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"What's with all the rain and storms lately?"

Since June, the storm track has gotten a lot more active in the east

Photo Credit: Mark Overbeck - Bonsack
Photo Credit: Mark Overbeck - Bonsack

ROANOKE, Va. – During the second half of May, you'd be hard-pressed to find a rainy day. Fast forward to June so far, and only five of the first 19 days of the month have seen no rain.

Yes, it's hot and it's humid and we have the chance of storms. That's pretty standard for this time of year. However, there's been a noticeable pattern flip in the last few weeks. It's a pattern flip that's gotten in the way of your extended day by the pool oftentimes.

Let's face it. Some of us have seen nearly double May's rainfall this month, and we're only a little more than halfway through June.

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One part of the equation is the ongoing El Niño, which is forecast to continue through the summer. Warmer weather in the eastern Pacific promote ridging (heat and dry weather) in the western U.S. On the opposite side of the states, we're left with more troughs (areas of low pressure that supply rain and storms).

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In addition, we are currently in what's called a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. This is something that's forecast on a week-by-week basis. 

In more simple terms, an area of high pressure south of Greenland is blocking the active storm track. This prevents any long-lasting heat waves, and also keeps the storm track flowing through the eastern U.S. for days at a time.

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Don't be so quick to compare this to last year, though. Since the Spring Equinox, we've seen about a foot of rain. From the Spring Equinox of 2018 to late June of 2018, we saw a lot more than that.

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Part of the stormy pattern is normal. We're approaching summer, and we get storms. The other part of it, though, is that we have two global forces (El Niño and the negative phase of the NAO) contributing to a continious wet and stormy pattern.

There's no indication that this will come to a long pause any time soon. The storm track is forecast to stay somewhat active in the eastern U.S. for at least the rest of June. So yes, we will see some dry days but we shouldn't get too comfortable with that.


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