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September 15, 2011

WeatherWise: Will the Recent Extreme Weather Spoil Fall Foliage?

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The USA experienced one of the driest July months on record followed by a drenching in late August. Will the recent extreme weather spoil the much anticipated fall foliage? Penn State's fall foliage expert Dr. Marc Abrams doesn't think so.

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Dr Abrams is a professor of Forest Ecology in the School of Agriculture and began studying 25 years ago to determine the particular weather conditions that successfully result in gorgeous foliage. He explains at Fear Not, Recent Extreme Weather No Spoiler for Fall Foliage | AccuWeather:

"Really, one of the most important things is what happens in the end of September and the first two weeks of October," Abrams said.

Cool, crisp temperatures are the key for brightly colored leaves. In those weeks, nighttime temperatures hopefully fall into low 30s and 40s with bright sunny days and dry weather.

But great leaves this fall aren't a sure thing. If the weather stays warm and wet, "that will be a problem. [The leaves] won't go into their normal coloration."

The leaves are brightest when the cool weather starts at the end of September. If the cooldown starts in late October instead, Abrams says that the colors aren't as vibrant.

Planning a trip? The Colors of Fall Road Trip Guide [above] by Jerry and Marcy Monkman details 25 of the best scenic tours during fall foliage season in New England. Available in Kindle and Paperback.

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Check Out This Week's Wind & Weather Deal of the Week

August 19, 2011

Google Adds Weather Layer to Google Maps

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Now when you are checking out Google Maps for directions, you can get an instant weather report too. The Official Google Blog has announced they have just added a weather layer on Google Maps that displays current temps and conditions around the globe:

To add the weather layer, hover over the widget in the upper right corner of Google Maps and select the weather layer from the list of options. When zoomed out, you'll see a map with current weather conditions from weather.com for various locations, with icons to denote sun, clouds, rain and so on. You can also see cloud coverage, thanks to our partners at the U.S. Naval Research Lab. And, if you look closely, you can also tell if it's day or night around the world by sun and moon icons.

Here's the one-minute tutorial:

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July 28, 2011

NOAA New Climate Normals -- Climatologist Heidi Cullen on the Weather of the Future

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As you may have read, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just recalculated its climate "normals," 30-year averages of temperature and precipitation for about 7,500 locations across the United States, a task the agency undertakes every 10 years. The numbers show that the past decade was about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 70s, which raises the 30-year average by roughly one-half degree. Click the image for enlarged version.

According to Heidi Cullen, a scientist at Climate Central, a journalism and research organization, "Even this seemingly modest shift in climate can mean a big change in weather." From Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate | New York Times:

In other words, that extra 1.5 degrees might be more than we can afford....The snapshots of climate history from NOAA can also provide a glimpse of what's in store locally in the future. Using climate models, we can project what future Julys might look like. For example, by 2050, assuming we continue to pump heat-trapping pollution into our atmosphere at a rate similar to today's, New Yorkers can expect the number of July days exceeding 90 degrees to double, and those exceeding 95 degrees to roughly triple. Sweltering days in excess of 100 degrees, rare now, will become a regular feature of the Big Apple's climate in the 2050s.

cullenweatheroffuture.JPG Ms Cullen is a well-known climatologist and the author of The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet. She predicts global warming scenarios for seven spots around the world over the next 40 years with evaluations of the responses of communities, governments, and international organizations.

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June 24, 2011

Hot Tips to Protect Your Car from the Summer Sun

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Few places in the US endure a summer sun as brutal as the one that beats relentlessly down on South Florida. Keeping your car cool | Sun-Sentinel offers comprehensive advice on how to best maintain your car in the summer heat, and they should know. This useful article covers the roof, under the hood, engine fluids, windows, interior, a/c, and tires. Some basic tips:

Park in the Shade. As the article points out, try to park in the shade as often as you can--easier said than done we know. Your car and your passengers will thank you. It can lower interior temperatures by as much as 40 degrees.

