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Category Archives: Severe Weather
A tropical cyclone is a rotating low-pressure system that has organized thunderstorms but no fronts. When a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph, it is called a hurricane. Hurricanes have never directly impacted the Upper Midwest region of the U.S.; however, the remnants of a hurricane or tropical storm have impacted the weather in the Midwest, including Wisconsin.
If a hurricane is particularly strong at landfall, it can move far enough northward to cause a significant rain event for areas in the Midwest. For the most part, such storms originally make landfall in Texas, Louisiana or Mississippi. These storms can be tracked by satellites or surface weather observations because they maintain an identifiable circulation pattern along their entire path. Continue reading
The heat index (HI) indicates how hot it feels.
The HI is calculated using an equation that is a function of air temperature and the relative humidity. The HI is sometimes referred to as the “feels-like” temperature. Continue reading
Yes, birds do get struck by lightning, although it’s not very common. When birds are flying during a storm, they are exposed to lightning strikes and thus can get hit directly. Birds will typically avoid flying in a thunderstorm. They … Continue reading
Fires require something to burn plus air to supply oxygen and a heat source to get the fuel to its ignition temperature.
Once a fire starts, weather is one factor of how it will spread and if it will grow. The important weather factors are temperature, wind and humidity. Warmer temperatures allow fuels to ignite quickly, and low humidity keeps the fuel dry and easy to burn. Wind brings oxygen to the fire and also can help to spread it. Continue reading
This question comes from one of our readers, based on casual observation. It is always good to get data and analyze such a generalization to find the best answer. So, we turned to the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.
The National Weather Service records the number of thunderstorm days at several sites across the U.S. A thunderstorm day is when thunder or lightning is detected at least once during the day. Since the mid-1990s, the nation’s primary surface weather observation network is the Automated Surface Observing Systems, or ASOS program, which has essentially replaced human observers. Continue reading