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Tropical Storm Harvey Means High Pressure, High Heat In Phoenix

Meteorologist Ken Waters points out Hurricane Harvey as it churned over Houston.
(Photo by Holliday Moore - KJZZ)
Meteorologist Ken Waters points out Hurricane Harvey as it churned over Houston.

As Hurricane Harvey churned off the Gulf crashing into Texas, temperatures ahead of it dropped a full ten degrees in Houston.

Conversely, the mercury pushed toward a record high of 111 degrees here in Phoenix and record highs across the Southwest.

Typically, on August 27th, the high in central Phoenix tops out just over the century mark, while monsoons continue threatening bursts of much needed rain.

But, meteorologist Ken Waters with the National Weather Service says that's not happening so long as — now downgraded — Tropical Storm Harvey hangs heavy over southeast Texas, refusing to move east.

“We’re indirectly related to this," he explained while pointing out two distinct circles on a weather map.

The moving map showed the circles side-by-side, churning in opposite directions.

He pointed to the portion over the Southwest's Four Corners region, adding, "The high pressure that’s sitting over us right now providing these hot temperatures, that’s kind of keeping that storm from moving out of Texas.”

He explained our neighbors in the great state of Texas are caught in the middle of what he called a "Teeter-Totter Effect."

On one end of the teeter-totter, he said, "we have high pressure over the desert Southwest creating flow from the west central U.S.," and on the other end, "you have high pressure out over the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic."

Tropical Storm Harvey sits right in the middle, Waters said, "and, it's basically trapped, where both sides have about the same weight and keeps that storm more or less in the same location."

By midday Monday, our high pressure system was colliding into Harvey's low pressure pattern just over the Texas panhandle, creating an imaginary wall.

"So, it's keeping us dry and it means that moisture from (Tropical Storm Harvey) is not going to make it into the Southwest."

At least, he said, not until Tropical Storm Harvey releases its grip on the Gulf Coast and moves on sometime around Thursday.

News Science
Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.