Weather 101

A general page that will be populated by some weather information, weather basics, how a forecast is made, some weather sites I personally follow, and some places to check out if you would like to learn more about meteorology and forecasting.

National Weather Service Weather general information

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 2 AM CDT for parts of North Texas into central/eastern Oklahoma. Hail up to 2 inches in diameter is possible as well as isolated wind gusts up to 70 mph. Stay weather aware this evening. #txwx #okwx

Heavy snow is expected for parts of central Colorado. Rates of 1-2 inches per hour are possible this evening into the overnight. A quick search of the archives shows this is the first heavy snow mesoscale discussion in the month of May since early May 2013. #cowx

Looking ahead to next week's forecasted hazards, there will be chances of heavy rain from the Plains to the Appalachians with excessive heat returning to the West and Southwest.

A significant surge of cold air moving through the western U.S. is colliding with a large dome of heat that is forecast to shift from the South to the East Coast into the weekend. Meanwhile, a late-season snow event is developing over the central High Plains/Rockies.

It may feel like summer for many, but you woldn't know it quite yet in parts of Colorado today. 2+ feet of snow is likely to fall in some areas through tomorrow!

This is very cool!

Twitter feed video.
NWS Las Vegas @NWSVegas

Satellites are pretty neat.📡🤓

Here is a visible satellite loop of the dust storm in Mohave County earlier this morning.🌬️👀


A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 7 PM EDT for parts of northern Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula. Large to very large hail and damaging winds are the main threats. #miwx

For Saturday (5/21), a Slight risk of severe weather is expected across a broad area. Substantial instability is forecast to develop ahead of a cold front during the afternoon. Numerous storms will be capable of producing large hail and damaging wind gusts.

It's #WearYourLifeJacketAtWorkDay! Acting NWS Director Mary Erickson and Acting NWS Deputy Director A.J. Reiss are joining others across the country wearing life jackets to raise awareness ahead of next week’s National Safe Boating Week.

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Learn more about Meteorology!

Check out Penn State’s Undergraduate Certificate in Weather Forecasting. From their website:

Learn How to Forecast the Weather with an Online Weather Forecasting Certificate

Use the program's innovative forecasting techniques and conceptual approaches to learn about meteorology, enrich your hobby, supplement your professional career, or build a preparatory foundation for future study or work. As a student in this program, you will have an opportunity to become a better-informed, critical consumer of weather-related news. Whether you are an amateur weather enthusiast or a weather-related industry professional, enrolling in this 12-credit certificate program can help you refine your skills to more effectively predict the weather.

More Penn State on-line resources to learn about the weather, including links to free content!

The following two courses are offered to the public under a Creative Commons license. These are the exact same courses being taught today at Penn State:

  • Here’s a link to Penn State’s “Introduction to Meteorology” (METEO 003) General Education course. This is the same course hundreds of Penn State undergraduates take who are not pursuing meteorology degrees. The course is non-technical but based on sound science and physical concepts.
  • This link takes you to Penn State’s “Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science” (METEO 300). This is a course is required for our sophomore meteorology majors. It assumes successful completion of first year college calculus and physics, so the material may not be for everyone! But if you are mathematically inclined, METEO 300 gives you all the basics you need to understand how our atmosphere really works.

Do you have a son or daughter, niece, nephew, grandson or granddaughter who has a real interest in weather? They might enjoy attending one of Penn State’s Weather Camps.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), through the COMET program, offers hundreds of lessons and courses at no charge covering many aspects of meteorology. While some lessons are quite technical, many are not, and also cover topics such as emergency preparedness and weather communications. You can check out their list of offerings here.

The National Weather Service also has a free school for online weather, called ‘Jetstream’. Modules include fundamentals of the Atmosphere, mid-latitude storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. According to their website, ‘Jetstream’ is designed “to help educators, emergency managers, or anyone interested in learning about weather and weather safety.”

Miscellaneous Cool Stuff

Check out this animation by Brian Brettschneider. Using the latest climate normals, he shows the progression (and retreat) of the average 70 deg F day across North America.