Wedge of cool air lingers


Wedge of cooler air in place, what will scour it out?

Our cooler than normal conditions continue as the wedge of cooler air is in place and helping to provide the clouds, mist, fog and light rain. 

The Wedge:

When a flow of air arrives from the north and east it ushers in cooler air from our northern neighbors.  This cool is mainly found circulating around an area of high pressure over the Great Lakes originally, then migrates off the coast of New England.  The air often times picks up moisture from the ocean and the cool and moisture filled air particles arrive in the Commonwealth and get “wedged” up against the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains.  The cooler air is heavy and dense so it hugs the surface, often interacting with the warmer air that has been in place for a while.  Fog and mist usually occur at the surface.  Another name for the wedge is “Cold Air Damming”.  Again, when the cooler air gets blocked up against the mountains much like water being held back by a dam.   As the cold air sits at the surface warm air will often ride over the cooler air and that as well will help generate some low-level clouds. The area of high pressure that pushed the cooler air into the region will sometimes be close enough to put a lid on the cool air.  By this I mean that high pressure is also is associated with sinking air, so that sinking air helps to put a lid on or cap the low-level clouds and fog making it harder for the pocket of cooler air to get scoured out.  A good way to scour out the wedge of cool air is by a strong cold front that will push into the region, usually from the west.  This will be the wedge-buster. Our wedge buster is expected to arrive on Wednesday afternoon or evening in that form… a cold front.  Associated with that front will be a few thunderstorms so we may see a bit of nasty weather Wednesday, but we are not expecting any severe storms. 

As we move into Thursday and Friday another area of high pressure will be overhead, but the position is such that warmer air will arrive as well as drier air.  We should see temps rise after the wedge is “busted” and expect a pleasant and mild end to the month of August.

Stay safe.

John Carroll
Chief Meteorologist

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