Showing posts from December, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Meteorological Musings is not intended to be a real-time weather site like AccuWeather's . However, we made an exception today because of seriousness of the threat combined with the fact that people do not expect tornadoes on New Year's Eve.  I hope our readers found the coverage interesting and worthwhile. In case you missed it, I did post Part 3 of the global cooling series.  It is here if you do not wish to wade through all of the tornado coverage.   By the way, Harry Smith's CBS Evening News this evening mentioned that there was "just" 9 minutes of warning of the pre-dawn tornado at Cincinnati, Arkansas this morning.  I can state with near certainty that, 25 years ago, there would have been zero warning. There are eyewitness reports the tornado sirens were going off before the tornado arrived. My point in bringing this up is to illustrate how good the warning system has become. The first watch was issued about 5 hours in advance with time to take precauti

A New Tornado Watch

UPDATE 4:53pm:  Here is a WeatherTap radar image of a hook echo (near the auto [spotter] symbol near Terry) moving northeast. Tornado warning for Jackson and surrounding area! UPDATE 5:42pm: There is confirmed damage south and east of downtown Jackson.   CNN is now reporting three fatalities in Arkansas and three in Missouri from  tornadoes earlier today.  UPDATE: 4:40PM Friday.  Here is the AccuWeather Radar showing tornado-warned storms west of Jackson, MS. Play close attention to the weather in these areas!! Below, I talk about non-conventional tornado signatures in winter. Here is a supercell with a hook southwest of Jackson as recorded by NWS radar at 4:15pm: The developing hook is circled in red. 

How Do We Track Tornadoes?

There has been a rash of tornadoes today from the Ozarks to Illinois.  The dark red symbols are preliminary reports of tornadoes and the small orange symbols are funnel cloud reports. It appears there were tornadoes in the I-44 corridor from Ft. Leonard Wood to St. Louis. So far, we have reports of five fatalities. That is a tragic number. But, given that the tornadoes began in the pre-dawn hours (scroll down to see the first watch issued at 1:10am) when people were sleeping and that the storms hit densely populated areas well outside of "tornado season," that number is very low compared to what it would have been even 25 years ago. Of course, Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather  is the story of how we learned to "tame" (effectively warn of) tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms so lives could be saved. I thought I'd take this opportunity to give you a taste of how meteorologists do their work while storms are in progress.  The tor

Tornado Threat Update, 2:20pm

We are now getting tornado warnings (red) in the southern tornado watch areas (yellow). AccuWeather's radar shows the strong thunderstorms from central Illinois to the Gulf Coast states. Updated AccuWeather radar is here .

Tornado Threat Update 12:45pm

Yellow - tornado watch. Red = tornado warning at 12:43pm. I believe the threat of tornadoes will also exist in eastern Arkansas, other areas of Mississippi and western Tennessee later today. Please stay with AccuWeather for updates.

Tornado Threat in St. Louis Update

For those of you who have read Warnings  you'll recall the chapter where I talk about the November radar signature of a tornado that looked like a candy cane. Here is one right now in the southwest part of the St. Louis Metro area.  Look just east of the I-44 symbol near the center of the image (click to enlarge): There is another area of damaging winds along the Missouri River northeast of Union. The symbol near Union indicates a radio tower was blown over. The purple = tornado warnings which now pretty much cover all of the Bi-State area. UPDATE:  1140am. One fatality reported in eastern Missouri. Homes reported collapsed in southwest part of St. Louis metro. UPDATE 12:36PM.  Photo of tornado damage north side of  Rolla, MO below from the local fire department:

Out of Season Tornado Threat Update

Two tornado watches in effect: Three fatalities and quite a bit of damage has been reported, including around Ft. Leonard Wood and Rolla, MO (likely tornado damage): Radar at 11:05am shows tornado warning (purple) extended into western St. Louis County ahead of the line of storms:

Tornado Watch until 3pm!

UPDATE 8:55am Friday:  Extensive damage, near Westville, OK. That tornado moved northeast into the area around Cincinnati, AR causing additional damage and three fatalities. Rare tornado threat on New Year's Eve. New tornado watch in effect until 3pm.  This storm warning snapshot, from 7:40 am, shows the tornado watch (yellow) in Missouri and tornado warnings (red). The orange is blizzard warnings.  AccuWeather , as always, has updates. 

