Tag Archive

Answers: Finding wind data

By Jack Williams ©2015

Q: What is your favorite source for near real time surface wind visualizations in the mid Atlantic region. I need the information for balloon flight planning in the field. Curt, Falls Church, Va. A:  I’ve yet to find any really good visualizations for surface winds because none show the winds in any real detail. That said,  best that I've found are NWS... »

Suggestions for hurricane-oil spill coverage

By Jack Williams ©2015

With Hurricane Alex no longer a threat to the people and vessels working to stop and clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, reporters, newscasters, editors, and other news people can take a breather and think about ways to improve coverage when the next hurricane moves into  the Gulf of Mexico. One of the things to think a lot more... »

Answers: Arizona tornadoes

By Jack Williams ©2015

Q: Do tornadoes occur in south-west Arizona, including in the Yuma area? Chris,  Yuma, Ariz. A: A few tornadoes have occurred in Yuma County in the past, which means that they can  occur in the future. Nevertheless, the record shows they are rare and usually weak. If  you go to the National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) Storm Events Web page, select "Arizona"... »

Pilot answers: Upper air data and forecasts

By Jack Williams ©2015

Q: I use RUC soundings for flight planning, but I am befuddled by the following: When I enter a station, load the Op40 soundings, and hover with my mouse over the loaded graph I see  bold numbers on the far-left near the Pressure (mb) line, and light numbers appear directly underneath my cursor with a dynamic pink line drawn from... »

Snowy science lessons

By Jack Williams ©2015

From the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 5 through the afternoon of Tuesday Feb. 9, I spent roughly eight hours shoveling snow, thanks to the record-breaking "Snowmageddon" that brought two to three feet--in some cases even more--of snow to the Washington, D.C. area. Shoveling snow is a good time to think about the science of winter storms, ice, and even some basic... »

Science Lessons from Bitter Cold

By Jack Williams ©2015

The strong winds and bitter cold that the new year 2010 brought to large parts of the United States has put wind chill in the news. This, like any outbreak of cold, windy weather, offers high school physics teachers in places where people are talking about wind chill an opportunity to relate the laws of thermodynamics to everyday life. Elementary and middle... »

Answers: Storm Winds

By Jack Williams ©2015

Q: Why doesn't an extratropical cyclone continue to rotate around a 360-degree axis, like a hurricane?  I've always wondered why a cold front begins to the northwest of the low center and then dies out on the northeast side. Why doesn't it continue to just rotate?  How does the Coriolis effect play into all of this? Jeff, Pensacola, Florida A:  The answer... »

Aviation Contributes to Better Forecasts

By Jack Williams ©2015

This column originally appeared in the June 2005  issue of Flight Training Magazine. ©By Jack Williams and Flight Training Magazine.  All Rights Reserved Piecing together weather Aircraft weather data alphabet soup Here are some of the acronyms for aircraft weather data systems. ACARS: Aircraft Communication Ad-dressing and Reporting System, operated for the airlines by Aeronautical Radio Inc. (ARINC) -- the communications link between pilots... »