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March 2018
March 2018

A nor'easter already closing schools and canceling thousands of flights Wednesday is set to bring record-setting snow to the region.
In upper Alabama, punishing winds hit hard, ripping off roofs, blowing transformers, dropping hail the size of baseballs and leaving a swath of ruin
<p>When sheriff’s deputies told Kristine Sperling and her family they should evacuate their Southern California home because of an approaching storm in January, they didn’t listen.</p>
Airlines have started canceling flights as another storm hits the Mid-Atlantic region with rain, sleet and snow.
<p>A new storm, an Alberta Clipper, will spread a swath of heavy snow across parts of the northern Plains and Midwest to end the week, before making an eastward turn over part of the mid-Atlantic region later this weekend.</p>
CAPE ANN — You have to tell yourself that the worst part is getting your shoulders into the blubber-thick wet suit. You have to remind yourself that it’s only water, no matter how cold it is, no matter how forbidding it looks. You have to repeat to yourself what you tell others when they look at you in shock upon learning that you surf in the winter in New England. “It’s not that bad.” But mostly, you have to reaffirm the vow you made when ...
<p>Following severe storms that produced several tornadoes and tore a path of destruction through Jacksonville, Alabama, on Monday, residents from Florida to coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina should be on alert for severe weather on Tuesday.</p>
A tornado during a line of severe storms hitting Jacksonville, heavily damaged numerous buildings in the area, including this West Point Baptist Church and a Dollar General. Reed Timmer was chasing storms in the area and recorded this devastation Tuesday morning. No injuries have been reported.
<p>From Japan to Albania, here’s a look at some beautiful cherry blossoms across the world.</p>
<p>Severe storms that spawned tornadoes damaged homes and downed trees as they moved across the Southeast on Monday night.</p>
From earthquakes, to wildfires, to hurricanes, and everything in between, we accept that the natural world can be hostile. But sometimes, Mother Nature grants a rare, and terrifying, new form to a common disaster.Take, for instance, Mt. Sinabung in Indonesia, which erupted so strongly two years ago that it actually spawned dark tornadoes.It was easily explainable as a sort of dust devil, but scientific explanations don't at all take away from how striking, and a little scary, those meteorological curve balls can be.Here are six freaky, and frightening, examples of severe weather or natural disasters that look like they were put together on a sci-fi blockbuster budget.Volcanic LightningContrary to what you might imagine, the incandescent shot below is not part of a Swedish Viking metal album, although we would forgive you if that was your original assumption.It was shot by photographer Oliver Spaltin 1995, at a safe distance from Indonesia's Mt. Rinjani, one of the archipelago nation's many, many volcanoes. Volcanic eruptions are catastrophic and awe-inspiring enough, so the addition of a few bolts of lightning kind of seems like overkill, but they do happen, although the process that creates them is not 100 per cent understood.They could be a by-product of what meteorologists call 'dirty thunderstorms.' The lightning is produced by a similar process as in a regular thunderstorm, where friction between particles creates a static charge. Only instead of high-altitude ice particles, it's ash and rock particles that create the charge.Although volcanic eruptions have been observed by mankind for millennia (often via panicked backward glances), scientific study of them has only really been around for a couple of centuries.It seems the lightning phenomenon is one of the last aspects of volcanoes to be studied in great detail, with definitive research into "dirty thunderstorms"being released only in 2007.And even then, the researchers said there was still a lot more research needed to figure out exactly how what sparks these incredible bolts.Fire tornadoesWe've already talked about the phenomenon of volcanic tornadoes – dust devils of smoke and ash. Now meet their blazing counterparts, Fire whirls:This awesome shot was captured by Australian film maker Chris Tangey in 2012, while scouting filming locations in that country's Northern Territory. He said it sounded like the roar of a fighter jet as it scoured the parched landscape, and it was one of several.Fire whirls can occur due to a combination of wind sheer and intense heat, sucking flames upward into a towering flame vortex.Rural firefighters tasked with battling wildfires dread them – although they typically don't last long, they can spread hot debris beyond the immediate area. They're not really all that rare, just not often photographed, at least not until recent years (See below for one from the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo).Despite their appearance, they're not considered true tornadoes, rather being more like dust devils … except for one, terrifying exception in Australia.After painstakingly collecting the evidence, researchers announced in 2012 that they'd discovered the first evidence of an actual fire tornado – emitted from a thunderstorm, itself generated from the intense smoke of the 2003 wildfires in Canberra, the Australian capitalAnd like a true tornado, its effects were devastating. Tall trees were snapped in