The Breakdown

  Breakdown: Why high risk days rarely occur in the Mid-South

The high risk of severe weather category is so rare. In the U.S. we don’t see it very often and it is even more rare here in the Mid-South. The last one issued was May 20, 2019 across the southern Plains and before that it hadn’t been issued since 2017.

  Breakdown: Where you are on a map and why it is important for you to know

  Breakdown: A look back at Mississippi River flood of May 2011

  Breakdown: Why the grass looks greener after it rains

  Breakdown: Why you may be able to see “shooting stars” tonight

  Breakdown: Why it always seems to rain the 1st weekend in May

  Rain vs Showers: What is the difference?

Continued Coverage

  Breakdown: Why April 27, 2011 was so deadly

  Breakdown: What does rain percentage really mean for you?

  Breakdown: Why sunsets appear reddish

  Breakdown: The science behind how airplanes fly in the sky

  Breakdown: The science behind doppler radar ‘colors’

  Breakdown: Why soggy ground can bring trees down

  Breakdown: How tornadoes form in the atmosphere

Spring time is here across the Mid-South. As we move deeper into the new season more and more storm systems roll across the region. Some of those storms can produce tornadoes, but do you know how a tornado forms in our atmosphere?

  Breakdown: Why positive lightning strikes are more dangerous than negative

While all lightning strikes are dangerous, in this episode of the breakdown we will explain why positive strikes are considered even more dangerous and deadly than negative lightning strikes.

  Breakdown: What is pollen and where does it come from?

What is pollen and where does it come from

  Breakdown: Why rain doesn’t always wash away pollen

You may think that all rain will wash away pollen, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, certain types of rain can make pollen levels increase.

  Breakdown: Why some trees haven’t bloomed yet

  Breakdown: How weather affects pollen levels

  Breakdown: Why we may not have seen the last frost yet

  Breakdown: The Mid-South could be the new Tornado Alley

  Breakdown: Why the seasons change

  Breakdown: Super Worm Moon welcomes spring

  Breakdown: Why weather can determine the intensity of the pollen season

Pollen & Weather

  Breakdown: Why snow is still possible

Why Snow Is Still Possible

  Breakdown: Why we spring forward each year

Love it or hate it, the second weekend in March we go to bed Saturday night, just to lose an hour of sleep as we wake up on Sunday morning.

  Breakdown: Why multiple forms of alerts are important in bad weather

In this episode of the Breakdown, we explain why weather radios and weather apps for your phone can be lifesaving tools when severe weather strikes.

  Breakdown: Why cold weather can affect cars fuel economy

When driving your car during the winter months you might notice that the gas gauge is going down faster than during the summer. Did you know that the cold weather actually affects the fuel economy of your car?

  Breakdown: Why understanding severe weather risks is important

Severe weather, it is a common occurrence in the Mid-South during the four seasons in the Mid-South. When it comes to strong and severe storms, understanding what the colors and text means could better help you prepare for incoming severe weather.

  Breakdown: How you play an important role during severe weather

In a way to better obtain weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS) established SKYWARN with partner organizations. This volunteer program has between 350,000 and 400,000 trained service weather spotters that help keep local communities safe by providing reports of severe weather to th

  Breakdown: How to stay safe during lightning

Lightning Safety a

  Breakdown: Flash flood watch vs warning

Flooding is one of the deadliest naturally occurring disasters in the country. When flooding occurs, knowing the difference between a flash flood watch and a flash flood warning could mean the difference between life and death.

  Breakdown: Why thunder sometimes sounds louder when it’s colder outside

In this episode of the Breakdown, we explain why thunder can last longer and sound louder than normal when temperatures are colder outside.

  Breakdown: How leaves can lead to dangerous flooding

Storm drains are made to handle runoff and because of that, they discharge untreated water into waterways. When decomposing yard waste like leaves are left to accumulate, it can have negative effects.

