Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Women's Basketball Fan? See You in Wichita in 2022!!

After our hugely successful hosting of the men's NCAA 2018 basketball tournament, Wichita will be hosting the NCAA women's 2022 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. 

Make plans to join us!!

Twitter Lights Up: Los Angeles is Having a Thunderstorm

It is amusing to me when Los Angeles has a thunderstorm. Radar from 11:20am PDT.

Below are just a couple of the many tweets.
On a serious note, stay indoors when you hear thunder or see lightning.

This too will pass.

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Global Warming: Words or Deeds?

Screen capture from ABC News .
London during President Trump's recent visit
As Al Gore and the Hollywood anti-global warming set continue to fly on their private jets (giving them the highest possible carbon footprints) and while protesters during Donald Trump's recent London trip complained about America's lack of participation in international climate agreements, let's look at what is occurring in the real world: America -- without participating in the climate agreements -- continues to lead the world in decrease in greenhouse gasses.

Take a good look at the graph below. Now, take a second look.
Free enterprise has produced far, far more of a reduction in greenhouse gas than any of the nations in the treaties. It isn't even close.

Currently, we have the lowest rate of extreme poverty in the entire history of the world. We have the lowest level of death by war or violence in world history. The environment gets better by the year. 

It appears to me the choice is words or action. As Glenn Reynolds wrote earlier today,

“Consider this: The United States — the nation that activists constantly decry as not taking the challenge of climate change seriously enough, the nation that allegedly is dilatory in mobilizing its government and national resources to combat a mortal threat to our planet, and the nation that continues to grow in population and national output — also happens to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions. And it’s not close.”

Yes, but if you do it without empowering the political class it doesn’t count, because the whole point of the doomsaying is to empower the political class.

I could not agree more.

The Real Threat is Global Cooling

Over and over and over, this blog has explained (and presented evidence pertaining to) global cooling is the major concern and not global warming.

Is global warming a problem? Absolutely. But, it is not the problem.

Weather and climate scientists have seen this graph many times. I have circled the most important item on the graph.
The graph depicts world temperatures over the last 400,000 years. It reveals periods of global warming and global cooling. The latest period (circled) shows, this time, temperatures have been holding at a high level, which has been a boom for the human race and human civilization.

It is unknown whether the "hold" in recent temperatures at the nearly optimally warm levels is due to global warming, the fact we have an instrumental (as opposed to indirect) record, or some other reason.

Regardless, as the graph indicates, there will be a major global cooling and it could begin at just about any time. And, when it does, it will be catastrophic if mitigation measures are not taken and very bad otherwise.

Here are two recent outstanding (including the quality of the science) pieces regarding the eventual cooling. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

America's "Titles of Nobility"

An extraordinary article was published in this morning's USA Today that succinctly describes what is so terribly wrong with America's "political class." I urge you to read it in its entirety. Here are excerpts: 

"By custom, we allow our politicians to retain their titles for life. Throughout the 2012 election, Mitt Romney was referred to as 'Governor Romney,' though he had not been in public office for six years," Cooke wrote. "One can only ask, 'Why?' America being a nation of laws and not men, political power is not held in perpetuity, and there is supposed to be no permanent political class."

The article goes on to say: 

In America, if you misunderstand the law, or simply are ignorant of it, you will nonetheless be liable to go to jail or be sued — if you are an ordinary citizen. If you are a government official, you can generally avoid liability in a lawsuit by pleading “qualified immunity,” meaning, in essence, that you misunderstood the law or were ignorant of it, but acted in good faith, a defense that is not available to ordinary citizens.  As a judge or prosecutor it’s even better: you enjoy “absolute immunity,” meaning that in almost every circumstance you can’t be sued at all.
These governmental immunities aren’t in the Constitution, and they’re not the product of statutes passed by Congress. They were invented by judges (themselves government employees) who thought immunity for government employees was a good idea. And government officials almost never face criminal prosecution for their official acts, and on the rare occasions that they do, they are almost never convicted.
When the EPA poisoned the Animas River in Colorado, it rejected claims for damages, and nobody from the EPA went to jail.  A private company under similar circumstances would have faced ruinous losses, and the executives would have risked criminal prosecution. Then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy skated.
When I was young, Congress met about six months a year. Many congresspeople came home to their regular jobs when they left office. I can't tell you exactly when all of this changed but I sensed it during the administration of the first President Bush. It got much worse during the Clinton Administration. 

