GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The week of March 7 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week. It’s no question that severe weather becomes more persistent during the spring/summer months, but let’s talk about why this actually occurs.
It has a lot to do with what’s known as the jet stream. The jet stream is a fast-moving current of air that forms where two different air masses meet, more specifically where warm air meets cold air. It is located in the troposphere around six miles above the earth’s surface.
The jet stream across the United States is mainly influenced by the Arctic bubble, a huge cold air mass that expands during the fall/winter, but shrinks during the spring/summer months. During the spring, the northern hemisphere warms and the cold bubble shrinks. This causes the jet stream to retrieve north.
Jet streams contribute to a lot of upward and downward movements of air, and when you couple these movements with the warming temperatures, we begin to see in the spring, severe storms are more likely.
It’s almost like the jet stream creates favorable motions to aid in thunderstorm development, and the added heat works as the fuel to get these storms going.