Why Austin will be dry this week: The Omega Block vs. The Godzilla El Niño

omega

Image from the Weather Channel

A phenomenon with a sci-fi-worthy name could keep Central Texas dry for the next few days.

The midweek “Omega Block,” as the Weather Channel is calling it, should deflect the storms that the Godzilla El Niño will probably continue to hurl toward Central Texas. Basically, a system of low pressure will settle over the East Coast, while a separate, roughly parallel system of low pressure will settle over the Left Coast. In between, according to the Weather Channel, “will be a ridge of high pressure that settles over much of the country.” Weather patterns that generally move from west to east — say, those thunderstorms that have been soaking Central Texas — will be slowed or stalled for several days, essentially being “blocked” by this low-pressure/high-pressure combo that’s also contorting the jet stream.

So if an El Niño-inspired storm comes spinning off the Pacific this week, it will run into the block before it hits Central Texas, according to forecasters. Thus, a break from the perhaps-heavy rainfall that could be dousing the region until summer.

Why do they call it an “omega block?” We’ve covered the “block” part, and as to the “omega”: Think of the shape of the jet stream being drawn from the Southwest, up the above the Plains, then back down the eastern third of the country. Now extend both ends out a bit and then curl them back up again in the ocean (to complete the full pattern). It’s sort of an upside-down U shape: or this Ω, which is an omega (a Greek letter).

No word if Michael Crichton is planning a sequel.