Global Cooling, Part 3 of 3

We are hearing that Great Britain is experiencing the coldest December in 1,000 years .  We also know that atmospheric temperatures more or less stopped warming in 1998 and ocean heat content (the more important metric of the earth’s temperature) is steady or slightly falling .  These measurements are markedly different than the forecasts of warming made by the International Panel on Climate Change, the group cited by most global warming proponents. As discussed in Part II, what if these indications of cooling are just that: Signs of cooling? Since many (see here and here ) are advocating  cooling and desire to spend tremendous sums of money to make it happen, I must ask if this is a situation where we need to be careful what we wish for . What might be the source of the cooling? Less energy from the sun. When I was in meteorology school, before satellites measured the sun’s output from above the earth’s atmosphere, we were incorrectly taught about “the solar constant.” That is, th

Why Are We Doing This to Ourselves??!!

Until recently, California’s Central Valley was one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.  Not only did it feed itself, the state of California, and the entire country, it also produced exports to other nations.  That kind of enterprise employed a lot of people in Central California, from farm hands to wholesalers, and created a high standard of living. That continued right up to the moment that the federal government got more concerned over the Delta smelt, a small, inedible fish, than feeding people.  A court order cut off water deliveries for seven months out of the year to the Central Valley at the same time a drought hit, and the combination turned a once-fertile breadbasket to the world into a Dust Bowl — or as  Investors Business Daily  suggests, a government-initiated agricultural disaster on the same order as Zimbabwe today or Ukraine in the 1930s.  This is an  amazing, tragic, and cautionary tale of environmentalism gone mad .  Why are we doing this to oursel

Coming Soon to the Blog

As I read about the hundreds of flights cancelled again today and the thousands still stranded (in some cases, until Jan. 4), I'm going to write up an "airline survival guide" and post it later this week. You'll laugh, you'll cry...but if you follow this advice you will not get yourself into one of these situations ever again! Stay tuned.

Global Cooling, Part 2 of 3

Among many in the climate science community, global warming is a given. There is no consideration given to the earth losing heat and cooling. But is the chance of cooling really zero?  And, if it is not zero, what might the implications of cooling be? This is Part 2 of a three-part essay on global cooling. Part 1 is below. Lets examine whether the “consensus” regarding continued warming is well-founded.  World history is made up of cooling periods and warming periods. Here is a graph of temperatures for the last 2,000 years: The Roman Warm Period was in progress at the time of Christ. Temperatures plummeted a few centuries later. Rome fell as civilizations relocated to escape the cold. Temperatures warmed again about a thousand years ago. During the Medieval Warm Period, wine grapes were grown in Newfoundland and Leif Ericson set up a settlement in Greenland (which he described as “green”).  Over the next few centuries, temperatures dropped so much that the glaciers advanced and

Holiday Return Travel

Here is AccuWeather's latest forecast of ice (red) and snow: Here is the National Weather Service's map. Important note: Orange = blizzard warnings.  Its a festival of colors signifying the variety of weather warnings.  Generally, west of the Utah-Colorado border, the advisories apply to tonight and Thursday. East, the advisories apply to Thursday night and Friday.

Global Cooling, Part 1 of 3

I dislike the whole topic of ‘global warming’ (a/k/a ‘climate change’). I believe it has corrupted the science I love and is influencing decisions in a manner that are hurting people and economies. Why do I write about it? Out of a sense of obligation.  There are so many tens of billions of dollars being spent, treaties negotiated, and changes to our economic system proposed, it is important to have another source of information than the mainstream media (MSM). For reasons I have never been able to understand, the MSM’s reporting on this issue has been more biased than on any other topic I can recall. With the U.S. and Europe suffering from cold and snow and Australia reporting snow (in summer!) one would think that global warming promoters would take a moment for self-reflection. After all, things meteorological are hardly working out as predicted. Instead, we have been treated to numerous cooling = global warming stories the past week, one of which has the science so wrong one won

Western Winter Storm

There is a vast array of winter weather watches and warnings in the western half of the United States as a strong storm moves across the region between now and New Year's Day. The gray in Kansas is a dense fog advisory. This is what it looked like on the way into work.

This is Why You Don't Fly into Major Winter Storms

Ten hours on the tarmac, after landing. Two other flights sat for eight hours each.

Rockies, Plains, and Foothills Snowstorm

Looks like 2010 is going to end on a snowy note in the Rockies and the northern half of the Plains.  We'll have more information tomorrow.

A 30-Day Rainfall Snapshot

This is a map of precipitation across the contiguous United States the last 30 days. The West is quite wet as is the northern Plains.  The recent snowstorm in the East helped with dry conditions in a number of areas. From Kansas to the Rio Grande Valley it is extremely dry with little or no rainfall the last 30 days.

