How are Hurricane Wind Speeds Determined?

With tropical storms and hurricanes churning in the oceans, you may be hearing them called Cat 2 or Cat 3 storms. What does that mean and how do they figure out that number? It’s actually pretty interesting, but not a job for the faint of heart. While satellites, radars and computer models can help meteorologists

Hurricane Disaster Dos and Don’ts

Hurricane disaster dos and don’ts can save lives, when properly applied. Preparing can prevent harm to houses, property and people. Before, during and after a big one hits, making the right choices can avert disaster. Dos Before the Storm Hits Having the right supplies can make all the difference if a storm becomes disastrous. Keep

40th Anniversary of the Big Thompson Flood

Big Thompson Canyon

An afternoon thunderstorm situated in just the right place can spark a chain of events that can completely change a community and how it learns to respond to a flooding disaster. Such was the case the evening of July 31st above the Big Thompson Canyon in Colorado, 60 miles northwest of Denver.

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

It’s Not Your Rubber Tires That Protect You From Lightning

Many people think that it is the rubber tires that protect them when their car is struck by lightning. In reality, their car is becoming a Faraday cage. What is that and how does it work? Michael Faraday was a British scientist born in 1791. Although not formally educated, he had a strong interest in

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

The Difference Between Downburst and Tornado Damage

Damage is one of the unfortunate outcomes of storms. In some cases, it is not always obvious whether or not a downburst or a tornado occured. In other cases, damage patterns make it quite clear as to what event caused the destruction. Air flow converges into a tornado, therefore debris points inward along the path. Debris patterns associated with a tornado

What is an Aquifer and How does it Work?

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