Thursday, March 31, 2011

Live From New York...Its Wichita State!!

Associated Press

Alabama                        57


It is the first NIT Championship for the Shockers.  Congratulations to Coach Gregg Marshall and the Team! It couldn't happen to nicer people.

UPDATE: Coverage from Sports Illustrated.

UPDATE II:  Rally at 5pm tomorrow at Koch Arena to welcome the team back to Wichita.

Speaking of Spiders

Below, I talk about spiders and global warming.  Here is a photo of spiders' webs enshrouding trees.
Department for International Development
The spiders were forced into the trees by the floods in Pakistan. 

Sun 'n Fun becomes Wind 'n Rain

A line of severe thunderstorms moved across the Florida Peninsula this morning and struck the annual "Sun 'n Fun" aviation show at the Lakeland Airport.
Photo: The Wichita Eagle
The Wichita Eagle's aviation reporter, Molly McMillan, posted photos and coverage on her blog.

Rotary Plow over the Sierra

Below I wrote about the extremely heavy snow over the Sierra this year.

KCRA TV did a great story showing the 60+ year old plow throwing snow more than a hundred fee.

AccuWeather's 2011 Hurricane Forecast... available here.

Rolling Severe Weather Outbreak?

This is a map used by meteorologists to plan where major outbreaks of tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds are expected to occur. It is unusual to see these conditions forecast over a geographic area this large. So, if you live in these areas Sunday (red), Monday (purple), or Tuesday (green), plan on keeping up on the weather those days.

Big Snow in the Northeast

AccuWeather is forecasting up to a foot of snow in much of New England today and tonight. Details here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Wish This Were Not True

By Scott Adams
When I saw this in the paper today, I wanted to post it. This is not to say there will never be breakthough green technology, there will. As I have written many times, I have great hopes for solar and next-generation nuclear. Unfortunately, we aren't as far along with either as I would like.

"We Can't Even Find the Houses"

Record snow in the Sierra ends the drought in California.

How much snow? Sixty-one feet so far this season!

Congratulations, Shockers!

Congratulations to the Wichita State University Shockers for making it to the finals of the National Invitational Tournament! They defeated Washington State 75-44.

They will play Alabama for the NIT championship in Madison Square Garden tomorrow evening at 6pm Central time. The game is on ESPN2.

Cool McDonalds

Stopped off at the McD's just off I-10 in Orange, TX to get a drink and catch up on email and, WOW. This doesn't look like the typical McD's.

Congratulations on a great design, McDonalds!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Spring Snow

AccuWeather is tracking another potential late-season snow storm:

Details here.

Current weather shows unseasonable snow in several locations along with thunderstorms in eastern Oklahoma.

Good News: Sea Level Rise NOT Accelerating

As our readers already know, sea level rise has been more or less constant the last 100+ years, in spite of numerous predictions and claims to the contrary. This finding has been confirmed in a new peer-reviewed paper.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Congratulations, Mom and Dad!

Hope you don't mind if I take a moment to talk about a major milestone in our family. Saturday night, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Still newlyweds after 60 years, Virginia and Dick Smith
My parents and their children.
From left, Susan, Barbara, Mom, Dad, Phil, my Uncle Everett, brother Mark (foreground) and me.

I'm pleased to report they are in good health and enjoyed everyone's good wishes. It was a very special evening.

Restoring the "Home on the Range" Cabin

Oh, give me a home,
Where the buffalo roam,
And the deer and the antelope play

Where seldom is heard,
A discouraging word,
And, the skies are not cloudy all day.

In 1872, Brewster Higley wrote what would become "Home on the Range," the state song of Kansas. I have written about that song twice, here and here.
Photo by "The Wichita Eagle"
There is now a campaign to restore the cabin. If you would like to donate, please send your check to:

Ellen Rust Living Trust
c/o Prairie Rose Ranch
15231 SW Parallel Road
Benton, KS  67017

New Earthquake Research

Seismologists have revived a longstanding question in the wake of recent earthquakes: Can a giant temblor in one location trigger another large one thousands of miles away?
A new study provides the first compelling evidence that such big, distant events—which may appear to be linked when they occur within months of each other—are likely not connected at all.

I was surprised by this result. A new study on earthquakes reported on in today's Wall Street Journal. Subscription may be required.

