The Power of the “H”

gfs_slp_030m Since we talk about storms and the systems that produce them, we almost always talk about low pressure systems.  But with absolutely nothing happening in the Upper Midwest, it seems appropriate to talk about high pressure.

That big “H” on the forecast maps is exactly why Iowa is enjoying a quiet and sunny week. High pressure is lingering in the area this week, preventing storms systems from making their way to Iowa.  This keeps the rain and severe threat well to our south in Texas and Oklahoma.

Long stretches of quiet weather are not all that uncommon this time of year, but it comes when severe weather and tornadic development usually peak in our area.  Whether that breaks is hard to tell and the fact that we’ve had a quiet severe weather season so far means little.

Case in point, a large high pressure system, known as an Omega Block lingered over the area for weeks in 2008.  That sparked fears of a drought but we all know the exact opposite happened.  Within 48 hours of the Omega Block moving on, we saw an EF-5 tornado hit Parkersburg followed by the epic flooding that paralyzed Iowa.

I’m not saying anything like that will happen again, but it serves as a warning that this might only delay Iowa’s entrance into organized severe weather outbreaks.  They can happen any time of the year and with the pattern we’ve seen to our south and the cold air still lingering in the area, it’s possible our crack at severe weather is just on hold by a couple weeks.

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