Friday, January 15, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates: #1 Farmers in the USA

I guess with Joe Biden being sworn in next week it means that agricultural trade with China will increase. So, it was not a total surprise to learn Bill and Melina Gates are now the #1 farmers in the USA. Much of their farmland is in Nebraska, home to Bill's best friend Warren Buffett. 

I'm confident they will be following in the steps of Oliver and Lisa Douglas in their embrace of the Cornhusker State as depicted in the CBS sitcom Green Acres. 

Green Acres had a very catchy theme song. You can click on the music here and I've updated the lyrics below. The lyrics begin to be sung 15 seconds in. 

[Bill] Nebraska is the place to be.

Farm livin’ is the life for me.


Sand Hills spreading out so far and wide.


Keep Seattle, just give me that countryside.



[Melinda] Seattle's where I’d rather stay.


My shoes don’t like that ‘husker clay. 


I just adore the Space Needle’s sights.


Shopping at Borsheims just doesn’t seem so right.



[Bill] Casey’s...


[Melinda] Starbucks...


[Bill] The breeze...


[Melinda]  Tesla Trucks.



[Bill] You are my wife,


[Melinda] Good-bye Seattle life, 


[Both] Nebraska we are here!

Dust Storm Warning!

The curved red stripe on this satellite image is the blowing dust.

From earlier this afternoon:
 Rare dust storm warnings were issued for parts of Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. 

 My brother sent this photo of a wind turbine -- obscured by blowing dust. 

As of 1:15pm CST, here are the primary warnings across the north central USA.

  • Orange = blizzard warning
  • Gold = high wind warning.
  • Blue = winter weather advisory
  • Maroon = high wildfire danger
  • Gray = air quality warning due to blowing dust

Unicorn Meteor Shot

 Via Twitter, an amazing shot of a meteor and its trail. It was obtained accidentally. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wind Warning Expanded

Don't even think about trying to drive through the (orange) blizzard warning. Wind gusts of 60-65 mph were common today and will be in parts of the high wind warning (gold and brown) tomorrow. 

Major Storm: North Central United States

Please note if you are traveling
  • Orange is a blizzard warning. 
  • Gold = high wind warning.
  • Maroon = wildfire conditions high
  • Blue = winter weather advisory 
Please do not travel through the blizzard warning area and use caution in the high wind warning if you have a high profile vehicle. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Latest Goodreads Rating of "Warnings"

If you received a gift card for Christmas or if you have your COVID shot and want a great book to read on a late-winter vacation, may I suggest Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.

Here is the very latest rating from

Thank you, Samantha!

Major Wind Event Forecast for Thursday

The browns are high wind (≥ 50 mph) watches and warnings for a major windstorm starting tonight and continuing Thursday night. In some areas, gusts will exceed 80 mph. There will be scattered power outages and it will be dangerous for tractor-trailers and other high profile vehicles. 

Greens are various flood statements and warnings. Purple is a winter weather advisory and the greenish blue in the Upper Midwest is a winter storm watch. Bright blue is an avalanche warning. 

Another Essay That is Required Reading

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                                  -- President Ronald Reagan

We, sadly, live in extraordinary times. I've never proclaimed two "required readings" in a month, but this is January's second. The silence of President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris is deafening. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This Also Goes For Offending Governors

Hospitals: Stop worrying about offending your state dept of health and do the right thing! Get vaccines in the arms vulnerable community members quickly!

Monday, January 11, 2021

How Much Snow??

Snow depth across the United States as of midnight.

Total snow, season-to-date.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Free Speech Dies in Timidity"

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                                  -- President Ronald Reagan

I appreciate the 1000+ people who read my piece below. Thank you. If you haven't yet read it or Jason Whitlock's piece (purple link), I urge you to do so. 

It was written before the stunning anti-free speech events of yesterday evening during which dozens of conservative voices were kicked off Twitter and Facebook. Chad Felix Greene, who identifies himself publicly as a gay, Jewish man has written a cogent summary here. I urge you to read it, also.

