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Science of Tornadoes (Video)

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Of all the many dangerous weather hazards, tornadoes are one of the most powerful and destructive. Although the details of their formation are still being researched, we do know the general steps. Watch this video for a quick science lesson. youtu.be/MMLRNW4UJOc

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Although the details of tornado formation are still being researched, we do know the general steps. Watch this video for a quick #science lesson. youtu.be/MMLRNW4UJOc

 

Science of Lightning (Video)

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You already know to take shelter as soon as you hear thunder or see lightning. But, have you ever wondered why lightning and thunder happen in the first place? Watch this video for a quick science lesson. youtu.be/Zd-Lc1cZDtA

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You already know to take shelter as soon as you hear thunder or see lightning. But, have you ever wondered why lightning and thunder happen in the first place? Watch this video for a quick #science lesson. youtu.be/Zd-Lc1cZDtA

Science of Hail (Video)

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Chunks of ice that fall from the sky can cause serious damage to people, animals, and property. But what exactly causes hail to form? Watch this video for some hail science! youtu.be/w1g0TToHTIA

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Chunks of ice that fall from the sky can cause serious damage to people, animals, and property. But what exactly causes hail to form? Watch this video for some hail #science! youtu.be/w1g0TToHTIA

 

Speed of Wildfires

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There are a lot of factors that determine the speed of wildfires. Check out the infographic below to learn a little wildfire science, and visit weather.gov/safety/wildfire for the latest safety tips.

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There are a lot of factors that determine the speed of wildfires. Check out the infographic below to learn a little #WildfireScience, and visit weather.gov/safety/wildfire for the latest safety tips. #WeatherReady

The Speed of Wildfires:
Weather Conditions
Wind speed has a huge effect on fire intensity and how fast fires travel. Wind pushes the flame forward and closer to the unburned fuel in front of the fire. Temperature, humidity, and precipitation are also important due to their strong influence on fuel moisture content.

Spotting
Wind and thermals can carry sparks and firebrands downwind of fires, greatly increasing spread rates.

Fuel Type
The type of vegetation along with the fuel moisture content, physical properties, and chemical properties play a role in fire behavior and how fast fires spread.

Topography
Slope steepness affects fire behavior in a similar way as wind by changing the flame angle. Elevation and aspect are also important in determining how fires spread.

 

Weird Weather (Video)

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Haboob. Funny name, dangerous weather phenomenon. Learn about them and other examples of weird weather in this short video: youtu.be/vuk6gvq7Nwk #wxscience

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Haboob. Funny name, dangerous weather phenomenon. Learn about them and other examples of weird weather in this short video: youtu.be/vuk6gvq7Nwk #wxscience

 

What is a 500-year flood? (video)

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The term 500-year flood doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s only going to happen one time every 500 years. Rather, it’s a reference to the probability of occurrence. youtu.be/eQFyaXDH42U #FloodScience

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The term 500-year flood doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s only going to happen one time every 500 years. Rather, it’s a reference to the probability of occurrence. youtu.be/eQFyaXDH42U #FloodScience

 

Science of River Flooding

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Water is essential for life on Earth. But in large enough quantities, the very substance we drink and use to grow crops can destroy homes, businesses, and cause fatalities. Learn all about the science of river flooding in the infographic below, and visit weather.gov/safety/flood for flood safety tips. #FloodScience

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Learn all about the science of river flooding with this graphic, and visit weather.gov/safety/flood for flood safety tips. #FloodScience

SCIENCE OF RIVER FLOODING -
Water is essential for life on Earth. But in large enough quantities, the very substance we drink and use to grow crops can destroy homes, businesses and cause fatalities.

River flooding occurs when river levels rise & overflow their banks or the edges of their main channel and inundate normally dry areas.

River flooding can be caused by heavy rainfall, dam failures, rapid snowmelt and ice jams.

Six Steps to Create a River Model
Hydrologic Cycle: Hydrologists try to understand and simulate the natural hydrologic cycle, which is the intricate combination of many processes such as evaporation, transpiration, precipitation, infiltration, interflow, groundwater storage, and runoff.

Precipitation: Precipitation is the primary input to basin hydrologic processes and serves as the primary driver of hydrologic models. Accurate representation of precipitation input is an important intial step. Small river channel systems are very sensitive to rainfall.

Runoff: The next step is to compute the amount of precipitation that appears in surface water within a relatively short time from the onset of a storm event. This is runoff. Runoff consists of 3 components: 
overland flow, rain falling directly on surface water bodies, and interflow.

