Stunning Microburst in Phoenix

Microburst Arizona

Phoenix, along with much of the rest of the country, has been battling with excessive heat for most of the summer. In the southwest this dry heat, combined with their summer monsoonal rainfalls, can create a virulent effect in the atmosphere that accompanies the rain, known as a microburst.

Do You Know How to Read a Weather Map?

Have you ever looked at a weather map and wondered what all the symbols mean? Most people understand what a cold or warm front looks like and have seen the large L or H for low and high pressure. Many haven’t seen a real surface weather map and might be confused if they did. When you’re

Why Do We Name Hurricanes and Who Chooses the Names?

Have you ever wondered why we name hurricanes? When did it start? Who comes up with the names? Time for your history lesson of the day! The naming of hurricanes began hundreds of years ago. Those in the West Indies would name them after the Saint’s day that coincided with when the hurricane hit land.

Do You Know How Hail Forms? Well, You’re Probably Wrong.

For many years it has been taught that hail forms by cycling in a thunderstorm, getting bigger and bigger until it was too heavy for the updraft. The rings in hailstones were thought to be caused by the multiple journeys up and down in the storm. However, this theory is wrong. Let me tell you

Depleting Aquifers: Will They Refill?

We often hear about aquifers and how wells are drawing water out of them. Are we draining them or do they refill? Aquifers come in different types and have various ways of distributing water. First things first, an aquifer is not an underground lake or river. There is not a huge chasm under your feet

The Destructive Power of Lightning

A thunderstorm is brewing. Suddenly there is a flash and bang! Loud thunder rumbles all around you. I hope you were inside, because lightning is extremely dangerous. In the US, lightning strikes about 25 million times a year. At five times hotter than the sun, it can cause a great amount of damage. Around 50 people

What are Troughs and Ridges

If you watch the weather on the nightly news, you may hear about troughs and ridges. Have you ever wondered what they are and why they are important? Troughs and ridges look like what you might expect; a trough is roughly U shaped. To the east of the trough, air will usually rise, allowing for

A Brief History of Weather Radar

During World War II, radar systems were utilized to help guide various missions and track aircraft. However, at times, radar operators noticed some extraneous echoes showing up on their display. After investigating, it was discovered that the echoes operators were seeing on their display weren’t aircraft or anything related to missions, but rather interference from

Spoiler Alert: Cold Weather Doesn’t Actually Kill Bugs

Have you ever thought that the cold winter weather you were experiencing was going to be great because it would kill off <insert the bug you hate most here> and you wouldn’t have to deal with them when it warmed up? I know I’ve heard it before and I’ve heard the opposite as well. A

Snow to Liquid Ratios – How are They Calculated?

There are many challenges presented to meteorologists in forecasting snow. Some of these challenges are a result of the tools and data that we have at our disposal. Let’s look at one important aspect in forecasting snow: the snow to liquid ratio. When looking at numerical models, precipitation is forecast in liquid totals. In other words,