Stories tagged weather


Earthquake and hurricane proof

Haiti housing resource
Haiti housing resourceCourtesy jasonpearce
Housing for Haitians may already be on hand. Sturdy, earthquake and hurricane proof, shipping containers often sit empty in port yards because exporting empty containers is not cost effective.

Pernille Christensen, at Clemson’s School of Architecture, along with Martha Skinner and Doug Hecker, have been working to develop a method to convert the shipping containers into homes.

“Because of the shipping container’s ‘unibody’ construction they are also very good in seismic zones and exceed structural code in the United States and any country in the world,” associate professor Hecker said.

“You get people back in their communities and it strengthens those communities,” Christensen said. “They work on their home, not a temporary shelter, and then they work with their neighbors to rebuild the neighborhood. It leads to a healthier and safer community. And these are places often in dire need of better housing.”


Learn more about shipping container housing

The current cold snap may be more than just a blip. Two leading climate researchers have found evidence that the Earth may be heading into a cooling period which could last 20 to 30 years. Better keep those snowshoes handy!

Too cold
Too coldCourtesy Petruha
Millions of fancy fish are dying because of the cold snap in Florida. Florida businesses that raise fancy fish to sell in pet stores are getting devastated.
Learn more about the 2010 Florida fish kill here.


Have you notice that this year is a bit different than these past few years? There is climate changes and I have found out that there is many places that have unusual weather going on. To find out what kind of weather is happening at other people's location I posted up a question on (;_ylt=Ai6ehEHIOirNwIoaUPUQaEAazKI...) to see if the weather is really a sign or a warning of 2012. Downtown St. Paul: Downtown St. Paul
Downtown St. Paul: Downtown St. PaulCourtesy Della Xiong
For an example. In Minnesota, on Spring there wasn't as much rain as it usually did every year. September was the month that has the most rain. It seems as if September was Spring instead of Fall. And going towards October their were a couple days that have snowed, it was unexpected. It's like the weather shifted a month forward. So for me the cause of 2012 could be the weather, but I wasn't sure about it so I ask another question "Is the changing of the weather a sign of 2012? on to get peoples opinion. (;_ylt=Agak5C7_ZvFnrKhAwJySvp0azKI...) The answer that I get was no. Most of them said the changing weather is just a symptoms of global warming and climate changes that is caused by human and this made me think that they could be right about it. So what is your opinion? And what do you think of the weather? Do you think the weather has anything to do with 2012?


Summertime, and the livin' is easy: Keeping cool this past summer was easier than expected.
Summertime, and the livin' is easy: Keeping cool this past summer was easier than expected.Courtesy tree & j hensdill

Well, summer is officially over. The Weather Service switched to fall on September 1. The rest of the country likes to wait until the day after Labor Day. (The folks who hold out for the equinox are delusional, and best ignored.) So, it's time to update our on-going study comparing summer temperatures to winter temperatures.

For those of you just joining us, last February Buzz blogger extraordinaire Candace noted that the winter of 2008-2009 had been unusually warm. She asked if this meant the following summer would also be warm.

Well, I went to the website of the National Space Science and Technology Center, which very conveniently records the temperature for each month going back to December 1978. I crunched the numbers and found that, yes, there was a connection. Though summer temps fluctuate year-to-year, about half of that fluctuation can be tied to changes in winter temps.

Armed with this information, we anxiously awaited the temperature record from summer 2009. The results are in, and...

...well, this was obviously part of the other half. The winter of 2008-2009 was the 4th warmest in the recording period. The summer of 2009, however, was dead smack in the middle -- 16th out of 31. So disparate were these results that they actually brought down the average for the entire study period: the impact of winter temps on summer temps is now down to just 45%.

Still, for something as complicated as weather, that's a huge impact. So, while the winter-summer connection can't predict what will happen in any given year, over the long run it does still hold true.

Tune in next year for another exciting update!


Coastal watches/warnings and 5-Day track forecast cone for Hurricane Bill
Coastal watches/warnings and 5-Day track forecast cone for Hurricane BillCourtesy NOAA
The names for the 2009 hurricanes were announced a few days ago by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC has a list of names they draw from, that reuses names every six years or so, but if a storm is particularly bad a name will be retired. There are no "Q" or "U" names and they go alphabetically so when they get to Danny you'll know that's the fourth of the season. The names for 2009 are:

Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Pete, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

(Interesting the names "Pete" and "Rose" are in succession.)