Unit Hydrograph: After computing basin runoff, the next step is to calculate a forecast hydrograph in units
of discharge. A hydrograph is a plot of the change of stage or discharge with respect to time. Discharge is the volume of water flowing past a location per unit time and is usually expressed in cubic feet per second (cfs).

Streamflow Data: Scientists use streamflow measurements to capture the vital relationship between discharge (volume flow rate) and stage (height) for a given location. This can only be done by taking streamflow measurements at different river levels and noting the corresponding stages. This relation is called a rating curve.

Routing: Hydrologists analyze and interpret how the water moves once it’s in the river and how a flood wave is modified due to the effects of storage and friction as it moves downstream. So, what happens upstream affects the entire downstream community. 

 

Record Highs by State

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Do you know your state’s hottest recorded temperature? In California, that was 134°F on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley. In fact, that is the hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth. The next two highest U.S. recorded temperatures both came on June 9, 1994 in Arizona (128°F) and Nevada (125°F). To view your state’s highest temperature (along with other extreme weather records), visit ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records

Twitter
Do you know your state’s hottest recorded temperature? In California, that was 134°F on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley. To view your state’s highest temperature (along with other extreme weather records), visit ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records

What are the record highs by state? California: 134 degrees F (July 10, 1913). Arizona: 128 degrees F (June 29, 1994). Nevada: 125 degrees F (June 29, 1994)

 

Lightning Mapper

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Did you know that GOES-16 (a satellite that orbits the Earth) houses the very first operational lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit? GLM measures total lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground) activity continuously over the Americas and adjacent ocean regions with near-uniform spatial resolution of approximately 10 km. #GLM goes-r.gov/spacesegment/glm.html

Twitter
GOES-16 houses the first operational lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit. #GLM goes-r.gov/spacesegment/glm.html

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper: The first operational lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit. Provides critical information to forecasters, allowing them to focus on developing severe storms before they produce damaging winds, hail or tornadoes.

 

What are Rip Currents?

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Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer. oceantoday.noaa.gov/ripcurrentscience/welcome.html #RipCurrentScience

Twitter
Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches, and can reach speeds of 8 feet per second! oceantoday.noaa.gov/ripcurrentscience/welcome.html #RipCurrentScience

What Are Rip Currents? Narrow currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. Commonly form around breaks in sandbars, and also near structures, such as jetties and piers. Moves at speeds of 1-2 feet per second, but have been measured as fast as 8 feet per second.

 

Thunderstorm Types (Video)

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Did you know there are different types of thunderstorms? Watch this video and learn what they are: youtu.be/NNrb0hI5JD4 #ThunderstormScience

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Did you know there are different types of thunderstorms? Watch this video and learn what they are: youtu.be/NNrb0hI5JD4 #ThunderstormScience

 

Why Do Tropical Storms Create Tornadoes?

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Tropical cyclones spawn tornadoes when certain instability and vertical shear criteria are met, in a manner similar to other tornado-producing systems. Almost all U.S. tropical storms spawn at least one tornado. Learn how to stay safe from tornados at weather.gov/safety/tornado

Twitter
Tropical cyclones spawn tornadoes when certain instability and vertical shear criteria are met, in a manner similar to other tornado-producing systems. Learn how to stay safe from tornados at weather.gov/safety/tornado #WeatherReady

Why Do Tropical Storms Create Tornadoes? Instability and a strong vertical shear at low altitudes. Almost all U.S. tropical storms spawn at least one tornado.

 

Types of Tornadoes

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Supercells are not the only types of storms that develop tornadoes. Did you know that there are multiple types of tornadoes that can form? Learn all about them in the infographic below, and visit weather.gov/jetstream/tornado for more #TornadoScience

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Did you know that they are multiple types of tornadoes? Visit weather.gov/jetstream/tornado for more #TornadoScience

TYPES OF TORNADOES -
Supercell Tornadoes:
Tornadoes that come from a supercell thunderstorm are the most common, and often the most dangerous. A rotating updraft is a key to the development of a supercell, and eventually a tornado. There are many ideas about how this rotation begins. One way a column of air can begin to rotate is from wind shear – when winds at two different levels above the ground blow at different speeds or in different directions. Once the updraft is rotating and being fed by warm, moist air flowing in at ground level, a tornado can form.

Landspouts:
Landspouts, narrow, rope-like condensation funnels that form while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing and there is no rotating updraft. The spinning motion originates near the ground.

