Monday, February 19, 2018

On the Atmospheric Fence

Here in central Missouri, we are temporarily caught between a deep atmospheric trough in the West and an atmospheric ridge in the East.  The former has brought cold, wintry weather to the western half of the country and the latter has produced record highs in Florida and warm weather throughout the Southeast, Midwest and New England.

The clash zone between these disparate air masses is inching eastward and, this morning, brought strong southerly winds to our region; taking advantage of the tail wind, flocks of migrant snow geese and greater white-fronted geese travelled northward through the Missouri River Valley.  By early afternoon, rain began to fall, a sign that the cold air behind the front is beginning to undercut and lift the warm, moist air to its east.  Thunderstorms may develop ahead of the front and heavy rain is expected by tomorrow.

Our spring-like conditions will end by Wednesday as cold, Canadian air plunges into the Heartland, reminding us that winter has not yet conceded defeat.  No doubt, the geese will then settle down for a few days, resting and feeding until southerly winds redevelop; instinctively patient, they "know" that the Arctic will not hospitable for at least a couple more months.