Weather Blogs

July 17, 2016

I love watching lightning—nature’s light shows—but, yes, it can be dangerous. Here’s some background on lightning and basic lightning safety rules. Lightning strikes more than 40 to 50 times a second during June, July and August. What you are watching are spectacular electric sparks. Just as you build up static charges when you shuffle your feet along a carpet, so the collision of ice and slush churning in a thundercloud builds up charges. The slush near the bottom of the cloud builds up a... more

July 10, 2016

Welcome to a whole lot of Nothing, or La Nada, a climate phenomenon that causes relatively normal weather in between El Niño and La Niña. What is La Nada? The giant, warm El Niño that brought a mild winter and wet spring is gone. The cool, dry La Niña is coming. In between these two types of weather is La Nada: “The Nothing”. The waters in the Tropical Pacific are, to quote Goldilocks, “Not too hot, not too cold—they are just right.” Find out more about the El Niño and La Niña climate... more

June 19, 2016

What does it take to boil an egg? Submerge it in hot water. What does it take to boil a continent? We are finding out with this hot and humid weather. North America is surrounded by hot water and summer breezes are wafting that hot humid air inland. This last weekend, almost everyone got to “Feel the Burn.”  The oceans are hot and that hot air is going to flow inland over the next couple of months. A major El Niño just ended. Measurements last month claimed this was the hottest May on... more

June 16, 2016

Weather satellites do more than track the Earth’s skies; they also observe the oceans and keep us safe. Quick question. Which is more dangerous? These giant killer whales … Source: NOAA Or, these itty-bitty plant cells? Source: NOAA photo courtesy Vera Trainer   You probably guessed! Those tiny algal plant cells are part of the giant poisonous bloom that closed fisheries in the West Coast. Mean Little Blooms The little Pseudo-nitzchia plants produce a poisonous chemical, domoic... more

June 4, 2016

The Atlantic Hurricane Season has been very impatient. Even before the season officially began, Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storm Bonnie crashed the party. Such an early start to the hurricane season is incredibly rare. In recent years, there have been warmer-than-usual waters in the Atlantic, allowing a tropical storm to start early; however, it is very rare for there to be two storms before June 1.  Since hurricane records began in 1495 (when an unnamed storm upset one of the voyages of... more

June 1, 2016

May came and with it, once again, floods hit Texas. The Lone Star State is always grateful for good rains—but the recent flooding was ridiculous! There was more damage from the summer rains than there was on the East Coast where Tropical Storm Bonnie was pounding South Carolina! Last year Texas had the same problem with enough flooding rainfall in May to completely end its multi-year drought by early June. The floods were deadly and damaging, but the after effect was a blessing for the state... more

May 15, 2016

It’s the greatest fight on Earth. It’s not Godzilla vs. King Kong, but when volcanoes battle hurricanes, it’s extraordinary! That is what we will see this summer. People have trouble estimating how massive these forces are. If you dropped a Hiroshima-sized atom bomb in a Category 1 hurricane (the weakest ones), the energy would be lost in the swirl of the storm. As for volcanoes, the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia blew up to 35 square miles of debris up to 75 miles high. So what... more

May 10, 2016

Good bye Boy.  The El Niño is on its way out. It brought more rain in some areas plus lower summer food and cooling prices. But his sister is coming, and La Niña is no lady. The El Niño weather pattern has been in place since last summer over the central Pacific Ocean; it brought above-average rainfall and surprisingly warm temperatures. However, the waters are cooling even more quickly than experts thought it would. Unfortunately, this means scientists are expecting its twin sister, the... more

April 18, 2016

Some people just complain about weather. Others attempt to understand and profit from it. And a third, rare, group turn it into a playground, something to learn about, experience and enjoy. That’s what Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum did. This April, we (The Weather Whisperers) gave a talk and got to visit the museum’s new exhibit, “Riding The Whirlwind: Weather in the West”. Filled with art, spectacular pictures and hand-on exhibits for the kid in all of us, it... more

April 14, 2016

Have you enjoyed shivering your way through the latest bout of volcano weather? After a record-setting warm March 2016, early April was really cold in parts of North America. Why the cold blast? Two cold fronts whizzed in and sent temperatures plunging to record lows. It was a gift from Mt. Pavlof in Alaska.  Scientists have known for a long time that if a volcano eruption is big enough, it can alter weather. Back in 1815, Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora exploded and put up so much debris that it... more


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