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September-October 2012

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From the Editor

The September/October issue of Weatherwise is always my favorite. The photographs that we publish as winners of the annual Photo Contest exemplify everything that the magazine is about—beauty, fascinating meteorological phenomena, and love of weather.

This year's judging was conducted by Robert Ryan, meteorologist at ABC7/WJLA-TV and past president of the American Meteorological Society; Stanley Gedzelman, retired professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York; Doyle Rice, Weather Editor at USA Today; and Douglas LeComte, retired NOAA meteorologist. Our panel of judges always has quite a challenge picking 15 winners from among the hundreds of entries, but it is a task they take on with pleasure.

The job always leads to debates among the judges, and this year was no different. For example, where do you draw the line in emphasizing the importance of capturing great meteorological phenomena versus the importance of high-quality photography? If a photographer captures an unusual aspect of meteorology but the quality of the shot is not as high as we might like, should it still be a winner? What if the subject of a fantastic photo is a more common meteorological phenomenon?

In the end, the judges were able to pick 15 winners that show us great meteorology and great photography. The winning entries include some spectacular examples of cloud formations—some of the most unusual mammatus we've ever seen, lenticular clouds, Kelvin Helmholtz waves, a contra hole—as well as some great examples of atmospheric phenomena, such as rainbows and sunsets. Take a look at this year's best photography and enjoy!

Sometimes the key to taking a great photograph of weather lies in being able to predict when a photo-worthy event is going to take place. Most of us rely on technology and mobile weather applications to help us figure out what the weather is going to do from minute to minute and hour to hour. But Native Americans still use the wisdom passed down to them from their ancestors to read the cues Mother Nature sends us about what is going to happen next. From cattle lying down ahead of a storm to beavers predicting droughts by building bigger dams, the folks interviewed in Randy Peppler's article, “The Call of the Wild: Local Weather Insights in Native Oklahoma,” reveal the cues that help them predict the weather and that have stood the test of time for generations.

Finally, this issue of Weatherwise also features our latest installment in our Weather and Climate of the 50 States series. This time we travel to Kentucky to learn about current and historical weather happenings in the Bluegrass state. Though not necessarily known for its dramatic weather, Kentucky is actually a battleground state for cold and warm air masses, and in the home state of the Kentucky Derby, there can be no doubt that the resulting weather is serious business!

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