Weather Trivia

Solar outdoor lighting is maintenance-free, and after initial costs, the lights are free to run.

The costliest hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 storm that hit Louisiana in August of 2005. Damages cost an estimated $91 billion.

Don’t tell Superman, but the earth’s atmosphere is made up of 0.00005% krypton.

The energy in an average one day hurricane could power the United States for three years.

Eighty-five percent of the people killed by lightning are male.

Although snow usually falls when the temperature near the ground is below freezing, there was once a report of snow showers at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with a surface temperature of 47 degrees F.

The Minnesota towns of International Falla and Embarass often win the “nation’s icebox” designation.

The National Weather Service issues a wind advisory when sustained wind speeds of 30 mph or higher or gusts of 40 mph or higher are expected or occurring.

Can it snow from clear skies? Yes. Ice crystals sometimes fall from clear skies when temperatures are in the single digits or colder.

The thickest ice found in Antarctica is in Wilkes Land, where it reaches a depth of 15,669 feet (4,776 meters ).

The warmest temperature recorded in Antarctica was 59 degrees F, on January 5, 1974, at Vanda Station.

January 26, 1970. On this day, the world record for 1 minute rainfall total was set in the West Indies. 1.50 inches of rain fell is less than sixty seconds.

Rockford, IL, Jan. 24, 1909…This date was the warmest in a ten consecutive day period where the daytime temperature climbed above freezing. The mercury soared to 61 degrees.

About 50% of deaths caused by exposure to cold (hypothermia), are to people over 60 years of age. Over 75% of these deaths are to men. About 20% of the deaths occur in the home.

Average precipitation in Antarctica is less than 2 inches per year.

The coldest NFL football game ever played was the NFL Championship Game on December 31, 1967 in Green Bay, Wisconsin between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys when the temperature fell to -13F degrees.

Wind chillis the combination of wind and temperature and is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin such as that of a person or animal. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving the body temperature down. Wind chill has no effect on cars or other objects.

Minnesota averages about 16 snowstorms each year though only a few of those become all out winter blizzards. Snowfall in the northern part of the state is about 60 inches and in the southern part of the state about 40 inches.

The windiest place on earth is considered to be Commonwealth Bay on the coast of Antarctica. Wind speeds here reach hurricane force (74 mph) on average every three days and often exceed 200 mph.

The record for the most snowfall from a single storm in the U.S. belongs to Mt. Shasta, California, where 189 inches fell from Feb. 13-19, 1959.

Santa Ana Wind. In southern California, a weather condition in which strong, hot, dust-bearing winds descend to the Pacific Coast around Los Angeles from inland desert regions.

Nacreous Clouds. Clouds of unknown composition that have a soft, pearly luster and that form at altitudes about 25 to 30 km above the Earth’s surface. They are also called “mother-of-the-pearl clouds.”

Which place gets more rain than any other in an average each year? Lloro, Colombia averages 523.6 inches of rain per year, more than possibly anywhere else on earth. Mawsynram, India comes in as a close second with 467.4 inches.

On average, 10 inches of snow melts down to about an inch of liquid rain. However, you would need to melt 20-40 inches of dry snow in order to equal one inch of rain.

Winter of 1779-1780 was so cold that ice was piled 20 feet high along the Delmarva Coast and stayed there until spring. The upper portion of the Chesapeake Bay and the entire Potomac River was frozen solid. People were able to walk from Annapolis to Kent Island and from Alexandria into DC.

The greatest 24-hour temperature decrease in the U.S. was 98 degreees; from 44 to -54 below zero in Browning, Montana on January 23-24, 1916.

Violent dust storms (haboobs), which occur routinely during the Arizona monsoon, reduce visibilities from unrestricted to less than 1/4 mile faster than any other meteorological event, presenting an extreme hazard to aviation and vehicular travel.

The greatest United States cold wave of the 20th century occurred during January, 1977. Snow was reported in Miami, Florida and temperatures across the northern U.S. from Iowa to Pennsylvania didn’t rise above freezing for the entire month.

