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November-December 2013

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From the Editor

We've all done it. It's a frigid, gray winter day, and all we can do is daydream about throwing in the towel and moving halfway across the world to a tropical paradise where no one has even heard of the word “balaclava.” We dream about spending our days swinging lazily in a hammock on pristine white beaches, with the soft pounding of the surf soothing us into a peaceful, midday nap. Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Bali are some of the more popular daydream hotspots.

But have you ever thought about where you might find the worst weather in the world? Someplace where the weather is not just unpleasant or inhospitable, but downright dangerous? Ed Darack has. In fact, he's thought so much about this (and visited so many of these places) that he has compiled the top-10 worst weather locations on the planet. Whether we're talking extreme heat in the Sahara or extreme cold in northern Russia, there are few who would have the courage to visit these places, and even fewer who would live there. And yet each of the locations in the article is inhabited by hardy souls who not only survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions.

For those who do choose to live in places where extreme weather occurs, communication between forecasters and the public is a key to ensuring that everyone weathers storms the best they can. One program that has started making great strides in this area is the National Weather Service's StormReady® program, which equips local communities to respond to the threat of severe weather. So far over 2,100 locations have received the StormReady designation, and that means we are just that much more prepared when it comes to bad weather.

Finally, this issue features our latest installment in the weather and climate of the 50 states series, examining the paradise of Hawaii. It's hard to imagine a place more different from the locations profiled in Darack's article about the worst weather in the world, but learning more about the meteorology that shapes the Hawaiian islands provides a nice bookend for an issue that otherwise helps us delve into the winter season.       

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