Monthly Archives: July 2012

Will this be the hottest summer on record?

Our remarkably warm summer continues to take aim at some all-time record measures of heat here in Madison.

Just as we poked into the severe drought category on July 18, we were visited by fairly widespread heavy rains that night that delivered 1.43 inches of rain to Dane County Regional Airport. The morning of July 24 brought another 0.56 inches of rain and still more came that night into the morning of July 25. Thus, at least some relief of the drought has recently come our way. Continue reading

Category: Climate
Tags , ,
Comments Off

Is Dane County wind affected by Lake Superior ice?

A reader wondered whether his perception that it has become windier in southern Wisconsin over the past couple of decades has anything to do with the shorter Lake Superior ice season during the same time. Continue reading

Category: Climate
Tags , ,
Comments Off

How does our recent heat wave stack up against past events?

With another wave of dangerous heat upon us, it is of interest to consider how the last heat wave rates alongside other memorable heat waves. First of all, each day from July 4-6, Madison’s high temperature was more than 100 degrees with the 104 on July 5 ranking as third highest of all time. Moreover, we set record high temperatures for five consecutive days from July 2-6. Continue reading

Category: Climate
Tags , , , , ,
Comments Off

What is a derecho?

A derecho (pronounced deh-RAY-cho, a Spanish word meaning “straight ahead”) is an hours-long windstorm associated with a line of severe thunderstorms. It is a result of straight-line winds, not the rotary winds of a tornado — hence its name. Derechos in the United States are most common in the late spring and summer (May through August). Continue reading

Category: Severe Weather
Tags , , ,
Comments Off

How much energy does it take to produce a torrential downpour?

Recently, the Duluth-Superior metro area had devastating flooding a result of rainfall totals of 10 inches or more in some locations. You may have seen photographs of the damage wrought by the flood waters — washed-out roads, flooded homes, ruined crops, etc.

Even in the face of such dramatic damage it is easy to overlook the enormous amount of energy that is involved in simply processing the water involved in such enormous amounts of precipitation. Continue reading

Category: Phenomena
Tags , ,
Comments Off