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Cap Keeps Rain From Falling

July 22, 2014, 6:39 PM by Brian Karstens

Cap Keeps Rain From Falling

Record rains from June may not seem that far in the past, but the lack of rain in July is now getting some attention.

The rainfall numbers tell the story of how fast weather can change.

A record breaking 14.16" inches of rain fell in Sioux Falls for June.  Now, July's tally is at .46", more than an inch and a half below normal for the month. 

That's an extreme example of how different the two months have been in KELOLAND, but as a general rule, July is typically a drier month.  One limiting factor we talk about is the cap, or "lid" of warm air in the mid levels of the atmosphere that can suppress thunderstorm development.

Visually, you can sometimes see how the cap works when you look across the skyline on a day like Tuesday.  Rain shafts in the distance north of Sioux Falls show the scattered nature of Tuesday morning's rain.  The same was true in Mitchell, as a plume of moisture above the cap aided the scattered showers.  Bigger, more organized thunderstorms were limited because the air under the cap was not able to break through that lid as the cold front quietly slipped through much of the region.

There is a window of opportunity for rain on Thursday East River before the next cap arrives in full force on Friday.

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