Weather Whisperers

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About this Blog

Evelyn Browning Garriss doesn't just blog about the weather forecast; she provides insight on WHY extreme weather is happening--and a heads up on weather to watch out for. A historical climatologist, Evelyn blogs about weather history, interesting facts about the weather, and upcoming climate events that affect your life--from farming to your grocery bill. Every week, we look forward to another great weather column from Evelyn. We encourage our weather watchers to post their comments and questions--and tell us what they think!

May 22, 2017

My last post celebrated cloud lovers and how they shook the science world with their cell phones. They discovered 12 clouds now listed in the International Cloud —Atlasthe first officially recognized in 30 years. Now it’s time to meet these strange new clouds filling the skies.  Clouds recognized since 1986. Source: NOAA. The World Meteorological Organization originally recognized only 10 types (genera) of clouds and organized them by form and height, with genus, species and varieties just... more

May 15, 2017

Reach into your pocket and you will find the newest weather instrument—your cell phone. Thanks to people’s cell pictures, scientists have now discovered 12 new clouds. These are the first new clouds discovered in 30 years.  For a cloud to officially exist, it must be recognized by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which lists types of clouds in its International Cloud Atlas. This year it published a new edition and for the first time since 1986 has listed new types... more

April 20, 2017

One of the joys of working with weather is that I also work with satellite pictures—to see our beautiful Earth from above. We have all seen the local weather forecasters showing satellite pictures of approaching rains and storms. But most don’t get to see some of the other pictures, especially some of the incredible new nighttime pictures, allowing us to follow the weather day and night. These pictures also show the incredible beauty of the city lights. Check out the recent picture of Europe.... more

March 22, 2017

It was the giant blizzard that was scheduled to paralyze New York City and predicted to become “life-threatening” in Philadelphia.  Local governments responded sensibly. Warnings were issued and road clearing equipment readied. Schools closed. Amtrak canceled and modified its service while airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights. Then the storm hit—and missed. Fortunately, the brunt of it did not hit the vulnerable cities. Instead, the whole system hit further west and north, into areas... more

March 13, 2017

What a magical sight! Dry, barren deserts are blooming with millions of flowers, drowning the land with lush colors. Other climates have the luxury of flowers blooming throughout the year. In western deserts, this is all concentrated in a few enchanted weeks. The reason, of course, is water. It requires perfect conditions for flowers to bloom. (Ask any frustrated gardener.) There has to be enough water to nourish the plant and warm enough weather for the plant and bloom not to freeze. Later... more

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 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

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

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