The NOAA weatherView shows global winds at 500 millibar pressure level (~20,000 ft) as well as temps, precip, moisture, pressure, and day/night. [more inside]
EARTH is an amazing visualization of global weather conditions which uses data from the NOAA and the public domain natural earth dataset, to show the wind patterns across the entire globe in real time. previously
On June 11th, 2013, in the wee hours of an early summer night in Nebraska, the temperature shot from 73°F to 99°F in the space of minutes, accompanied by 50MPH winds. The cause of this weather oddity was the poorly understood Heat Burst, a phenomenon that sometimes occurs as thunderstorms die out, usually late at night. The temprature rise can be so extreme that it has been imaged from space, and there are unconfirmed stories of heat so extreme that crops were cooked in the fields where they grew, and paint blistered on houses and vehicles. Once believed to be a very rare event, with the advent of personal weather stations, science may find they are more frequent than was previously believed.
Mount Washington gust record gone with the wind. Mount Washington had been the home of the surface wind speed record since April 12, 1934 with a 231 miles per hour wind; but during cyclone Olivia (with only 10 minor injuries) on April 10, 1996, a wind gust of 408 km/h (253 mph) in Austrailia was only just now noticed and confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The Mount Washington Observatory has accepted the record in their offical reaction but in more personal blog posts they are a bit more skeptical. The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang posted a Farewell to Mt. Washington's wind record from two former employees of the Observatory, lovingly referring to the record wind as "Gale." (And via Capital Weather Gang.)
California's calm before the storm. It's just rain, right? Well, the meteorologists are publicly talking about a potentially epic storm that could trigger major flooding and mudslides, especially in areas effected by the state's widespread fires of the past few years. More ominously, though, is this internal email from CAL FIRE Division Chief Bob Wallen, which talks of the potential for "multiple large and powerful storm systems" with "a tremendous amount of precipitation . . . Much of NorCal is likely to see 5-10 inches in the lowlands, with 10-20 inches in orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see 3-6 inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that amount in favored areas", with the potential for a massive snowfall, gusts in the 100-200 mph range in the high Sierras, possibly followed by plentiful warm rains that could melt the snow and cause massive flooding statewide. "The next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory."
Forecast calls for cold and warm.
On January 22, 1943 in Spearfish, SD: The temperature rose 49 degrees in two minutes, from – 4 to 45; later the same morning, it dropped 60 degrees in 27 minutes, from 56° to - 4°. Plate glass windows cracked as a result of the wild fluctuation in temperatures caused by Chinook winds. The greatest 24- hour U.S. temperature difference in one place was set January 23- 24, 1916, in Browning, MT, at 100 degrees when it went from a low of -56° to a high of 44°.*Snow eating is one way it's been described, old tales too.. It's a seasonal wind, like the Mistral. There is some overlap in the definitions but the Chinook can safely be labeled a Foehn wind. A Foehn wind is "a generic term for warm strong and often very dry downslope wind(s) that descend in the lee of a mountain barrier". That is the one illustrated above. My favorite wind though, is the katabatic. A downhill wind. Cold and dense it blows here on Earth especially in the Antarctic, and there on Mars too. (page 9 of 14.) [more inside]
"The sky turned orange as the storm approached, until total darkness blanketed the ground." Sandstorms in Iraq -- caused by heating of the desert sand and a northwesterly summer wind known as the shamal -- can kill. (A similiar storm over Interstate 5 in California in 1991 caused a deadly 164-car pileup.) They can also be uncannily beautiful and dream-like when seen from a distance (WMP link).