The Carolina Wedge: its impact on winter weather in the Midlands

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There are many things that go into a winter weather forecast, “The Wedge” is one thing that can have a big impact.

COLUMBIA, SC — When it comes to winter weather, there’s a lot that goes into a forecast. One thing you may have heard of that is unique to this part of the country is Cold Air Damming, more commonly known as “The Wedge” or “The Carolina Wedge”. This weather feature has a big impact on what we see falling from the sky during the winter months, so let’s break it all down.

To start, we have to look north; Northeast to be more precise. When strong high pressures move over this region, they filter in much cooler air along the eastern seaboard.

Thanks to the clockwise flow around the high pressure, this much cooler air is pushed south. This is where the scenery comes into play with this weather pattern. The Appalachians act like a wall, pushing cold air further south to reach places like Georgia and South Carolina.

We expect this pattern exactly for the end of the week, so we should have plenty of cold air in place at the surface for wintry conditions across the Midlands.

So, with all of that being said, why don’t we just see snow every time the wedge sets in? That’s the trickiest thing, cold air is only about 1-2000 feet deep, which means it’s relatively shallow. You take that and add a layer of typical warm air at the average levels that typically develop with low pressure systems and you get mixed/winter precipitation.

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