Category Archives: Weather Dangers

What is a fire cloud?

With the raging fires in Australia, you may have heard news reports of pyrocumulus, or fire clouds.

In Latin, pyro means “fire” and cumulus means “pile up.” Cumulus is a type of cloud that is common in Wisconsin, particularly in summer. Cumulus clouds are those puffy white clouds with tops that have a cauliflower appearance. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Severe Weather, Weather Dangers

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What is with the hot temperatures in Europe?

Europe recorded its hottest June ever.

The hottest temperatures occurred June 26-28, resulting from a high-pressure system that settled over Europe combined with hot winds from the Sahara Desert in Africa. France observed temperatures in excess of 113 degrees for the first time since temperatures were recorded. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Weather Dangers

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Why was the sky hazy on Thursday and Friday?

There have been large forest fires in northern Alberta, Canada, and the smoke has drifted over the Midwest, including Wisconsin.

Smoke can cause the sky to appear hazy, even if the smoke is high above the ground. The smoke scatters sunlight to make the sunlight diffuse and grayish. When the smoke is thick, it can cause brilliant red sunsets and sunrises, as it did on Thursday. When light beams interact with particles suspended in air, the light can be scattered or absorbed. Continue reading

Category: Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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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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What weather is hazardous to flying?

While there are weather hazards, flying is pretty safe.

Thunderstorms are a potential hazard, and aircraft avoid thunderstorms to avoid any potential threats or dangers. Continue reading

Category: Severe Weather, Weather Dangers

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