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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Separating fact from fiction when it comes to tornado safety could mean the difference between life and death.

By Clint Pumphrey

It's hard to resist a movie where bloodthirsty beasts fall from the sky, especially if Ian Ziering stars! How might the science behind this B movie work?

By Meisa Salaita

Only a few natural events pack the power to knock global civilization on its heels. One is a planet-killing meteor. Care to guess the other?

By Nicholas Gerbis


A rainbow's ability to bring joy to just about anyone is probably why they're painted on kids' cheeks at fairs. But, what do rainbows mean? In this article, we'll look at rainbow symbolism from around the world.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Texas is trapped under a heat dome that is bringing scorching high temperatures to the state. What's causing this dome of high heat?

By William Gallus

Bluebirds symbolize optimism, happiness and hope for the future. For skiers, a "bluebird day" bodes well for a great day on the slopes, but hunters and anglers may as well stay home.

By Thomas Harlander

Where is tornado alley and why do so many tornadoes form there?

By Patrick J. Kiger


Tornadoes are some of the most destructive storms on the planet. Rating them is complicated and uses a scale applied to the storms' aftermath.

By Mitch Ryan

Not to be confused with sleet, graupel is actually an interesting mix of snow and ice. But it's not hail. Graupel, get to know it.

By Laurie L. Dove

Flash droughts start and intensify quickly over periods of weeks to months, compared to years or decades for conventional droughts.

By Antonia Hadjimichael

Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Hawaii's volcanoes are different from most others, and that has to do with its magma chambers.

By Gabi Laske


Bombogenesis is a phenomenon in which the atmospheric pressure in the middle of a low-pressure system drops rapidly, intensifying a storm and creating a bomb cyclone.

By Jesslyn Shields

Weather forecasters can tell what the weather will be by reading the barometric pressure, but how does it work?

By Dylan Ris

Picture a hay bale, a paper towel roll, a roll of sod or a flaky doughnut. Now picture it made out of snow. That's a snow roller.

By Dylan Ris

Fresh snow muffles ambient sound immediately after it falls, but the quiet doesn't last very long.

By Jesslyn Shields


California has experienced unprecedented rain lately, but the state is still in a drought. So why can't the rain falling now be saved for later?

By Andrew Fisher

Learn about Hurricane Julia's origins, its impact, and its place in the history of tropical storms and hurricanes.

By HowStuffWorks

A geomagnetic storm could cause a spectacular aurora borealis Aug. 18 and 19 over parts of the continental United States, as far south as Illinois.

By Sarah Gleim

Haboobs are giant walls of dust that can come seemingly out of nowhere. How are they created and are they different from sandstorms?

By Jennifer Walker-Journey


Weather drones can collect all types of information. But one sophisticated drone is about to launch in the U.S. and will, for the first time, share that data for research purposes.

By Stephanie Parker

These intense snowstorms can come out of nowhere. They may not last long, but their rapid snowfall and whipping winds can make them disastrous.

By John Donovan

It might seem that the constant rushing of water over a falls would keep it from freezing, but that isn't always the case. Check out the science behind the phenomenon of the frozen waterfall.

By Mark Mancini

Dusk is a beautiful time of day. So is twilight. But when does one turn into the other? And did you know there were three versions of each?

By Valerie Stimac


When the wind starts whipping and the weather gets wild, it's important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

By Carrie Tatro

In 2014, scientists observed a space hurricane for the first time; they reported their findings this year. But what's a space hurricane — and do we on Earth have to worry about with them?

By Valerie Stimac