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January-February 2014

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From the Editor

As I write this, after some unseasonably warm weather here in the mid-Atlantic, the weather has finally settled into a more typical fall pattern, with cold nights and mornings warming to brisk sunny afternoons as the leaves turn bright hues of orange, yellow, and red. Winter is coming and with it the snow, ice, and freezes that characterize the shortest days of the year in so many parts of the United States. A number of locales have already seen snow, and the 2013-2014 snow season is already underway.

It's the perfect time, then, to take a look back at the 2012-2013 snow season. Which areas saw the heaviest snowfall and which the lightest? How many records were broken and what were the impacts on local populations and towns? How did the season compare with previous winters and what can the data tell us about how the climate is changing? David Robinson sums up the season's highlights in his latest snow report.

Winter and spring months generally are also the time when agriculture is at the greatest risk of freezes. Freezes can kill plants swiftly and mercilessly, and the economic losses due to a widespread freeze event can be enormous. Direct crop losses can exceed a billion dollars. In his article, Ed Brotak examines three of the worst crop loss events in recent years, reminding us that despite technological advances, man is still no match against Mother Nature.

One question that often comes to mind when reading about devastating crop losses like those in Ed Brotak's story is, could losses have been minimized with the right warning? We live in an age when an abundance of information about nearly everything-including weather-is at our fingertips at any given time. Most of us have smartphones or tablet computers, but how do we know which weather apps will provide the best information for our needs? Amber Lanier Nagle does the hard work for us and narrows down our options to 10 of the best on the market, providing pros and cons for each one.

Finally, by press date, spring training is just around the corner for baseball teams. All baseball fans have experienced rain delays during a particularly intense game or the harsh sun baking the stands on a hot summer day. But fewer people have given thought to the more subtle effects of weather on America's favorite pastime, such as how the air temperature or humidity might affect how a ball travels through the air. For the teams and their fans, the science of meteorology is serious business, and Jan Null provides us a glimpse into the more technical aspects of weather and baseball.

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