The silence of President-Elect Joe Biden is deafening. In an earlier, better era, Presidents Truman and Kennedy would have denounced, in a heartbeat, these attempts to silence free speech. 

Where do we go from here?

Do not be intimidated. While we should always be polite, we should not shrink to caving in to political correctness. Regardless of whether it is comments about Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, the election, drag queen story time, or anything else, it is your right to speak. Muscles not exercised atrophy. 

Do not allow the subject to be changed. The violence at the Capitol or the sometimes ridiculous statements of President Trump do not change the fact that freedom of speech is being squelched or that fraud (extent not fully known) occurred in the recent election. 

Acknowledge the root problem. No one much cared whether Gerald Ford (a liberal Republican) or Jimmy Carter (a centrist to conservative Democrat) won the 1976 election. Why? The federal government was tiny compared to today: spending in 2020 was twenty-three times that of 1976!! The very best thing we can do is to run and elect candidates who are rock-solid small government conservatives. 

This blog will always stand for liberty, free enterprise, religious freedom and the rule of law. Hope you will visit from time-to-time. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Required Reading: Reaction to the Storming of the Capitol

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”                                        --- President Ronald Reagan

Before discussing the storming itself, I wish to comment on CBS News' coverage as the event unfolded: I've never seen a news organization pour gasoline on a fire to the extent Norah O'Donnell and others did Wednesday afternoon. They should be ashamed of themselves. O'Donnell should be fired. 

Since the campaign of Barack Obama commenced in 2008, the MSM has abandoned all pretense of objectivity or even fairness. With the growth of social media, it has only grown worse as President Trump's ban on Twitter this afternoon demonstrates. 

With my comments about the MSM in mind, I urge you in the strongest way to read every word of Jason Whitlock's comments about the events of Wednesday

One can believe the violence terrible and that storming the Capitol was completely wrong while also believing:

  • There were serious issues with fraud in the 2020 presidential election (especially in Pennsylvania and Georgia). Whether a full investigation would have overturned the result is unknown, at least to me. However, the fact there were so many working to cover things up, it is extremely suspicious. If everything was on the up-and-up, the election authorities would have been anxious to demonstrate it. 
  • Those who excused the violence of summer 2020 have no moral standing to condemn the events of Wednesday. After the small group went into the Capitol, the vast majority of MAGA demonstrators did not follow them in. 
  • President Trump was correct to urge Congress to repeal Section 230.
  • The MSM covered up the important Hunter Biden computer scandal. That malpractice may have seriously factored into the outcome of the election.
  • I hope President-Elect Biden will be an outstanding president. 
  • Given the amount of corruption in Congress, the members' sanctimonious statements about the "sanctity"of the House and Senate chambers are more than a bit rich. 

I despair more and more "the essential nation" -- America -- is lost. When I was growing up, the United States was #1 in both economic and personal freedom. No more. We are no longer in the top twenty on either list. 

Increasingly, it is difficult to see how this ends well. While we, as a nation, need each other, I fear a peaceful division is the best-case outcome. I hope I am wrong and that we are able to repair ourselves in short order. 

Tonight's Wichita Sunset

 Wow, it has been one after another lately.

Taken at 5:33pm from my backyard. It doesn't quite rank with Tuesday's but it is still great. 

Unusual Snow Storm in the South

Please factor this in if you plan to be traveling. 

With the NFL Playoffs Starting... is a good tutorial as to the NFL replay review process.

My Chiefs have a bye and don't start play Saturday. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Solving the Vaccine Distribution Problem

This is a fantastic idea. Before you say, "But, they are closed on Sundays," please keep in mind that, at least in our area, they are only offering injections five days a week. This would be an improvement. Of course, this is tongue-in-cheek. 

