weather

Last week, as a big storm bore down on Rockford, Ill., students in a Purdue University classroom prepared to track its effects using Twitter.

Using software jointly developed by Purdue, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service, they huddled around laptops to analyze a tiny sample of the tweets from the storm's immediate vicinity. They were looking for keywords like "damage" or "tornado" and for pictures of funnel clouds.

Low snowpack this winter could lead to an earlier, and more extreme fire season in the Northwest.

In many parts of Oregon and Washington, the snowpack is just ten to twenty percent of the average. It's not that precipitation is low, it's just that it has fallen as rain rather than snow.

John Saltenberger is with the Interagency Coordination center in Portland. He says the low snowpack means fire season could come early. Normally, firefighters are brought on in June, in anticipation of fires starting in July or August.

Ross Reynolds talks with University of Waterloo professor Daniel Scott about how climate change could affect the winter tourism industry.

Marcie Sillman talks to Bradley Staats, associate professor at the University of North Carolina and visiting associate professor at the Whatron School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, about his study on worker productivity during good and bad weather.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which, according to tradition, portends another six weeks of winter.

With snow levels way below normal, some Northwest ski teams have been scrambling to find slopes with enough snow to hold their scheduled races.

Competitions scheduled for courses at lower elevations on Mount Hood this weekend were either canceled or moved uphill to ski resorts with higher slopes.

Right now, snow levels across the Cascades are about 70 percent below average, according to Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Warm weather has precipitation falling as rain rather than snow everywhere but the mountain peaks.

Grays Harbor County commissioners approved an emergency declaration for their coastal county Tuesday in the wake of flooding and landslides.

Central Washington was smashed with heavy wind Monday. It knocked down power poles in Yakima and put hundreds in the dark.

This is the time of year when it's not uncommon to see big trucks barreling down highways and streets spreading road salt.

Steve Corsi, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says that translates into high levels of chloride concentrations for rivers like the Milwaukee in Wisconsin or 18 other streams near urban areas in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and several other states.

"At many of the streams, concentrations have now exceeded those that are harmful to aquatic life," he says.

2014 could be the warmest year on record for both Seattle and Portland.

Rain And Wind Bring Back Memories Of Hanukkah Storm

Dec 11, 2014
US Naval Research Laboratory

It was eight years ago this weekend that a massive storm brought deadly rain and wind to the Pacific Northwest, disrupting the holidays and leaving tens of thousands in the dark and cold.

On Thursday, December 14, 2006, the busy holiday season was in full swing.  Christmas Eve was 10 days away, and it was the night before Hanukkah.  In SODO, the Seahawks were hosting the San Francisco 49ers in a late season match-up.

Fai Mathews, a driver for Meals on Wheels, hugs a client at her home in North Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A major wind storm is due to hit the Puget Sound area this evening. Emergency providers are warning residents to brace for possible power outages and to have emergency supplies on hand.

On Thursday morning KUOW reporter Liz Jones rode along with Fai Matthews, a driver for Senior Services' Meals on Wheels in Seattle, as Matthews checked in on many senior citizens ahead of the storm. 

A big winter storm spinning its way across the East Coast of the United States is expected to wreak havoc on Thanksgiving Day travel plans.

The National Weather Service says that travelers from the Carolinas all the way up to New England could see significant snow, and the entire East Coast will see some kind of precipitation.

Weather.com reports:

Another 2 to 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the Buffalo area today. This comes in addition to the 5 feet already on the ground in some areas of western New York.

The extreme snowfall and plunging temperatures have left several people dead.

The National Guard is working to clear the roads, but as snow continues to pile up, Erie County officials are warning residents and businesses of potential roof collapses and forecasts of warm weather that could mean flooding.

Updated 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday:

Another 2 to 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the Buffalo area by late Thursday. At least seven deaths in western New York have been blamed on the storm — at least four of them from heart attacks.

Original Post:

Driven by the lake effect, a massive snowstorm dumped up to 60 inches of snow on some parts of western New York, killing at least five people and paralyzing an area used to huge snow totals.

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