California Drought Worsening During Height of Rainy Season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 9:10 PM GMT on January 23, 2015

The Western U.S. winter rainy season has reached its halfway point, and there is only bad news to report for drought-beleaguered California. November through March marks the period when California receives its heaviest rains and snows, thanks to the wintertime path of the jet stream, which dips to the south and brings wet Pacific low pressure systems to the state. The rainy season started out promisingly, with several December storms bringing precipitation amounts c...


A Striking Change in Lightning Deaths

By: Bob Henson, 5:21 PM GMT on January 22, 2015

Already, the 21st century has brought us the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928 (Katrina, 2005) and the deadliest tornado since 1947 (Joplin, 2011). Here's much better news: the death toll from lightning has plummeted across the nation in recent decades, and the progress is holding up nicely. Veteran lightning analyst Ron Holle presented an update on national and global casualty trends at the American Meteorological Society's annual meeting in Phoenix earlier this ...

Severe Weather

Updated: 7:02 PM GMT on January 22, 2015

Icy Roads Cause Havoc in Oregon, Texas, Northeast

By: Bob Henson, 4:28 PM GMT on January 20, 2015

Motorists in widely dispersed parts of the country found themselves slipping and sliding over the last week in treacherous black-ice conditions. Hundreds of accidents and more than a dozen deaths were reported. Repeated shots of cold, shallow surface air pouring across much of the United States this winter are paving the way for multiple icing events. In a typical year, icy and snowy roads cause roughly 900 U.S. deaths, more than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, an...

Winter Weather

Floods Kill at Least 260 in Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar

By: Jeff Masters, 4:35 PM GMT on January 19, 2015

In what is likely to be one of 2015's deadliest natural disasters, two weeks of heavy rains have hit the southeastern African nations of Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar, triggering rampaging floods that have killed at least 260 people and left 260,000 homeless, said Bloomberg News today. Hardest hit was Malawi, where 176 people are dead or missing and 200,000 homeless. According to EM-DAT, the international disaster database, only one other flood disaster has kil...


Updated: 6:13 PM GMT on January 19, 2015

Incredible Lightning Photos of the Eye of Bansi From the International Space Station

By: Jeff Masters, 2:10 AM GMT on January 18, 2015

One of the most incredible photographs ever of a tropical cyclone was taken this week of Tropical Cyclone Bansi in the South Indian Ocean, which peaked as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds two separate times, on January 13 and on January 16. Lightning within an intense thunderstorm in the eyewall of the storm lit up the eye at night, which was captured on the International Space Station by Astronaut Sam Cristoforetti in the photos below. Bansi grazed the French ...


Updated: 2:21 AM GMT on January 18, 2015

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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