Thursday, May 24, 2018

VITAL Information: Recognizing Drowning. It Does Not Look Like You Think!

With Memorial Day and summer coming up, please read this article. People, who could easily be rescued, drown all the time because people don't recognize what drowning looks like.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

As 'Cheap' Wind Energy Gets More Prevalent, Why Are Electric Rates Going Up?

There is an easy-to-follow explanation here.

P.S. After posting this, I learned that Westar Energy, my electric provider, is raising its rates because of wind energy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Weather: The All-Purpose Excuse XXIV

I can't count the number of times I have written about businesses using "the weather" as an excuse for poor results. Finally, The Wall Street Journal has called one of them on it.

Seven Years Since Joplin Tornado

Joplin tornado, 5:35pm, before reaching the city.
Photo taken from behind by the Basehunters.
Used under license agreement.
Path of Joplin Tornado
Today is the anniversary of a terrible, terrible occasion: the Joplin Tornado of 2011. There were 161 people killed. The number of deaths was inflated due to issues with the warnings; it was the worst failure of the warning system since it began in the 1950's, and due to the fact the tornado could not be seen as it moved across Joplin (the photo above was taken from behind). The photo below was taken from the path of the tornado looking right at the tornado. It was invisible.
Photo by Jaime Green
People could not see the tornado coming nor were they receiving an effective warning.

The story of what went wrong is in my book, When the Sirens Were Silent. It is a dramatic story that illustrates how to make sure nothing like this happens again.
Sirens also contains comprehensive tornado safety rules for home, for schools and for businesses.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Yes, Catholics Believe God Loves All of Us

As a Catholic, I found this morning's headlines both accurate and misleading.

It is accurate because...
Catholics believe, 100%, God loves everyone. Period. It makes no difference whether a person is gay or straight, male or female. God loves us all the way we are! I am very pleased Pope Francis has again reiterated that God loves gay people as much as He loves straight people.

It may be misleading because...
Some are taking the Pope's quoted words to mean that sex outside of traditional marriage is now permitted by the Catholic Church. This is not correct and it equally applies to people who are gay and who are straight.

Hopefully, this is helpful to those trying to figure out what this means.

It Was a Weather Balloon

Geez. The Atlanta overreaction.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Graduations, Vacations and Father's Day: A GREAT Book As a Gift to Give or To Yourself

I hesitated to post this review on my blog because it is rather long. However, since it is graduation season and Father's Day is coming up, I urge you to consider purchasing it as a gift or as reading for your summer vacation. You will not be disappointed!

Book Shark
5.0 out of 5 starsWarning! This Book Will "Blow" You Away
Published on
Verified Purchase
Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith
" Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather " is a fantastic book that captures the evolution of meteorology through the personal accounts of Mike Smith. Like the perfect storm in which converging elements collide, this book is part memoir, part science and all real. 

This wonderful 304 page-book is composed of the following twenty-three chapters: 1. The Ruskin Heights Tornado, 2. No One Ever Knew it Was Coming, 3. "Nice People, But Odd", 4. The Government Gets in Gear, 5.The "Town That Died In Its Sleep", 6. The Paul Revere of Grandview Junior High, 7. The End of the Beginning, 8. Storm Chasers, 9. Tragedy, 10. Fujita, 11. The Day TV Weather Grew Up, 12. St. Louis and the Holiday Weather Hotline, 13. The Microburst Mystery, 14. Delta 191: Why Weren't They Warned, 15. The Delta Trial, 16. Weatherdata, 17. America Gets Dopplerized, 18. Hurricane Andrew, 19. Katrina: Part One, 20. Katrina: Part Two - Inaction In Action, 21. Katrina: Part Three - Murder By Bureaucracy, 22. Greensburg: Capstone of the Modern Warning System, and 23. Where There's Life, There's Hope.

1. Written like a great engaging novel, but it's all real!
2. Great science writing! Bravo!
3. An educational treat.
4. The history of meteorology in elegant, page-turning prose from a first person account.
5. Meteorological terms well defined and illustrated.
6. The evolution of the Weather Bureau culture, fascinating stuff.
7. Mr. Smith knows his science and does a better job of conveying it to the masses.
8. Supercell thunderstorms, truly enlightening.
9. Tornadoes, tornadoes, tornadoes.
10. Interesting facts throughout the book.
11. How weather radars work.
12. The most important storm chase ever and why it is so.
13. Weather detective extraordinaire, Ted Fujita.
14. Find out when the first third tornado was broadcast live.*
15. Downbursts and microbursts!
16. The crash of Delta 191 in detail and its impact.
17. Doppler radars and its interesting history.
18. So many splendid examples of the progression of meteorology. Excellent!
19. The impact of Mr. Smith's Weatherdata business...
20. The evolution of the creation of various weather agencies.
21. A fascinating look at hurricanes. A better understanding of wind forces.
22. Hurricane Katrina analyzed to complete satisfaction and what we hopefully learned from it.
23. The terrible tornado that struck Greensburg, Kansas.
24. The advantages of precise forecasting.
25. Great use of illustrations!
26. Enjoyable read from cover to cover!

1. No references to speak of.
2. Having to buy extra copies for friends and family.
3. Having to wait for Mr. Smith's next book!

In summary, Mr. Smith "blew" me away with this book. A unique scientific book that reads like a great mystery novel and educates like an encyclopedia. This book was a real treat to read. It starts off with Mr. Smith's prodigious knowledge in meteorology, his passion for his work and his innate ability to convey such experiences in an engaging manner. Bravo! I can't recommend this book enough!

