Weather Blogs

November 24, 2014

The only thing more spectacular than a cold spell bringing freezing temperatures to all 50 states is a cold spell that brings widespread freezes and (Boom! Sizzle!) THUNDERSNOW. That’s what we saw this November, a massive freeze and the rare phenomenon of thundersnow. A November surprise. Brrr! Credit: NOAA On November 17 a massive cold spell brought freezing weather to 49 states. Only Hawaii wasn’t engulfed by the cold and even that sunny state had 31°F weather on the top of Mt. Kea. The... more

November 16, 2014

Do you hear the swish of the Sword of Damocles overhead? Last winter I wrote about that ancient sword and compared it to the threat of winter cold. Something scary is hanging overhead! (By Richard Westall. 1812) Just as in the Greek legend, when a deadly sword hung suspended over Damocles throne (to remind him that with power came great danger and worry), so tremendous cold lies due north of the US. It is just waiting to crash in on us. It has already created the coldest November weather in... more

November 2, 2014

One of the largest eruptions in centuries in Iceland has been ongoing for months, flooding the skies with massive pollution and…. Wait! You haven’t heard of it? Meet the Mt. Bardarbunga/Holuhraun lava field eruption, the largest Icelandic eruption in centuries. Source: Wikipedia Courtesy of Peter Hartree Part of the reason for this is that it hasn’t killed or severely injured anyone. It is in an isolated area of north Iceland and doesn’t even eject ash into European air traffic like the much... more

October 31, 2014

Right before Halloween, Washington and British Columbia were hit by a “Zombie Hurricane”. Hurricane Ana attacked the Hawaiian Islands, died out and then its remains made a U-Turn and stormed the Pacific Northwest. Aloha! Hawaiian Hurricane Ana before it became a “zombie”. Lately weather watchers have playfully started calling the still dangerous remnants of tropical storms “zombies”. The problem is that a hurricane may lose its name, its structure and even its place on National Hurricane... more

October 19, 2014

For the news, “If it bleeds, it leads.” That’s why you seldom hear the good news. Here’s some good news: Bermuda was hit by two, (yes two!) hurricanes. Huh? The hurricanes hit in a single week and Bermuda came out of it with no deaths, little damage and very little blood. The tiny tropical paradise is amazingly tough. October has been a rough month for Bermuda. On October 12, Tropical Storm Fay slammed the island with 61 – 82 mph winds. It ripped up trees, roofs and telephone poles, destroyed... more

October 5, 2014

Chicago, the windy—errr, snowy—city, was hit by snow during the first week of October. That’s the earliest snowfall since World War II! For those of us who still shiver when we hear the words “Polar Vortex”, the early cold makes us worry that there will be a repeat of the frigid misery of last winter. Is there another Arctic blast waiting to freeze us again this winter.   Brrrr! Is this the future? (As faithful readers of The Old Farmer’s Almanac know, their staff has answered “yes.” In the... more

September 20, 2014

If you are in Texas and the Southwest, you saw weather go from drought to flooding. Phoenix almost floated away. Austin was not only weird, but also downright watery, with 5 – 7 inches of rain. Throughout the West, people had to haul out their dusty umbrellas. Welcome, Hurricane Odile! The remnants of this Mexican hurricane are ultimately expected to stream as far north as the Midwest. The remnants of a Mexican hurricane are washing through the Southwest and Great Plains. (Can you imagine... more

September 8, 2014

Look out! You’re surrounded! No matter where you look—east or west—the cool little MJOs are causing mischief.  They are creating hurricanes and floods, deadly riptides and uber-cool surf. These cool MJO make storms. The M should stand for Mischief, but technically an MJO is a Madden Julian Oscillations and the cool MJOs bring rainfall. See enlarged map here. Tracking troublemaking MJOs gives you a good idea on where hurricanes and dry spells will start. Source: NOAA. There are warm and cool... more

September 2, 2014

Californians know the current drought is leaving them high and dry, but recent scientific findings show that they really are being left higher when they are drier! As California’s water supplies grow lower, its mountains are rising higher! Source: USGS It’s not just California—the entire West is on the move. The West has been suffering through two and a half years of dry weather. Lakes are evaporating, rivers are running at a trickle and snowy mountaintops are reduced to dry brown crags.... more

August 22, 2014

Look out for little troublemakers. Small weather patterns in the Tropical Pacific can trigger tropical storms in the Atlantic. If a Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is in the wrong place, the Gulf of Mexico can churn up a hurricane. So far, the Atlantic Hurricane Season has been delightfully quiet. Warm El Niño conditions developed in May and lingered into June. These conditions created high altitude winds that tended to cut down disturbances in the Atlantic before they could develop into... more


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