Springfield Has The Most Varied Weather in the United States

Published 01/09 2014 06:15PM

Updated 01/10 2014 09:04AM

Springfield, Mo. -- If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute!  We've heard that phrase tossed in the wind here in the Ozarks.  Take this week, for example.  We hit negative ten degrees on Monday and we're climbing into the upper 50s this Sunday!  There is an explanation for this wild weather. 

Here in the Ozarks, we do it all!  We bear the frigid cold, the heat, wind, storms rain and snow.  Springfield, Missouri has the most varied weather out of all United States cities analyzed in a study using National Weather Service data!  This was determined by the weather variety index which takes precipitation, thunderstorms, wind, snow, and temperature variation, into account.  "That study was done back in 1998 so it's been awhile however the information from it is still accurate to this day," explains Gene Hatch, National Weather Service Meteorologist and station climatologist. 

The fact that we're located in the center of our country has huge implications for the variety of weather we see.  "We're not too far from the Gulf of Mexico which provides plenty of moisture for our storms.  We're also not too far from Canada and the arctic, which gives us the cold air in the wintertime as well," explains Hatch.
Our central location also means we're surrounded by land.  Land has a higher specific heat than water, meaning it heats up and cools down faster.  "Since we're not close to a body of water like the Gulf or the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean, our temperature changes during a day can swing very much," adds Hatch.
We're also located on the eastern edge of tornado alley, so severe storms are no stranger to us!  "We're subject to thunderstorms which are generally associated with that jet stream as well. 

The jet stream divides the cold air in polar regions from the warm air in equatorial regions. Differences in air pressure between these air masses and the earth's rotation are the two forces causing the jet stream winds to flow from west to east in mid-latitudes.  The jet stream teeters from north of our region to south of our region quite frequently.  This brings abrupt temperature changes.  "We've had temperatures as cold as minus 29 degrees and as warm as 113 degrees," says Hatch.

Even the Ozark plateau can diversify our weather. "It can add a little additional intensity to rainfall sometimes. It can also, with that lifting mechanism, cause thunderstorms to develop across the area.

So if you're thinking, 'Enough of this snow and cold!' have no fear!  Just like climatology indicates, it will be gone this weekend!

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