April 27, 2017 - No Comments!

Early Start to Atlantic Hurricane Season

Arlene Develops in the Atlantic

While the Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn't officially start until June 1st, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season is off to an early start! Last week, Tropical Storm ARLENE became only the second named storm to develop in the month of April in the satellite era (since the mid-1960s)! The other storm only to ever develop in April was that of Ana in 2003, which developed became a named storm on the same day as Arlene, April 20th!

(NOAA: Satellite image of Tropical Storm Arlene on April 20, 2017)

Unusual Storm; Trending Early?

Arlene was definitely an usual storm, developing more than 1 month ahead of the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season, June 1st. Interestingly, this is the 3rd consecutive year that a system has developed before June 1st. Last year, an extremely rare and "remarkable" Hurricane Alex formed on January 13, 2016 and Tropical … Continue Reading

April 20, 2017 - No Comments!

The ABCs of Being Severe Weather Aware

The United States has some of the most volatile weather in the world--the “Super Bowl” of weather as our founder Paul Douglas says. From hurricanes to tornadoes, the United States gets it all and that leaves many of us vulnerable. Severe weather can happen quickly and your best line of defense is to stay informed.

Thankfully, as the science of meteorology continues to evolve and improve, forecasters are able to predict severe weather. Official forecasts are generated by NOAA National Weather Service. The Storm Prediction Center or SPC in Norman, Oklahoma, specifically, is in charge of forecasting severe threats across the United States. Their vision? To be “the trusted source for the prediction of tornadoes and other high-impact hazardous weather.” It is important for you to find your best way to get the latest severe information and to know some basic terminology.

Watch vs. Warning

Knowing the difference between these Continue Reading

April 12, 2017 - No Comments!

HealthCast: Pollution Has Been Found in the World’s Deepest Ocean

Pollution is everywhere. It is on our land, in our air and even more so in our oceans. Since our oceans encompass 71% of the entire globe it should come as no surprise that there is enough plastic waste to circle the globe four times. Garbage patches, comprised of tiny plastic particles formed by rotating currents, litter our oceans. For many years, pollution was thought to be a superficial matter. Now the problem of pollution has been found in the World's deepest ocean.

Concentrations of garbage exist in all oceans. The most known being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (above). Source: NOAA

Deep Ocean Pollution

The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of our Earth's oceans. Located in the northern Pacific the trench is 7 miles at its deepest, a place so far removed from human activity that it's hard to believe the area is contaminated by human-made pollutionContinue Reading

April 6, 2017 - 4 comments

D.J.’s PraeDigits: Heat Shifted West In March 2017

Follow Meteorologist D.J. Kayser on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

March 2017 was another warm month across parts of the U.S. - however that warmth switched coasts compared to February. Who saw a warmest - or wettest - March? In this edition of D.J.'s PraeDigits, let's take a look back some of the weather extremes of March 2017.

In March 2017, The Heat Shifted West

March 2017 Top Ten Warmest Locations

The heat shifted west for the most part during the month of March, with 60 long-term NWS climate locations from Washington state to the Gulf Coast seeing a top ten warmest March on record. A total of nine locations saw their warmest March on record, including Salt Lake City and Albuquerque. Here's a look at some of the locations with a top ten warmest March on record:

  • Alamosa, CO: 40.9 (Warmest March On Record)
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 50.1
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March 30, 2017 - 1 comment.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope and Why is It so Cool?

At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the James Webb Space Telescope team recently completed the acoustic and vibration portions of environmental testing on the telescope.

They essentially shook our next space telescope really hard to make sure no nuts and bolts fell out. We are planning on shooting this thing into space in October 2018... it will have to survive some rather turbulent motions as it rockets from Earth to its cozy orbit... some 1.5 million kilometers (1 million miles) away! Obviously shaking it was a wise decision.


In The Footsteps of Hubble & Beyond

So what is this thing? The JWST? It is the most sophisticated telescope to date! To astronomers, amateur or professional, this IS the next big thing to come out of NASA since the Hubble.

Speaking of... The JWST will be the spiritual successor … Continue Reading

March 23, 2017 - No Comments!

