Weather Myths & Facts

A bunch of weather myths and facts.

Are There More Tornadoes Due to Global Warming?

The recent outbreak of large and destructive tornadoes in the mid-west has a lot of folks speculating that perhaps global warming or climate change is the cause, but caution must be taken before making such correlations. Although the average number of tornadoes reported each year has in fact increased, this does not mean there are any more tornadoes now than in years past. That may sound contradictory, but a lot has changed in recent years that allows meteorologists to better detect and categorize tornadoes. In the last few years, there…
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What is Graupel? Little Balls of Snow or Hail?

Have you ever seen little balls of snow that look like Styrofoam falling from the sky and wondered what they were? They look like hail, but they’re soft. They feel like snow, but they’re round. What exactly is this stuff? It’s called graupel, also referred to as snow pellets, soft hail, small hail, tapioca snow, rimed snow, and ice balls. Simply touching the graupel can cause it to quickly melt, unlike hail which is more durable, heavy and solid. In fact, if you pinch graupel, you can compress it quite…
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Weather Sayings and Folklore

Many of us have heard the various weather saying and folklore, but is there any truth to these phrases? When dogs eat grass, you can expect a severe storm. My dog eats grass in the winter, spring, summer and fall. It’s got nothing to do with the weather and more to due with how the dog feels. Typically, dogs eat grass when they are hungry or when their stomach is upset. They don’t suddenly get hungry for grass because a thunderstorm is coming. If a rooster crows at night, there…
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No Two Snowflakes Are Alike?

With all the trillions of snowflakes that are piled up in your driveway, coating the mountain tops, and plowed from the road, it’s probably true that no two snowflakes are alike. Proving this would be quite a feat, for obvious reasons, but you’ll as you read below, you’ll see why the old adage it probably true. Snowflakes are very sensitive to micro-environmental variables such as wind, temperature, humidity, air pressure, cloud condensing nuclei, and air particles. Add an element of chaos theory to the mix and you’ll see below that…
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Record Low Temperature by State

The following is a list of record low temperatures for each of the 50 states and on what date that temperature occurred. These temperatures are official and don’t take into account wind chill. All these records are based on 2004 data: State Temperature Location Date Alabama -27°F New Market January 30, 1966 Alaska -80°F Prospect Creek January 23, 1971 Arizona -41°F Hawley Lake January 7, 1971 Arkansas -29°F Pond and Gavette February 13, 1905 California -45°F Boca January 20, 1937 Colorado -61°F Maybell February 1, 1985 Connecticut -37°F Norfolk February…
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Record High Temperature by State

The following is a list of record high temperatures for each of the 50 states and on what date that temperature occurred. These temperatures are official and don’t take into account heat index. All these records are based on 2004 data: State Temperature Location Date Alabama 112°F Centerville September 5th, 1925 Alaska 100°F Fort Yukon June 27th, 1915 Arizona 128°F Lake Havasu City June 29th, 1994 Arkansas 120°F Ozark August 10th, 1936 California 134°F Greenland Ranch July 10th, 1913 Colorado 118°F Bennett July 11th, 1888 Connecticut 106°F Danbury July 15th,…
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Can a Tornado Jump Over a House?

Tornadoes don’t hop, jump or skip. They can retreat back up into the clouds and spawn again sometime later. They can carve a path through a neighborhood that spares some houses and demolishes others. This leaves the impression the tornado skipped houses. While it’s true a tornado can completely destroy one house and minimally damage another right next to it, the reason has nothing to do with jumping or skipping. It does have to do with the internal structure of the tornado and its path. The funnel of a tornado…
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