As I was shoveling my driveway and the end of my driveway where the town plows always go back and plow me in, I got started on thinking about weather terms. Popular weather terms that it dawned on me, that I had an idea as to what they meant but never flushed it out. Here are a few that really peaked my curiosity:

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Blizzard. Ok, I had thought that it meant a lot of snow and some winds.


  • A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer:
  • Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and
    Considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than ¼ mile)

A Nor'easter. What does that mean? Rabbits fall from the sky? From the National Weather Service, this is what they had to say about Nor Easterns:

  • A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April.

What about a Monsoon? Can't say we have seen too many of these here in the Hudson Valley? Or have we since we might not know exactly what one is?

  • From "In terms of "weather", the monsoon is associated with a dramatic increase in summer precipitation, mostly in the form of thunderstorms. The basic forcing of the monsoons is derived from a seasonal contrast in the heating of the land continent versus the ocean."

Ok, so what about a Hurricane (and I don't mean the ones that Jimmy Buffet sings about). This explanation is just a touch over my head, but as I read it more and more it starts to make sense:

  • A tropical cyclone is a rotating low-pressure weather system that has organized thunderstorms but no fronts (a boundary separating two air masses of different densities). Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained surface winds of less than 39 miles per hour (mph) are called tropical depressions. Those with maximum sustained winds of 39 mph or higher are called tropical storms. When a storm's maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph, it is called a hurricane.

I can't be the only one who hears about these different weather systems but wasn't 100% sure as to what they actually were or meant.

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