DISCUSSION: There is no debate that the onset of yet another hurricane season here in 2018 initiates a lot of very unsettling and very concerning feelings among both younger and older people living in the vicinity and/or directly along U.S. coastlines along both the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of the United States. Many of these concerns surround the fact that many people are nervous as to whether there will be an active hurricane season or more importantly if any part of the hurricane season will specifically impact their region. Although that this is a very difficult question to answer on a mile to mile basis, there are things to know and keep in mind as hurricane season involves that should help to somewhat comfort people that have such concerns.
First off, National Weather Service forecast offices such as (but certainly not limited to) the National Hurricane Center located in Miami, Florida are chiefly responsible for issuing tropical cyclone forecasts for both the Tropical Central/Eastern Pacific as well as the Tropical Atlantic basins. In addition, here at the Global Weather and Climate Center, we will continue to consistently cover all tropical cyclone threats both regionally and around the globe. So, if you have any concerns and are uncomfortable with deciphering more detailed and scientific forecast discussions issued throughout the world-wide web, just be sure to stay tuned to our team right here at the Global Weather and Climate Center website. We will continue to do our best to cover and inform all of you on the latest updates on developing tropical cyclone situations as they develop an evolve during the 2018 tropical cyclone season(s).
So, in short, as a global team of trained atmospheric scientists, atmospheric researchers, operational scientists, and long-time professionals, we will continue to strive to do the best possible job to keep all people who seek us out at ease as we get further into both the 2018 tropical cyclone season(s) and beyond. We hope this message will help to relax all who get to read this particular piece and that we have helped to keep your mind somewhat at ease as we enter the 2018 hurricane season which is on the heels of a historic 2017 hurricane season for the Tropical Atlantic basin.
To learn more about the details of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season projections per the graphic attached above (courtesy of Tyler Stanfield from the University of Oklahoma), click on the following link for his detailed tropical forecast projections.
To learn more about other interesting severe weather events occurring from around the world, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/safety-and-preparedness!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Storm Chasing DON’Ts and DOs (Credit: The Weather Channel, theweatherprediction.com, NSSL, NWS JetStream)
Image: Two landspout tornadoesin Cope, CO on 5/28/18
DISCUSSION: Summer vacation is here, and it’s peak severe weather season in the Midwest! Students and weather weenies alike are gathering where the weather is happening. In most cases, this is in the Great Plains and Northern Plains, a.k.a. Tornado Alley – where the most tornadoes occur. Storm chasing is just what it sounds like, students, enthusiasts, and meteorologists going towards severe thunderstorms. You may be wondering why anyone in their right mind would go towards the exact phenomena we meteorologists encourage you to take shelter from on a daily basis. Well, there is a multi-part, semi-logical answer for it.
For one, storm chasing is a total educational package for professors teaching mesoscale and microscale meteorology, and nowcasting (weather forecasting for the next several minutes). Mesoscale weather phenomena last anywhere from hours to weeks (e.g. thunderstorms and convective systems), while microscale phenomena are shorter, lasting only seconds to minutes (e.g. air turbulence and tornadoes). Forecasting tools used when chasing include radar, satellite, surface observations, surface and upper-air maps, and Skew-T Log P Diagrams. Overall, forecasting and then watching the evolution of a thunderstorm in real-time is the most comprehensive way for atmospheric science and meteorology students to gain (quite literally) field experience.
As you can imagine, driving after these storms and waiting for their development to unfold in front of your eyes is a rush. The air is typically warm and moist, though it can be cool, and typically extremely windy. Your adrenaline gets pumping, and you’re anxiously awaiting the perfect photo-op. For those of you thinking about going on that first chase soon or for the relatively newbies like myself, I’ve put together some helpful tips to make your chase more comfortable and successful!
For more weather safety tips, click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Amber Liggett
DISCUSSION: As the Northern Hemisphere gets closer and closer to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, it is imperative to know that it only takes one storm to forever change your life, your family, and your community. On that note there are several things that a person can do well ahead of the impacts of any given tropical cyclone. Before stating any of the preparation measures one can take, it is imperative to recognize the fact that no one is ever helpless when it comes to prepare yourself for tropical cyclones threats since there is always something everyone can do.
