How does rain happen? Long ago the Ashanti people believed that Anansi, the Spider, brought the rains that would put out fires in the jungle. In old Britain, the legendary Green Man was supposed to have rainmaking powers, and Zeus brought the rains for the ancient Greeks.
Today, we know that when warm, wet air rises into the sky and cools off, its water condenses out of the clouds as rain. Rain and snow can also happen when a batch of warm air meets a batch of cool air. The two kinds of air usually do not mix. The warm air is less dense than the cool air and will slide right over it. As the warm air goes higher, it cools off, and the moisture separates or condenses out of the cooled air and falls as a slow, steady rain.
What is today's weather like where you live? Is it snowing? Is it windy enough to fly a kite? Or is it warm enough to go swimming? We can listen to the weather predictions on the local news to know if we need a raincoat, sweater or sunscreen. But it is more interesting to find out what causes the weather and how to forecast tomorrow's weather.
If you want to learn more about how clouds are formed, what causes snowstorms, hurricanes, humidity, lightning, or other types of weather, check out one of these books, videos, and Web sites. Before you know it, you'll be looking at the sky in a whole new way and maybe even building your own weather station!
In the Library
Click on the title of anything in this section to go to the library's catalog listing. From there, local library visitors can place a request that the item be held for you at your local branch.
The Amateur Meteorologist: Explorations and Investigations.
Students can build their own weather instruments and learn the skills they need to read weather maps, to calculate dew point and relative humidity, and to determine windchill and degree-days. Also an interesting choice for science project ideas.
Blizzards! and Ice Storms by Maria Rosado.
Find out the difference between a snowstorm and a blizzard, and read about major winter storms throughout the world.
El Nino: Stormy Weather for People and Wildlife.
El Nino, the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean, causes changes in weather patterns worldwide. Learn about effects of past El Nino systems and how scientists can predict the course of future El Nino events.
It's Raining Cats and Dogs: All Kinds of Weather and Why We Have It.
A fun look at why we have rain, hail, snow, lightning, and tornadoes. Includes experiments, safety tips, weather folklore, and how to test for air pollution.
Making and Using Your Own Weather Station.
Describes different weather phenomenon and instruments used to measure it. Instructions are given to make a barometer, thermometer, sling psychrometer, rain gauge, snow gauge, wind vane and anemometer with suggested activities for using each instrument. Has illustrations, charts and photographs.
Weather Projects for Young Scientists.
Explore the world of weather through experiments.
The Weather Sky.
Journey to Maine's "thunderstorm alley" to learn the basics of day-to-day of weather patterns. Includes cross-sections of the clouds and a glossary of terms.
Weatherwise: Learning About the Weather.
Learn about exciting weather events like rainbows, tornadoes and hurricanes, and see how pressure systems and fronts affect the weather. Includes diagrams and simple experiments.
The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm.
The school bus is turned into a weathermobile, and Ralphie has the opportunity to become the meteorological superhero of his dreams.
On the Web
In addition to the local forecasts, you can view satellite maps, radar maps, get world weather forecasts and much more.
National Weather Service Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington
In addition to current weather, there is select historical data for seven locations in the Washington/ Baltimore area beginning with 1999.
The Weather Underground at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor sponsors UMWeather. Has current weather information as well as nearly three hundred links to weather sites on the Internet.
Weather Station at England Run Library
The Central Rappahannock Regional Library system has a weather station located at its England Run branch in Stafford County! Anyone can view current temperature and humidity on the England Run branch page or get historical weather data for the past week or months by clicking through to the wunderground.com page for our location. Information is also shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of their Citizen Weather Observer Program for use in their weather prediction models.
The Weather Underground
Current weather, visible satellite photos, various types of weather maps, and more. There is historical weather information on this site back to 1994. Select a state and the select a city listed for the state. On the city's Web page you will find listed under conditions "Historical". Make your selection from here.