Next year I plan on being much better at updating this blog! For starters, every week there will be “Weather Word Wednesday,” which will feature a word that deals with meteorology, with a short discussion of what it means. So, you can count on learning one new thing (hopefully!) each week! In addition, I plan on posting an interesting weather image each week, and will have more long posts about particular topics. If there is something about the weather that has always interested you, please post a comment about it, and I’ll look into writing about it for you!
Here’s to a great 2010, and an even better 2011. May the weather be interesting wherever you live!
I stumbled (by using StumbleUpon!) an interesting website today called Contrail Science. The tagline for the site is “The Science and Pseudoscience of Contrails and Chemtrails,” and the current article on the home page is a very detailed explanation, using pictures, flight info and good science, about the alleged “missile launch” in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. The author of the site has numerous posts detailing the basics about contrails, some good stuff about contrail chemistry, and pictures galore! Contrails come in many shapes and sizes, and there are additional phenomena seen in the weather that act similarly to contrails. If you are at all interested in those trails you see in the sky, or want a lively debate on the “LA missile launch,” you should absolutely check out this site!
It’s not often we get a tornado in Arizona, but today we got TWO of them, within minutes of each other! Thanks to a low pressure system in California creating some serious storms in Arizona, the conditions were just perfect for this type of activity. Unfortunately, 7 people were injured, and lots of property destroyed. Check out the video capture of this event.
I recently “discovered” on the local NWS website theSatellite Water Vapor Imagery data for our area, and I’m quite fascinated by it! The official description of this data is as follows:
Water vapor satellite imagery depicts moisture content in the middle and upper layers of the atmosphere. Lower level moisture is not depicted in these images. Moisture transport over large distances generally happens through the middle and upper layers of the atmosphere. Hence these images will depict moisture coming into the Southwest from the Gulf of Mexico or across Texas. Additionally, weak disturbances from the east are best tracked through water vapor imagery.
The imagery looks like this when viewed online. The is a screen capture of one frame of data:
Water Vapor Imagery
Basically, what this shows is the amount of moisture that is in the upper atmosphere. This may be in the form of clouds that you see, but often it is not. Water vapor literally surrounds the earth, but is unevenly distributed due to things like oceans, lakes, rivers, deserts, arid areas, etc. For instance, in the image above, you can see a lot of water vapor coming up from the southwest into places like Arizona and New Mexico, which are traditionally dry regions. Areas like the Pacific Northwest, which are usually wet, have much less than normal. This is all due to seasonal shifts in winds and weather patterns, which change the flow of moisture around the planet. By looking at an image like this, you can get an idea of how much moisture is available in your area…moisture that could turn to rain or snow!
When I drove to work this morning, around 9AM, the sky was almost perfectly clear. A few high cirrus clouds, but nothing aside from that…just blue sky. Below is a snapshot from my phone on what the sky looked like around 1:30PM today:
Quick Storm Development
Since this picture was taken, our area has seen multiple Severe Thunderstorm alerts, along with several Flash Flood warnings! It absolutely amazes me how quickly the weather can turn in our area of the wood, and why it’s always important to keep an eye on weather when outside doing fun things. Dry washes and rivers can turn into raging torrents without a single drop falling in your particular area. Always know the weather!
I have created a new website aimed at showing people the best locations to take lightning and storm pictures. It’s called Lightning Shot Spots and I just launched it today! So far it’s a bare bones site while I work to collect location data (provided by users like you!), but I have plans to develop it into a world class storm photography resources. So, head over, take a look, and please contribute a location if you have one. Thanks!