First and foremost, everyone should always have a plan in place, so you are as ready as physically possible if the time should come to evacuate due to an approaching tropical cyclone. First, it is imperative to have a viable evacuation route and know when and how you would plan to leave to avoid hitting an abundance of traffic on your way out of town. This is a critical factor since if you are stuck in traffic as the storm is beginning to make landfall, this can be an incredibly dangerous precedent due to the threat of storm surge and wind increasing. Second, it is critical to always have an emergency kit at the ready, so you are medically and logistically prepared if the worst should happen.
Within such an emergency kit one should have items such as (but certainly not limited to) pertinent medications, a 7-day supply of food and water, energy bars, batteries, flashlights, blankets, all device chargers, pets, etc. Thus, even if you happen to be without basic resources for a prolonged period, you would not get caught in an unnecessarily challenging situation. Another critical thing is to know where you would be going during such a situation, so you are not scrambling for distant hotels to seek refuge from the approaching storm. Another important action item is to make sure that anything loose near your house and/or apartment is safely secured so such objects do not become air-borne projectiles as the sustained wind speeds increase with the approaching storm.
As always, it is best to always take preemptive precautionary measures well ahead of any tropical cyclone threat, so you have more time and flexibility to get things done. Furthermore, it is always important to stay up-to-date with local National Weather Service forecasts as well as outlooks issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, so you are aware of potential tropical cyclone threat(s) well ahead of the critical hours leading up to a potential landfall from a given storm.
To learn more about other important weather and weather-related topics pertaining to both safety and preparedness, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Tornado season is already here. There is a high threat for tornadoes between March and May in the southern region of the United States. This is not to say that tornadoes cannot happen at any other time of the year, rather, these months are the highest threat. A southward dip in the jet stream accompanied with warm, moist air flowing into the South from the Gulf of Mexico will cause instability in the atmosphere. The jet stream will provide the winds rotating at different levels of the atmosphere, or wind shear. Strong low-level winds, or winds near the surface, will be the key ingredient of supercell development.
Now that you know when and how tornadoes form, do you know what to do during a tornado outbreak? When a tornado warning is issued, that means a tornado is imminent; that a tornado has been spotted or rotation has been detected on radar. You only have between 10 and 15 minutes to get to safety. What is your plan? When a warning is issued or you hear the sirens you should only be taking action, not thinking about what to do next.
If you are inside your house, go to the lower-level, and find an interior room. An interior room is a room that does not have any exterior walls. Stay away from the windows and do not try to see the tornado or it might be too late once it’s in sight. There have been instances where a wooden post was thrown through a concrete sidewalk. Anything in a tornado’s path can become a projectile and you need to be sure you stay away from windows. If you do not have a lower-level, or an interior room, then go to the bathroom and put a mattress overtop of you to shield you from any flying debris. If you have a storm shelter, get in it and stay there until the threat no longer exists. If you are caught outside, get inside immediately. If you are in your car, then you need to pull over and seek shelter. Vehicles are easily tossed around by a tornado, and as such, you should get out of the vehicle and lie flat on a low-lying part of the ground such as a ditch away from vehicles. You should not seek shelter under an overpass due to the wind increasing speed when tunneling under the overpass.
You must take action as soon as you know you are in danger. The more time you spend planning, the less time you will spend in the danger zone. Ensure your family also knows the plan so everyone knows what to do and where to go. You should also stay updated on the latest forecasts especially if you live or work in a high threat area. Stay close to a radio or a local news station to get the latest watches and warnings.
Helpful websites include:
Storm Prediction Center – www.spc.noaa.gov
National Weather Center – www.weather.gov
Global Weather and Climate Center – www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/severe
ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: In light of several nor’easters battering the Midwest and northeast of the United States in the past few weeks, it is interesting to view the factors that determine whether or not a storm has the right recipe for a snow day to be issued. Some states, particularly in the South (think Florida, parts of Texas, etc.), may close schools even though the projected forecast may call for only up to one inch over 24 hours. Other states, like those in the north central plains and Rocky Mountains, normally require much higher snow amounts to close schools. The following is a list of factors that determine calling a snow day with a quick description and/or example for each:
Timing – When the snow will fall, i.e. during the day, overnight, intermittent, when it will start and end
Snowfall intensity – 2 inches of snow in 12 hours vs. 2 inches of snow in 1 hour (the latter occurred recently in winter storm Quinn in the northeast). Snowplows have difficulty keeping up with high snowfall rates.