half, roofs were ripped off of houses, and vehicles were picked up and tossed by the burning twister's estimated horizontal winds of around 155 mph. Australia, like the United States and Canada, is one of the most wildfire-prone nations in the world. It isn't comforting to know that aside from the risk of death and damage to property, the fires can spawn a pillar of flame powerful enough to rip your home apart.Heat burstsHeat bursts are unseen blasts of hot air that can turn a tranquil, temperate evening into a sweltering windstorm.They don't happen often, but when they do, they can cause the temperature to spike by several degrees in a very short period of time. One documented event in South Africawas marked by temperatures skyrocketing from around 68°F to more than 104°F in just five minutes.Other documented changes are less drastic, but still noticeable. Here's an example from Kansas:The history books are filled with extreme, but poorly documented cases. An unconfirmed (and unlikely) reported heat burst in Iran supposedly drove temperatures up to 189°F, resulting in deaths and liquefied asphalt. Other examples, again, from places with no official weather stations, caused car radiators to boil over and crops to be flash-dried in the fields.It's not aliens, and although rare, they are relatively easy to explain. The phenomenon, similar to a downburst, begins when a thunderstorm weakens over a layer of dry air and, though a complicated series of meteorological processes, the falling air gets hotter and drier as momentum carries it down to the earth.Once it hits the ground, the air is dispersed in all directions, producing winds in excess of 75 mph in some cases– more than enough to damage homes.Here's a video explanation:Most cases seem to happen at night, don't last long, and are more common in the thunderstorm season of the spring and summer months. Which is a shame, because given how ridiculously cold this winter has been in many parts of Canada, we wouldn't mind a moderate heat burst here and there.At the very least it would get rid of these mountains of snow.Rogue WavesFans of The Deadliest Catchknow what these are, thanks to one episode of the popular reality show when one of the crab-fishing vessels, the Aleutian Ballad, was put in dire straits by one.That ship survived being struck by an 59-foot wave, although dozens of ships in recent decades, and perhaps hundreds or thousands through the centuries, may owe their final fates to rogue waves.The Aleutian Balladwave wasn't even remotely the tallest ever recorded. That dubious honor goes to a 112-foot wave, about 10 storeys high, that slammed into an American tanker in 1933, and scientists have calculated a theoretical maximum height of 197-feet, reaching about chest-height on the Statue of Liberty.They've been seen in Canadian waters as well, with the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner having to 'surf' a 89-foot monster near Newfoundland in 1995. That same year, a similar-sized wave became one of the first to be officially recorded after almost swamping an oil rig in the North Sea.Even so, they were regarded as almost mythical occurrences until the 1990s. Since then, they've been studied in greater detail, but although scientists have a good idea of how many of them form – in some cases through storm wave interactions, in other cases along powerful ocean currents – there's still a few grey areas. Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seems to hedge its bets in its own explanation.And as scientists slowly unravel the mystery behind these waves, and how climate change interacts with them, here's a sobering thought: European Space Agency researchers pointed their satellites at the Earth's oceans in 2004, and reckon there're 10 or so of these giant monstersplying the oceans at any given time.The ocean's a big place, though, so don't worry too much when you're on your next transatlantic cruise (you can go ahead and take an extra life jacket, though).Ball lightningHere's another supposedly mythical weather phenomenon, but WAY more mysterious than rogue waves.Much smaller scale, but somehow even freakier, the stories (and there are MANY stories) describe glowing balls appearing everywhere from the distant sky, to right in the living room (YouTube is full of supposed "sightings").Making things even weirder, the stories completely differ on how these things behave. One account describes one that appeared in the living room, then sort wandered around a bit before flickering out. Another supposedly passed through a metal aircraft, neither damaging the plane nor detonating its fuel stocks.Another is said to have screamed its way through a Russian churchwhile a young Nicholas II, future (and last) tsar of Russia, was in attendance with his grand-dad. Another blazed down from the sky, severed a phone line, scorched walls and landed in a bathtub, where it fizzled out.It wasn't until the 1970s when scientists began to accept these things were not all hallucinations, and even then, aside from apocryphal sightings here and there, they were only ever recreated inside labs.There are a number of possible explanations, and we deeply regret that none of them could form the basis of the next Ghostbusters movie.The leading one is that when conventional lightning strikes mineral-rich soil, it vaporizes some of the metals, setting off a chain reaction with oxygen that emits heat and light. And the whole phenomenon is so inscrutable, that theory wasn't really shored up until earlier this year, when Chinese scientists