Car 54, Where Are You?

Cobra escapes from New York's Bronx Zoo

The slithery details here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Even the Radar Cannot Believe It

This just so depressing. I drove to KC yesterday in the snow. I drove back from KC earlier today in the snow. And, it started snowing at The Smith House about 15 minutes ago. Normally, our AccuWeather radar does a good job of showing the rain/snow line (mixed is purple, blue is all snow) but the radar is showing green (rain) over my house.

Even the radar cannot believe we are seeing two straight days of snow this late in the year.

UPDATE: True story from 5 minutes ago. Our neighbors have a trampoline. Son was bouncing on trampoline in the snow, wearing shorts. Father just came out, walked over to the trampoline, and they went indoors.  I imagine the conversation, moments before, went something like this:

Mother:  What is he doing out there bouncing around in shorts in the snow!

Father: He knows its cold, just let him. He'll come in when he is ready.

Mother:  What must the neighbors be thinking? That I am the 'worst mother in the world!' Go out there and bring him in!

Father: Sighing. Okay...

See You in Beaumont!

I'll be speaking to the Rotary Club of Beaumont, TX Wednesday. Information about the meeting is here.

No Comment Needed

Click to enlarge. By: J. Forgetta and L.A. Rose;

Moisture Update

Here is the precipitation (rain and melted snow) for the last 30 days as measured by rain gauges and estimated by radar. Data in the far West was not available.

The mini-drought that was occurring in parts of the eastern corn belt and Tennessee Valley from autumn into winter has been significantly alleviated by the moisture. However, the central and southern High Plains across New Mexico continue very dry and the light moisture the last two weeks has not be sufficient to improve the situation.

The moisture forecast for the next five days shows helpful rain and snow in the High Plains of Kansas and Nebraska and too much rain in Georgia, southern Mississippi and southern Alabama.
Of course, four years ago the global warming crowd was forecasting near perpetual drought in the Southeast. The first article is from in November, 2007:

Georgia's on my mind. Atlanta, Ga. It's a city in trouble in a state in trouble in a region in trouble. Water trouble...

Let's face it, with water, you're down to the basics. And if, as some say, we've passed the point not of "peak oil," but of "peak water" (and cheap water) on significant parts of the planet ... well, what then?
I mean, I'm hardly an expert on this, but what exactly are we talking about here? Someday in the reasonably near future could Atlanta, or Phoenix, which in winter 2005-06, went 143 days without a bit of rain, or Las Vegas become a Katrina minus the storm? Are we talking here about a new trail of tears? What exactly would happen to the poor of Atlanta? To Atlanta itself?
Certainly, you've seen the articles about what global warming might do in the future to fragile or low-lying areas of the world. Such pieces usually mention the possibility of enormous migrations of the poor and desperate. But we don't usually think about that in the "homeland." Maybe we should...

Next up, "Time" magazine the same day as Salon:

Georgia was enduring its worst drought in a century, and it had already asked President Bush and the Supreme Court for relief. So on Nov. 13, Republican Governor Sonny Perdue appealed to a higher power, hosting a statehouse vigil to "pray up a storm," begging God to bring the rain he had withheld for 14 months...

Like Hurricane Katrina or the California wildfires, this drought was a natural event transformed into a natural disaster by human folly. And while it's still hard to say whether global warming caused any particular drought or flood or fire, it's going to cause more of all of them.

The Pew Climate blog was "confident" the drought was due to global warming.

Now, the area has plenty of water -- too much if the next storm dumps 2-3 more inches of rain. The drought was gone just two years after these articles were written. And, since no drought has returned, it is safe to say the Southeast Perpetual Dought = Global Warming scare was yet another failure of climate forecasting. Please keep this in mind the next time someone claims they can forecast the climate 20 to 30 years from now.  

