Capital Weather Gang: Explainer


Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 04/04/2014

Myth-busting: Tornadoes don’t form from a “clash of air masses”

Science literacy in the U.S. is at an all-time low, and the public deserves a better explanation about how tornadoes arise.

By Jeff Halverson  |  12:13 PM ET, 04/04/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Thunderstorms, Tornadoes

Posted at 01:55 PM ET, 03/17/2014

Ten reasons this St. Patrick’s Day snowstorm walloped us

The storm poured “salt in the wound” of a harsh winter seemingly without end. We review ten aspects that conspired to create a major snowstorm.

By Jeff Halverson  |  01:55 PM ET, 03/17/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Recaps, Winter Storms

Posted at 01:31 PM ET, 03/04/2014

Storm explainer: Wintry chill with a snowy thrill

A swift temperature drop and rapid change from rain to snow provided our winter-fatigued region with a bit of meteorological “shock and awe”.

By Jeff Halverson  |  01:31 PM ET, 03/04/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest

Posted at 10:06 AM ET, 02/24/2014

What the polar vortex is and is not, in one graphic

Debate has raged in weather circles about how to talk about the polar vortex, a term that has exploded into the public lexicon this frigid winter.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:06 AM ET, 02/24/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Polar vortex

Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 02/14/2014

The Feb. 12-13, 2014 snow-making machine: Under the hood

We take a look at the atmospheric elements that made Snochi such a powerful and memorable Nor’easter.

By Jeff Halverson  |  02:06 PM ET, 02/14/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Recaps, Winter Storms

Posted at 02:22 PM ET, 01/22/2014

Twelve hours in the life of a snowstorm (explainer)

Here is the tale of how key elements interacted to produce the Washington region’s most significant snowfall in three years.

By Jeff Halverson  |  02:22 PM ET, 01/22/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Snow, Winter Storms

Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 01/07/2014

A deep dive into the polar vortex

The polar vortex is not some mysterious or cataclysmic feature. It is really just a large air mass that is extremely cold.

By Rick Grow  |  10:34 AM ET, 01/07/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Extreme Cold, Latest, Polar vortex

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/31/2013

Sudden stratospheric warming: could it lead to a very cold January in D.C.?

A phenomenon known as a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event is unfolding, and this is sparking some conversation about how cold the pattern in the United States could get in the weeks ahead.

By Rick Grow  |  12:00 PM ET, 12/31/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Extreme Cold, Latest

Posted at 10:31 AM ET, 12/03/2013

Five ways we get snow in the Mid-Atlantic

A look at five common types of weather systems that usher in the much-loved and deeply despised - white stuff

By Jeff Halverson  |  10:31 AM ET, 12/03/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Snow, Winter Storms

Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 11/21/2013

Inside Washington, D.C.’s urban heat island effect

A detailed look at the phenomenon that makes it considerably warmer in the city compared to the surrounding suburban areas.

By Brendan Richardson  |  10:55 AM ET, 11/21/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Local Climate

Posted at 03:26 PM ET, 11/04/2013

Why it’s so cold today in Washington, D.C.

Cold high pressure to the north and a blanket of clouds has kept it unseasonably chilly in Washington, D.C. today.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:26 PM ET, 11/04/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest

Posted at 01:38 PM ET, 10/16/2013

Major autumn cold blast possible for eastern U.S., D.C. in 7-10 days

Brought to you, in part, by typhoon Wipha, much of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. is due for a taste of late fall or early winter conditions.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:38 PM ET, 10/16/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Extreme Cold, Latest

Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/09/2013

Ghost of Karen: What to expect from this transformed, tropical remnant and why

The eleventh named tropical cyclone in the Atlantic fell short of becoming a hurricane, then wallowed in the Gulf while weakening. Now, Karen has taken on a new identity, transformed into a coastal low currently visiting the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

By Jeff Halverson  |  11:49 AM ET, 10/09/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Nor'easters

Posted at 03:36 PM ET, 09/11/2013

Summer 2013 weather extremes tied to extraordinarily unusual polar jet stream

The behavior and configuration of the polar jet stream this summer was rare and mind-boggling.

By Steve Tracton  |  03:36 PM ET, 09/11/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Extreme Weather, Latest

Posted at 01:19 PM ET, 09/11/2013

Does warm air “hold” more water vapor than cold air?

A oft-repeated water vapor myth is that warm air can “hold” more water vapor than cool air.

By Jack Williams  |  01:19 PM ET, 09/11/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Humidity, Latest

Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 08/13/2013

Why Washington, D.C. keeps missing the heavy rain

I'm not complaining, but gardeners might be starting to.

By Jason Samenow  |  04:44 PM ET, 08/13/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Local Climate, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 08/05/2013

Why dry air is heavier than humid air

The assumption that humid air is heavier than dry air is wrong. Learn why...

By Jack Williams  |  12:32 PM ET, 08/05/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Humidity, Latest

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 07/31/2013

Is lightning the best indicator of severe thunderstorm intensity?

Can lightning predict the severity of a thunderstorm? The short answer: Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no.

By Jeffrey Halverson  |  11:00 AM ET, 07/31/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Lightning, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 07/24/2013

The clouds of a D.C. summer

One positive about summertime heat and humidity is that it can produce some spectacular cloud formations! Learn about the most common types in the D.C. area

By Kathryn Prociv  |  10:23 AM ET, 07/24/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Clouds, Explainer, Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:04 PM ET, 07/23/2013

Review: What happened to the rain forecast Monday into today?

The D.C. area landed on the dry side of a murky dividing line between heavy rain and very little.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:04 PM ET, 07/23/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest

Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 07/22/2013

The pulse of summer: When ordinary, pop-up thunderstorms turn severe

Why do pop-up cells sometimes briefly turn severe, and why are these "pulse-type severe thunderstorms", as they are called, among the most difficult of all summer thunderstorms to watch and warn for?

By Jeffrey Halverson  |  12:26 PM ET, 07/22/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 07/19/2013

Hottest day: Humidity reaches obscene range, heat breaks records

After three straight record warm nights, heat indices may reach 110 in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. What's behind this oppressive humidity?

By Jason Samenow  |  11:14 AM ET, 07/19/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Extreme Heat, Latest, Local Climate, U.S. Weather

Posted at 09:26 AM ET, 07/17/2013

Battle for Delaware: Air masses clash along a summertime sea breeze

By Ian Livingston  |  09:26 AM ET, 07/17/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Imagery, Latest

Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 07/16/2013

Pressure cooker! Washington, D.C. matches record high pressure reading in heat wave

On Sunday night and Monday, an indicator of pressure known as atmospheric height, matched the highest level on record about midway through the lower atmosphere in Washington, D.C.

By Jason Samenow  |  12:01 PM ET, 07/16/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Local Climate

Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 07/02/2013

Why is it so wet in Washington, D.C.?

All this rain and the repetitive daily threat of heavy downpours is not normal. Something is out of whack with the weather.

By Rick Grow  |  12:31 PM ET, 07/02/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest, Local Climate

Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 05/06/2013

Explaining the cutoff low: Washington's gloomy weathermaker this week

By Rick Grow  |  10:05 AM ET, 05/06/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Explainer, Latest

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/12/2013

Will drought develop in Washington, D.C. toward summer?

The evolving pattern does not offer much in the way of precipitation potential for the balance of April, but by May a considerably wetter scene could develop.

By Rick Grow  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/12/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Drought, Explainer, Latest, Local Climate