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    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. 

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    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.

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    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.

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    A few months ago, I posted a quiz with several weather questions for people to try to answer. It seemed to go over well, so here is round two. I’ll post the answers in a few weeks.

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    You’ve probably heard these weather terms many times - El Nino and La Nina. They seem to affect our weather and they come and go. Are they normal to occur? Where do they occur? Why does it affect our weather?

    What is La Nina?

    In this post, I’ll focus on La Nina since that is what will likely affect our 2021-22 winter weather.

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    As I write this, folks just a few miles away are sawing up downed trees and clearing debris from severe wind damage that occurred during a round of thunderstorms passing through the area the night before.

    No tornado was observed either by eye or on radar, so it appears to have been caused by straight-line winds. However, the worst of the damage was confined to a narrow area and is over a mile long. The relatively small area of damage may have been due to a microburst, a localized area of strong downward air that hits the ground and spreads out.

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    Looking at the title sounds almost like a 60s rock band, doesn’t it?

    Actually, I want to talk about precipitation. You’ve probably heard about acid rain and the environmental concerns associated with it. What it really should be called is “precipitation that is more acidic than normal” because precipitation is naturally slightly acidic. First, let’s give some background on what acidity is.

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    We're moving into fall and looking ahead, the outlook for winter temperatures continues the trend toward warmer temperatures.  


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    The passage of summer to fall happens this year on September 22, which is called the September or Autumnal Equinox.

    What is an Equinox and why do we use it?

    Equinox basically means “equal night.” It comes from a couple of Latin words. We have two equinoxes yearly, one in March (the March or Spring Equinox) and the other one in September.

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    At the writing of this post on September 2, we are in the average peak week of hurricane activity for the Gulf of Mexico. Remnants of hurricane Ida are drenching the East Coast, and a new hurricane is currently out in the Atlantic.

    The Earth’s weather is a complex system of winds, moisture, and heat. Hurricanes are a good example of all of these. They move huge amounts of heat from the hot tropics to the milder middle latitudes.

    What makes them form, and how do they move heat? I’m so glad you asked!

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    A tornado near Kirkland, Ill., on August 9. Photo by Gord Houghtby.

    About 6:30 p.m.

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    My blog post on “corn sweats” was widely read and got reprinted in some publications. In fact, it was read by an author of one of the articles I used as a reference. 

    Dr. Satish Gupta, emeritus professor at University of Minnesota, sent an email with some concerns about some of the wording used in the post and with findings from a separate study. 

    From Dr. Gupta:

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    Growing up, we would listen to the local radio station at breakfast. In addition to the news, they would play songs from the great crooners of the time, including Nat King Cole. One of his songs is The Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.

    As I look out my window, the sky has a milky, hazy appearance. What is haze and why does it happen?

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    When I talk to groups about the weather, I usually first open things up for any question someone may have on the subject. A lot of times I get similar questions, so I thought I would address some of those questions in this post.

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    As I write this article, corn has tasseled on about 80% of fields in Central Illinois. Apologies to those with corn pollen allergies!

    Corn, just like other plants, experiences evapotranspiration (ET). Evapotranspiration is when water is taken up by corn plants, water vapor - the gas form of water - is released into the atmosphere from the leaves while evaporation occurs from the soil, which also adds water vapor to the air. 

  16. Published

    First, thanks for your interest in the How Well Do You Know Weather quiz post from a few weeks ago. Some people sent responses and several said they enjoyed the quiz even if they didn’t send in answers. 

    Without further ado, here are the questions and answers:

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    Tornadoes can form in a few minutes and dissipate just as quickly. However, the conditions that may create a tornado and other severe weather can be seen hours in advance giving forecasters and the public the chance to be vigilant.

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    I have some pet peeves about weather casts. Temperature is one of them. During the summer when it gets hot and muggy, we start seeing weathercasters talk about “feels-like” temperatures. Media folks assume we know how they got those temperatures, which are always higher in summer than what the temperature actually is. It’s confusing to a lot of people. 

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    Game shows are on the rebound. Shows that were around in the 1960s and '70s like "To Tell the Truth" and "Match Game" are back on air, along with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" from the ’90s and the solid, never-went-away "Jeopardy." 

    Since there seems to be a renewed interest in trivia, this post is a game that anyone can play!

    The Rules

    Below are 10 questions. Some will be pretty easy, but a few will test your true weather knowledge. Each is worth 100,000 points - go big or go home!

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    We watch the news, search the web, or go to the weather app to see what the great outdoors is like at the moment and what it will be for the next few days. You may go ahead and look at the weather map. It typically has many lines, symbols and colors. Any idea what it all means?