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Tracking the formation of Colorado Lows

Living in Central Missouri, various types of weather is common. We see different types of precipitation depending on the season. Heading towards spring, the majority of systems bring storms to the Midwest. Each of these storms are tied to a low pressure system. Just where do these low pressure systems come and how do the sprout strong to severe storms in Central Missouri?

The process starts as a low pressure system makes landfall in the northwestern region of the United States. The low pressure system then moves west into the Rocky mountains. When this happens, the elevated terrain can weaken and dismantle the system. Any surviving remnants that make their way to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains get another shot at becoming a deeper low pressure system once again. Although the name indicates these lows come fro Colorado, these same categorized lows can actually occur anywhere on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico is carried in the lower jet stream to the north as a warm front leads the way.

Eventually the cool and dry air from the Rockies will race to the southeast. This will drive a cold front to eventually meet the warm and moist air to the southeast.

The two air masses meeting causes an unstable environment feeding showers and storms in the spring and summer months. Just along and in front of the cold front tied to this Colorado Low storm development occurs and can last multiple days spanning across various states.

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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