on a field trip happened to point a spectrographic cameraat one by accident.So we'll go with the 'vaporized mineral' idea, at least until some other group of scientists stumbles onto another sighting through sheer, dumb luck.Rains of animalsAnd here's where we get biblical.Whether you think it's a sign of the apocalypse, or one of nature's more tasty mysteries, occasionally, some small town somewhere in the world will report fish, frogs or some other kind of animal falling in large quantities from the sky.These are very old stories, and they come from around the world. The ancient Roman historian Pliny reported a hail of frogs in the First Century AD. Just in the last decade, we had a hail of fish in England, fishy rain in Australia's dry and remote Northern Territory,even a highly localized tadpole burstin a densely populated Japanese prefecture.Closer to home: Canada Day in 1903 was marked by a rain of fish in Moose Jaw, Sask. In 1912, Lethbridge, Alta., got serving of beetles.Sometimes it gets really, REALLY bizarre, like the Lluvias de Peces in one small town in Honduras. SPECIFICALLY one town, and one town only,in Honduras, and it's been happening every year for more than a century.The fact they happen in the rainy season, and even this accountonly mentions it from a second hand source who claimed to witness it, not first-hand, is a clue: The fish likely come from underground rivers, forced to the surface by rain-saturated, rising groundwater.The locals don't care, though. They make whole festivals out of it:As for pretty much all the other stories where the fish have actually been observed falling from the sky, the actual explanation could be just as simple.Tornadoes tracking over rivers or lakes suck up whatever aquatic life happens to be within, holds them aloft in the storm as it moves on, then sends them descending back to Earth, probably quite far away from their original digs.No one has ever actually observed the origin of the phenomenon first hand, and it's odd that it only ever seems to be one kind of aquatic lifeform at a time, but we're sure we'll figure it out eventually – if only so we can predict where to be waiting with the tartar sauce.
March is a notoriously fickle month for weather, but one thing that always comes, rain or shine, is the first day of spring — even if it doesn’t feel like it. Despite three back-to-back-to-back Nor’easters just weeks ago, the first day of spring — which falls on Tuesday, March 20 this year — is officially here. The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox (sometimes also referred to as the spring equinox or March equinox) and it is almost always either March 20 or March 21 (though it will fall on March 20 for the next two years in a row, according to the National Weather Service.) The warm weather ushers in the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, especially with longer hours of sunlight. Here’s everything you need to know about the first day of spring: What happens on the first day of spring? The first day of spring is the only time of year when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west for everyone across the world. It’s also the only moment each year that the Earth’s tilt is zero in relation to our sun. So, if you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly over your head. Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking. #tlpicks courtesy of @samhorine A post shared by Travel + Leisure (@travelandleisure) on Mar 10, 2018 at 12:35pm PST How do you determine the first day of spring? The first day of spring is determined by the vernal equinox, which is when the sun crosses over plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day approximately equal lengths all over the world. One the day of the equinox passes, both of Earth’s hemispheres get an equal amount of sunlight. There are actually two ways to determine the first day of spring — the astronomical cycle or the meteorologic cycle — but most people use the astronomical cycle. The astronomical cycle considers March 20, 2018 to be the first day of spring, and is always based on the March equinox, whereas the meteorologic cycle bases its first day of spring on seasonal weather and temperature patterns. We’re spotting #SignsofSpringNYC in Conservatory Garden — from crocuses to witch hazel to snowdrops! ???? What’s your favorite spring bloom in Central Park? A post shared by Central Park ???? (@centralparknyc) on Feb 27, 2018 at 1:10pm PST So if you go by the meteorologic cycle, the first day of spring is actually March 1, AccuWeather says. Is the first day of spring the same every year? No. The date changes each year since it is determined by the timing of the sun crossing over the Earth’s equator, which shifts ever so slightly depending on a few factors. The Earth’s orbit is constantly changing in relation to the sun, while at the same time the gravity of other planets impacts the Earth’s location in space. Those physical dynamics coupled with the fact that each calendar year always has a different number of days (think leap years), means that the first day of springs varies slightly from year to year. What time does spring arrive in 2018? The exact time the vernal equinox is supposed to occur this year is at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The spring equinox in the Southern Hemisphere happens at the exact opposite time of the year, so it’s actually the fall equinox for people on the other side of the world (the same way that winter and summer are reversed for both hemispheres).
