Understanding the Strength of Tropical Storms: Pressure, Winds, and Surge

One week ago today, Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana…a community whose residents are no stranger to the devastation of tropical storms. Category 3 Hurricane Audrey caused over 300 deaths in the small town in 1957, and nearly 50 years later, the town was struck again. While everyone fortunately evacuated before Category 5 Hurricane Rita, the storm devastated the town in September 2005. Then, in the midst of recovery from Rita, in came Hurricane Ike, leveling the town with a 12 foot storm surge. Ike destroyed over 90% of the homes within the parish and caused catastrophic flooding in every part of the parish. The damage sustained by both Rita and Ike led to stricter building codes and higher insurance costs, leading to the town’s dramatic reduction in population – from 1,965 people in 2000 to just 406 in 2010.

Credit: NOAA
Continue reading “Understanding the Strength of Tropical Storms: Pressure, Winds, and Surge”

How to Plan a Wedding with Weather in Mind

Hi friends! As you might have seen in our spring newsletter that we published a couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to get married back in April…but of course, COVID-19 had other plans and we ultimately decided to postpone our big day. However, before the pandemic, I had drafted this blog to share how to plan your wedding while considering the effects that the weather might have on your day. Of course, you can’t predict what the weather will be when you set your date, but there are some things you can do to give yourself the best chances for your ideal wedding weather.

Continue reading “How to Plan a Wedding with Weather in Mind”

Hurricanes and Mental Health

Research shows that mental illnesses are common in the United States, with nearly one in five adults living with a mental illness. Extreme weather events can impacts mental health in several ways, both in immediate anxiety-related responses, as well as chronic mental health disorders. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD; a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically occurring in the winter months) leads to insomnia, anxiety, and agitation. Flooding and prolonged droughts have been associated with with elevated levels of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Tropical cyclones are no exception and can wreak havoc beyond the images of flattened buildings, uprooted trees, and flooded streets that take over news coverage.

A home in Gulfport, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Courtesy NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge.
Continue reading “Hurricanes and Mental Health”

Connection Between Earth’s Temperature and Hurricane Strength

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins in four days, although we’ve already had our first named storm – Tropical Storm Arthur. Tropical cyclones are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena, and scientists are growing more confident that the increase in Earth’s surface temperatures is impacting the intensity of tropical cyclones. A new collaborative study that further explored this hypothesis was published last month by scientists from the Center for Weather and Climate (NOAA/NCEI) and the Cooperative Insitute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisonsin-Madison.

A NOAA GOES East satellite captured this shot of Hurricane Dorian fifteen minutes before making landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 8:35 AM EDT Friday, September 6, 2019. Image courtesy NOAA NESDIS.
Continue reading “Connection Between Earth’s Temperature and Hurricane Strength”

What’s Weather Have to do with Building Basements?

Depending on where you live in the country, basements might be the norm…or they might be more of an added bonus. I grew up in Alabama (without a basement) and never gave it much thought, until my fiance and I moved back to my home state a few months ago. We began looking around at potential homes, and he asked why basements are so uncommon here. Since he grew up in Ohio, nearly every home he had spent time in while growing up had a basement.

Continue reading “What’s Weather Have to do with Building Basements?”

100th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society Recap

Hi friends. You likely noticed that we did not post a blog last week – but we had a good reason! We were in Boston, Massachusetts for the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). This conference happens annually, and is widely recognized as an excellent opportunity for learning and networking for meteorologists, but we also encourage anyone with an interest in weather to attend! This event was even more special as it was the Centennial Celebration of the American Meteorological Society! Not only that, the National Weather Service (NWS) celebrated 150 years of service, the National Science Foundation (NSF) celebrated 70 years, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) celebrated 50 years during the week as well!

Sun setting on the last evening of the conference. Photo courtesy Will Sheridan
Continue reading “100th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society Recap”

NOAA Climate Analyses and Statistics

Did you know that NOAA regularly publishes articles that summarize recent weather events and the state of the climate ( https://www.noaa.gov/topic-tags/climate-analyses-and-statistics )? Generally, articles are released about twice or three times a month, and contain information about significant weather events, climate statistics for the United States for the previous month, and notes about significant studies or papers which have been published about the state of the climate. See below for details about some recent articles!

Continue reading “NOAA Climate Analyses and Statistics”

Trick or Treat: Halloween Weather around the Nation

Here in upstate New York it is a blustery fall day. The peak foliage and sunny days we have been enjoying came to an abrupt end yesterday as heavy rainfall and strong winds resulted in many trees dropping their leaves (time to do some raking!!). Suddenly it feels like mid- to late-fall, and many children are busy thinking about what they will be for Halloween. We thought it might be fun to take a look around the country to see what the trick-or-treaters can sometimes face in their quest for candy around the neighborhoods.

Peebles Island State Park, October 14, 2019.
Continue reading “Trick or Treat: Halloween Weather around the Nation”