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K-State Research and Extension News

Weather Wonders

Kansas State climatologist Mary Knapp offers this weekly series of short programs on weather phenomena and recent meteorological events in Kansas.  Each segment is approximately 1-minute in length.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

Program Date

Segment Title and Description

Listen and Download

09-22-17AUTUMN LEAVES– It won’t be long before Kansas trees put on their fall colors...and the weather plays a large role in preparing this annual show.WW1 09-22
09-22-17EARLY SNOW?– When fall begins, thoughts sometimes turn to early snow. How early? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp checks the record books.WW2 09-22
09-22-17MORNING DEW– We’ve all encountered moist shoes or feet if we walk through grass in the morning. But what's causing the grass to be wet?WW3 09-22
09-15-17AIR POLLUTION– While phrases like “air quality” and “carbon footprint” are relatively new, K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says concerns over pollution go back hundreds of yearsWW1 09-15
09-15-17FIRST FREEZE– Gardeners want more growing time, and allergy sufferers want an end to the pollen. Both of those are dependent on when the first freeze hits.WW2 09-15
09-15-17AUTUMNAL EQUINOX– Today marks the Autumnal Equinox — on the calendar. Is it really the day when night and day are equally divided? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it’s not that simple.WW3 09-15
09-08-17500-YEAR EVENTS? – Just after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, journalists and meteorologists were using terms like “500-year storm” or “100-year flood.” But, what does that really mean?


WW1 09-08
09-08-17AUTUMN MYTHS – There are many myths and urban legends about our seasons and the weather. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tackles a couple of these, just in time for autumn.WW2 09-08
09-08-17EARLY KANSAS WEATHER REPORTS – When were the first official weather observations made in Kansas? Believe it or not, they happened more than 100 years ago.



