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WeatherTalk: Last week, humid weather delivered few strong storms

The reason for this was a weather pattern with very weak wind in the upper atmosphere.

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FARGO - Last week's rather humid weather brought numerous showers and thundershowers, but produced almost no severe weather. The reason for this was a weather pattern with very weak wind in the upper atmosphere. When a thundershower forms in such an environment, the falling rain snuffs out the rising air underneath, and the thundershower dies.

When rising air encounters stronger wind as it rises, the rising column develops a tilt as it rises, falling rain does not choke the shower's inflow, and the storm is able to last much longer and grow much taller and stronger. When the stronger wind aloft changes direction with height, the rising column of air is made to rise even faster. The structure of the upper level wind, which cannot be sensed from the ground, is at least as important to storm development as the temperature and humidity we can feel.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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