Unpacking the Flooding in Europe

Catastrophic flooding inundated Europe last week, and recovery efforts are still underway. At least 189 people are dead, and hundreds more are still missing after widespread swaths of between four and six inches of rain poured over the area, bringing an entire month’s worth of rain (or more) in twenty-four hours. Some locations received even more locally heavy rain, such as in Reifferscheid, Germany, where 8.1 inches of rain fell in just nine hours (according to the European Severe Weather Database)! Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesperson commented that, “In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years, in some areas we’ve seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse.” The death toll in Germany alone is over 100, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared July 20 a national day of mourning.

Flooding in Belgium, photo courtesy CNN
Continue reading “Unpacking the Flooding in Europe”

Too Hot to Handle: Heat vs. Hype

It was recently brought to my attention that an article has been published which merits a response and discussion in our blog, because it relates to a concept which I regularly discussed with my community college classes: careful reading. Especially when considering a hot-button topic such as climate change, it is so important to read behind the articles that circulate on the internet and social media. I hope that this blog post illustrates the need for deep thought and discussion about topics, much of which cannot be condensed into a tweet, social media post, or even a short article. So, are you ready to dive in?

green ceramic statue of a man
Continue reading “Too Hot to Handle: Heat vs. Hype”

Winter’s Wrath, from the West Coast to the East

The past week has brought extreme winter weather across the United States, from the West Coast to the East. Though all eyes have seemingly been on Texas (and for good reason, we will focus on the Lonestar State later in this blog), we also want to highlight some of the other regions of the country that have been struggling through the cold, wintry not-so-wonderland weather this week.

A large tree limb is tangled in a power line, in the Portland, Oregon metro area, Feb. 16, 2021. 
Continue reading “Winter’s Wrath, from the West Coast to the East”

Christmas 2020: What’s in the Stars?

Though many children around the world might think December 24 is the longest night of the year (it can be so hard to fall asleep while anticipating Christmas morning!), the longest night of the year actually occurs tonight! We talked a great deal about what the winter solstice is in this blog, but this year’s solstice is particularly special – Google even commemorated it with their doodle of the day!

Continue reading “Christmas 2020: What’s in the Stars?”

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.

Continue reading “Holiday Weather Forecast: Thanksgiving 2020”

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!

Continue reading “2020: A Historic Hurricane Season”

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.
Continue reading “Wild September Weather in the West”

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.
Continue reading “How the Weather Influenced Space-X Crew Dragon Launch and Landing”

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!

Continue reading “Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)”