1. Published

    California has recently been slammed with extreme rainfall and snow in the high elevations, along with high winds. Media have attributed these events to an atmospheric river, but what does that mean?

  2. Published

    You may have heard weathercasters saying that December 1 is the beginning of meteorological winter. However, the calendar says winter starts on December 21. Why are there two dates?

    Meteorogical vs Astronomical winter

    December 1 is called the beginning of meteorological winter because we often start experiencing what we think of as winter weather by the beginning of that time. The same goes for spring weather by March 1, summer by June 1, and fall by September 1.

  3. Published

    Winter precipitation is on its way. Rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain are all potential types of precipitation. Rain is liquid water, while the other three are frozen at the end of their atmospheric journey.

    So, if snow, sleet, and freezing rain are all frozen water, what’s the difference?

  4. Published

    We all have been hearing about the mega-drought occurring in the west. California has been hard hit, with many of its lakes at record lows. Water managers in that area always hope for a good winter precipitation season to replenish some of the water that is sorely needed. While most of the moisture would come from snowpack in the mountains, another form of heavy rain may also occur near the coast that is called an atmospheric river.

  5. Published

    Forecasting day-to-day weather and predicting what climate will be five years or 50 years from now have very different outcomes. Both processes use most of the same land, water, and sea parameters, but the range for climate forecasts can also vary due to human activity. For climate forecasts, scientists may use the word "scenario" instead.

  6. Published

    As we move through August, some folks will reference it as being the “dog days.” What are they talking about?

  7. Published
    We tested your knowledge last month. Did you pass the test?
    1. True or False: Due to the Greenhouse Effect, the earth takes in more heat from the sun than it gives off.
      FALSE: What greenhouse gases do is slow the release of heat. If the earth really took in more heat than it received from the sun, the earth would be much, much hotter.
    2. An increase in temperature the higher you go in the atmosphere is called a (BLANK BLANK). 
  8. Published

    It's scorching outside. Stay inside and take our most recent weather quiz.

  9. Published

    It’s summer. It’s baseball season. Millions of people attend Major League games, just waiting for their favorite hitter to knock one into the seats. Fans contend with afternoon games that may be hot and muggy or just simply hot. I once went to a Rangers game while attending a conference where the temperature at the start of the game was 103°. 

    Does it make a difference what the weather is like for hitting home runs? You often hear broadcasters talking about the “heavy air” on a muggy day. Does muggy air reduce the chances of a home run?

  10. Published

    Earth’s atmosphere, while it appears to go forever, is actually a very thin layer of air. Technically the atmosphere reaches out for thousands of miles, but over half of the atmosphere is within 4 miles of the earth’s surface. Think about driving 4 miles- it’s not very far. By the time you’re 16 miles up, 98 percent of the atmosphere is below you. Again, not a big distance. At the upper end of this lies a concentration of a gas that protects life on earth. Without this gas, very little life would be able to survive.  This gas is called ozone. It works to prevent

  11. Published

    I don’t know about you, but this Ap

  12. Published

    When thunderstorms are predicted for your area, weathercasters will often include information on the severity of projected storms. What does this information mean?

    What makes a thunderstorm severe?

    The National Weather Service defines a severe thunderstorm as any storm that produces one or more of the following elements:

  13. Published

    Mississippi and Alabama were recently hammered with severe storms and large-scale tornadoes. The damage that large high-speed tornadoes can cause is phenomenal and life-threatening.

    Many have heard of the “F-Scale” or “EF-Scale” of tornado intensity. The F stands for Fujita, last name of the scientist that developed the scale.

  14. Published

    If you ever take a few minutes to watch what happens to clouds in the sky, especially in March, you’ll see many puffy shaped clouds form and fall apart. You’ll see these clouds at other times of the year, but they are around a lot in March and April.

    What clouds are puffy?

    Cumulus clouds form within a few hundred to few thousand feet above ground. They form from surface heating of the earth. Imagine a bunch of air bubbles being warmed by the land below them and acting like hot air balloons. 

  15. Published

    The title doesn’t work as well as Beware the Ides of March, but the sentiment is the same. If we experience dew point temperatures in the 50s or 60s in March, just be wary that the chance for severe weather is high.

  16. Published

    Ominous clouds and an approaching storm may be accompanied by the wail of a community siren. Other times they can be heard in the morning on what may be a nice day. What do the different blasts of the siren mean?

    Sirens are part of the Public Alert System to let those outdoors be aware of a local or national emergency. Originally designed for civil defense, sirens are also commonly used in the Midwest and other locations to alert people of severe weather.

  17. Published

    A large underwater volcano recently erupted in the South Pacific. Volcanoes can send huge amounts of gases and ash into the atmosphere. Very large eruptions can affect the climate.

    In 1815, one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in the last several thousand years occurred in the South Pacific. The following year was known as the Year without a Summer in the fledgling nation of the United States. Snow events occurred on the east coast in mid-summer. Western Europe had a very cold summer as well. 

  18. Published

    In December, I provided a weather quiz post, the second one I’ve done. Here are the answers. How did you do this time? Let me know! We’ll try another quiz later in the year.


    1. True or False, the United States experiences a monsoon. 

  19. Published

    If someone is sad that holiday season is over, here is something to celebrate.  The earth is the closest it will ever be to the sun for the year! 

    We all know the earth revolves around the sun. It takes about 365.25 days to do this, or one year.

    However, that revolution (or orbit) is not a perfect circle. Instead, it’s slightly elongated or elliptical, which means the earth is farther from the sun at one time and closer at another.

  20. Published

    Seeing the tragic consequences of the December tornado outbreak in the Midwest, I’m sure many folks are wondering if there are ways to make homes more resistant to wind damage, whether it’s straight-line winds or tornadoes. The answer is yes.