BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When George Loegering saw a large spinning circle of ice in the Sheyenne River while out hunting with relatives, the retired engineer couldn't believe his eyes.
There's nothing like a blanket of fresh snow to make for picturesque scenes around the Pacific Northwest, but among the snowmen and sleigh rides are hidden secrets of the breath-taking beauty of Mother Nature.
But photographer Alexey Kljatov has unlocked some of those secrets, using a unique camera set up to get intricate photos of individual snowflakes, which show off an amazing level of detail that each snowflake carries. They say no two snowflakes are alike, and these photographs show why.
Park rangers and tourists alike at the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving weekend were treated to a sight only seen on average once every few years: Fog.
It takes a rare inversion set up where cold air gets trapped in the canyons and warm air sits above the rims.
"Much better than Black Friday!" National Park Service Ranger Erin Whittaker posted on the Grand Canyon's Facebook page. "Rangers wait for years to see it. Word spread like wildfire and most ran to the rim to photograph it. What a fantastic treat for all!"
The on again, off again, on again Comet ISON appears to be off again.
It's been perhaps the most anticipated astronomical event of the year as Comet ISON makes its way toward the sun on a path and proximity that has some experts believing it might end up as one of the more spectacular comets in a long time.
If all goes right, Comet ISON could be so bright, it would rival a full moon at night and could even be visible during daylight. But that's a big "if".
Meteorologists put that word to the test Thursday as two admittedly rare atmospheric conditions occurred nearly simultaneously -- but 3,000 miles apart!
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? Col. Chris Hadfield has seen it, hands down.
Hadfield served six months on the International Space Station earlier this year and in doing so, 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 from his perch 230 miles high and posting them on his Twitter account @Cmdr_Hadfield and posting to his Facebook page.
"I took 45,000 pictures of the world.... and sent as many of them as I could down in real time to try and let people to the best of my ability see that perspective as it looked through my eyes," Hadfield told KOMO News. "And a lot of people came on board and shared it and that perspective is good for us all."
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.
It doesn't matter whether you live below the clouds like most of us, or are on a mission high above like those on the International Space Station, the Earth can be a very beautiful place, especially at night.
The numbers are unreal.
Sustained winds of 195 mph. Gusts to 235 mph.
It's not Hollywood, it's an actual storm -- a Super Typhoon -- that was bearing down on the Philippines with strength mankind rarely sees.
Traditionally, Super Bowls have been played either in Florida, Arizona or California -- spots where you would expect to find warm, sunny weather in the dead of winter -- or if in more northern locales, in a domed stadium.
But this year at least, the NFL is trying something different. The 2014 Super Bowl is being held in Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey just outside New York City -- about as synonymous to warm, sunny weather in February as Canada. And at least if the Farmer's Almanac is right, it might look like a poor choice with predictions of a big snowstorm there the weekend of Feb. 2.
But now that the precedent has been set for a northern team in an outdoor stadium to host a Super Bowl, why not Seattle? The odds of a February super snow storm hitting here during a Super Bowl are certainly less than New Jersey's (although admittedly, not zero).
With the Seattle Seahawks square in the national spotlight this year amid dreams of a Super Bowl season, those who have been watching the games here and around the nation have been treated to not just our dominating defense, our powerful offense and our ear-shattering 12th Man but also a solid reinforcement of Seattle's rainy reputation.
The thought really came to me after watching the weather debacle of this year's home opener against San Francisco that fateful Sunday night on national TV which featured soaking rains and an hour-long thunderstorm delay -- which came on the heels of a soaking rainstorm against those same 49ers during a Sunday night game late last season.
I'm sure many thought whoever had the bright idea to move the team and fans out of the comfy, climate-controlled confines of the Kingdome years ago and build an open air stadium for the heart of Seattle's stormy season must have been "a few yards short of a first down" in the brain department.
But should playing a game in Seattle automatically be linked to a drenching rain as Lambeau and Soldier Fields often mean playing in -15° wind chills?
Before these past few games, I didn't really remember too many rainy or cold games there, so I decided to go back and check the weather over every regular season home game that has been played at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field/CenturyLink Field since it opened in 2002.
The goal: To see just how many times it's rained on the 12th Man, how many times it's been chilly or hot, and how windy it's ever been. The answer was surprising to me: Despite playing in the heart of the worst weather on Seattle's meteorological calendar, Mother Nature has gone relatively easy on us.
Just don't tell that to the San Francisco 49ers, who seem to bring out the worst in Seattle weather.