Weekly Weather Question

1.What is a cold Front?

A boundary that separates warm air from cold air. The wind north of a front is typically from the north, while south winds are found on the south side. A cold front is shown as a blue line with blue flags on a weather map

2. What is a warm front?

This is a boundary that separates warm air to the south, from cooler air to the north. A warm front usually moves northward. Winds north of warm fronts are typically out of the east, while a more southerly direction can be found to the south.

A warm front appears as a red line with half circles on top

3. What is a stationary front?

A stationary front separates two different air masses and does not move in one particular direction.

Stationary fronts show up as a combination of red and blue lines on weather maps, with red half circles and blue flags

4. What's is low pressure?

An area of low pressure means what it says. It's an area of lower barometric pressure than it's surrounding area. Winds in the northern hemisphere, where we live, blow in a counter clockwise direction. In the southern hemisphere it's the opposite, with winds blowing clockwise.

Low pressure areas are typically associated windy and wet or stormy weather

5. What is high pressure?

The opposite of low pressure. It's an area of barometric pressure that's higher than it's surrounding area. Winds around high pressure blow in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and counter clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere. Good weather is typically associated with high pressure systems. Typically, these are found on the north side of a cold front.

6. How does a cloud form?

All air contains water, but near the ground it is usually in the form of an invisible gas called water vapor. When warm air rises, it expands and cools. Cool air can't hold as much water vapor as warm air, so some of the vapor condenses onto tiny pieces of dust that are floating in the air and forms a tiny droplet around each dust particle. When billions of these droplets come together they become a visible cloud.

7. What's the difference in a tropical depression and a tropical storm?

A tropical depression is an organized area of storms over the warm waters in the ocean. Winds around the organized area of storms is around 35mph.

Once the winds around the organized area of storms reaches 39mph, it gets a name and becomes a tropical storm. Both tropical storms and depressions are associated with areas of low pressure near the ocean surface. This causes the winds and storms to rotate in a counter clockwise rotation

What's the difference in a tropical storm and a hurricane? A tropical storm has winds of 39 to 73mph. When winds reach 74mph, it becomes a hurricane.

8 What is a hurricane?

Hurricanes are large, spiral-like storms found in the tropics. Hurricanes are typically 300 to 500 miles across and 10 miles deep. Surface wind speeds are greater than 64 knots, which is equal to 74 mph. Hurricanes need warm ocean waters around 81 degrees Fahrenheit and little wind variation with height. These storms have a spiral structure with a visible "eye."

9 How are hurricanes classified?

Hurricanes are classified by the Saffer Simpson hurricane intensity scale. It is as follows:

Category 1: Winds are 74 to 95mph

Category 2: Winds are 96-110mph

Category 3: Category 3 hurricanes are considered major hurricanes. Winds are 111-129mph

Category 4: Winds are 130-156mph

Category 5: Winds are more than 157mph.

10.What is an earthquake?

An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections (tectonic plates) of the earth's rocky outermost crust.

11. How does a raindrop form?

Raindrops form from water vapor. Up in the atmosphere, water vapor condenses into cloud droplets. These cloud droplets are extremely small and form clouds. Within these clouds, several cloud drops collide together forming a raindrop.

12. What are the colors of the rainbow?

ROYGBIV: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

13. How do rainbows form?

Rainbows form from sunlight passing through falling rain drops. When the sunlight passes through a rain drop, some of it passes straight through while part of it is reflected back. The light that is reflected back is what we see as a rainbow.

14. Why is the sky blue?

Up in the air there are tiny particles. As sunlight hits these particles, the light is scattered in all directions. We see the light from these particles as blue because the blue waves are shorter and travel better than the other colors.

15. What's the difference between sleet and freezing rain?

Sleet starts off as a snow flake, then melts on it's way down. It refreezes into ice before touching the ground.

Freezing rain is rain that freezes once it comes in contact with the ground.

16. How does hail form?

Hail is made up of large pieces of ice that form within a cumulonimbus clouds. These large pieces of ice are called "grapnel." The longer a hailstone stays up in the cloud, the more ice pieces it collects and the larger it grows.