So far this year we're up to Claudette. Ana is old news already with the National Hurricane Center announcing yesterday that the storm had weakened so much they were no longer tracking it. Claudette is also weakening, but it had the distinction of being the first tropical system to reach land yet this season. Third in line is Bill, who has already become a category 3 hurricane. Follow Bill’s progress here.

Retired hurricane names.


Tree crushes fence in South Minneapolis: Southwest corner of Portland Ave. S. and East 43rd Street.
Tree crushes fence in South Minneapolis: Southwest corner of Portland Ave. S. and East 43rd Street.Courtesy Mark Ryan
An oddball surprise storm caught the city of Minneapolis and other parts of the Twin Cities metro area completely off guard yesterday. Clean-up crews were at work less than an hour after the storm: Looking down Portland Avenue toward downtown Minneapolis.
Clean-up crews were at work less than an hour after the storm: Looking down Portland Avenue toward downtown Minneapolis.Courtesy Mark Ryan
The National Weather Center was ambushed as well, and no warning of the tempest was issued. Wind-strewn trash bins litter Minneapolis alley.
Wind-strewn trash bins litter Minneapolis alley.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Nothing's been officially confirmed but Minneapolis residents reported sighting cloud rotation, tornadoes, and hearing the roar of wind as a storm swept through downtown and South Minneapolis. Storm-damaged house and trees in South Minneapolis: Northwest corner of Portland Avenue South and East 43rd Street in Minneapolis.
Storm-damaged house and trees in South Minneapolis: Northwest corner of Portland Avenue South and East 43rd Street in Minneapolis.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Hundreds of the city's trees were knocked down by the storm. I was at the Science Museum for a meeting when the warning sirens sounded so on the way home I drove into the affected area to see for myself. Crushed car in South Minneapolis
Crushed car in South MinneapolisCourtesy Mark Ryan
I just happened to have a pocket camera with me (I just bought it over the weekend) so I took some photos of the damage in one small area of South Minneapolis near the intersection of Portland Avenue South and East 43rd Street (I used to live near the neighborhood). Because the storm came on without any warning and much of it under the cover of heavy downpour, the weather service's usual storm spotters weren't in place to report on conditions or damage. Investigators are on site today to determine if the culprit was a small tornado (or tornadoes) or straight line winds. The last tornado to go through Minneapolis was back on June 14, 1981. I remember that one well.Another unfortunate victim of the freak Minneapolis storm
Another unfortunate victim of the freak Minneapolis stormCourtesy Mark Ryan

Minneapolis Star Tribune story
Associated Press story
More about tornadoes on Weather Wiz Kids


Coldest July ever
Coldest July everCourtesy National Climatic Data Center

Six states set records for coldest July ever recorded

Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania set all time records for cold in July while Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky had their 2nd-coldest July ever recorded.
What is really weird is that in spite of this record cold

The global average went from normal in June to the second-hottest July on record. USA Today

Where was it hotter than normal?

For the global average temperatures to reach near record highs in spite of the central USA's record cold, it must have been really hot somewhere. If you look at this map you will see that the hotter than normal areas are near the South Pole.
USA Today (Check out the 678 comments)

El Niño has returned

How strong an El Niño will eventually develop and how long it is likely to last is not yet known. Learn more about El Niño in 2009 in ScienceNow Daily News.

That's right, folks, whether you wanted him around or not, El Niño has come, and he's going to break your head open! (Climatologically speaking he will.)

One way to describe El Niño might be to say that it's a global weather phenomenon associated with an upwelling of warm water off of the Pacific coast of South America, occurring every two two five years, which causes all sorts of oddness around the world, from droughts in Australia to major flooding in South America, to heavy rains and increased wave erosion in the Pacific Northwest.

Another way to describe El Niño might be this:

(Actually, I'd encourage someone to write something better than this wimpy little post on El Niño. There's a lot to say about it, and it affects billions of people around the world. Check it out, teach us something we didn't know.)