Isaac takes the coast by storm (at night!)

This amazing image of Tropical Storm Isaac was captured just after midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 28, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi-NPP satellite. Still off the Gulf Coast, Isaac’s clouds were lit by moonlight and the lights of cities across the Southeast U.S. are clearly visible. I’ve added labels for some of the more visible metropolitan areas, including Asheville.

It’s the summer of the Haves and the Have Nots – with a meteor shower to boot

The story of this summer has certainly been that of climate extremes. In Western North Carolina, we’ve had quite a bit of rain, while well over half of the lower 48 states remain in drought. Our moist summer has produced jungle-like conditions in many of our yards (errr — maybe just mine), but has also produced some breathtaking sunsets with all the moisture in the air.

A stormy pattern – but so much better than the alternative

It’s hard to overstate the importance of water to the Earth’s climate system. In its three phases — liquid, solid and gas — water helps to drive our local weather as well as our regional climate. Most of us don’t think about plain ol’ water too often, but it’s when we have too much or too little of this precious resource that we really pay attention to it.

Venus in transit: A rare event gives us some perspective

Life is crazy, busy, I know. We get so focused on daily activities that we often forget what a wondrous and amazingly large universe we live in. Occasionally, we get a glimpse of that reality and it never fails to leave us awestruck. Such was the case on June 5,  when we were treated to a rare event during which we were able to see one of the two inner planets of our solar system, Venus in this case, pass in front of our Sun, an event called a transit.

Where is winter? Look to the polar vortex


Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.

Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.  This image of Max Patch in western Madison County shows the short-lived snow.  So – what has happened to this winter? Why has it been so different than the last two years?