I just love this answer. A dust storm in Painted Desert, Arizona mixed with a snow storm in Colorado to make pink snow.
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The latest research shows they are not created by engine combustion, which was previously thought. The first requirement is the clouds have to be vertically thin. Researchers then discovered that the clouds usually form beneath C-130 planes (shown below). Beneath the wings of these planes temperatures are around 14 degrees warmer than the rest of the plane and surrounding environment. This temperature difference creates a dry punch of air falling from the sky evaporating the clouds beneath.
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Hard Freeze warnings are issued to highlight situations where the freezing temperatures might cause damage to property. When temperatures get to the mid 20s crops and tender plants die pretty easily. Pipes burst at 20 degrees so when the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid twenties preparations should be made to protect exposed just in case it is a little colder than forecast.
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With only a couple of days left in the month, Houston is on pace to record its warmest year ever recorded. So far the average temperature at Bush Intercontinental has been 72.8 degrees. 1962 and 2011 tied as the warmest years with an average of 71.9 degrees. We've got a couple of cold days ahead but most likely 2012 will go down as the warmest.
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The earliest use of the word seems to be in 1829, but at first the word didn't mean a violent snowstorm. It seemed to mean to hit something or to punch. Col. Davy Crockett (yes, that Davy Crockett) used the word blizzard not for a winter storm, but as a figurative threat to some dinner companions who were poking fun at him. The Century Dictionary suggests that blizzard is related to the word blaze. So in reacting aggressively, Davy Crockett was using the word to say he was prepared to blaze away at them, or punch them. On another occasion, Crockett also used the phrase taking a blizzard to describe gunshots at a deer. The first time blizzard was used to describe the weather appeared in an Estherville, Iowa, newspaper in March 1870. The paper was referring to the city getting PUNCHED by a strong winter storm. Blizzards are dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind resulting in low visibilities. Officially, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm which contains large amounts of snow OR blowing snow with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for an extended period of time (at least 3 hours). When these conditions are expected, the National Weather Service will issue a blizzard warning.
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