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The science of high pressure

Often you hear meteorologist talking about high pressure systems and low pressure systems, but what do these systems actually do to our local weather?

Looking at the ABC 17 Stormtrack Radar, southwestern portions of United States you'll see a blue H, that's going to be an indicator for high pressure. The radar also indicates a low pressure system, which is going to be shown as an red L. Low's are going to be more associated with precipitation. The way high pressure systems are located is by taking a glance into the upper level jet stream.

When looking at the jet stream, patterns reveal dips and climbs resembling valleys and hills. The dips indicate low pressure, while the hills indicate high pressure systems. Typically, you'll see drier and sunnier conditions while on a high system, while on the eastern and southeastern side of a low you'll moisture. Sometimes lows will allow for wrap around precipitation on the backside of their cores.

Characteristics of high pressure systems include: increased sunshine, a drier atmosphere, and decreased wind speeds. When systems move and areas go from a high to a low difference, increased winds can be seen. Often times, you're going to want to be outdoors whenever you see a high pressure system because it's going to mean fair weather so get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun!

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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