Monthly Archives: October 2015

Why are cold snaps in autumn so short-lived?

Over the past weekend, southern Wisconsin experienced its first cold snap of the season with widespread morning lows in the upper 20s on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Often, cold snaps in autumn are short-lived, as this recent example was, affecting usually one or two nights at most. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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What is a 100-year flood?

A flood occurs when water flows into a region faster than it can be stored in a lake or reservoir, absorbed into the soil, or removed by runoff into a drainage basin.

There are several conditions that can result in flooding: a long-lasting rainfall over a watershed, intense thunderstorms, or rainfall that causes rapid snow melt. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Severe Weather

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Is hurricane forecasting improving?

There are two important components of hurricane forecasting: the hurricane track (or where it is going) and hurricane intensity (or how and if its winds are increasing). Track forecasts have improved over the last two decades; intensity forecasts have not improved.

In 1992, when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, the average three-day forecast error in hurricane track was about 300 miles. Today, a six-day forecast of the typical hurricane track error is now less than 200 miles, more accurate than the three-day forecast was 23 years ago. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather, Tropical

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