WW3 09-08
09-01-17CONTRIBUTING FACTORS– If you’re sometimes not sure what to make of Kansas weather, Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp says there are a lot of variables at play.WW1 09-01
09-01-17DIFFERING TEMPERATURE READINGS– Radio and TV stations often report differing temperatures from nearby locations, such as downtown or at the airport. That’s probably because several factors can impact temperature readings within a local area.WW2 09-01
09-01-17SUNSET AND TWILIGHT– What time will the sunset this evening? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says the answer might depend on who you ask.WW3 09-01
08-25-17BACKYARD WEATHER STATION– There are many types of “weather stations” that can be purchased for home use – units that go above and beyond the common rain gauge in the back yard.WW1 08-25
08-25-17MOTHER NATURE’S THERMOMETERBelieve it or not, there's a common insect that provides amazingly accurate temperature readings.WW2 08-25
08-25-17HORSE LATITUDES– K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains how the “Horse Latitudes” got their name.WW3 08-25
08-18-17IS SUMMER OVER?– When does summer actually end? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp (“nap”) says it depends on which calendar you follow.WW1 08-18
08-18-17BERMUDA HIGH– If the weather feels hot and humid, day after day, K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it might have to do with one peculiar weather system that never truly goes away.WW2 08-18
08-18-17KRAKATOA ERUPTION– August 26th marks the anniversary of one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions ever recorded. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has the story.WW3 08-18
08-11-17A BLISTERING SUMMERIt was a hot July across Kansas,  but what are some of the hottest summers in history?WW1 08-11
08-11-17WEATHER MAPS– If you haven’t seen one yet today, you probably will before the day is over. What could it be? WW2 08-11
08-11-17SOLAR ECLIPSE– On Monday, August 21st, months of eager anticipation will finally come to an end, as a solar eclipse crosses much of the continental United States. A bit of research will also be going on behind the scenes.WW3 08-11
08-04-17MUD STORMS?– When the conditions are just right, the right amount of dust and the right amount of rain can result in something rather interesting. WW1 08-04
08-04-17METEOR SHOWER– K-State climatologist Mary Knapp reminds us about a favorite annual event for astronomers, as well as those who want to do a bit of stargazing.WW2 08-04
08-04-17YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER– Frozen lakes in July. Cold rains that lasted for months. Food riots in France and Switzerland. All of this, and more, occurred in the wake of a natural event that influenced weather around the world.WW3 08-04
07-28-17DRY KANSAS– Recent episodes of “Weather Wonders” have looked back at events of high precipitation and heavy flooding. This time, it takes us to the other extreme.WW1 07-28
07-28-17WHEN TORNADOES DON’T STRIKE– When we hear of extensive damage and property loss from a storm, we shouldn’t assume the culprit was a tornadoWW2 07-28
07-28-17DUSTY PROFESSIONS– The field of science offers opportunities to study and research all kinds of things. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us about one branch of science that studies everything around us.WW3 07-28
07-21-17CRANKING UP THE HEAT– Hot temperatures were the rule last week, but those readings were nowhere near the hottest days recorded in Kansas history.WW1 07-21
07-21-17HURRICANES IN KANSAS?– Whenever hurricanes land in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s always the chance that Kansas could feel the effects. WW2 07-21
07-21-17RELATIVE HUMIDITYK-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains relative humidity, and how it affects our comfort level.WW3 07-21
07-14-17NONE HOTTERIf you think last week was hot, consider the hottest week in America’s history. WW1 07-14
07-14-17HEAT INDEXThe heat index is a scientific attempt to indicate how our bodies perceive the outdoor environmentWW2 07-14
07-14-17FLOODING IN WESTERN KANSASWhile the flooding of 1993 may have been concentrated in the eastern half of Kansas, other parts of the state were also affectedWW3 07-14
07-07-17HUMIDITY AND PRECIPITATION– K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains why high humidity doesn’t always lead to rainfall.WW1 07-07
07-07-17JULY FLOODING– K-State climatologist Mary Knapp looks at the largest flooding event in Kansas – and it may not be the one you’re thinking of.WW2 07-07
07-07-17THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER– Where do the “dog days of summer” come from? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has the story behind that well-known phrase.WW3 07-07
06-30-17HEAT WAVE Sure, a heat wave needs to be hot, but how hot, exactly? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us what researchers look for.WW1 06-30
06-30-17MIRAGE– It’s there, then it isn’t, then it comes back. But just how does a mirage happen?WW2 06-30
06-30-17FOG, MIST, HAZE– Something grey and misty is obscuring your vision, but is it fog, mist or haze?WW3 06-30
06-23-17LIGHTNING SAFETYA look at what makes lightning so dangerous, and how to lower our risk of being struck by lightning.  WW1 06-23
06-23-17DRY LIGHTNING– Have you ever seen lighting and heard thunder, but there was little or no rain? It was probably dry lightning.WW2 06-23
06-23-17TORRENTIAL RAINS– Summer thunderstorms can produce immense amounts of rain. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp looks at a notable storm that dumped 12 inches of rain in Kansas.WW3 06-23
06-16-17MAJOR HAIL STORMSIn 1992, a particularly destructive hail storm caused more than 500 million dollars in damage.WW1 06-16
06-16-17SUMMER SOLSTICE– Today, provided the skies are clear, you can enjoy more daylight than any other day this year.WW2 06-16 
06-16-1750 YEARS AGO TODAYIn 1967, residents of Garden City experienced a major tornado outbreak. WW3 06-16 
06-09-17HURRICANES– K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains common hurricane terminology, and explains how the naming system has changed over the years.WW1 06-09
06-09-17POPCORN CONVECTION– Thunderstorms can sometimes develop very quickly, with little or no warning at all. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us how and why this happens.WW2 06-09 
06-09-17MUGGY – K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains the origin of the term.WW3 06-09
06-02-17EDDIESJust as water flows around rocks in a stream, air flows around objects as well. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us about eddies.WW1 06-02
06-02-17ST. ELMO’S FIREMany people remember St. Elmo’s Fire as a popular movie from the 1980s. But there really was a St. Elmo, and there really is an atmospheric disturbance that honors him.WW2 06-02
06-02-17MONSOONSWhile the word “monsoon” might bring to mind intense thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, it actually describes another component of our weather and atmosphere.WW3 06-02



500-YEAR EVENTS?Just after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, journalists and meteorologists were using terms like “500-year storm” or “100-year flood.” K-State climatologist Mary Knapp (“nap”) shares some insight into these terms.