Currents Archive

Global map showing regions drying by 2090s Bob Henson • August 6, 2012 | Whether you’re looking at the next few weeks or the next few decades, many parts of the United States are likely to face the silent but devastating impacts of drought. New research, and corrections to an earlier study, help bring this point home.
St. Louis skyline at dusk Bob Henson | July 26, 2012 • We still have a few days to go before this torrid month ends, but July is already promising to go down as the hottest month ever recorded in a number of U.S. locations.  (See the "Update" box at lower right for more details on how July turned out.)
Tornado near Cherokee, OK, on April 14, 2012 Bob Henson | July 24, 2012 • Heat and drought are punishing much of the United States right now, but there’s actually some good weather news to report. This month is on track to produce fewer tornadoes than any July on record, and by a long shot.
Derecho of June 29, 2012 Bob Henson | July 2, 2012 • With a ferocity to match the record heat it displaced, a thunderstorm complex raced from Illinois to the Delaware coast in a mere 12 hours on Friday evening, June 29. It knocked down countless trees and power lines, with wind gusts topping 80 miles per hour in many spots. It threw millions of people into turmoil, with air conditioners, computers, and phones out for days. And it brought to light a weather word du jour with an obscure but intriguing history.
Downtown Houston skyline at night May 14, 2012 • The atmosphere has dealt Houston more than a few wild cards over the last few years. The twin strikes of Tropical Storm Allison (2001) and Hurricane Ike (2008) caused billions in damage and took dozens of lives in the greater Houston area. Now in her second term as mayor of the nation’s fourth largest city, Annise Parker guided Houston through the severe drought of 2011, which killed many trees both locally and across Texas.
Tallgrass struggles against drought in this file photo from eastern Colorado. Bob Henson | April 3, 2012  •  If snow is the lifeblood of Colorado’s economy and ecology, then my home state is ready for a transfusion. March is normally the snowiest month of the year for much of the state, but March 2012 will go down as an epic snow fail.
UCAR Magazine Bob Henson | March 23, 2012  •  The last 10 days have brought what may be the gentlest round of extreme weather ever to grace the United States. It’s hard to think of March temperatures in the 70s and 80s as anything other than delightful. Yet beneath that pleasant veneer lies one of the most bizarre weather episodes in recent U.S. history.
Motel damage in Salyersville, KY Bob Henson | March 20, 2012 • The roles played by La Niña and the Arctic Oscillation in the temperature dramas of the last two U.S. winters were the topic of my last post. Now let's talk tornadoes. It was unusually cold in 2010–11, but the spring of 2011 brought multiple rounds of fierce tornadoes, inflicting the most death and damage seen in many decades.
Winter scene from Sawhill Ponds, Boulder County, Colorado Bob Henson | March 14, 2012 • This final week of winter will be exceptionally warm across most of the lower 48 states. That makes an interesting coda to a winter strangely devoid of snow and bitter cold. The usual scapegoats for weird U.S. winters are El Niño and La Niña. But there’s much more behind seasonal climate, as the last two winters demonstrate.
Sawhill Pond in winter. Margaret LeMone | February 16, 2012  • As I write this, the Boulder winds sound indistinguishable from a car driving by our house. But it is another sound—the sound of ice—that is the inspiration for this post. The ice on ponds and lakes.