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High Pressure Drives Dry Weather Pattern

July 13, 2012, 5:16 PM by Brian Karstens

High Pressure Drives Dry Weather Pattern

Without widespread rain Thursday night, drought is here to stay for many areas of KELOLAND. 

This weather pattern is clearly one of the driest we've seen in quite some time and it will get worse before it gets better. 

A strong ridge of high pressure has been the main driver behind the pattern.  This week, the heat has been less intense, as the worst conditions have retreated across the desert southwest.  Small disturbances from the northwest around the ridge have not been strong enough to produce the widespread soaking rains in KELOLAND.

Now we're heading back toward more heat as the ridge moves back into the plains.  The key to breaking this pattern is to see stronger storms to the northwest break down the ridge.  It's much like what happened starting in mid to late July in 1988, the year of the worst drought on record.

The weather maps from mid-July that year show how stronger disturbances from the northwest started to impact our region, bringing shots of cooler air and also four inches of rain by August in Sioux Falls.

That's a big difference from what we're seeing this year, where the local drought patterns are getting worse.  The forecast jet stream pattern is showing that this heat ridge may actually intensify late next week, adding a threat of additional 100-degree heat and more stress on crops that need the rain.

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