weather

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Before Superstorm Sandy made landfall in 2012, several Connecticut towns received mandatory evacuation orders. But many chose to ignore them and ride out the storm. Now researchers at Yale University are trying to find out why. 

Multiple Microbursts Hit Connecticut

Jun 25, 2015
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Weather Service says strong thunderstorms that knocked out power to about 50,000 homes and businesses in Connecticut on Tuesday produced multiple microbursts with wind gusts of up to 95 mph.

Irina Pechkareva / Flickr Creative Commons

Patterns are everywhere: both in the wonders of nature and in the man-made world. They exist in the formations of crystals and clouds, in art and music, and in math and science. It is therefore no surprise that we, as inhabitants of this pattern filled world, are wired to find them.

And it's not only humans that have this ability; pattern recognition is a skill shared by all mammals. Since the first primates learned that certain weather patterns meant a storm and others meant it was time to hunt, life on this planet has both created and responded to patterns for survival. 

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET

Storms continued to move through Texas and Oklahoma, bringing tornadoes and dumping torrential rains that led to deadly flooding.

(This post was updated at 12:45 p.m. ET.)

A line of strong storms left 2 dead in Nashville, Arkansas, and another two dead in Van, Texas.

CNN reports that Van was badly damaged after the storm system appeared to spawn violent tornadoes. More than 20 people were also injured in that storm. The network reports:

More than a dozen tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma on Wednesday, destroying homes and injuring 12 people.

The Oklahoman reports that the damage is widespread and that the thunderstorms that spawned the twisters also brought lots of rain that could lead to record flooding.

The paper reports:

Seven named storms, three hurricanes — one of them major.

That's the early prediction for the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season by Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. If the forecast pans out, it would be one of the quietest seasons in decades.

A tornado that hit Illinois on Thursday was so massive and the damage so extensive that in some areas, plows had to push debris off the streets so emergency crews could reach survivors.

At least one person died as a result of twisters that raked the state and other areas Thursday. Numerous injuries were also reported.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is receiving the federal disaster declaration needed to receive federal aid to help cover costs incurred from the January blizzard.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that financial assistance will be provided to state agencies and municipalities in New London, Windham and Tolland counties. Also, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will be eligible for funding to help cover costs incurred from the storm. The reimbursement rate is 75 percent.

DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

New patterns of extreme weather have insurance companies thinking more seriously about climate change. As storms intensify and damages increase, many are looking at new ways to predict losses from climate related risks. 

Wikimedia Commons

Residents on Connecticut's coast continue to underestimate the economic and physical dangers posed by severe weather, according to a new survey out of Yale.

SEDACmaps / Creative Commons

A delegation from the East African Nation of Djibouti is visiting Yale University to learn more about how climate change will affect the horn of Africa in the coming years.

Ski Sundown

Friday marked the first day of spring, but for Connecticut ski areas, winter lives on, at least for a few more weeks.

A brutally cold season that featured buried cars and bizarre warnings, culminated Sunday night as this winter officially became Boston's snowiest ever.

As Dan Guzman of member station WBUR tells our Newscast unit, snow that fell Sunday night pushed the city past the seasonal record set 19 years ago:

Grendelkhan / Creative Commons

Snowstorms are being blamed for a drop in revenue and slot machine bets at Connecticut's two casinos last month.

Officials in Vanuatu are still assessing damage from what President Baldwin Lonsdale says was "a monster" — Cyclone Pam, a strong storm that hit the small nation in the South Pacific with winds that damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the buildings in the capital, Lonsdale says.

"This is a very devastating cyclone in Vanuatu. I term it as a monster, a monster," he said. "It's a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out."

Evan Schuurman / Save The Children

Two Connecticut-based agencies are responding to Cyclone Pam. The monster storm is believed to have left widespread destruction and killed an unknown number of residents on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu. 

John Mueller / Creative Commons

Amtrak says 299 passengers headed for Boston were stuck on a cold, dark train for more than three hours after it lost power in Connecticut. 

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

A Delta flight carrying 130 passengers and crew skidded off a snow-covered runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, slamming through a fence on the side of the tarmac. Six people were hurt, an official says.

Authorities initially reported no injuries from the accident. Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo later said that six people had been injured, but that none of the injuries was life-threatening.

The near-record amount of snow that has fallen on Boston this winter is testing one of the city's great traditions: On orders from Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Public Works Department began removing parking space savers from city streets on Monday.

In the past, the informal rule has been that whoever takes the time to dig out a parking space gets to keep it for 48 hours. But this year, the city has gotten about 100 inches of snow and those 48 hours have turned into weeks.

As Boston slowly returns to normal following more than 100 inches of snowfall this winter — most of it in the last month — trash collectors are struggling to keep up with the waste.

Snowstorm after snowstorm have piled on the complaints from city residents. In the average month, the city gets in the area of 900 complaints about trash pickup. This month the city has received 4,600.

One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.

The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Kathy Hanlon's life crumbled. Her Long Beach, N.Y., home had no electricity, her family was traumatized and one of her sons was getting sick. On top of that, there was the bureaucratic maze of flood insurance.

"I cried many times because I was so angry when I got off the phone with the insurance company," Hanlon says. "It was demeaning. We had to send them things repeatedly. We had to wait for phone calls. We had to wait for people to come visit the house."

The Arctic cold snap that has gripped much of the U.S. lately may be causing hardship for many, but it's also creating some spectacular ice formations at Niagara Falls. The spectacle is drawing huge crowds on both the Canadian and American side of the border.

The air temperature is so cold that the water and mist coming off the falls is frozen in place. Some of the formations look like massive boulders, others look like long shards of white glass.

The Connecticut Gological Survey

Following a series of small earthquakes in the eastern part of Connecticut, WNPR’s Patrick Skahill set out on a mission to find out what was causing so many to occur over such a short period of time. Turns out, to fully understand, you have to go back hundreds of millions of years to a time when our state was being rocked by a massive continental collision. 

BenFrantzDale / Creative Commons

Temperatures have plummeted in Connecticut, with the wind chill nearly 20 degrees below zero. But how is wind chill actually calculated? To answer that question, I learned about the number's colorful -- and changing -- history.

It was the 1940s. Two scientists were in the Antarctic; it was windy -- and they decided to try an experiment.

Boston has had more than 72 inches of snow in the past 30 days, breaking a record set in 1978, the National Weather Service says. The city has repeatedly been among the hardest-hit by several winter storms — and it could get another 4 to 6 inches later this week.

ecksunderscore / Creative Commons

The winter wonderland that comes with fresh snow is often a double-edged sword for many Connecticut families with school-aged children. With no school, instructional time is swapped for fun time. This can create all kind of problems, from the school to the student to home life.

In a huge vacant for sale lot in the Seaport District — on which someday there will be an office building — presently sits the city’s biggest pile of snow.

It’s Boston’s largest snow farm. The snow is dumped here from all over the city. Fifteen- to 20-foot-high piles, almost as far as the eye can see, have been moved onto this lot.

Gov. Charlie Baker says metro Boston's aging MBTA subway lines will be operating on an "abbreviated" schedule and not normal workday times. Commuter trains will attempt to maintain a weekday schedule, but delays are likely.

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