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.

Knowing how to react (or not react, as the case may be) when you drive across a patch of black ice is useful; but if you've ever wondered how black ice forms, and what makes it so dangerous, we're here to help.

Ever hear that saying that a cow lies down when rain is coming? This superstition may not be as udderly ridiculous as you think.

There are certain steps you should take to protect yourself, your family and your home during a disaster. These are not those steps.

You've probably heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but can that be true? Find out how molecules of water vapor come together to form these winter wonders.

Some of the most expensive tornadoes in American history have touched down in the past few years, leading researchers to wonder whether they're getting stronger. Are tornadoes really becoming more destructive?

We can predict hurricanes days in advance. We know when a volcano is about to blow its lid. But we still can't tell when an earthquake's going to shake things up. In their search for an answer, scientists have turned to an unlikely source: rocks.

The question about supervolcanoes, it turns out, isn't whether one could destroy all life on Earth. It's when will it do it again. Wait, what?

The most damaging hurricanes usually have female names. Is this a case of gender bias, or is some other force at work?

Nothing ruins a good hair day like humidity, especially if your hair is dry and overprocessed. What's the science behind the frizz?

It sounds simple enough. A wildfire is burning in your immediate area, so you turn from it and run. But getting away from a fire on foot may not be as easy as you think.

Out of nowhere comes a flash flood, causing water to rise quickly in your immediate area. Should you jump in your vehicle to get away from the floodwaters or try to escape by foot? Trying to outrun a flood is a bad idea. Here's why.

A tornado warning has just been activated in your area. Should you hunker down where you are, or should you hop in your vehicle and drive away? Trying to outrun a tornado sounds like a reasonable idea, but is it really?

In the movies it looks so easy. A team of scientists are working near the crater of a volcano when it suddenly erupts. They jump in their vehicle and outrace the surging lava flow to safety. In reality, it just doesn't happen that way.

You're on a winter hike on a snowy path through the mountains when an icy blast of cold air swoops in. It's about to get dangerously cold, and you have a decision to make. Should you stay where you are or try to outrun the deadly cold?

During the unusually cold winter of 2014, the term "polar vortex" got quite a workout, causing many to wonder if it was a new weather phenomenon. Actually, the polar vortex is always with us – just usually with a lower profile. But will that change?

Seattle Seahawks fans were jumping up and down as their team played in the Super Bowl. Actually, they've been jumping up and down all season. Could all that excited flailing about ever cause the Big One?

You don't want to go to a party if Mitch, Katrina and Andrew are some of the guests. Which hurricanes are considered the most destructive, and how many deaths did they cause?

When a hurricane or flash flood strikes a city, it can leave residents stranded in their cars, homes or other buildings waiting for rescue. How do rescue teams know where to go first?

A very strong storm doesn't automatically mean death or destruction. You can improve the odds of surviving intact with reinforcements to your home. Plus, scientists are improving their forecast methods. Let's look at high-tech and low-tech storm alerts.

"Nor'easter" is one of those words that makes you think of an old mariner scanning the horizon for a pending storm. What does it really mean -- and why don't we say "northeaster"?

What makes a nor'easter different from your run-of-the-mill winter storm? And which ones have done the most damage?

Auroras themselves aren't rare, but spotting one can be tricky: You need a clear, dark sky within one of the auroral zones. What are 10 spots that up the odds a bit?

"It sure looks like a catastrophic storm, Bob." Or so it seems that every TV weather reporter says while standing in front of some dramatically swelling waves. But can the drama backfire? Does the hype machine cause people to overlook severe weather?

If you've ever spied a night sky splashed with vivid billows of color, either you have access to interesting drugs or you've seen an aurora firsthand. If it's the latter, your sky-gazing probably took place during spring or autumn. How come?

You've heard the weather forecast on the radio: A storm is coming. That means time to hit the grocery store for bread and milk! But why those items, when they're likely to spoil with a power cut?