Category Archives: Meteorology

Are ‘atmospheric rivers’ and the ‘Pineapple Express’ related?

Last week, central and southern California got hit with a substantial rain event, welcome news for a severely drought-stricken area that has not seen heavy rains in many months.

A high-profile element of the storm system that affected the region was a so-called “atmospheric river,” or the local variant of this feature sometimes known as the “Pineapple Express.”
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Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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What is a ‘panhandle hooker,’ and why is it called that?

A panhandle hooker, also called a Texas hooker, is a name for a storm that forms in the panhandles of Oklahoma or Texas. These storms bring interesting weather to the Midwest and Great Lake regions. The weather system gets its … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Severe Weather

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What is the windchill temperature?

What is the windchill temperature? The windchill describes the increased loss of heat by the movement of the air. The windchill is relevant to humans and other animals that need to maintain a constant temperature that is higher than their … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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How unusual was last week’s cold snap?

Through Friday, Madison experienced 10 straight days with temperatures at or below 32 degrees, or freezing.

And though that streak was interrupted (delightfully) over the weekend, it appears we will experience a return to sub-freezing temperatures by Tuesday. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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What kind of winter are we expecting?

Seasonal climate forecasts rely heavily on established relationships between climate and key climate forcing mechanisms, such as El Niño.

On seasonal time scales, the influence on the atmosphere of ocean temperature anomalies such as El Niño or La Niña is probably the single most crucial forecast component. This is especially true for forecasts of Wisconsin winters. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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