Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The New York Times: Two Papers in One!!

Landsat image of Nebraska flooding
Today, March 19, 2019, the New York Times publishes:
"This is science after all, and science is constantly evolving."

New York Times, December 31, 2018, published:
"The science is settled."

Evidently, every science evolves except global warming.

In some ways, this may not be the contradiction it seems to be. Increasingly, climate studies are not "science." By definition, science must have a falsifiable hypothesis. If global warming is responsible for:
  • Flooding
  • More polar ice
  • Less polar ice
  • Drought
  • Warmer weather
  • Colder weather
  • High winds
  • Calmer winds
  • Changes in hurricanes (not just worsening hurricanes)...
it cannot possibly be falsified. If every change in the weather is due to global warming then climate study is not science because it is not falsifiable. Why?
  • The weather constantly changes and always has.
  • Climate constantly changes and always has. 
In fact, those who study climate cannot tell us (based on their chosen metric of surface temperatures) the ideal temperature for earth and its human residents. 
Volcanic eruption currently in progress; via Twitter
Do human beings affect the weather? Of course! But, it isn't nearly as simple as changes in CO2. Humans affect the climates through greenhouse gases, land use changes, particulates, aerosols and in other ways. Climate also changes through volcanic and solar influences. The bottom line:

Even if we took atmospheric concentrations of CO2 back to 350ppm, it is highly unlikely the climate would be the same as the last time it was 350ppm. 

It is a shame that global warming has corrupted atmospheric science. I doubt that issue will resolve itself in my lifetime. 

Attention: Washington and Oregon

This deserves your full attention.

Tragically, our nation doesn't tackle the deficit, EMP's, solar storms, or giant earthquakes. Just wait until the eventual hurricane hits Southern California.

That is what we should be focused on, not political correctness. We should be ignoring the SJW's and focusing on the real issues.

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Severe Was Last Week's Blizzard?

There's a car under there! Really.

And, there it is!

The region is still recovering. The losses to farmers and ranchers are "staggering."

Comments On The Incredible Nebraska Flooding

The U.S. Air Force's single most important base and home of the Strategic Air Command is 30% underwater. Even the HQ building at Offutt AFB, south of Obama, is flooded.
Journal-Star photo
The photo below shows the main runway underwater yesterday with U.S. 75 in the background.
Omaha World-Herald photo
The damage may be understated in that a number of critical facilities are underground. For example, this command bunker (depicted with President Bush on September 11, 2001) is underground.
The nearest flood gage to Offutt is at Plattsmouth, Nebraska. The crest was yesterday and the water has begun to fall. Arrow indicates the latest reading.

This entire event has received far less attention in the mainstream media than it should.
CNN home page this morning. The flood is not mentioned.
The lack of coverage hasn't stopped the global warming nonsense.
While this is the greatest flood of record at Plattmouth, it is not the worst flood ever. That was in 1844 before flood gages existed. World temperatures were then still at Little Ice Age values at that time.

Addition: Satellite image of the Offutt flood.
click to enlarge

Essential Wisdom About College

From Peggy Noonan, here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Fun: Lessons From Dave Barry...and, Lucy

A nice, open-access, story by Dave Barry available here.

In spite of what he writes in this latest essay, Dave is a delight to meet and speak with. If you have a chance to attend one of his appearances, do so. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Aftermath of the Spencer, Nebraska, Dam Collapse

The Airlines Have No Accountability - That MUST Change

While Jim Hall and I don't agree on everything (we had an 'interesting' conversation the morning of a hearing into the crash of an airliner and on other occasions), he is right on the money with this piece pertaining to the FAA's botching of the grounding of the 737-8MAX. I appreciate President Trump taking matters into his own hands and grounding the plane.

In fact, he doesn't go far enough.

The airlines can literally beat up an innocent passenger, cancel flights for economic reasons (only), sue you for saving them money (see below), forbid a customer to board with an approved (by the airline, TSA and FAA) medical device, etc., etc., and you have no genuine recourse.
There is no accountability because Congress and the FAA have been essentially captured by the airline industry. This needs to stop but I am not hopeful.

Catastrophic Flooding -- And, It Is Getting Worse

Via Twitter within the hour
Here is a summary of flood gage status. A number of river stage records have already been set. Purple = major or record flooding.
Here is why I am concerned things will get worse before they get better. All of the applicable computer models show moderate to heavy rains over the affected areas. And, there is still a lot of snow on the ground. That, combined with frozen ground, will amplify the effects of the rain.

While not especially heavy, the rain Monday through Wednesday night will be falling on the already flooding Missouri River and nearby tributaries.

Things look dicer farther out. 

This map shows 6 to 9 inches of water (pinks) locked up in the snow cover over the northern Great Plains and Upper Midwest.
Here is the 2-week forecast from the model I believe will be the most accurate in this situation.
These rains are likely to prolong or initiate flooding, especially as temperatures warm and the snowpack melts.

