Holiday Weather Forecast: Thanksgiving 2020

Can you believe that it is Thanksgiving week already? Though travel and gatherings will likely be lighter than the norm this year (AAA is predicting a 47.5% decrease in air travel for the holiday!), the weather likely won’t put a damper on the holiday for most across the U.S. With more and more families and communities cancelling gatherings or making more unique plans such as outdoor dining or Zoom calls, it is still just as important to take a look at the weather ahead of time in order to plan accordingly.

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2020: A Historic Hurricane Season

Eventful. Notable. Significant. These words can all describe 2020 in a nutshell, but they also aptly recount the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season. At the time of this writing (November 11, 2020), NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently issuing advisories on Tropical Storms Eta and Theta, while also monitoring an additional disturbance in the eastern Caribbean!

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Wild September Weather in the West

Labor Day weekend in the northeast United States was absolutely beautiful. Full sun, not too hot, perfect weather for the traditional end-of-summer activities that usually fill that weekend. However, early September has been filled with weather conditions that are anything BUT perfect in other parts of the country. Let’s take a look:

Webcam image from the Continental Divide Webcam, located at Glacier Basin Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park, from September 9, 2020. Courtesy: NPS.
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How the Weather Influenced Space-X Crew Dragon Launch and Landing

Many families with school-aged kids, including my own, were very excited to watch the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket, containing astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. Meteorology is a field where the public and private sectors have to intentionally collaborate, and so it was really neat to see another positive outcome of a successful working relationship between a private company (SpaceX) and a government agency (NASA) to launch American astronauts into space on American soil for the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

Courtesy: NASA.
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Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

With everything that is going on here on planet Earth and in the United States right now, I was so excited to read this interesting bit of news about a new visitor to the night sky and our solar system, Comet C/2020 F3, known as NEOWISE. My kids and I have had a lot of fun looking for the comet in the night sky, and so I thought that it might be fun to learn a little bit more about it. Most of us who study the weather are fascinated by ANY cool object or phenomenon in the sky, and I am no exception! I distinctly recall being an elementary school student back in 1986 and learning about Halley’s Comet. It was visible to the naked eye at the time, and returns to earth once every 75 years. I remember thinking how OLD I would be when it returned in 2061 (which doesn’t seem nearly so far away nowadays!!!). Comet NEOWISE will only return to earth about once every 6800 years, so this is something you will not want to miss seeing!

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The Nashville Tornadoes of March 2-3, 2020

Although life as we all know it has changed since this weather event only about a month ago, and even since just a few weeks ago when I wrote this post, we are still committed to reviewing past weather events, providing weather safety information, and generally discussing interesting meteorology topics via this blog. While we realize that life is not normal for so many of us, we hope that by continuing to blog on these important topics gives you, our readers, a sense of consistency and normalcy when everything in the world is changing by the minute.

I would also be remiss not to mention that, between the time which this blog was written a few weeks ago and the time it was pushed live to our website, yet another tragic round of severe weather impacted parts of the Southeast and Midwest on March 28. Numerous thunderstorms caused widespread wind damage and at least 30 reported tornadoes from Iowa and Illinois south to Kentucky and Arkansas. One of the largest was an EF-3 tornado which hit the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas. At least 83 homes were destroyed, and although there were 22 injuries, thankfully no fatalities were reported. The weather keeps marching on, further compounding and complicating the difficult situation of quarantine and social distancing which is already in effect due to the ongoing pandemic.

That being said, this blog post will focus on the deadly tornadoes which impacted the Nashville area on March 2 and 3, 2020.

On the evening of March 2 into March 3, deadly tornadoes marched through central Tennessee and made a direct hit on the city of Nashville. The storms were particularly deadly because some of the strongest impacts occurred after dark and during the overnight hours when most people were sleeping. At least 24 people lost their lives as a result of these storms, including at least five children under age 13. Countless others suffered injuries, and tens of thousands were left without power and suffered damage to their homes. While the most common time of day for tornadoes to occur is late afternoon or early evening, they can occur at any time of day. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that came together to create such a high-impact event.

Putnam County, TN tornado damage. Courtesy: National Weather Service.
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March Madness – And We Aren’t Talking Basketball

NCAA March Madness officially runs from March 17 through April 7 this year, but that’s not what this blog is about! March is here, spring is just around the corner, and we are entering one of the wildest months for weather. As one of the “shoulder” or transition months between winter and spring, March is known for a smorgasbord of wild weather events. Extreme cold? Check. Extreme heat? Check. Blizzards? Check. Tornadoes? Check. Flooding? Check. Let’s take a look back at some of the most historical weather events that have occurred in the third month of the year.

The National Weather Service in Cheyenne’s parking Lot in the thick of a blizzard in March 2019. Photo by NWS MIC Jeff Garmon.
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The National Weather Service Turns 150

On February 9, 2020, the National Weather Service celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation. While many people are aware of the important services that this agency provides in support of its mission to protect lives and property, you may not be aware of some of the unique history of the agency, the role it has played in our history, and how technological advances have helped to improve the science of weather forecasting by leaps and bounds in the last 150 years.

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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
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