Thursday, March 31, 2022

Look For Less Accurate Weather Forecasts In the Near Future

The National Weather Service (NWS) launches weather balloons twice a day (more often when extreme weather is forecasted to occur) to gather information on the pressure, winds, temperature and humidity aloft. This data is absolutely vital, especially during tornado season, to the accuracy of storm forecasts and warnings.
The NWS officially announced this morning that we will be losing about 10% of our rawinsondes during tornado season -- when they are needed the most -- because of contract and other issues. 

The preservation and improvement of the meteorological database is the National Weather Service's Job One because, without that data, neither it nor anyone else can make accurate weather forecasts and, when it comes to tornadoes, accurate warnings. 

I'm not the only meteorologist with that opinion. The NWS's own Roger Edwards of their severe storm prediction center says,
A "RAOB" is meteorologists' shorthand for the data radioed back by the weather balloon's instrument packages. 

The National Weather Service is in a downward spiral that, increasingly, is putting the lives and property of the American public at risk. 

I don't know of a solution except my proposed National Disaster Review Board. There is still time to contact your senators and representatives. 

Slow-Motion Snow Falling

A mesmerizing video of snow falling in slow-motion in Wichita. Enjoy!

Why Electric Cars are Terrible for the Environment

And... much of this is done by child or slave labor. 

And... the grid is already strained by existing load. 

And... China controls much of the supply of these metals.  

The idea electric cars are good for the environment is magical thinking at its worst. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Another High Risk For Tornadoes Day

The hatched area is where strong tornadoes are forecast to occur. The red area has a high risk of tornadoes. 
The yellow area has an enhanced risk of tornadoes. The brown area has a significant risk of tornadoes. 

Damaging tornadoes have already occurred today. Please monitor local sources of weather warnings in these areas. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

This Evening's Tornado Risk Extended North

NWS's Storm Prediction Center has expanded the significant tornado risk area into Kansas and Missouri. 
The higher risk of tornadoes is after dark. Please take your smartphone with WEA activated to bed with you if you live in these areas. 

Fire and Tornado Forecast

Fire Danger
Let's begin with the fire situation as there is a rare "extremely critical" (purple) forecast for the High Plains. 
It is vital that fires not start. Do not try to burn anything in the red and, especially, purple areas.

Tornado Risk Later Today and Wednesday
We have a significant (brown) tornado risk in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

There is a high risk of tornadoes in the South tomorrow and tomorrow night. In the hatched area, strong tornadoes are likely. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Update on the Status of the 2022 Winter Wheat Crop

The short answer: not good.

Here is a map of the primary hard red winter wheat area in the United States. Darker green represents more wheat production. 

Here are the current conditions of the wheat crop. The drought has really cut into wheat crop conditions in OK-TX-CO.

Here is the forecasted precipitation (rain and melted down snow) for the next two days, until noon Wednesday. I have superimposed a rough outline of the primary wheat growing area.

Because of the dryness and high winds, extreme fire danger is likely over much of the region.

Beyond Wednesday, here is the forecast rainfall from 7am Wednesday to 7am Monday. 
We need a slow inch or two across the entire winter wheat area and that is not what is likely to occur. 

Given the issues with Russia and the Ukraine, these problems in the USA will lead to bread shortages in parts of the world. Here, I think we'll have enough supply but at significantly prices. 

When Does Tornado Season Begin in Your Area?

It is the time of year when you can expect to experience tornadoes in your region. Of course, they vary greatly by year. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Interested in All Things Weather?

If you enjoy this blog, Mike Smith Enterprises has a variety of ways we serve people who have interests in weather. 

Photography
You can see my photos at Adobe Stock Photography, here. Whether advertising or editorial, we have photos that will suit your needs. 

Books
Warnings tells the story of how meteorologists like Dr. Ted Fujita and other brilliant, courageous scientists eliminated downburst airliner crashes, cut the tornado death rate by 95%, and other amazing accomplishments. It is an uplifting story that reads like a novel.

