Saturday, November 30, 2019

Small Business Saturday

Today is "small business Saturday." As a small businessman, I'd appreciate your support.
Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather is a highly reviewed and rated book that tells the uplifting story of the people who created America's unique storm warning system that saves thousands of lives each year.
Barnes & Noble
From Goodreads:
All of the weather advisories and commentary on this blog are provided without outside commercials. So, we'd appreciate your support of our highly rated books. 

Today and Tonight's Weather Risks

The brown area is where there is a signifiant risk of tornadoes. Because of the heavy travel period, I have superimposed the interstate highways.

Here is a summary map of warnings across the country.
click to enlarge
And, the national radar composite as of 1:15pm CST.

Friday, November 29, 2019

NO Upward Trend in Hurricanes Or Tropical Storms

The 2019 North America hurricane season is over. The data is in. And, the data, combined with data from around the world, conclusively shows there is absolutely no upward trend, worldwide, in tropical storms or hurricanes.
Dr. Ryan Maue

Travel A Mess in the Western Half of the Nation

If you are traveling today in the western half of the nation, please check local weather forecasts. Here is a map of adverse conditions as of 8:30am today. Things pretty much okay in the East.
(Note: this will be the only travel advisory today)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gasp! World May Have Crossed Global Warming "Tipping Point"

Big Climate's latest focus group must have approvingly coughed up the "tipping point" furball because they are at it again. The item below was published Wednesday. It is the first time I've seen two of their focus-grouped terms (the other, 'climate emergency') in a single eight-world headline.
The number of tipped global warming tipping points over the last 40 years is likely well past 100 by now. The first was in 1989. It proclaimed "whole nations would be underwater" if the problem wasn't solved by 2000.
Last time we checked, the Maldives were doing just fine.

There have been dozens of tipping points ever since. I wrote this more than five years ago.
This headline was published Tuesday.
Multiple people on Twitter have speculated the timing of these and other headlines is not coincidental. They were supposed to subtly get you to talk about global warming over Thanksgiving dinner. Me? The only cooling I wanted was for the cranberry jelly.

I loved this headline, also via Twitter.
Babylon Bee
I intentionally waited to post this so as not to ruin anyone's dinner. Hope yours was great!

Happy Thanksgiving

Shelley, Mindy and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

We have many, many things about which to be thankful in our nation. One of them is all of the meteorologists who are working today -- and are away from their families -- to help keep you and your family safe with the storms crossing the nation.

It is well worth reading Sir Winston Churchill's World War II message on Thanksgiving. It is here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An Innovative Thanksgiving Travel Suggestion

Screen capture from ABC News of California Thanksgiving travelers.
It makes me think: Wouldn't it be easier for the people in the red cars (taillights) to visit the relatives of the drivers in white (headlights) and vice versa??

Have a safe drive and a great Thanksgiving.

7am Wednesday Thanksgiving Travel Update

Here is the forecast snowfall until midnight tonight.

And, for late travelers, here is the total snowfall from now through 11:59pm Thanksgiving evening.
And, to close our Thanksgiving weather coverage, I'd like to quote Hill Street Blues' Sgt. Phil Esterhaus:
Let's be very careful out there!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Radar at 6:45pm

The blue is the heavy snow from Kansas to northwest Wisconsin. Yellow counties are currently under tornado watches.

For additional coverage this evening, please follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert. 

1:30pm Tuesday Travel Weather Update

Updated at 1:30pm CST.
Wildfires already in progress!
Scattered power outages likely.

Radar at 1:20pm.

-- Original Posting -- 
Hundreds of cars stuck in eastern Colorado. Serious power disruptions and wildfires are likely in the high wind warning areas.

Tornado Risk
The brown area has a significant tornado risk. 

Damaging Thunderstorm Winds
The yellow area has a significant risk of wind gusts of 60 mph or more. The red area has an enhanced risk. This is a significant danger for high profile vehicles. Power failures are possible.

Radar at 8:25am CST Tuesday

Monday, November 25, 2019

7pm Pre-Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

Before beginning, please let me remind you that I am focusing on the Central United States as there are plenty of blogs that focus on the East and West Coasts. That said, please keep be aware of high winds forecast for the southern Oregon and northern California coasts along with high winds in the eastern Great Lakes regions.

The days to which I refer are from midnight to midnight.

If you are flying Tuesday or Wednesday, don't eat a big meal. Turbulence is possible just about anywhere.

Current Radar as of 7pm CST

Currently In Effect
Snowfall, again, from midnight to midnight.
The heavy snow falling in eastern Colorado and the High Plains will have coated the roads by sunrise.

Peak Wind gusts through 11pm Wednesday.
click to enlarge
Power failures are possible in the deep orange areas and likely in the red areas. These high winds will also make driving quite hazardous, especially for high-profile vehicles.

Also, severe thunderstorms with brief tornadoes are possible in the yellow area. Also, if you are flying over this area, moderate to severe turbulence is possible near thunderstorms.


