WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Warm temps are nearby -- in the sky

Posted January 12, 2015

Temperature inversion Jan. 12, 2015

At or about 8 a.m. on Monday morning in Raleigh, the temperature is likely to be in the 30s with rain falling.

It may seem hard to believe that only 0.2 miles away, the temperature will be near 60! So what direction do I drive, you ask, to experience this warmth? Sorry, unless your car can go straight up, you're out of luck!

The chart below shows what we call a temperature inversion. Temperatures normally decrease as you go up, but there occasions when it rises, and this is called an "inversion," or "inverted normal."

It's easier than you think for this to happen in that cold air is more dense than warm air, so it tends to be close to the ground. The less dense warm air simply passes over top of the shallow cold air.

Any chance of that warm air making its way down to the surface? No time soon. In fact, if anything, the surface temperature will get even colder Tuesday and Wednesday.

Be patient. There are signs of a January thaw starting this upcoming weekend!


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