Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Did You Know Two Presidents Were Meteorologists?

They were Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman.
On the eve of another inauguration, I thought
you might enjoy learning more. 
Regarding Jefferson:

For the more than fifty years that Thomas Jefferson was a systematic weather observer, Monticello was the focus of his efforts to understand the American climate. Well before 1776, the date of his earliest surviving meteorological diary, he was carefully assembling information on the weather of Virginia and making his own observations at Williamsburg and Monticello. The fruits of these endeavors appeared in the chapter on climate in his Notes on the State of Virginia, which, when published in 1785, established his membership in the international fraternity of scientists and natural philosophers.

President Truman had the Weather Bureau deliver the morning weather map to his Oval Office desk every morning. He once told Francis Reichelderfer, then Chief of the Weather Bureau, "Your forecasts are no damn good!" Harry was also member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). In 1957, he gave the welcoming address to the AMS conference on severe storms which was held in Kansas City. 

Under a portrait of Jefferson, former president Truman proudly held a weather map at the Truman Library in 1957.
From left, Ken Spengler of the American Meteorological Society; Howard Orville, U.S. Navy; Truman; Robert Fletcher, U.S. Air Force; and Harry Jacobson, U. S. Weather Bureau.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Should the NFL Call Games Due to Weather?

Arrowhead Stadium in the snow.
Photo of by Tristan via Twitter
AccuWeather recently published an interesting article and poll on the subject of the NFL and its policy of playing most games during adverse weather. Before I make my suggestions I want to make a couple of clarifications. 

  • The 2018 Miami-Tennessee game was delayed by lightning, not just by rain. 
  • NFL games are rescheduled in event of a hurricane. They did just that in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma threatened a Chiefs v Miami game. 
My opinion: Things should continue as they are. NFL games should continue to be played in the snow and cold and similar conditions. It is part of the tradition of the game. However, I would make two changes:
  • Lightning delays often last too long in both college football and the NFL. This is due to the both using outdated science. 
  • As the article points out, there is far too much risk and disorganization when combining tornado risks and football stadiums full of fans. 
With regard to the latter hazard, there was a very close call at Iowa State University in 2005 when a damaging tornado passed within three miles of the stadium. The result was a mis-mash as this article explains:

Based on the approaching storm, at 4:45pm LST officials ordered an evacuation of the stadium based on a "scenario1" event," urging people to seek shelter in their cars to avoid lightning and hail. At this same time, a tornado was reported 8 miles southwest of the stadium. That information resulted in a "scenario 2" evacuation being ordered by 4:50 pm LST, and fans instead were told to seek shelter in large buildngs, most a 5–10-minute brisk walk away, stadium concourses, restrooms, and ditches. [The photo] shows the IEM webcam at 5:01pm LST from the ISU campus, one mile from the stadium, as a tornado caused F2 damage 3 miles NW of the stadium. More than10,000 people took shelter in the university’s Hilton Coliseum, with several thousand more walking to other buildings. Even larger numbers, however, remained outside and unsheltered. 

If 80,000 people are in a stadium, a 10-15 minute tornado warning will not suffice. In this era of mesoscale meteorological modeling, a game should be delayed or cancelled hours in advance when there is a high risk of tornadoes in the vicinity. If anything but the very weakest of tornadoes strike a stadium with thousands of people on the property there is a real chance of mass casualties. 

The ISU incident is one of several incidents in the new millennium: there was the 2004 near miss near the end of the Indy 500 and, the terrible deaths and maiming that occurred at the 2011 Sugarland Concert at the Indiana State Fair when fair officials and law enforcement disregarded warnings of high winds. 

The 2021 tornado season is right around the corner. If you run a venue or a sports team, I perform professional consulting in the field of safety during extreme weather and invite you to call. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

My, How Liberals Have Changed


I never thought I would find myself agreeing with Noam Chomsky but he is right on the money. Liberals used to champion the Bill of Rights. 

