Weather Blogs

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

August 19, 2014

El Niño is coming! It’s going to be HUGE! No, it’s dying! No, it’s coming but it will be weak! There are a lot of different predictions on whether this winter will have an El Niño, Source: NASA Getting whiplash yet? Here’s what is going on. The El Niño is an ocean and weather pattern in the Tropical Pacific. Because it is so big, the pattern affects weather all over the globe. In particular, a strong El Niño brings warm winters to the North and drought-breaking rainfall to the West. Therefore... more

August 1, 2014

When does exploring a mystery end up sounding like a crude joke? Scientists exploring a mysterious crater discovered that it was caused by a weather-related gas attack! The mysterious crater at “the end of the world” Courtesy: Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor It was a cool mystery. A huge crater in Russia’s remote Yamal Peninsula, not showing signs of being a meteor strike, measured at least 150 feet deep and more than 210 feet across. The area where it was found translates as “the end... more

July 20, 2014

It’s the middle of summer. Are you hot yet?  NOAA has released a map showing when you can normally expect the hottest day of the year. For some people, it arrived in June or early July and cooler days lie ahead. If you live in most of the West or the Southern Plains, it will hit you in the next few weeks. And, if you are on the West Coast, you will have to wait a couple of months. Summer heat peaks in different times of the year. Source NOAA. See enlarged map here. The longest day of the year... more

July 14, 2014

It’s a bird; it’s a plane—no—it’s a polar vortex! AAAAAGH!   The jet stream wiggled far to the north in the West and dropped south in the Midwest, bringing cool weather. Source: European Ensembles (ECMWF MODEL) Relax; during the third week of July, we had a cold front. It was a bit stronger than normal and reduced July temperatures between 10˚–30˚F. Around the Great Lakes, it almost felt like autumn. Actually, it was refreshing, but some people needed to slip on a sweater. If you lived in the... more

June 14, 2014

The space storms are coming! The space storms are coming! Call out Paul Revere! Hide the women and children! Aaaaaaargh! Flare 1 and 2, coming at you! Sources: NASA/SDO/Goddard Wait a minute … the space storm came and went and you didn’t notice? Many experts did a lot of work to prepare for solar storms. The protections worked. The good news is that there was no bad news. Solar storms really do pose a threat. The energy from them can interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, producing what is... more


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