Today's Tornadoes

Here is a map from the Storm Prediction Center that shows (red) where tornadoes have been reported today:

The red dot just left of dead center in Georgia is the storm near Macon shown below. It, in fact, produced a tornado. Green are large hail reports and blue are damaging thunderstorm wind reports. The three black triangles are reports of hail larger than two inches in diameter. So far, no reports of major damage or injuries.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lessons to Be Learned from Earthquake and Tsunami

An great, non-technical article, from an MIT Engineer on what we can learn from the Japanese experiment with the quake and tsunami.  I fear he is correct when he says,

But I wouldn't bet on the authorities taking the right action. Time and again, all over the world, settlements that have been destroyed by a natural disaster are simply rebuilt in exactly the same place. That's what happened in the Thai beach resorts devastated by the 2004 tsunami, and it's also what happens on an almost routine basis in certain parts of the United States. Low-lying properties on the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard are destroyed by seasonal hurricanes and rebuilt over and over again, often with the help of financial incentives from the U.S. government.

Tornado Indicated Macon, Georgia Area

A strong radar indication of a tornado near Walden, GA.

If you live in the area, AccuWeather client WMGT TV does a great job with severe weather coverage. I trained them myself!

Tornado Warnings in Georgia

UPDATE II: The bright pink in the northern storm was hail 4.25" in diameter. 
Broken windshield and other hail damage reported. 

UPDATE: 4pm Eastern, they just posted one-hour delays at the 
Atlanta airport due to the thunderstorms in the vicinity.


The purple polygons are tornado warnings in western Georgia. The northern storm is southwest of the Atlanta Airport and is moving toward the ESE. The southern polygon is northwest of Macon.

Mike Phelps is chasing a severe thunderstorm (camera symbol just southwest of Burnsville, AL) that is moving east to ESE.

Tornado Watch Alabama and Georgia

Right now, AccuWeather radar shows strong to severe thunderstorms occurring over much of the tornado watch area. Please stay up on the weather in these areas
Mike Phelps is chasing the storm and you can view his commentary and video here. Heads up, Montgomery. Very strong storms will be moving into the metro area during the next 60-90 minutes.

More on the Rapidly-Expanding TSA

From the New York Post...

In a politically correct attempt at perfect egalitarianism, we've created a bureaucratic monster. And, like all bureaucracies, it really has only one imperative -- not defending the homeland, but protecting itself and expanding its reach, in order to justify its $56,000,000,000 budget.

It doesn't matter whether the administration is Republican or Democratic. It doesn't matter who's president. Poorly conceived and hastily created in the aftermath of 9/11, the leviathan DHS -- with more than 200,000 employees, it's the third-largest Cabinet department -- is a conceptual and practical disgrace to the American tradition of ordered liberty.

An 'Earth Hour' Dissent

UPDATE:  Apparently, the novelty of 'earth hour' has worn off. Hat tip: WattsUpWithThat


Apparently, something called "Earth Hour" is occurring this evening at 7:30pm Central. It is sponsored by the "big environment" group, the World Wildlife Fund, last seen on this blog distorting the science pertaining to Arctic ice and polar bears.

Anyway, we are supposed to turn out our lights to 'honor' the planet or something like that. According to Wikipedia, the Cartoon Network will "go dark" (i.e., go off the air) during Earth Hour. That seems about right: To me, it is a Mickey Mouse event.

I love this retort from Dr. Ross McKitrick who is an economist from Canada's University of Guelph.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity...
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.
Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity... The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.
Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. 
The entire essay is here. Please read it in its entirety.

Late Winter Storm Continues to Develop

Here is the AccuWeather radar as of 7:46am Central. Blue is snow. By the way, there is considerable lightning in the thunderstorms that extend from southeast Kansas to the Ozarks.

This map is the probability of one inch or more of accumulation of snow between now and 7am Central time Sunday.

And, another winter storm is in the offing for the first of the week. From AccuWeather:

"Nothing Succeeds Like Failure"

In Warnings, I devote a fair number of words about the dysfunctional culture of Washington, D.C. where "nothing succeeds like failure." Translated for those outside the Beltway, it means that there is usually no money for proactive programs that can prevent problems. But, when a problem (preferably, a large problem) occurs, the money flows like water.

