Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Understanding the different types of storms

A storm is a severe weather condition that involves strong winds, rain, thunder, lightning, and snow. This force of nature can cause destruction to lives and property. Scientists such as former KCOY weatherman Jim Byrne aim to educate people on these events so that they would know how to prepare and adapt when the need arises. Here’s a guide to the different types of storms:

Image source: Pexels.com
Tropical cyclone

This phenomenon is characterized by a series of thunderstorms that produce heavy rainfall in low-pressure areas. Also known as a typhoon, tropical depression, or simply cyclones, these series of storms can become intense depending on low pressure and rapid winds. This storm can take several hours to days before it gains strength to become a hurricane. Moist air, converging winds, and warm surface temperature contribute to its intensity.

Image source: Pexels.com

Professionals such as KCOY weatherman Jim Byrne have witnessed the formation of hailstorms in the U.S. that caused massive damage to properties. Instead of just battling rainfall and strong winds, people have to be extra cautious with hail. These icy stones form due to frozen precipitation caused by rapid currents of air going upwards and downwards during a thunderstorm.


The windstorm is caused by a severe thunderstorm that moves from southwest to northeast, causing rotating columns of air that touches the earth’s surface and a cumulonimbus or cumulus cloud. The powerful and high-speed winds can bring destruction as it can push debris and other elements in its path.

Understanding these weather disturbances is crucial in disaster preparedness efforts. Knowing the differences between these storms will help people plan and strategize accordingly.

Jim Byrne is a weatherman serving as a consulting meteorologist for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” He served as both the chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12 and as a freelance weekend meteorologist at NBC Bay Area. Visit this page for updates.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Countries with the most extreme weather conditions

Weather conditions define countries, and some have more extreme and unusual weather conditions than the next. To give you a rundown, here are examples of meteorologically challenged countries, with their populations experiencing extreme weather shifts and characteristics.

Image source: smh.com.au
United States of America. According to a report by National Geographic, hurricane-force winds are present for more than 100 days per year in New Hampshire alone.
India. Mawsynram in India’s Maghalaya state receives the most rainfall each year, according to Guiness World Records. The rain falls during its monsoon season between June and September, and receives 12 meters of rain annually. The hilly village of Cherrapunji comes a close second in terms of rainfall, with over 26 meters of recorded rainfall from August 1860 to July 1861.

Image source: smh.com.au
Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression has the highest average temperatures in the world: 34.4 degrees Celsius below sea level and has little to no rainfall. It is considered one of the hottest places in the world.

Russia. If you can’t handle the cold, then Russia’s Sakha Republic is no place for you. Considered as the coldest permanently-inhabited places, the average temperature goes below minus 50 degrees from October to April. An electronic thermometer was installed as a tourist attraction, which broke almost immediately because it couldn’t handle the cold.

Weatherman Jim Byrne currently works as the meteorological consultant for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” Having taken up meteorology and journalism at San Jose State University, he served as the chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS 12 and was a freelance weekend weather reporter for NBC Bay Area. For more articles like this, visit this page

Friday, 11 January 2019

The science behind a storm surge

The dominant and pervading notion is that storm surges are like tsunamis. This means that many still think they are a wall of water of sorts. In truth, storm surges are, as the name implies, caused by strong and prolonged winds of a hurricane or typhoon battering the shore. In this sense, it’s better to call them domes of waves that form as the ocean or sea is pushed onto land.
Image source: wlos.com
 These high-water formations essentially translate to the raising of the ocean, coming in with the normal inflow of tides. Hurricanes are devastating enough, but residents of near-ocean areas should be extremely wary not just of the high winds that can uproot trees and houses, but the flow of ocean water inland that may accompany the most severe of such storms. For example, it’s the storm surge and its accompanying water that killed nine out of 10 people when Hurricane Florence hit the U.S.
Image source: science.howstuffworks.com

Studies done by meteorologists on hurricanes that have formed on U.S. waters between 1963 and 2012 show an alarming statistic: a whopping 49 percent of hurricane-related deaths in the country soil is a result of storm surges. Only 27 percent of the loss of lives was due to rain, eight percent from wind, and three percent from tornadoes, according to the National Hurricane Center.

One of the most destructive storm surges occurred in the Philippines during the landing of Typhoon Haiyan in the southern city of Tacloban in 2013. Not only was Haiyan among the strongest storms ever recorded— it is by far the deadliest to have hit the typhoon-prone nation, killing at least 6,300 people mostly due to drowning brought about by heaps of ocean water poured into the highly unprepared city.

Jim Byrne is a weatherman and a consultant for the program “So You Think You’d Survive” under the Weather Channel. He and former chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12. He took up meteorology and journalism at San Jose State University. Visit this Youtube channel for some of Jim’s reports.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Flash flood prepping: A quick refresher

Flash floods are a reality for many homeowners across the country. In fact, because of the recent frequency of extreme weather, more places have been experiencing flash floods than in the past decades.

Because of this, we’ve thought it prudent to once again give a quick refresher on how to prepare for flash flood and not be caught unawares.

Image source: CNN.com
The emergency kit
Every household should have an emergency kit. In it should be first-aid kits, toiletries, medicines, beddings, non-perishable food, water, clothes, flashlights, matches, transistor radios, batteries, whistles, pocket money, and ID cards. Experienced preppers recommend having one emergency kit per adult at home.

