Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Book Should Be Required Reading for EVERY Public Official

Via Twitter, 12:40am Wednesday in Atlanta and it is still gridlock.
I debated whether to write post praising my own book. Decided not to. Then, late Tuesday evening, I started reading about the blame meteorologists, of all people, are getting for the public works and school fiasco in Georgia. That changed my mind.

FACT: A winter storm warning was issued between 3 and 4am Tuesday for the Atlanta Metro area. Schools should have been called off. Instead, they decided to have school. People have been (as of this writing) trapped in their cars for 10-12 hours. There are still school buses, full of children, trapped. People may die.
Atlanta, 12:30am Wednesday. Utter gridlock.
As we have discussed on this blog over and over, the progress in storm warning quality in the last five to ten years is remarkable. Even I have been surprised at the rate of progress. The problem is, people remember a busted forecast from 20 years ago and think nothing has changed. They often do not act on the forecasts with tragic results.
My book, Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather tells how this progress came about in a very readable fashion. Once read, it will make CEO's, administrators, mayors, governors and others in positions of responsibility to make their weather-related decisions based on the best thinking of expert meteorologists. The book has a 5-star rating for its readability.

Here is an excerpt of a review posted at Amazon by an emergency manager:

'Warnings' is higly educational, but it reads nothing like a textbook. The writing is engaging and entertaining from cover to cover."

You can read the review in its entirety at the red link.

As a society, the United States simply cannot continue to put people in jeopardy due to a lack of faith in weather forecasts. So, I am making this offer: For any bona fide public official (mayor, school superintendent, governor) in the states of Georgia or Alabama who will request a copy on their official letterhead, I will send a free copy -- no shipping or any charge at all -- up to 100 copies. The requests must be received by February 7.

For everyone else, if you would like to read it while you are snowed in, the ebook version (with 16 extra color photographs) for Kindle is here and for Nook is here. Based on both professional reviewers and reader reviews, you'll learn a lot while having an enjoyable reading experience.

Send requests to:
Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC
4031 N. Tara Circle
Wichita, Kansas  67226

9 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, the Atlanta lesson was, in many ways, a repeat of what happened in Raleigh back in 2005. Greg & I pulled together a presentation on what happened then.

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/36Broadcast/techprogram/paper_140430.htm

    Meanwhile, here in NC, the schools in Raleigh called off for today based on the forecast that had the precip starting here early afternoon. We had drier air than expected to start, so the precip didn't click in until around commute time, a couple hours late. Naturally, folks jumped all over the school system. One of the officials posted this explaining (quite well, I think) their reasoning:

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s06330

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  2. Nate: I flew into Raleigh two days after and the freeways looked like a tornado had it. Cars off to the side everywhere.

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  3. I just read the school posting at your link. Just direct the critics' attention to ATL.

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  4. Thanks Mike. I hope some of the public officials here take you up on the offer. They could learn from the book.

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  5. The sad part is, both the public AND the public officials seem to ignore common sense.
    All they had to do was look at the radar and realize that even if this storm hadn't "over performed", it was still going to be a paralyzing event.
    To think of the miracle that is weather radar and how little people appreciate it makes me respect Darwin that much more.

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  7. Anyone who doubts the NWS forecast should carefully read the "forecast discussions" issued by the Peachtree City office (Atlanta) starting MONDAY at 4:30am: - a full day before the event unfolded.

    Specifically, NWS begins their discussion with: "...WINTER STORM WITH SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS REMAINS LIKELY..." and later writes: "SNOW/SLEET/FREEZING RAIN...NOW HAVE LIKELY TO CATEGORICAL SNOW ACROSS ENTIRE ATLANTA METRO".

    Forecaster Deese, who authored this discussion, also writes: "PERSONALLY FAVOR PRECIP SPREADING FURTHER NORTH THAN MODELS PROJECT WHICH WOULD IN THIS CASE BRING WINTER HAZARDS NORTHWARD AS WELL."

    Again, this discussion was written on the MONDAY morning discussion released at 4:30! There is little ambiguity in this forecast and it’s a mystery why government officials were so lax in heeding a well-written warning in what should have been a slam-dunk decision to close schools and government offices on Tuesday.

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  8. I've heard that the decision to not close schools in Atlanta is because they didn't want to lose government funding for a day. By keeping schools open until noon, they got funding for a full day.

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  9. This is what AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions appended to its forecast for ATL calling for 1-3" of snow: "The ice and snow amounts indicated here, spread over a large area generally unaccustomed to seeing winter storms of this magnitude, will bring transport and logistical operations to a virtual standstill. Delays and cancellations will cripple air, ground, and rail travel for days."

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