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Author Topic: What causes abrupt, extreme weather?  (Read 2814 times)

Offline DAVID WOOD

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« on: 24/10/2011 04:01:02 »
DAVID WOOD  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
hello my name is David and I'm from West Virginia here in the States I found your podcast just a few weeks ago.

My question is what causes extreme winter weather like blizzards and ice storms?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 24/10/2011 04:01:02 by _system »


 

Offline yor_on

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #1 on: 03/11/2011 04:02:09 »
In a blizzard the wind factor seems the most important one. Very strong winds lift snow from the surface and whirls it around, reducing the visibility below below 1/4 mile, even with no new snow created. But most Blizzards produce new snow too and all will lower the temperature.
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"Blizzards commonly develop on the northwestern side of intense winter storm systems. The difference in low-pressure systems and high-pressure storm systems create a tight pressure gradient, which is the cause of strong winds, says weather.com. This occurs when the jet stream dips south while cooler air from the north clashes with warmer air from the south, the National Weather Service says."

From What Weather Conditions Causes Blizzards?
« Last Edit: 03/11/2011 04:07:33 by yor_on »
 

Offline Geezer

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #2 on: 03/11/2011 07:28:19 »
Blizzards and ice storms are vey different things. A blizzard is usually stormy, but an ice storm isn't in the least bit stormy!

An ice storm occurs when a layer of cold air is trapped under a layer of warmer air that contains a lot of humididty. Esentially, it is raining. When the rain comes in contact with anything on or near the ground, it immediately freezes and coats everything in a thick layer of ice.

Usually there isn't any air movement at all. The only thing to be heard is the sound of trees cracking and falling over under the enormous weight of all the ice. It's an amazing, and extremely dangerous, thing to observe.

 
 

Offline DAVID WOOD

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #3 on: 04/11/2011 08:32:16 »
ok so would you say a blizzard is like a hurricane but with snow and not rain?
 

Offline Geezer

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #4 on: 05/11/2011 04:44:39 »
ok so would you say a blizzard is like a hurricane but with snow and not rain?

Blizzards require a lot of wind to blow snow around. Even although "storm" usually suggests violent winds, ice storms don't need any wind at all.

I only figured that out after I experienced a really severe ice storm myself.
 

Offline yor_on

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #5 on: 07/11/2011 13:52:10 »
Blizzards seems to be defined as having winds over 35 mph, with blinding snow and near zero visibility. As for how high they can go I don't know, but I read someone writing about 100 mph blizzards coming from the mountains in Alaska. There is also the wind chill to consider when it happens. I would try to get back inside as fast as possible if caught in one.
 

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What causes abrupt, extreme weather?
« Reply #5 on: 07/11/2011 13:52:10 »

 

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