Colorful jet stream visualization over Earth's Western Hemisphere.

What is the Jet Stream?

The jet stream is a narrow band of strong winds in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere, and it blows from west to east and provides a corridor for storms to follow as they circumnavigate the globe. Jet streams form along the boundaries of warm and cold air, and the wiggles of the jet stream play a large part in the weather you experience.

what is a snow squall

What are Snow Squalls?

It happens every winter. Drivers are caught off guard by icy roads and a sudden wind gust, the arrival of cold air, and a burst of snow so heavy you can’t see the car in front of you. It’s called a snow squall and is more common than people think.

Fairbanks Alaska from the University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Top 10 Coldest US Cities

Not a big fan of the heat? Can’t wait for the first snowfall? If you like cold weather here in the US, all you have to do in most cases is move north. All but one of the coldest cities in the US are found in the Upper Midwest, where frequent Arctic blasts make winters more brutal than the rest of the country, with some of the coldest temperatures outside of Alaska!

realfeel temperature

What is the RealFeel Temperature?

Weather forecasts provide valuable information about the expected temperature and weather conditions. However, the actual temperature can sometimes differ from what the thermometer indicates. This … Read more

blizzard in new york city

What is a Blizzard Warning?

Although blizzards are most common in the Great Plains, the upper Midwest, and the Northeastern U.S., blizzards can occur just about anywhere where snow falls in winter.

heavy ice on branches

What is an Ice Storm Warning?

In the Northeastern US, ice storms are dangerous winter weather events that can cause extensive damage due to severe ice accumulation. Severe ice storms are commonplace in states like Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey during cold winters but have also occurred in states further south and west.

sleet in a glove

What is Sleet?

In the average winter, most of us will have to deal with frozen precipitation, not just snow. One of these types is sleet, and we’ll explain how it forms and the difference between it and a hailstone.

polar vortex diagram

What is a Polar Vortex?

Winter 2020-21 didn’t turn out as many thought. Most long-range forecasters thought La Niña would lead to a mild and uneventful winter. My weather station read 62 on Christmas Day in Pennsylvania! Well, the polar vortex had other plans.

noreaster satellite image

What is a Nor’easter?

Nor’easters are intense periods of snow and high wind that can last for days. While the term is most commonly associated with coastal storms that pass by the Northeastern US’ major cities, the term is used elsewhere, such as in Europe.

Blizzard with vehicles and fire explosion in distance.

Pa. pileup exposes the need for better snow squall warnings

As if the coldest late March weather in nearly three decades wasn’t enough to make headlines, unusually strong late-season snow squalls tore through central Pennsylvania Monday morning. One squall triggered a 50+ car pileup on Interstate 81 near Minersville, Pa., killing at least five.

ice on car from freezing rain

What is Freezing Rain?

We’ve all been through it if you live in an area that falls below freezing in winter. It’s freezing out yet raining. Within minutes, everything becomes an ice rink. Drivers lose control of their cars, everything grinds to a halt. It’s not fun.

blizzard in manhattan

What is a Blizzard?

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm that produces extensive wintry precipitation over a large area, including heavy snow and powerful winds, typically accompanied by freezing temperatures.