DISCUSSION: The only difference between a hurricane and a cyclone is the terminology. For those tropical cyclones which impact North America, we refer to them as hurricanes. Alternatively, across the Australia/Indian Ocean region, they are referred to as cyclones. You can also note from the image above that across eastern Asia and the western Pacific Ocean, they are known as typhoons. Bottom line, these different parts of the world have different titles for the same fundamental type of storm. These storms are all effectively large-scale storm systems which either spin in a counterclockwise direction (Northern Hemisphere) or a clockwise direction (Southern Hemisphere). So, effectively, tropical cyclones which develop in different parts of the world all have similar structure as shown in the images below.
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~Weather Forecaster Christine Clements
DISCUSSION: As hurricanes run parallel to densely populated coastal regions around the world, there are nearly always prolific consequences in a very short amount of time. The associated impacts from the approach and eventual arrival of Hurricane Matthew was certainly no different than any other which has ever approached vulnerable coastal regions both in and outside of the contiguous United States! More specifically, all the way from East-Central Florida to Eastern North Carolina, there were pronounced impacts felt by a nasty combination of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and a formidable storm surge for a fairly prolonged period of time across the entire aforementioned geographical region.
Along the coast of North Carolina, a strong impact was inarguably felt for more than 24 hours with sustained winds along and just inland from the coastal of 50 to 70 mph in many places and even some occasional gusts up to or over 90 mph! Thus, it was a very long and scary couple of days across much of the coastal Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. Though, it is important to note that Florida was the impacted by Matthew within the confines of the U.S. and experienced the most volatile hurricane-force conditions of any state during the course of Matthew's interactions with the aforementioned parts of the East Coast. In the video below, you will see how the massive waves associated with the arrival of Matthew proved to be destructive to infrastructure in areas both coastal and slight-inland (e.g., here in the form of the Oak Island pier being ripped to pieces by the strong waves coming ashore violently). Thus, it is always imperative to evacuate if instructed to do so well ahead of the approach of a tropical cyclone with equivalent strength to that found in association with Matthew.
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~Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
How and When Will We See the Leaves Change Color? 2016 Fall Foliage Forecast (credit: SmokyMountains.com, National Drought Mitigation Center)
DISCUSSION: With the arrival of astronomical fall a little more than a week ago, cooler temperatures have already taken over parts of the United States with shades of red, orange, and yellow coloring nature. Deciduous trees and plants are beginning to lose their green coloring and, as a consequence, more colorful landscapes are starting to take over. How does this happen? Basically, as the amount of daylight decreases due to a change in the sun’s angle, so plants receive less sunlight which inhibits their ability to photosynthesize sunlight. As a result, they produce less chlorophyll, which is what gives them the green coloring, leaving behind a combination of reds, oranges, and yellows.
Weather influences the onset and duration of which how long these fall colors stay around before the leaves drop or turn brown. In areas with more precipitation, gorgeous fall colors tend to last at least a few weeks. In areas experiencing drought, chlorophyll production is hampered even more, so colors may not be as vibrant or may only last a short time. Such is the case in New England, where nearly 80% of the region is experiencing a moderate to severe level of drought, as demonstrated in the graphic below (courtesy of the US Drought Monitor), resulting in an earlier peak of fall foliage in New England than is typical. In addition to precipitation, temperatures affect fall foliage as well. For example, strong cold fronts bringing arctic air masses down south from Canada into the US can kick start the process faster, leaving them to abruptly turn brown rather than slowly fade into different hues. In contrast, above normal temperatures help the leaves to continue producing more chlorophyll or maintain the same sugar levels in the leaves, allowing the leaves to keep their color longer.
This year, we have faced drier conditions in New England and along the Northwestern coast. For the most part, temperatures have remained around average for this time of year across these areas. So, fall foliage for the Fall 2016 season is expected to continue as it has in past years with the exception being those two drought-affected regions. As depicted in the image below, courtesy of SmokyMountains.com, fall colors have already reached their peak in northern New England, and are peaking currently along the Rocky Mountains and in northern Minnesota, where temperatures have already approached or reached freezing. In comparison, across the southern states where it has been warmer and where there has been above average precipitation, the peak of fall foliage is forecast to be a little later than normal, in late October/early November. To see the forecast in more depth, check out SmokyMountains.com. To learn about other weather educational topics within meteorology, click here!
@Meteorologist Katie McCracken