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Weather Talk: Here's why spring showers cool the air

When the air is fairly dry, as it often is in spring, rain is still possible. In a cloud, the air is humid. You can tell it is humid up there by the presence of a cloud. When the air is dry near the ground, it can still be humid aloft.

When rain falls from a cloud into dry air, some of the rain is evaporated, which cools the air. Evaporation cools the air because of the energy used to evaporate the water.

A shower or a thunderstorm that drops heavy rain into dry air causes the air to cool dramatically. You may have noticed that spring showers and thunderstorms often make the weather turn much cooler. Sometimes, it can become almost cold.

In summer, particularly when the air is very humid, the heavy rain of a thunderstorm may cause cooling as the rain brings air down from above where it is much colder. But after the storm, the air only feels more humid.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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