Weather 101

You Want Tornado Facts? Here Are 20 Interesting Things About Tornadoes I Bet You Didn’t Know

Tornado Facts

Knowing some basic tornado facts can help keep you safe during the months of spring and early summer, when tornadoes are most common in many areas of the United States. That's when tornado season is at its peak, though twisters can occur any time during the year.  Tornadoes are complex weather phenomena, as are the storms that produce them. There's much about tornadoes that meteorologists are still trying to understand about them so they can better forecast when and where they'll … [Read more...]

Ice Quakes, Ice Booms & Other Mysterious Winter Weather Phenomena… Should We Be Worried?


Have you heard a loud boom outside recently? If you're experiencing extremely cold winter weather, then you might be hearing ice quakes -- also called frost quakes. What's an ice quake? Scientifically known as a cryoseism, an ice quake (or frost quake) is a rare but surprising phenomenon that is caused when water seeps into the ground and then quickly freezes and expands, cracking the ground around it. … [Read more...]

What Is Lake Effect Snow & How Does It Form?

Lake Effect Snow

If you live anywhere in the Great Lakes area of the United States, then lake effect snow is something you likely experience throughout the colder parts of the year. Lake effect snow is most common among the eastern and southern shorelines of the Great Lakes, which include Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior -- names often memorized by the popular mnemonic "HOMES." The combination of the warm water temperatures along with the much colder air blowing in … [Read more...]

5 Weather Science Facts Many People Get Wrong – Do You?

science facts

I was reading the results of a recent poll that indicated a quarter of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth, and I was left to wonder just how many science facts people get wrong. Granted, science is a tough subject. For the record, I’m no bona fide scientist. Rather, I’m a lifelong weather bug who loves to research and write about one of my favorite topics. And there are so many fun science facts about meteorology that I’ve learned over the years – some of which are contrary to … [Read more...]

4 Sizzling Facts About Summer Weather That May Surprise You!


Down in Florida, where I live, we seem to have summer weather for about 8 months out of the year. My friends up north say they’re lucky if they see any signs of summer for more than a few weeks at a time. Of course, no matter where you live in the United States, sooner or later, hot, summer weather will find you -- even if only for a short period of time. But when exactly is summer? What causes summer weather? And what's up with those "dog days" of summer? … [Read more...]

7 Cool Facts About Unseasonably Warm Chinook Winds And How Chinooks Affect The Weather

chinook winds

If you live in the Great Plains or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, you probably are quite familiar with Chinook winds. Also known as a Foehn – or Fohn wind – Chinooks are a type of dry, warm winter wind that commonly occurs on the downslope, or lee side, of a mountain. A Chinook wind occurs when warm air that has lost most of its moisture on the windward side of a slope slides down the leeward side. … [Read more...]

Alberta Clipper Snow Storms: What You Need To Know About Alberta Clippers In The Winter

alberta clipper

You've probably heard of an Alberta clipper before. While Los Angeles also has 'clippers,' those are the kind that are more likely to make a 3-point shot on the basketball court than dump snow in the winter, like the clippers from Alberta do. You see, Alberta clippers are a type of winter storm system that usually forms over Alberta, Canada. Clipper winter storms are also known to form in the other lower Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. These are called Manitoba … [Read more...]

10 Exosphere Facts: The Transition Between The Atmosphere And Outer Space


At roughly 300 miles from sea level to the top of the thermosphere, the bulk of Earth’s atmosphere is relatively thin compared to the 8,000-mile diameter of our planet. At the very top of the atmosphere is the exosphere, which is usually considered as the lower boundary of interplanetary space. The exosphere is a relatively mysterious place, at least compared to the lower layers of our atmosphere. Considering that we live in the troposphere, and that 3 other atmospheric layers divide us … [Read more...]

What Are Sun Spots? (The Kinds The Sun Gets – Not Your Skin!)


What are sun spots? No, I'm not talking about those flat gray or brown skin spots we get as we age, also called sunspots. I'm referring to dark spots that pop up on the sun. The sun may look pretty peaceful from 93 million miles away, but if you were to get a little closer to it, not only would you likely end up charbroiled, you'd also see that the sun is actually a very active place indeed. From streams of particles in solar wind to massive solar flares, the sun is literally the … [Read more...]

How To Measure Wind Damage From Tornadoes, Hurricanes & Other Storms


Wind damage – its dramatic impacts are sometimes the first images we see following a hurricane, tornado, or strong thunderstorm. Fortunately, meteorologists are doing an incredible job at improving forecasting methods so homeowners, municipal leaders, and emergency officials can prepare for storms ahead of time and potentially prevent wind damage. In my Florida city, for example, hurricane season always means city and county code enforcement officials are out in strong numbers inspecting … [Read more...]