Thursday, October 19, 2017

30 Year Anniversary of "Black Monday"

We interrupt our normal science-based blogging. 

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Black Monday crash of 1987, when the Dow lost more than 22% of its value in a single day. The biggest one-day crash in history.

These days, too many, especially those under the age of 30, don't seem to understand the critical nature of beginning to invest at an early age. The magic of compound interest can make you very comfortable when you retire but only if you begin when you are young.

I would like to demonstrate the value of the above advice with excerpts from that Friday's Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser. When everyone else was in full panic mode, Lou was calm and cool.


Lou had three of titans of investing as his guests on his show. I was always so impressed with Sir John Templeton. Some called him the greatest investor of the 20th Century.
As was usually the case, the late Sir John was absolutely correct. In 1987, there were no laptop computers, no smartphones, no iPods, no satellite phones, no treatment for AIDS, no internet, no nationwide network of Doppler radars, and no 3D printers. All of those contributed mightily to the expansion of America's economy.

The crash created tremendous investment opportunities. If you had invested $1,000 in a Dow index fund the day this edition of W$W aired, that investment would be worth $11,768.21 today (not including fund expenses).

Unfortunately, Louis Rukeyser is no longer with us to help educate today's audiences how to invest. So, let me offer you an alternative: Andrew Tobias' The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need  is a superb, easy to read primer on investing. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Yes, We Are All Americans

Houston, after Harvey:

As I walked the floor (which I estimated to be the size of 10 to 12 football fields), I found that many people just needed someone to listen to their stories and maybe hold their hands.  I saw families and single mothers with two, four, or even six children, including newborns.  I spoke to people who had been separated from families or had no one else in the world.  I prayed with elderly and handicapped people and became friends with an elderly man with no legs in a wheelchair who always had a smile for me.  I procured small stuffed animals and toys for dozens of small children and babies.  I was rewarded with tiny smiles and blessed to hold little hands.
I have been amazed by the courage and hope and faith in God displayed by these victims who did not behave like "victims."  They kept up their spirits and told their stories and, in very profound ways, ministered to me and other volunteers.  Yes, there was some tension and tribulation, and there were some tears, but I saw miracles of strength and hope, and I love every hour I was there.
Finally, I met a woman who spent 14 hours in chest-deep water in her home – holding her family bible over her head the whole time – before she was rescued.  She thought her son had drowned but had learned that he had also been rescued.  He was later brought to the Dallas shelter, and they were reunited.  We shared stories with each other and read scriptures from the Bible she had rescued.  We laughed, we cried, and we hugged.  I was blessed to meet this sister in Christ.
There are too many these days who want to divide us. The responses of Americans to these disasters has been amazing. Please read the entire article at the link.

"But I Kind of Got Sick of Calculus Classes"

Many people who want to be meteorologists get discouraged in college because of the extraordinarily difficult curricula. One of them is the director of this year's World Series broadcasts.

Guess things worked out okay for him!

Happy 55th Birthday, AccuWeather!

With all of the recent storms and adverse weather, I didn't want to let this important occasion pass. AccuWeather just celebrated its 55th anniversary. Below is our corporate headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania. 

I have the pleasure of working in AccuWeather's extreme weather center in Wichita where we take care of most of our business-to-business clients.

Here is a video with our founder, Dr. Joel Myers, recounting the history of our company

I'm very proud to be part of this organization that has saved lives and property for so many.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Effectiveness of Building Codes and Storms

We have found that for different samples of our loss data, the benefit-cost ratios range from a low of 2.67 to a high of 7.93. In other words, comparing the increased construction cost to the expected reduction in windstorm damage across the life of the home shows anywhere from $2 to $8 in expected damage reduction—the benefit—for every dollar of increased cost.

The entire paper is here.

This Week's Rainfall


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Fun: "Afar" Visits Wichita

There’s a sense of pride and a deep understanding of the place that’s incredibly alluring to me as a traveler. It’s something that’s hard to find in bigger markets.

Come and find out for yourself what made Wichita so alluring to "Afar."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Issue: Wildfire Warnings Were Not Sent to Residents

Note: Please see additional information below.


A disturbing report from The Washington Post regarding the lack of warning for the tragic wildfires in California.
"Panic"? That is what we heard 60 years ago with regard to tornado warnings. The result, in part, of not warning of the wildfires?

In Lake County, officials took a different course.
And, the happy result?
No deaths have been reported in Lake County.
The death toll of 36, with dozens missing, is one of the worst fire fatality death tolls in decades.

