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Weather: Omega Block means sunshine

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Thank the Omega Block if you enjoyed the past week's dry and sunny weather.

Surprisingly, the Omega Block is not a Greek brand of sunscreen, but rather an area of high pressure that forms between areas of low pressure. Warm air bulges northward between the low pressure areas, resulting in a high pressure area shaped like the Greek letter Omega. The high pressure covers a large enough area that it blocks the normal west-to-east flow of air. Areas under the Omega Block experience calm, warm and sunny weather while areas on either side of the block experience cloudy, cooler weather.

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Temperatures reached into the 70s much of the week. High temperatures this time of the year are typically in the low to mid 60s with lows averaging in the low to mid 40s. May tends to be a month of dramatic weather changes as the area transitions from cold weather to warm weather. The sun this time of year is as high in the sky as it is in late July.

Unfortunately the low pressure area to the west is expected to boot the Omega Block and bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms to the northwoods throughout the weekend. Area weather observers are reporting precipitation totals of between .25 and .5 inches for the current month. On average the area receives over 4 inches of precipitation in the month of May.

The next time you hear Omega Block mentioned you'll know it portends sunny weather. Fortunately many American brands of sunscreen are readily available.

Tom Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation manager. Email him at tsiemers@bemidjipioneer.com

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