Tagged With storms

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Thunderclouds rolled into the Japanese beach town of Uchinada early one December morning in 2015. The scientists expected the storms; they'd staked out the location specifically for studying something normally only seen by satellites. Sometime after 5am, a flash of lightning struck a wind turbine. And along came a more perplexing weather phenomenon, too: The thunderstorm turned into a particle accelerator and blasted gamma radiation at the ground.

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Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys yesterday as a Category 4 hurricane, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm. The system, which is now 644km wide, may have lost some strength, but it's continuing to produce heavy winds and rain as it marches northwards towards Georgia.

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Last week, a team of intrepid storm chasers converged near Corpus Christi, Texas to witness the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that's brought over 127cm of rain to the Texas Gulf Coast and major flooding to the city of Houston. But these researchers collecting data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) didn't just get the usual storm readings. They obtained weather balloon data they say have never before been collected from a hurricane in the history of the agency. Eventually, they hope the information acquired will help improve forecast models and prevent future disasters such as the flooding in Houston.

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Lightning is a beautiful but dangerous beast: While we're pretty good at observing it from the ground — and occasionally, being struck by it — there's still some mystery about how the electrical discharges in the upper layers of our atmosphere actually work. The names given to these discharges (such as red sprites, pixies, elves) sound like the musings of a Dungeons & Dragons zealot rather than legitimate scientific phenomena. But at long last, scientists have been able to study images and video of one these elusive happenings — called blue jets — and the results are as spellbinding as lightning itself.

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Video: When you're caught in a downpour, you never stop to think about the scale of the storm that's soaking you, you're just trying to stay dry. But through Mike Olbinski's timelapse camera, we get a rare glimpse of raging storms from a safe distance, revealing their massive scale, but also their limited reach as they pour rain down on the earth.

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All signs are pointing toward deadly hurricane Matthew slamming directly into Space Coast — home to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station — on Friday. If that unfortunate prediction comes true, it will be the worst storm to hit the iconic Florida spaceport since it was built in 1962.