Peak winds until 11pm Wednesday night.
Please note the Midwest where power failures are likely. Below is a close-up of the region.
Again, be prepared for power failures and driving will be very hazardous in the dark orange and red areas!

Total Precipitation from Now Until 6pm Monday
Please keep up on changing weather conditions before you head for the airport or get on the road. 

Washington Post's Article on the Business of Weather

Today, the Washington Post published an article in its business section, written by a meteorologist, pertaining to commercial meteorology and its relationship to NOAA. It is an important subject that is rather complex. While I appreciate Andrew Freedman's expertise and efforts to make that complexity clear (and he did a generally good job), there are some rather unfortunate items in the piece. I'll comment on them one-by-one, with the story's words in italics. 
In 2016, AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions issued a
flash flood warning for the Union Pacific Railroad west of
Topeka, Kansas. The warnings may have prevented a
catastrophic derailment that could have killed the crew
and polluted drinking water. The National Weather
Service did not have a flood warning at the time.
The article states, multiple times, that disasters in the U.S. are worsening because of global warming. My first comment: Disasters are not increasing. I'm not going to reproduce the graphs for the umpteenth time. NOAA's figures, to which the article refers, are, unfortunately, hyping the situation.

Private weather forecasting is a $7 billion industry (and growing), according to a 2017 National Weather Service study. It’s also increasingly testing the federal government’s hold on weather data and warnings. 

Last time I checked, this is America, land of the free (although in Washington many would prefer it be otherwise). It isn't the NWS's job to have a "hold" on weather data and warnings. Let the person who can build a better meteorological mousetrap do so.

Until recently, AccuWeather, Earth Networks, the Weather Co. and other private weather providers relied on the fire hose of data from NOAA’s National Weather Service and satellite arm, as well as NASA and other agencies. Now companies are producing their own data and using analytics in business-savvy ways, tailoring their forecasts to specific real-world problems.

I can't speak for the others but WeatherData, Inc. (the company I founded in 1981) and AccuWeather (which was founded in 1967 and from which I retired in 2018) always "tailored forecasts to specific real-world problems." I have been granted more than 30 patents. The vast majority were weather-related innovations. As an example of cooperation, AccuWeather licensed two of my patents to the NWS -- at no charge -- so it could do its job of serving the public. The article is paints a too pessimistic picture in this regard. 

The oddest line in the story:
For now, NOAA is the only authorized issuer of severe weather watches and warnings in the country, and it still is widely viewed as the leader in accurate weather forecasts and lifesaving warnings.

There is no "authorization"or licensing as to who can issue storm warnings. The NWS must do it as part of its mission but anyone else can, too (see photo above). I don't know how things are "viewed" in the District of Columbia, but at WeatherData, Inc. and at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, statistics showed our client-specific storm warnings were much more accurate than the National Weather Service's. 

I agree 100% with this:
According to Mary Glackin, a veteran of senior-level positions at NOAA and IBM who is president-elect of the American Meteorological Society, the agency isn’t innovating quickly enough. 
“When you look at a flash-flood warning, it looks about the same as it did 25 years ago,” Glackin said. “You kind of know a whole lot more about where your Lyft or Uber driver is and when he’s going to get to you than you know about any flash flood in relation to your geography.”
The same is true with regard to tornado and other warnings. That is why WeatherData created, for example, the track-specific storm warnings mentioned early in the article. They have saved billions of dollars for the railroad industry not to mention the lives of train crews. 

“I don’t want to get into a world, frankly, where if you have more resources, you can get a better forecast,” [Scott] Rayder said. “There’s got to be a minimum level of warning and forecasts to protect life and property.”

“Governments are still going to be focused on protecting lives and property,” said ClimaCell’s Goffer. “A future where it costs you money to get a hurricane alert is a bad future, and we shouldn’t be aiming for that.”
This is a non-issue. No one, and I mean no one, is proposing the National Weather Service not issue storm warnings. Many of us, for years, have been urging improvements to NWS warnings to little avail. It seems the bureaucracy and inertia are strong forces in D.C. 

It also makes sense to leave the warning function with the government, she said.
“The NWS is one of the most trusted parts of the federal government, so would [citizens] trust a warning coming from AccuWeather? I think not, I don’t think it’s the same type of thing,” she said. “Abdicating this to a private company and their interests makes no sense to me.”
Mary has always been an outspoken defender of her employer (until very recently, IBM), so I'm not surprised she took an unwarranted shot at AccuWeather, especially since it has an excellent reputation for accurate storm warnings and IBM does not. All I can say in reply is that WeatherData and now AES has a couple hundred Fortune 500 companies and thousands of small clients paying to receive their superior storm warnings (again, see photo and caption at top). 

Very few people get their forecasts and warnings directly from the NWS. They get them from apps (like AccuWeather's) or television meteorologists, for example. 

