As a mother of three young children I often get random questions, some I can answer, some I cannot (and others make me cringe). I frequently get weather related questions and answer to the best of my ability. I also get lots of weather-specific questions from adults, I suppose since our company is a leader in providing storm damage recovery services.
Spring is upon us, and lately, and we have been having more and more weather-related conversations. For instance, “When spring comes, the weather will warm up, and we will be closer to swimming.” Well….no not necessarily. So to better equip myself for these types of questions I did a little research on typical weather assumptions that are not quite accurate.
Seasons: Like my kids, many think the weather will naturally change with the seasons. A season is a human classification, to describe changes in temperature. There is no guarantee that you can swim after Memorial Day…even in Texas. Contrary to popular belief the Earth does not orbit around the Sun in a circular path, nor is the Sun situated at the center of the Earth’s orbital path. Instead, the Earth’s path or orbit around the Sun is elliptical, with the Sun closer to one end of the orbit than the other. This means that the Earth’s distance from the Sun varies throughout the year.
Polar Vortex: Many think that this term is new, but the term “polar vortex” has been around since the 1800’s. The 24-hour news cycle has just brought it to our attention.
Tornadoes: These spiraling vortices are frequently misunderstood. Yes, they can cross bodies of water. No, you are not safe under an overpass (you are actually in more danger). Opening the windows in your house will do you no good. Moreover, one of the most common misconceptions is that Tornadoes will not hit cities. Just ask residents in Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Nashville and Fort Worth! While cities make up a smaller land portion than rural areas, they are just as susceptible as any other location in their region.
Lightning: Lightning is a powerful burst of electricity. It commonly happens in thunderstorms but can also be seen during volcanic eruptions, dust storms, snow storms, forest fires, and tornadoes. It can occur inside clouds, between clouds and from clouds to ground.
Hurricanes: While the winds of a hurricane can seem like the scariest thing, statistically, the large amount of water dumped on an area is what is the most deadly. Storm surge and flooding cause the most destruction during a hurricane.
Thunderstorms: I always believed thunderstorms moved west to east. Watching a thunderstorm roll over the hills to the west was a site to see at my parent’s country home. In reality, storms can come from any direction. Tornadoes can move in any direction as well. So don’t just look to the west for that storm!
Flash Flooding: Flash floods can be deadly and should be taken seriously. Just because you don’t live near a river or creek does not mean you are safe from flash flooding. Dry creek or river beds, as well as urban areas where no streams are present, have experienced flash flooding.
Rainbows: Did you know that when you see a rainbow from Earth, you only see half of it? A rainbow is actually a full circle.
Now onto explaining the “circle of life” to them, thanks, Lion King!