Good Question: Why do meteorologists reference interstates when tracking weather?

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The weather has been sunny and calm the past few days in the Carolinas.

However, when meteorologists talk about the weather, interstates are often used as a reference.

In this Good Question, viewer David asked about “weather and geography.”

David writes:

“When reporting the weather, the meteorologists often describe weather phenomena as aligning with certain geographical features like the mountains or interstate routes. Obviously, the mountains will affect wind flow.

“But when a front aligns with I-40 or I-77, for example, is that just a convenient descriptor, or are there more subtle geographical or meteorological forces that influence weather patterns? I know that modern roads often follow ancient Native American or even wildlife trails that may have been chosen because of their geography.”

So, to answer your question, we asked Chief Meteorologist Eric Thomas.

“It is a convenient descriptor. We are using it as a geographic descriptor, except for the mountains, because that’s a big deal.”

For more on Chief Meteorologist Eric Thomas’s response, watch the video above.

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