*Since writing the book, I learned there was an earlier broadcast in Wichita Falls and another weeks before my broadcast. I have corrected the record wherever I can.

Sunday Fun

Nothing I can add.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

100 Years Ago Sunday: Anniversary of the Last of the Legendary Codell, Kansas, May 20 Tornadoes

"Weatherwise" Magazine, June, 1977
Sunday is the 100th anniversary of one of the most unusual events in the history of meteorology: The third of the May 20th Codell, Kansas, tornadoes. They are so unusual most all basic meteorology textbooks mention them and many popular publications have written about them, including Readers' Digest and many others.

Think about it: A tiny Kansas town of 150 hit by tornadoes on May 20, 1916; May 20, 1917; and May 20, 1918!

Codell, in north central Kansas, north of Hays, was a bustling town along the Union Pacific Railroad early in the 20th Century. It had all of the trappings of a prosperous small town in America at the time of the first tornado: passenger railroad service, bank, hardware store, hotel, churches, grocery store, lumber yard and even an opera house.
I learned all this when I visited the town and interviewed the late Howard Hockett, a survivor of the tornadoes, for a 1977 article in Weatherwise magazine.

He told me, and historical records confirm, the first two tornadoes missed the heart of the city. Here is the list, with the Fujita F-Scale intensity rankings. The survivors told me they called them "cyclones" at the time.
  • F-2 1916, no injuries
  • F-3 In 1917, tornado just west of the town, no injuries
  • F-4 tornado in 1918, ten killed, the center of town was hit
Below, courtesy of Weatherwise, is a map of the path of the three tornadoes. The dot was the center of the town.
A number of buildings were not rebuilt after the 1918 storm. 
Remains of Codell's Methodist church as they appeared when I visited in 1977.
It was one of the buildings not rebuilt after the 1918 tornado.
According to Hockett, the legends the town emptied out immediately after the last tornado or that people after the 1918 tornado spent every May 20 in the basement are false. Howard did say, "But, we were sure aware of what day it was!"

The erosion in the town's population and its prosperity started after the 1918 tornado, but, according to Hockett, the Great Depression and the difficulties for the town's bank are what really caused the decline. Today, about 50 still live there. A great article about current residents of Codell is here

I was pleased to learn a memorial is being erected and will be dedicated Sunday. Mrs. Ellen Hockett, 106, and also a survivor, is expected to attend. 
Codell memorial under construction at Ft. Hays State University
I'd like to close this article with best wishes for the dedication ceremony Sunday and by wishing Codell a tornado-free future

What I Was Doing Five Years Ago At This Time

This tornado was southwest of Wichita in southwest Sedgwick County.

Live Feed of Kilauea Erupting

Specular sights and sounds here. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Thought of the Day

Drones, like kites, will find any tree in the area.

It is Long Past Time For the Senate to Confirm Barry Myers as the Head of NOAA

I know Barry well and I worked with NOAA for 47 years. NOAA desperately needs his visionary leadership.

Please read more here, then email your Senators.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tom Wolfe, Rest in Peace

I was saddened to read of the passing of the great American author, Tom Wolfe.

He was a giant of American literature. His The Right Stuff is my favorite book along with the movie of the same name.
Since angels are depicted as wearing all white, Tom won't even have to change clothes in the afterlife.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers.

I am blessed with wonderful parents. This photo was taken on Mother's Day last year and I want to thank my Mom for all she has done for me and for our family.

Friday, May 11, 2018

More Global Warming Nonsense

I would be nice to watch a national newscast without a ridiculous allegation pertaining to global warming. This was on NBC Nightly News Wednesday.

So, global warming-caused warmer-than-average spring temperatures that caused more pollen? Apparently, NBC News couldn't even read the newspaper headlines from the same day as their broadcast.
This is not a "mistake." If all of these were genuinely mistakes they wouldn't all be in the same direction -- making global warming seem worse than it is. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tornado Season is Cranking Up: Are You Ready??

The longer range meteorological forecast data indicates that the potential for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms (large hail and damaging thunderstorm winds) and flash floods will increase from this weekend through at least the end of the month.

That does not mean these storms will occur every day. Plus, beyond about five days, we can't pin down locations. This "heads up" is simply to point out that our exceptionally mild 2018 tornado season to-date is going to quickly come to an end and it is time to prepare in earnest for tornado and severe storm season.

I wish to recommend my short, easy-to-read book that will help you prepare for these violent storms.
When the Sirens Were Silent provides tornado safety rules for school, work and for home. It tells the story of the 2011 Joplin Tornado. One-hundred sixty-one were killed because the warning system failed to properly perform that horrible Sunday. Sirens tells you what went wrong and how to avoid those issues going  forward. All of this is packed into a compelling 65 pages.

Here is the Washington Post's review:

Because I want everyone to read this book, it is only $2.99 as an ebook. It can be read on your Kindle,
Nook, or on your computer with Amazon's free Kindle Cloud Reader.
The time to get this life-saving information is now, not when a dangerous storm is bearing down on you. 

Storm Chase = Great Clouds

Storm chases aren't entirely about violent storms. They are also about seeing spectacular Kansas skies. These photos were taken a May 1 in central Kansas.
The photo above is a cumulonimbus cloud seen west of Hoisington, Kansas.

Below are hail streaks southwest of Hoisington, Kansas.

Supercell thunderstorm west of Great Bend, Kansas, with the 2018 winter wheat crop in the foreground.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A New Way to Forecast Tornadoes? Maybe.

Tornadoes are well known for the sounds they make. Turns out they also make infrasound which might be used in the future to warn of their development.