Weather Update

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About the Weather Update

Mike Steinberg is Senior Vice President for Special Initiatives at AccuWeather Inc in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the National Weather Association and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

November 16, 2017

With wildfires, hurricanes, drought, and natural disasters, this year has been by far the costliest ever in the United States in terms of weather events. The total cost of weather-related damages has likely exceeded $350 billion, at least $100 billion more than the previous mark. Of course, this figure does not include the far more important loss of lives. Hurricanes This was the first year that the United States was hit by three category 4 or higher hurricanes, and it was one of the two... more

October 25, 2017

I recently went to Florida to visit my sister and saw damage from Hurricane Irma—mostly downed or damaged palm trees. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season does not end until Nov. 30, but four major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater have already occurred. Let’s see how the 2017 season compares with the worst hurricanes in recorded history. Keep in mind that since the advent of satellite images in the late 1960s, we have known about every tropical storm and hurricane that forms—no more surprises... more

September 22, 2017

As Earth continues to warm, lower solar radiation may ease the heat’s impact—temporarily. Let’s take a look at some emerging weather patterns. Our Warming Earth July 2017 had very close to the same average temperature across Earth as did July 2016, which was the hottest month ever recorded. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2017 was 0.83 degree C (1.49 degrees F) above the 20th-century average... more

August 31, 2017

Overall, the long-range winter forecast for 2017–2018 shows generally colder temperatures than last winter for the U.S. and Canada but not colder than a typical winter, based on historical averages. As I write these words, there are no sunspots on the visible portion of the Sun, and solar activity is very quiet; this traditionally meant a cooling influence. So why isn’t it colder than average? Other weather factors are at play. Low Solar Activity As you may know, we at The Old Farmer’s Almanac... more

July 25, 2017

Now that we are well into hurricane season, I am continuing a look back at some of the most notable hurricanes that have hit the United States. In the past two issues, I looked at storms through the early 1990s. This month, I will conclude with five more recent ones. First, see the worst hurricanes from the first half of the 20th century and the second half of the 20th century. Hurricane Floyd Hurricane Floyd caused the largest peacetime evacuation in U.S. history, with 3 million people... more

June 30, 2017

With the beginning of hurricane season in June, last month we began to look back on some of the most notable hurricanes that hit the United States in the early 20th century. Time marches on: Hurricane season will continue until November 30, and this month we spotlight the most severe late–20th-century hurricanes. See the worst hurricanes from the first half of the 20th century. Hurricane Carol In August 1954, Hurricane Carol caused 72 fatalities and $462 million in damage, making it at the time... more

June 26, 2017

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that today’s 4th of July festivities will bring fireworks in the sky … from thunderstorms! In honor of nature’s fireworks, we are taking a look at some thunder lore and how thunder is born! What is Thunder? Thunder is born in the instant when the return lightning stroke leaves the earth and spears upward through the channel of ionized air. The channel is viciously expanded outward and bursts in the sonic shock wave that reaches up as a thunderclap. This initial... more

May 23, 2017

With the start of hurricane season upon us, let’s look back on some of the worst, most destructive hurricanes that have hit the United States. This month, we’ll look at five from the first half of the 20th century; in coming months, we’ll look at more recent major hurricanes. Note that it was not until 1953 that Atlantic/Gulf Hurricanes were given women’s names—with men’s names added in 1979—so the earlier storms are known by the region they most affected. The Galveston Hurricane (1900) The... more

April 25, 2017

With winter behind us, let’s look ahead to see our most likely weather over the rest of spring and the coming summer. The key to our upcoming weather is that Solar Cycle 24 is now well into its declining phase after reaching double peaks in late 2011 and early 2014. Despite having two maxima, this cycle is the smallest in more than 100 years; solar activity will continue to decline from these low peaks toward its expected minima in early 2019. With the current neutral ENSO (El Niño–Southern... more

April 3, 2017

There were a record number of high and low temperatures across the U.S. and Canada in 2016—and the same goes for 2017 thus far. Last winter was so much warmer than normal that I thought we could not possibly surpass that record warmth this winter. However, we keep breaking new weather records, especially for warmth. For you weather nerds (and I count myself among you), here are a few items that you might find of interest. Causes of Record Warmth Just paging through Science News, an article... more

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