First use of the term “blizzard” as it pertained to weather – appeared in an Esterville, Iowa newspaper

The heaviest snowfalls usually occur when the air temperature is just below freezing, but it is possible to see snowflakes falling with temperatures in the upper 30s, since it is much colder aloft where the snowflakes form.

The snowiest winter in the Twin Cities, MN,occurred the winter of 1983-84; 98.6 inches.

In Hawaii, where surface temperatures are always above 50F, there is snow. Between 1 and 2 feet of snow falls each year in the mountains above 5,000 feet.

Ice Age. A time of widespread glaciation.

Chicago… October 19, 1989: On this date, Chicago received 3.8 inches of snow, making it the earliest time the city received one inch or more of snow for the season. Another 1.8 inches fell the next day, with a 3-day total of 6.3 inches, making it the snowiest October on record.

What is the US record for the most snowfall in one day? In a 24 hour period from April 14th to April 15th in 1921, Silver Lake, Colorado was showered with 75.8 inches of snow. But if you want to know the record for the most snowfall in one calendar day, the answer is Georgetown, Colorado. On December 4, 1913, 63 inches of snow blanketed the city.

Al’Aziziyah in Libya has the highest recorded temperature on earth at a sweltering 58C (136.4F) on the 13th Sept, 1922.

How much does a cloud weigh? That depends on the size and type of cloud, but a 1 km x 1km x 1km (0.6 miles x 0.6 miles x0.6 miles) cumulus cloud weighs about 1.4 billion lbs.

The National Weather Service issues a windadvisory when sustained wind speeds of 30 mph or higher or gusts of 40 mph or higher are expected or occurring.

The Atacama desert in Chile is considered the driest area in the world, receiving an average of 0.03 inches of rain per year. By comparison, the driest city in the U.S., Yuma, AZ, receives an average of 3.17 inches of rain per year–about 100 times as much!

The annual cost of snow removal for streets and highways in the U.S. is estimated to be at least $2 billion.

Hurricanes never form within 5 degrees latitude of the equator. Although the ocean waters near the equator do get warm enough to fuel hurricanes, the effect that the earth’s rotation has on winds and ocean currents, known as the Coriolis effect, is too weak near the equator for hurricanes to form.

Above 18,000 ft. in elevation, air pressure is half of what it is at sea level. This means that twice as many breaths are required to supply the same amount of oxygen to the blood and we tire more easily when exerting ourselves at higher elevations.

Meteorology. The science dealing with the atmosphere and its phenomena.

El Nino refers to a warming of the Pacific Equatorial waters and a slackening of the Trade Winds over those waters. Fishermen in Peru noticed that once every several years, the waters would warm; the upwelling of cold water that brought nutrients to the fish would stop; the fish that fed on the nutrients would leave. They named it “El Nino” after the child, Jesus Christ, giving it a religious connotation because it seemed to occur around Christmas time.

La Nia. La Nia, a phase of ENSO, is a periodic cooling of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific along with a shift in convection in the western Pacific further west than the climatological average. These conditions affect weather patterns around the world.

What part of the world sees more thunderstorms than any other? The Island of Java, in Indonesia, has thunderstorms occurring an average of 322 days a year.

German physicist Gabriel D. Fahrenheitdeveloped the temperature scale that bears his name in 1714. The ‘zero point’ on his scale was the lowest temperature he could attain with a mixture of ice, water and salt.

Katabatic Wind. A wind that is created by air flowing downhill.

Lake Superior is so large that it creates its own weather. The lake maintains an average temperature of 39 degrees thus creating a cooling effect in summer and a warming effect in winter.

The reason why we have seasons is that the earth’s axis of rotation is tilted 23.5 degrees off its orbital plane. This means that when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted more toward the sun, its summer here, while in the Southern Hemisphere its winter and vice versa.

‘Equinox’ is Latin for ‘equal night’ and refers to the time of the year when the sun is directly above the equator. However, because the earth’s atmosphere bends the sun’s rays, most areas will have equal day and night several days before the equinox.

