Typhoon Mawar It was a Category 4 super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph) or greater as it crossed the northern tip of Guam on Wednesday night. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the US Pacific territory since 2002.
Some commonly used weather terms and their definitions, which are based on material from the National Weather Service:
atmospheric river — Long, broad columns of moisture that form over an ocean and flow across the sky over land.
Blizzard: Wind speeds of 35 mph (56 kph) or greater and significant falling and/or blizzard snow with visibility of less than one quarter mile (0.40 kilometer) for three or more hours.
cyclone — A storm in which strong winds revolve around a moving center of low atmospheric pressure. Depending on their size and location, cyclonic storms may be called tornadoes, waterspouts, typhoons, or hurricanes.
right — Widespread, usually fast-moving, straight-line windstorm. It is typically more than hundreds of miles long and more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) wide.
El Niño, La Niña: El Niño is a natural weather phenomenon that begins with unusually warm waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific and then changes weather around the world. The other side of El Niño is La Niña. It’s an occasional but natural cooling of the equatorial Pacific that also changes weather around the world.
Hurricane or Typhoon: A warm-core tropical cyclone in which minimum sustained winds are 74 mph (119 kph) or greater. Hurricanes spawn east of the International Date Line. Typhoons develop west of the line. They are known as cyclones in the Indian Ocean and Australia.
microburst — Occurs when a mass of cold air rushes downward from a thunderstorm, hits the ground, and shoots out in all directions.
polar vortex — Usually refers to the gigantic circular upper air weather pattern in the Arctic region, which wraps around the North Pole (but can also apply to the South Pole). It’s a normal pattern that’s strongest in the winter, keeping some of the colder weather near the North Pole at bay. The jet stream usually locks in the polar vortex and keeps it to the north. But sometimes, part of the vortex can break or move south, bringing unusually cold weather to the south and allowing warmer weather to creep north.
snow shower — A heavy but short-lived period of moderate to heavy snowfall, with strong winds and possible lightning.
storm surge – Abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
super typhoon — A typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph) or greater. Some places in Asia have lower wind thresholds.
tornado: a violent, rotating column of air that forms a pendant, usually from a cumulonimbus cloud, and touches the ground. On a local scale, it is the most destructive of all atmospheric phenomena. Tornadoes can come from any direction, but in the US most move from the southwest to the northeast. Measured on the F scale from EF0 to EF5, which considers 28 different types of damage to structures and trees. An EF2 or higher is considered a significant tornado.
Tornado Warning: National Weather Service issues warning the public of an existing tornado.
Tornado Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a tornado forming.
tropical depression — A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 38 mph (61 kph) or less.
tropical storm – A warm-core tropical cyclone in which maximum sustained surface winds range from 39 mph (63 kph) to 73 mph (117 kph).
nor’easter — The term used by the National Weather Service for storms that rise or move north along the east coast, producing winds that blow from the northeast.
waterspout: a tornado over water.
wind chill factor: a calculation that describes the combined effect of wind and low temperatures on exposed skin.
wind shear — A sudden change in the direction and/or speed of the wind.
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