Scientists have for the first time captured the cracking sound of volcanic thunder – a feat many considered impossible. An ash cloud rising from a volcano can contain lighting, which observers previously said produced an eerie popping sound. But geophysicists have previously been unable to record the noise, because they could not distinguish it from other banging and rumbling sounds made during an eruption. Read more Thunderstorms create nuclear reactions and radiation, say scientists Now, scientists have recorded the thunder produced by the Bogoslof volcano, on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, using powerful microphones positioned some 40 miles away. The thunder sounds like pops and clicks over the low-pitched rumble of the eruption. “It’s something that people who’ve been at eruptions have certainly seen and heard before, but this is the first time we’ve definitively caught it and identified it in scientific data,” said Matt Haney, a seismologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage and lead author of the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. “If people had been observing the eruption in person, they would have heard this thunder,” Mr Haney said. “I expect that going forward, other researchers are going to be excited and motivated to look in their datasets to see if they can pick up the thunder signal.” Bogoslof started erupting in December 2016 and erupted more than 60 times until the following August. Many of the eruptions produced clouds of ash rising more than six kilometres (20,000 feet) high. Eruptions on 8 March and 10 June created good conditions for monitoring the thunder, Mr Haney said, since they emitted huge ash plumes that remained in the sky for several hours after the eruptions had ceased. Without the rumbling sound in the background, the thunder produced by lighting in the clouds could be heard more easily.
Wrap up in something warm as we look at the US cities that see the most snowfall through spring. All data comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A low-pressure system moving across the Southeast Monday is expected to develop into yet another nor'easter beginning Tuesday.
<p>A double-barreled storm will spread wet snow and travel disruptions from parts of Tennessee and Kentucky to coastal New Hampshire and Maine as winter winds down and spring begins.</p>
The spring equinox, also called the vernal equinox, marks the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere. It is the day that the sun crosses the equator as it moves from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, on this day, day and night are of equal length. This year the spring equinox falls on March 20. We take a look at the many different ways that this occasion is celebrated around the world.
A look at fascinating facts about spring which starts on March 20 in 2018.
Massachusetts has seen three nor’easters so far this month — and it might see a fourth fairly soon. A potential snowstorm could hit the state in the middle of this coming week, according to the National Weather Service.&nbsp;
A low pressure system moving across the Southeast will develop into a nor'easter this week.
A new study shows that rising temperatures in the Himalayas have led to more avalanches. The tallest mountain range in the world — the Himalayas — are part of a region known as the “Third Pole.” These mountains, alongside the Tibetan Plateau and the Hindu Kush Mountains, are home to the largest permanent ice mass outside of the Arctic and Antarctic.&nbsp;
The previous world record was set in 1994.
<p>A late-winter storm dumped heavy snow Friday on northern Nevada, closing schools and public buildings in the Reno area, delaying the opening of a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada and shutting down a highway to California.</p>
Capturing snowflakes isn't as easy as sticking out your tongue.At least not when you're trying to capture them for scientific study, which involves isolating the tiniest...
The amount of moisture received across the United States' southern high plains since October has been ridiculously low, and forecasters warned Friday that the intensifying drought has resulted in critical fire danger and some winter wheat crops being reduced to stubble across several states.
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