DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s a common misconception to think Ohio is the only state that endures large temperature swings, even though it can feel that way in the fall.
‘If you want to see all four seasons in a week, come to Ohio,’ is a phrase people use to reference Ohio temperatures and weather conditions. After a week in the 70s, most people have resorted to putting on a winter coat for the first time after summer.
Large swings in temperatures are not exclusive to Ohio. Most of the Midwest, central Plains, and Ohio Valley happen to experience them.
“You get a lot larger temperature gradients over smaller spatial scales, said Kristen Cassady, meteorologist, NWS Wilmington. “And what happens is the atmosphere is trying to balance out the really cold temperatures to our north and really warm temperatures to our south. And that allows for these stronger systems to develop.”
In the summer, large temperature swing from north to south are uncommon, because of the polar jet to our north. Heading into fall, the further north a location is, less energy is received from the sun due to Earth’s tilt.
“Locations further to the south,” Cassady says. “They’re still getting a relatively high sun angle. And so it’s a difference in sun angles that results in the difference in temperatures, that results in the difference of air pressure that allows for these strong storm systems to develop and bring us those big temperatures.”
With a more amplified jet stream, there will be ridges and troughs. Areas with ridges will see warmer than normal temperatures, ingesting warm air from the south. Where there is a ridge, there is also a trough that will pass, which sends cold arctic air down from the north.
The systems do pack stronger compared to normal winds.
“We, you know, recognize, ‘Hey, the winter and the fall tends to be windier, too,’” Cassady said. “That’s all related to the stronger storm systems and the differences in temperatures across a spatial area.”