TIME weather

Tornadoes, Rain and Snow Bring Holiday Travel Chaos

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Dozens of flights were scrapped in Philadelphia and New York, and a tornado and hail watch was issued for parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas

Good luck getting home for Christmas.

Delays began piling up at East Coast airports on Tuesday because of a storm system packing strong winds, thunderstorms, snow and perhaps even a tornado or two. Another system is threatening rain and heavy snow in the Northwest and Rockies.

Dozens of flights were scrapped at Philadelphia International and at LaGuardia in New York, and delays ran as long as two hours.

Farther south, the National Weather Service posted a tornado watch for parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and warned of the possibility of 2-inch-wide hail. Roy Lucksinger, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said 3 to 5 inches of rain was possible across the South…

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

TIME weather

Winds and Snow Threaten Travel Chaos in Christmas Week Storm

Meterologists warn of possible isolated tornadoes too

A huge weather system packing gusting winds, thunderstorms, snow and even the odd twister is threatening Tuesday to put a damper on millions of Americans’ holiday travel plans. Significant road and air travel delays are expected across the East Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday courtesy of a messy mix of rain, wind, clouds and fog, according to forecasters.

“The Gulf Coast will see the worst of the severe weather on Tuesday, with thunderstorms, as much as 3 to 5 inches of rain and damaging winds right across Louisiana and into…

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

TIME weather

Oh, the Weather Outside Will Be Frightful, Holiday Forecast Promises

In some parts of the U.S., a sunny day would be a Christmas miracle

The week ahead could bring snow and rain to large swaths of the U.S., just in time for busy holiday travel.

Rain will slink across the East Coast and parts of the South on Monday and Tuesday, the Weather Channel reports, with heavy-duty storms set to put a damper on Christmas Eve travel. Rain is expected from Boston to Washington on Wednesday, while the Mississippi Valley and parts of the Great Lakes and the West Coast will see snow.

The Weather Channel is already forecasting flight delays at major airports including ones in Chicago, Charlotte, and Milwaukee on Wednesday

For those who hoped for a white Christmas, Christmas Day snow could fall across the Rockies and in northern New England.

For a full forecast, read more at The Weather Channel.

READ NEXT How to Survive the Airport During the Holidays

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME weather

What You Need to Know About Winter Solstice 2014

Winter is coming... officially on Dec. 21, 6:03 P.M. EST

Winter solstice, falling this year on Sunday, Dec. 21, marks the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. More precisely, winter officially begins at 6:03 p.m. ET — the moment when the Northern Hemisphere is pointed at its furthest distance from the sun. This means winter solstice boasts the longest night and the shortest day, and often colder temperatures, too.

But the good news? If you’re not a fan of winter, from each day on after the solstice, the days will get longer and warmer until the calendar hits summer solstice, June 21, 2015. Summer solstice marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

READ MORE: 5 Things to Know About the Winter Solstice

Like last year, Google released an animated Google Doodle for this year’s winter solstice. This year’s doodle shows Father Christmas — the British predecessor to Santa — helping two children build a snowman, before the kids’ mother appears and pulls a carrot from her bag for the snowman’s nose. Christmas has become associated with winter solstice, which serves as a turning point in many cultures.

TIME weather

Christmas Eve Storm to Bring Chaos to East Coast, Midwest

Some regions can expect a white Christmas, but most will get rain

The weather outside really is going to be frightful this Christmas.

A major storm is predicted to hit the East Coast and Midwest beginning Dec. 23 and building to a climax on Christmas Eve. While snow may accumulate from Wisconsin to Western Pennsylvania, regions to the east can expect heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Strong winds will bring turbulent flying conditions and treacherous driving conditions along the Interstate-95 corridor. AccuWeather recommends bringing forward Christmas travel to Monday or Tuesday to avoid getting stuck on the road or in an airport.

But if you’ve no place to go… you’ll probably be alright.

