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14 March 2014

NWS Use of the Word Haboob Sets off Firestorm In West Texas

A haboob is a type of severe dust storm. The word has been in common use for at least 60 years, and it dates back to the 1920′s in the Sudan. The word itself is Arabic in origin, and the American Meteorological Society atmospheric science dictionary defines it thus: haboob (Many variant spellings, including habbub, habub, haboub, hubbob, hubbub.) A strong wind and sandstorm or duststorm in northern and central Sudan, especially around Khartoum, where the …


8 March 2014

Why your car is covered with an inch of ice, instead of a foot of snow!

Guest post by Ilissa Ocko Ever wondered what the “wintry mix”’ you were suffering through was really made of, or argued with a friend about whether you were seeing sleet or hail? Wonder no more! On a recent ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, my husband and I encountered almost every type of precipitation possible. It had snowed four feet in four days where we snowmobiled in Yellowstone National Park; …


13 February 2014

Wild Weather and Forecast Uncertainty

The flooding in the UK is the worst on record in many areas, and the SW mainline rail to Cornwall has washed away. This being just the latest in a series of powerful storms that have blasted the UK and Ireland since early January. Some areas had a months worth of rain last night alone, and some areas had two months worth of rain in two days. The BBC has …


8 February 2014

Footsteps Of The Oldest Britains Uncovered By Phenomenal Seas

The Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4 this week used a word for the sea-state it has never used before – PHENOMENAL. It’s been that bad, with storm after storm and the worst flooding on record (Records of flooding go back to the time when the Virginia was a colony!). The storms have given archeologists a priceless gift though, because they uncovered footprints in the sand that have been dated …


18 January 2014

The Challenges of Climate Change Communication

This is a re-post from the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. It’s a subject that meteorologists who work in TV deal with every day. Even if communicating climate is not part of your job, you’ll still learn some real science about climate. If your job is in any way connected to communicating science, this is a must see/read. Richard Alley, Susi Moser Featured in Yale Forum Communications …


17 January 2014

Premiering Next Week- Revenge of The Polar Vortex (Starring the Dogs of Winter)

It’s coming back. Will it be as cold as the last one at the beginning of the year? Too soon to say but there are growing signs it will last longer and may come in several waves. Numerical weather ensembles (See last two blog posts) are in remarkable agreement that the cold will return. Model guidance is indicating temperatures as much as 40 degrees below normal by later next week! …


14 January 2014

The Polar Vortex Gets Its 15 Minutes of Fame

I was asked by the AGU to do a post about the Polar Vortex for the AGU Blog THE BRIDGE. You can read it by clicking on the image below: and then you should read Bob Henson’s piece from the NCAR AtmosNews Journal


2 January 2014

Cold and Snow, and High Winds As Well For Northeast USA. Storms Threaten UK Again as Well.

A strong winter storm will hit the NE later tonight and this one will have bitter cold and high winds. Note the predicted wind gusts at sunrise Friday from the European Model, and because of this Gale Warnings are in effect for waters from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine and into Atlantic Canada. Rawinsonde balloons this morning show a jet stream approaching 180 knots heading into the Atlantic, and this …


24 December 2013

UK Pounded By Severe Winds. Friday May Be Worse!

A series of powerful storms is crossing the UK and numerical weather models indicate the worst may be on Friday. Some guidance is indicating the pressure at the center of the low may dip to an incredible 930 millibars (that would be about the same as a Category 4 hurricane). The storms are developing as jet stream winds over North America reach near record levels at over 250 knots!! I’ve …


17 November 2013

November Severe Weather Outbreak Expected Sunday in Ohio Valley

I cannot remember the last time I saw a moderate risk for severe storms in November, but it has seemed to happen more often in recent years. A negatively tilted trough will swing through the region on Sunday and severe storms will likely develop along a fast-moving cold front. The wind field will be strong as well with south winds of 20-30 mph ahead of the front, with almost all …