Seriously, my real choice would be Walgreen's. They seem to understand medicine distribution and I get my flu shots there. They also have contracts with many nursing homes.

Meanwhile doses are expiring because our utterly incompetent government cannot duplicate past successful vaccination campaigns

Calling a Meteorologist a 'Weatherman' is an Insult

The above comment is from Instapundit and it pertains to meteorologist Dr. Cliff Mass of the University of Washington. Dr. Mass has a PhD in meteorology. 

"Weatherman" is a term used for weather presenters who do not have credentials in meteorology. Al Roker would be a good example. "Weathergirl" is often used as a pejorative. 

In this case, applying the term "weatherman" to a university professor with a PhD in the science is mildly insulting. Please use the terms appropriately. Thank you. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Some Words of Great Wisdom

 “We’re not doubting that God will do the best for us; we’re wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

                                                                            ~ C.S. Lewis


I am on Twitter:  @usweatherexpert

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The content of this blog is ©2021 Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC.

Mike Smith Enterprises helps businesses discern and mitigate their risks of extreme weather, consults with scientific startups and provides entertaining, unique live presentations pertaining to weather and its effects on society and business. For more information, please contact us here

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Hospitals and Physicians: Your Mission is to Heal, Not to Keep Bureaucrats Happy

Johns Hopkins' physician

I am reading this over and over: please, thousands are dying. Get the vaccine out

Another Amazing Kansas Sunset


The sunsets in Wichita this winter have been nothing short of amazing. This was taken from my backyard at 5:32pm CST. Enjoy.

High Risk, Low Probability Locations

The Associated Press recently published a story discussing how New York City has a higher relative risk of a major tornado than, say, Wichita. The story is here

The city with the largest number of tornado fatalities is not in Kansas or Oklahoma. It is St. Louis. 

Philadelphia, Washington and NYC are vulnerable to strong tornadoes. 

I suggest reading the story and factoring it into your risk mitigation plans

Monday, January 4, 2021

Another Amazing Weather Forecast

When you see your physician, you don't want to hear from her how difficult your diagnosis happens to be. Nor do you want to hear whining from an airline employee (even though they often do just that) when they cancel your flight and they have to rebook 100 passengers.

So, most meteorologists try not to tell everyone how tough a forecast happens to be. 

However, in this case, I want to spend a few minutes talking about the New Year's Eve/Day winter storm. Why? Because in the 52 years I have been forecasting Great Plains weather, I've never seen the a winter storm come from the south southeast. In spite of this completely unique situation in modern meteorology, we got the forecast right. 

Here are the actual snowfall amounts.

Yellow is six to eight inches. Light orange is 8-12" and dark orange is 12-18 inches.

Now, look at this forecast posted two days before. 

Virtually perfect. This was especially important given the number of people traveling.

More than 150,000 people lost power. While about 60 miles too far north, this is still a B+ forecast -- the only thing I should have changed was take the increased amount just west of Oklahoma City and moved it to the next higher category. 

The next day's forecast was nearly perfect. That, along with the preparation suggestions that accompanied it, allowed plenty of time for people to prepare.

My purpose here is not to brag about myself. It is to brag about the entire weather community.  On New Year's Eve, when others were partying, meteorologists were working hard to insure your safety. 

As extreme weather inevitably develops in 2021, I hope you will take the forecasts and warnings seriously. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Tornado Warning System As It Was in 1974

[I've bumped this feature because it may have gotten lost in winter storm coverage. It should be of special interest to meteorologists and weather aficionados.]

Nineteen seventy-four was a terrible year for tornadoes with 366 people killed. To put that in perspective, with the increase in population, it would be 558 today. Part of the reason was two major tornado outbreaks: one on April 3-4 in the Midwest and South and the other on June 8 in Oklahoma and Kansas. In both cases the tornadoes were exceptionally violent. 

