Monthly Archives: May 2017

Did someone predict the recent Wisconsin tornado?

We cannot yet forecast tornado occurrence with any accuracy. One problem is the small size of a tornado, which is a narrow column of strong winds that rotate around a center of low pressure.

Over the last 60 years, forecasts of the development of large-scale low-pressure systems, which often organize the ingredients needed to form a tornado, have steadily improved. Because of these advances, meteorologists are better able to predict those conditions a few days in advance, enabling forecasters to identify counties where there is a threat of severe weather sometimes as many as three days in advance. Two days in advance of the recent EF-2 tornado that hit southeastern Polk County, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center’s convective outlook issued a slight-risk for the area. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

Comments Off on Did someone predict the recent Wisconsin tornado?

Is the weather in Madison more extreme than other locations in the U.S.?

Sitting nearly in the middle of the vast North American continent, Madison has what is known as a continental climate. Continental climates are characterized by large annual extremes in temperature and humidity as well as very distinct seasons.

The continental nature of Madison’s climate is what makes a year’s worth of weather in Madison usually a lot more varied than a year’s worth in, say, Seattle. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

Comments Off on Is the weather in Madison more extreme than other locations in the U.S.?

Is the California drought over?

Drought in the United States has been assessed by a number of different measures over the last several decades. One of the older such measures is the Palmer Drought Index introduced in 1965. The Palmer Index is based on a … Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

Comments Off on Is the California drought over?