At IQ Weather, we like to teach you new and different ways to look at weather!
In our 24-lesson video- based course, we talk about clouds and how they are formed. Today I want to talk about visual clues you can use to tell whether or not the atmosphere is becoming more favorable for storm development…using the look of the sky!
If storms are in the forecast for a particular day, often the air has to become unstable before strong storms can form. When we say the air is unstable, we simply mean that the air is rising, which helps promote the formation of precipitation and storms.
If the air is stable, it means that there is little or no vertical motion.
The clouds that form in stable air are usually stratiform in nature…in other words…flat and fairly uniform. It is quite common to see a lot of stratocumulus clouds during the morning hours before a storms form. Stratocumulus clouds look like this:
As long as the air remains stable, the clouds will look that way....
For severe weather to occur, you need heat and humidity. Typically, by mid-April, we are starting to see storm season kick into gear. But this April has turned cold in the plains states where tornado season should normally be getting underway.
First, look at the normal expectation for severe weather on April 17:
Now look at how much colder the temperatures will be today (April 17th) in about the same area:
Some spots will be nearly 30° below average today! This chilly pattern will persist for the next week before it turns around!
While frost may be a concern for the early spring flowers…tornadoes will take a back seat a while longer!
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