Weather exists as nature's feverish attempt to balance inequality in the world (so maybe Bernie controls the weather). Low pressure systems are so windy because air is rushing in from around it to fill the void. The intricate play between the warmer tropics and the colder poles creates jet streams that spawn storms and transfer enormous amounts of energy around the world. Hurricanes exist as a way to transfer heat from the tropics to the poles.
This feature, however, exists to let future Tropical Storm Rick bribe its way onto Santa's nice list. The cold front extending off of the impressive fall storm sweeping the U.S. and Canada this week is moving slow enough that it's turned into a conveyor belt of moisture, sending loads of evaporated paradise straight from the tropical Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Circle. That's why the rain has been so heavy with the line of storms, and why it's been so uncomfortably muggy ahead of its arrival.
What's even more impressive than the river of moisture itself is the incredibly sharp cutoff on the back edge. In just a couple of miles, the atmosphere in the mid-levels goes from saturated to bone dry. You don't see that too often on a large scale like this.
[Satellite Image: NOAA | Hurricane Map: Author]
Dennis graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. Previously running Gawker's weather blog, The Vane, for nearly two years, he currently contributes to Mental Floss, Forbes Science, and occasionally writes for the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. Dennis also teamed up with the editors of Outdoor Life to write a book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, which came out in October 2015.