Just last week, The Day of the Killer Tornadoes -- in its entirety -- was posted on YouTube. It tells the story of the April Superoutbreak (as it has come to be known). While a bit hokey, it is a faithful

account of the warning system as it was at the time. The viewer quickly learns the warning system was a piecemeal, highly imperfect institution. There were instances that day where the weather wire (which sent the warnings to television and radio systems) ran more than a half-hour behind. 

Immediately, after the April Superoutbreak Dr. Ted Fujita undertook a comprehensive survey using expert meteorologists. Among them was Dr. John McCarthy who was the instructor for my atmospheric physics class that semester (I was a senior at the University of Oklahoma). He took two weeks off to participate. 

As I explain in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather, John called me aside the day he returned to Norman. I was the weekend meteorologist at WKY TV in Oklahoma City. He told me how the warning system completely broke down in the Midwest and how I needed to consider how I would handle a major tornado outbreak if one occurred in Oklahoma. Eight weeks later, it did. 

As a result of John's advice, what we did on June 8 changed the entire future of tornado warnings. There were zero deaths in our viewing area but 17 in the Tulsa viewing area where none of the TV stations had a meteorologists* or radar. I believe you will find it to be a fascinating story (note the ratings and comments at Amazon at the red link, above). 

I'm posting this because Day of the Killer Tornadoes really adds context. If you haven't yet read Warnings, I'm certain you will enjoy it if you like reading this blog. 

There are reasons to believe -- very preliminarily -- that 2021 could be a worse, or even much worse, tornado season than 2020's. It wouldn't hurt to read a great book about tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms as one step toward insuring your family is protected. 

*Across the nation, very few television stations had meteorologists. That changed very quickly after the June 8 outbreak and the intervention of a renowned television news consultant. 

Sunday Fun: FRUIT CART!!

Siskel and Ebert At the Movies was a popular program that featured Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and their reviews of current movies from the 70's through the 90's. 

They developed a shtick where they shouted "fruit cart!" in some of their reviews when a movie director had a car plow through a cart. According to a web search, in the case of the movie Ski Patrol, there was a sign on a fruit cart that said "Siskel and Ebert's Fruit Cart." 

So, I want to start 2021 with a bit of levity. Fruit cart!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Comparing the 2021 Current Drought to the Peak of the Dust Bowl

Because of a comment in the Washington Post, I am posting a comparison of the peer-reviewed current Palmer Drought Index to that at the peak of the Dust Bowl.

Current Drought Status

1934 Drought Status

While conditions today may be worse in the immediate Four Corners area, the Dust Bowl drought was far, far worse in the rest of the nation. The commenter mentioned Satanta, Kansas. That area has received generous rain and snow the last two months and there is no drought in southwest Kansas at this time. In 1934, the drought and dust storms in southwest Kansas crushed the agricultural economy. 

This brings us to an important point: If the drought of 1934 was to approximately repeat itself it would be blamed -- probably incorrectly -- on global warming. While human beings affect the climate, the fact is that Mother Nature is quite capable of creating extremes of weather and climate without any help from us. 

Season To-Date Snowfall

Friday, January 1, 2021


The video is a slow-motion depiction of the snow falling at The Smith 
House in northeast Wichita. We officially had 6.5 inches.
There are few ways better to begin a year than a beautiful, wet snow bringing needed moisture to the region. As a meteorologist, it is gratifying to make an extremely difficult forecast and see it validated. 

In Wichita, a puppy has its first encounter with snow.

And, from Kansas City, sheer exuberance to start the year with snow!
I hope you and yours 
have the greatest year ever!!

Kansas Recap of 2020 Precipitation

 For my Kansas readers, here is a map of precipitation for 2020.

Courtesy of the Kansas Mesonet

It is nice that we started off the year with needed moisture. 

Here is a map of the moisture from the latest storm as of noon today. 
Let's hope 2021's weather leads to green lawns, great crops, the only tornadoes in empty fields and, 355 days from now, a White Christmas.