All Weather News

Hot On The Coasts, And Cold In The Middle: Why?

14 May 2014, 11:10 am

Do you live in Los Angeles?  If you do, you’re seeing some of the hottest temperatures in recorded history (or elsewhere around California, from north to south).

Do you live in Blacksburg, Virginia?  If you do, you just saw a record-setting high yesterday.

Do you live in Minneapolis?  You’re probably wondering what all the fuss about heat is.  It’s still winter, right?

With frost and freeze advisories from the Midwest down all the way through the central Plains states, we’re seeing yet another stagnant, and just plain bad, weather system move through the nation.  While some folks closer to the South are experiencing comfortable 70s for highs, many people in the nation are stuck in either extreme cold or extreme heat.  But why?  That is what we’ll talk about.

It all starts with the jetstream layer.  The way I love to describe the jetstream is the following, “the river of air that separates the cold air to the North from the warmer air to the South.”  That “river” just happens to be 6 or so miles up in the atmosphere.  This image below is the jetstream layer for early today:




Rarely is the division of warm & cold SO blatant, but we get a textbook example right here.

For some examples – take a look at tonight’s temperature forecast map:




The yellows & oranges indicate warmth, while the blues indicate the colder air.  Not a great temperatures scenario for folks in Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa/etc.

The yellows?  Well look at these images of records from the West and the East.








Looking ahead, with the trough of colder air (the dip in the jetstream) firmly entrenched, it is going to take some time for folks in the Midwest to warm up – but record highs will gradually come to a close to the East and the West.

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

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