Here’s why temperatures spiked last week, according to an MTSU professor


(Photo by Matthew Giffin)

Story by Maddy Williams | Contributing Writer

Last week, temperatures drastically changed in Middle Tennessee, dropping to 50 degrees from 100-degree weather.

A high-pressure ridge sitting over the central and eastern U.S. followed by a cold front caused the temperature increase, according to Middle Tennessee State University geosciences professor Alisa Hass.

The first day of fall brought colder temperatures since the cold front hit this past Thursday.

“This means we had sinking air, which limited the amount of rain and clouds that could form and gave us sunny weather, and that air was being pulled in from the south and southwest,” Hass said. “Much of this air was likely from the Gulf of Mexico, so it was hot and humid.”

When the air puts a higher amount of pressure on Earth, the air in the atmosphere sinks, according to a WDRB report. WDRB said that ridges occur when there’s a large area of high pressure.

While this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, “it was a particularly strong system and brought us record highs,” Hass said. 

Hass also said that this was the latest in the year that 100-degree weather was recorded in Middle Tennessee.

The previous record was on Sept. 21 when temperatures reached 97 degrees back in 1955, according to WKRN. WKRN said that the last time it hit 100 this late in Middle Tennessee was Sept. 11 in 1983.

Cold weather is moving in with another cold front coming this next week, bringing us fall weather, according to Hass.

The highs predicted for this week are projected to be in the 70s while the lows are in the 40s and 50s, much colder than the 80 and 90-degree highs from early last week, according to the National Weather Service. 

The colder weather is a refreshing break from the stifling heat Middle Tennessee has encountered this past summer.

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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