In addition to people losing their homes and the considerable disruption to transportation, there is little doubt corn planting is going to be delayed in a number of areas. 

Why The U.S. Catholic Church Needs a National Board Pertaining to the Sexual Abuse Crisis

The Catholic Church's intolerable behavior in the wake of the sexual abuse scandals continues to puzzle. Rather than actually reform the Church with ironclad measures, members of the hierarchy continue to dribble out half-measures.

This latest proposal, to put Archbishops in charge of Bishops, falls into this category. Catholic and UCLA professor of law, Stephen Bainbridge, explains here. As Steve argues, there is no solution that does not involve a significant role for the laity and further accusations must be handled on a national, rather than local, level. 

I recommend Steve's piece at the red link. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Another Tragic Effect of the Blizzard


Above is a screen capture from a Twitter video showing a rancher desperately shoveling out his head of cattle to allow them to breathe. At this point, we have no idea as to the number of cattle killed in the blizzard earlier this week. Most fear it will be substantial.

How Severe Is the Flooding in Nebraska?

A dike has broken west of Omaha and the NWS office there has been evacuated, and its radar turned off, until further notice. This is especially unfortunate because there is no overlapping radar coverage in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

Fortunately, the weather looks relatively calm the next few days.

Addition: here is a photo of the mess. The NWS office is in the center.
The NWS building is brown. The radar is the white ball. At right, with the white dome, is a rawinsonde (weather balloon) launch facility. The loss of radar and weather balloon data could cause issues if a major storm should present itself.

The Sun's Influence on Earth's Climate

A well done report is here.

The headline: The sun exerts far more influence on earth's climate than most climate scientists want to admit.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Goodnight

After a very long 5 days, I'll sign off this evening with this photo from my Wichita backyard as the big storm moved away from Kansas.

More Than Ever: Thank A Meteorologist

The center of the MegaStorm or "Bomb Cyclone" depicted by
Satellite over Kansas Wednesday Afternoon
One of the challenges faced by meteorologists and weather scientists is that, when we do our jobs well, nothing happens. Unlike a physician after successful surgery, no one is thanking, or even appreciating, the 24/7/365 work of meteorologists.

I have written a piece on this topic that the Washington Post has graciously printed this afternoon. You can find it here.
As the article points out, hundreds, if not thousands, would be dead from these storms had these forecasts and storm warnings not been available. 

If you know a meteorologist, please send a note to thank him or her. It will be appreciated far more than you know.

This concludes my coverage of the 2019 severe blizzard, wind storm, flood-generating, tornado spawning, severe turbulence aloft, storm of March, 2019. 

MegaStorm Ratchets Up Tornado Risk in Ohio Valley

Brown areas have a significant risk. Yellow is an enhanced risk. Hatching means they could be strong tornadoes.  Please monitor local weather information today as there have already been several tornadoes along with damage.

9am Wednesday, Mega Storm Overview

Reminder of the colors:
  • Yellow is a tornado watch.
  • Deep magenta are flash flood warnings.
  • Orange is blizzard warnings, which include part of central Nebraska that are covered by the flood warnings.
  • Light greens are flood warnings.
  • Dark greens are flood watches.
  • Gray are dense fog advisories
  • Blue are avalanche warnings
  • Purple are winter weather advisories
What a storm! It is literally one for the record books. Here excepts of CNN's online coverage:
Home in Denver covered in snapped trees and downed power lines.
Yes: they are rescuing rescuers. So far, only one fatality, a state trooper doing a rescue, has been reported.

ADDITION: In re: the tornado watch above, two tornado warnings in effect as of 9:34am in western Kentucky and far southern Illinois. Blue dot is tornado location as of 9:24am.
For full coverage, follow me on Twitter: @usweatherexpert. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

4:30pm Mega Storm Update

Here is the latest list of warnings from the National Weather Service.
Here is a reminder of what the colors mean:
  • Orange is a blizzard warning. Note it has been extended into far northwest Kansas, including Interstate 70.
  • Pink is a winter storm warning. 
  • Dark magenta is a flash flood warning (serious condition). 
  • Greens are various flood watches and warnings. 
  • Browns are high wind warnings and advisories. 
  • Purple is a winter weather advisory. 
Here is the AccuWeather Regional Radar as of 4:20pm. As I am typing this, received a report that weather conditions are rapidly deteriorating near Rapid City, SD. Things will go downhill rapidly in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota tonight. 

A closeup of the 'eye' of the storm over Kansas. It is now moving NNE.
Winds have gusted to 96 mph at Colorado Springs and 83 mph at La Junta, both in Colorado, during the late afternoon. Peaks winds from this storm have been 109 mph (in Texas this morning). The Denver International Airport is closed. Below is the wind analysis at 4:21pm CDT.
Due to the extreme winds, more than 700,000 people are currently without power in multiple states. 

