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Weather Works: The significance of 'the wedge'

The Appalachian Mountains have a big influence on Central Georgia weather. Meteorologist Taylor Stephenson breaks down the impacts.

MACON, Ga. — The wedge is a term meteorologists throw around when a high pressure system is over the Appalachian Mountains, but let’s break down what a wedge does.

As a high pressure system slides to the east and run into the mountains, it traps cold air on the eastern side of the range.

As the high pressure system’s winds rotate in a clockwise motion, it draws colder air from the north down to the south. The scientific term for this is “cold air damming.”

The cold air has no choice but to spill south, and often, it reaches Central Georgia. This causes conditions to become cloudy, foggy and cool.

Cold air damming is helpful in some cases though! 

On days where there’s the possibility for severe weather, if the wedge sets up in time, the cold air can limit the severe weather potential.

The presence of cooler air decreases the atmosphere’s energy which is needed to produce thunderstorms.

So, the wedge could be our best friend during severe weather or our gloomy enemy.

That’s how your weather works!


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