Forces of Nature

We see the destruction that the Earth can unleash in the news on a regular basis. Here you can learn about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other forces of nature.

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Marijuana Farmers Hit Hard by California Wildfires

California cannabis farmers could lose everything in the wildfires.

Centuries of Volcano Death Statistics, Newly Analyzed for Your Reading Pleasure

New research digs into historic volcano fatalities to explore how, where and whom a volcano is most likely to kill.

Lightning Deaths in the US Are Way, Way Down

In the mid-20th century, lightning strikes killed hundreds of Americans each year. Now, that number's dropped to only a few dozen. What's changed?

Why Some People Choose to Shelter In Place

When a major storm is barreling down, the reasons why some people choose to shelter in place are complicated.

Evacuee or Refugee: What Do We Call People Displaced by Natural Disasters?

Words matter when talking about those seeking shelter from the storm. What's the difference between hurricane evacuees and refugees?

Why Is Hurricane Irma So Powerful?

Historic Hurricane Irma is being supercharged by the effects of climate change heating Earth's oceans.

HowStuffWorks Illustrated: Hurricane Categories

Hurricanes can range in strength from Category 1 all the way to Category 5. Learn more about hurricane categories in this HowStuffWorks Illustrated video.

What It’s Like to Experience a Category 5 Hurricane

'You really can't describe to anybody what it's like to sit through a hurricane,' says Ruth Clark, who lived through Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

What Hurricane Categories Really Mean

Hurricanes are the strongest storms on the planet. How we categorize them has helped save lives.

As Earth's Climate Changes, Is It Time to Redefine the Four Seasons?

The four seasons experienced by Earth's midlatitude regions are being gradually altered by global warming — but a climate expert says they won't completely go away.

Scientists Develop Clearer Idea of How Dino-Killing Asteroid Changed Earth's Environment

A new model describes in more detail how the Chicxulub asteroid affected our planet, from dropping temperatures to pausing photosynthesis, with soot playing an integral part.

Knowing a Tornado's Strength Could Save More Lives Than Knowing Its Exact Path

Researchers studying tornadoes use a common theory of economics to determine casualty rates.

'Pilot's Glory': Why a Rainbow Encircles an Airplane Shadow on Clouds

Very specific atmospheric conditions and just the right perspective are necessary to see the phenomenon.

Weather Patterns Are Getting Stuck as Climate Changes Affect the Jet Stream

Polar temperatures are changing more rapidly than equatorial ones, making the jet stream slower and wider, and extreme events longer-lasting.

Becoming Better Solar Meteorologists, With Help From Some Monster Waves

Explosive solar events are bad news for Earth, so it's good to keep an eye on space weather. Newly discovered "Rossby-like" waves could help them out with that big job.

Yes, Wind Can Blow You Away If It's the Right Speed

We've all seen shots of meteorologists fighting gale-force winds to report on storms. So just how high can the winds get before the reporters are knocked off their feet?

Earth's Early Atmosphere Was Briefly a Methane Haze

Earth's atmosphere used to be full of toxic hydrogen, but a brief period of methane smog cleared the way for valuable oxygen to set up shop.

Green Fireball Lights Up Midwestern Night Skies

Midwestern night owls got a meteoric surprise this week.

NASA Investigates Cosmic Ray Impact on High-altitude Travelers

The atmosphere protects those of us here on land from cosmic radiation. So what about those who spend time above the clouds?

Why the Inside of a Tornado Gets Super Cold, Leaves You Gasping for Air

Researchers from Montreal's Concordia University have figured out why the air inside a tornado vortex is cooler and less dense than the surrounding air.

Is a Double Hurricane Something You Should Start Freaking Out About?

What happens when two unpredictable storms show up to dance? And what about when one finally heads out to sea — then abruptly turns inland again for a one-two punch?

Weather Bombs Are Spectacularly Destructive

Weather bombs have produced some of the most destructive storms on record. So what is one exactly?

How a Single Lightning Strike Instantly Killed Hundreds of Reindeer

Herd animals stick together, but when there's a lightning storm, there may not be safety in numbers.

Could Humans Force a Volcanic Eruption?

It's every evil mad scientist's dream. Could it ever be a reality?

China's Great Flood May No Longer Be Just a Myth

According to Chinese mythology, a great flood once swept the land. Now geologists have found reason to believe that the legendary catastrophe was real.


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