Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Finally: Others Are Noticing Weather Science Has "Tamed" the Weather

"Taming" the weather...from a well-done article in the New Yorker:

It’s easy to forget that behind each [weather] prediction is one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments.
The article tells the story, from a European perspective, how weather forecasting came to be mankind most successful forecasting endeavor. The article is extremely well done until its final paragraph which, unfortunately (and, inevitably these days) goes into global warming. No, storms are not getting worse and no, weather forecasting is not more difficult these days.

If you wish to read a "global warming-free" story of the development of the storm warning system that saves so many lives, just scroll down.

With All of the Storms This Year....

...you might be interested in the story of how meteorologists have saved so many lives through storm warnings.
You can read the first chapter, free, by clicking here.
Whether at Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or Amazon, readers love this book! Because of its upbeat nature, it make a great summer read. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Heads Up: Central U.S. For Damaging Storms

There is a significant risk of tornadoes and an enhanced risk of destructive hail, possibly driven by high winds, in the orange area. This includes: Lamoni, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Lawrence, Manhattan Pawnee City, Topeka, Lawrence, Salina and Beloit.

Put your smart phone and laptop on a charger, now.

Here's what I recommend: listen for a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. If one is issued for your area,
  • Put your car in the garage.
  • Bring in lawn furniture or other items that could be blown about.
  • Take your phone and laptop off the charger so any power surges do not zap them. 
And, most of all, make sure you and your children are ready to move indoors as thunderstorms approach and take shelter if a tornado warning is issued. 

Congratulations, Wichita!!!

All-America City For 2019.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Lightning and Major League Baseball


Following up on the posting below, this is how bad it is. By the way, you'll see a clip of the Twins at the Rangers. We (AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions when I worked there) had a lightning warning (40 minutes in advance!) for Six Flags Over Texas at the time which was directly across the parking lot.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Criminal Liability For Failing to Take Proper Action During a Weather Threat?


The Critical Nature of Expert Weather Warnings 
For Event Organizers

Two items have come together during the last four days that I want to bring to the attention of our readers. We begin with a video taken Saturday evening at the Country Stampede, a 3-day outdoor concert and event held this year in Topeka, Kansas.
Video via Twitter and WIBW Radio's Shawn Wheat

People in attendance talked about the ineffective efforts of the organizers to alert attendees to the threat of lightning and get them to safety (their cars).

Since the video and comments were posted on Twitter, I have been trying to get the facts as to what occurred and, as I write this, I still do not have all of them. But, they aren't needed to make several important points about this type of event.
  • The National Weather Service does not explicitly forecast lightning. They do not have the second-by-second lightning data nor do they have the patented techniques we had (and, I'm sure, still have but I retired 15 months ago) at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. There are other commercial weather companies that forecast lightning but I do not know what they use, so I cannot comment on the quality of their efforts. 
  • The job of the National Weather Service is to provide storm warnings and forecasts to the public-at-large, not to tailor products for specific businesses (which is what these outdoor events are). And, while I do not do for-fee forecasting any more, I have deep experience in helping plan weather response and communications for emergency situations. [I am available for this type of assignment, if you are interested.] Here is one example of the type of knowledge required to create an effective warning system: if you provide a storm warning announcement but the band continues to play, you have provided a mixed message to your patrons. Few will evacuate at least until the storm is unmistakable to the eye, which by then, may be too late. 
  • At least three on Twitter (one shown below) commented that event organizers "shouldn't have to pay" for weather information. Why not? It is an essential cost of doing that type of business just like paying the bands, paying for security, renting the venue, et cetera.
For many decades, meteorologists and others who actively use weather information have relied on U.S. Supreme Court rulings, on three occasions, that meteorologists could not be held liable for weather forecasts because (paraphrasing) "everyone knows weather forecasting is an inexact science." However, as forecasting as gotten better and better, that legal protection may be eroding. 
Springfield News-Leader
The entire news story is here. Here are pertinent excerpts. 

