June 21, 2017 - No Comments!

HealthCast: Heat Waves More Numerous, Costly and Deadly

Summer heat. Love it or hate it? I admit, I love high heat and humidity. Call me weird, but I'd take a sauna-like afternoon over stinging cold any day. But in all seriousness searing heat can be dangerous, even deadly. Climate scientists have been long telling us that summer heat waves will become more intense and frequent in the coming years.

Heat Waves More Numerous, Costly and Deadly

Now the weather community is buzzing about a new study stating 30% the world's population is currently exposed to 20 days of dangerously high (potentially lethal) levels of heat and humidity a year. What's worse is that if greenhouse gas emission are left unchecked then three out of four people face death by heat by 2100.

Weather Related Fatalities

Any weather related fatality is a tragedy. But deaths induced by lightning or tornadoes often make headlines. Heat is the surprising silent killer, … Continue Reading

June 15, 2017 - No Comments!

Mobile Home Parks, Storm Shelters (Not Always) Included

I'll just come right out and say it... I don't want to waste your valuable time or 'sugar coat' things. Not all mobile home communities have a storm shelter. The reasons for this vary. But this does carry with it potential consequences. The cost is as high as people's lives.

Here's a stat for you: According to the National Weather Service, 44% of the 1,091 Americans killed by tornadoes from 1985 to 2005 died in mobile homes, compared to 25 percent in stick-built homes. Source: newsok.com. And about 8% of Americans live in mobile homes.

Tornado damage near Chetek, WI. Courtesy: Barron County Sheriff's Department

 

Photo of Eric Gavin. Courtesy: http://www.burnhamours.com/notices/Eric-Gavin

One such tragedy happened Tuesday, May 16th earlier this year. A tornado spun right through a mobile home park near Chetek, WI. This tornado killed one person and injured more than 2 dozen others.

The … Continue Reading

June 8, 2017 - No Comments!

D.J.’s PraeDigits: Rainy Eastern U.S. In May 2017

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

For once, heat was not the main story when we look back at May 2017 across the lower 48. It was the heavy rain across the eastern U.S., which led to numerous cities seeing a top ten wettest May on record. In this edition of D.J.'s PraeDigits, we take a look back at the heavy rain as well as those few locations that did see the heat.

Few Hot Spots In May 2017

After months upon months of record heat... we actually got a little bit of a break from it in the lower 48 during May 2017. Only 10 long-term NWS climate locations saw a top ten warmest May on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Most of those locations were mainly confined to southern Florida and parts of the west … Continue Reading

June 1, 2017 - No Comments!

Official Start To The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Early Start to 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Happy June 1st! Today not only marks the beginning of Meteorological Summer in the northern hemisphere, but it also marks the beginning of the Atlantic Tropical Season. Interestingly, we've already had our first named storm; Arlene, which developed on April 20th and became only the 2nd tropical storm to develop in the month of April.

With that said, we're off to an early start to what could be an busy 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. NOAA recently released their tropical outlook, which calls for a 45% chance of an above average season with 11-17 named storms and 5-9 total hurricanes, 2-4 of which will be major hurricanes with wind speeds in excess of 110mph. Experts their believe that "weak or non-existent El Nino, near or above-average sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic, and average or weaker-than-average vertical winds shear" could help to produce more … Continue Reading

May 17, 2017 - No Comments!

HealthCast: Caterpillars Curb Plastic Waste Problem

I've always been fascinated by insects. After all, the creepy crawlers outnumber humans 200 million to one. On a warm, spring afternoon while out on an afternoon bike ride I observed a large, green caterpillar along the path. As I watched its plump, tube-like body saunter along I wondered, what it is thinking? Can it sense me staring at it intently? Does it have a soul? Can this caterpillar be the answer to our plastic waste problem?

Okay, that last question was a little odd. But seriously, a recent study has shown a certain type of caterpillar is capable of eating its weight in plastic.

The Case for the Plastic-Eating Caterpillar

The discovery happened by chance. Federica Bertocchini, a scientist at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, is also an amateur beekeeper in Spain. See, the undesirable honeycomb moth caterpillar had invaded her beehive. She picked the pests … Continue Reading

May 12, 2017 - No Comments!

Hydrate: Healthy or Hype

Oh my gosh, we've been outside working hard for a half an hour. We got to rest and drink up. Time to hydrate!

 


Is 8 The Magic Number?

You've heard these gems before: drink 6 to 8 glasses of water through the day and every day. You need to 'hydrate', and don't forget to replenish those electrolytes. A lot of this is hype. Companies may say just about anything to make you drink more water... as long as you buy their H20 product. And it's working.

 


Don't Believe Everything You Hear From Word-of-Mouth

The risk of dehydration is waaaaaay overblown. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends men get roughly three liters (~12.7 cups) of total beverage intake every day, and women get 2.2 liters (9.3 cups). Whoa... that's way more than 8 cups! Funny how stomping on misconceptions works. Many say there’s no need to force water Continue Reading

May 4, 2017 - No Comments!

D.J.’s PraeDigits: A Warm And Wet April 2017

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

I feel like a broken record in this introduction section month after month as we can't get a break in the warmth. Once again in April 2017, over 100 locations saw a top ten warmest April on record - and in fact no locations saw a top ten coolest. We'll look at some of those locations in this edition of D.J.'s PraeDigits, but we also will have a look at numerous areas that saw a wet April 2017, as well as a few areas that pretty much picked up no precipitation last month.

Heat Jumped East In April 2017

While the heat had jumped to the west coast in March, it jumped right back east as we went into April, although it did linger a bit in parts of the Southwest. Overall, 109 long-term … Continue Reading

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