Weather reports
Image source: eco-business.com
To be up to date, people should always stay tuned to the radio or TV or any online news outlet, especially amidst sudden heavy rainfall. If people live near a dam, there should be regular updates on the status of the structure during severe weather conditions. If news reporters tell people to evacuate, homeowners should not give the injunction a second thought.

Have an escape plan
People should always have an escape plan in view of different kinds of disaster. They should know where to go when disaster strikes. For areas that experience flooding, residents should have a clear idea of the location of and the fastest, safest route towards the higher ground.

Jim Byrne is a weatherman serving a consulting meteorologist for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” He is an alumnus of San Jose State University and is an appointed member of the Community Advisory Council for the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. Read more about weather phenomena on this page.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

How Space Weather Affects Earth And Its Climate

It doesn’t normally take up space on primetime news, but space weather affects life on Earth in more ways than one. What we call space weather refers to events on the sun that can disrupt Earth’s communications, overload power grids, become potentially hazardous to astronauts, and affect weather patterns, according to NASA.

Image source: SpaceNews.com

Accelerated particles from the sun as well as other galactic sources continue to bombard Earth. Space weather storms can disrupt and damage modern and technologically complex systems, such as communications, transportation, and electrical power systems. Space weather can also change Earth’s weather and climate, although there isn’t comprehensive knowledge on this influence yet.

The planet’s magnetic field serves as its radiation shield. The magnetosphere keeps most of space weather effects where they should be -- safely out in space. Some radiation, however, are able to reach orbiting satellites and astronauts, as well as people inside aircraft and sometimes even those on the ground. Energetic particles, too, can destroy satellites and reduce their intended lifespans. 

NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) is a spacecraft carrying nine instruments, each designed for observing various aspects of the solar and galactic environment. It detects information on the energy, speed, and magnetic field of every solar disturbance heading toward Earth, transmitting radio warnings to people up to an hour before their arrival. Scientists, meanwhile, continue to probe space weather’s further impact on Earth and its global climate.

Image source: Blogs.Nature.com

Jim Byrne is a weatherman serving a consulting meteorologist for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” He is an alumnus of San Jose State University and is an appointed member of the Community Advisory Council for the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. Read more on this page.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

What Causes a Heat Wave And Is It Related To Climate Change?

A heat wave refers to both a prolonged period of high temperature and excessive humidity.  Heat Index Values are used to determine if the heat in a particular period is already excessive, which is essentially the measurement of apparent temperature or the effect of temperature on the human body when humidity is factored in. 

A heat wave happens when high atmospheric pressure system moves into a particular area, pulling air from the upper levels of the atmosphere toward the ground.  This air becomes compressed as it nears land and creates high levels of humidity.  Because of the pressure’s concentration, other weather systems are unable to replace it; rainclouds and cooling winds are pushed away.  A heat wave can thus last for days or even several weeks. 

Image source: brecorder.com
It’s important to note that while heat waves are yet to be completely linked to climate change, they are weather phenomena that over time could signify the warming of the planet.  This is especially true in recent years, with the increase in the frequency of heat waves throughout the world. 

There have been record highs in temperatures in recent years, evidenced in North America by increased occurrences of heat waves in Canada and the United States.  An interesting trivia to remember here is that these high-temperature events kill more Americans than other natural disasters like lightning, floods, tornadoes, or storms.  Children and adults over 65 years of age are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke. 

Image source: ajp.com.au

Weatherman Jim Byrne is an alumnus of the San Jose State University. He is formerly the chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS-12 and a weather reporter for NBC Bay Area. Know more about Jim’s work and advocacies here.

Friday, 6 July 2018

What Is The Summer Solstice? Here Are Interesting Facts

It’s commonly known as midsummer, immortalized in many works of art and literature.  But the summer solstice actually takes place when one of the Earth’s poles keeps its maximum tilt toward the sun.  It occurs twice a year, one in the Northern Hemisphere and another in the Southern Hemisphere.  Here are interesting trivia about the summer solstice.

Astronomers can calculate an exact moment for the solstice, when the planet reaches the point in its orbit where the North Pole is angled closest to the mighty sun.  This year, that moment was at 6:07 a.m. Eastern time on June 21, and from Earth the sun appeared farthest north relative to the stars.

Image source: Collective-Evolution.com 

There are many world traditions built around the summer solstice.  In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s historically linked to awakening libidos.  Small wonder: it tends to kick off the beginning of the summer season accompanied by the harvest.  Naturally, the solstice will be linked to fertility in many places around the world.

The Scandinavian tradition of celebrating midsummer involves dancing around a maypole, a symbol viewed by some as phallic, as well as having huge feasts over herring and vodka.  In Greece, the pagan solstice has been co-opted by Christianity and called St. John’s Day, with ancient rites conducted in many villages.

Perhaps among the biggest solstice celebrations found anywhere is the one held at Stonehenge in England, where thousands converge every year to usher in the summer season.  Don’t forget the variety of bonfires, festivals, and FĂȘte de la Musique celebrations in different parts of the globe.

Image source: Vox.com 

Jim Byrne currently works as the meteorological consultant for the Weather Channel program “So you think you’d survive.” He served as both the chief meteorologist for KCOY CBS-12 and as a freelance weekend meteorologist at NBC Bay Area. Read more about weather phenomena on this page.