The election of President Trump -- who had never held political office -- was an instinctive reaction to all of this. The Trump supporters (many of whom were holding their noses with one hand as they cast their ballot with the other) knew that our nation (as we have known it) depended on breaking this cycle. Thus, an outsider had to be brought in. 

My solution is that qualified and absolute immunity have to go. Period. Yes, there can be some type of protection for them but bad acts should be prosecuted. 

A Fair Question

Especially since it is now hurricane season and, if anything, the money is more desperately needed for repairs.
Screen capture via Twitter

Joe Bastardi is Worried About an East Coast Hurricane Strike This Year

Here is an article from Joe that, especially, emergency managers may find useful. He believes there is a better than even chance of an East Coast hurricane.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

How Much Rainfall Is Forecast for This Week

click to enlarge
This is the forecast rainfall from now through 7pm CDT next Sunday evening.

A Little Business...

This blog is (c) 2018 by Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC. Our homepage is here.

Thank you for reading!!

Sunday Fun: It Is Never Too Early To Be an Entrepreneur

Congratulations to my granddaughters! Their lemonade stand collected money for an important charity, Braden's Hope. The lemonade was delicious and the service was outstanding. In case you are wondering, Daddy outlined the letters and the girls filled them in.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Why Forecasting Rainfall Is So Difficult

Rainfall amounts, especially from thunderstorms, can vary widely in time and space. Meteorologists have been hopeful that a very new technique called "mesoscale modeling" will eventually be of great assistance.

Yesterday, we had an example of the promise and peril of mesoscale modeling.

The Forecast
This is a view of south central Kansas with the 4.5 (inches) over Wichita. The darker brown are forecast amounts of 5.5 to 6.1 inches. The forecast was made from the 7pm data yesterday evening and applied to the overnight hours.

The Actual Rainfall 
In terms of the amount of rain, the forecast was remarkably good. Amounts in excess of five inches are highlighted. The issue is that the real-world heavy rain was roughly 15-20 miles farther west and south than forecast. For example, at Wichita's Eisenhower National Airport (the official reporting site) had .75  inches versus a forecast of 4.50 inches. A huge difference.

I certainly see this as a "glass three-quarters full" situation. The amounts of rain were quite accurate and the locations were close enough to be useful -- but, the human meteorologist was required in this situation to monitor the radar and place any flood forecasts (with the drought, little flooding expected).

So, while this is an excellent start, we still have a ways to go before these forecasts are good enough to be used on their own.

Friday, July 13, 2018

FEMA's Response to Criticism

While the document below, published this afternoon, is a response specifically to the New York Times, it is appropriate to post it in response to my comments of yesterday (scroll down) on this blog.
click to enlarge
One can read FEMA's response and say, "Gee, sounds like they are trying to do the right thing." And, given the extreme nature of 2017's hurricanes, ordinarily I would give them a pass. But, we have heard these same "we're trying to do better"words so many times before!
Hurricane Marina damage. FEMA
The root problem is that FEMA and the National Weather Service investigate themselves, and that is only when they are inclined to do so. There is absolutely no assurance another poorly warned tornado like the one in Eureka, Kansas, two weeks ago or the poorly warned and catastrophic Joplin Tornado of 2011 will not recur with the unnecessary loss of scores of lives.

Since so many readers of this blog are meteorologists, emergency managers and others engaged in disaster forecasting and response, please get on board with my proposal to create a National Disaster Review Board. You can read part one of the proposal here. Part two is here. A disaster board, modeled on the highly successful National Transportation Safety Board, would let us objectively know how well FEMA did and whether the organization is making progress.

If you believe my proposal is appropriate, please let that be known to your elected representatives. I have. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

FEMA: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

As someone who has observed the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) in (usually non-) action for three decades, it is nearly impossible to overstate how awful the agency is at its job of anticipating and mitigating the effect of disasters on America. I have written about it extensively in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather and on this blog on numerous occasions (regarding Hurricane Sandy here).

Now we learn, predictably, how badly FEMA failed in the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. You can read the story for yourself, here. One thing in the story I wish to comment upon is the number of deaths in Maria. I do not believe the "official" number of 64. However, I also find Harvard's 4,000 to be far-fetched. 

Despite its assurances after every major disaster, FEMA doesn't get any better. My guess as to why is that a huge disaster like Andrew, Katrina, Maria, a Northridge Earthquake, etc., happens about once per administration. The administration is out of office by the time the next big disaster occurs and the cycle restarts.

For the first 203 years of the existence of the United States, we did without FEMA. Maybe it is time to try again.

