Monthly Archives: March 2019

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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When is spring?

The seasons result from the tilt of the Earth and its yearly circling of the Sun. According to the astronomical definition, spring occurs when the Sun’s rays strike the equator at noon at an angle that is directly overhead. This particular time varies from year to year due to variations in the Earth’s orbit about the Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere the Vernal (or spring) Equinox (equi, ‘equal,’ and nox, ‘night’) occurs sometime between March 19 and 23, but often on March 20 or 21. This year astronomical spring arrives on March 20 at around 4:58 P.M. CDT. During the equinoxes all locations on Earth experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The Sun rises due East and sets due West. Equinoxes are the only two times a year that Sun only rises due east and sets due west for every location on Earth! After the Spring equinox, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the Sun, and we start to get longer, sunnier days.

Spring marks the transition from winter to summer. Meteorologists divide the year into quarters to compare seasonal and monthly statistics from one year to the next. Meteorological spring is defined as March through May and so begins on March 1. We might also define spring as the day on which, if there is precipitation, it is more likely to be in the form of rain than snow. For southern Wisconsin, that occurs later in the month of March. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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Why are icicles shaped like long skinny carrots?

Icicles typically form on days when the outdoor air temperature is below freezing but sunshine warms and melts snow or ice. Thus, you may notice that more icicles form on the sunny south-facing side of your home than on the … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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What is the best weather forecast model?

If you are not a student of meteorology, you should rely on your local weather forecasters for a good weather forecast — and southern Wisconsin has some very good local forecasters. It is their job to interpret the various numerical weather prediction models.

Numerical weather prediction models, or NWP, solve a complex set of mathematical equations that are based on the physics that drives how the air moves and how heat and moisture are exchanged throughout the atmosphere. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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