Here is a new example, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, talking about the geohazard threat to the U.S. in wake of the Japanese earthquake+tsunami+nuclear issues:

But here's the reality check: Under the White House's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Geological Service would experience a 9% cut in its earthquake programs budget.
Another crucial federal agency is this regard is NASA. Its orbiting satellites can monitor movement of the Earth's surface with exquisite fidelity. Properly equipped, they could identify elastic strain in tectonic plates (which will inevitably be released in earthquakes) and moving magma in the Earth's crust (which can lead to volcanic eruptions). These satellites also have global sweep and promise to provide highly detailed maps of post-disaster devastation spanning hundreds or even thousands of miles. They could even track oil slicks after drilling accidents.
But at present, the U.S. doesn't have a radar satellite with the appropriate imaging characteristics for these applications. In fact, the National Research Council has said that a U.S. radar mission, the DESDynI radar satellite, should be a top priority for NASA. In addition to helping us mitigate against earthquakes and the like, such a mission would also revolutionize our ability to predict the fate of the polar ice caps and monitor carbon stock held in the Earth's biomass.
The DESDynI mission was well along in the planning stages at NASA, with funding provided in the 2010 and proposed 2011 budgets and a realistic launch date set for 2017. But in the White House's 2012 budget proposal, all funding for the DESDynI radar satellite mission was cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Read the entire article. I virtually guarantee that if there is, for example, an inadequately warned-of volcanic eruption in the Sierra or Cascades, Congress and the Administration will rush to write blank checks. So, how about going ahead and funding these projects now? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Did These Guys Formerly Work for the TSA?

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - The suspicious package that caused police to shut down streets around the main post office in downtown Birmingham this morning turned out to be a pair of tennis shoes in a shoe box, Birmingham police say.
Police used a small explosion to open the box at 8:48 a.m. so they could see what was inside, police Sgt. Johnny Williams said. The explosion caused a loud boom and caused the ground to vibrate but did not destroy the picnic table on which the shoe box was sitting, Williams said.

And, the headline of the year,

Fruit basket neutralized by state police in Bridgeton

The New Jersey State Police responded to a call from a concerned bus driver Tuesday night who found what he thought was a suspicious package in one of the luggage compartments on his bus.

He called the NJSP whose arson and bomb unit responded. 

The bomb and arson unit approached the package using a remote controlled robot. Sergeant Steve Jones said they then shot the package with a water cannon.  

Detectives investigated the ragged shreds of what remained, which though it was almost completely obliterated, they were able to determine had been a fruit basket. 

Maybe they just like an excuse to blow something up.

Hat tips: Birmingham News and .

Winter REALLY Isn't Over

These maps represent the probability of one inch or more of snow accumulation:

Now until 7pm CDT Saturday

7pm Saturday until 7pm Sunday. Note that Richmond has a 90% chance.

Superb Article About Emergency Evacuations

I have been critical of The New York Times on many occasions, but this article on mass evacuations is right on the money.

If you are ever involved in a mass evacuation and the freeways are gridlock, get off the freeway and take the surface streets and back roads. This worked for many people in the Hurricane Rita mess. I keep a road atlas in my car at all times.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thunderstorm at the Smith House

The Bradford Pears are in bloom with a thunderstorm in the background.  A few minutes later, the thunderstorm moved in with half-inch hail that caused the blooms and twigs to come off the trees.

White = small hail. Largest about the 2/3rds of an inch. 

Kansas Cosmosphere Presentation April 11

Mark your calendars, this is going to be special:  The Kansas Cosmosphere & Discovery Center is having a special day about tornadoes on April 11, 2011. They are showing "Tornado Alley" in their IMAX Theatre and will have the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) on site. They are having a contest to win a ride in the TIV.

At 4pm, I'll be presenting Miracle at Greensburg and I'll be signing copies of Warnings. You may bring yours or we'll have them available for purchase.

The movie is terrific (my review is here) and it should be a great event. So, mark it on your calendars and I look forward to seeing you in Hutchinson!

When Reporters Attack!

Jon Stewart takes on the now-infamous interview between my friend Bernie Rayno and CNN's Nancy Grace. Hat Tip: Jesse Ferrell.

This is What You Get When You Put A Railroad Engineer in Charge of the International Panel on Climate Change

I have already commented on the silly people trying to blame the Japan earthquake and tsunami on global warming.

But, the head of the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, an ex-railroad engineer (with no training in atmospheric science), should know better. He told the world that the tsunami was 17cm (6.7") higher because of 'global warming.'
Click to enlarge. Courtesy: Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat
See the tiny purple bar in the far lower left corner of the illustration? That is 17cm versus the height of the tsunami (at right). The vertical black bar in the center is the height of the Fukushima Reactor. The idea that 17cm made any difference is absurd.

