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Insider Blog: Why our weather has been so wild recently, and how it ultimately helps us

To understand why we've come to expect these types of temperature swings each year, we have to start at the top. 

Each winter, the jet stream migrates south and can often be found roaring over the Central U.S. This time of the year.     

This often sends disturbances in our atmosphere right over our heads. These disturbances can be reflected as areas of low pressure here at the surface. 

These low pressure systems often travel along a boundary separating warm and cold air masses. Essentially at this point, the atmosphere is unbalanced, we call this entire set up a baroclinic zone. 

To attempt to resolve this imbalance, the atmosphere rushes the cold and warm air together at the boundary. This boundary pushes forward as a cold front and eventually brings an end to our warmth on Tuesday. 

The same can typically be said about moisture, with warm air usually bringing it in from the south which can aid precipitation along the front before dry northern air follows from the north. 

This is where these wild waves benefit us, at least this year. While we've been relatively dry through January, this active pattern has us almost up on the month for February. 

Overall we're still down on the year, but that may change with more active weather in the forecast. 

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John Ross


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