Hurricane Sandy – The Freaky Fankenstorm

Expected track of Sandy as of 4 pm Sunday October 28,2012

Hurricane Sandy is a powerful storm and Sandy might just be the perfect storm. This storm is a thousand miles wide!

Though the hurricane is not expected to make landfall until sometime late Monday (tomorrow), coastal regions will be hit by gale-force winds, heavy rain and possible flooding as early as Sunday, said Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storm conditions were being felt in parts of North Carolina on Sunday, though the storm was 250 miles off the coast.

“Sandy is a large hurricane, and large systems pose multiple hazards for more people than smaller systems of comparable intensity,” Dr. Knabb said.

Forecasters warned that it could ravage areas far beyond the projected trajectory, and they urged people to heed evacuation calls and to prepare for the worst.

In its latest report, the Hurricane Center said the storm surge could be as high as 11 feet above normal along Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay — a significantly higher forecast than in previous reports — and warned that major flooding could occur across a broad area of the East Coast. Forecasters also expected torrential rains in some regions, which would add to the flooding.

And then there is the snow.

As Hurricane Sandy approaches land, it will be drawn into a system known as a midlatitude trough, a severe winter storm that is moving across the country from the west. A burst of arctic air is expected to sweep down through the Canadian Plains just as they are converging. That could lead to several feet of snow in West Virginia and Kentucky and lighter amounts in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Temperatures could drop into the mid-20s.

In announcing the transit shutdown, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said it was unsafe to operate trains in high winds. He also said the closing was intended as a signal to discourage New York-area residents from being “up and about.”

The subway system will begin to curtail service at 7 p.m., and the transit authority’s railroads, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, will begin their final trips at the same time, some buses may remain in service until 9 p.m. (It takes about eight hours for the subways to be shut down, but only six for the bus system.)

Carolina Beach, N. C. October 27, 2012

Beware to everyone on the East Coast the Frankenstorm is coming!


Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning is a very unusual weather phenomenon because it doesn’t happen very often. And sometime can be a small ball or a large ball that is several yards wide. But it is also different from normal lightning because it lasts many seconds and is always seen close to the ground.

There are very few videos or pictures of ball lightning. To see a neat video of ball lightning click here.

Cold Fronts

The Cold Front – Near Dallas, Texas Oct 8, 2012

Well “cold fronts” can be kind of hard to explain:

Cold fronts occur between centers of high and low pressure.  Colder air from the center of high pressure flows towards the center of low pressure, where the warm air rises. Cold fronts move  rather fast, slide underneath,  and raise the warm air in front of them.  Cold fronts usually cause precipitation, because they cool the air to the point where the humidity condenses.  Sometimes the cold air also goes over the warm air at the same time.  When this happens violent thunderstorms may occur.

The larger the pressure the faster the air flows.  When larger amounts of cold air start moving they can create a  large front of several hundred miles of width.

Another thing about cold fronts is they usually cause a big drop in temperature.  Day before yesterday, Monday, the temperature was 38 degrees in the morning and rose to 58 degrees in the afternoon.  Normally, this time of year Dallas has lows of about 70 degrees and highs in the 80-90 degree range.

  Extreme temperature differences on either side of a cold front

Another interesting thing about cold fronts is how extreme the temperatures differences can become as one passes by. Later we need to talk about how these areas of high and low pressure get started in the first place.

Get ready for more cold fronts coming to you this fall!

Fire Rainbows

OK…by popular vote…it’s fire rainbows:

Here’s how they form:
It starts with sun on ice crystals. This is why cirrus clouds are generally the only clouds to display fire rainbows. The clouds have to be far enough up in the air for ice crystals to form, and the sun has to be shining through them in order for the light to reach people on the ground. Dark storm clouds blot out the sun and low fog doesn’t contain enough ice crystals to properly refract the light. When they form, ice crystals often make little hexagonal plates. If the sun is at least fifty-eight degrees above the horizon (the optimum angle is 67 degrees), its light hits the top of these plates and is split into different colors. Since the plates only exist in the cloud, and nothing else around it, the entire cloud turns into a self-contained rainbow.


Ask me any weather question and I’ll try to find the answer…it’s rainbow time! Leah.