Weather Myths & Facts

A bunch of weather myths and facts.

Cities Create Thunderstorms: Urban Heat Island

With today’s land starved metropolitan cities expanding further into their rural surroundings, a strange consequence had been documented: cities create thunderstorms, or at least assist in their genesis. It’s called the “urban heat island effect” and is based upon a simple concept. As a city increases in size, the amount of heat absorbed in the area from the sun also increases. Vegetation and trees, which cool the air through shade and evaporation are being replaced with tar roof tops, dark colored roads, and asphalt parking lots which absorb more energy….
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How Does Hail Form?

Those big thunderstorms that produce tornadoes, powerful downdrafts and torrential rains are almost always accompanied by hail. Some of these storms can drop so much hail, it looks as if it’s snowed in the middle of summer. Others can drop hail the size of softballs, large enough to kill livestock and even unsuspecting people caught outdoors. These storms cause billions of dollar in damage to crops and property each year. For example, one storm that ravaged the Denver Metro area on May 8th, 2017 caused $1.4 billion in damages with…
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Hurricane Wind Speed (Saffir-Simpson Scale)

Hurricanes are the most powerful storms on Earth in terms of size, energy released, and the scale of damage they can produced. The wind and the rain can be unrelenting, but the storm surge often times causes more damage. And if that’s not bad enough, hurricanes can even spawn tornadoes which makes some locations sustain far greater damage than the surrounding areas. The terms typhoon and hurricane mean the same thing, that is, they are both non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure systems over tropical or sub-tropical waters with organized convection (i.e.;…
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Weather Records in the United States and Around the World

I always find extreme weather records fascinating because some of them will just blow you away. If you think the weather is miserable or crazy where you live, take a look at some other places around the world. I think you’ll find most of these records absolutely mid boggling. Temperatures Coldest temperature in USA: -80°F at Prospect Creek Camp in the Endicott Mountains of northern Alaska on Jan. 23, 1971 Hottest temperature in USA: 134°F in Death Valley, CA on July 10, 1913 Coldest Temperature in the World: -129°F in…
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What Causes the Different Seasons?

Even though the Earth does pass closer to the sun during part of its orbit, this is not what’s responsible for the hot summers and cold winters. If this were the case, then both the northern and southern hemispheres would have their summers and winters at the same time. However as you’ll see below, exactly the opposite is true. When it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, it’s winter in the southern hemisphere. The Earth rotates about its axis once per day, but the Earth’s axis is tilted, 23.5° from vertical…
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Lightning Odds, Facts and Statistics

Lightning is one of Mother nature’s offerings that captures everyone’s attention because there’s just the right mix of fear and curiosity which draws folks to the show. Moreover, the amounts of ozone and nitrogen oxides created by lightning surpass those generated by human activities in that level of the atmosphere (source: NASA)! Below is a comprehensive list of lightning facts and statistics. Everything listed on this page has been verified with valid sources, such as NOAA, NASA, The National Weather Service (NWS), and medical professionals. Although some of the tid-bits…
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Can Lightning Cause an Airplane Crash?

lightning cause airplane crash

Can lightning cause an airplane crash? Not today. In fact, the last time a commercial airplane crashed in the United States due to a lightning strike was about 50 years ago. On December 8, 1962 lighting hit a Pan American Boeing 707 in a holding pattern over Elkton, Md. The lightning created a spark that ignited jet fuel vapor in a holding tank, triggering an explosion that killed all 81 aboard. Nowadays, the FAA estimates that each commercial airliner will be hit by lightning once a year (some will get…
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