But, lets assume, for just a moment, that 17cm would have made a difference. If you click on the purple link above, he connects global warming to sea level rise.  Here is a graph of sea level change (sea level has been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age) for the last 100+ years.
Sea level rise since 1880. The red at the end is the rise as
determined by satellites. It is approximately the same
as the long term trend measured from tide gauges.
See any big increase recently when 'global warming' was occurring (1978-1998)? Didn't think so. The rate of sea level change has been more or less constant for 130 years no matter how it is measured.

To sum up: There is no indication 'global warming' is affecting sea level rise. Even if it had, 17 cm. (6.6 inches) would not have made any difference. Any meteorologist or oceanographer would have known this. This is the -- very large -- problem of having non-atmospheric scientists and even non-scientists in these high positions in the global warming movement.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Congratulations Wichita State Shockers!!!

The Wichita State Shockers are going to the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden.

Be Glad You Aren't Flying This Evening

Average Delays at 7pm:

Cleveland, 40 min.
Toronto, 2 hour, 1 min.
Newark, 47 min.
JFK, 1 hr., 1 min.
La Guardia, 1 hour, 7 min.
Chicago, 1 hour, 50 min.
Philadelphia, 1 hr., 57 min.
San Francisco, 1 hr., 36 min.
Baltimore, 1 hr., 30 min.
Charlotte, 30 min.
Washington-Reagan, 60 min.
Washington-Dulles, 1 hr., 15 min.

And, with the "hub system," these days are rippling throughout the U.S. airline system.

Waivers are out for EWR, LGA, and JFK.

Three Updated Postings Today

Be sure and check the three updated postings today, complete with three tornado videos -- one from this afternoon and two from yesterday evening.

Tornado and Hail Spike on Radar in Pennsylvania

UPDATE: 6:39pm. Here is video of the tornado in Greensburg (Hempfield), PA (noted by the tornado symbol at left center of the radar image below). This tornado damaged a number of homes.
Associated Press reports: A possible tornado caused severe damage to about 30 western Pennsylvania homes, two schools and some businesses, but only a few minor injuries were reported, authorities said.


Very strong thunderstorm in southwest Pennsylvania likely producing giant hail (defined by meteorologists to be 2" in diameter or larger). Not only is the storm very reflective (whitish pink area in core of storm), it has a "hail spike." The storm and spike (the narrowing blue-green area) are circled. When you see a spike on the side of the storm away from the radar, large hail is likely in progress.

This storm produced a damaging tornado west of Latrobe, PA. A tornado warning continues in effect.

Huge Tornado Watch

A tornado watch is out until 9pm EDT for a large part of the Ohio Valley.

Strong thunderstorms are already developing between the Ohio River and Interstate 70 as indicated on AccuWeather radar:

People in the watch should keep up on the weather the rest of the day.

UPDATE 6pm:  While only one damaging tornado so far (red), more than 180 reports of damaging winds and large (≥1") hail. Compare to the outline of the tornado watch. Quite accurate.

"They Have Practically Nothing in Common"

People who live well beyond 100 years.

Here is an interview UCLA's Steve Coles, an expert in extreme longevity:

Interestingly, the single commonality is that they have long-lived relatives.

Winter Continues

Details from AccuWeather.

There are already major flight delays (one hour or more) at Minneapolis, LaGuardia, and, for some flights, Chicago. These will likely get worse during the day.

UPDATE: Separately, San Francisco just posted average 1 hr. 6 min. delays due to low clouds.

2nd UPDATE: Speaking of San Francisco, my friend Jan Null states,  During the past hour (5-6 am) downtown San Francisco's seasonal rainfall total pushed past their "normal" full season (July 1 to June 30)  amount of 22.28 inches.  Currently the season to date total is at 22.41" with rain expected off and on through Saturday.

Today's Severe Weather Threat

From AccuWeather:

The thunderstorms are already starting to develop in the region as of 8am Central time:

Iowa Tornadoes

There are photos of yesterday's Iowa's tornadoes here.

