Speed Reads

freaky weather

Here's why the weather in America has been so wild lately

Wildfires in California, flooding along the Eastern Seaboard, tornadoes in Iowa. Confused by this week's weather? Meteorologists say the jet stream is to blame.

The jet stream, an air current that encircles the Earth, has adopted an "extreme" pattern that has surprised even experienced meteorologists, The Washington Post reports.

"The jet stream is contorting into these extreme loops both sharply towards the poles with ridges of high pressure and dips to the equator with troughs of low pressure,'' said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not only is the jet stream taking on a peculiar shape, Masters told Bloombergbut it has gotten stuck that way, meaning this strange weather isn't going anywhere soon.

The effects of this abnormal air current have been compounded by the warm climate, as the jet stream and the cold air that follows it mingle with record-breaking temperatures. Resulting events include the storm that stretched from Nebraska to Arkansas last week, killing 17 in a duck boat accident in Missouri.

While the East Coast and Midwest have been hit with rain and high winds, the West Coast has been met with day after day of extreme heat, with temperatures in Death Valley climbing to 127 degrees Tuesday.

Although the intensity of this weather should eventually wane, you should probably still mentally prepare before checking out your local forecast. More rainfall and flooding are expected next week, as well as continued extreme heat in some parts of the country. So wherever you go, you might want to bring an umbrella ... and a bathing suit. Read more at The Washington Post.