Children and Pets. Your parked vehicle will start to heat up in as little as 3 minutes. It's not safe to leave a child or a pet in your car while you just run in the store for a few minutes. In 10 minutes, the interior temperatures may rise as much as 20 degrees even with the windows cracked and feel like an oven.

Air Conditioning. Instead of instantly turning up the A/C full blast on "cold", try rolling down the windows when you first get going to air out the intense heat of the car.

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Auto Finish. We did our homework, and this is what we use on our vehicles. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax protects your auto's finish against UV damage. It provides a sharp, wet-look shine and eliminates fine scratches and swirls.

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June 16, 2011

Hot Summer Weather Brings New Label Requirements For Sunscreen -- FDA Announcement

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Hot summer weather and sunburns go hand in hand. Just in time for the summer tanning season, the FDA has announced new requirements for sunscreen currently sold over-the-counter (OTC), i.e. non-prescription. The requirements take effect by the summer of 2012, but consumers may begin to see changes to sunscreen labels before the effective date. Here's the scoop from the Q & A:

Sunburn is primarily caused by UVB. Both UVB and UVA can cause sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. A certain percentage of a broad spectrum product's total protection is against UVA.

Under the new regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage will be labeled "Broad Spectrum" and "SPF 15" (or higher) on the front.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hot Summer Weather Brings New Label Requirements For Sunscreen -- FDA Announcement"

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June 2, 2011

WeatherWise -- How Are Hurricanes Named?

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Every year a list of names for hurricanes is generated. By who? And how do they come up with these names and when do they retire them? This short video over at AccuWeather explains.

stormgeorgerstewart.jpgThe video cites the book Storm (California Legacy) by George R. Stewart (1895-1980, a professor of English at the University of California Berkeley) which initiated the custom of giving storms feminine names. The book chronicles a Pacific storm called Maria in 12 chapters, one for each day in the life of the storm.

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

Originally, only women's names were used, but in 1979, men's names were introduced and are currently alternated with the women's names. The lists are re-cycled every six years, so the 2011 list will be used again in 2017. The only time that there is a change in the list is in the event of a devastating storm. Several names have been changed since the lists were created.

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Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Names can be found at the National Hurricane Center.

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May 19, 2011

WeatherWise: NOAA 2011 Hurricane Season Forecast

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The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its forecast for the 2011 storm season, with a prediction of an above-normal hurricane season this year across the entire Atlantic Basin:

12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:

6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:

3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.


The six-month Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. The East Pacific hurricane season began May 15th. Download the NOAA 2011 Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Photo: Hurricane Earl, September 1, 2010/NOAA

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May 17, 2011

WeatherWise: Tuscaloosa AL Tornado -- Scariest Video Yet

The massive tornado outbreak that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27 was sadly responsible for 238 deaths according to authorities. It was Alabama's worst natural disaster since tornadoes killed over 300 people in 1932.

This video is from YouTube user MrEverduarte who recorded the funnel storm as it terrifyingly passed over the top of his home.

[via DailyWhat]

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April 18, 2011

Historic Tornado Outbreak in Southern US -- AccuWeather.com Explains

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More than 243 tornadoes have caused extensive human and property damage from Oklahoma to Virginia since last Thursday April 14. North Carolina received the brunt of destruction enduring as many as 60 tornadoes -- the state's worst outbreak in more than 25 years.

A major reason for the scope of destruction is that heavily populated areas were in the path of the storms. Meteorologist Meghan Evans explains what happened over at AccuWeather.com. Essentially, three weather conditions combined to create this violent tornado outbreak ranging from the southern Plains into the Southeast: 1) a powerful jet stream, 2) abundant moisture and 3) a strong cold front.

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Meghan continues:

There are a couple of factors that are making this year a more active severe weather year compared to normal and compared to last year.