Desperately Needed Rain For the Corn Belt

Here is the forecast for rain from now through 7pm CDT Sunday.
The flash flood risk (scroll down) continues in the Southwest.

Global Warning: Is There Nothing It Can't Do??!!

Apparently, global warming trapped the boys and their coach in the Thailand cave.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Yes, the Climate Changes Naturally

Union Pacific experienced damage to a wooden bridge due to lightning a few days ago. Their photo of the repairs (below) bring to mind an important point regarding the back and forth between the various points of view pertaining to global warming.
This bridge spans the valley of what was once a mighty river but is now a dry river bed. While the river (not identified) might currently be dammed, a river valley this high and wide was cut by a vigorous river flow. The reason the flow is so much less now? Natural climate change.

One of the main issues in the global warming battle is what is natural and what is human-caused global warming and climate change. I am not confident of our ability to tell the difference at this point.

Three Days of Flash Flood Danger

I have good news for those fighting wildfires but bad news for those outdoors or camping.
Above is the seven-day rainfall amount forecast for the Southwest and High Plains. A few spots are forecast to receive five inches of rain. These are extremely heavy rains for this part of the country. Most of this area is in serious drought so the rains are welcome. However, they bring with them a flash flood risk.

Here are the flash flood likelihood forecasts for the next three days.

Now Until 6am MDT Thursday

6am Thursday to 6am Friday

6am Friday until 6am Saturday
I am most concerned about Friday night and Saturday because there will be more people out and because the rains may be heaviest. So, while there is a "slight" risk of flooding at a given location, this is a significant risk. Please factor this forecast into your plans.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

President Trump's Pick of Brett Kavanaugh

According to a post on Twitter, President Trump's pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh will "take us back to the Inquisition."

For those unfamiliar with that unfortunate part of Western history, here is a primer.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Some of the Root Reasons Our Nation is So Divided

...and, political correctness is making it even worse. Here is a story about an academic paper on diversity . It turns out the research shows that "diversity" -- by itself -- has serious negative effects on society and the people who live in it.

    In the presence of [ethnic] diversity, we hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.
    —Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam
You'll find the comments about Los Angeles and Hollywood to be especially interesting. In the "brothers" comments, add the Zuckers (Airplane!, etc.). The lack of trust in Hollywood may be why the stars are always lecturing the rest of us...they assume they are the height of enlightenment (how else would they make so much money?) yet at least instinctively, they understand the extremely low level of trust. If it is that bad in Hollywood, much worse must it be elsewhere?

This re-launched blog is going to try to bring you useful information without worrying about political correctness. We can only fix these problems and become a more united United States if we learn about our problems and so we can fashion real solutions. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Congratulations to ...

Our son, Richard who reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro yesterday! That's him in the red hat on the right.

Absolutely Necessary: Disperse the Federal Government

I’ve been thinking a lot about the divides separating our great nation 
and a couple of recent tweets come to mind:
Shannon lives in Washington. Amanda originally didn’t want to come to Kansas. But, they have discovered the kindness and civic attitudes of the people of “Flyover County.” 

However, since the election of President Trump, we seem to have gone from “Flyover County” to the status of a foreign nation. It has been amusing watching various members of the news media, various politicians, and now the President of Harvard making treks to learn what makes us tick: 
In a bid to win over middle America, Bacow is venturing into Trump country and plans to visit Pontiac, Mich., a once-thriving automobile city that has fallen on hard times. 

After reading the various articles after their visits, I have a much better idea.

Disperse the United States Government

The Kansas Flint Hills
I will leave the discussion as to whether the nation needs all of these Cabinet-level agencies to others and another time. For now, I urge President Trump to move his government agencies to these cities...

·     State, Defense, OMB, CIA, Treasury and Justice remain in Washington. I’m tempted to move Treasury to the Flint Hills of Kansas (so they will stop so strongly favoring New York bankers at the expense of the rest of the nation) but I realize moving it out of Washington is a political impossibility.
·     Transportation to Chicago
·     Health and Human Services to Atlanta
·     Agriculture to Wichita
·     Small Business Administration to Austin
·     Education to Minneapolis
·     Interior to Denver
·     Representative to the United Nations to New York
·     EPA to Salt Lake City
·     Department of Energy to Dallas
·     Commerce to Indianapolis
·     Homeland Security to Houson
·     Housing and Urban Development to Phoenix
·     Labor to Pittsburgh
·     Energy to Knoxville