[AccuWeather]

TIME natural disaster

See the Worst Natural Disasters of 2014

When it comes to acts of God, 2014 wasn’t a particularly active year. No powerful hurricane struck the U.S. like Sandy in 2012 or Katrina in 2005. There was no singlecatastrophic event like the Asian tsunami of 2004, which killed nearly 300,000 people, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, which killed over 200,000, or even the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010, which disrupted air travel for weeks.

But while there wasn’t a single iconic catastrophe, Mother Earth was still plenty busy in 2014. A volcano in Hawaii, a typhoon in the Philippines, wildfires in California and seven feet of snow in Buffalo—this year has witnessed its share of extreme weather and other natural disasters. The photos that follow are a reminder that when the Earth moves or the heavens strike, the results can be gorgeous to see—provided you’re not caught in the middle.

MORE: The most beautiful wildfire photos you’ll ever see

TIME weather

Tornadoes at a Record, Unexplained Low in U.S.

Double Tornadoes, Pilger, Nebraska, Weather
A pair of tornadoes barrel toward Pilger, Neb., on June 16. The twisters uprooted trees and flattened houses across the tiny village (pop. 352). Two residents, including a 5-year-old girl, died as a result of the storm. Eric Anderson—AP

Fewer twisters than in any three-year period since records began

The United States has seen a major lull in the number of tornadoes to strike in each of the past three years, fewer than any three-year period since accurate record-keeping commenced in the 1950s.

Tornadoes are rated EF-0, weakest, to EF-5, the strongest.

In an average year the U.S. sees roughly 500 tornadoes rated EF-1 or stronger. According to data from the Storm Prediction Center reported by USA Today, so far this year the country has seen just 348 EF-1 tornadoes. In 2012 there were 364 EF-1 or stronger tornadoes and 404 tornadoes of that strength or greater in 2013.

Scientists say there’s no consistent reason year to year for this stretch of calm but point to a similarly calm period in the 1980s.

Despite the decline in the number of tornadoes, deaths from the storms remain roughly around the annual average of 60 year on year—many fewer than the unusually high number of deaths from tornadoes in 2011: 553.

[USA Today]

TIME weather

Storm Brings Tornado to Los Angeles

The 'Pineapple Express' brought extreme weather to southern California Friday

The storm system dubbed a “Pineapple Express” swept through California Friday, triggering a tornado that tore off rooftops and felled trees in southern Los Angeles. The severe weather also brought rain that unleashed mudslides and prompted river rescues, and winds that knocked out power.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a small EF0 tornado — the smallest type of tornado with winds reaching 65 to 85 mph — touched down at about 9:20 a.m. Friday. The twister knocked down trees, blew out windows, damaged an apartment complex’s roof and the roofs of two homes and a steel billboard, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME weather

Watch Surfers Take On 7-Foot Waves On Lake Tahoe

The "Pineapple Express" storm is roiling the lake's waters

A huge storm hit Northern California on Thursday and stirred up the waters of Lake Tahoe enough that surfers were able to catch waves on the lake’s shores.

According to the National Weather Service, the “Pineapple Express” storm (so-called for its Hawaiian origins) caused waves to hit around 7 feet, and conditions were considered “dangerous” for water activities. But that didn’t stop thrill-seekers from putting on their wetsuits and hitting the chilly waters. Surfing is normally only possible on the lake during storms like this.

[Mashable]

TIME weather

A Rare Weather Phenomenon Is Causing a Sea of Clouds to Fill the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Clouds
This photo provided by the National Park Service shows dense clouds at the south rim of the Grand Canyon on Dec. 11, 2014 in Arizona. Maci MacPherson—;AP

The fog is able to stick and build up in the Grand Canyon when there is no wind

A rare weather phenomenon has caused the Grand Canyon to fill up with fog.

The weather pattern is called a “total cloud inversion” and occurs when clouds are forced down by warm air and cannot rise, the Associated Press reports.

Instead of the usual stunning views, visitors to the national park gaze out over a fluffy white blanket.

The National Weather Service in Arizona says the phenomenon happens every few years.

For those planning on visiting one of the world’s most famous natural wonders, the fog is expected to dissipate after Thursday.

[AP]

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