The Polar…I Mean…The Odd Weather Pattern

July 14th, 2014 at 8:46 am by under Weather

It’s Monday.  So I apologize in advance… but coming out of the gate I’ll say that the media is back to using the term Polar Vortex again, and I am not a fan of the name.  This is a very overused and misused term by many.  The Polar Vortex is actually a year-round phenomenon of cyclonic upper level winds around the north and south poles.  Once in a while a piece of it drops south and that typically coincides with colder air at the surface.  Sometimes it’s a huge drop in temps.  The problem is that many people tend to think that the cold air at the surface IS the polar vortex itself.  And that is not right.  Here is the definition and explanation of the Polar Vortex: Polar Vortex.   I guess some of the National Weather Service offices initially used the term, but were instructed to not use it anymore with this event.  This is according to a recent blog from the Capital Weather Gang here: NWS changes tune about Polar Vortex.

Still… there’s no doubt that there will be a very unusual weather pattern developing this week.  Here is what a typical July weather pattern looks like:

Typical Weather Pattern

Typical Weather Pattern

The jet stream typically runs along or near the U.S.-Canadian border.  Heat and humidity sit across most of the country.  High pressure usually dominates a large part of the U.S., and many areas see pop-up showers and thunderstorms.  However, tomorrow into Wednesday the jet stream will take an unusually large dip.  A significantly cooler air mass will surge into the Midwest.

Odd July Pattern

Odd July Pattern

Low temperatures may be in the 40s around the Great Lakes and parts of the Midwest.  I’m from Illinois, and I know that that is a rare thing in July.  They will have highs in the 60s and 70s over that same region.  Meanwhile we’ll see some cooler weather here, but it won’t be that dramatic.  The jet stream is in the upper levels, but a cold front will move through at the surface.  This will enhance our chance for storms late tomorrow into tomorrow night, but it will also cool us down on Wednesday.

So let’s put all this together into our forecast.  We are well out ahead of this cold front today.  High pressure is in the region.

Satellite, Radar, And Fronts

Satellite, Radar, And Fronts

High temperatures will rise into the low/mid 90s with the heat index rising to near 100.  Winds will be southwest at 10-15mph.  So at least there will be a breeze again.  We may see a few isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms, but the chance for rain is only 20%.  Tomorrow as the front moves into western/northern Virginia the rain chances will increase.  Showers and storms will expand and strengthen through the late afternoon.  By the late afternoon into the evening we’ll see strong to possibly severe thunderstorms move in from the west.  I will highlight the particular threats in tomorrow morning’s weather blog, but it looks like straight-lined winds will be the main threat at this time.  Heavy rain will be possible tomorrow night into Wednesday morning. The rain chances should decrease by Wednesday afternoon-evening.  We could pick up another 1-2″ of rain.  My weather watcher Don in Toano said he still needs rain, but we have been doing really good on the Southside after Arthur and last week’s storms.  Highs will be in the low 80s Wednesday.  By Thursday morning lows will be in the 60s.  Highs will be in the low 80s with mostly sunny skies.  Ahhhhh.  It sounds lovely.  Unfortunately, the models show scattered showers and storms next weekend.  Maybe they’ll change their tune before we get there.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

2 Responses to “The Polar…I Mean…The Odd Weather Pattern”

  1. Crystal says:

    A little off topic here. Is it just me or have we been seeing a lot of tornadoes lately? It almost seems like most of the storms we’ve had so far this year have produced tornadoes. Have the ingredients just been right for them and could we possibly see another chance for them with the upcoming storms? I know you said straight lined winds with these but some of these tornadoes have been “surprises”, if you will.

    1. Jeremy Wheeler says:

      Hi Crystal. You have a good point. Remember too that Arthur was responsible for some of those tornadoes. I think we’ve just been in that weather pattern. The storms of late have been pretty typical. At least the tornadoes that we’ve had have been weak. We could see an isolated tornado again today, but that is the least of the threats. I would love for some quiet weather for at least a weak. This crazy pattern is wearing me out. Jeremy

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