This video was making the viral rounds over the weekend. I think it gives a better understanding about the energy waiting to be tapped from the wind. What do you think?
Courtesy Erik OganIf you're in the upper midwest or in the Minnesota neck of the woods your hair probably looks awesome today. We're experiencing an epic storm system due to a record low pressure system sitting over the northern part of the state.
The record low pressure map there is pretty cool.
I saw several downed big tree limbs on my way into work this morning. I wonder how city public works departments respond to mega wind storms like this. I'm reading a great book all about various parts of urban infrastructure, and it leads me to think that there are lots of guys in cherry picker trucks driving around the city dealing with downed power lines today.
A new record hail stone fell on 23 July 2010 near Vivian SD!
It is 8-inch in diameter hail stone and weighs 1.9375 pounds.
The old record heaviest U.S. hailstone was a 1.67-pound found near Coffeyville, KS on Sep. 3, 1970. The old record for the largest diameter hailstone was 7 inches found in Aurora, NE on June 22, 2003. This Aurora, NE hailstone still holds the U.S. record for circumference: 18.75 inches. The Vivian, SD hailstone circumference was only 18.5".
Hail is precipitation in the form of large balls or lumps of ice. Hailstones begin as small ice particles that grow primarily by accretion. The production of large hail requires a strong updraft that is tilted and an abundant supply of supercooled water. Because strong updrafts are required to generate large hailstones, it is not surprising to observe that hail is not randomly distributed in a thunderstorm; instead it occurs in regions near the strong updraft. Supercell thunderstorms, in which the strongest updrafts are created with help from the mesocyclone, often produce the largest hail.
Eventually, though, the weight of the hailstone overcomes the strength of the updraft, and it falls to earth. The curtain of hailstones that falls below the cloud base is called the hailshaft. These regions are often said to appear green to observers on the ground, although recent research suggests that heavy rain as well as hail can create this optical phenomenon. As the storm moves, it generates a hailswath, a section of ground covered with hail.
Hailstorms can severely damage crops, automobiles, and roofs. Sometimes the swath can be so big you can see it on the ground from a satellite
Moving water is an extremely powerful and earth-shaping force of nature. It can also be quite lethal. According to NOAA, over a 30-year average (1979-2008) flash floods have killed more people than any other weather-related natural disaster in the US. With that in mind, here are two remarkable video clips of flash floods that came to my attention via Rebecca Hunt-Foster’s Dinochick Blog. The videos were shot by David Rankin of Rankinstudio.com who keeps close watch on the local weather in southern Utah, and whenever heavy rains occur, runs out with camera in hand to capture the amazing power and erosion of the resultant flash floods, that drag along everything that gets in their way. This explanation of the phenomenon and why it interests him is from his website:
“1 inch of rain over 1 square mile amounts to over 17.38 million gallons of water that need to be drained. Some of the floods in these videos were produced when 2 - 4 inches of rain fell over 30 - 60 square miles, over a few billion gallons of water draining down one wash in the desert. These washes are usually bone dry for most of the year until the monsoon rains come. They can turn into raging torrents within minutes and are very dangerous during this time of year. If there hasn't been much local heavy downpour the floods come through looking like a tsunami with a wall of water that can get up to 5 feet high, and tear up everything in its way. This is what you see happening in these videos. I am also interested in raising awareness when it comes to these beasts. They are quite dangerous, and can come through up to 6 hours after the storms that create them pass by with almost no warning.” – David Rankin
This year has been designated The Year of Science 2009, and the theme for the month of August is weather and climate. What better way to celebrate than to dust off one of my old videos and show it again on the Science Buzz blog. I shot the video over Lake Harriet when one of those typical thunderstorms rolled through Minneapolis a few summers ago. We're obsessed with weather here in Minnesota, and I'm particularly crazy for thunderstorms!
If you want more information about this month's theme you can find it at the Year of Science website.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its Atlantic hurricane season forecast. The prediction -- "near-normal" -- fits pretty well with the forecasts from AccuWeather, Colorado State University, WSI Corporation, and the Weather Research Center. What does "near-normal" mean? NOAA is predicting 9 to 14 named storms, with 4 to 7 hurricanes, and 1 to 3 major storms (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale of storm intensity).
But storm prediction is a tricky business. More rainfall over West Africa, warmer sea surface temperatures, and reduced wind shear could encourage more storms. An El Nino pattern in the Pacific or cooler ocean temperatures could discourage them. NOAA will issue another prediction in August, just before the usual peak in the hurricane season.
Researchers around the country are testing a new radar system that should track storms more accurately, and give earlier warning of deadly tornadoes.
Noted hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray has offered up his 2008 Atlantic hurricane season predictions. (The season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.)
Gray's team, working out of Colorado State University, is predicting an above-normal season, with 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes (category 3 storms or higher). Why? A La Nina pattern creates cool water conditions in the Pacific and warm sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic. Warm sea surface temperatures are critical to the formation of hurricanes.
What's "above average"? An average hurricane season produces about 10 tropical storms and 6 hurricanes. In 2007, 14 tropical storms formed, and 6 of those strengthened into hurricanes. But 2005, of course, was a record-shattering year, with 28 storms, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Buzz thread on Hurricane Katrina, started on 8/29/2005.
Buzz thread on Hurricane Rita, started on 9/22/2005.
Do you know about the 1938 hurricane that crashed into New England?
And, lastly, here are the hurricane names for 2008: