Breakdown: Why clouds are like fluffy blankets

Why clouds are like fluffy blankets

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When we forecast overnight lows, those are usually achieved during the early morning hours when many are getting up and out the door for work or school.

In this episode of the Breakdown, we will explain why clouds can be a powerful force of nature by keeping us warm during those early morning hours.

You may or may not know, clouds during the day can affect our daytime highs in the afternoon hours. With no clouds, we warm a lot during the day and the temperatures go up.

Add a thick layer of clouds, that will act as a shield from the solar heat and keep us on the cooler side during the day.

Now other atmospheric factors can take place. Colder air during the day can be pulled into the region even with full sunshine, thus keeping us colder.

Warmer air can even warm the surface and raise the temperatures under the clouds or heat us up even more even with full sunshine.

Those are just a few of the factors the weather team at WMC Action News 5 must look at on a regular basis.

Now lets breakdown how those clouds will impact our overnight lows.

When we have zero clouds in the sky, the previous days heating of the Earth can escape back into space which cools the region down faster. This is called radiational cooling.

A thick deck of cloud cover can keep the warmth from escaping. Usually, that warmth will radiate from the Earth and is bounced back to the surface all thanks to the clouds.

Therefore, there could be a widespread of overnight lows across the Mid-South, all due to some areas seeing clouds while others keeping clear.

One more thought, just like during the day, wind and the direction it is coming from can also cause impacts to our temperatures. Whether it is warm or cold blowing air it can raise or lower the temperature, even with clouds or no clouds.

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