Weather
Severe Weather and Coronavirus: A Bad Combo

Severe Weather and Coronavirus: A Bad Combo

This year’s warm winter through most of the Lower 48 states has been great, right? Yes, but, but, but — the warm weather in the southeast was caused by the fact that the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are about 3 degrees warmer than usual, and that also increases the prospect for a very active spring tornado season and summer hurricane season.

Why This Matters:  It was less than a month ago that a deadly cluster of severe tornadoes hit Nashville.  What if the city had been battling the surge of the virus at the time?

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Nashville’s Deadly Tornados a Reminder that We’re Not Prepared

Nashville’s Deadly Tornados a Reminder that We’re Not Prepared

Early Tuesday morning multiple tornados ripped through East Nashville shredding more than 140 buildings and burying people in piles of rubble. As AP reported, at least 24 people were killed, many of them before they could even get out of bed, authorities said. Sirens and cellphone alerts sounded, but the twisters that struck around 2 […]

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“Temperature Scarves” and “Tempestries” Are Sending a Message About Warming

“Temperature Scarves” and “Tempestries” Are Sending a Message About Warming

As the Trump Administration increasingly tries to de-fund and deny the science of climate change, Medium and The New York Times have published a beautiful stories on knitters across the country who have started to document rising temperatures in their communities and in National Parks by creating scarves that “record” local temperature changes across the span of a year.  These scarves are colorful but they are also making a point about climate change in a way that opens up conversations with people who might not otherwise be able to see what is happening by showing temperature changes in stripes that represent temperature increases in a particular location each year.

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NOAA Announces Plan to Significantly Upgrade Supercomputing Capacity for Weather Modeling

NOAA Announces Plan to Significantly Upgrade Supercomputing Capacity for Weather Modeling

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced late last week that it will triple its operational weather and climate supercomputing capacity, and double its storage and interconnect speed, thanks to the installation of a pair of new Cray systems in Manassas, Virginia and Phoenix, Arizona in the next two years.

Why This Matters:  The National Weather Service’s dedicated forecasters and NOAA’s weather satellites provide a great service to the country in terms of reliable daily and weekly forecasts at bargain-basement prices.

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Extreme Flooding on Both Sides of the Atlantic Brings a Wake of Fear

Extreme Flooding on Both Sides of the Atlantic Brings a Wake of Fear

For parts of the Southern United States, this past winter has been one of the wettest on record and more rain is expected this week. Non-stop rains on top of already-saturated ground have brought devastating flooding that has forced people in Mississippi to flee their homes. So much so in fact that Mississippi Gov. Tate […]

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What Happened to Winter? Why 2020’s On Track to be the Warmest Winter Ever.

What Happened to Winter? Why 2020’s On Track to be the Warmest Winter Ever.

If you live in DC you’re probably like us and have been wondering what the heck happened to winter this year. You’re not alone, according to NBC News, In Japan, record low snowfall has forced ski resorts to close prematurely. In Finland, forests that would normally be stark and bare at this time of year […]

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Hurricane Force Winds Batter the U.K. and Europe, Planes Set Speed Records From U.S. to U.K.

Hurricane Force Winds Batter the U.K. and Europe, Planes Set Speed Records From U.S. to U.K.

Storm Ciara battered the U.K. and northern Europe with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains Sunday, grounding thousands of flights and canceling trains across the continent, and producing heaving seas that closed down ports — even the English Premier League had to cancel games as authorities urged millions of people to avoid the outdoors due to falling trees and downed power lines.

Why This Matters:  Severe travel disruptions, power outages, coastal flooding and weather damage to cars and property, and yes, even soccer (or football as they say there) games had to be canceled.

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Early Spring?  Punxsutawney Phil Did Not See His Shadow

Early Spring? Punxsutawney Phil Did Not See His Shadow

Even though Phil is often wrong (it’s not exactly science), he may be getting more accurate due to climate change.  According to Climate Central, Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting earlier springs more often—14 times in the past 50 years, after only 5 times in the 73 years prior — and his shift toward earlier springs may be onto something because based on actual weather data, the six weeks after Groundhog Day are warming up in 93% of the 244 cities analyzed.

Why This Matters:  One could argue that folklore like Groundhog Day and all its antiquated pageantry undermine the public’s reliance on the actual science of weather forecasting, and perpetuates myths that have staying power and resonate with the public.

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Sharpie Gate In Sharper Focus —  Emails Show Damage From Trump “Forecast” Map

Sharpie Gate In Sharper Focus — Emails Show Damage From Trump “Forecast” Map

Late Friday evening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dumped more than a thousand of pages of documents about the President’s changes to the hurricane Dorian forecast map and the recriminations afterward that Jason Leopold from Buzzfeed News had requested.  He then tweeted out some of the doozies.

Why This Matters:  The pattern is hauntingly familiar to anyone watching the impeachment hearings and trial.  Good public servants — some appointed by the President and some career — were doing their best to deal with the fallout from the rash actions of a President blatantly misusing the power of his office.

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Urban Heat Islands Disproportionately Affect Black Neighborhoods

Urban Heat Islands Disproportionately Affect Black Neighborhoods

A new study conducted by Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia has revealed that a history of redlining in America has forced African Americans to live in neighborhoods that are much more affected by urban heat waves. As the authors explained, “Vulnerable communities—especially those within urban areas in the United States—are disproportionately […]

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One Safety Thing: Heed the Warnings of Strong Storms

One Safety Thing: Heed the Warnings of Strong Storms

Our favorite local National Weather Service forecast office tweeted out this important message on Saturday when a strong line of storms ripped through central Alabama.  With extreme and severe weather becoming the new normal, the National Weather Service and local emergency managers’ warnings are more important than ever.  Lives are at stake.  This forecast office […]

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Where In the U.S. Was Weather Its Most Extreme in 2019?

Where In the U.S. Was Weather Its Most Extreme in 2019?

Cities in Alaska and the Southeastern U.S. saw some of the greatest extremes in weather in 2019 — with Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, coming in at 9.3 degrees warmer than average and Bozeman, Montana was 5.3 degrees colder than average, while Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas was the wettest with 25.02 inches more rain than average and of U.S. cities, Tallahassee, Florida, had a 20-inch rainfall deficit. 

Why This Matters:  There were some big extremes in 2019 — with an impressive list and geographic spread of U.S. cities seeing record-breaking weather.  Record warmth for Alaska is one of the biggest stories of the year.

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