Curtis P. Lanham, 36, of Galena, and Charles V. Baltzell, 76, of Kirbyville, were each indicted on more than a dozen felony charges.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri says Lanham was the general manager of Ride the Ducks Branson, and Baltzell was the company's operations supervisor.
Baltzell, who was in charge of monitoring the weather, checked the radar that evening and told McKee and the duck boat’s road driver at 6:28 p.m. to start the tour with the water portion and then finish with the road portion since a storm was on its way, according to the indictment.
Four minutes later, the National Weather Service upgraded the severe thunderstorm watch to a warning, with language about 60 mph wind gusts. United States Coast Guard regulations state the duck boat vessels shouldn’t be operated in winds exceeding 35 mph.
The duck boat embarked on its scheduled tour, anyway, and went into Table Rock Lake. McKee allegedly told the passengers they would not need their life jackets.
As the severe weather was moving closer, Baltzell was allegedly performing his “close out duties” at Ride the Ducks Branson, related to sales and the cash drawer, and not closely monitoring the weather.
The weather conditions got progressively worse as the duck boat was out on the lake, but the indictment says the defendants failed to act properly.
In the three minutes before the duck boat sank at 7:09 p.m., the indictment says McKee said nothing to the passengers, despite the concerning weather conditions and the bilge alarm on the vessel going off twice.
I am not an attorney and I have no comments on the merits of this particular case. I also want to emphasize that the defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty in court. That said, I can make some generalized comments:

First,
If the Duck Boat officials are convicted, it sets a precedent that if you are responsible for weather safety and something goes terribly wrong, you could be facing jail as well as severe financial loss. 

Incidents like the Kansas City Royals continuing play while lightning is directly above the stadium and thunder is roaring through the stands need to stop. Now! Umpires using apps (as in last week's example, below) doesn't cut it.
While I believe that, in general, criminal prosecution for mishandling weather is a (net) bad idea, it might motivate event organizers to get their acts together and hire commercial meteorologists who have experience and know what they are doing when there are large numbers of people to protect.

It hasn't been that many years since event organizers in Indianapolis (using smartphone apps according to reports) overruled their on-site meteorologist and continued the event. The fatal results are shown below. 

You wouldn't go to court without an attorney. You would not go to a tax audit without an accountant. It is irresponsible to conduct mass outdoor events without expert meteorological planning and guidance. 

Sunday Fun: Flying Today



A slice of flying these days. Every one of these things has occurred to me except the tripping of the drunk guy.

Addition: My brother and sister-in-law were on my our least favorite airline, United, coming back from Europe yesterday. Their flight was 1.5 hr. late leaving Brussells, which caused them to miss their connection in Newark. So, they were sent to Denver (overflying their destination of Kansas City). Of course, since it was United, the plane they would take from Denver to KC was 2.5 hours late coming from California to Denver. So, they arrived in KC at 2:37am, which was 3 hours and 15 minutes late. And, of course, United lost their bags.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Great Plains Storm Threat Through 11pm

This is the region where I am most concerned about the weather the rest of the afternoon and evening. Within the red area is where there could be spots where hailstones could exceed 2.5" in diameter. Thunderstorm wind gusts could exceed 60 mph. 

In the purple area there is a chance for 2-4 tornadoes although this does not seem to be a day with a major tornado threat. 

Please keep an eye on the weather through 11pm. After that time, there is the possibility of serious flash flooding developing. I'll update on that topic later this afternoon or evening. 

Heads Up: Central Great Plains

There are serious weather risks to deal with this afternoon through tonight.

Tornado
There is a significant risk of tornadoes in the brown area from Wichita and Hutchinson southwest through Woodward, Elk City, and Childress.

Damaging Winds and Hail
The yellow area is a significant risk of damaging winds and hail. The red+hatching is a high risk of hail with sizes (in the hatching) larger than 2" in diameter. 

Flash Flooding
The yellow areas have significant risks of flash flooding. As much as eight inches of rain fell near Peabody, Kansas, last night which is an indication of what could happen tonight if thunderstorms move slowly.

There will also be a risk of severe thunderstorms and flash flooding tomorrow. I'll update tomorrow morning.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Lightning at 11:30pm

A Preview of Things to Come

I'm concerned about the weather in Kansas and Oklahoma tomorrow (scroll down). These thunderstorms didn't start to form until around 9:30pm which shows how much energy exists in the atmosphere over the region.
The storm that is producing the lightning was so tall the top of the storm was so far above the horizon that it was catching the sun at 9:55pm.
Via Twitter
Here is the radar at the time the lightning was captured.

