Articles by Todd Nelson

northern-lights
December 29

Northern Lights: What Are They? How Can I See Them?

What Are Northern Lights? If you live at a northern latitude, there’s a chance you’ve been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights, which is also known as aurora. Even if you live in a northern latitude, several factors have to come together for northern light viewing. First of all, what are they? Well, let’s start with our sun. The sun is an interesting ball of hot gaseous material that can often act up and burp charged particles into outer space. If this violent storm is pointed in our direction, these charged particles will ride the solar wind at speeds of...

mloop
December 1

2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends and Meteorological Winter Begins

First above-average season in the Atlantic Basin since 2012 The 2016 Atlantic, Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific Hurricane Seasons officially ended on Wednesday, November 30th and according to NOAA’s NHC, all 3 regions finished with an above-normal amount of storms this year! Interestingly, this season was the most active the Atlantic basin has been since that of 2012! Note that this year saw 5 landfalling U.S. storms. Hurricane Matthew may have been one of the most newsworthy storms as it rapidly developed in the Caribbean, reaching its peak intensity as a major category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160mph...

halloween-sat
October 27

25th Anniversary of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard

25th Anniversary of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard If you lived in the Upper Midwest on Halloween back in 1991, chances are you can recall what you were doing as one of the most significant early season snow storms on record affected parts of the Upper Midwest. Heavy snow started in earnest on Halloween, which made it a very memorable night for trick or treating. I was a cow that year and vividly remember snow piling up on my snout as I slid on the slippery sidewalks from house to house. Boy was that fun! 1991 Halloween Forecast Interestingly, the initial...

1
September 22

Autumnal Equinox and Fall Color

Autumnal Equinox At exactly 10:21 am EDT on Thursday, September 22nd the sun’s most direct rays will be shining directly over the equator, which marks the beginning of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly there are 2 equinoxes a year, one in September (Autumnal) and one in March (Vernal). Note that at this time of year, there are approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night across the globe! Fall will continue over the next 3 months until Wednesday, December 21st, when the sun’s most direct rays will...

Africa
August 25

The Saharan Air Layer (SAL)

I’d like to tell you about a member of the weather family: The Saharan Air Layer, or SAL for short. SAL usually gets alot of attention this time of year (August) as weather folk look toward the West Coast of Africa for tropical storm and hurricane development.  Now,  just like any other family member, SAL has both positive and negative qualities, depending on perspective of course. But to first understand SAL, we must first understand the geography and environment from which SAL originates: The Saharan region of Africa. In the equatorial tropics, the average wind is out of the northeast,...

Hurricane Earl
August 19

Updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast and August Climatology

Most Active Hurricane Season Since 2012 Believe it or not, we are already 2.5 months into the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th. So far, the 2016 hasn’t been all that impressive or too newsworthy, but in the words of NOAA, “it only takes one to change your community forever.” Earlier this week, the 6th named storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season developed. Take a look at Fiona from early Friday in the infrared satellite loop below. Interestingly, this is the earliest we’ve seen 6 named storms since 2012! Note that there were...

March 10

Major Flooding in the South to Continue

Major Flooding Continues Thanks to the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office for the pictures below, which show how much water some spots are dealing with in the Southern U.S. after some historic rains. Incredibly, the rainfall isn’t over quite yet! 3 Day Rainfall The 3 day rainfall map suggests a large swath of 6″+ heavy rainfall has already fallen from eastern Texas into parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee! Some spots have actually seen close to 18″ in Louisiana! Flood Watches/Warnings Continue A number of flood watches/warnings continue with an additional 3″ to 6″+ rain possible through the end of the week! Additional Rainfall Next...

February 10

High Amplitude Weather Pattern; Cold & Snowy East, Warm & Dry West

High Amplitude Weather The upper level wind (jet stream) is the driving force behind our weather. As the jet wobbles north and south over time, blobs of warm and cold air wobble with it. As it turns out, the jet stream this week is in what’s known as a high amplitude weather pattern. The jet stream has pushed well north into Canada in the Western U.S. allowing much warmer and record warmth to move into many areas there. Meanwhile, the jet stream has dipped well south into the Gulf Coast states in the Eastern U.S. and has produced some near...

January 14

Rare January Hurricane Alex Develops in the Atlantic Basin

Rare January Hurricane Alex Forms in the Atlantic Basin This is pretty interesting… A rare January hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Basin. It’s something that we don’t see much of at this time of the year and in fact, it’s only the 3rd hurricane on record to be present in the Atlantic Basin during the month of January; only the 2nd to FORM during the month of January in the basin. Keep in mind that the official Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st – November 30th. Here’s more from the National Hurricane Center: Remarkably, Alex has undergone the...

January 11

Clippers and Cold Air Continue Across Much of the Nation This Week

National Weather Outlook Much of our meteorological winter (December, January & February) thus far has been comprised of warmer than average weather across much of the nation. However, some of the coldest air of the season has pushed into the Lower 48 and much of the nation is dealing with below average temperature, which looks to continue through much of the week ahead. The weather loop below shows a clipper system diving through the Midwest/Great Lakes through midweek with light snowfall potential across much of the region. However, due to significant cold air, lake effect snow will be possible much...