Waterspouts:
Waterspouts, similar to landspouts, except they occur over water.

Gustnadoes:
Gustnadoes, whirls of dust or debris at or near the ground with no condensation funnel, which form along the gust front of a storm.

Dust Devils:
A well-developed dust whirl; usually of short duration, rendered visible by dust, sand, and debris picked up from the ground. Dust devils are best developed on a hot, calm afternoon with clear skies, when intense surface heating causes large temperature differences in the lowest couple hundred feet of the atmosphere.

Fire Whirls:
Much like dust devils, the extreme heat of fires create strong updrafts, near the ground that interact with circulations in the lower atmosphere. Fire whirls are usually about 1 to 3 feet  wide and 50 to 100 feet tall.

 

Lightning Types

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Did you know there are many different kinds of lightning? Learn all about them in the graphic below or by visiting nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/types/ #LightningScience

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Did you know there are many different kinds of lightning? Learn all about them in the graphic below or by visiting nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/types/ #LightningScience

Lightning Types:
In cloud-to-ground lightning (CG), a stepped leader, will zigzag downward in roughly 50-yard segments in a forked pattern. This stepped leader is invisible to the human eye. 
A return stroke of bright luminosity travels about 60,000 miles per second back towards the cloud. A flash consists of one or perhaps as many as 20 return strokes.
Cloud flashes sometimes have visible channels that extend out into the air around the storm but do not strike the ground, known as cloud-to-air (CA).
The terms sheet lightning or intra-cloud lightning (IC) refers to lightning embedded within a cloud that lights up as a sheet of luminosity during the flash. 
Lightning can also travel from cloud-to-cloud (CC).
Large thunderstorms are capable of producing other kinds of electrical phenomena called transient luminous events (TLEs) that occur high in the atmosphere. They are rarely observed visually and not well understood. 
The most common TLEs include red sprites, blue jets, and elves.
Ball lightning is a rare and randomly occurring bright ball of light observed floating or moving through the atmosphere close to the ground.
Observations have widely varying identifying characteristics for ball lightning, but the most common description is that of a sphere having a radius of 15–50 cm, orange or reddish in color, and lasting for only a few seconds.

 

Skywarn

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Do you know what to watch for when severe weather threatens? Check out NWS Skywarn. Help keep your community safe by volunteering to become a trained storm spotter for NOAA's National Weather Service. Potential volunteers should visit nws.noaa.gov/skywarn/ and contact their local NWS office. #CitizenScience

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Let’s learn about #NWSCitizenScience opportunities! Become a trained Skywarn storm spotter and help keep your community safe! nws.noaa.gov/skywarn/ #CitizenScience

NWS Skywarn: National Weather Service Citizen Science

 

CoCoRaHS

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Ever wanted to take rain or snow measurements? Join CoCoRaHS or Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network. This volunteer network of observers measures precipitation from their backyards. Any age can volunteer. Data is used by NWS meteorologists to help with forecasts. www.cocorahs.org

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Ever wanted to take rain or snow measurements? Learn more about #NWSCitizenScience and join CoCoRaHS today! Cocorahs.org #CitizenScience

CoCoRaHS: National Weather Service Citizen Science

 

mPING

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Check out mPING (Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground) project. Weird name, cool app! You can report the type of precipitation you see where you are. No need to measure! Use the free mobile app to send reports anonymously. Reports are automatically recorded into a database, which improves weather computer models. The information is even used by road maintenance operations and the aviation industry to diagnose areas of icing. mping.nssl.noaa.gov #CitizenScience

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Check out mPING! Weird name, cool app for #CitizenScience! Report weather types via the mPing app and help improve weather model forecasts! mping.nssl.noaa.gov #NWSCitizenScience

mPING: National Weather Service Citizen Science

 

COOP

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The NWS Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) is truly the nation's weather and climate observing network of, by, and for the people. With over 8,700 volunteer observers, this program has existed since 1890 and is one of the few programs that measures snowfall and its water equivalent. Help #NWSCitizenScience and become a COOP! You can help support warnings, forecasts, and build a climatological database! For more information, visit weather.gov/coop/Overview

Twitter
Join NWS COOP! The NWS Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) is truly the nation's weather and climate observing network of, by, and for the people. Help support warnings, forecasts & build a climatological database! weather.gov/coop/Overview #NWSCitizenScience

NWS Cooperative Observer: National Weather Service Citizen Science