Monthly Archives: August 2018

What is a 100-year storm?

The phrase “100-year storm” refers to the estimated probability of a storm event happening in any given year. A 100-year event has a 1 percent chance (or 1-in-a-100 chance) of occurring in any given year. The term “100-year flood” allows … Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized

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What forces a mid-latitude cyclone to develop?

Our rainy Friday was arguably the first storm, or cyclone, of the autumn/winter season. Though it will surely be followed by more powerful examples, you may well have wondered how do such storms come to be?

That has been the central motivating question in meteorological science for most of the past 100 years. During that time, meteorologists have learned a great deal about how these mid-latitude cyclones are formed. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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When is tornado season?

Tornadoes form in regions of the atmosphere that have abundant warm and moist air near the surface with drier air above, a change in wind speed and direction with height, and weather systems such as fronts that force air upward.

The United States provides these three ingredients in abundance, so it is not surprising that the majority of the world’s reported tornadoes occur in the U.S. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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Why did the end of July have nice weather?

During the last week of July — the 25th through 31st — the temperatures across Wisconsin were 1 to 4 degrees below normal. In fact, much of the Midwest was cooler than normal.

The cooler temperatures resulted from a Canadian high-pressure system that settled over the central U.S. during that final week of July. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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