Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Amazing Promise of "Mesoscale Modeling"

What if you could predict the path of a hailstorm six hours in advance? 

While they are still experimental and there are times where they are terribly wrong, mesoscale models, more and more, are doing things even I never dreamed possible just a decade ago.

Below are forecasts of rotating updrafts which produce large hail and, at times, tornadoes. The top forecast forecast was made from data ending at 11am this morning and the lower from 1pm.

And, here is where the hail has fallen (so far) this evening. The stones were up to 2" in diameter.
The yellow/orange line just north of "Oklahoma City" is that track of large hail. Nearly a perfect forecast. On top of that, the storm threatened to drop a tornado.
If one has several hours of notice large hail is going to occur, a great deal of damage could be prevented. Cars could be put in garages, etc. 

Meteorology is moving forward rapidly. 

If There Was Ever A Time to Thank a Meteorologist...

Record floods.
Record blizzard.
Record winds.

Yet, the loss of life has been extraordinarily low. For this, our society can thank meteorologists.

The Next Time You Are Tempted To Worry About Global Warming Gloom and Doom Forecasts

Friday, March 22, 2019

Water Forecasting

Today is World Water Day. In order for water resources, which are often scarce in parts of the world, to be properly managed, weather forecasting is critical.

Given the record flooding in the Midwest, I thought our readers might find interesting a comparison of a recent water forecast versus reality.

The forecast below was posted on this blog on March 12th. It was comprised of the graphic from the National Weather Service and commentary from yours truly.
Below is a geographic plot of all National Weather Service flood warnings plotted since the major flooding began March 14, two days after the above forecast.
Even more important, the March 12 posting included the following advice:
Whether is was the forecast for the High Plains Megastorm (or "bomb cyclone" if you prefer) or the above forecast of the subsequent flooding, weather science continues to provide vital information to save lives and improve society.

The Insulin Issue

The best single explanation I have seen for the issues with insulin pricing is here. I learned from reading it.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

NOAA's Spring Flood Outlook

This is NOAA's outlook for widespread flooding from now through the end of May. It does not include thunderstorm-related flooding due to heavy rain. They are calling the flood potential for this spring, "unprecedented." Below is an explanation of the descriptive words.
click to enlarge
As I mentioned when I first posted about this threat, this information does not do anyone any good if it is viewed as merely interesting. Especially if you are in a "major" risk risk area, begin making preliminary precautions now: 

  • How would you contact family and friends?
  • How would you and they evacuate?
  • Do you have a list of what you would take with you if you need to evacuate quickly? Things like financial records and precious family albums and records?
  • Do you have a way of receiving flash flood and flood warnings quickly?
  • Does your business have an alternative location or does it have a way of getting vital records and equipment out of danger?
  • Keep your car full of fuel. Keep your computers and phones fully charged. 
I'll update on this threat from time to time. 

Essential Clean Water

This is a more urgent -- and, far more solvable -- problem than global warming. Recent developments in water purification make it affordable to bring clean water to many. Rotary International's clean water efforts are an excellent place to donate if you want to help make clean water available to all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

"Technoskeptic" on the Joplin Tornado

Joplin's St. John's Hospital after the tornado.
Fifteen died there. They didn't know it was coming
until six minutes before the tornado arrived.
The new edition of Technoskeptic magazine (print) has an article about the 2011 Joplin Tornado. Author Eric Brende discusses the role of technology that terrible day.

Eric interviewed me several times and refers to my book, When the Sirens Were Silent. The book is a cautionary tale about how the warning system failed to work as it should have that day -- with the result being the loss of 161 precious lives.

Given we are on the threshold of what will likely be an active 2019 tornado season, the book -- with its detailed safety suggestions for home, schools and offices -- is as timely today as the day the book was published.

It is just $2.99 (ebook). We priced it so a maximum number of people could benefit. It is a fast read and I urge you to grab a copy before the next tornado watch is issued for your area.

Another Climate Practitioner Passes On Answering the Big Questions

For background, please see the posting below. In it, I contended that climate science is not a science because it lacks the absolutely essential element of any science which is a falsifiable hypothesis.

A climate scientist from MIT immediately Tweeted and rejected my comment. I have obscured his name because I do not desire to put him in an uncomfortable position.

Here is the exchange on Twitter:
The climate scientist said I was wrong and that it is a genuine science.

So, as I have with so many others, I asked him the two critical questions:
And, his response? Nothing (blank yellow page for illustration).

Over and over and over, I have asked climate 'scientists' these questions and I never get a satisfactory answer and, most of the time -- as in this case -- I get no answer at all. I have even offered to several the opportunity to post a guest column on my blog answering these questions.

Global warming made it onto the front pages of America's newspapers in summer, 1988. They've had three decades to come up with the answers and have not. So, from this point on, this blog will refer to climate studies instead of climate science. If these terribly basic questions cannot be answered after 30+ years, then the study of future climate is interesting and important speculation but it is clearly not science.

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


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.