Please closely monitor the weather Saturday in Kansas and Oklahoma. 

I Believe the Author Has Things Backward

From New Scientist:
I wish to assist the author, Graham Lawton, with some basics of Christianity since he does not seem to be familiar with the faith. We believe that God created the universe and each of us. It is our job to conform to God's will and Commandments. Jesus tells us He welcomes respectful petitions but they should be in the form of prayer. I'm a bit put off by his comment, "it would be better if He was on our side." That is exactly backward: we are to be on God's side.

That said, Catholics are instructed that we are to be good stewards of the earth but that hardly means we have to believe Al Gore's catastrophic global warming hysteria. We are to use the intelligence that God has given us, especially since the scientific case for catastrophic global warming is extremely weak.

Finally, there is nothing to fear from religion. The job of religion is assist each of us with the salvation of our souls. I happen to be Catholic but try to respect everyone. For those who are "conflicted" about religion, I recommend attending Catholic church or services of other religion of your choice every Sunday for, say, a month. It has been my experience that most progressives who are distrustful of religion know little about it other than stereotypes. Try it for yourself and I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Unseasonably High Severe Weather Thunderstorm Risk Saturday

We usually do not forecast tornadoes and severe thunderstorms more than a day in advance. However, I am making an exception because it is a Saturday and, at least in Kansas, there are several major outdoor events scheduled.

Throughout the yellow area, there is a marginal risk of thunderstorms that could produce damaging winds and some hail.

However, in the red, hatched area, there is an enhanced risk of giant hail and damaging winds. There is also a risk of tornadoes, especially in Kansas and northwest Missouri.

I'll update on this tomorrow. In the meantime, please factor the weather into your weekend plans.

Attention: Meteorologists

Stamp Out Bad Weather Grammar!!

Meteorologists, like every other profession, develop their own lexicon. But, two items are pet peeves of mine and we just had an example of one of them. 
Who "broke" the line of showers?

This term dates back to written radar summaries before we had the ability to transmit radar data from one place to another. The term "broken" was sent to pilots to let them know a line of thunderstorms was not "solid" and that they might fine a space between the storms where they might safely fly through.

The other pet peeve is "these storms may exceed 'severe limits'." I don't know how this got started because it is just bad grammar. What they mean is the storm may exceed severe thresholds, which are defined as hail at least 1" in diameter or wind gusts of 58 mph (50 knots, this, too, began with aviation).

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Two Areas of Serious Weather Risk Today and Tonight

East Coast
The area in purple has a high risk of damaging winds. This is a situation where widespread power outages could occur. Please prepare accordingly!

Central U.S.
The two biggest threats are giant hail and tornadoes.

Tornado
The brown areas have a significant risk of tornadoes. The easternmost area includes Omaha, Lincoln, St. Joseph, Atchison and Kansas City.

Hail
The hatched area is where hailstones larger than 2" in diameter are forecasted to fall. Yesterday, a hailstone near 6" in diameter fell in southwest Arkansas! It is a good day to put your car in the garage. 


I continue to believe this very active weather pattern will continue through the weekend. Please keep up on the latest weather information, especially in the central third of the United States. 

My Gosh, How Long Are Major League Sports Going to Continue This Nonsense

On April 28, I documented the Kansas City Royals continuing to play as lightning moved right over the stadium. The madness continued in Pittsburgh this evening according to Jon Nee.
In many cases, you are not safe from weather hazards in major league stadia. It is long past time for this nonsense to cease.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Beautiful Summer Evening in Wichita


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Tornado Risk Outlook

The brown area is where a significant risk of tornadoes exists through about 10pm this evening.

A heads up for this weekend: there is a risk of tornadoes and violent thunderstorms Friday through Sunday in various areas of the Great Plains and western Midwest. If you are planning to camp or boat, make sure you have a means of receiving storm warnings and a sheltering plan.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wichita Got VERY Lucky

We don't understand exactly how tornadoes form. For a time, it looked like one might move right across Wichita.

Still photo shows the rotating wall cloud as it was approaching downtown Wichita. The arrow shows
the area of rotation. Tornadoes often occur in association with wall clouds.

