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Where Does the Water Come From When It Rains?

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When it rains here in the Northern Plains, where does the moisture that makes the rain come from?  Actually, there is enough moisture in the air for rain most of the time.  Storm systems tend to make the most of available moisture because of convergence (air flowing together from different directions).  Also, slow-moving storms are able to generate more rain than ones that quickly pass.  But some weather systems are just better at making rain than others and a lot of this has to do with how much water vapor is available for rain.  If you follow air streamflows into our region, you will see that source regions of that moisture include both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.  Storm systems really laden with moisture usually have some sort of connection to these regions. A lot of the time, it is the Gulf that brings us the moisture, but sometimes we get very moist air from the tropical regions of the Eastern Pacific.      Meteorologist  John Wheeler

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John Wheeler
John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.
(701) 241-5387
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