My position is that the government should issue free storm warnings that improve as rapidly as the science will allow. But, if a commercial company can do better, great. Don't you like having a choice of physicians and home security companies? Why should there be a single source for storm warnings?

The article, while admirable in many aspects, is a bit of a lost opportunity. The author let his politics and personal point of view about global warming get in the way of what could have been an outstanding opportunity to explain important issues. Here are my final thoughts:
  • NOAA desperately needs to stop worrying about partnering with private sector companies. If a solid company can provide raw data that will improve their forecasts and will allow the forecasts resulting, in part, from that data, to be provided to the public at no charge -- do it!
  • NOAA needs to focus its storm warnings on saving lives for the public-at-large. 
  • The NWS's culture of trying to be all things to all people is killing it. That paralysis is why tornado and flash flood warnings will look like they did in the 1960's (no kidding). 
The U.S. storm warning warning system is a Nobel Prize-worthy endeavor but it needs updating. I hope that will occur soon. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

PRE-Thanksgiving Travel Outlook

It is going to be a mess for pre-Thanksgiving travel Tuesday  
and Wednesday. A second storm likely on Thanksgiving Day itself. 

Because there are plenty of blogs that cover the East Coast (especially!) and West Coast, we focus on the central United States. I am going to break things down by 24-hour periods from midnight to midnight.


Forecast snow:
click to enlarge
Snapshot of forecast winds for 2pm CST:
With snow falling in much of the circled area, wind gusts to 40 mph will cause drifting snow and very hazardous travel conditions. Note: The winds in eastern Nebraska will increase from then until about 10pm. It will be close to blizzard conditions at times. These problems will include I-80 from Scottsbluff to Omaha and I-70 from Limon to WaKeeney.

The areas of red on the wind map feature gusts of 55 mph or higher -- very hazardous for high profile vehicles. This will include I-40 from near the Oklahoma-Texas border to Albuquerque.

Thunderstorm Forecast:
Flight delays, due to thunderstorms, are possible in the green-tinted area. Flight delays are possible at both Dallas and, especially, Houston.


Forecast snow...
The first winter storm on Wednesday moves into the Great Lakes region.

A second winter storm will occur in Utah and parts of Montana.  ?= second winter storm that may be developing Wednesday night in the southern High Plains and Thursday in the central Great Plains.

Wednesday Winds at noon: Extreme winds possible in the Midwest.
The orange is forecast winds of 45 mph or higher and the smattering of reds are winds of 50 mph or higher. This includes Chicago which means flight delays with possible delays at Detroit and Indianapolis later in the day. Power failures are possible.

Here is a map of the gusts for the entire day with emphasis on the afternoon and evening.
Please factor the weather into your travel plans. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

At Least a Temporary End to the Fire Season

Extremely heavy rains are forecast for California and the Southwest over the next seven days.
These rains, with snows in the higher elevations such as along I-40 in Arizona, will disrupt holiday travel.

Most of the Colorado and Utah ski areas will have heavy to very heavy snows.

ADDITION: Courtesy of NWS San Diego.
If this forecast is close to correct, serious flooding will result.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Holiday Book Update

I am happy to report that Amazon has adequate copies (for the moment) in stock for Christmas.
The last two cartons of books have been sent to the wholesale warehouse. After those are sold, Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tame the Weather will be out-of-print. 

You can purchase a copy from Amazon, B&N or your local bookseller. With regard to the latter, it may take a few days for the final cartons to make it into the system. If they tell you they are out, wait a few days and try again.

While there should be adequate supply, I recommend getting your order in as soon as possible.
click to read
A hardcover book is a cherished gift.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tenth Anniversary of Climategate

By pure coincidence, Climategate broke 
ten years ago, this blog's first day of publishing. 

The newspapers in Great Britain did a far better job covering the biggest scandal in the history of the atmospheric sciences than did their counterparts in the United States. The U.S. MSM did the very best it could do to cover up this story of major scientific misconduct.
This blog's first story on Climategate
What was most shocking to me were the awful positions taken by the American Meteorological Society and other scientific organizations that, defacto, sided with the wrongdoers. After a few weeks, Climategate, wrongly, faded from the public eye. The MSM, in fact, continued to spout the nonsense from these extremists in the intervening years.

I don't have the heart or stomach to recount all of Climategate. If you are new to the story, here are some excellent links:
From The Quadrant, here.
WattsUpWithThat (one of the sites that broke the story), here.
Dr. Judith Curry, one of the world's most qualified climate scientists, here.
All of these are well worth your time.

I once asked columnist George Will why Bill Clinton was able to survive impeachment as President when there was no doubt he was guilty of felony perjury and had been convicted by a federal judge (that he appointed) of the same. Mr. Will reported that it was because the Clintons, and our society, have lost the concept of "shame." I believe that was very much the case with Climategate.

In Climategate, money and power prevailed and the bad guys won.