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Science behind a warm February

The last several days Mid-Missouri has seen highs into the 50s and 60s exiting the month of February. Much of February followed a warmer than average trend. What's the reasoning behind this science?

More than half of the month saw a departure from normal in the warmer sector. The average temperature for Columbia, Missouri (KCOU) sits at 45 degrees for the month of February. Very few days fell below this mark for the high temperatures.

When looking at current and recent conditions. A high pressure system to the northeast has been the main factor in the warmth for Mid-Missouri. A high pressure system pushes winds in a clockwise motion. With its positioning in relation to Mid-Missouri, lower level winds have came from the southeast. Into Wednesday the 29th, winds will switch out of the southwest with the addition of an approaching warm front tied to a low pressure system in the northwest.

The month of February can thank the La Nina event occurring over the Pacific Ocean. A high-pressure system located off the western coast of the United States creates a pattern known as atmospheric blocking. This basically means the high pressure system stays in its same position forcing the Variable Pacific Jet stream further north revealing warmer and wetter conditions for Missouri.

Looking ahead into the extended forecast, La Nina conditions are expected to remain in place with the west coast remaining below average in temperatures. The Midwest sees temperatures returning closer to average as the southern coast of the United States looks to remain well above average potentially bringing near record breaking temperatures back to the region.

Article Topic Follows: Weather
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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


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