The world’s first weather satellite, Tiros 1,was launched on April 1, 1960 and sent back thousands of images during its short life span of only 79 days.

Jet Stream. Relatively strong winds concentrated in a narrow stream in the atmosphere, normally referring to horizontal, high-altitude winds. The position and orientation of jet streams vary from day to day. General weather patterns (hot/cold, wet/dry) are related closely to the position, strength and orientation of the jet stream (or jet streams).

Sep 16, 1928 The hurricane San Felipe, a monster hurricane, which left 600 dead in Guadeloupe, and 300 dead in Puerto Rico, struck West Palm Beach Florida causing enormous damage, and then headed for Lake Okeechobee. When the storm was over, the lake covered an area the size of the state of Delaware, and beneath its waters were 2000 victims. The only survivors were those who reached large hotels for safety, and a group of fifty people who got onto a raft to take their chances out in the middle of the lake.

The U.S. has over 100,000 thunderstorms every year, with over 16 million taking place across the world in a year.

The percentage of energy from the sun that is reflected by a surface is known as its albedo. The total albedo of the earth averages to about 30%, but can vary from about 10% for dry soil to as much as 85% for fresh snow.

A lightning strike in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed all 11 members of one soccer team while leaving the opposing team in the match untouched, leading to accusations of witchcraft by the survivors.

Weekends on the East Coast are wetter than weekdays, according to climatologists at Arizona State University, who analyzed weather data going back to 1946. They reported that Saturdays are 22% rainier than Mondays. The likely culprit is air pollution caused by factories and commuters’ cars. The pollution builds toward the weekend, increasing the chances for rain, then clears after a two-day respite, signalling fairer weather.

Believe it or not, it has been hotter in North Dakota than it ever has been in Florida. North Dakota’s all-time record high temperature is 121 degrees F, while the highest temperature ever recorded in Florida is 109 F.

Not including wind-driven rain, raindrops fall between 7 and 18 miles per hour (3 and 8 meters per second) in still air. The range in speed depends on the the size of the raindrop. Air friction breaks up raindrops when they exceed 18 miles per hour.

The temperature in Tampa Bayand Miami, Florida has never exceeded 100 degrees.

Lightning has been known to kill people talking on the telephone.

Hail.Showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets or balls of ice more than 5 mm in diameter, falling from a cumulonimbus cloud.

Light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to reach the earth.

Gale.An extratropical low or an area of sustained surface winds of 34 (39 mph) to 47 knots (54 mph).

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and could hold all of the water of the other Great Lakes.

The amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface is 6,000 times the amount of energy used by all human beings worldwide.

Why is Antarctica so Cold? With 98% of its area covered with snow and ice, the Antarctic continent reflects most of the sun’s light rather than absorbing it.

You can use pine cones to forecast the weather: The scales will close when rain is on the way.

Fair. It is usually used at night to describe less than 3/8 opaque clouds, no precipitation, no extremes of visibility, temperature or winds. It describes generally pleasant weather conditions.

The sunniest city in the United States is Yuma, AZ, which receives 90% of possible sunshine each year.

The warmer the air is, the more moisture it can ‘hold;’ the amount of water vapor air can ‘hold’ doubles for each 20 degree F increase in temperature.

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, is the coldest major population center in the United States (45.4 F average annual), and one of the coldest in the world.

Rockford, IL, 1936. For 9 consecutive days (July 6th through the 14th) high temperatures were all over 100 degreeswith each day setting a record high (all records still stand today). On the 14th, the high soared to 112 degrees, the highest ever recorded at Rockford.

Although Hawaii isthe wettest state in the U.S., the city of Honolulu does not receive a high amount of rainfall, receiving only 18.29″ annually.

El Nio. A warming of the ocean current along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador that is generally associated with dramatic changes in the weather patterns of the region; a major El Nio event generally occurs every 3 to 7 years and is associated with changes in the weather patterns worldwide.

Mean Daily Temperature.The average of the highest and lowest temperatures during a 24-hour period.

