A Boring Weather Week on Tap for the United States

That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. This week is a particularly bad week in weather history, with May 20 of last year seeing the horrific tornado in Moore, and May 22 featuring the even worse tornado that struck Joplin in 2011. Thankfully, the weather looks pretty quiet across most of the United States this week.

The main weather features this week include zonal (west-to-east) flow in the jet stream, a low over southern Canada, and a deepening low pressure system sweeping over California into the southwest.

Zonal flow is boring. Exciting weather is mostly caused by ripples in the jet stream; troughs (elongated areas of low pressure) create large scale lifting and often help to spin-off low pressure systems at the surface, and ridges (elongated areas of high pressure) bring sinking, stable air and allow the atmosphere to stagnate and get hot.

This week features, for the most part and only east of the Rockies, zonal flow in the jet stream. Take a look at the jet stream on Tuesday morning, for example.

A Boring Weather Week on Tap for the United States

The two features that stand out the most are the deep trough over California and Oregon, and sharp trough over the Atlantic Ocean affecting nobody but Bermuda and shipping lanes.

A Boring Weather Week on Tap for the United States

Don't get too excited about the system over the west coast — it's not going to bring any beneficial rains to drought-stricken California. The best that it'll do is bring cool temperatures, clouds, and fog, which will serve wonders in killing the threat for wildfires. The most beneficial precipitation will occur over the Sierras, with a couple of inches of snow falling in the higher elevations (about 5" of snow is expected north of Lake Tahoe, for example).

As I mentioned earlier, flow over most of the United States is west-to-east, with some slight ridging over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. This will allow high pressure to build in and keep the atmosphere calm and stagnant. The biggest weather story will be some isolated thunderstorms.

Temperatures will quickly warm up after this brief (and lovely) cool down. For example, it's 65 beautiful degrees at 145PM in my little corner of North Carolina, with cooler temperatures to our north, but as high pressure builds in, temperatures will return to the mid- to upper-80s.

It's worth mentioning for our two readers in far northern North Dakota that a developing low in southern Manitoba will bring the potential for some showers and thunderstorms to the far northern parts of the country, but it won't be anything to write home about.

Towards the end of the week, the trough over California will turn into an upper-level low pressure system over the southwestern United States, bringing rain and thunderstorms to parts of New Mexico and Texas. That's over five days off, though, so exact details can and will change between now and then.

All in all, we're getting quiet weather during a part of the year that we typically run for our lives. Enjoy it while it lasts.

[Images via WAKA (Selma, AL webcam) / TwisterData / HPC]

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