Sunday Fun: Visiting Wichita

Photo: VisitWichita

As vaccinations progress and the first glimmers of herd immunity take hold in the spring, I'd like to invite you to visit Wichita and the Kansas Flint Hills. 

Here is a long list of reasons why Wichita is an undiscovered gem. I lay out a vacation agenda, here

The Flint Hills in May and June are spectacular. 

The Flint Hills is the last stand of tallgrass prairie in the world. The vast area of stunning deep green is nothing like you will see anywhere else. 

So, consider visiting. You will be glad you did. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates: #1 Farmers in the USA

I guess with Joe Biden being sworn in next week it means that agricultural trade with China will increase. So, it was not a total surprise to learn Bill and Melina Gates are now the #1 farmers in the USA. Much of their farmland is in Nebraska, home to Bill's best friend Warren Buffett. 

I'm confident they will be following in the steps of Oliver and Lisa Douglas in their embrace of the Cornhusker State as depicted in the CBS sitcom Green Acres. 

Green Acres had a very catchy theme song. You can click on the music here and I've updated the lyrics below. The lyrics begin to be sung 15 seconds in. 

[Bill] Nebraska is the place to be.

Farm livin’ is the life for me.


Sand Hills spreading out so far and wide.


Keep Seattle, just give me that countryside.



[Melinda] Seattle's where I’d rather stay.


My shoes don’t like that ‘husker clay. 


I just adore the Space Needle’s sights.


Shopping at Borsheims just doesn’t seem so right.



[Bill] Casey’s...


[Melinda] Starbucks...


[Bill] The breeze...


[Melinda]  Tesla Trucks.



[Bill] You are my wife,


[Melinda] Good-bye Seattle life, 


[Both] Nebraska we are here!

Dust Storm Warning!

The curved red stripe on this satellite image is the blowing dust.

From earlier this afternoon:
 Rare dust storm warnings were issued for parts of Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. 

 My brother sent this photo of a wind turbine -- obscured by blowing dust. 

As of 1:15pm CST, here are the primary warnings across the north central USA.

  • Orange = blizzard warning
  • Gold = high wind warning.
  • Blue = winter weather advisory
  • Maroon = high wildfire danger
  • Gray = air quality warning due to blowing dust

Unicorn Meteor Shot

 Via Twitter, an amazing shot of a meteor and its trail. It was obtained accidentally. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wind Warning Expanded

Don't even think about trying to drive through the (orange) blizzard warning. Wind gusts of 60-65 mph were common today and will be in parts of the high wind warning (gold and brown) tomorrow. 

Major Storm: North Central United States

Please note if you are traveling
  • Orange is a blizzard warning. 
  • Gold = high wind warning.
  • Maroon = wildfire conditions high
  • Blue = winter weather advisory 
Please do not travel through the blizzard warning area and use caution in the high wind warning if you have a high profile vehicle. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Latest Goodreads Rating of "Warnings"

If you received a gift card for Christmas or if you have your COVID shot and want a great book to read on a late-winter vacation, may I suggest Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.

Here is the very latest rating from Goodreads.com:

Thank you, Samantha!

Major Wind Event Forecast for Thursday

The browns are high wind (≥ 50 mph) watches and warnings for a major windstorm starting tonight and continuing Thursday night. In some areas, gusts will exceed 80 mph. There will be scattered power outages and it will be dangerous for tractor-trailers and other high profile vehicles. 

Greens are various flood statements and warnings. Purple is a winter weather advisory and the greenish blue in the Upper Midwest is a winter storm watch. Bright blue is an avalanche warning. 

Another Essay That is Required Reading

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                                  -- President Ronald Reagan

We, sadly, live in extraordinary times. I've never proclaimed two "required readings" in a month, but this is January's second. The silence of President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris is deafening. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This Also Goes For Offending Governors

Hospitals: Stop worrying about offending your state dept of health and do the right thing! Get vaccines in the arms vulnerable community members quickly!

Monday, January 11, 2021

How Much Snow??

Snow depth across the United States as of midnight.