Warnings can be successfully issued for wildfires as Lake County demonstrated with this round of catastrophic fires. But, authorities outside of the areas where tornado and hurricane warnings are routinely issued, still seem to have a mid-20th Century when it comes to their reluctance to issue warnings of natural hazards. That needs to change.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This is from my friend, Lanny Dean, who was covering the wildfires in California.
I don't care who wrote this story, it is NOT ACCURATE. At least not for Sonoma counties and north. I won't give an example, I'll state facts - I received notifications on my tablet/phone directly just as I would a tornado warning. Granted I received it only once, and that was not long after we moved into Sonoma county. But legitimate warning via text alert notification was transmitted and received.  

I suspect that this story doesn't have all the facts much like any media - it isn't giving all facts. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Touching Story About Two Survivors of the California Wildfires

A couple survived by spending hours in a neighbor's swimming pool. They lost everything except each other. A touching story and an example of great journalism.

Preventing Vicious Wildfire Damage?!

Courtesy: AccuWeather
Dr. Cliff Mass, a meteorology professor at the University of Washington, has a fascinating idea to prevent terrible wildfires like the ones of the last few days: use precision short-term weather forecast models to identify areas where extreme winds will occur and then kill the power before sparks or a fallen line can start a fire.

There is precedent. When violent tornadoes are moving through an urban area, the power is cut in the area of the tornado and, on occasion, just ahead of the tornado's path. This prevents fires in the damaged areas. Power was proactively cut in the path of Hurricane Irma if media reports were correct.

Of course, there are pro's and con's to Cliff's idea. It is certainly worth considering.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Misery in Puerto Rico Worsens

The Washington Post has the latest on the flash floods and mudslides in Puerto Rico. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to donate to the relief efforts. These are our fellow citizens. 

Update: There are many questions about to whom donations hold be directed. I checked with my friend, Puerto Rican (and meteorologist) John Morales, and he recommends this group: https://www.youcaring.com/familiesandkidsdevastatedbyhurricanemaria-956568

Please send some money their way. Any amount would be helpful! Thanks, and God bless you for doing so.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Barry Myers Nominated to Be Head of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The CEO of AccuWeather and my friend, Barry Myers, has been nominated by President Trump to be the head of NOAA. Barry will do an outstanding job leading NOAA to an even higher level of service to the American people.

UPDATE:
AccuWeather's press release, which includes some of Barry's qualifications, is here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Validating Yesterday's Forecast

I made a forecast of severe weather over southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma yesterday. It was terrible. But, I make it a point to publicly validate my forecasts, so here goes. 
  • Tornado potential: Elevated. One to three possible.  No tornadoes occurred. 
  • Hail potential: High, up to 2" in diameter  No large hail was reported. 
  • Damaging thunderstorm winds: Elevated, up to 60 mph   None before 7pm (it occurred after).
  • Lightning risk: High in Kansas, very high in Oklahoma Three people hit by lightning near Matfield Green, Kansas. 
Unfortunately, the lightning forecast was correct and it resulted in three injuries. The rest of the forecast was very wrong and I apologize for making a poor forecast. 

Amazing Fire Photography Essay

With the horrors of the fires in progress in California, there can be a beautiful side to wildfires. National Geographic has the story and the photography.

An Overview on the Hurricane Risk, Long Term

Ross McKittrick has written an article about the long-term hurricane risk in the United States. With another storm threatening, I recommend it.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Heads Up: Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma

The NWS has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for about the same geographic area.

____________________Original Posting Below_____________________
Heads up in the red outlined area:
  • Tornado potential: Elevated. One to three possible. 
  • Hail potential: High, up to 2" in diameter
  • Damaging thunderstorm winds: Elevated, up to 60 mph
  • Lightning risk: High in Kansas, very high in Oklahoma
From now until 7pm. 

Weather Science's Value is Finally Being Appreciated

Article #1:

What seemed impossible decades ago is now true: When they make landfall, big hurricanes aren’t killing many people. Only truly exceptional storms — or more likely exceptionally poor preparedness — spawn large numbers of fatalities in the United States when one comes ashore. The big death tolls are now from flooding, often days later.

The full article is here.

And, if you want to learn more about how meteorologists save so many lives, there is another article here.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Fun: The Worst Phishing Letter Ever

Because of Hurricane Nate, I didn't want to do the Sunday Fun feature this morning. Now that it looks like the damage was not too bad, I thought I'd do it to give everyone a laugh before they start their work week.

Here is the worst phishing letter ever:

We Were Fans of Komodo Dragons Before They Were Fashionable

Kathleen and I are huge fans of the wacky 1990 movie The Freshman. In spite of Marlon Brando reprising his role as The Godfather, it did not fill theaters (today, it has a 92% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes). Since it is available from many video sources, it is a movie I highly recommend.

The star of the movie was not Brando or a young Matthew Broderick. It was a Komodo Dragon.

Now, we learn that the dragon may be the key to a crucial new source of antibiotics.
You never know from where the next advance in science will come. Science is never "settled."