The time-lapse video below is quite brief but it shows the rotation depicted in the photo above.
Whew!!

Two Areas of Significant Tornado Risk Later Today

We have two areas of concern today.

Middle Atlantic Region
This area of significant risk includes Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Wilmington.


Kansas, Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma
The brown is a significant tornado risk. It includes Woodward, Enid and Emporia. The yellow is an enhanced risk of tornadoes and includes Wichita and Salina.

If you live in these areas, please keep up on the weather later today!

When the Sirens Were Silent - The Story of the Tragic Joplin Tornado

Because of the rash of tornadoes occurring around the anniversary of the Joplin Tornado, we did not get much time to talk about When the Sirens Were Silent. Here are some recent review from Goodreads (a very tough audience):
For those interested in tornadoes or preparedness, this is essential reading.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Fun: "The Best Pizza in Every State"

Here is an article about the best pizzeria in each state.

In Kansas, they picked Ziggies. Since Wichita is the founding home of Pizza Hut, you would expect our entrepreneurs to make great pizza and they do. I like Ziggies and have been there several times.

However, the best pizza in Wichita and Kansas is Picassos. Amazing.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

Leawood, Kansas, Thursday
Happy Father's Day to the most under-appreciated segment of society. I love the display of ties.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Amazing Kansas Sky

No photoshop. No adjusting the digital files. That is the way the storms developing over eastern Kansas looked at 8:50pm. The radar at the time is below.

And, a taste of the lightning.

Kansas is an amazing, under appreciated place.

Ohio Valley Region: Significant Tornado Risk Today

There is a significant risk of tornadoes later today in the brown area from Quincy and St. Louis across Salem and Lake Carlyle and then to Indy and Cincinnati. Please keep an eye on the weather later today.

There is also a risk of very damaging thunderstorm straight-line winds in Oklahoma and parts of
northwest Texas. Winds in this area are forecast to gust higher than 75 mph. This could cause power failures along with damage due to toppling trees and items blowing about. It would be a good idea to bring in lawn furniture and put your car inside.

Only in Washington: People Who Are Supposed to Research Farmers Protesting Being Near Farmers

Brian Lowry, McClatchy, DC
The above photo is of Washington-based US Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees, whose jobs are researching farming and agriculture, turning their backs (protesting) on the announcement they will have to move to Kansas City to be near, you know, farmers. The USDA also wants them to be near Kansas State University and the other land grant colleges that do so much research in agriculture and agricultural security.

Of course, I realize the protesters have friends and family and a lifestyle. But, in theory, they are supposed to be "civil servants" and their jobs exist to serve the people of the United States. So, they can transfer to other jobs or resign.

On numerous occasions, most recently here, I have strongly advocated for dispersing the federal government. This is a small step in that direction. Considering their job is directly related to farming, moving them out of Washington, DC into farm country is a very good thing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Dumbest Comment of the Month


Oy!

"Why Don't You Point Out the Silly Arguments of the Anti-Global Warming Side?"

Those who follow me on Twitter saw that question posted to me last week. It is a fair question.

Most of the reason I don't post pro-CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic [human-caused] global warming) information more often is that the science on the pro-catastrophic side is very weak.

But, the better response to the scientists' question is in what I do not post. Below is a clever, wonderful
editorial cartoon that I would have loved to run. Very clever and insightful. I grabbed a screen shot and started researching the point it made. And, while it is a great editorial cartoon, it is factually incorrect. Therefore, it didn't get posted. And, more, because a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm not letting you see it because it would -- incorrectly -- put some pro-global warming people in a bad light.

That said, I could see where this (invisible) censoring might lead to the incorrect impression I don't have high standards for what goes onto this blog or that I run only pro-skeptical science. That isn't correct.

"The Moral Case For Honest and Competent Climate Science"

An important contribution to the climate debate was made last week when WattsUpWithThat published a piece by Christopher Monckton of Great Britain titled, The Moral Case for Honest and Competent Climate Science. The piece discusses foundational scientific errors currently being made by many in the field of climatology. For those, I urge you to read the entire piece. However, I wanted to excerpt his moral argument as to why the policies of Al Gore and Big Climate should be anathema to humanity.


