We were at a zoo in the Midwest this summer when the tornado sirens went off. Zoo employees made sure people were safe in a shelter, but it didn’t seem like the animals were given any protection. We were wondering if a plan to care for zoo animals during a crisis situation is required for zoos?

Answered by Darrell Markum, General Curator, Idaho Falls Zoo As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Idaho Falls Zoo does have a catastrophic emergency plan. Because each emergency situation is going to be unique the plan provides basic details to address a variety of circumstances. It describes who is…

We have heard so much about the solar eclipse that will occur in Idaho next August. The news article we read talked about the path of totality. What does that mean?

Question Answered by Dr. Brian Tonks, Astronomy Professor, BYU-Idaho On 21 August, 2016, Southeastern Idaho and many other places in the United States are in for a rare treat. We will experience a total Solar eclipse. This means that the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun and cast its shadow on the…

Is there anywhere on Earth high enough in elevation that you can see through the thin air into the blackness of space?

Question answered by Dr. Brian Tonks, Astronomy Professor, BYU-Idaho The highest point on Earth is the peak of Mt. Everest, 29,029 feet (8850 meters) above sea level. At this elevation, the atmosphere is thin compared to at sea level. Pictures taken from the top of Everest on a clear day distinctly show that the sky…

Why is snow soft and ice hard?

Answered by Alex DeSmet, Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Pocatello This is a good question, because snow and ice are both water in a frozen form. So, why do they feel so much different to us? Well, the answer is actually fairly simple, and it has to do with air. As snowflakes fall to the ground and…

What does an strong El Niño winter mean for Idaho?

Answered by Mike Huston, Meteorologist, National Weather Service Unusually warm sea surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific continue to support El Niño conditions and forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center unanimously favor the development of a “strong” El Niño which is expected to persist through the winter and gradually weaken during the spring of 2016. Across the United States, temperature and precipitation impacts…