Little meteorologists move the weather meter to show whether it’s gross or sunny out, turn the dials to figure out humidity and wind levels, and slide the thermometer up and down to indicate how cold, or warm, it is outside. It’s made of sustainable beechwood and is that rare toy that’s sleek enough to hang on the wall.Parents can go one further and create a weather journal, where kids can help track daily weather and changes in temperature. It’s an easy way to learn the fundamentals of science, and a quick, fun activity to do together. And while it won’t guarantee a perfect beach day, or even a rain-free park outing, it at least makes kids feel like they have some ownership and understanding of what Mother Nature has in store.
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Much of U.S. Southwest left parched after monsoon season
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Cities across the U.S. Southwest recorded their driest monsoon season on record this year, some with only a trace or no rain.
The seasonal weather pattern that runs from mid-June and ended Wednesday brings high hopes for rain and cloud coverage to cool down places like Las Vegas and Phoenix. But like last year, it largely was a dud, leaving the region parched.
Flagstaff notched its driest season ever, down more than 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) of rain from its normal of 8.31 inches (21.1 cm ). Las Vegas tied a record set in 1944 with the least amount of rain — just a trace. Las Vegas also shattered a record set in 1959 for consecutive days with no measurable rainfall. It stood at 164 days on Thursday.
Phoenix didn’t have its driest monsoon season, but the city had its hottest one ever, with the average temperature recorded at 96 degrees Fahrenheit (35.6 celsius), 1 degree above the record set in 2011, according to the National Weather Service. Phoenix also was moving toward a record for most days at 100 degrees (37.8 celsius) or higher for the year. So far, it’s at 132.
Yuma near the Arizona-California border had no rain. In New Mexico, Farmington and Roswell had one of their driest monsoon seasons on record. Albuquerque had less than half the normal amount of rain.
Residents around the Southwest bemoaned what seemed like a never-ending summer. The heat and scarce rain mean people spend more time indoors, hiking trails are dusty, the risk for wildfires increases, reservoirs are less full and thirsty wildlife go in search of water.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department and volunteers have been filling about 1,000 water catchments around the state to help the animals.
“This is really helping our wildlife get through this ‘nonsoon,’ ” said Amy Burnett, an Arizona Game and Fish Department spokeswoman.
Ranchers also have a harder time finding green pastures for livestock to graze. Some sold cattle earlier than usual or decided to get out of the business.
California’s world-famous wine country is bracing for more dangerous wildfire weather conditions Thursday while its communities reel from the Glass fire’s already devastating damage.
The Glass fire in Napa and Sonoma counties has ravaged more than 56,781 acres so far and remains just 5% contained. More than 240 structures have been completely destroyed ― including homes, schools and wineries ― and another 140 have sustained damages.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Brunton said in an update Thursday morning he was “cautiously optimistic” that fire control lines would stop the blaze from moving into some communities, but dangerous weather conditions ― high heat, strong winds and low humidity ― mean the “spread of fire is almost imminent.”
That fire-friendly weather is expected to pick up Thursday afternoon and last for a day and a half.
“It’s going to be a big firefight for us for the next 36 hours,” Brunton said, noting Cal Fire had several firefighting squads in from out of state and the National Guard there to help.
Some of the region’s beloved landmarks that employ huge swaths of the community are among the devastation, including St. Helena’s Meadowood resort and Calistoga’s Castello di Amorosa winery. One of the worst-hit residential areas is Deer Park, a community nestled in the northeast hills of St. Helena.
The air throughout Napa Valley remains choked with smoke, inflicting dangerous air quality on people near the blazes and far into other parts of Northern California.
See photos below of the devastation the Glass fire has already inflicted.