Earlier this month, I gave a little weather lesson to my daughter's kindergarten and preschool class and in racking my brain on how to relate something as complex as weather and storms to 3-5 years olds, I came up with something most could all relate to: Angry Birds.
No, really. It turns out, a lot of our storms that push into the Northwest off the Pacific can indeed act like our favorite flying green-pig slayers.
I'll give a few examples:
There are plenty of places that you could argue have the best view on Earth. But as far as the best view above the Earth? Cmdr. Chris Hadfield has it, hands down.
Hadfield has been on the International Space Station since December and just last week became the first Canadian ever to command the station.
But in the social media circles, Hadfield might be best known for sharing his incredible office view with those of us still here on Planet Earth.
He's been taking several photos a day of interesting and amazing geographic features from his perch 230 miles high and posting them on his Twitter account @Cmdr_Hadfield and Posting to his Facebook page.
From towering, snow-capped volcanoes to intricate swirls off the the Italian coastlines, his gallery is a treasure trove of information about our home and showcases many planetary features that can't be appreciated the same way from the ground.
Did you know sometimes debris from strong tornados can be carried over 200 miles? Researchers are now using social media to track just how far that debris can be carried, and using that data to help learn more about the fierce storms and perhaps lead to better warnings.
Here is the story, written by Associated Press writer Jeff Martin:
2013 could go down as the year of the comet with not just one, but two brilliant displays this year.
Comet ISON has been getting much of the attention as it is set to bring perhaps the most spectacular show we've seen in decades when it appears this fall.
But for those who can't wait, consider the upcoming Pan-STARRS comet a nice astronomical appetizer.
Pan-STARRS passed within 100 million miles of Earth on Tuesday, its closest approach in its first-ever cruise through the inner solar system. The ice ball will get even nearer the sun this weekend - just 28 million miles from the sun and within the orbit of Mercury.
The comet has been visible for weeks from the Southern Hemisphere, making for some spectacular photos. Now our half of the world gets a glimpse as well.
If we had to sum up Portland's February rainfall in 2013, I'd have to go with "its bark was worse than its bite."
Never before has a Portland February had so many rainy days with so little to show for it in the rain gauge.
The month tallied just 1.26 inches of rain, spread out over 15 days with measurable rain -- an average of just 0.084" of rain per rainy day. (Coincidentally, Seattle had the exact same average daily rain ratio -- to the hundredth of an inch! -- spread out over 18 days until it rained a bit at 10 p.m. They ended up at 0.088" -- a record for them too.)
Did everyone in the Puget Sound region just turn on their lights at the same time?
No, but forgive those up in Sequim on Washington's Olympic Peninsula for getting that impression as the sun put on a rather puzzling display of light -- on its opposite horizon -- as it set Tuesday evening.
These photos from Judy Davidson show what appear to be a glowing light from the distant east, but what she saw were called "anti-crepuscular rays".
(For those who like to read aloud in your head, here is how to pronounce it).
Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
Elton Hyland had a camera handy in Kapowsin when Mt. Rainier put on a show for the ages last fall.
What you are seeing is a stacked version of lenticular clouds near the mountain. While the flat, alien-like clouds are not all that unusual around here getting the conditions right for what looks like a stack of pancake clouds is a little unusual. (Although remember this big event in 2009?)
And this is the first time I've had a good video and time lapse of an event: