First there was the frostquake. Then the firenado. Now another weather-related portmanteau has seized the headlines.
Thundersnow has been reported in parts of Cornwall, South Wales, Tayside and Teesside. It sounds dramatic. What does it entail?
Basically, it is the same as a thunderstorm, except that snow falls instead of rain. It occurs when the atmosphere is unstable and the layer of air closest to the ground is cold enough to create snow, but still warmer than the air above it.
“In this instance, the heating is coming from the sea which is still quite warm,” says BBC weather presenter John Hammond. As the warm air rises, water droplets condense to form cumulonimbus clouds. Lightning occurs when these rub against each other, and thunder is the sound of the lightning.
The answer: Like a thunderstorm, except snow is produced instead of rain. Brighter, but less noisy, than a typical thunderstorm.
It can look more spectacular than a normal electric storm.
When thundersnow occurs during night time, the lightning appears brighter because it is reflected against the snowflakes. But the snowfall also serves to muffle the thunder, which will typically be heard no more than three miles away.
We hear it after the lightning strike because sound moves more slowly than light
San Francisco genuinely is really foggy. It’s not a joke.
The fog rolls in from the Pacific and floats up against the beach, stacking up above Twin Peaks until it drops like an ephemeral avalanche onto the city below … blasting through the Golden Gate as if sprayed from a fire extinguisher, erasing the Bridge, obscuring Alcatraz, turning Berkeley into an overcast Pacific Northwest knockoff even as it leaves Oakland in bright, shining California sunlight.
Lorenzo Montezemolo’s favorite place to experience it is from Mount Tamalpais, which provides a commanding view from just north of the city.
Seen from the summit at 2,576 feet, the fog rolls through in waves to envelop the region like a shroud.
“I think there’s a little bit of Sleepy Hollow to it,” he says.
Montezemolo grew enamored by the city’s ubiquitous fog after moving the Bay Area 18 years ago to work as a network engineer. The fog was particularly thick this August, and he developed something of an obsession.
Each day after work, Montezemolo drove an hour north from San Mateo to Mount Tamalpais State Park to photograph it.
He snapped hundreds of photos, but none quite like this one, made on August 17 during the full moon.
He and a few friends hiked a steep gravel trail to a point about 1,000 feet above the fog.
Montezemolo put his Nikon D810 on tripod and set to work. He used an F8 aperture and a low ISO of 31, together with a six-stop neutral density filter that let him stretch the exposure to three minutes.
Montezemolo’s stunning image shows one of the Bay Area’s most enchanting features, one that rivals that iconic orange bridge for its beauty.