IN 1986…Thunderstorm rains at mid morning, and again during the evening, produced major flash flooding at Leavenworth Kansas. The official rainfall total was 10.37 inches, but unofficial totals exceeded twelve inches.

Dawn. The time of morning at which the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. At this time, there is enough light for objects to be distiguishable and that outdoor activities can commence.

Due to Florida’s proximity to the equator, the state receives more than a hundred times the UV exposure that Maine does.

Just like warm air ascending mountain slopes can create clouds as it is cooled, the pyramids of Egypt have been known to generate clouds from hot air rising up along their sides.

Rockford, IL… June 29, 1931: Summer was sure in full swing as high temperatures climbed into the 100’S four out of the last five days of the month. This led to three high temperature records to be established, including this date, as the high reached 103 degrees.

June 28,1980…The temperature at Wichita Falls TX soared to 117 degrees, their hottest reading of record. Daily highs were 110 degrees or hotter from June 24th to July 3rd.

Cheyenne, Wyoming averages the most hail storms in the United States per year with 10.

Cars can be carried away in only two feet of water.

Tree crickets are called the poor man’s thermometer because temperature directly affects their rate of activity. Count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds, then add 37. The sum will be very close to the outside temperature!

The least sunniest city in the United States is Juneau, AK, which receives only 30% of possible sunshine each year.

‘Weather’ indicates the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, while ‘climate’ refers to a location’s long-term weather trends and often takes into account several decades of weather data.

Although the wind may be a nuisance to some, it can serve as an important source of power. In California, some 16,000 windmills provide 1% of the state’s electric power–enough to service 300,000 homes.

Only two states have record highs no greater than 100 degrees. These are Alaska and Hawaii.

The term ‘hurricane’ is derived from Huracan, a Carib god of evil.

One unusual tornado story from 1894 tells of a twister that struck a farm, hurling a chicken coop into the air and wedging it between two trees. When people arrived to clean up the mess, they found all of the chickens alive and well and not a single egg broken.

The ‘green flash’ is a rare optical phenomenon usually seen over the ocean on clear days. Due to refraction of the sun’s rays, a flash of green light may appear at the instant the sun sets below the horizon

Is Chicago really “The Windy City?” Of the 262 major weather reporting stations in the United States, 27% or 72 stations average higher annual wind speeds than Chicago, which averages 10.3 mph. For example, New York City’s annual wind speed is 12.2 mph.

Violent dust storms (haboobs), which occur routinely during the Arizona monsoon, reduce visibilities from unrestricted to less than 1/4 mile faster than any other meteorological event, presenting an extreme hazard to aviation and vehicular travel.

Why is Antarctica so Cold? During the winter, the size of Antarctica doubles as the surrounding sea water freezes, effectively blocking heat transfer from the warmer surrounding ocean.

Although though of as a cold state, summer high temperatures in Minnesota average in the mid-80s F in the south to the upper 70s F in the north, with temperatures as hot as 114 F. possible.

Chinook – This is a region-specific term used for Foehn Winds in the lee of the Rocky Mountains in the United States; Foehn Winds are warm, dry winds that occur in the lee of high mountain ranges. It is a fairly common wintertime phenomena in the mountainous west and in parts of Alaska.

On February 12, 2010, 49 of the 50 U.S. States had snow on the ground, with the lone exception being Hawaii.

Only a small percentage of tornadoes that occur each year are classified as F5 on the Fujita scale, with winds ranging from 261-318 mph. No tornado is believed to have ever exceeded the F5 category.

May 23. On this day in 1989, unseasonably hot weather continued in the south central U.S. Pueblo, CO, equalled their May record with a high of 98 degrees, and the high of 106 degrees in Midland, TX marked a record six straight days of 100 degree heat.

Blizzard – A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer: 1) Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and 2) Considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than mile).

May 19. On this day in 1780, the infamous “dark day” in New England occurred. At noon it was nearly as dark as night. Chickens went to roost, and many persons were fearful of divine wrath. The phenomena was caused by forest fires to the west of New England.