Bradley Beach, NJ Two Days Later

From AccuWeather's Facebook page : Photographer Scott Miller reports that after two days the plows cannot get to them in Bradley Beach, NJ and that it may be worse in some neighboring counties. Check out his photography here . The media has been so focused on Metro NYC and Boston that I do not believe they realize the full magnitude of the situation. UPDATE:  Fifteen minutes ago from the New York Times: Steven Gomez of Garfield, N.J., had been at the airport since 4 p.m. on Sunday for a flight to Chicago. “Now they’re telling me my flight is on the 30th,” he said. The trouble for airlines lies in finding new flights for delayed passengers. Airlines were running at record levels of capacity even before Sunday’s storm blanketed the city with 20 inches of snow during one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Through the first nine months of the year, domestic flights were fuller than at any similar period since the Department of Transportation began tracking. With airlin

Change in Weather Pattern

AccuWeather's map illustrates the change in weather pattern expected late this week. Where the cold air and warm air meet -- in the central U.S. -- a storm is going to develop. However, the path is quite uncertain. Stay tuned! In the meantime, storm warnings are out for many areas of the West.

Timing is Everything

Of course, The New York Times  ran a convoluted opinion piece*, " Bundle Up, Its Global Warming ," Sunday (as the blizzard was moving in) that stated that global warming was causing cooling. I'm working on a global cooling piece that will run later this week. * At least one atmospheric scientist thinks the author was kidding and put one over on the Times. UPDATE Tuesday.  Here is what a third atmospheric scientist thinks of the Times' piece.

Airport Update

Following airports still closed, expected to reopen at 6:30pm Central time: JFK, Newark, Atlantic City.  There are average 1 hour 10 minute delays at Philadelphia and average delays of 65 minutes at Washington - Dulles.

Too Close Lightning Stroke

After all of the news about the "thundersnow" in NYC last night (lightning and thunder accompanying heavy snow), I thought it would be of interest to post this "too close" cloud-to-ground lightning strike from last week in Australia (where it is summer). Hat tip: Chris Collura


From my colleagues at AccuWeather , a photo from Bradley Beach, NJ. Thirty inches of snow with 4-5 ft. drifts. Note the drifts up onto porches and the buried cars. Join their Facebook page to see more. Speaking of "wow," here is a time-lapse of 20" of snow falling. Thanks to blog reader Keith!

Heavy Snow ≠ Global Warming

You may have seen one of the recent articles that claims the recent periods of extreme cold and snow in Europe and Australia (even though it is summer there) are due to 'global warming.' Roger Pielke, Sr., answers those claims .

Updated Mike Smith Enterprises Web Page

We recently updated our web page. If you haven't been there recently, Kim and I invite you to check it out .

Thank You, Bengals!!

The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC West Champions thanks to a great game against Tennessee today and the Bengals upsetting the Chargers. Today was the first time I got to see "The New Arrowhead" and it is very impressive. Congrats, Chiefs! I was at the very last game at the old Municipal Stadium when the Chiefs played the Dolphins in the longest game in NFL history . It was Christmas Day 29 years ago. The outcome was not as wonderful as today's; the Dolphins won in six periods after the Chiefs gave up several opportunities to win the game and make their second straight run at the Super Bowl. The Chiefs moved to Arrowhead the following season. It is amazing how far stadiums have come since the drafty mess that was Municipal Stadium.

Global Warming, Is There Anything It Cannot Do?

We haven't checked in for a while with Dr. John Brignell and his list of maladies associated with ' global warming .' The number is above 600 and continues to grow. Ann Althouse had a great quote related to this the other day, When everything is evidence of the thing you want to believe, it might be time to stop pretending you're all about   science . Hat Tip:   Edd Driscoll

Coming Up on The Blog This Week

I will have an illustrated posting on why we should be paying attention to the possibility of global cooling.  I think you'll find it very interesting.

OK Team, You Know What To Do With Those Gift Cards!

Warnings  is a story about the worst storms of our lifetimes, from Category 5 hurricanes to F-5 tornadoes, and how lives were saved. A sample chapter is here . Greenleaf Book Group, the publisher, did a great job putting the book together with lots of both black and white and color photos. One page of "Warnings'" color insert So get out those gift cards! Here are the links... Amazon . Barnes and Noble . Borders . Watermark Books .

9am Blizzard Update

The snow continues to move north and has reached Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Long Island, and Boston. Delays of 15 minutes are reported at BWI and 30 minutes at White Plains. Its downhill from here as the storm intensifies. In NYC, winds of 40 to 60 mph are expected with more than a foot of snow. Here is the 8:51 am AccuWeather radar: This is my last update on the storm but AccuWeather will continue to update as the storm unfolds.

7am Sunday Blizzard Update

The snow has made it as far north as Richmond. The snow will continue to spread northeast as the day unfolds. Pink = winter storm warning. Orange (including NYC, Providence and Boston) = blizzard warning. AccuWeather has updates.

If You Need a Sugar Rush

If the holiday excitement is past and you are dragging a little, Kim and I can recommend a place where you can get a sugar rush on the way home .