I’m happy to see January leave. This absurd month brought spring-like temperatures, a –30° F wind chill, fog as thick as pea soup, various ice and snow storms, and a tornado. When a twister forms in Wisconsin during January, that’s a bizarre weather month — even by Midwest standards. But, my complaining aside, this isn’t the most intense weather by a long shot.
Hopefully, you haven’t rolled your eyes, thinking, “Great, someone dull enough to talk about weather AGAIN.” The great Hoosier humorist Kin Hubbard said, “Don’t knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”
I’m not talking about occasional snowflakes, or rain that causes your basement to flood. I’m writing for those passionate about weather. For us, weather goes beyond how we will dress for the day.
Astronomy Editor David J. Eicher sums up this enthusiasm for weather: Weather has become about long-term adaptation and survival, how we’re altering our planet through climate change, and awareness of our influence of Earth’s atmosphere —for better or worse.
Serving this perspective, Astronomy magazine’s publishers are creating Extreme Weather. This special issue will contain unique stories focusing on the most amazing aspects of the science of extreme weather.
For example, I mentioned Wisconsin’s recent uncommon tornado. Although any twister isn’t a trifling matter, this storm doesn’t stack up to what folks in Greensburg, Kansas, witnessed in May 2007. A massive tornado quickly formed and destroyed everything that got it its path. Legendary storm tracker Warren Faidley covers this event for Extreme Weather with his firsthand account, “Chasing the perfect storm.”
You can read an excerpt of his story, and a few others here. Also, you can ride along with Warren in his video documenting a storm he tracked.
Visit the Extreme Weather web site, and check out what we are working on.