Warming It Up With A West Wind

A little Weather 101 today.  We’re going to take a break from winter the next few days as temperatures climb into the 60s and 70s.  We can thank the west wind for that. 

You see, a west wind in Oklahoma is a warm wind.  It’s known as a downslope wind because air is coming off of the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains to our west.  As that air comes down the eastern slope of the mountain chain,  it encounters higher air pressure in the lower altitudes.  The laws of physics state that when you increase the pressure on a gas, it dries and warms.  Here’s a graphic for those who dig a visual explanation:

So with a west wind in Oklahoma the next couple of days, we can expect our air to be dry and warm.  In fact temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees above average for late January.  The bad news is that dry and warm air is not what we need.  We need moist and cool to help keep the fire danger down, and to help combat the effects of the increasing drought in our state. 

Since we have no choice, enjoy the mild weather while you can.  A fresh shot of arctic air will arrive early next week with a chance of ice and snow.  I’ll have more details on how that will unfold coming up this evening at 5, 6 and 10 pm on Eyewitness News 5.

Rick

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