Matt's World Of Weather: Puzzling Clouds & Viewer Questions

Be sure to check out the video for quick answers to the submitted questions. I will expand a little further on each topic below.

Mammatus Clouds:
Bubble Wrap-ish, Sagging Pouches, Cotton Balls, Popped Popcorn and my favorite “Eggs trying to push through a layer of cellophane ”. All solid descriptions of the clouds on the right. The photos never do them justice and they are a thing of beauty when seen with the naked eye. Part of what makes Mammatus clouds so spectacular is that they are often created in a very unstable environment (around severe weather). The war between warm and cold air from a vigorous thunderstorm results in smaller battles taking on bubble like formations right at the front lines. The reason they are round is because warm air is unable to push straight through the cold air pockets, and thus, it rounds out the cloud as the air rises. As a forecasting tool, the formation of Mammatus clouds often signifies the weakening of the parent storm (sometimes 10-20 miles away).

Naming Tropical Systems:
As mentioned in the video, constancy is the "name of the game" when putting a name on a tropical system. Keeping that in mind, the National Hurricane Center will try to avoid renaming a tropical system to help avoid any confusion. In the situation of a remnant, or former tropical storm redeveloping, a new name will only be assigned if forecasters find a significant break in its characteristics for an extended amount of time.

For example, if you were running a marathon and finished in one day you would have the same name (and number) throughout. But let’s say halfway through the race you misstep and sprain your ankle in a 3 foot deep pothole, no longer able to complete the marathon you put the ankle on ice and call it quiets. Or do you? In a sudden surge of pride, you come back a day later to the same pot hole, determined to finish the marathon. Now since it has been an entire day since your ankle misfortune and you’re coming back with an entirely new outlook/attitude, the National Hurricane Center will select a new name, for new tracking purposes.

Bring Back the 70s:
Looking at the climate data, we normally don’t see high temperatures in the 70s until October. Granted, a cold front has the ability to take us down to the 70s for a couple of days, but typically we won’t average highs in the 70s until that month. Last year was a pretty interesting September though, a significant drop came through the middle of the month and registered highs in the 60s for two days. In total, we had 6 days in the 70s that month, the rest were 80° or above. In October we had 2 days in the 50s, 8 days in the 60s and 16 days in the 70s (only 5 80° degree days). If you would like to know why these numbers matter, the video above will explain everything.

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