Weather Blogs

March 7, 2017

It’s time to celebrate being Irish (or pseudo-Irish) and look for that pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. I can’t help you with the Irish gig, but I can discuss rainbows. I can also pass on a Central European secret for how to get to the pot of gold. This is the season to start seeing rainbows, whether you are in Ireland or Texas. The heated air from the South is expanding north and mixing with the cold air remaining from winter—producing spring storms. The combination of... more

March 1, 2017

Who knew Californians might be calling the five dry years of drought “The Good Old Days”? The state is being slammed by flying “Atmospheric Rivers”—rivers in the sky. The state is floundering in rain, snow, floods and mudslides. Roads are washing out. Dams are threatening to fail. Hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate.  Californians needed some rain, but this is ridiculous. The old proverb “Big Droughts are ended by Big Floods” is proving disastrously true. Plumes... more

February 28, 2017

As I write this, winter 2017 has been mild across nearly all of the country, with above-normal temperatures and below-normal snowfall being the rule in most locations. This is generally in agreement with The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range forecast for this winter with the most significant exception being the heavy precipitation that fell across all of California. While we did forecast rainfall to be above normal across northern California, we forecast below-normal rain in the central and... more

February 22, 2017

When you look at the parades and parties of Mardi Gras, it’s hard to believe that it started with long hard winters and acts of charity. Most people know Mardi Gras as the last extravagant day before Lent. Even the name, Mardi Gras, translates to Fat Tuesday suggesting the last feast of rich food before the self-denial some Christians observe before Easter. However, before it was a day for parties, Mardi Gras started out as hungry day near the end of winter, when people needed charity. In the... more

February 6, 2017

With our forecast of a blizzard in many spots this February, it might be interesting to look at a few of the worst blizzards in history. Let’s stick to recent history—blizzards we remember! Worst Blizzards in (Recent) History Does anyone remember the blizzard of February of 1972?  I was near Ithaca, New York, where it snowed heavily between around 9:00 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m., leaving an accumulation of 29 inches during the 5 hours or so that it snowed. Helping to push cars that were stuck... more

January 24, 2017

For winter 2017, the Almanac has predicted colder-than-normal temperatures for most of the United States. Here’s a weather update. By November and December, temperatures at and around the North Pole were rising above freezing, while Siberia shivered through record cold. The north polar region has been experiencing temperatures some 30 to 50 degrees F above normal, which has kept sea ice formation at record low levels. Meanwhile, temperatures in Siberia have plummeted to –30° to –50° F,... more

January 22, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we can smell the rain coming?  My grandfather could even track squirrels with his sense of smell. What he was best known for, however, was his incredible nose for weather. He could tell a storm was approaching before anyone else in the county. One of my father’s earliest memories was running to warn neighbors that bad storms were coming so that they could get things covered. Most of us have smelt approaching storms. Source: Wikipedia Most of us have probably... more

January 9, 2017

Ever noticed that our important family holidays are during the absolute worst travel weather?  Well, it partly centers on our agricultural history. Both European and American culture is created, in part, from agricultural roots. You do not travel and celebrate in spring; you need to plant your crops. You don’t do that in summer; the crops need to be tended. Fall is harvest time. That only leaves winter. The Cows Are Slaughtered, The Corn Looks Good, Lets Drink Some Beer In the 17th and 18th... more

January 6, 2017

While the year brought flooding and other extreme events, 2016 was one of the quietest years for tornadoes. This certainly does not mean 2017 will be the same. The question is: What creates a quiet tornado season? Look to our warm oceans. The Tropical Pacific was unusually warm during the 2016 season. For tornadoes, this is a good thing. Warm currents and air suppresses tornado activity. Think of the ocean like a giant bath tub with water sloshing or oscillating back and forth. Not to... more

December 22, 2016

A new year is always ripe with possibilities. Though we have our forecasts, we also enjoy the tradition of looking to winter weather folklore. New Year’s Weather Folklore In particular, weather folklore often looks to the wind. Try this. Step outside as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve. Feel the wind and recite: If New Year’s Eve the wind blows south It betokens warmth and growth. If west, much milk and fish in the sea. If north, cold and storms there will be. If east, the trees will... more

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