What is Behind These Wild Temperature Swings? - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

What is behind these wild temperature swings?

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

January has been a wild month with dramatic temperature swings.

Last week, we spent 190 consecutive hours below freezing.

We fell to 1 degree last Tuesday, and we got down to 0 last Wednesday.

Light but still measurable snow was reported at the Toledo Express Airport, each day, during the most recent workweek.

Now, a dramatic warm-up has melted the snow and ice, and we're about 25 degrees warmer than average.

We're not far from today's record high of 62 degrees from January 29th of 1914. 

This warm-up will not last long, but a lot of people took advantage of this short-lived change in the weather at Wildwood Metropark.

We spoke with Maureen Augosti, who was wearing her running shoes, "We've been running on the treadmill all last week because of the sub-freezing temperatures, and this was our first day back out, on the trail, outside today. We did 5 miles today - our longest run yet."

Bunny Rossnagel, a naturalist with the Toledo Area Metroparks, says she enjoys these warm spells, "The noise level gets higher. Squirrels are nappers in the winter time, but they don't hibernate, and neither do the chipmunks. It's kind of nice to see a lot of activity, and if you see a lot of activity, people get more involved in looking and observing."

So what is behind these dramatic temperature swings?

The jet stream is a river of fast-moving air, about 5 or 6 miles into the sky. It serves as the storm track, and it also separates the warm air from the cold air.

Troughs and ridges migrate across the weather map on a routine basis, bringing daily and weekly changes to our weather.

This January, the jet stream has been more amplified, with sharper troughs and more dramatic ridges.

Under these large ridges, unseasonably warm air spreads far to the north.

Meanwhile, sharp troughs provide opportunities for arctic air to slide all the way south.

The end result is a month with three to four inches of snow in parts of Mississippi -- followed by near sixty-degree temperatures in Toledo, just a week or two later.

Get ready -- that frigid air is fast approaching, once again.

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