  Breakdown: How electronics are affected by cold weather

A lot of times we think of how to protect ourselves from the cold, but have you ever thought of your electronics? According to experts, hard drives can be the most vulnerable to cold temperatures.

  Breakdown: Why no two snowflakes are alike

Do you remember as a kid, folding a piece of paper, cutting the corners, unfolding it and then admiring your snowflake? Well if you do, you will remember that everyone’s paper snowflake looked slightly different as no two cuts were exactly alike.

  Breakdown: Why storm ‘training’ can cause floods

In this episode of the Breakdown, we will discuss why storm training and how it can cause flooding to occur in your neighborhood.

  Breakdown: Why weather can make potholes worse

In this episode of the breakdown, we will explain how potholes form and why the change in weather can make those potholes worse over time.

  Breakdown: Why it happened: Looking back at the ice storm of Feb. 10, 1994

It was on February 10 in 1994 that one of the most notorious winter weather events in recent Mid-South history occurred: Ice Storm 94.

  Breakdown: How mosquitoes survive a cold winter

Why Cold Winter Doesn't Mean Less Mosquitoes

  Breakdown: Why doppler radar is an important tool

First Alert Doppler 5. It is an important tool that we here are WMC Action News 5 uses each and everyday to track everything from severe clear to severe storms, but have you wondered how doppler radar works and why it is such an important tool for meteorologist across the country?

  Breakdown: Does warm weather cause severe storms?

Although warm weather can play a part in severe weather, it is not the sole factor for storm development.

  Breakdown: The severity behind Super Tuesday tornadoes, 11 years ago

On February 5, 2008, there was a huge and deadly tornado outbreak not only for the Mid-South, but also for much of the southern United States. This outbreak is known as the “Super Tuesday Outbreak." That day was the primary election for our country.

  Breakdown: Why the polar vortex created ice quakes

In this episode of the Breakdown, we explain what is causing the booms that people are hearing in the freezing cold temperatures.

  Breakdown: Why rivers and streams flood

Each year, the Mighty Mississippi river will rise and lower along its journey south to the Gulf of Mexico, but have you ever wondered why a river will overflow its banks?

  Breakdown: Why halos appear around the moon

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and noticed a ring around the moon? What you were seeing is an optical illusion, caused by reflections of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. This is called the “halo effect,” or a Lunar Halo, and it is caused by light rays diffracting around the moon.

  Breakdown: Why we haven’t received a big snowfall yet

Why no significant snow

  Breakdown: What the word ‘meteorology’ really means

Meteor in Meteorology

  Breakdown: Why pipes can burst when it’s cold

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing. When it freezes it also causes the pressure inside the pipe to increase. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe can burst.

  Breakdown: Why bridges are places to watch in winter weather

When driving over a bridge you might notice a bright yellow sign with black letters. Usually it says, “Bridge Ices Before Road”. Have you ever wondered why this is the case, why will a bridge freeze before the road attached to the ground?

  Breakdown: Why the moon will turn red

The only total lunar eclipse in 2019 is happening on Sunday January 20th, according to NASA. This lunar eclipse is called the “Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse.”

  Breakdown: Why weather systems move from west to east

Breakdown: Why systems move from west to east

  Breakdown: How you can see a total lunar eclipse this month

A total lunar eclipse happens when the Earth sits perfectly between the moon and sun. In other words, the moon sits in Earth’s shadow for a period of time.

  Breakdown: Why the sky is blue

One of the most popular questions when it comes to weather is, ‘why is the sky blue?’ If you have ever wondered why, check out this breakdown.

  Breakdown: Why Mississippi River levels are elevated

Last year was a wet one for Memphis. In 2018, we received 64.15 inches of rain, putting us at 10.47 inches above average. While we didn’t break any records it was enough to cause the river to rise.

  Breakdown: Why you see your breath when it’s cold

On a cold day have you ever wondered why you see your breath and during the summer you don’t. Lets take a look at the science behind why this happens.

