weather

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Well…..yesterday was a peculiar and memorable day of weather to say the least. There was an amber warning for freezing rain but for the bulk of the day nothing happened here in Fife. Mid afternoon, the usual wet rain started falling. I stepped out the front door and it was all pretty normal outside, wet and cold but not slippy.

But then 10 mins or so later there was a peculiar clicking noise on the windows. A similar sound to hail but not quite the same. More of a popping sound, and when I stepped outside again, the difference in just that short space of time was incredible - all surfaces had a thin sheen of ice on them.

That kept on going for much of the day and after a few hours there was perhaps half a cm of ice on everything, including vertical surfaces like the windows and the stone walls of the house. Despite the 30mph wind, the weather station stopped measuring windspeed and direction as it iced up, and on inspecting the car it was clear that I couldn’t get into it even if I wanted to. 

Ice pellets followed, adding another 1cm of weirdness to the layer of ice, and then as the night wore on it turned to snow and we awoke to a normal white wintry scene this morning. That’s now melting of course as the temperature has rocketed up to a balmy 3C, but the car was still covered in an icy glaze an hour ago. 

In continental climates, freezing rain is much more common than here. I’ve only ever seen fleeting, thin deposits of the stuff in the hills, so it was fascinating to watch it falling and accumulating for hours at home. Not to the extent that it brought down trees or power lines or anything, as it famously does elsewhere in the world, but truly fascinating nonetheless :)

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Astronaut Alexander Gerst’s photos of category 5 Supertyphoon Trami that was headed for Japan and Taiwan in late September, 2018. In Alexander’s own words, it was “As if somebody pulled the planet’s gigantic plug”.⠀

(@astro_alex_esa)

Not your usual driftwood..

Flooding, high tides and blasting winds worked together to wash this massive “piece” of driftwood, or more correctly driftlog, ashore at La Push beach on the northwest coast of Washington.

When a strong gale blew though the community in spring 2010, it toppled trees that then floated down rivers and washed up on the shore.

The entire length of the beach was strewn with driftwood of all sizes- this being the largest.

Just for some perspective, the girl in this photo is 1.82 metres (6 feet) tall.

Jean

Image courtesy of Phillip Lachman.

The Darkness that Followed Hurricane Michael

Earlier this month, the southeastern United States was struck by Hurricane Michael. After the category 4 storm made landfall on Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael proceeded to knock out power for at least 2.5 million customers across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

In this data visualization, you can clearly see where the lights were taken out in Panama City, Florida. A team of our scientists from Goddard Space Flight Center processed and corrected the raw data to filter out stray light from the Moon, fires, airglow, and any other sources that are not electric lights. They also removed atmosphere interference from dust, haze, and clouds. 

In the visualization above, you can see a natural view of the night lights—and a step of the filtering process in an effort to clean up some of the cloud cover. The line through the middle is the path Hurricane Michael took. 

Although the damage was severe, tens of thousands of electric power industry workers from all over the country—and even Canada—worked together to restore power to the affected areas. Most of the power was restored by Oct. 15, but some people still need to wait a little longer for the power grids to be rebuilt. Read more here. 

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