17. How do thunderstorms form?

Four components are needed to form thunderstorms: moisture, wind shear, instability and lift

Moisture is needed to form clouds, which in turn, produces raindrops. Without moisture, there can't be storms.

Wind shear is a fancy term that describes the wind changing speed and direction with height. Thunderstorms need the wind to change with height and speed so that they can move. Thunderstorms that have winds change clockwise with height produce super cells.

Instability means that the atmosphere is unstable. In an unstable atmosphere, clouds can move and grow vertically.

18. When is tornado season and why? Tornado season in Texas runs from March into June. This time of year winter is trying to stick around while summer is trying to take it's place. This tug of war creates big storm systems that can spawn tornadoes.

19. What kind of weather produces a tornadoes?

Tornadoes most commonly form from strong rotating thunderstorms called super cells. In order to gain strength and continue to grow, thunderstorms need a very moist and unstable environment. If these strong thunderstorms gain rotation, they can spawn a tornado. This necessary rotation is caused by the winds changing direction with height in a clockwise direction.

20. What is a tornado?

A tornado is a violent rotating column of air with wind speeds up to 300 mph. Tornadoes extend from a thunderstorm to the ground.

21. What's the difference between a tornado watch and warning?

A tornado watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted or one is about to form.

22. Where is the safest place to be in a tornado?

The safest place to be in a tornado is in a storm shelter. If you don't have access to a storm shelter the next best thing is to stay indoors or go under ground. It is important to be low to the ground and near the center of the structure away from windows.

23.. What is the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and warning? A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for storms to produce hail greater than one inch in diameter and or winds over 55mph.

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a storm is producing that type of weather

24. What's the number one tornado safety rule?

If you don't have a storm shelter, you want to be on the lowest level of your home. Put as many walls between you and outside winds?

25. What is the main time of day tornadoes occur and why? Most tornadoes occur during late afternoon and early evening hours.

The sun's energy heats up the atmosphere throughout the day, igniting storms during the later part of the day.

Most tornadoes occur during the late afternoon and evening, but can occur at any time of day. The southeastern United States frequently sees tornadoes at night and in the morning hours.

26. What is a flash flood? A flash flood occurs when a lot of rain falls in a short period of time, resulting in water quickly running off and filling up small rivers, streams, and drainage areas. Flooding is the number one weather related killer in the world

27. What is the enhanced Fujita scale?

The enhanced fugit scale is named after Dr. Ted Fujita, who was a scientist that studied tornadoes and damage associated with tornadoes. The scale is used to determine how strong the winds were based on damage that occurred with a tornado.

The EF Scale (Enhanced Fujita) is as follows

EF-0: Winds 65 to 85mph minor damage

EF-1: 86-109 Moderate damage

EF-2: 110-137 Major Damage

EF-3 138-167 Severe Damage

EF-4: 168-200 Extensive Damage

EF-5: 200+ Inconceivable Damage

28. How can you tell how far away a lightning strike is from you?

When it lightnings, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Next, divide that number by 5. For example, you see a flash of lightning. You then count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi. You then hear thunder. You then divide 5 seconds by the number 5 and that gives you 1. So the lightning strike was 1 mile from you.

29. What is lightning?

Lightning is an electrically charged flash of lightning produced by a thunderstorm. The electricity makes it dangerous. Lightning is looking for tall objects to strikes. That's way it's important not to stand next to tall objects if you caught outside in a storm.

30. What do I do if I get caught outside in a storm? Get away from tall objects. Tall objects, such as trees, attracts lightning. You should go to the most open spot you can find. Crouch down into a ball and lean up on the balls of your feet.

31. What size is the largest hail stone to ever fall in the U.S.?

Hailstones can be difficult to measure because they can be measured in two different ways, by diameter or by circumference. The largest diameter of a hailstone was 8 inches found in South Dakota in July 2010. The largest circumference of a hailstone was 18.75 inches found in Nebraska in June 2003.