Chicago… May 18, 1883: One Of The Deadliest Tornado Outbreaks In Illinois’S History Happened On This Date. Late In The Afternoon A Tornado Went Through Boone And Mchenry Counties. Homes And Barns Were Strewn For Miles. All Total…53 Individuals Were Killed And 267 Injured.

On Average, the United States experiences 100,000 thunderstorms each year, causing about 1,000 tornadoes. The National Weather Service says an average of 42 people are killed by tornadoes annually.

The ‘super-outbreak’ of tornadoes that ravaged the U.S. from Alabama to Michigan occurred on April 3-4, 1974. Severe thunderstorms spawned 148 tornadoes, killing 315 people, injuring 5,300 others and causing $600 million worth of damage.

What is the difference between “Partly Sunny” and “Partly Cloudy”?
The forecast, as written by the National Weather Service, always contains the sky condition, such as “clear” or “mostly cloudy”, as one of the required weather elements. The sky condition term is based on the number of tenths of opaque cloud cover expected during the forecast period (e.g. “today” or “tomorrow night”). A forecast of “Cloudy” expects the sky, on average, to be covered with 9/10 to 10/10 of opaque cloud cover. “Opaque” clouds block the sun, unlike thin cirrus, which lets most of the sun, and its heat, through to the ground. A forecast of “Clear”, however, expects the sky to be covered with 0/10 to 1/10 of opaque clouds. A forecast of “Partly Cloudy” or “Partly Sunny”, is made when between 3/10 and 6/10 of the sky is to be covered with clouds. The difference between these terms is based on the forecast period itself – during the day, either term could be used. However, for the nighttime forecast periods, a forecast of “partly cloudy” would be the only appropriate term, as there is no sunshine at night!

Weather Glossary. Mammatus Clouds – Rounded, smooth, sack-like protrusions hanging from the underside of a cloud (usually a thunderstorm anvil). Mammatus clouds often accompany severe thunderstorms, but do not produce severe weather.

Chicago. May 11, 1966. The latest measurable snow on record occurred, with some areas around Chicago reporting two inches.

On May 10,1996, graduation ceremony was ready to commence when softball hail struck Howard College. Skylights on the coliseum roof were shattered sending glass falling onto the floor that would have been filled with candidates just a few minutes later. The largest hail was reported at the intersection of I-20 and Business I-20 as the storm exited the city to the northeast. A Boy Scout caravan of 5 vehicles was pummeled by 5 inch diameter hail. The hail knocked out every window in every vehicle.

Which is the least rainy city – Seattle, New York City or Miami? Although on average Seattle is cloudy 227 days a year, it only receives 39 inches of rain per year, compared to New York City (42 inches) and Miami (60 inches).

The highest wind speed ever recorded anywhere on earth was observed on the summit of Mt. Washington, NH on April 12, 1934. A peak gust of 231 mph was reported–that’s more than 50 mph higher than the highest wind speeds observed with Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

On June 22, 1947 in Holt, Missouri, it rained 12 inches in just 42 minutes.

May 4, 2007. A destructive tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas, the first 5 rating on the new Enhanced Fujita Scale. There were 12 tornadoes that evening from Clark and Comanche counties to Edwards and Stafford counties during about a 4 hour period, one a little over 2 miles wide! Two of the tornadoes existed for over 1 hour as they churned up the ground, leveling homes and causing fatalities along their path. Miraculously, only 13 people perished, 11 in Greensburg. Over 90 percent of the town of Greensburg was literally wiped off the face of the earth.

Weather Glossary. Advection – Transport of an atmospheric property by the wind. Example, when a southerly breeze transports warmer air, it is referred to as Warm Air Advection.

May 2, 1929. Winter made one last appearance in central Illinois. Springfield reported 6/10 of an inch of snow, which is the latest date that measurable snow has fallen in the city.

This information has been derived from many sources and is presented here for amusement.  Please do not use to settle a bet, cite in a research paper, or as the basis of an editorial in your local newspaper.  Any corrections may be directed to the highly regarded legal team of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe.

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