The advantages to these make so much sense that only politicians could be against them. They are:
·     One of the functions of the members of the Cabinet is to provide advice for the President. That advice would be much more diverse and of much higher quality with this plan. The anger that so deeply shocked the people inside the Beltway wouldn’t have been so shocking if the government were dispersed.
·     Better quality information: Want to know about the next generation (safe and possibly cheap) nuclear? Ten miles away. Want to know the condition of the wheat crop? Drive 15 miles. Much better than hearing everything forth-hand through lobbists!
·     Make the Cabinet members live as we do. I want them to fly first class, as there should be some perks for serving in addition to salary. That said, make them go through airport security ( No TSA Pre √), make them read local newspapers, let them live in the same neighborhoods we do (they can have security but no gated communities), shop at the same stores. If they live in a city without a Tiffany’s branch, fine. 

Another advantage of this idea is that it would lessen the influence of the various lobbies, at least to some extent. 

Everyone wins except real-estate agents inside the Beltway. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Another Public Health Triumph

Story from The New York Times. An Ebola vaccine appears to be working which is terrific news.

One of the best ways to keep people well is for their incomes to rise. Nations in extreme poverty cannot afford to distribute vaccines. Fortunately, the rate of extreme poverty is the lowest in human history and continues fall. Here is how.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Re-Launching This Blog

A "cool" photo of the flag on this hot Independence Day
The Mike Smith Enterprises Blog was launched in November, 2009. It was to be focused on weather, occasionally climate and other topics that I thought would be of interest to our readers. 

As the blog is being re-launched today, I thought it would be helpful for our readers (Ms. Mindy East occasionally guest posts) to know some of my thinking so as to better understand the context of my writing. Note: I did not want to change the focus of the blog in tornado season just after my March 31 retirement. That is why I have waited until now. 

As I say on my Twitter home page, I am a husband, father, grandfather, scientist, entrepreneur, author and public speaker. I am a practicing Catholic. I believe there is no conflict between faith and science. Interesting, the scientific case for a Creator has strengthened recently

A Reagan conservative (not Republican), I share the Gipper’s optimism about the world:it is in best shape it has ever been.
  • Extreme poverty is at the lowest rate in the history of the world
  • The poor are getting richer faster than the rich.
  • Global warming has lengthened the growing seasons so it is possible to feed the world’s population. The giant famines of the 1960’s and 1970’s, when world temperatures dipped (the “global cooling” scare) have disappeared thanks to warmer weather and to The Green Revolution. 
  • In the United States, black unemployment (something that has been a huge issue) is the lowest ever. Other economic indicators are positive. 

That is not to say there aren’t major problems. 
Many people in their early 30’s and 20’s seem not to understand these days that socialism has never worked in any way, shape or form. It is dangerous to individual freedom and toxic to national prosperity (ask the people of Venezuela, twenty years ago a wealthy nation). Socialism is usually proposed by wealthy politicians (Bernie Sanders makes over $1,000,000/year and has three homes) and the weathy/protected class to (unfortunately) gullible people looking for a panacea. 

There is also a crisis in science where serious issues of ethics have crept into the research field. 

Liberty, the rule of law, and free enterprise are the proven prescriptions for 
prosperity and quality of life. 

Now, after criticizing socialism, I am going to strongly criticize the Bush II, Obama, and Trump (so far) Administrations for not enforcing the anti-trust laws. Free enterprise can only work if there is competition. There is little competition among the major airlines (flown lately?) and shrinking competition in many other industries.

As we move forward, this blog will occasionally feature postings about weather science and climate but it will also talk about business, innovation, politics and science. I hope to do so in an interesting and easy-to-read way. 

So, that is the Mike Smith Philosophy. Much more to come. Thank you for reading!!


Happy Independence Day!!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

An Important Review of "When the Sirens Were Silent" and Its Application to the Eureka Tornado

After reading and reviewing Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather, Gary England, the legendary Oklahoma meteorologist, has now reviewed my second book, When the Sirens Were Silent the story of the warning system's tragic failure in the Joplin Tornado of 2011. Here is his review:
‘’Sirens” is a must have for all people with even a tiny interest in severe weather.  The author, Mike Smith, meteorologist and scientist, investigates the catastrophic failure of the public weather warning system before and during the giant tornado that swept through Joplin, MO on May 22, 2011.

Mike includes riveting stories of those that survived and those that didn’t. His definitive examination of all the moving parts in the warning system is hard hitting and he spares no person deserving blame.  This book is quite refreshing as it applies transparency to a life shattering event that many times would not easily be available to the public.

