First Alert Weather Academy: How does sea breeze affect our local weather?

First Alert Weather Academy: How does sea breeze affect our local weather?

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A few things are guaranteed during our long summers - heat, humidity and the sea breeze.

On any given summer day, the sun's rays heat the Earth, but not necessarily equally. Think about is as you're walking around your own yard. The grass is cool, but the concrete of your driveway - it tends to be hot. It holds on and collects more of the heat from the sun's rays.

The land and sea behave the same way. As the sun beats down the land heats more quickly while the ocean stays, roughly, the same temperature all day. It is that unequal warmth that forms somewhat of a boundary, what we call the sea breeze, basically a mini cold front.

Typically, it forms just inland of the beaches and will race inland through the late morning and afternoon depending on that day's weather conditions.

But, just because a sea breeze boundary forms on any given summer afternoon, that does not mean that you are going to get rained out. There are a lot of other factors at play when a sea breeze boundary forms. Is there enough moisture for that boundary to work with to produce showers and storms? Is high pressure in control? Is it squashing down the clouds that try to develop? Or, do we have a strong northwesterly or westerly, offshore, wind - really pinning that little mini cold front - what we call the sea breeze - up against the beaches.

If that's the case, it's going to be harder for the sea breeze to move inland and produce showers and storms. Sometimes you only get clouds and sometimes you don’t even get that along the sea breeze. You simply notice a shift in the wind and maybe an increase in late afternoon and evening humidity.

And next time you’re out on a summer day you might even be able to see the sea breeze in-action. If you’re in the Savannah area and you look towards the coastline in mid to late-afternoon, it may appear mostly sunny without even a cloud in the sky while at the same moment, looking inland and west of Savannah, it could be dark and stormy. Often times, when the sea breeze rolls inland, you’ll get showers and storms along it, but behind it the sky will clear and rain will leave your area.

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