The first factor is that the water in Gulf of Mexico is warmer than last year. This means that there is very warm, moist air in supply for storm systems to tap into and provide fuel for severe weather.

The second is that we are in one of the strongest La Nina patterns in recorded history.

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Sounds of the Japanese Earthquake As Recorded by NOAA -- Japan Won't Stop Shaking

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Scientists at the NOAA Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Oregon State University listened to the sounds of the March 11, 2011 Honshu, Japan earthquake propagated through the earth's crust.

From the site: "The first sound file is from a hydrophone located in the central north Pacific, the second sound file and spectrogram is from a hydrophone located near the Aleutian Islands." Listen below.

Joel Achenbach quotes U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Ross Stein in the Washington Post: "It will take probably a decade before this aftershock sequence is over," Stein said. "The watchword in Tokyo should be long-term vigilance. Nobody should think this should go away in a few weeks or a few months." Click for a truly shocking graphic of earthquakes greater than 5.0 magnitude in and around Japan since March 11, 2011.

[via TPM and Book of Joe]

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March 31, 2011

WeatherWise: AccuWeather.com Predicts Active 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season -- More US Landfalls

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As Yogi would say, it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. That said, meteorologists think those folks living on the Atlantic Ocean can expect an active 2011 hurricane season with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.

AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists are predicting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which they say will become hurricanes. Three of those purportedly will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).

Why? There are a number of reasons:

  • The orientation and position of the Azores and Bermuda high-pressure areas in the Atlantic
  • The future state of the ongoing La NiƱa
  • The frequency and amount of dust that accompanies disturbances moving off the African coast
  • A phenomenon known as Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)

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The average year generally brings 10 tropical storms. Six of those storms become hurricanes and two of those will be major hurricanes with winds that exceed 110 mph. Get the scoop at AccuWeather.com.

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March 24, 2011

Old Weather -- Researching Our Past Weather to Predict the Climate's Future

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The Old Weather project was created with the goal of improving climate predictions by using old weather observations from the past. It's not a question of proving or dis-proving global warming as much as to improve upon our ability as a species to predict weather and climate in the future. And you can help them collect as much historical data as they can! From the site:

Help scientists recover worldwide weather observations made by Royal Navy ships around the time of World War I. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and improve a database of weather extremes. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and the stories of the people on board.

Get more info at the site The Old Weather and the blog.

[via Book of Joe]

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March 22, 2011

AccuWeather Previews Weather App for Windows Phone 7

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One of Weather Snob's favorite web haunts AccuWeather.com, a leading provider of multimedia weather information, has just previewed its AccuWeather.com application for Windows Phone 7. AccuWeather for Windows Phone 7 will be available for download from the Windows Phone Marketplace in Q2 2011.

"AccuWeather for Windows Phone 7 will offer accurate, localized, and detailed weather news and information in a modern and clean format," said Pascal Racheneur, AccuWeather Vice President of Interactive Media. "Complete with interactive panoramic views, easy swiping between your favorite locations, and Bing maps, the app uses the rich Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools to create a dynamic application that provides users with easy access to everything they need to plan their day."

The application will be previewed in the Microsoft booth at International CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center March 22 through March 24.

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March 18, 2011

WeatherWise: Weekend Full Moon Biggest Since 1993

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The moon will look bigger and brighter this weekend by 10% - 15%. Saturday's full moon will be a super "perigee moon" -- the biggest in 18 years. The last full moon as large and as close to the Earth happened back in March, 1993 and won't happen again for another 20 years or so.

The moon's orbit has an elliptical shape. When a moon is at perigee, it is about 31,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than when it's at the farthest point of its orbit, known as apogee. Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the moons that occur on the apogee side of the moon's orbit according to NASA.

Look for this full moon rising in the east at sunset this weekend starting around 7pm EDT. Low-hanging moons look especially large due to a phenomenon known as the "moon illusion", not particularly understood by scientists. Read more at CNN.

[Photo: Curt Renz, Arlington Heights IL]

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