Friday, October 18, 2013

The struggle between warm and cold in the atmosphere - which will prevail?

Cool air has settled in the past couple days resulting in below average temperatures in the Mid-South. How that cool air will change is the topic of discussion this weekend and heading into next week. Simply put, the atmosphere is having trouble deciding on whether it wants to get warmer or colder. Or perhaps more accurately, the atmosphere is trying to reconcile the cold/dry air from the north and the warm/humid air from the south. This is of course very typical of fall, but for the foreseeable future the cold/dry air will be winning the battle in the Mid-South.

NAM modeled meteogram, displaying temperatures/dew points (top) and wind direction/speed (bottom)
Today we can expect slightly warmer temperatures than previous days with a highs in the lower 70's. Our highest chance of rain in the period comes tonight with the passage of a cold front. I say "our highest chance" but this is quite relative, with most areas in the metro receiving sprinkles at best. Colder air returns tomorrow, resulting in high temperatures in the 60's and low temperatures in the 40's for Sunday morning. This cold spell looks to be brief, with south winds returning promptly Sunday, resulting in temperatures near 70.

GFS modeled meteogram, displaying temperatures/dew points (bottom) and wind direction/speed (top)
While Monday could be our warmest day, this process looks to repeat itself again Monday night, with another mostly dry frontal passage resulting in temperatures back in the 60's for your Tuesday.

This summarizes the difficulty the atmosphere is having with reconciling the different air masses in our region. Fast and frequent cold fronts will not allow warm, moist air to return with much force to our region. With that said, we won't be hearing many complaints at MWN with beautiful days, chilly nights and mostly dry frontal passages in the forecast.

--William Churchill (Social Media Intern)

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