Ask Storm Team 11: How do Mountains Influence our Weather?

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We live in a beautiful region where the mountains take center stage. How do those Appalachian Mountains influence our weather? With elevations ranging from 3000 ft to over 6000 ft, the beautiful Blue Ridge certainly can impact incoming weather systems. Wind direction through the mountains plays a direct role in storm development.

During the spring and summer months when storms are most prevalent, air rises quicker over the mountains, often becoming the central focus for showers and storms during the warm months of the year. Upslope winds, where the air is rising upward, also enhances storm development. The opposite is true for downsloping winds, where the air descends downward. Air that is descending is a drying process, while also a warming process heating it up. This limits storm development. Next time you focus on the forecast, pay attention to wind direction.

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