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Weather’s Most FAQ’s
is the difference between relative humidity and dewpoint?
humidity and dewpoint measure moisture but they do it in different ways.
Relative humidity tells you how much moisture is in the air
compared to how much the air can hold (warmer air holds more moisture than
colder air). Dewpoint tells
you exactly how much moisture is in the air. It’s not measured in
inches, feet or gallons, it’s simply a number.
Dewpoint is also the temperature that you can cool air down to in
order to get dew or condensation. Relative
humidity is moisture measured relative to the air temperature, dewpoint is
Pressure is a
measurement of how much air there is above us in the atmosphere.
Normally we can not feel the changes in pressure, unless it happens
very quickly. Low pressure or
falling pressure generally indicates clouds and wet weather.
High pressure or rising pressure means calm and clear weather.
People with arthritis are very sensitive to changes in pressure.
is the wind-chill?
is the condition that we talk about mainly in the winter.
It’s how cold the wind makes us feel.
When the wind is blowing and temperatures are below zero, we
combine those two numbers to come up with the wind-chill factor.
In order to stay safe when the wind-chill is well below zero, wear
several layers of clothes to help your skin retain heat.
Wind-chill only applies to human skin, not inanimate objects.
is the heat index?
Heat index is the condition we talk
about mainly in the summer. It’s
what the air temperature “feels like” to us.
Heat index combines the air temperature and the amount of moisture
present in the air. Our
bodies natural way to cool off is by perspiration.
On a warm day with low humidity, the perspiration on our skin
evaporates, cooling us off, but when the humidity is high, less
evaporation takes place, so our bodies do not cool off.
Occasionally, the rain falling from the clouds never reaches the ground, this we call virga. If the air is too dry near the surface, this rain falling will evaporate before it hits the ground.
does zonal mean?
This a region where the winds flow from a west to east direction.
it ever too cold to snow?
When the air is very cold, the dewpoint is low meaning it holds
little moisture but even a little moisture can make a cloud to produce a
is the jet stream?
jet stream is a narrow band of strong winds concentrated high above the
The jet stream guides our weather systems around the globe.
It is possible to have more than one jet stream above a continent.
do I set my barometer?
There should be a dial on the back
or bottom of the barometer that adjusts the current readings.
Simply turn the dial until the reading is the same as the current
pressure. As the pressure
changes throughout the day you’ll see the needle or mercury move.
Some barometers have a second dial that does not move unless you
move it. It’s there for a
reference so you can see the pressure change from day to day.
is a Nexrad Doppler Radar?
KWQC-TV6 Nexrad Doppler Radar is
state-of-the-art technology which allows the First Alert Weather Team to
accurately predict where areas of hail, damaging winds or tornadoes are
likely to occur. Nexrad
Doppler is so powerful it can pinpoint developing severe storms and
tornadoes up to 20 minutes before they strike.
is a satellite?
A satellite is a camera that takes
pictures of the earth from about 22,000 miles above the surface.
The satellite shows clouds.
How do I convert from Fahrenheit
The easiest way to do this mathematical equation is to start at zero degrees Celsius and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Now for every 10 degrees Celsius add 18 degrees Fahrenheit. For example: 20 degrees Celsius equals 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Or use the formula: C=5/9*(F-32) or
Where do I get past weather
The National Climatic Data Center in
Asheville, North Carolina archives all weather data for the entire United
States. For local weather
information, one of the easiest ways to find this information is to go to
the library and look in the weather section of a newspaper.
Most major papers have a weather map along with a summary of the
previous day’s weather.
This is a great question.
First we like to ask how do you measure accuracy?
KWQC-TV6 broadcasts to hundreds of communities in our viewing area,
that means the First Alert Weather Team has to forecast for a broad area.
We may predict rain that forms over half of our viewing area, so
half of our viewers agree with the forecast for rain, where the other half
does not agree because they did not see it rain.
The same goes for temperature readings, for example we forecast 80
degrees, but the official high temperature was 81, would we be wrong?
How many degrees off can we be before we are wrong?
Each viewer probably has a different way to measure how accurate we
Why does the forecast change
Weather is always changing, and
since we get new models twice a day we can sometimes see something that we
did not see on the early model run. We
normally update the forecast twice a day to make sure we have the most
accurate and dependable forecast out there.
Where does your weather
information come from?
We receive our data from The
National Weather Service in Washington, DC.
The data is compiled and sent to us by satellite.
It includes readings taken at thousands of sites each hour around
the world. We also use
satellites and radars which are updated every few minutes.
How accurate is the 6 Day
We have models that will show us the
forecast at least six days out, so the 6 Day Planner is better than it
was a few years ago. When you
look at the Planner, look at the trends not the exact numbers, and look at
the 6 Day Planner as an outlook not a forecast.
Why is Moline used as an
As far back as the records show,
they have been taken at Moline, IL. Most
forecasters use it as a standard so that when you hear different forecasts
you’ll know that they all have the same reference.
Why is the new NWS office in
Davenport and not in Moline?
When the NWS was looking to build
the new office with a new Nexrad Doppler Radar they looked at the current
site at the Quad Cities Airport in Moline, but if you know the geography
of the Quad Cities, you know that the airport sit down in a valley.
