This wet microburst is like the sky turning on a giant faucet

According to the greatest Internet resource, a wet microburst is a “small-scaled downburst” that is “accompanied by significant precipitation”. I think that’s underselling it a bit because man, this wet microburst that popped off in Tucson, Arizona basically looks like the sky decided to drop all of its rain at one… »8/13/15 8:20pm8/13/15 8:20pm

We're Going to Fly Four Planes Straight into the Pineapple Express

When it rains in California, it really damn pours. The weather phenomenon is known as an atmospheric river, a narrow but concentrated band of moisture that can transport as much water vapor as 15 Mississippi Rivers. Atmospheric rivers can make or break a drought, but there's still so much we don't know about how or… »2/04/15 7:20pm2/04/15 7:20pm

Flooding, Anti-Vaxxers, Museums: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Flooding in Pakistan has stranded hundreds of thousands of people, an anti-vaccination movement trending in L.A.'s most affluent neighborhoods is causing a whooping cough epidemic, and one broken air conditioner could destroy Rome's most priceless art. Hope you're comfortable, this week's What's Ruining Our Cities is… »9/14/14 3:00pm9/14/14 3:00pm

Bad Cell Phone Calls Could Actually Be Tracked to Detect Rainfall

Despite the many wonders of our modern cell phones, using them to call a real live human can kind of suck. The sound is fuzzy, the calls drop randomly, and a simple rainstorm can make it all even worse. But there is surprising upside to all this: we can monitor the quality of cell phone calls to track rain and floods… »7/25/14 3:23pm7/25/14 3:23pm

San Francisco's Sights Reflected Upside-Down In Perfectly Clear Puddles

San Francisco's got a beautiful skyline, but Angela May Chen prefers looking towards the pavement for a crystal clear view. The designer and photographer captured some of the city's iconic (and lovably hyper-local) sights reflected perfectly in puddles after good hard rains then flipped the pics, resulting in a series »5/31/14 11:08am5/31/14 11:08am

What Causes the Smell After It Rains?

There are three primary sources of smells that commonly occur after rain. The first, the "clean" smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone. Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that… »5/27/14 11:20am5/27/14 11:20am