Ice accumulation – Causes hazardous driving conditions, even a thin layer can be dangerous
Ground temperature – Can be warm enough for falling snow to melt, may melt snow but refreeze overnight, can determine if traction is possible for tires when traveling, important on overpasses and bridges
Wind chill – protect the safety of students and staff
Power outages – current outage or extremely likely chance of losing power, some schools look at power outages in immediate surrounding area even if the school itself still has power
Non-weather factors - resources to remove snow, available snow days left, state testing make-up dates
Ultimately the decision to close school and issue a snow day is for the safety of students and everyone involved. Some of these factors are more relevant than others depending on where one lives. For example, wind chill is more prevalent in the Midwest while snowfall intensity and power outages can be a deciding factor in the Northeast. Those living in the South may not see much snow but can sometimes be the recipients of an abundance of ice.
Check out this link to read the full article and view an intriguing snow map.
To learn more about weather safety and preparedness, click on the following link:
©2018 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri
The Atlantic Hurricane season is upon us, but are you prepared? Whether you live or work in areas that are prone to tropical weather, you need to stay alert and be prepared for the worst. Even if the eye (or center) of the storm is not headed towards your direct location, the outer rain bands, hurricane force winds, or tropical storm force winds can span outward from the center hundreds of miles. Hurricanes can produce tornadoes which can add to the damage. A classic example would be Category 3 Hurricane Ivan on September 17, 2004. Across the Mid-Atlantic states, 58 tornadoes touched down with 38 tornadoes being in Virginia alone. It is imperative that every household and office have a plan of action in case an evacuation is ordered or you must shelter in place.
Always watch the local news or listen to local radio stations. They will be able to update you on incoming or potential weather. Have a go-bag ready should an evacuation occur. This go-bag should have the bare essentials such as batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, bottled water, canned food, a whistle, a compass, a map, a trash bag, a poncho, rope, bug repellent, a battery or solar powered charger, and a knife. If you read that list and thought 'why would that be needed,' allow me to explain. The batteries are for the flashlights or the charger. In case you are trapped under debris, a whistle will let the authorities know where you are and that you need help. The destruction after a hurricane can be catastrophic which might destroy landmarks used for navigation; therefore, a map and compass would help you know where you are and what's around you. A trash bag can be used to keep things dry, especially if you do not own a poncho. Rope would come in handy if you needed rescuing, or if you need to stabilize an injury. Directly after a hurricane, people tend to venture outside to survey the damage. Bug repellent will help keep the mosquitoes and ticks at a minimum. The knife will be there to cut the rope, or free you from any obstructions. This type of go-bag will be ready throughout the year for many events such as a tornado outbreak, or a heavy snow event. Also, this type of go-bag is used for survival if you are caught in a sticky situation.
Another type of go-bag would be one that you pack as soon as you know a storm may impact your area. Things that would go in this bag would be a week's worth of clothing, canned food, flashlights, batteries, portable chargers, hygiene products, feminine products, any valuables, a GPS, etc. To read more on what you should do to prepare, click here.
Regardless of the type of go-bag, they are meant to pick up and leave immediately, no matter the situation. You should also ensure your vehicle is up-to-date in inspections, and ensure the fluids are full. You should check your tire pressure because you might be traveling across many states to escape the storm. Know your location. You should always know what areas that are local to you, would be impacted the most such as flooding. Always inspect your home to see if you need to trim back on branches, or board up any windows or doors. Do not forget about our furry friends. You should already know what you will do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
The Atlantic Hurricane season is from 1 June to 30 November. It is not unusual for a hurricane or tropical storm to form outside of the season. To be safe, start getting prepared now, so you will be ahead of the game if a storm threatens your area.
Stay up to date with the tropical seasons around the world here!
ⓒ 2018 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
The first of December marks the first day of Meteorological Winter. What does this mean? You’ve always heard that winter in the Northern Hemisphere starts on 21 December but that is the start of Astronomical Winter. The main difference between Astronomical Winter and Meteorological Winter is that Astronomical Winter is based on the Earth’s position in relation to the sun, while Meteorological Winter is based on the three coldest months of the year. Now that winter is here, are you ready?
Depending on what your location is in the Northern Hemisphere, you need to be prepared for what winter can bring. For instance, do you know the difference between a Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Weather Warning? A Winter Weather Advisory is when wintry weather is expected within 12 to 36 hours or is occurring and travel may be difficult. A Winter Weather Warning is when wintry weather is expected to be dangerous within 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. “Considerable travel problems are expected.” Another warning you should familiarize yourself with is a Blizzard Warning. A Blizzard Warning is when severe wintry weather is expected within 12 to 36 hours or is occurring and will impact travel to a standstill. One thing you should remember about a blizzard, is that it doesn’t have to be actively snowing to be considered a blizzard. The harsh winds push the fresh snow around creating whiteout conditions as well as numerous other hazards.
