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Lake Stink and Lake Effect Snow

Posted Dec 18th - 5:23pm

three of us transplants were wondering if there is more than one use of the term lake effect, such as dreaded lake effect and others.

The dictionary definition has a wind blowing across the lake and picking up moisture and warmth and droping the moisture on the downwind side as snow.

But here with the GSL, doesn't the term also have something to do with the stench caused by the lake's bottom roiling to the top?

What's that?!

Posted Dec 18th - 2:31pm

This morning in SLC we had some of the best optical effects in the sky that we've seen in a while. These effects were actually pretty rare. Not one halo, but two! Two circumzenithal arcs and two sundogs!

Our director Todd Matsuda happened to have his camera on him today and took a few stills for us. Click the photo gallery on the right to see a few more of this unique sky feature.

These arcs happen when you have tiny ice crystals shaped like hexagons in the sky. The light is bent or refracted in them and you see these colors like a rainbow. You can find more info on this great optics site on the right.

Wind and Storms

Posted Dec 18th - 12:42pm

We live on the Ogden / North Ogden boundary, just a few blocks from the mountains. At the moment, there is a storm blowing in from the northwest, yet we are experiencing rather violent winds from the east, and from the south. The effects of the wind in this area seem to be double what they are anywhere else in this part of the county. What would cause the wind to be blowing in an opposite (and frequently changing) direction from the storm? What would cause the effects of these winds to be magnified in this little area? Is it the shape of the mountains? Does the wind blow laterally, or does the high pressure from the impending storm drop on top of the mountains from a higher altitude and pour down the canyons like a torrent of water would? I've often wondered about this since a particularly bad storm in 2004 "redecorated" several dozen homes in this area; maybe you could tell me what's happening meteologically? Russ E.


Great question Russ! This past weekend featured an all out winter storm for portions of Utah, however while Ogden didn't end up getting much snow due to our southerly storm track you guys did get stuck with damaging winds instead.

Rain and Snow Averages

Posted Dec 16th - 6:35pm

My name is Dave M and I'm the owner of *** Window Cleaning. My customers love to tell me how it always rains right after I clean the windows. Granted, sometimes this is true but usually it just seems that way. My question is, if you were to average the number of days per year with even a trace of moisture what would the average number of days be between. A trace every 3 days? Every 4? I'm just curious because then I could tell my clients, "Hey look, it rains an average of every 3 or 4 days so the windows can't last forever! I would really appreciate some help with this as I've been dealing with this complaint for the last 22 years!

Sincerely Dave M


The Warm Before a Storm

Posted Dec 10th - 3:09pm

What causes the "warm before the storm?"


Cody O.

Moon Halos

Posted Dec 6th - 4:59pm

I have learned from watching your weather about sundogs and rings around the sun, but last night there was a beautiful ring around the moon. Mean anything? Not like the sun that it's going to storm? Thanks.

Jamie H.

********************************************************** Great observation! We're so glad that our viewers are picking up on all things weather and sky watching at their homes. A ring around the moon is the same thing as a ring around the sun it's called a Halo. While it's not the end of the world it does indicate there are ice crystals present in the sky.

Weathery Holiday Gifts

Posted Dec 6th - 12:43pm

My 12 year-old son is very interested in meteorology and wants a weather station for Christmas. Do you have any suggestions of a good, basic weather station, or what we should look for--what features would be most beneficial? What's the best way for a kid to get started on the path to meteorology??? Thanks for your help!

Peter B.


Relative Humidity

Posted Dec 5th - 4:47pm

How is it that sometimes the relative humidity can be 100%, and yet there not be any precipitation; even fog? Is it that coalescence can't occur until a suitable cold temperature is arrived at, i,e. dew point? Thanks, Doug P.


Relative humidity is one of the hardest things to understand in weather for sure. Coalescence doesn't have to do with RH though so we aren't going to get into that today.

Nasty Inversions

Posted Dec 5th - 11:50am

Well nobody asked but we felt the need to talk about air pollution and inversions anyway. The funky gunk that we're seeing outside this week in SLC is all air pollution. Now on a normal day this kind of situation wouldn't happen, or not nearly as badly so what makes this week different from other weeks?

Inversions are some seriously insteresting stuff. It gets the name "Temperature Inversion" because of the vertical profile of the temperature. On a typical day, air will decrease in temperature as you go higher in the atmosphere. On an 'inverted' day it does the opposite, air is increasing in temperature above the ground, that is not good. When you have warm air above the ground, the air below it cannot rise up and mix out, so you get stuck with nasty air instead.

When warm air is above a cold and snow covered ground layer even when the sunshine warms up the air where we live at the ground, it can't rise into the warm layer. The warm air higher up acts like a lid. So when we keep adding pollution from cars, homes, factories and other sources, the bad particles in the air can't mix out and we're left with a layer of gunk.

Mountains and Snow

Posted Dec 4th - 2:32pm

I am working on a school project and was wondering why does it snow more in the mountains than in the valleys?

Thank You,

Cody R.

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