10 November 2013

Scope Of The Philippine Disaster Becoming Apparent

Two videos you should see. It now seems the death toll will be in the thousands…perhaps the tens of thousands… and the aftermath…      


8 November 2013

Amazing Image of Haiyan From SUOMI

The resolution is 375 meters on this image. Ctsy. Dan Lindsey at CIRA in Colorado. There was apparently a big jump in lightning around the eye at landfall. More on that here. GOES R will have on-board lightning detection when it launches in a couple of years. This instrument alone is likely to lead to some new discoveries and significant improvements in now-casting and forecasting. A nice loop of the …


7 November 2013

The Philippines Holds Its Breath as Severe Typhoon Haiyan Approaches

Winds of over 190 mph and millions in its path. High potential for a major catastrophe. Radar image at sunrise in the Philippines showing an intense eye wall approaching… Bacolod, a city of over a half million, may get the brunt of Haiyan.


30 October 2013

Sandy A Year Later- A Lot of Lessons Learned and Knowledge Gained

My friend Bob Henson at the National Center for Atmospheric Research has a great piece on Atmos News about Sandy today. NCAR has published some amazing high-resolution model runs of Sandy, and in some ways Sandy actually behaved like a tornadic super-cell. The model runs show that as Sandy approached a cold front, it tilted tubes of rotation air from the horizontal to the vertical. This same thing happens in …


27 October 2013

The Big UK Windstorm You Will Hear About Tomorrow

There are some signs that the low may not reach quite the intensity earlier, but I would not count on that. It may indeed may be one of the strongest storms in quite sometime in Britain. Matt Taylor’s weather broadcast on the BBC is below: Click image to see it. Below is the GFS Model for 3 AM Tuesday morning. The height of the storm will likely be Monday night. …


14 October 2013

The Coastal Storm That Never Ends

Here on the Delmarva, we’ve had 4 days of rain and a lot of it. Over 4.6 inches here in Salisbury, but parts of Delaware have had well over 6 inches. The wind hasn’t been anything like Sandy, or even a strong nor’easter, but it’s been blowing steady at 20-35 mph for four days! Waves and tides are affected by three factors however. 1.Wind Speed (How high are the winds) …


3 October 2013

Why Your Local Meteorologists Couldn’t Care Less What The Weather Channel Calls A Winter Storm.

At the American Meteorological Society’s Conference on Broadcast Meteorology last June the broadcasters were asked to raise their hands if they used The Weather Channel’s (TWC) winter storm names. One person raised their hand (and that person worked for a station owned by the same company as the TWC!). Virtually every government and private meteorologist in the country sees this for what it is: A publicity stunt to raise ratings. …


20 September 2013

Super Typhoon Usagi Approaches Taiwan With 250 km/hr Winds

Typhoon Usagi is the meanest storm on the planet right now and actually all year. Winds reached 160 mph, making it the same as a Cat 5 hurricane. The animated satellite image below from (CIMMS at the Univ. of Wisconsin) shows a very small eye indicating an intense storm with extreme winds. It will brush the south coast of Taiwan tomorrow and then head to near Hong Kong. Water temps …


13 September 2013

Floods Wreak Havoc Along Colorado Front Range

The flooding continues in Colorado tonight, and model guidance indicates there is more to come through the night. A plume of tropical moisture can be seen clearly on the GOES water vapor images, and this plume is bringing a lot of moisture straight out if the Tropical Pacific into Colorado. Up-slope winds are blowing from the Kansas prairies, where there is a load of warm moist air from the Gulf …


9 September 2013

Are Hurricane Season Forecasts Ready For Prime Time??

Weather and climate forecasts have value because decisions and plans can be made that save money, and (more importantly) lives. This is why so much research is underway into making an accurate prediction of what the rate of sea level rise will be in the coming decades, and how precipitation patterns will change as the planet gets warmer (from increasing greenhouse gases). Shorter predictions for a few months ahead can …