From a new review at Amazon: The book is easily readable and very informative. It is a keeper for my library. Great job.

When the Sirens Were Silent is the true story of the Joplin Tornado -- one of the worst in history. It also includes vital safety information for you and your family. Tornado Season 2022 is just underway as we saw last week. More tornadoes are quite likely this week. Please take the tornado safety advice to heart.

Live Presentations
Every presentation is different -- uniquely tailored to the audience. Great graphics.  Never "death by powerpoint." We do keynote presentations on how weather and climate affect people, society and business. Contact Mindy East for more information. 

Sunday Fun? While Hell is No Laughing Matter....

....it is when The Babylon Bee tells us about nine of the most brutal punishments

You don't want to go to Hell, so go to church today!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Looming Food Shortages

We've been warning you for several months.

Update 5:5p Sunday
As I'm sure you realize: less fertilizer = less food.

Could This Have Anything To Do With the Fact Physics Has Made No Progress in Nearly 50 Years?

Whether it is The Big Bang Theory or in magazines about physics theory, many have been discussing the lack of progress in basic physics theory since the 1970's. 

It is a topic that has puzzled me until this journal paper was brought to my attention:
"Whiteness." Sigh. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Lightning Kills Cattle For the Millionth Time Since Creation -- This Time It Must Be Due to Global Warming

Beyond absurd....
What does it have to do with climate change? Nothing!

You'll see a lot of gross pictures if you Bing "cattle killed by lightning," so I'm not showing any of those.  Many head can be killed by a single bolt because cattle often take shelter under trees or near metal fences. 

And............
The reason meteorologist Matthew Cappucci didn't mention the Texas tornadoes is because they had nothing to do with global warming. They were typical Texas tornadoes occurring at the time of year they typically occur.

Also, for the millionth time, violent tornadoes are getting less frequent as earth temperatures have warmed. This is a chart of official NOAA figures. 
There are many good reasons to decarbonize energy via nuclear energy and by hydroelectric sources (and not windmills and solar). The earth has clearly warmed the last 60 years and man is part of the reason. But, repeating these scientific absurdities do no one any good. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

50th Anniversary of "Tornado Chasing"

March, 2022, is the 50th Anniversary of Tornado Chasing 

OU's Felgar Hall where the meteorology department was located

While an amateur meteorologist named Dave Hoadley had storm chased since the 1950's, the scientific storm chasing program began in March, 1972. While I don't remember the date, the meeting of the University of Oklahoma Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society that month featured speakers Dr.s Joe Golden (NSSL) and Bruce Morgan (Notre Dame). They proposed that students chase tornadoes -- for science. 

One of NSSL's two original Doppler radars, 1972

Certainly it wasn't for money! The National Severe Storms Laboratory wanted us to chase all over Oklahoma so as to determine the value of its Doppler radars but they didn't even give us gas money. We were needed to confirm ("ground truth") what the Dopplers were seeing. It was our work that would determine whether Doppler -- far more expensive than traditional weather radar -- was actually a step forward and worth eventually deploying across the nation. 

While we spent a lot of time chasing blue skies that first spring, we hit the jackpot the next year.

Two chase teams intercepted the Union City tornado in May of 1973 which happened to be in the viewing range of both Dopplers. Some of the things they -- along with radar meteorologists Don Burgess and Les Lemon using the Doppler's data -- discovered are still in use today. 

Chickasha, OK, June 4, 1973. The lowering was rapidly spinning. 
Large hail was falling with almost no rain.

In June of 1974, Kathleen and I documented a "low precipitation" supercell for the first time. These storms produce large hail, occasional tornadoes, and very little rain. They can be misleading on radar because they are so unimpressive. 

These were just the first two of numerous scientific papers resulting from storm chasing (over time, the word "storm" replaced "tornado"). Just two days ago, storm chasers were roaming the Southeast as a meteorology field project was researching tornadoes. 