Where the storm is born can mean all the difference between little or a lot of snow. An Alberta Clipper is a low-pressure system that develops in Canada and races across the northern states. Alberta Clippers are very fast moving but can still drop measureable snow and even whiteout conditions. A Nor-easter is a notorious storm that impacts millions of people. This type of storm can dump feet of storm in a single day. A Nor’easter is a low-pressure system that will typically dip south where it can take advantage of the warmer and moister air. The storm will then track north on or near the edge of the East Coast of the United States, commonly referred to as the I-95 Corridor. Even a slight change in track can mean the difference between little to no snow, and being buried by feet of snow. A Colorado Low develops on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. This storm packs a punch all the way to the east coast and can also dump feet of snow.
The different types of precipitation are also important. Freezing rain happens when snow falls into a warm sector melting the snow into rain, and then re-enters a cold sector that holds freezing temperatures. The rain falls through the cold sector and freezes on contact. Freezing rain can create slippery roads, and wreak havoc on trees and power lines.
To stay safe during the winter months, you must first understand winter weather. Once that is done, you can start to prepare properly. You can start by researching if your area requires chains on your tires. Check your car for any fallacies including tire pressure, antifreeze and other fluid levels. You should also check things around your house such as your gutters, heating unit, or any trees that hang over your roof or powerlines. When local authorities ask travelers to stay off of the roads, it is best to do so if travel is not essential.
To learn more about Winter Weather safety tips, click here!
ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
This article will address a few hurricane-related insurance matters. Before beginning, let me note that I am not an insurance adjuster or a structural engineer. The items described here are simply to get readers (especially those affected by Harvey and Irma) to think things through before they either ignore insurance or go crazy about dealing with it. Always, get professional advice before addressing any matters involving insurance…To read the full story, click here - http://www.weatherworks.com/lifelong-learning-blog/?p=1405
© 2017 H. Michael Mogil
To learn more about other aspects of high-impact tropical cyclone-based weather events, be sure to click here!
DISCUSSION: In light of Hurricane Harvey battering the Texas coast, tropical storm safety is of utmost importance. The first step one must take is to note of any watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service for the area. These watches and warnings can be related to storm surge, flooding, and high winds.
Many people react to the approach of a storm by heading to the local supermarket for food and water. While this is extremely important, food and water should be included in your basic disaster supplies kit, listed here. In addition, any necessary medication should be obtained as soon as possible before the storm hits.
If waiting out a storm, there are two very important things to be cautious of. First, tornados are often known to spawn from hurricanes. Listen to your local radio station or news station on television (if power has not yet been lost, and particularly at night), should a tornado form in the area. In addition, if one is in the calm “eye” of the storm, it may seem like it is over. However, once the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to full strength.
In severe situations, rescue personnel must save people from their homes. If evacuations are mentioned for any storm, they are highly encouraged.
The full guide for hurricane preparedness can be found here.
To learn more about weather preparedness and safety, be sure to visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri
DISCUSSION: With the upcoming work week, the major conversation will be the possible record warmth setting up in the Pacific West. This is all attributed to a strong upper-level ridge setting up over California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
A meridional flow will take precedence to bring steamy weather to the western United States. This warmth should bring some concern to the western states as some records may be broken as we start the first week of August.
Currently a large portion of northern California is under and excessive heat watch, excessive heat warning and heat advisories. Western Nevada is currently under a heat advisory while western Oregon under excessive heat watch, excessive heat warning and heat advisories. Southwest Washington experiencing several excessive heat watches.
California’s interior, western Nevada and Oregon can expect to see temperatures in the triple digits, even topping 110 in the afternoon is a possibility for Tuesday. This dangerous combination of above average hot temperatures and increased humidity would make for heightened heat related illnesses. The National Weather Service advises to practice heat safety by:
*Remaining hydrated with breaks in the shade as often as possible when at job sites
*Check in on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning
*Never leave kids or pets unattended in a vehicle
*Limit strenuous outdoor activities, find shade and stay hydrated if outdoors
With prolonged heat expected to impact these areas with dangerous temperatures, heat related illnesses are likely. Monday through Thursday are expected to be the most difficult and record setting with the likelihood for little recovery in overnight temperatures.
For more information on record warmth impacting your area visit the Global Weather and Climate Center.
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen