The Coastal Carolina Ridge
by WeatherFlow meteorologist Shea Gibson
Ever wonder when you are at the beach that all of a sudden winds seem to come out of nowhere on a perfectly sunny day?
Well, the land-sea interface of the SE Region is a very sensitive atmospheric environment and has a few tricks up its sleeve. One of them is the “Sea Breeze”, which tends to be the dominant feature that shows the push and pull of land-based heat fluxing versus the cool-water based cold front formation moving onto shore. When we have large areas of High pressure over the Atlantic (in many cases a “Bermuda High”), we see a much more pronounced Southerly flow that increases – especially in the warmer months. Other times, these Southerly Sea Breezes will occur if the “other” variant dominant wind fades out and High pressure develops closer to the coast on a smaller scale. More about Sea Breeze basics in my blog here: http://blog.weatherflow.com/sea-breezes-in-the-southeast-region-part-i-basic-understanding/
NOTE: The term “Coastal Carolina Ridge” or “default coastal ridge” is just a general term used to describe an event that occurs naturally along the curvature of the GA/SC border coastline climate when one dominant feature runs its course, and then the typical Sea Breeze feature takes over (either for a small period or for the remainder of the day or night). In this case, was just a smaller period event, but definitely worth noting.
This event on Sunday, May 7th during the afternoon hours shows what happens when background winds (in this case Westerly winds) fall below a certain point while fading quickly as they head offshore.
Just another one of those tricky nuances along the coast we constantly watch for in our forecast efforts. Stay safe all!