TIME climate

June Was Hottest on Record, NOAA Says

Temperatures Soar To Highest Of The Year
A giant plastic ice cream cone glints in the sun on the South Beach Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

May was the hottest on record, too

Not only did 2014 boast the hottest May on record, but new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that the global population experienced its hottest June ever, too.

Well, at least this summer is keeping things consistent.

According to the NOAA, the combined average temperatures of land and ocean surfaces was 1.30°F above the 20th century average of 59.9°F. If only looking at land surface temperature, though, it was only the seventh highest June on record.

Anomalies are now becoming less of an anomaly as nine of the ten warmest Junes recorded occurred in the 21st century, including every June in the last five years.

TIME weather

This Freak Hailstorm on a Russian Beach Is Terrifying to Watch

So much for sunbathing

It’s all fun and games at the beach until large balls of ice fall from the sky.

That’s exactly what happens in this video, which shows cheerful, smiling Russians suddenly freak out and run for cover as debris starts flying and alarmingly forceful hail begins to pelt them (that shot of ice hitting the water looks down right apocalyptic).

The original uploader says the hail brought with it a sudden 35-degree temperature drop (Fahrenheit), which would probably have been greatly appreciated in the supposedly 100+ degree temperatures had it not been for, you know, painful meteorological phenomena.

TIME Sports

Local TV Station Outrages World Cup Fans by Interrupting the Final Game With a Weather Report

No one cares about thunderstorms right now, you dummies!

With six minutes to go in the final game of the World Cup, viewers in southern New York and parts of northern Pennsylvania got really angry. No, not because their team of choice missed a great opportunity to score or because their favorite player got hurt, but because a local TV station interrupted the game to provide a weather report.

The weather coverage from ABC affiliated WENY lasted for the remaining minutes of the game, Deadspin reports.

Naturally, fans were, uh, less than pleased. Many took to Twitter to express their unhappiness and even sling threats at the station.

(h/t Deadspin)

TIME weather

Manhattanhenge Is Back, Here’s What You Need to Know

Manhattanhenge
Photographers gather on the Tudor City Place overpass to capture the Manhattenhenge looking across 42nd Street in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, USA. Zoran Milich—Getty Images

For two weekends every year, the island of Manhattan gets a little Stonehengy.

Druids of New York City, break out those robes — the Manhattanhenge Solstice hath returned.

What is Manhattanhenge, you ask? We’ll leave it to the experts—in this case Neil deGrasse Tyson writing for the American Museum of Natural History—to tell you.

Sometimes known as the Manhattan Solstice, Manhattanhenge comes twice a year “when the setting Sun aligns precisely with Manhattan’s street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the boroughs grid,” writes Tyson. “A rare and beautiful sight.”

For prime Manhattanhenge viewing, get as far east in Manhattan as possible with New Jersey still in sight and look west towards the horizon — 14th, 23rd, 34th and 42nd streets are all good bets for catching a glimpse of the phenomenon. On Friday, the full sun will hover over the horizon at 8:24 p.m. On Saturday, the phenomenon will repeat with a half sun on the horizon at 8:25 p.m.

Manhattanhenge gets its name from the way the sun plays on Stonehenge, the pre-historic ring of vertical stones in England’s Salisbury Plain that has mystified archaeologists for generations. Academics and poets alike have tried to deduce the meaning of the Stonehenge arrangement from the way the sun casts over the stones on the Summer Solstice, a guessing game Tyson plays on with a prediction about future archaeologists poking around the remains of our civilization that hits uncomfortably close to home.

“These two days [of Manhattanhenge] happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball’s All-Star break,” Tyson writes. “Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball.”

TIME weather

The Polar Vortex Is Making a Summer Comeback

Commuters make a sub-zero trek to offices in the Loop on Jan. 6, 2014 in Chicago, Ill.
Commuters make a sub-zero trek to offices in the Loop on Jan. 6, 2014 in Chicago, Ill. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Thanks to Typhoon Neoguri

Remember last winter’s cold spot, which turned “polar vortex” into a phrase that sent chills through the spines of Americans east of the Mississippi River? It’s baaaack … but this time it’s a cool wave sweeping away summer’s heat. Morning temperatures could dip into the 50s for many Midwesterners next week, potentially setting seasonal records, according to The Weather Channel.

The Washington Post’s Jason Samenow says the weather pattern bears a “haunting resemblance” to January’s big freeze. The jet stream is dipping down farther south than usual over the eastern United States, just as it did back then. The cause? It’s Typhoon Neoguri

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME weather

El Niño Likely To Hit This Summer

Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle.
Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle. Martin Alipaz—EPA/Corbis

That could mean fewer destructive hurricanes on the East Coast.

The El Niño weather system is likely to begin by August, the top U.S. weather agency affirmed on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s a 70 percent chance of an El Niño onset in the Northern Hemisphere this summer, and an 80 percent chance that it will occur by winter. The agency says the weather system is expected to peak at weak to moderate levels around late fall.

