The Meteorology Behind Winter Storms

It is that time of year. I am starting to see more mid-latitude cyclones on the weather map. This meteorological feature is one of the most significant weather-producers in Mother Nature’s bag. As the Earth moves around the sun on a titled axis, it brings us a new mix of meteorological questions each season. Late October represents the waning months of hurricane season. Even as I write this, the National Hurricane Center is watching a broad area of low pressure in the western Caribbean Sea. This is exactly where we expect a tropical system to form this time of year because of the warmer seas surface temperatures and lack of upper-level shear.

While tropical, barotropic brethren have rightfully garnered our attention this summer (what a hurricane season…), their mid-latitude, baroclinic siblings are starting to stir with more vigor. If you truly love weather but do not understand what I mean by “baroclinic and barotropic,” Professor Shepherd just gave you a homework assignment (smile) in this blog. Google and explore.

The other part of the assignment comes Sunday. Dr. Jon Martin is one of the top experts in the world on winter weather. He is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at The University of Wisconsin. Dr. Greg Postel, a former graduate student from the same department, is a Storm Specialist at the Weather Channel (and the now legendary voice of the Geek of the Week). These two join me for an epic discussion of the meteorology behind winter storms on Weather Geeks this Sunday.

Trust me, this is one of those episodes that I recommend pulling up your favorite weather geek companion, pouring your morning coffee, or grabbing a notebook. After you do those things, just enjoy it… The knowledge that we drop on mid-latitude cyclones, snowstorms, polar vortex, models, and more is off the “Weather Geek meter.”

You will also want to hear Dr. Postel’s epic breakdown of why he hates the term “wrap-around snow.” It is worth the watch or DVR just for that.

Join us for an all-new episode of Weather Geeks this weekend. The show always airs Sunday at Noon ET (11 am CT, 10 am MT, 9 am PT) on The Weather Channel.

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