With all of the high tech hardware and software developed in the years prior to the Joplin tornado, this system failure should not have happened. The author explains the the event and the rupture of the safety net in a fashion where the reader feels like he or she was present in Joplin on the 22nd of May 2011, a very dark day indeed.

Gary England
Consulting Meteorologist in Residence at Oklahoma University
BS Mathematics & Meteorology, Oklahoma University
Doctor of Humane Letters, Oklahoma University
The lack of effective warning of the Joplin Tornado caused it to be the worst tornado in terms of deaths (161) since the beginning of the Weather Bureau's tornado warning system in the 1950's. No other single tornado even comes close.
When I spoke with St. Luke's Mercy Hospital officials, they told me
they were not aware the tornado was coming until six minutes
before it arrived -- insufficient time to fly the helicopter to safety and
to protect the hospital's patients, guests and staff. Fifteen died in the
hospital and on its grounds.
Photo by "Springfield News-Leader"
I wrote Sirens because I wanted to help insure nothing like this failure ever happened again. Even though I know the names of everyone involved, I did not use their names because my goal was to illuminate where the system failed and not to point blame at individuals.

Unfortunately, things have not improved since Sirens was written.

Just last week, the National Weather Service failed to issue a tornado warning in advance of the major Eureka, Kansas, tornado. The next day, the National Weather Service in St. Louis did issue a tornado warning that was a false alarm. Thousands took tornado precautions for no good reason. Why do I mention the latter? Because there is no consistency in how National Weather Service offices issue tornado warnings and there are few "best practices."

Something is wrong at the National Weather Service, an organization for which I have great respect. Its mission to warn the public-at-large of storms is vital. 

Yet, statistics show National Weather Service tornado warning accuracy peaked in 2007 and has declined since. Anecdotal evidence indicates flash flood warning accuracy has also deteriorated. And, when something goes wrong, the NWS investigates itself as it did in Sandy, Joplin and other storms.

When the Sirens Were Silent sold out of its paper copies a few months after it was published. It is available as an ebook for $2.99. I priced it very low as part of my goal to prevent a recurrence. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind.

-- Because of the importance of this topic, I'm leaving this posting at the top of the blog through the Independence Day holiday. Also, for more on the Eureka warning problem, scroll down to see the raw data.  -- 

Congratulations to the People of Arkansas...

...and, to Koch Industries and the trustees of Arkansas Teacher Retirement System. They were the early investors in Big River Steel which is doubling in capacity and creating 500 great jobs.

Twenty years ago, most steel production had fled overseas. It is great to see it back in America!!

May and June Rainfall

In most of the Central Great Plains and Midwest May and June are the wettest months of the year. 
click to enlarge
This is kind of an unusual map that will help show where the drought has worsened and where it has improved. This shows the number of inches of rain above and below normal. May and June are crucial months for precipitation and it can be hard to make it up for a year if large deficits occur in those two months.
Happy July!!

Attention Kansans!! Important Change to Our Law!!

If you see a child, infirm adult or pet in a parked car in hot weather you may now take action and be protected by law. Full details are here.

Friday, June 29, 2018

"I Truly Admire Kansans"

From Amanda's Tweet.

The State of Kansas is a tremendous place to live and work. People here value each other. So, if a tornado hits 50 miles away, they are part of the family and family takes care of each other.

Amanda also included the photo below as a volunteer tarped a roof.

Some additional thoughts: Last Friday, I met a woman in her early 20's who moved to Wichita five months ago from Calabasas, California. I asked her, "How do you like it?" She replied that she was surprised she "loves it." She moved here because of a family emergency but now thinks she will stay. She did add we "need a Nordstroms."

Just yesterday, I am aware of Kansans who drove 180 miles to take baby supplies from Wichita to Kansas City to handle a charity emergency. No charge, not even mileage. 

This morning, the Wichita Business Journal reported we need more workers in the city. If you are looking to move yourself or your family, please consider us. It is a special place. 

Meteorology: Isn't Technology Wonderful??

Yesterday evening, I watched the entire lifecycle of a tornado on Roger Hill's video stream. Above are videos from yesterday evening from my friends at Live Storms Media.

I wouldn't give you a nickel for Facebook (have discontinued my membership due to their shady business practices which may be getting worse), Instagram, Snapchat, etc., etc. That said, the ability to transmit live images of tornadoes and other storms improves the warning process and has the added value of helping convince people to take shelter.

Now if we can just get the CAM models to work in the summer......