The latest report affirms earlier predictions of El Niño occurring this year. The system could lead to overall warmer temperatures across the globe next year, while also causing droughts in Australia and an heavy rainfall in South America and parts of East Asia. El Niño has also been associated with an uptick in hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.

But as TIME’s Bryan Walsh reported last month, El Niño could be good news for the hurricane-prone East Coast. Walsh explains:

El Niños occur when the waters of the equatorial Pacific undergo unusual warming, which in turn affects atmospheric circulation and weather around the world. That includes hurricanes in the Atlantic: El Niño increases the strength of westerly winds across the Atlantic, which creates a lot of wind shear. (Wind shear is the difference between speed and direction of wind over a short distance.) That high wind shear can disrupt tropical storm systems before they’re able to gather a lot of power, which makes it difficult for major hurricanes to form.

TIME Pain

Achy Back? Don’t Blame the Weather

Changes in the weather don’t cause back pain, say researchers.

Some people insist they know when it’s going to rain because they can “feel” it in their bones. Or their knees start aching. Or their back. Their explanation? They’re more attuned to changes in air pressure, precipitation, and the like. But a new study reveals that might be nothing more than magical thinking.

Researchers in Australia put to the test the idea that weather triggers back pain. They recruited 993 people who saw doctors because of low back pain and matched those visits to national meteorological data on temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation. They also checked the same weather parameters one week and one month before the patients reported their pain. It turns out there was no statistically significant correlation between weather changes and back pain.

MORE: This Is the No. 1 Cause of Disability Worldwide

“We had an open mind on the issue,” Daniel Steffens, from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Syndey, told TIME in an email. “We had heard many patients attribute their worsening pain to the weather, but we also knew there was limited research. In our very rigorous study we found no evidence that weather is associated with an increased risk of back pain.”

One of the strengths of the study, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, involved the fact that the same participants were evaluated during stable and changing weather, meaning that most of the other variables that could affect pain, such as people’s lifestyles, behaviors and genetics, remained the same.

MORE: Aching Back? Try Massage for Chronic Pain

So why do so many patients believe that weather affects their joints? Some studies have found an association between cold or humid conditions and people’s symptoms of chronic pain, but the reason for the link from a physiological point of view isn’t known.

Steffens and his colleagues aren’t discounting the potential role that weather could play. They admit that Sydney, where the study was conducted, is blessed with relatively temperate conditions.

But for now, it looks like back pain sufferers can’t blame the weather. Steffens notes that other factors, including the way people move and lift heavy objects, as well as stress and fatigue, may be more important for triggering aching backs.

TIME weather

Storms Kill 4 in New York State and Child at Maryland Camp

Severe storms brought destruction and tragedy across the Northeast on Tuesday evening, with one child dying at a Maryland summer camp and a possible tornado killing four people in an upstate New York town.

Around 100 children were in an outdoor pavilion at River Valley Ranch, a Christian camp north of Baltimore, when the storm hit. Organizers said they tried to get everyone to shelter but the high winds were upon them before all the children were safe — one of the nine children hurt died from their injuries…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME viral

These Stunning Wedding Photos Feature a Tornado as the Backdrop

A cool twist on an otherwise traditional photo shoot

If they saw a funnel cloud looming on the horizon, most people would probably, you know, head somewhere safe to take cover. But Colleen Niska saw it as an opportunity. The Canadian wedding photographer was shooting a young bride and groom in Saskatchewan when they all noticed a tornado forming behind them. Niska decided to use it as a backdrop.

“I’ve dreamed about a day like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the photographer wrote on Facebook. “Could NOT wait to post these! Pretty sure this will only happen once in my lifetime!”

“We were a long ways from it and so we weren’t frightened or anything and it wasn’t heading in our direction,” Niska told BuzzFeed. “We were pretty excited as none of us had witnessed a tornado before and thought it was a pretty cool opportunity. I wasn’t going to pass on it!”

TIME Japan

Typhoon Neoguri Barrels Toward Japan

Typhoon Neoguri, the first super typhoon of 2014 heading towards Japan on July 7, 2014.
Typhoon Neoguri, the first super typhoon of 2014 heading towards Japan on July 7, 2014. NOAA/EPA

"This is not just another typhoon"

A “once in decades” storm is approaching Japan’s southern islands with winds up to 150 mph, the country’s weather agency said according to Reuters.

Typhoon Neoguri was south of Okinawa on Monday afternoon local time, but moving northwest with sustained winds of 110 mph. The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued high sea warnings and storm advisories for the Okinawa island chain and other parts of southern Japan, forecasting that the super typhoon will grow into an “extremely intense” storm by Tuesday.

“In these regions, there is a chance of the kinds of storms, high seas, storm surges and heavy rains that you’ve never experienced before,” a JMA official said at a news conference according to Reuters. “This is an extraordinary situation, where a grave danger is approaching.”

The state minister in charge of disaster management canceled a planned trip to the United States.

Okinawa is home to most of the U.S. military facilities in Japan, and Kadena Air Force Base, one of the largest, was taking measures to prepare for the storm.

“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa. This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years,” Brigadier General James Hecker, the base commander, wrote on the Facebook page. “This is not just another typhoon.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser