Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tenth Anniversary of the Joplin Tornado Approaching

Jaime Green's camera was pointed directly at the
tornado but it was completely invisible

May 21st is the tenth anniversary of the horrific Joplin Tornado which killed 161 people. It was one of the rare cases of the tornado warning system failing during a major storm. When combined with the fact the tornado could not been seen as it approached people were caught completely off-guard. This is why we urge you to act on the tornado warnings rather than going outside (and putting yourself in danger) to look for the storm. 

Because we never want "another Joplin," I wrote and published a book about this unique, horrific storm. It is available for just $2.99, here. We set the price very low because we want everyone to learn the lessons of Joplin so this never happens again. 

When the Sirens Were Silent was meticulously researched. Here is a review from Amazon.com written by a victim of the storm. 

Customer Review

In addition to the story of the tornado, When the Sirens Were Silent has comprehensive storm safety suggestions for home, schools and businesses. This short read should be part of your preparedness for tornado season 2021.

Tornado Season: About Eight Days Away

The data indicates that a period of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms could occur from about the 9th to the 13th of this month. Then, "tornado season" will begin in earnest about the 23rd. If you would like to see a spectacular video to get you into a tornado season frame of mind, click here. If you want to learn more about how storm warnings save lives, go here

There are several things we recommend before tornado season begins. They include, 

  • Checking your insurance coverage.
  • Do a photographic inventory of your home from top to bottom. This will be essential for filing an insurance claim if your home is struck by a tornado or other severe storm.
  • Chose your storm safety area. The basement is the best, especially if you have a bath or under strong furniture like a pool table. Do not shelter near a "walk out" basement area. If you do not have a basement, shelter on the lowest floor in a bath or closet. 
  • Practice for a tornado warning. Show your children where the safety area is located and actually take them there. Tell them to go on their own if they happen to be caught alone in the house. 
  • Buy a backup charger for your phone and put it in your storm safety area.
  • Put some diapers, a couple of bottles of water and some snacks (trail mix, for example) in the shelter area. 
If you don't have a basement, a bath or closet toward
the middle of the house is your best choice. Put
as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.
Determine how you are going to receive tornado warnings. I recommend at least two of the methods below:
  • Turn on your smartphone's emergency alerts (iPhone example below). Take it to bed with you if storms are predicted.
  • Get the AccuWeather or similar app that tracks your location via GPS. 
  • Get a NOAA Weather Radio and program it for your area. I recommend programming it for: tornadoes, flash floods, winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings and ice storm warnings. If you add severe thunderstorm warnings, it may drive you nuts when you are trying to sleep. 
  • Sign up for WeatherCall
How to activate storm warnings 
on your iPhone

There is more to do when violent storms are in the immediate forecast. I'll cover those when appropriate. In the meantime, please make sure these are completed by the end of this week or you may forget. 

Please forward this to friends or relatives. There are strong indications tornado season 2021 will be worse than last year's. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

An Amazing Two-Week Forecast

Modern meteorological models, when used by meteorologists who are both well-trained and experienced, are a marvel. 

Ten days ago, on Friday, February 19, we ran this story: Heads Up: Southeast United States.

Now, with four rivers at major flood levels and a dozen or so flooding at moderate levels, the correction between the forecast and actual rainfall is remarkable. Below is the rainfall for the seven days ending at 7am this morning. 
The dark stripes of red are amounts of 6" or more. A few spots received eight inches. 

The NWS's seven-day rainfall forecast continues to show moderate  
rains from Mississippi to the Georgia coast. 

My motivation for pointing all of this out is,
  • The Southeastern third of the United States is now very wet. If we get persistent, heavy spring rains, flooding that is even more serious than current levels is likely.
  • We are approaching tornado season. The strong thunderstorms that produce tornadoes can also cause flash flooding in areas that are already wet.
As weather science continues to improve, please take our forecasts and warnings seriously. 

30+ Years of Climate Propaganda Have Made People Impervious

Big Climate can continue to do focus groups if it wants but it looks like it will be futile.

And, this doesn't even include last week's terrible week for wind energy.

Here's a thought: level with people. Accurately state the advantages and disadvantages of a warmer climate and let them come to their own conclusions. 

Nah, they'll never do that. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Update on Flooding Threat - 11pm

Here is the likelihood of flash flooding between now and 8 am Monday.

A moderate risk of flash flooding is nothing to sneeze at. If you live in that area, please do not cross flooded areas by car and do have a "go kit" so you can quickly evacuate. 

Updated radar 10:53pm:
Orange polygons are flash flood warnings. The arrows show the direction of movement of the rain. Obviously, more moderate to heavy-intensity rain will fall in the flood areas during the night.

As of 9:28pm, the radar still indicates the area with the highest flooding risk may receive an additional 1-3 inches of rain during the night. A few spots have already had nearly 8 inches. 
Please monitor the weather in your area if you live in the "moderate risk" area. Turn on the "government notifications" on your smartphone and take it to bed with you if you live in a flood-prone area. 

11pm. Last update of the night. 

Update on Tornado and Flood Threat

Where the tornado threat is greatest.

Updated watches and warnings as of 6:40pm:

Color code:
  • Magenta = flash flood warning. North of Nashville, these are at or over "flash flood emergency" levels. Do not travel tonight. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.
  • Greens = various flood warnings and watches.
  • Yellow = tornado watch.
  • Amber = severe thunderstorm warning.
  • Dark pink = severe thunderstorm watch. 

Tornado and Flood Threat Today and Tonight

 As of 10:25am, here is the flood threat area we've been forecasting for the past week.

  • Red is a flash flood warning. Immediate action needed if you live in a flood-prone area and -- whatever you do -- don't try to cross a flooded area by foot or by car. 
  • Greens are various flood watches or warnings.
UPDATED: New flash flood outlook as of 10:52am. 

The area of rain now developing over Texas and Oklahoma will move east and north
over the area now experiencing flooding and will worsen the situation by tonight. 

And, there is a significant risk of tornadoes this afternoon and tonight in the brown area.

And, finally, there is a risk of very large hail ( ≥ 2") in the hatched area this morning and afternoon.

This includes Dallas, Sulfur Springs, Isabel, Texarkana and Arkadelphia. 

Sunday Story for Black History Month

Dockum was the first civil rights sit-in
Dockum Sit-In Memorial

Two of the most important milestones in the civil rights movement occurred in Kansas. They were Brown v Board of Education in Topeka and the Dockum Sit-In in Wichita. The former is well known and well documented. The latter was the first civil rights sit-in but is barely known nationally. I've often wondered if that was because it was both non-violent and successful. Not only were the Dockum Rexall Drug Stores in Wichita opened to blacks, the entire Rexall Chain (a big deal in that era) in Kansas desegregated. I highly recommend this piece on the sit-in. 

The building that contained the lunch counter is pictured above. The memorial is in a "pocket park" a few steps to the west. Next time you are in Wichita, it is well worth a visit. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Flood Threat Continues in Mid-South

The flood threat continues in the Mid-South region. This is the radar at 9:45am.

Because of COVID, we are just getting a chance to meet our new grandson. Blogging may be less frequent than usual the next few days. I invite you to scroll down because there is a great deal of content the last week. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thoughts About My Genesis G80

Since Tiger Woods' terrible crash in a Genesis GV80, I've been asked -- many times -- what I think of my Genesis G80. Tiger was driving the 2021 GV80 which is the hatchback version. I have a 2020 G80 which is pictured above and I have driven the 2021 version. 

I grew up in a Ford family. My grandfather, father, and brothers and sisters were part of my family of Ford dealers. Ford was one of our major clients at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. I was very happy with my Taurus sedans. Unfortunately, Ford decided to stop making sedans so I shopped elsewhere. After test driving cars all over Wichita, I decided to purchase the Genesis. 

Now, to answer the questions I have been asked, in no order,

  • It drives and rides better than any car I've ever driven. As an extremely frequent car renter for business (Hertz's President's Circle), I've driven more than a dozen makes of cars. The G80 is the best. I also was impressed by the G90. 
  • While the ride is great, the #1 reason I purchased the G80 was its incredible safety features. I'm very impressed by those and, yes, I frequently use the intelligent cruise control that has been mentioned in several articles. It is great. 
  • The warranty is one of the best in the industry.
  • Genesis' "connected services" is fine and I've used it once. It is good that the car can connect with them, in case of emergency, without using my cell phone. That said, I can take or leave that type of service.
  • Genesis brings you a loaner when your car is getting an oil change or other maintenance. They bring your car back freshly cleaned, inside and out.
  • Finally, my dealer, Genesis of Wichita, is just incredible. Highly recommended. 
I purchase cars for the long haul. I had my last Taurus for seven years before I was struck by a hit-and-run driver. I plan to keep the G80 for a long time and, so far, it appears to be an excellent value. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Latest Palmer Drought Index and Flood Outlook

Palmer Drought Index

This data is for the week ending January 19. While some rain occurred, the drought west of the Continental Divide continues with only slight improvement. Unfortunately, below normal precipitation is expected in the West the next seven days. 

Extremely wet conditions continue from Delaware to the Carolinas and then west to the Ark-La-Tex region. I'm sorry to report that forecast rainfall continues to be heavy over the next five days and likely beyond. 

The above map is from now until 6pm CST Wednesday, March 4. Significant rainfall may occur the week after. Here is the 8 to 14 day outlook valid from March 3 to 9.
Please note the above normal rainfall from the Ozarks to the Middle Atlantic region. So, if you live in a low-lying area or an area prone to flooding, now is the time to begin preparations. Here are some suggestions:
  • Put together a "go kit." This should include items (photo albums and other valuables) that can fit in your car. 
  • Keep your car in condition to leave on short notice. Make sure it has plenty of fuel. 
  • Don't allow prescription medicines to run out. 
  • Learn where to turn off water and electricity in case you should have to evacuate. 
  • Make sure school buses do not drive through flooded areas. 
Please keep up on local weather and river forecasts. Addition: The National Weather Service in Nashville is also concerned about flooding and they have passed along a link to monitor middle Tennessee Rivers. Just click here

The "Emissions-Free" Fantasy of Electric Cars

 The Wall Street Journal used to know better than this.

There is no such thing as an "emissions free" electric car unless the electricity is hydroelectric or nuclear. If your electricity is generated natural gas or coal, the emissions are obvious. If the electricity is generated by wind turbines there are still emissions. Why? Because they are so unreliable that natural gas generators are run in the background to go online at a moments' notice. 

After what happened in Texas and in other parts of the South (power failures due to ice storms), do you really want to put all of your fuel eggs in the electricity basket?

Coronavirus: A Race Against Time

We being told there are more virulent versions of the coronavirus threatening to spread across the United States. The best way to damp them down is with vaccinations but the effort continues to badly stumble. Per NBC News:

Pharmacists at Inova Health, one of the largest hospital systems in the Washington, D.C., area, say they started noticing significant amounts of leftover vaccine in almost every vial, even after they used the additional sixth doses in Pfizer's vials. But because of the FDA's regulations, they are being forced to throw out any extra vaccine.

"It's heartbreaking for us," Massiah-White said. "We've had multiple team members that rotate through here, and at least daily somebody says, 'Why can't we pool the waste?'

The Inova pharmacists did an experiment, taking 100 vials that had residual vaccine. Eighty of them had significant amounts left over. The pharmacists found that with the vaccine left in the 80 vials, they could make 40 additional full doses. That meant that on a typical vaccination day, when the hospital will typically give more than 4,000 shots, it could give an additional 400 vaccination shots with the same supply.

"Ultimately, when there are enough vaccines, wasting some at the bottom won't matter," Jones said. "But right now, we are millions of doses short. So a few extra doses from each set of vials will make a difference in literally hundreds of people a day."

This exchange sums up the situation well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Extreme Concern About Southeast Flooding

The forecasts continue to indicate excessive rainfall in the already wet Southeast.

Seven Day Forecast

This is the National Weather Service's official forecast of rainfall for the next seven days. Five inch amounts are widespread over central and western Tennessee and immediately adjacent areas. 

15-Day Forecast

The bright blue represents forecasts of more than ten inches of rain over the next 15 days from the European global model. 

Given the already wet conditions, there will be flooding and the flooding may be major in some locations.

If you live in a low-lying area or an area prone to flooding, now is the time to begin preparations. Here are some suggestions:
  • Put together a "go kit." This should include items (photo albums and other valuables) that can fit in your car. 
  • Keep your car in condition to leave on short notice. Make sure it has plenty of fuel. 
  • Don't allow prescription medicines to run out. 
  • Learn where to turn off water and electricity in case you should have to evacuate. 
  • Make sure school buses do not drive through flooded areas. 
I'll continue to update this situation. 

Recommend Governor Kelly and the Legislature Reconsider Wind Power in Kansas

I recommend Governor Laura Kelly and the
Kansas Legislature reconsider wind energy in our state.
Kansas gets nearly 40% of its electricity from wind. To me, that is dangerously high. Now, Gov. Kelly wants to add more? Given catastrophe in Texas has proven the point of wind's critics -- that it cannot be depended upon when it is needed the most -- I would urge the State of Kansas to quickly reconsider. 

Wind energy has a use, especially in very dry areas. However, 40% seems plenty. The state should declare a moratorium on new construction. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Oprah: Global Warming, "Sweat the Small Stuff"

It is hilarious to me that Oprah, who has spent a great team of time over the years instructing us about cutting our carbon footprints. Here is just one example from her magazine

We are supposed to adjust our thermostats, for example, while Oprah...
While I don't blame President Biden, it seems that the celebrities are more confident that they will not be called at as hypocrites during his administration. 

-- Late Update --

Of course, this will mean another trip on her $70 million jet.

The Texas Mess Is Nowhere Near Over

The hypothermia death toll continues to mount.

Unlike when a tornado strikes a home and causes damage, first responders do not know where to look for people who may have suffered from hypothermia from the outside. This may be a long process.

Water problems are not solved.
This story will be unfolding for at least another week.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Thank You for the Biggest Week in Our History!

We've had more than 100,000 views this week. That's even more than during Hurricane Sandy. Thanks to all of you. 

50th Anniversary of 20th and 21st Century's Worst Blizzard in the Central Plains

Today is the 50th anniversary of the worst blizzard in the history of Wichita, Amarillo, Dodge City, Woodward and a number of other Great Plains' cities. I have an article for meteorologists in the current issue of the National Weather Association's newsletter

For two weeks, the Air National Guard
in three states frantically dropped hay to 
stranded cattle

This afternoon is the 50th anniversary of what some call the 6th worst tornado outbreak in U.S. history. 

In those days, radar was black and white and had to be viewed in a darkened room. There are three tornadoes northwest of Jackson, MS on that above radar image. It was far more difficult then to detect tornadoes on radar and, per the National Weather Service's after-action report, the tornado warnings were of high quality. 

After the extraordinary cold and winter storms of last week, it is important to realize that extreme weather can occur regardless of global temperatures.