Category Archives: Meteorology

Do trees need cold weather?

Extreme cold weather can kill trees, and cold weather at the wrong time can damage trees. For example, a warm February and March in Michigan in 2012 brought early blooms to apple trees that then were killed by an April frost.

Some trees require cool temperatures, such as some fruit trees (peaches, cherries and blueberries) and nuts (almonds). Cold air along with less sunlight that comes with winter halts tree growth, preparing the tree to withstand freezing temperatures and then resume their growing the following spring. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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What’s up with all the wild weather?

Another week of destructive weather around our country culminated in the passage of Hurricane Maria over the island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday of last week. Some of the rainfall totals from automated stations on the island were of truly biblical proportions.

Though still subject to verification and a check on accuracy, 12.20 inches of rain fell in one hour at Gurabo Abajo, one of several stations on the southwest side of El Yunque, the high mountainous area in the northeast. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Tropical

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When does fall begin?

Even the least observant person has probably recognized by now that the days are growing shorter.

In fact, on Friday at 3:02 p.m., we will reach the autumnal equinox and the night will be as long as the day for the first time since late March. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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Why is lightning white?

Lightning is a huge electrical discharge.

Static charges form in a storm composed of ice crystals and liquid water drops. Turbulent winds inside the storm cause particles to rub against one another, causing electrons to be stripped off, making the particles either negatively or positively charged. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Severe Weather

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Is UW-Madison involved in hurricane forecasting?

Hurricane Harvey is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma hit Florida in October 2005.

Harvey made landfall early Saturday morning as a Category 4 storm with estimated sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts to 150 mph. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather, Tropical

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