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Weather Facts: Tutt low

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A tutt low has broken up the hot and dry summer for the last week. Bill Hoglan was wondering what it is and how it differs from a tropical system.

Finally, stubborn high pressure has left the state opening the door for a tropical upper tropospheric trough also known as a tutt low to bring in some much needed rain.

A tutt low brings in tons of moisture and also colder air aloft. So when the air heats up, the air rises and the clouds bubble up into showers. As the air cools off at night the rain clouds collapse.

So how is a tutt low different from a tropical storm or hurricane?

Both systems contain lots of tropical moisture and bring in heavy rain and flash flooding. A tutt low is a cold core system with low pressure in the upper levels so most rain occurs during the day. A tropical system is a warm core system with low pressure near the ground which can produce rain 24 hours and stronger winds.

In the past, tutt lows have put big dents in droughts. We had a few in July 2007 which led to nearly 10 inches of rain. The last one occurred in June 2010. Here in Austin, we almost got six inches while in New Braunfels 10 to 12 inches fell in 24 hours causing significant flooding.

If you have a weather question feel free to email Zack Shields at

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