Tornado and thunderstorm science have advanced far more rapidly that it would have if storm chasing had not existed. The improved science directly resulted in better life-saving tornado warnings.

In 1972, we never, ever would have dreamed a storm tourism industry would develop. Of course, it was given a huge boost by the movie Twister. 

So, here's to all of the responsible chasers who have significantly added to the science, called in real-time storm reports that have helped save lives, and to all of the fun people from around the world have had experiencing America's unique storms. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Attention: Young Meteorologists and Storm Chasers

This piece is intended for young meteorologists and storm chasers. 

Which Radar Would You Rather Have Used?
I constantly, especially from people in North Carolina, receive criticism of the Terminal Doppler Weather Radars. This criticism is misplaced as tonight's east New Orleans Tornado demonstrated again. 

Here is map of the tornado's path across metro New Orleans. 
Matthew Cappucci/MyWeather/CWG
It appears the New Orleans NWS did a fine job with the warning. 

This was the NWS WSR-88D at 7:24pm when the tornado was moving through Arabi and the Lower Ninth Ward. Click to enlarge the images. 

Here is the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar at the same time. 
The tornado on the -88D, while visible in the velocity data, is not nearly as obvious as it is on the TDWR. It is not just the velocity data (right) but look at the more obvious hook in the reflectivity data. Assuming no attenuation, if I only had one radar to use, and they were equidistant from the tornado, I'd always pick the TDWR.

The "Day Before the Day"
Day Three Outlook for Monday

Day Three Outlook for Tuesday

While we don't have the I-35 tornado survey data from yesterday as yet and we don't have any survey data from today, my sense is that yesterday "overperformed" expectations and that today might have underperformed in terms of the number of tornadoes. If this is correct, it may be due to something known as The Day Before the Day. 

While I don't know of any research on this topic, rapidly returning moisture combined with the upward vertical motion on the west side of a receding trough will often produce more tornadoes than expected, perhaps because there is more diurnal heating the day before. On "the day," perhaps because the moisture is in place, less heating occurs and it underperforms. 

There is nothing profound here, just something for forecasters to keep in mind. 

Tornado High Risk Moved North

The highest risk area (red) for strong tornadoes has been moved north a bit and the significant tornado risk (brown) has now been extended into far southwest Tennessee. This forecast is from the NWS SPC.

This is one of those conditional risk situations: if supercells develop, there is a high risk they will produce tornadoes that will likely be strong and long-tracked. 

Please monitor local weather information in this area! I will supplement it with coverage on Twitter @usweatherexpert. 

Updated Tornado Risk Outlook

Here is the updated tornado risk forecast. See color code below. 

High Risk Tornado Day in the South

Another major tornado day Tuesday and Tuesday evening. Forecast valid 7a today to 7a Wednesday.
  • Red = high risk of strong tornadoes.
  • Yellow = enhanced risk of strong tornadoes. 
  • Brown = significant risk of tornadoes. 
Please keep up on the weather throughout the day. 

Note: there is the potential for large hail, damaging winds and a couple of tornadoes in the cloud-shaped area below until 6am CDT. See map below.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Precipitation to 9pm CDT

Badly needed rains have fallen today over the winter wheat belt. 

Overnight Tornado Watch

Tornado watch until 3am. 

7:30pm Tornado Outbreak in Progress

Numerous damaging tornadoes have occurred in Texas today with one in southern Oklahoma. They are still occurring. A new tornado watch will be issued for east Texas shortly. 

Here are rotation tracks to 7pm. Whites and blues = likely tornado on the ground. North Texas.

Central Texas

Tornado Watch: Central Texas Till 10p

First Tornado Watch of the Day

This is the time to call your family and friends to make sure they are monitoring the weather and that they are ready to take shelter if a tornado warning is issued. 

If you live in a mobile home, it is time to go to a friend or family member's home. Mobile homes are not safe!

You can follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert for updated forecast and warning information. 

Note: I don't post every watch on the blog. Please follow me on twitter for more information.