Thursday, August 17, 2017

Great Lakes Significant Tornado Risk Today

The area in brown has a significant risk of a tornado later today. It includes Flint, Detroit, Cleveland and Toledo, among others. Please keep up on the weather later today.

IMPORTANT: Confirming Your Eclipse Glasses Are Suitable

From Popular Science.

Note: Amazon has recalled and refunded payment on what turned out to be unsafe glasses.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Practical Progress in Weather Science

Earlier this afternoon, I tweeted ( @usweatherexpert ) the item immediately below.

We now have objective methods of determining rotation and how that rotation might translate to
damaging thunderstorm winds. You see the risk area concentrated, shortly after my tweet, around Andover, Kansas.

The tweet below is from Brandon Ivey. There is a lot of similar tree and fence damage in Andover and
the surrounding area, which occurred about 3:45pm.

The same thunderstorm moved into the Eureka, Kansas, area where it caused damage that was more severe.

Meanwhile, the area marked "H" on the tweet did not cause significant wind damage, at least to my knowledge.

None of this is to praise me. It is to praise all of the meteorologists who have worked so hard to learn these things about the atmosphere and then apply them to the benefit of society. I especially want to single out my AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions colleagues this afternoon for some great storm warnings.

On Behalf of 100% of the Men and Women Who Worked So Hard to Get That Degree....

[Bumped, original posting immediately below] is insulting to call a meteorologist a "weatherman" or "weather girl." Please, please don't, especially to women meteorologists.

Also on behalf of 100% of meteorologists...

I was in a business lunch today and a split second after the waitress put our plates on the table, a 'gentleman' maneuvered between the waitress, the serving cart and a support pole to get within 6" of our table. "I have a question about radar!," he said as he leaned over us. And, for the next five (literally) minutes (while my food was getting cold) complained about The Weather Channel's radar (they are a competitor, I don't know anything about them) and couldn't understand why thunderstorms can move in different directions rather than always moving in the same direction (higher thunderstorms are steered by different winds than less tall thunderstorms).

Just about every meteorologist I know who is in the public eye has similar, sometimes frequent, stories of this nature.

Yes, meteorologists attempt to be public-spirited and, yes, want to help when we can. But, barging into someone's lunch is just rude and continuing to ask multiple questions when people are waiting to eat and resume a conversation is extremely rude. Please don't.

Giant Hail and Damaging Winds Possible

Here is the longer-term forecast I promised:
This watch, which includes Wichita, Kansas City, Enid and Butler, MO represents, in my opinion, a bit more serious threat than most. I would not surprise me to see instances of hailstones ≥ 3" in diameter driven by high winds -- a situation that can cause a great deal of damage and pose a safety threat.

There is also a risk of a tornado or two, especially in south central and parts of southeast Kansas.

Please keep up on the latest weather information if you live in the blue area above.

Worried About This Afternoon

Please see my forecast valid from now until 4:30pm. I'll post an additional forecast pertaining to later in the day.

Today's Tornado Outlook

What a busy day! Please see postings about the eclipse and meteorologist etiquette below.

I recommend keeping up on the latest weather information in the areas outlined below. The AccuWeather app has already correctly gone off for me once this morning. 

There is a significant tornado risk today over parts of Kansas and Missouri, including the Greater Kansas City area. Since this is out of season, please make sure your friends/family are aware.
The brown, 5%, is the area of significant risk.

Accompanying the tornado risk is a risk of giant hail in the hatched area.
The map shows the probability of hail 1" or larger in diameter. Yellow, 15%, is significant on this chart. The red is 30%, which is an enhanced risk. The hatching is where the hail is forecast to be 2" or larger.

I recommend putting away anything that could be damaged by hail, especially your car.

From the Eclipse Files II

How to make a pinhole projector. Click here.

From the Eclipse Files...

Via Twitter...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dave Barry on the Eclipse

On Aug. 21, the United States, having won a bidding war against Qatar for the rights, will host a total solar eclipse...

