Author Archives: WeatherGuys Editor

What is the Beaufort scale?

The Beaufort scale is a method of estimating wind speed based on the general condition of the surface of a large body of water with respect to wind waves and swell.

It is based on observation of sea state rather than accurate wind measurements. This scale allows sailors to estimate the wind speed just by observing the state of the sea surface. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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When did computer-based weather forecasts begin?

Just over a week past our extraordinary late season snow on April 27, it is worth considering how remarkable it is that such an unusual event can be so well forecasted several days in advance. The drive to use computer … Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized

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What is a cyclone?

A cyclone is a general term for a weather system in which winds rotate inwardly to an area of low atmospheric pressure.

For large weather systems, the circulation pattern is in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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Why was there a reddish tint in the snow this month?

On April 11, there were widespread reports and photos of dust residue on vehicles and tan/brown-colored snow in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

The origins of these residues can be traced back hundreds of miles to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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Is there a windiest time of year in Madison?

Given our recent weather, and with the pollen season dawning in southern Wisconsin, one may wonder if there actually is a windiest time of year in Madison.

Of course, a windy day can come along just about any time of year (the record gust of 83 mph in Madison occurred in June 1975) but the climatology suggests that March and April are the windiest months of the year with average wind speeds of 11.3 and 11.4 mph, respectively. November through February are not far behind, logging a four-month average of 10.5 mph. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons, Weather Dangers

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