What is the Bermuda High?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Earlier this week, we talked about how our weather this summer would be less impacted by the end of La Nina, but more by the Bermuda High.  So what is it?

The Bermuda High, also referred to as the Azores high is an expansive, semipermanent area of high pressure found in the Atlantic Ocean.  The location and intensity of this area of high pressure is one of the main large-scale contributors to weather up and down the East coast.  The Bermuda high is one of many meteorological mechanisms that transports heat northward, away from the tropics.  Although, that heat is moved to places where it is not always welcome.

When the high is located further West over Bermuda, thus the name, clockwise flow around the high causes warm, humid air to move in from the Southwest, often bringing very uncomfortable conditions to the Carolinas in the summer.  With plentiful moisture, we can still see late afternoon convective storms, but the high blocks most weather systems from the West from making it this far East, keeping conditions dry throughout the summer months, although when the high is particularly strong, it can bring droughts and heat waves to the East coast.

The National Weather Service says the high moves further North and East, over the Azores in the cooler months, allowing storm systems into the Carolinas in the winter and early Spring.

The Bermuda high is also the primary steering mechanism for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic.  As tropical waves form off the coast of Africa, the clockwise flow around the high steers these disturbances Westward.  They remain over the warm, tropical waters in the Atlantic, and can strengthen into tropical storms or hurricanes that can ultimately impact the U.S.