Ahhhhh yes, the good old Northwest flow

From a previous blog post we talked about how hot the first part of June has been….. I mean come on!! We have been so hot for the first 7 days of June that it would take being below normal by 5 degrees every day for the remainder of the month! Of course on everyone’s mind is whether or not we will be seeing this pattern last for the entire summer. Remember, last year was the hottest summer on record….. even hotter than the summer of 1980! The answer is….. well, not likely. There is a chance towards the end of next week for us to go into a pattern that we meteorologists call a “Northwest Flow”. Ok, what in the heck is that??? To be able to fully describe what a northwest flow is I must start by showing you what a “typical” pattern is like in the U.S. This is where we have been lately with a ridge of high pressure aloft and the storm track staying well to our north. Read my previous blog post where I get in depth about how patterns like this are very hard to break in the summer months. A northwest flow is when this ridge breaks down and the storm track comes down along the Rockies into the great plains. This leads to nocturnal convection and a lot or rain, most or all comes in the overnight and early morning hours. The last time we had a pure northwest flow in Arkansas was in 2008 and that gave us one of the coolest Augusts on record! I am not saying that is the direction we are heading, but lets take a look at the GFS model for this morning and see what’s going on. Notice that the ridge off to the east is located a bit farther east than what we saw a bit earlier in the week. This is a good start for us. There is a strong shortwave located in the NW U.S., that will actually help to break down the ridge even more over the next few days and give us a slim chance for some rain Friday through Saturday. It isn’t until next Thursday where we get another shot of having this ridge break down even further. Notice that by next week the flow is straight from the northwest, which means cooler temps and shots of rain starting as early as next Wednesday. The thing about a northwest flow pattern is that it can lock in and stay for months. This is what happened here in 2008 here, and what happened in Oklahoma in 1996. Back in 1996 they had recorded the hottest June and early July on record until on July 11th a northwest flow kicked in and changed everything. For the remainder of July, all of August and September it rained and stayed cool! We can only hope that is the case for us because it is already leading into a very hot summer!

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One Response to Ahhhhh yes, the good old Northwest flow

  1. Kelly says:

    OH..I hope it locks in. 🙂 Sure do.

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