So the NWS looked to a higher place and found the Mount Joy Airport
in northern Davenport as the new site.
What is the First Alert Skywatcher
Throughout Eastern Iowa and Western
Illinois more than 50 KWQC-TV6 Skywatchers work with the First Alert Weather Team
to keep you on top of the days weather.
As volunteers, these dedicated individuals report critical changes
in the weather as soon as it happens.
As severe weather develops over the First Alert forecast area, our
Skywatchers will keep us and you up to date as the storms move through
their neighborhoods. This
gives you more warning and a better idea of what might be about to hit
your town. Even when the
weather is clear, our First Alert Skywatchers give us local weather reports that
give us a more accurate picture of all the weather around Eastern Iowa and
it true that there really is no map behind the weathercaster?
When we deliver the forecast we stand in front of a blank green
wall. The maps you see behind
us are actually electronically inserted over the color green.
We know what is “behind” us only by looking at TV monitors off
to the side of the wall.
do the letters “AMS” and “NWA” mean next to the weathercaster’s
AMS is the American Meteorological
Society and NWA is the National Weather Association.
The letters mean the weathercaster earned a certification from
either organization stating that his or her weathercasts meet a certain
level of skill in communication and presentation.
any of the weathercasters tape their forecasts?
No. The news and weather segments are always live. In fact, the entire weather segment is not even scripted.
I get one of the First Alert Weather Team to come out to my community?
We get dozens of requests for
appearances each week. Depending
on our on-air schedules, normally one of the First Alert Weathercasters would be
able to attend a community event to talk about weather.
You can call the station or send a letter to the weathercaster that
you would like to see. Keep
in mind that are schedules full up quickly, so send your request as soon
as you can. We will try our best to fulfill a request.
there tours available of the First Alert Weather Center?
KWQC-TV6 does offer tours of the
station for educational purposes. Included
in this tour is a tour of the First Alert Weather Center.
do I get a weather question answered on the air?
Wednesday on the KWQC-TV6 News at 5, Meteorologist Erik Maitland answers
viewer questions in a segment called “Weatherwise”.
If you have a weather question that you would like answered, send
it to Erik Maitland at the station or e-mail it to TVWEATHERGUY@yahoo.com.
is a cold air funnel?
A cold air funnel resembles a small
tornado except that it is usually very weak.
They form on days when there is a lot of cool air above the ground,
especially in the fall.
is a Weather Radio?
It’s a radio that picks up a
continuous broadcast from the National Weather Service, 24 hours a day,
around the United States. They
are inexpensive and sold at most electronics stores.
Many are portable and battery-operated, and contain a built-in
alarm that sounds when severe weather is possible.
What is severe weather?
Severe weather is a sudden, violent,
hazardous weather that comes from powerful thunderstorms.
It could be large hail, flash flooding, extreme winds or tornadoes.
When does severe weather happen?
Severe weather is most likely in the
warm months of the year, and mainly from early spring through fall. This is when the temperature and humidity levels are high and
a strong jet stream is above us. Severe
storms can happen at any time, day or night, but are most likely in the
What is the difference between a
watch and a warning?
A watch is issued when conditions
are favorable for severe weather to develop.
This is the time to prepare for the possibility of dangerous
weather. A warning is issued when severe
weather is spotted or is indicated by radar.
This is the time to take action.
there always a warning before severe weather?
No, because sometimes it develops
before we can detect it. In
the majority of the cases, however, a watch is issued first and then a
warning before severe weather happens.
are the tornado safety rules?
in the center of the basement or lowest level of the house.
You want to put as many walls between you and the outside as
possible. Closets and
bathrooms offer the best protection because of their structural integrity.
Cover yourself with blankets and pillows but not mattresses.
Get under a sturdy work bench if you can.
Do not open windows-you must stay away from glass. If you live in a mobile home, get to a designated shelter
immediately. Do not stay in
the trailer! If you are in
your car, stop and get into a ditch or culvert, Do not try to outrun a
tornado. If your house is
hit, be alert for leaking gas or live power lines.
are the lightning safety rules?
well inside the house-away from windows and doors. Don’t use the phone or other electrical appliances.
Turn off your computer-unplug it if you can.
If on the road, stay in your car.
Get out of swimming pools at the first sign of lightning.
If caught outside, avoid becoming the tallest object around. Head for a ditch or low point, but be aware of possible
flooding. Give the storm
plenty of time to leave your area. You
can still be struck by lightning when a storm is 5 to 10 miles away.
are the flash flood safety rules?
When thunderstorms with heavy rain
move through, keep an eye on flood-prone streams and ground you live near. Keep children from playing near ditches and storm drains.
Do not drive on flooded roads.
You don’t know how deep the water is, or if any road is left
underneath! Little more than
a foot of moving water can lift a car, and if your car stalls in deep
water, leave it immediately. Fast
flowing water more than ankle deep can trip you up, so don’t walk
through it. Stay away from
downed power lines.
is the First Warning System?
With the KWQC-TV6 First Warning System, you can rest assured that the First Alert Weather Team will be the first to bring you severe weather watches and warnings. This advanced technology gives you instant warnings with a map of the affected county and a crawl of the essential information. The bottom line is that the First Alert First Warning System gives you and your family the fast and accurate information that’s necessary to keep you safe.
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