Total snow, season-to-date.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Free Speech Dies in Timidity"

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                                  -- President Ronald Reagan

I appreciate the 1000+ people who read my piece below. Thank you. If you haven't yet read it or Jason Whitlock's piece (purple link), I urge you to do so. 

It was written before the stunning anti-free speech events of yesterday evening during which dozens of conservative voices were kicked off Twitter and Facebook. Chad Felix Greene, who identifies himself publicly as a gay, Jewish man has written a cogent summary here. I urge you to read it, also.

The silence of President-Elect Joe Biden is deafening. In an earlier, better era, Presidents Truman and Kennedy would have denounced, in a heartbeat, these attempts to silence free speech. 

Where do we go from here?

Do not be intimidated. While we should always be polite, we should not shrink to caving in to political correctness. Regardless of whether it is comments about Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, the election, drag queen story time, or anything else, it is your right to speak. Muscles not exercised atrophy. 

Do not allow the subject to be changed. The violence at the Capitol or the sometimes ridiculous statements of President Trump do not change the fact that freedom of speech is being squelched or that fraud (extent not fully known) occurred in the recent election. 

Acknowledge the root problem. No one much cared whether Gerald Ford (a liberal Republican) or Jimmy Carter (a centrist to conservative Democrat) won the 1976 election. Why? The federal government was tiny compared to today: spending in 2020 was twenty-three times that of 1976!! The very best thing we can do is to run and elect candidates who are rock-solid small government conservatives. 

This blog will always stand for liberty, free enterprise, religious freedom and the rule of law. Hope you will visit from time-to-time. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Required Reading: Reaction to the Storming of the Capitol

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                        --- President Ronald Reagan

Before discussing the storming itself, I wish to comment on CBS News' coverage as the event unfolded: I've never seen a news organization pour gasoline on a fire to the extent Norah O'Donnell and others did Wednesday afternoon. They should be ashamed of themselves. O'Donnell should be fired. 

Since the campaign of Barack Obama commenced in 2008, the MSM has abandoned all pretense of objectivity or even fairness. With the growth of social media, it has only grown worse as President Trump's ban on Twitter this afternoon demonstrates. 

With my comments about the MSM in mind, I urge you in the strongest way to read every word of Jason Whitlock's comments about the events of Wednesday

One can believe the violence terrible and that storming the Capitol was completely wrong while also believing:

  • There were serious issues with fraud in the 2020 presidential election (especially in Pennsylvania and Georgia). Whether a full investigation would have overturned the result is unknown, at least to me. However, the fact there were so many working to cover things up, it is extremely suspicious. If everything was on the up-and-up, the election authorities would have been anxious to demonstrate it. 
  • Those who excused the violence of summer 2020 have no moral standing to condemn the events of Wednesday. After the small group went into the Capitol, the vast majority of MAGA demonstrators did not follow them in. 
  • President Trump was correct to urge Congress to repeal Section 230.
  • The MSM covered up the important Hunter Biden computer scandal. That malpractice may have seriously factored into the outcome of the election.
  • I hope President-Elect Biden will be an outstanding president. 
  • Given the amount of corruption in Congress, the members' sanctimonious statements about the "sanctity"of the House and Senate chambers are more than a bit rich. 

I despair more and more "the essential nation" -- America -- is lost. When I was growing up, the United States was #1 in both economic and personal freedom. No more. We are no longer in the top twenty on either list. 

Increasingly, it is difficult to see how this ends well. While we, as a nation, need each other, I fear a peaceful division is the best-case outcome. I hope I am wrong and that we are able to repair ourselves in short order. 

Tonight's Wichita Sunset

 Wow, it has been one after another lately.

Taken at 5:33pm from my backyard. It doesn't quite rank with Tuesday's but it is still great. 

Unusual Snow Storm in the South

Please factor this in if you plan to be traveling. 

With the NFL Playoffs Starting...

...here is a good tutorial as to the NFL replay review process.

My Chiefs have a bye and don't start play Saturday.