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Posts Tagged ‘Jet Stream’

Wind October 27

So it’s been blowing for two days, and no end in sight. This is a good time to go to the Jet Stream Animation page, which is always in the margin of the blog, but in case you didn’t notice, here’s the link. What’s fun here is that the page tells you how to choose an animation. The default is a two-day animation, ending today (the day of your search) but you can get seven days, so you could put the 21st as a start day, or, in fact, choose any seven days. and get a longer view.

The jet stream is an upper wind that races along year round, sometimes, flowing mostly above Canada, and other times dipping quite a distance south. Of course it drags the air below it, so it can have a very strong effect on our lower winds if it is anywhere nearby.

The darkened area on the map is where the wind is at least 60 mph in the jet stream.  With each step inwards, marked by a dotted line, the speed is 10 mph faster. Sometimes the center is 160, sometimes even higher. The ground speed is much lower of course, but I was told that even the ground wind reached 80 mph in gusts yesterday, and there were some roof parts flapping in various places around town, as well as mailboxes toppled.

From the looks of the stream, there’s plenty more wind coming, but perhaps not quite so strong. The center is actually flowing somewhat south of us as well, so it could be worse.

I wish I could import the image, but anyway, it’s interesting to watch.

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Links restored

The links to the jet stream and to a site that gives satellite images of what amounts to cloud cover have been restored to the site. They are under blogroll at the side, and make it easy to check on the jet stream at any time. Just click on the link.

The satellite images are actually infra-red images, but the clouds come out strongly in such imagery because of their reflectivity. As a result, you get better cloud images than the visible light imagery which goes dark when the sun sets. You can get a single still image or up to a 24-hour loop.

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In a comment, a good friend mentions reading about a man who ejected from his plane and fell into a thunderhead. It took him 40 minutes to reach the ground because the updrafts kept pulling him up instead of down. Yikes! Amazing that he survived! He wrote a book about it called The Man Who Rode the Thunder, and it’s available — second hand — from Amazon. In the comments section, his nephew has a beautiful tribute to an inspiring uncle who died only last July. Enjoyable just to read the comments; both experienced pilots and a 13-year old girl recommend this story.

I respond to the comment here because I can’t put links in the comment section. I always used to wonder how people knew about insides of thunderstorms… We use balloons now, but for a while pilots were flying in — and I guess a few just fell in. Unbelievable!

About the otter:

If you go to the jet stream archive and fill in for a three day animation, you can see what happened to the otter. He kept moving slowly across the state, in a kind of sitting position, and then decided to follow his nose north into Canada. He never actually got near Sioux Falls, but he came close enough that we have much cooler air this morning, and all the clouds have soft cottony edges, a sign of frozen vapor.

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Whither the Otter?

No, this is not about Corey. It’s about the jet stream. The jet stream is our source of cold air, and cold air is what brings thunderstorms. My husband told me that we were “supposed” to have thunderstorms and cold air arriving last night. Or today. Not here all day. Just checked with the weather — 330-4444 in Sioux Falls — and the expectation is about 50-50 for thunderstorms tonight.

So what’s that all about?

Well, if you go to the jet stream animation site, and ask it to start in August so you can get 14 days of movement, you see something very interesting. The jet stream is not a river so much as a series of sleek and slithering bodies of cold wind such as the kind of Lock Ness Monster that formed over the Atlantic at the end of August. You can still see him if you choose an animation reaching far enough into the past. Anyway, there’s a kind of otter-shaped patch of jet stream making its way across the northern US right now. In the way of an otter, it has arched its neck and slithered around into a sitting position instead of coming straight over here. At this point, it’s not really clear whether it will leap out of little pose and swim up to Canada leaving us warm, or arch its back again and dive across South Dakota bringing cold air and clear skies.

I just don’t know what it will do, and I’d say, listening to a “50% chance of thunderstorms,” that nobody else knows either. But the otter is cute. Look him up. By tomorrow, he’ll be on his way wherever.

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