When Winter Storm Grayson plowed into the East Coast earlier this month, it brought a few unwelcome gifts—namely brutal cold, power outages, coastal flooding, and whiteout conditions from Virginia to Maine. But the blizzard also gave parts of New York and New England the chance to experience the rare and thrilling weather event known as thundersnow. It happens when a snowstorm produces thunder and lightning, and has been known to send meteorologists into ecstasies of delight.
By the 1940s, North American hunters and developers had driven whooping cranes to near extinction. Though they rebounded, changing weather threatens them anew. Cranes nest in Arctic wetlands, surrounded by natural moats. Persistent warmth shrivels these defenses, exposing chicks to predators. But intense storms can drown hatchlings. Annual migrations to Texas bring other challenges: Dry watering spots along the way force them to fly farther between rest stops.
Using a powerful supercomputer, meteorologists have simulated the “El Reno” tornado—a category 5 storm that swept through Oklahoma on May 24, 2011.
For six decades, scientists have watched a steadily circulating wind pattern in the tropical stratosphere, repeating like clockwork every two years. Now, for the first time, it’s changed direction.
In what’s being hailed a meteorological first, two back-to-back hurricanes are marching toward Hawaii, both of them threatening torrential rains and rip-roaring winds this week. The closer of the two, hurricane Madeline, could break a second meteorological record as the first hurricane to strike the Big Island since bookkeeping began in 1949.
Typhoon Nepartak is veering toward Taiwan, delivering sustained winds upwards of 170 mph and waves over 40 feet high. The storm could be themost powerful to make landfall in almost half a century. Parts of the country will see more rainfall than New York City gathers in a year.
It’s not even summer yet, but it’s damn hot. A very large portion of the country is currently simmering in heat of 100 degrees or higher, and it could get even hotter.