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Timely Weather Definitions

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Timely Weather Definitions

Cold Wave–An abrupt onset of unusually cold weather; a rapid fall in temperature within 24 hours.

Gust–A violent, abrupt rush of wind (generally less than 20 seconds).

Hail–Precipitation in the form of balls or lumps of ice, having a diameter of 5 millimeters or greater. Anything smaller than this is called ice pellets (sleet), snow pellets, or graupel.

Halo–A circular band of light, sometimes tinged with rainbow colors, seen around the Sun or Moon, caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within high altitude clouds, such as cirrostratus; sometimes the precursor of impending unsettled weather, especially during the winter months.

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Overcast–When 95% or more of the sky is completely covered by clouds.

Snow–Solid precipitation in the form of white or translucent ice crystals of various shapes; originating in the upper atmosphere as frozen particles of water vapor.

Squall–A brief, sudden and violent windstorm, characterized by a sudden onset and termination, and lasting only a few minutes, often accompanied by rain or snow.

Storm–Any disturbed state of the atmosphere.

Storm Surge–An abnormal rise of the sea along a shore as the result of a storm.

Windchill Index–The cooling effect of any combination of temperature and wind. Originally developed in 1939 by Paul A. Sipel, an Antarctic explorer and an expert on cold climate issues, it has been recalculated in recent years to better conform to actual observed outdoor conditions.

For a more complete list of weather terms, check out our glossary.

Plus the 2008 Farmers’ Almanac includes a fantastic article on the many diferent definitions and types of Ice. Get your copy here.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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