Breakdown: Bursting the bubble on the weather dome

Breakdown: Bursting the bubble on the weather dome
(Source: Amy Parker)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When thunderstorms split or tend to end right before hitting your neighborhood you may think you live under that “weather dome” or “bubble”. While that invisible place that almost every city, town and street talks about across the country, isn’t actually there. In this episode the breakdown, we will burst the bubbly on that “weather dome” many people thin exist.

Typical thunderstorms usually last for around thirty minutes to one hour. A larger storm, known as a supercell thunderstorm, can last much longer and move across several cities, towns and counties. But as the saying goes, all things must come to an end at some point.

Looking at the structure of a thunderstorm, it starts off as an updraft that takes in warm and moist air, this is the fuel for a storm. If the storm takes in cooler air, say from a body of water or an ocean, this cooler air will weaken the updraft and thus dissipated the storm.

If the storm runs in to drier air, that can also cut off the updrafts flow of warm moist air. If an updraft is weak, the downdraft of a storm will takeover and slowly dissipate the storm. This means there are multiple ways for a storm to fall apart.

According to the National Weather Service, there are no cases of any town or feature that will regularly dissipate storms. That means if a storm is moving right towards your house and then dissipates, it has really little to do with a “weather dome” and ore to do with the constant movement of the processes taking place within the storm.

Not only can we deal with storms that just dissipate in thin air, we could also see storms split in two. If there is strong winds shear in place within a storm, this means the wind direction is changing with the height in a storm.

A storm can thus split, meaning the top of the storm moves on direction and the base moves in another direction. This all happens due to the upper and lower winds in the storm. So a storm could split and miss your house.

While many people may believe that this magical “weather dome” is real over their town, just know that it is a complex process for storms to form and maintain their structure. One change in the updraft could spell disaster for the storm and no rain for your home.

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