I remember the 80’s for many things…. the wild hair, the wild colors, and Glenn Frey!!
Ok, maybe not….. but I can tell you this for sure: The heat is on and it is only going to get hotter. So far this June our average daytime high temperature has been 11 degrees above what we would normally see. This is already starting to establish a pattern that is all derived from what we weatherguys refer to as “The Upper Level High” BUM BUM BUM **insert loud dramatic music** LOL! unfortunately as this thing develops it becomes a self feeding mechanism. Basically it feeds back on itself. As the earth gets hotter, the upper high gets stronger,which blocks any type of rain from moving in. This then allows it to get hotter, which makes the upper high get stronger which blocks rain from coming in… Which allows…….Yeah, I am sure you get the point. This area of high pressure almost always sets up right in the center of the country where the air is the hottest, but why does this occur? Why only in the summer months do we get this “blocking ridge”? Let’s investigate by starting with the number one driving source in our weather on a daily basis… the Sun! As we head into the summer months the earth starts to tilt towards the 23.5 degree mark called the tropic of cancer. This is that imaginary line north of the Equator that the sun is directly over on the Summer Solstice. So as we head into the depths of summer, all areas north of that imaginary line really starts to warm up. Now remember this, the Sun warms the ground directly and the ground then warms the air through a process called convection….. we can leave that story for a different day. So in the center of the country the heat begins to build and all of that hot air rises into the upper levels of the atmosphere. This creates an area of high pressure at the upper levels. When this happens, due to the way the earth spins, we get what is called anti- cyclonic rotation at the upper levels. This image is from a lecture and talks about surface winds, in our case the same theory applies to the upper levels. As you can see here the winds spin out and away from the area of high pressure. This is consistent with the flow up and around our upper high. As this happens, you can see how it is a self feeding mechanism. The heat builds in and creates high pressure which steers rain away, which allows it to get hotter……. I could go on and on….