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Meteorologist: ‘Omega Block’ will change scorching mountain heat into scattered showers this weekend

An older photo from AccuWeather.com demonstrating the ‘Omega Block’ effect that will bring scattered showers to the Mountain Area this weekend, May 5-7.
An older photo from AccuWeather.com demonstrating the ‘Omega Block’ effect that will bring scattered showers to the Mountain Area this weekend, May 5-7. Submitted photo

Record-breaking heat in Central California is undergoing a rapid transformation thanks to a weather pattern known as the “Omega Block,” a meteorologist said Friday, which means the Mountain Area will plummet from a high of 90 degrees on Thursday into as low as 55 this weekend.

Alongside that, there’s a 50% chance of scattered showers in Eastern Madera County throughout the weekend, with up to 0.15 inches of rain by its end alongside some light snowfall around 7,000 feet elevation.

Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said the “Omega Block” is named for the Greek symbol, which is a sort of ribbon in shape.

He said two low pressure systems to the east and west, which bring cloudier skies and lower temperatures, have effectively sandwiched a high pressure system in the center of the country, holding everything in place for days.

“That high pressure is going to kind of grind everything to a halt,” Andersen said. “And it’s an unstable atmosphere, so you’re going to get these chances for showers throughout its entirety.”

Andersen said the weather is a bit unusual. In Bakersfield on Thursday, temperatures reached 104 degrees, he said, breaking a record set in 2004.

“I think the big story is how warm it got this early,” Andersen said. “Down in Bakersfield, their average day of 100 degrees or higher is May 31. So it was unusual to see this heat come quite early.”

Andersen said the lower temperatures - around 55 as a high in Oakhurst and surrounding towns through Sunday - should be a nice change of pace before summer truly sets in.

“At my house in Tulare, it was 102 on Thursday,” Andersen said. “So this is going to be very enjoyable. Some people do enjoy the heat, but I’d rather keep it like this weekend. It’s going to be perfect.”

For updated weather forecasts in the Mountain Area, click here.

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