This sinking is is critical in the process causing the warm air.

"Pool" of warm air over the plains

Secondly, we notice a pooling of warm air that has developed over the plains. This is in response to the westerly winds on the north side of the high pressure which is pushing from west, to east across the mountain chain.

Now, you may think winds blowing in from the cold snow-capped Rockies SHOULD blow in cold... right? Well, their trip from mountain-tops down into central plains is a difference in elevation of about 5,000-10,000 feet! Remember, the area of high pressure will tend to force this air to sink once it gets on the other side of the slope of the mountain.

And important property about air is that when it sinks THAT much, it will tend to compress and warm. That's because you're adding the weight of an extra 5,000-10,000 ft of air above it!

Sinking air also tends to dry out a lot! Drier air allows much faster temperature changes than a moist atmosphere. Don't get it confused though... We still see big warm ups in a moist atmosphere, it just happens a little slower.

Drier warmth tends to feature warm days, but quick cool downs at night, which is what we're expecting the next few days.


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Luke Victor

Luke Victor gives forecasts on ABC 17 News broadcasts and reports on weather stories on air and online, giving viewers and readers a deeper look at what causes different types of weather.


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