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Category Archives: Severe Weather
The term “atmospheric river” has been in the news recently due to the flooding along the West Coast.
An atmospheric river is a narrow band of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. It is a narrow moisture plume that is a few thousand miles long and only about 250 to 375 miles wide. The term was coined in the early 1990s. Continue reading
The recent winter storm that affected large portions of the United States just days before the Christmas holiday was remarkable in a number of dimensions.
It was an example of a “bomb cyclone” which simply means that the rate at which its central pressure dropped — about 2.5% in a single day — was extremely unusual. Even though a 2.5% change in central pressure does not sound like very much, it was responsible for revving up the extreme winds that brought wind chills into the minus 30s and ground blizzard conditions to a large portion of the Great Lakes states on Dec. 23. Continue reading
In meteorology and climatology, a mesoscale network, or mesonet, is a network of automated environmental monitoring stations designed to observe meteorological phenomena on the mesoscale. In meteorology, “mesoscale” refers to weather events that range in size from about 1 mile to about 150 miles.
Mesoscale events last from several minutes to several hours. Thunderstorms, snow squalls and wind gusts are examples of mesoscale events. Due to the space and time scales associated with mesoscale phenomena, weather stations comprising a mesonet are spaced closer together and report more frequently than the larger synoptic scale observing networks run by the National Weather Service. Continue reading
Yes, and if you were awake late Wednesday night you might have observed lightning and heard thunder with the snowstorm.
It is not a common occurrence, but when lightning and thunder occur during a snowstorm, the event is reported as “thundersnow.” Continue reading
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, routinely monitors sea level and makes predictions of how it will change with time. The observations are based on a combination of tide gauge data and satellite observations.
Continuously tracking how and why sea level is changing is an important part of informing plans for adaptation to global changes. In a recent speech, former President Donald Trump falsely stated that “the ocean will rise 1/8 of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years.” Continue reading