Spring And Severe Weather Season

Severe Weather Ramps Up

The Vernal Equinox signifies the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and as the long wintry hangover fades across the country, strong to severe thunderstorms begin to ramp up! According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, the months of April, May and June are the 3 greatest tornado producing months of the year across the Lower 48. Out of those 3 months, May produces the most tornadoes (1991-2010 average) with 276, followed by June with 243 tornadoes!

1991-2010 Average April Tornadoes = 276

1991-2010 Average May Tornadoes = 155

1991-2010 Average June Tornadoes = 243

A Clash In Seasons, A Clash In Air Masses

As cold, dry winter air clashes with warmer, moist spring air, strong to severe thunderstorms become more prevalent across the Central US. An area known as "Tornado Alley" is where these air masses are more likely to clash in the spring months.… Continue Reading

March 14, 2017 - 4 comments

HealthCast: Air Quality Impacts Exercise

Outdoor air pollution causes more than 3 million deaths a year - more than malaria & HIV/AIDS - and is the biggest single killer in the world.

Poor Air Quality Impacts Exercise

Now a new study finds that simply exercising outdoors in poor air quality can be more detrimental to your health than not exercising at all. Researchers reveal that in some cities air pollution levels have increased to the point where just 30 minutes of cycling outweigh the benefits of the exercise altogether.

As a cyclists myself this is a surprising stat. Seems counterintuitive, right? Exercise, no matter in what environment, should be good for our body and our overall health, right? Wrong. Air pollution is so bad in certain areas that even walking poses a serious health threat. Granted this finding holds true for only the most polluted cities on Earth. Zabol, Iran and Gwalior, India are the … Continue Reading

March 9, 2017 - No Comments!

D.J.’s PraeDigits: Heat Dominated February 2017

Follow Meteorologist D.J. Kayser on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

If you weren't under a rock last month, you already know the top weather story of the month: the record heat. Numerous locations saw their warmest February on record, and even saw their warmest ever February highs. But record heat wasn't the only story. In this edition of D.J.'s PraeDigits, let's take a look back some of the weather extremes of February 2017.

Breaking News: February 2017 Was Hot

February 2017 Top Ten Warmest Locations

Of course, the major story during February 2017 was the heat. Numerous areas across the eastern two-thirds of the lower 48 saw a top ten warmest February on record. In fact, 171 long-term NWS climate locations saw just that. On top of that, the number of locations with their warmest February on record was outstanding - 75 locations from New Mexico to New York State. … Continue Reading

March 5, 2017 - No Comments!

Japanese Cherry Blossoms, Earliest Bloom Ever?

The National Park Service predicts the Japanese Cherry Blossoms peak bloom in Washington DC will occur between March 14th & 17th, possibly the earliest on record. It'll be close... but we'll see if we land this 'frosty' cigar.

Yep... we're about to get fragrant in this blog post. We're talking about cherry blossoms! But it doesn't take a gardener to know that the ice of killer frost never mixes-&-mingles well flowers.

Where has old man winter been!? Certainly not in the nation's capital. While Washington state continues to deal with HEAVY snow in the mountains... Washington DC has had a mild season to say the least. This warmth should make an impact on those gorgeous Japanese cherry blossoms. In fact... we may be rewriting record books on the earliest bloom ever. That would be bad news bears for these beautiful blossoms. If the cherry blossoms bloom as predicted, most will

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February 24, 2017 - No Comments!

Feast or Famine; Heavy Western Precipitation and a Lack of Midwestern Snow

Precipitation Extremes

The last several weeks have been very wet in the Western US with round after round of heavy Pacific moisture lashing the West Coast. Heavy, flooding rains and heavy mountain snows have been making headlines there, while folks in the Midwest have been dealing with consistently above average temperatures and a lack of snowfall this winter season.

Take a look at this flooding picture from @Cal_OES along I-80 near Sacramento, CA. Widespread heavy rainfall over the last several weeks has allowed numerous flooding concerns to pop up across the state. The Oroville Dam was also in the headlines as too much rainfall created big problems for the containment of water. The fear was that the damaged dam was going to fail, so thousands of people were evacuated for an extended amount of time until the fear of dam failure was mitigated.

CA Flood Pic

How Much Precipitation Are We Talking?

Rivers … Continue Reading