While we have a slight chance of seeing a few isolated snow showers Wednesday night, for the most part, the forecast will dry out and warm up as we head into the weekend. A weak low will once again drop down from the north late in the day Wednesday, increasing clouds and winds, but it appears the bulk of that system will pass to our east, with us here in Reno only getting a slight chance of a snow shower.

After it passes, skies will clear out on a cool Thursday (high in the mid-40s) and things will warm back up to the low 60s on Saturday before the next weak storm tries to move in Sunday.

Earth wind patterns, artwork

Earth’s wind patterns, schematic view. Atmospheric circulation in each hemisphere consists of three cells. The Hadley Cell (labelled) dominates the tropical atmosphere and is intimately related to the trade winds, tropical rain belts, subtropical deserts and the jet streams. The Polar Cell (labelled) produces the polar easterlies. The outflow from the Polar Cell creates waves in the atmosphere known as Rossby waves which play an important role in determining the path of the jet stream. The polar cell also balances the Hadley Cell in the Earths energy equation. The Ferrel Cell (labelled) is dependent upon the Hadley Cell and the Polar Cell and just as the trade winds can be found below the Hadley Cell, the westerlies can be found beneath the Ferrel Cell. *** THIS PICTURE MAY NOT BE USED TO STATE OR IMPLY ESA ENDORSEMENT OF ANY COMPANY OR PRODUCT ***

Joe wondered: “Is there a corresponding jet stream in the southern hemisphere? Do large land areas that are not present in the southern hemisphere affect the jet stream?”

Yes, there are corresponding jet streams in the southern hemisphere, and they act much like the ones up here do. They even flow the same way (generally west to east.)

As for the land masses (or lack thereof) in the south affecting the jet, that’s a little more complicated to answer, and I’ll tackle that tomorrow.