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Weather Education For February 25, 2013

Feb 27, 13 Weather Education For February 25, 2013

Today on the education blog we are going to look into a basic surface map and see what we can find and understand about the weather just by looking at this one map.

First, let’s start with identifying our surface features, such as high pressures and low pressures. The colored chart below makes this really easy. The light blue color is where we find the lowest pressure and the center of our low pressure system that is currently over Oklahoma and Texas. If we note the red to pink colors, this is where we find our higher pressures, such as our high pressure centers. So, looking at the map above we can see one high pressure center over the Northeast Great Lakes region, with the second one over the Colorado Rockies, while a third one will be along the West Coast near Portland Oregon.

The Weather Education Blog for Feb 25, 2013

The next thing we can now identify is the cloud cover, as areas of high pressure have fewer clouds than areas of low pressure. So, with our example above, it is safe to say that we have clouds over Texas and Oklahoma, while there are very few clouds over the Rockies this afternoon by Northwest Colorado.

The third thing we can get off of this map is the wind directions. Ahead of a low pressure, we have South-Southeast and Southwest wind directions; so places along the Gulf Coast and East Texas will have southerly winds. On the back side of a low the winds are from the Northeast to Northwest, so places in the Texas panhandle will be having Northeast to Northerly winds.  Now with the high pressure over Colorado it would provide us with northerly winds in Denver, while southerly winds are on the back side, so places in Utah and Western Colorado have southerly winds.

We can also get some winds strengths. If we look over Western Kansas and Oklahoma we can see that the low pressure and high pressure systems are pretty close together. This proximity of both weather systems means that we will be looking at very strong winds over Western Kansas and Oklahoma, which is true to what is happening there today, February 25, 2013.

So, now that we understand that and what all of this means on the surface weather map, we are ready to make our forecast for the day.

First, we would say that nice weather, such as partly cloudy skies, would be found in Western Colorado, while stormy weather would be in the Texas and Oklahoma area and this would also extend into the Gulf Coast region. If we were forecasting for the strongest winds, we would put them over Western Kansas and Oklahoma. If we wanted to have winds from the south, we would say that all along the Gulf Coast the winds are southerly. This also means the temperatures are going to be warmer with the southerly winds. Last, for colder air we would go to the Northern Plains, as the winds are from the north up there escorting in the colder air.

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  • Anonymous

    Joshua, you term that chart a basic weather map. Seems a bit too basic a name. What is the technical name used, should other weather geeks wish to search meteorological archives, for example ?