In terms of warning people in the Northern Plains, I don't think there is much more to say. Please check your trusted local meteorologist or AccuWeather for more information. 

This will be the final forecast update about this storm. However, I'll have some non-forecast comments tomorrow. 

My Barometer Continues to Show Falling Pressure

At 2:20pm CDT...
My personal barometer is falling past 29.10" but I doubt it will go much lower. You can see it has fallen more than 1" in less than 24 hours.

Below is a great example that helps illustrates the correlation between low barometric pressures and wind. Via Twitter, here is a photo at the same time of a barograph in Jackson, Tenn. (N of Memphis).
The difference in pressure (the "pressure gradient") is huge. Wind flows from high pressure to low pressure in the same way as water (water and air are both fluids) flows from the top of a mountain to the bottom. The wind accelerates when there is a large pressure gradient.

Below, from 2:10pm, is a graphic of the wind spiraling into the center of the low from all sides.
The center of low pressure has moved into west central Kansas between Syracuse and Garden City based on readings from the Kansas Mesonet.

Most Impressive U.S. Wind Map I've Ever Seen...

This is from 1:22pm CDT. The record strong low pressure system on the Colorado-Kansas border is moving very slowly to the east. Winds have gusted between 80-92 mph over eastern Colorado (including Denver) with fierce blizzard conditions west and north of the low.

There have been two reports of winds gusting above 100mph, both from Texas,
  • Grand Prairie, 109 mph
  • Pine Springs, 103 mph
Also,
  • 4 mi. S of Glen Haven, CO, 92 mph
  • Glacier Park, MT, 94 mph
  • Denver, 80 mph
  • Amarillo, 80 mph
Obviously, the circulation around this low dominates the nation's weather. 

Irony: Very little wind energy is being developed from all of this wind. The winds exceed 26 mph (the upper threshold) in most areas.

Here is a closeup of the above map. The low is on the Kansas-Colorado border.

Extreme Turbulence Over Colorado

As feared, the turbulence over Colorado has gone above the rare "severe" category into the extremely rare, "extreme." Via Twitter...
To translate the above into English: At 37,000', 85 mi. east of Denver, there was extreme turbulence in the form of a mountain wave that almost "stalled" the aircraft.

A "stall" is a loss of lift which is an extreme hazard to an aircraft. If the pilots do not recover from the stall, the plane could crash.

I, personally, would not fly over or near Colorado this afternoon. If you must, then I urge:
  • Keep your seat belt on and tight for the entire flight.
  • Drink very little so you do not have to get up.
  • Eat very little so you are less likely to get airsick.
  • Take an airsickness medicine before departure unless you know you have a bad reaction to them. 
To be clear, I am talking about cross-country flights (NY to LA, for example) over Colorado and areas just south and southeast of Colorado, not just landing in the state. 

Barometer Dropping Like a Rock

Here is the barometer reading at my home at 11:40am CDT.
It will likely drop below 29" which is a rare value (scroll down to compare to yesterday evening).

The State of Colorado set a record low reading this morning -- dating back to the 1880's.

Dangerous Mega Storm Continues as Forecast (Unfortunately)

Here is the latest warning map.
The blizzard warning has been extended to the Canada border (orange). Near Scottsbluff, Nebraska, snow is falling at a rapid rate with winds gusting to 60 mph! This will be a fierce blizzard.

Via Twitter, this is photo along I-25 near Cheyenne. Utter whiteout. Fortunately, I don't see autos.
Pinks are winter storm warnings. Scroll down for my advice regarding the not-well-forecast icing threat in Nebraska and South Dakota (pink east of the blizzard warning).

Browns are high wind warnings of various types. Winds are now gusting above 70 mph in the Texas Panhandle. Winds will increase throughout the region the next 2-5 hours.

Greens are flood watches/warnings.

Winds Are Already Gusting Above 60 mph ...

...in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Just to the southwest (not on the map), Dalhart, Texas, reported a wind gust of 58 knots which is 67 mph. The scary thing is the the winds are just getting cranked up!

Addition as I was posting this, Denver International Airport experienced a gust of 59 mph with heavy snow now falling. Moderate to severe turbulence is being reported by aircraft over Colorado and over the southern High Plains.

11am, late report, gust of 72 mph at Amarillo, Texas.

Storm Update: 9:55am Wednesday

Here is a look at the Mega Storm via radar at 9:55am.
At Denver International Airport, it is raining. It will still be another hour or two before the rain changes to snow. However, winds are gusting to 53 mph.

Freezing rain is beginning to develop in part of central South Dakota.

Winds are gusting over the entire region well above 40 mph.

The barometric pressure at La Junta, Colorado is down to 971.47 millibars which is equal to 28.69 inches. If I recall correctly, that will set a state record for Colorado.

Via Twitter, very severe thunderstorms struck the DFW Metroplex early this morning. The wind gusted to 109 mph in Grand Prairie.