The International Energy Agency defines “access to electricity” as the ability to switch on the equivalent of a single 60-Watt light-bulb for about four hours. Even on this hardly generous definition, the IEA finds that some 1.3 billion people worldwide – a sixth of the global population – have no access to electricity.
Without power, life is poor, nasty, brutish and, above all, short. Life expectancy in regions without electricity – sub-Saharan Africa, for instance – is little better than 60 years. In the European countries, it is more like 80 years.
Yet since 2010 the World Bank, one of the plethora of unelected supranational institutions to which democratic nations are unwisely transferring great power and wealth, has refused to lend to developing countries for coal-fired electricity generation – because global warming.
From this year onward, that hideous, stony-faced, flint-hearted entity will not led to poorer countries for extraction of coal, oil or gas either – because global warming.
In Western countries, too, the crippling cost of global-warming policies is causing real harm. Britain’s last aluminum smelter was forced to close some years ago, killed by savage real increases in the cost of electrical power for the furnace. The British Steel Corporation, the country’s last major steelworks, has just gone into bankruptcy. Again, the major reason for the collapse is the cost of electrical power, absurdly inflated not by market forces but by governmental fiat – because global warming.
Jobs in the West and lives in the South – millions of them every year – are being destroyed because affordable electricity is unavailable. More than 4 million people a year die of particulate pollution from open [indoor] cooking fires because they have no electricity. Half a million women [annually] die in childbirth chiefly because there is no electrical power. These are just some of the tens of millions who die annually because they cannot so much as switch on a light.
A growing fraction of these job losses and deaths arise not because the rate of global warming is dangerous – it isn’t – but because official policies intended (whether piously or not) to mitigate global warming are, in their effect, genocidal.
The global welfare loss arising from policies to mitigate global warming very greatly outweighs even the vastly-exaggerated benefit imagined by true-believers in the cult of Thermageddon. That is why it is essential to get global-warming science right. Not merely the jobs of vulnerable working people but the very lives of tens of millions in developing countries are at stake.

More than ever, Big Climate is giving the game away: they don't like humans very much and they like prosperous people even less.
I've made the point many times that in the wake of the ideology-driven, poor excuses for 'science' that form the basis for the most extreme claims of global warming disaster, climatology will lose much of its credibility, if it hasn't already. What happens then if there is a genuine crisis involving climate in the future? No one will believe them.

Is global warming a problem? Yes! Does it require mitigation and adaptation measures? Yes! But, it is a mild problem and not an existential crisis that requires sacrificing millions of human beings. The morality of global warming, as described by the MSM and much of Big Climate, is upside, down. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

While on the Subject of Meteorological Accuracy

I want to salute meteorologist Joe Crain who was fired for standing up for scientific ethics and meteorological accuracy by refusing to "hype" storms as ordered by corporate executives. The backstory is here.

In the late 1970's, during a drought, I was ordered to change a long-range forecast from continued dryness to rainy weather. I refused; fortunately, I was not fired. I know of other cases where meteorologists, at risk to their careers, have refused to hype storms for ethical and scientific reasons.

Continuing my analogy to Wall Street (below), where were the public denunciations or resignations when firms were hyping 'junk' mortgage instruments which caused the 2008 crash?

I'm very proud to be part of this profession.

Meteorology: By Far, the Most Successful Predictive Science

Click to see entire chart
Weather science is amazing. It has amazing predictive skill compared to the other predictive endeavors.

And, think about this: Very few meteorologists make more than $150,000 (most significantly less). A tiny number more than $250,000. Of the people surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, almost all make into the seven figures. We save lives. They do not.

There is no question that meteorologists, as a rule, are underpaid and, most of all, under-appreciated. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why Others Are Questioning Whether Climate Studies Are a "Science"

Several months ago, I announced and explained why I am no longer labeling climate study a field of science. By definition, a science must have a falsifiable hypothesis. Climate study, if it ever could, cannot currently claim to even have a hypothesis to falsify. Literally everything is "consistent with climate change."

Others are noting this ever-widening gap.
The entire article, about the Great Lakes and the nonsensical climate claims made about them, is excellent. Here is the article's conclusion.
Exactly!