Weather 101

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

exosphere

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!)

sun-spots

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

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...]

What Is A Microburst? See How Microbursts Are Different From Tornadoes

microburst

Have you ever experienced a microburst?You would have probably thought you were in a tornado if you ever had been, since microbursts are strong, sudden blasts of winds that can exceed 160 miles per hour.While the microbursts I have experienced weren’t as destructive as the typical tornado would be, they can still be an alarming event -- especially when they spur young trees to suddenly genuflect toward the ground and cause yard furniture to make a tumbling 30-yard dash to the … [Read more...]

Hypercanes: Severe Hurricanes You Wouldn’t Want to Mess With

severe-hurricanes

You know those severe hurricanes in the movies that wipe out entire cities, wash away beaches, and render millions of people homeless?The computers at Hollywood’s studios aren’t the only ones cooking these devastating storms – those at the desks of some weather scientists across the United States are, too.As a resident of Florida – you know, that spit of land in Hurricane Alley that eerily seems to break off the U.S. mainland and sink into an Atlantic abyss in every other potential … [Read more...]

5 Dangerous and Costly Hurricane Facts and Myths Debunked

hurricane facts and myths

There are many myths about hurricanes, but the facts behind these storms could make the difference between life and death if you live by any of the common misnomers about one of Mother Nature’s most powerful types of storms.Many hurricane facts and myths circle about in every day pop culture. I myself even used to believe some of these myths. However, I grew up in Florida, one of the most hurricane-prone states in the country. So, I quickly learned that many of the things I heard about … [Read more...]

Rainbows: The Secrets Behind These Optical Illusions

rainbow-blue-sky

I bet you didn't know that when you shine a flashlight creating a beam of white light, within that beam all the colors of the rainbow exist.That simple white beam of light is actually a combination of purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red colored beams.If you take that beam of white light and send it through a glass prism, the different colors will show themselves vividly as they exit at a different angle.     Rainbows are created in a similar manner.  … [Read more...]

Like Meteorology? Become An Amateur Meteorologist

Some people are true weather bugs.Not only do they enjoy monitoring and studying weather, they actually want to be meteorologists.While being a bona fide atmospheric scientist usually requires getting a college degree and meteorological certification, there are plenty of people who bypass the formal education usually expected of today's professional meteorologists.Instead, they train themselves in meteorology to become skilled amateur meteorologists.Becoming An Amateur … [Read more...]