Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dolly Moving In, Some Heating Up

A bubble of high pressure and hot air will strengthen over the south-central plains the rest of this week.

A broad area of 100-105 degree heat will be found from southeast Colorado and southwest Kansas, down into northern Texas. (roughly from Lamar, Colorado to Dodge City, Kansas -- and extending down through Oklahoma City into the Dallas area)

Meanwhile, residents of extreme south Texas and northeast Mexico will deal with heavy rain, wind and a few tornadoes as Dolly roars ashore today.

We have already had 1 intense rain report today from Cameron County, Texas. I am sure there will be more if the observers can safely file a report, or if they have power!


  1. Fifty years ago, about this same time of year, I entered the Naval Weather Service, A school, and became a weather observer. As I recall one of the discussion was about the Superior Air Mass that would drift in from the Bermuda permanent high pressure and get cut off over the south central plains.

    The center of this high pressure would drift and hover around Oklahoma, north Texas and often smother Wichita Falls with 100 degree weather for six to ten weeks. The air would stagnate due to a temperature inversion as low as 1000 ft., haze would settle in aggravating VFR pilots as the horizon would become non-discernable, humidity would diminish to less than 20% during daytime, occasional cumulus humulus would float around but nary a drop of rain would fall, and any cold front that challenged the region would fade away. These were the dog days of summer, and only cold watermelon would temporarily lift the feeling of the weather’s depressiveness.

    However, the same air mass would bring showers over El Paso, northward to New Mexico and eastern Arizona, Utah, Colorado, into Nebraska and northern Kansas. The mountainous regions would bloom and the cool temperatures were inviting. Before air conditioning became easily available, it was common for residents of the south central plains to vacation in northern New Mexico and Colorado to get relief. That tradition still continues.

    This condition, the Superior air mass, has again moved into to Oklahoma and North Texas. It oscillated for a couple of weeks before it settled in about a week ago. But it is here now ever so characteristic. Which raises the question of why do the weather people on television fail to use the term Superior air mass? They’ll mention a dome of high pressure exists giving us this pattern. Does the Weather Service acknowledge the term Superior Air Mass? Has anyone but me heard of this condition called the Superior Air Mass? Anyway, the conditions repeat themselves most every year (hardly noticed it last year).

    Gerry Clink

  2. Gerry,

    I never heard of the term while I was in meteorology school (2001-2005).

    I did find the term in the American Meteorological Society glossary.

    Click here.

    My best guess is on TV you see high pressure mentioned because the common person knows what that means. We almost all get some exposure to basic weather in Earth Science class in middle school.