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Some Thoughts About the Eureka Tornado Recovery

As the city recovers from the tornado, I have more thoughts from watching the Wichita TV stations' coverage:
  • This was a very serious tornado. The local government turned on the sirens before the tornado hit and so injuries were less than I would have guessed. This is one of those cases against having sirens (as some have proposed) exclusively under the control of the National Weather Service. 
  • For some reason, there are many in the meteorological community that don't like sirens. Sirens certainly have a role. They can be activated instantly and, in the Great Plains, everyone knows what they mean. Note: I am saying they have a role. They should never be used as the sole source of warning information. 
  • "Church groups" often get maligned in the national MSM. Yet they have poured in to work, under the direction of local emergency management, regardless of a predicted high temperature of 100° and a forecast heat index of 110°. In addition, there is not a cloud in the sky and the sun is beating down. This is called "loving thy neighbor."
  • By all accounts, the (genuine) Wichita Linemen (as well as from other cities) from Westar Energy are doing an amazing job under extremely difficult circumstances. 
  • And, while I have watched all three stations' coverage, what don't we see? FEMA. And, given FEMA's historic propensity for publicity, I'm sure we would know if they were there. 
Kansans are hardy people. That said, the people of Eureka, Kansas, could use your prayers. So far, the charities I trust are not asking for special donations. 2018 has been a much below normal year for tornadoes so I'm guessing they have adequate resources.

How Frequent Are Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Watches?

Below are maps that depict, county-by-county, the frequency of tornado and severe thunderstorm watches. Click to enlarge.
The county most often under a severe thunderstorm (≥1" hail and/or ≥60 mph winds) Marion County, Kansas. Note the interesting "island" of high frequency of severe thunderstorm watches around Washington, DC. Its frequency of severe thunderstorm watches is higher than parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. I wonder if that is partly political -- the desire not to "miss one" a storm forecast for the nation's capital?

To a meteorologist, there is nothing surprising about tornado watches. To the general public, it might be surprising that the Deep South, especially in recent decades, has had the highest frequency of tornadoes.  The county most often under a tornado watch are Lincoln and Lawrence counties of Mississippi. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Truth of The (Non-) Warning of the Eureka, Kansas, Tornado

I was disappointed shortly after 5pm when I watched KAKE TV, a Wichita TV station, host a National Weather Service meteorologist who told the people of Eureka, Kansas, and his wider audience, several things that were inaccurate when it came to the reason they did not issue a tornado warning before the EF-3 (strong!) tornado struck.
KAKE TV, damage in Eureka
The Background

This was a poor performance by the NWS considering it was an EF-3 tornado. There no tornado warning. There was neither a tornado watch nor a severe thunderstorm watch. I am going to focus on the lack of a warning.

Points made during the KAKE interview along with my rebuttal:
  1. The radar operates at five minute intervals, so we couldn't see the tornado spin-up. The radar has the ability to operate in the "SAILS" mode which will allow them to view the storms has 1.2 minute intervals -- four times more frequently. 
  2. The spin-up couldn't be anticipated. There had already been a tornado in Butler County, the county immediately to the west. The Significant Tornado Parameter was "2", above the threshold of one (see below). Both should have alerted them to the danger. 
My conclusion: A warning should have been issued before 7:15.

Below is the data so those who are familiar with these situations can make up their own minds.

Significant Tornado Parameter Available One Hour Before the Tornado Touched Down
The storm in question is within the red "2" value. 

The Earlier Tornado to the West
This was a statement issued by the National Weather Service in Wichita 38 minutes before the Eureka tornado. 

The Doppler Radar Data

I am not annotating the data because I don't want to cover up the data with the annotations. Click to enlarge. The Doppler wind data is on the right and the (developing) tornado is where the greens and reds come together. 
7:01pm. Rotation clearly developing along US 54 west of town. 
Skipped an image to save space. The rotation is tightening
west of the city. There is clear rotation seven minutes before
the tornado touches down.
Clear indication of a developing tornado.
Tornado on the ground in east Eureka. The yellow/green is the tornado.
Tornado northeast of the city. Second area of rotation over Eureka. 
I believe that any trained, experienced meteorologist would come to the same conclusion: a tornado warning would have been possible prior to the tornado touching down. 

In addition, during the KAKE-TV interview, it was said by one of their meteorologists that the Joplin Tornado spun-up in a couple of minutes. Incorrect! I cover that in my book, When the Sirens Were Silent.

Hopefully, we can learn from this event so it does not happen in the future.