Weather Whisperers

Share: 

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!

February 23, 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

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

December 12, 2016

It’s December—time for the longest night of the year. With so little warming sunlight, it will be the coldest day of the year. Right? It depends where live! California, your coldest days are in December! Massachusetts, your coldest days are in January!  See the map below showing when coldest weather usually hits different parts of the USA. Notice a pattern?  Winter cold sneaks up on the West right away. It usually waits until January to hit most of the East. Up around the Great Lakes,... more

December 3, 2016

Why does the U.S. get hit with Arctic air? The media calls it the “polar vortex.” Here’s everything you need to know—in one short page. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is the blasting polar jet stream that circles the Arctic air mass. If it is strong, it keeps all that cold where it belongs—up in the Arctic Circle, making life interesting for the Canadians and Siberians. If it is weak, it lets all the frigid air escape south, and we get hit with a blast of winter misery.  ♫ When the wind breaks... more

November 28, 2016

The latest figures are out. As of end of 2016, more than half of the continental U.S. is dry or in drought. And it’s not expected to end. The dryness is not scattered. It is focused in three areas—the West, the South and the Northeast. What’s worse, the government really doesn’t see much room for improvement. They expect long sunny days and dead, brown lawns. Ouch! The US has three long, hard and dry strikes against it. Source: NOAA   Last year and this year through May, we had a... more

November 21, 2016

What happens when all this warm November air meets a cold front? The potential for fierce storms and crazy weather! So far, fall 2016 has been toasty. Of course, there have been occasional storms, but overall, October and November were unusually warm in most of the US.  Most of the United States has been warmer than average this fall. Source: NOAA This is hardly surprising. The Atlantic Ocean has been very warm this year, especially over the past few months. The Pacific Ocean waters off... more

Pages

Free Almanac Newsletters

Weather, sky watch, gardening, recipes, good deals, and everyday advice!