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What Is Extreme Weather?
Extreme weather phenomena are weather events outside of the usual weather pattern - they can be severe, unseasonal, unusual, or unpredictable. Examples include heat weaves, hurricanes, tornados, and blizzards. These events can be dangerous and disrupt our daily lives.
Types of Extreme Weather
What are heat waves?
When temperatures are greater than an area’s historical average for two or more days, then that place is said to be experiencing a heat wave.
In 2019 an excessive heat wave delineated across affected counties.
When an Excessive Heat Warning is issued, the National Weather Service says that if precautions are not taken, people can be at risk of heat stress or heat stroke, which can cause people to become ill or die.
Widespread, dangerous heat wave to expand across much of the U.S.
In the summer of 2019, a heat wave impacted the central and eastern United States. The jet stream moved northward bringing more hot tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical Atlantic to the eastern half of the United States. The hot air was trapped by high pressure circulating air that forced the hot air downwards in what is called a heat dome, preventing it from rising and moving on. This extreme weather event brought higher than usual temperatures to several states across the central and eastern US, ranging from Kansas to New England in mid-July 2019. The high temps were made worse by the abnormally high level of humidity.
Polar vortexes are migrating south
Sometimes, when the vortex is weaker, it can migrate south, bringing arctic air with it. This happened in January of 2019 when the polar vortex descended upon middle and eastern North America, bringing negative 45 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures to Chicago.
What are the side effects of a bombogenesis?
These mid-latitude cyclones, sometimes referred to as bomb cyclones, can cause high winds, intense precipitation, and blizzard conditions.
Winter Storm Grayson
JANUARY 2018 - A change in the jetstream in Alaska brought down freezing air from Hudson Bay to the Eastern United States. Meanwhile the Gulf stream carried up warm air. The large temperature difference between the warm air coming from the atlantic and the cold air from the land lead to a large and quick drop of atmospheric air pressure, creating a bomb cyclone, a storm that spins counterclockwise. This formed so close to land, it lead to near record breaking storm surges.
Winter Storm Riley
MARCH 2018 - The second bomb cyclone to hit New England in 2018 brining near record high tides to Massachusetts, second only to Winter Storm Grayson and the blizzard of ‘78, and similarly causing extensive damage and coastal erosion. Riley started in the midwest and underwent bombogenesis off the coast of New England.
What are thunderstorms?
Thunderstorms form when there is moisture and unstable air. When that warm, moist unstable air is disturbed, it rises. The water vapor cools while rising (releasing heat), condenses and forms a cloud. When the cloud becomes too heavy with water droplets, it starts to rain. With the rain cool dry air flows downward creating a cycling of cool air going down and warm air rising within the cloud (convection), and builds up the electric charge, which allows lightning to form- the discharge of this electric build up forms lightning. Thunder is the sound from lightning as the electric charge quickly heats the air around it and expands rapidly.
When do thunderstorms occur?
Thunderstorms are mostly likely in the spring and summer months, during the afternoon and evening