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John Wheeler: Storm interruption due to weaker jet stream – InForum

John Wheeler: Storm interruption due to weaker jet stream – InForum

FARGO — June was a stormy month; not untypical, but typical. The jet stream was relatively strong, and whenever these enhanced mid-atmosphere winds reached our region, the storms that formed beneath them were strong as well. When strong upper-altitude winds combine with atmospheric instability, growing storms tend to tilt. This allows storms to grow high and strong because the falling rain does not quench the warm and moist air moving into the storm at the base.

Over the last week or so, upper-level winds in our region have been fairly weak. We still had thunderstorms, but their structure was vertical rather than slanting. Instead of large hail and damaging winds, these storms produced only heavy downpours. Instead of violent tornadoes, rotating shower cells produced only weak funnel clouds. The lull is temporary, and we will no doubt be hit by a stronger jet stream again soon.

John Wheeler

John Wheeler is chief meteorologist at WDAY, a position he has held since May 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South in Louisiana and Alabama and says his family’s move to the Midwest was important in developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked at WOI-TV in central Iowa for about a year before moving to Fargo and WDAY.