Read more here:

That is how Dave Barry begins a wonderful column on Monday's eclipse. Enjoy!!

He does bring up the critical policy question: What if the Russians hack the eclipse?

More Good News: Lightning Deaths Decreasing

An interesting story about the multiple reasons -- including improved education -- for decreasing lightning deaths.

Note the empty stands. Great American Ballpark had been warned of
lightning by AccuWeather.
My quibble with the story is it does not include lightning warnings from AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions and others as a source of fewer lightning deaths. A stadium warned of lightning, and then evacuated, is much less likely to produce lightning deaths.

Who Deserved the Nobel Prize?

A terrific commentary by Joe Bastardi.

Hailstorm "Marks Its Territory"

Thursday, August 10, a massive hailstorm occurred in northwest Kansas. With stones of more than four inches in diameter, it did tremendous damage to homes, cars, trees and just about everything in its path.

Below is a screen grab of the radar while the storm was still in progress along with the dual-polarization radar's near real-time estimate of hail size trailing behind.
A supercell is a type of thunderstorm that causes the largest hail and strongest tornadoes. The supercell responsible for the giant hail was, at the time of the screen grab, just south of Great Bend, Kansas, nearly dead center in the state. Behind its path (i.e., to the northwest of the storm) are colored lines signifying the size. Near the town of WaKeeney the estimate is more than 4 inches.

Thanks to Michael Armstrong of KOCO TV in Oklahoma City, and to Twitter, the high resolution
satellite data shows a severe gash in the vegetation caused by the hailstorm.

Hailstorms of that nature are not soon forgotten.

Monday, August 14, 2017

You MUST Have Proper Eye Protection to View the Eclipse

Until totality occurs -- even at the "diamond ring" stage -- you can suffer serious, lifetime eye injuries by viewing Monday's eclipse without proper eye protection.

Here is a story, from Oregon, about a man who viewed an eclipse without the proper protection and has suffered the rest of his life as a result.

What Happen If It Rains During the Eclipse?

With one week to go before the big event, what happens if it rains during the solar eclipse?

I can tell you exactly. I know from painful personal experience.

When America West Airlines, which was trying to quickly raise cash, dropped round-trip air-fares from Wichita to Honolulu to $199 (with children’s discounts), I decided we should vacation in Hawaii to see the 1991 eclipse. Unfortunately, in order to get into the path of longest totality, and be in area with a statistically low chance of clouds (I had checked), the best place to be was the channel between Maui and the Island of Hawaii.

Our trip to Hawaii went fine. Two days later the big day came. We all got up at 4am and headed for the docks to board the ship that was going to take us to the path of totality. Unfortunately, the morning clouds – which are common in that part of Hawaii – were not breaking as forecast. 

The boat was great. As advertised, they had a band and specially equipped telescopes.  The pastries were tasty.

But, when the captain navigated into the path of totality, a light rain began falling. Showers are common in Hawaii, but it was unusual for them in that location at that time of year (which is why I picked it). My concern was increasing.

The big moment approached (as I recall, totality was just after 8am), the growing daylight reversed itself. It slowly began to darken. The rain continued. And, continued. On the flat ocean, you could see a hint of daylight on the horizon in all directions but it got almost as dark as night as the rain continued soaking our clothes. We never saw the sun until we docked later in the morning, long after the moon had cleared the sun's path. 

Of course, the mood on the ship went from cautiously pessimistic to morose. The band stopped playing. The booze consumption among the passengers ramped up. The crew got a bit surly because they – correctly, because of their behavior – realized they huge tips they were expecting were gone with the eclipse. We docked early.

After all of that time planning, spending all of that money, and hearing a constant barrage of complaints from my children on the way back, I was sad at the lost opportunity. Then, Brandon (eight year-old middle child) turned to me just before we docked and said, “I had a good time, Dad!” I was so relieved – all the money and effort and at least one of them had a good time! And, then, after pausing a beat, he said, “Not!”

My advice? Pray for sun.