Those of you who frequently read the blog might have noted it was on autopilot the past two weeks as I've been out of town, but now that I'm back, I've found there were a lot of fun and cool topics that happened since I was off on the other coast.
First up: Did you know a baseball game at Denver's Coors Field set a record on April 23 for the coldest game time temperature on record? Just 23 degrees. It broke the record set... the week before in Denver at 28. Chicago had held the record at 29 before that pair of chilly games.
These next two stories from the upper Midwest were also quite literally and figuratively "cool".
A video out of Plymouth, Minn. shows something that was termed "ice chanderling"-- something I had certainly never seen before:
According to WTVR-TV, it happens when ice is brittle due to sun and warmer temperatures and reaches the state where ice first crystallizes, then splinters.
Over in Iowa, it was a situation that Seattleites can at least sympathize with: a missing spring.
Never mind it was snowing and there were about 2" of snow on the ground:
I'm pretty sure that's not covered by the manufacture's warranty. Then again, I wonder if they thought to include "operation in heavy snowfall" among their exclusions? (Bet they will now. It'll probably be plastered in big letters on the mower itself.)
Closer to home, the weather has been a bit more tranquil but that doesn't mean it hasn't been boring. In fact, it's been downright beautiful at times, including...
It's not often Seattle can go toe-to-toe with Phoenix in the hot weather department for the crown of hottest big city in America, but Monday, the Emerald City held its own.
Seattle and Phoenix both reached 87 degrees -- smashing the daily record of 79 for Seattle; a few degrees cooler than the normal 91 for Phoenix.
But at least on this particular day, no other major city in the United States could claim to be as warm.
Not Miami (85), not Las Vegas (78), Houston (79), Dallas (77), New Orleans (75) and certainly not Los Angeles (66) or even lowering our population standards, Palm Springs! (77). We even bested our usually warmer neighbors to the south in Portland (83) and east in Spokane (81).
Not since the country of Slovakia adopted the euro as its official form of currency has Seattle been this warm in May, and the continued warmth and sunshine is set to break a number of records that have stood for decades and, in some cases, centuries.
Seattle hit a balmy high of 84 degrees on Sunday -- the first day over 80 degrees day in May since 2009 (back before most cell phones had 4G!). It was even warmer on the coast as warm easterly winds that got a temperature boost from the Olympic Mountains sent highs into the mid-upper 80s, with Forks hitting 88.
Yet while the coast was one and done (down in the upper 50s Monday, thanks to marine clouds) Seattle and the Puget Sound area were basking in another day that was expected to reach well into the 80s, courtesy of a thermal trough that will keep the warm east winds going through Monday. Seattle's record high for Monday is 79 degrees, set in 1957 and will likely be broken by the end of lunchtime.
(In fact, Seattle was already at 74 degrees at 11 a.m. Monday, warmer than this impressive list of sun cities: Orlando, Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Dallas!)
Blog originally posted Nov. 16, 2010 You thought you'd stay informed on the crazy weather this fall by friending or following a meteorologist on Twitter.
And then come to find you're seeing re-Tweets or Facebook comments from other weather fans that look like some sort of clandestine secret agent communications with funny looking acronyms and random numbers that don't seem to make sense. It's like trying to learn chemistry from an instructor that only speaks Pig Latin.
I had someone ask me the other day: What in the world are "MOS POPS"?
A frosty organic treat to enjoy on a hot summer day? A new symphony set to debut in the rain forest? No, it's much more boring than that... It's a weather acronym.
The person found it by reading the National Weather Service Forecast Discussion which they update every 6 hours or so. That discussion was originally intended to be between other National Weather Service forecast offices so each one knew what the other was doing. But with the rise of the internet, it has blossomed into a more public discussion since anyone can easily read it now.
(And since it's more in the public eye, the restrictions for those writing it have changed as well. Not too long ago, all words in the discussion were restricted to 3-4 letters max to keep transmissions short. Now, Weather Service forecasters are free to write it conversationally. )
But the discussion is still thick with meteorological jargon that may have you scratching your head, and one of those you'll find frequently mentioned is about "MOS POPS."
To use it in a sentence from the discussion Wednesday morning:
What do you do if you're a group of science-minded middle and high school students who want to study the effects of a solar flare?
If you're part of Dr. Tony Phillips' Earth to Sky Calculus class in Bishop, California, you strap a rubber chicken to a weather balloon and send it 115,000 feet up to the Earth's stratosphere -- right on the front door to outer space.
And when the Fimmvorduhals volcano began erupting in Iceland -- one of the world's best places to see the Northern Lights -- he knew he had to make a very challenging but ultimately rewarding trek to capture both events simultaneously.
Even though technically, for Seattle at least, temperatures have been near to even a little above average since the start of February, if you ask around, many would say this spring is well on its way to being the third in a row and fourth of the past six that have gone down as cold and rainy with the frequent cloudy, drizzly days.
Well, long range models suggest this spring is about to make an about-face and warm things up a bit.
The first inkling will be much warmer weather expected for the middle of next week, with highs expected to climb well into the 60s if not some 70s amid plenty of sunshine.