Weather links

©  Fernando Caracena. 6 August 2012

Here are some random links for weather freaks (of which I am one.) The last link is to a blog of a friend from NOAA who also is well known in storm chase circles.

          The Joint Airport Weather Studies project proved the existence of         microbursts.

           Some history of Microburst research.

The UCAR weather page is a good site for weather enthusiasts to look.

Here is a comment from a reader (07-16-2018):

I just wanted to reach out and send quick a note to say hi and to say thanks. I'm helping out with a STEM Juniors club with a bunch of middle-schoolers and to start summer we're studying meteorology which is a blast! We built our own "weather station" using things like paper cups & pencils to make an anemometer and a weather vane. One mentee in particular has been super helpful since they're a self-proclaimed "weather geek", superstar seventh grader Noah! Since he's so serious we're doing some extra research which is how we found you here,'s been tough finding non-spammy sites that I feel comfortable letting him use so thank you

We've tried to find some info about spotting and taking down observations so you gave us some great ideas to get the ball rolling. To return the favor we thought we could share some of our other favorites like this article about storm spotting he found: hopefully you like it too. We thought it would be a good contribution to your page- would you consider adding it for me? I would love to show him that it's cool to love meteorology and science! If you have any tips please feel free to share with us but only if it's no trouble. I don't want to be a bother sorry for rambling! Again we're so grateful and excited about this connection :o) take care Thanks again, Kathy (and Noah)

Severe Storms

Video of Severe Storms with Hail by Storm Chasers

(Or, the great thing about Oklahoma.)

Often left out of the discussion of Severe Weather are microbursts, which are severe thrunderstorm downdrafts. Here is a video compilation of microbursts. Her is another video taken by folks in Lacey Washington. Several decades ago, a series of airline crashes happened when in the process of takeoff or landing, the airliner encountered a microburst. A microburst is a brief moment of hurricane-like weather, but it clears up within minutes. Some of the damage associated with a tornado is inflicted by microbursts that form to one side of the tornado.

The above videos show the two types of weather extremes that produce microbursts: the dry environment, where the little kids are playing in the wind; and the water loaded microbursts which come down with buckets of rain, or even hail.

Other Weather links suggested by readers:

The latest suggested (01 March 2019) are by Mr. Tomi Cook.

Measuring the wind

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. --old proverb.

The wind is an important component of weather. Meteorologists need to know both the wind speed and direction (the wind velocity) to generate accurate weather forecasts. Not only is this information about the wind near the surface, but modern computer models of the atmosphere require wind velocities at various levels in the atmosphere. The vertical wind velocity profiles of the atmosphere are observed simultaneously around the world through balloon borne instruments (called radiosondes) that are released at predesignated times (0000 and 1200 UTC). These soundings followed by radar to extract the wind information are called rawinsondes.

Anemometers -


A public domain image of a Robinson Anemometer, from Wikicommons.

Instruments that measure the wind speed are called anemometers. There are several forms that anemometers take. Most commonly they are  wheels mounted to turn on a vertical axis, having cups mounted at the ends of horizontal spokes. The concave surfaces are mounted in the same sense all around the wheel, so that on one side, a cup always faces the wind, whereas on the opposite side, a cup faces away from the wind. The difference in wind drag on the cups exerts a torque that turns the wheel of the anemometer in a sense that moves the cups facing the wind, with the wind. 

There are other type of anemometers, some mechanical and some higher tech. See for example the discussion at ExplainThatStuff!

Knowing the principle of how the Robinson Anemometer operates, you can make your own out of simple household items. See how here.

Weather Vanes

Towers that are used to monitor surface temperature, dew point temperatures and the wind also contain weather vanes as well as anemometers to monitor the wind direction and speed, respectively. A weather vane is simply an object designed to point into the wind. You can make a simple weather vane in the form of an arrow using a straw and cut outs for the tail and head of an arrow taken from index cards. Find the balance point for the wind arrow, from which you can mount it on a pin that sticks vertically through the straw.  

Wind Estimates

It is possible to estimate both wind speed and direction by looking carefully at how objects within the environment respond to the wind. For example, our first home in Colorado was on the plains, straight south of a flagpole that was located at a fire station. From the way the flag flew, I could estimate the wind direction: the flag extended to the left indicated an east wind, to the right, a west wind, etc. Further, the wind speed can be estimated from how the trees are bent, or how ripples and waves form on a pond, on what is called the Beaufort Wind Scale. When hiking, you can use a good terrain map and a compass and the local wind disturbance to estimate the wind speed and direction. This could be important information to insure proper preparation for an approaching storm. Use the wind information together with pressure information from a barometer watch, which may also contain a compass. Similar observations can be taken if you are on a boat.

Nick Hayes suggested that I have some links to weather vane information. Most of it is commercial, because weather vanes are mostly ornamental. I decided to write a bit more than that on the subject, but expanded to include measuring the wind itself, which is of practical use, especially if they are in remote settings where weather information is very important, but not necessarily available.

Winter Storms

Severe Winter Weather

Winter Storms and Blizzards

 Spring and Fall Storms

Scales of Atmospheric Motion and Severe Weather

What Causes Thunderstorms

How Do Thunderstorms Form?

Severe Weather Definitions

Tornado Basics

Tornado Safety Tips

The Loon Project blog--a cell phone communications system operated through quasi-stationary balloon-borne packages flown at stratospheric levels. 

Summer Storms

Formation and Structure of Hurricanes


Be Prepared for Flash Floods


Hail Research


These tropical storms do not affect me directly, so that I do not tend to think much about them. I have some have studied floods produced by the remnants of tropical storms that rain out over land. Scientifically, these storms are of interest because they operate off air and sea water. The hurricane winds over the ocean efficiently absorb heat and water vapor from the ocean, which is released into the tall cumulus updrafts contained in the various rain bands and eye wall of a hurricane. The hurricane leaves a wake of colder water in its track. 

To the public, hurricanes pose a threat to life and property. Here, i have no practical experience nor advice to offer.  Jenn Stark of Happy DIY Home suggested that I give people a link to those who might be looking to hurricane proof windows.

Here are additional weather links for storm spotters, which are contained in the the new post called Storm Spotter Links.

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