  Breakdown: Why there is frost on your windshield

If you’ve ever woken up to frost on your windshield, you know the pain of scraping it off. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the frost is only on your windshield and nowhere else?

  Breakdown: How airplanes can sustain a lightning strike

Lightning and airplanes, it sounds like a deadly recipe, but technology and advancements in aviation means that airplanes can withstand a lightning strike and still arrive safely to the destination.

  Breakdown: Why clouds appear gray

Why Do Clouds Appear Gray

  Breakdown: A rare winter trio

Winter officially begins Friday, December 21 at 4:23 p.m. for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. This means December 21 is officially the shortest day of the year.

  Breakdown: Why it’s faster to fly east than west

If you plan on leaving on a jet plane this holiday season, you might be surprised to learn that traveling east is faster than traveling west.

  Breakdown: Why there’s so much static in the winter

One of the most annoying things about the winter is static electricity. It can really hurt when you go to touch something and you get shocked. It can also ruin a good hair day.

  Breakdown: This is how frost forms

Frost can be a nuisance to scrape off your windshield in the morning, but it can also be dangerous to plants and crops. So how does it form?

  Breakdown: Why a Mackerel Sky occurs

Mackerel sky: an unusual but beautiful cloud formation that can occur up in the clouds.

  Breakdown: Why airplane turbulence is on the rise

When flying high in the sky, sometimes the plane will shake, this shaking is caused by turbulence. While this might make some uneasy high, there is nothing to worry about as modern airplanes are designed to withstand all types of turbulence.

  Breakdown: Why your skin dries out in the winter

Dry, chapped skin is pretty common in the cold months, in late fall and winter.

  Breakdown: Why does it get windy

Breakdown on why winds blow strong.

  Breakdown: Why lightning can strike the same place twice

Lightning can strike the same place twice and sometimes even multiple times.

  Breakdown: Why it feels so cold when it’s windy

Wind chill is how the wind makes the body feel when the wind is blowing on a cold day.

  Breakdown: Why your car thermometer is usually inaccurate

In this episode of the breakdown, we explain why you might not want to always trust the temperature reading that your car displays on its dash.

  Breakdown: Why weather can make you feel achy

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a change in weather can cause a shift in the way you feel? You are not alone; there is actually science behind this connection.

  Breakdown: Why Thanksgiving weather varies so much

Thanksgiving falls during a time of year where you can get a wide range of different weather.

  Breakdown: Is it ever ‘too cold’ to snow?

Breakdown: Is it too cold to snow?

  Breakdown: What’s fog and why does it form?

Breakdown: How fog forms

  Breakdown: Why the flu is more likely in winter

Have you ever heard that the cold makes you sick? We talk about why this could be true in the Breakdown this week.

  Breakdown: Why Snow Is Hard To Forecast In The Mid-South

Breakdown:Why Forecasting Snow Is Difficult in the Mid-South

  Breakdown: Why raindrops are not actually tear-drop shaped

You have probably seen them in paintings, drops of rain falling from clouds in the shape of teardrops. What if I told you that is not entirely accurate? In this episode of the Breakdown, we will explain the science as to why raindrops are not in the shape of a teardrop.

  Breakdown: Why your mood could change during the cold months

The cold weather months can really affect your mood.

  Breakdown: Why is there ground clutter on the radar?

You may have noticed green on the radar, even when it is completely dry outside. This is what we call anomalous propagation or better known as ground clutter.

  Breakdown: How an upside down rainbow forms

This is called a circumzenithal arc or a circumzenith arc. It also has been called an upside-down rainbow or the Bravaris arc. It is referred to as a smile in the sky.

  Breakdown: Why there could be more major hurricanes

With the number of hurricanes impacting the coast fluctuating each year, the question has been asked, “Are there more hurricanes happening now than what we saw in the past?”