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…

Why does lightning sometimes hit the ground and other times go from cloud to cloud?

Answered by Travis Wyatt, National Weather Service, Pocatello Office All lightning comes from thunderstorms. When a thunderstorm develops, electrical charges (either positive or negative) within the cloud separate. This creates two different electric fields between the top of the cloud and the base of the cloud. When these electric fields build up enough, there is…

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…