Category Archives: Weather Dangers

What is a heat wave?

A heat wave is a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and usually humid weather. The World Meteorological Organization is specific in its definition by stating that a heat wave is when the daily maximum temperature for more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 9 degrees.

Heat waves are caused by very hot, stagnant air masses. Regions that suffer under intense hot spells are usually dominated by a surface high-pressure system with a mid-tropospheric ridge aloft. Dew points are also high, and to compound matters, wind speeds are often low. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Weather Dangers

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What forces are in play when high winds knock down objects?

Wind is air moving from areas of high atmospheric pressure to low pressure. Violent destructive winds, as well as gentle summer breezes, result from a complex interplay of different forces.

One of these forces results from a pressure gradient, or how fast pressure changes over distance. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather, Weather Dangers

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Why do thunderstorms scare dogs?

Some dogs seem to have a great fear of thunderstorms, as do some humans.

Their fear can drive them through closed doors or windows, or send them cowering to an isolated spot in the house. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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How does weather impact forest fires?

Fires require fuel to burn, heat to ignite and oxygen to feed the chemical reaction. Weather plays a key role in all of these requirements to start and spread a forest fire. Weather and climate are important in making fuel … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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What is “black ice?”

The term “black ice” refers to one of two conditions: a new layer of ice on water, which appears dark in color because the ice is transparent and so we see the deep water below, or a layer of clear ice on a roadway, which makes for hazardous driving conditions.

In both cases the ice is not black, but transparent, and therefore shows the color of the underlying surface. Continue reading

Category: Seasons, Weather Dangers

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