We are currently studying clouds and rain. We were wondering what percentage of a cloud is actually water and what percentage of a rain cloud is dust and or other things?

Answered by Dennis Finn, Research Meteorologist, NOAA, Idaho Falls Most water in the atmosphere is in the form of water vapor, a gas. Warm air holds more water vapor than cold air. For a climate like Idaho Falls, water vapor content is typically about 0.4-0.5% in the summer and less than half of that during…

On Sunday (November 25), a snow storm covered southeastern Idaho. We only got a skiff of snow in Dubois, but we heard that Idaho Falls and Pocatello got a lot of snow. Most of the time Dubois gets more snow than Idaho Falls. What happened?

Answered by: Kurt Buffalo, Meteorologist, National Weather Service The snow storm that affected southeast Idaho on Sunday was a bit complex, as the snow came in two different rounds. The first round came with a cold front that moved through during the late morning and early afternoon hours. This brought a brief period of light…

We were at a zoo in the Midwest this summer when the tornado sirens went off. Zoo employees made sure people were safe in a shelter, but it didn’t seem like the animals were given any protection. We were wondering if a plan to care for zoo animals during a crisis situation is required for zoos?

Answered by Darrell Markum, General Curator, Idaho Falls Zoo As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Idaho Falls Zoo does have a catastrophic emergency plan. Because each emergency situation is going to be unique the plan provides basic details to address a variety of circumstances. It describes who is…

We have heard so much about the solar eclipse that will occur in Idaho next August. The news article we read talked about the path of totality. What does that mean?

Question Answered by Dr. Brian Tonks, Astronomy Professor, BYU-Idaho On 21 August, 2016, Southeastern Idaho and many other places in the United States are in for a rare treat. We will experience a total Solar eclipse. This means that the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun and cast its shadow on the…

Is there anywhere on Earth high enough in elevation that you can see through the thin air into the blackness of space?

Question answered by Dr. Brian Tonks, Astronomy Professor, BYU-Idaho The highest point on Earth is the peak of Mt. Everest, 29,029 feet (8850 meters) above sea level. At this elevation, the atmosphere is thin compared to at sea level. Pictures taken from the top of Everest on a clear day distinctly show that the sky…

Why is snow soft and ice hard?

Answered by Alex DeSmet, Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Pocatello This is a good question, because snow and ice are both water in a frozen form. So, why do they feel so much different to us? Well, the answer is actually fairly simple, and it has to do with air. As snowflakes fall to the ground and…