Again yesterday, Doppler radar proved its worth. The tornado southwest of Des Moines did not have the traditional "hook" echo, yet we were able to warn of it because Doppler showed the rapidly rotating winds. There was damage from the tornado yet no injuries.

Video of one of the tornadoes from Stephen Locke. Terrific lighting!

Iowa; The Creston Tornado from Stephen Locke on Vimeo.

And, here is video of the tornado NW of Winterset (the home of John Wayne) in Madison County (of bridges fame). It is the tornado we were tracking in the posting below.

The Out-of-Control TSA

I know that some of my readers believe I post too-frequently on what I believe is a huge threat to the liberty of Americans: The Department of Homeland Security and its rogue agency the Transportation Safety Administration.

When I recently posted about their plans to use their "nude imaging" on people on the street, I received emails from readers that, well, just didn't believe it.

Believe it!

Here is a report from Forbes,
The projects range from what the DHS describes as “a walk through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest” to “covert inspection of moving subjects” employing the same backscatter imaging technology currently used in American airports.
The 173-page collection of contracts and reports, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, includes contracts with Siemens Corporations, Northeastern University, and Rapiscan Systems. The study was expected to cost more than $3.5 million.
One project allocated to Northeastern University and Siemens would mount backscatter x-ray scanners and video cameras on roving vans, along with other cameras on buildings and utility poles, to monitor groups of pedestrians, assess what they carried, and even track their eye movements. In another program, the researchers were asked to develop a system of long range x-ray scanning to determine what metal objects an individual might have on his or her body at distances up to thirty feet.
“This would allow them to take these technologies out of the airport and into other contexts like public streets, special events and ground transit,” says Ginger McCall, an attorney with EPIC. “It’s a clear violation of the fourth amendment that’s very invasive, not necessarily effective, and poses all the same radiation risks as the airport scans.”
I'm astonished that people are not marching on the Capitol to protest this nonsense. Benjamin Franklin said, "People who would give up essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither." 

Have you written your congresspeople?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thank You

You know, I really enjoy writing this blog and seeing the comments and interactions with readers.

This evening, there is a nice conversation going on between commenters at The Economics of Wind Power posting below.

And, if I haven't recently, I want to thank everyone who has read Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather. I had lunch today with a friend who was four chapters in and really enjoying it. That is music to an author's ears.

Tornado Threat Lessening

This map shows the 16 reports of tornadoes (red) so far this afternoon and evening. We know there is some damage but its extent is unknown at this point. The green reports are hail ≥ 1" in diameter and blue = damaging thunderstorm winds.

The thunderstorms in Iowa are starting to weaken.

Strong Tornado Signature Moving Toward Des Moines

UPDATE: Wednesday evening: It was an F2 tornado. NWS damage survey details here.


Tornado warning now in effect for Des Moines.

The reflectivity display (the type you usually see on television) shows a swirling echo (circle) that has produced tornadoes (arrow). The purple polygon is the tornado warning. Red is for large hail.

The Doppler wind data shows a VERY strong couplet (rotating winds). Please take cover if you are in the path of this storm!

UPDATE: Tornado reported by off-duty NWS employee at the location marked by circles at 6:28pm.
Below is the Doppler wind data at 6:28pm, the same time the NWS employee reported debris across U.S. 169 north of Winterset.
The "couplet" (circled) is very strong. The deep blue colors is wind flowing toward the radar and the dark red is wind flowing away from the radar. When they touch, as they do here, it is not only an indication of a tornado, it is also an indication the tornado may be "significant" (defined as F2 or stronger by meteorologists). 

Tornadic Thunderstorm Southwest of Des Moines

Des Moines is at upper right where the interstate highways come together. Multiple tornadoes have been reported from the thunderstorm to the southwest. The area continues under a tornado watch.

CNN Loses It

Here is what is wrong with the U.S. media in a nutshell: CNN's Nancy Grace is interviewing my friend and colleague Bernie Rayno of AccuWeather. She not only has all of her facts wrong (there was no "state of emergency" due to radiation nor alert of any kind), she is rude and arrogant. Bernie was and is correct. There is zero threat to the U.S. from Japanese radiation.

I don't understand why the U.S. media is so determined to make the "radiation" story far, far bigger than it really is.

You can watch the tape here.

UPDATE: Wednesday morning. AccuWeather received this feedback:


On behalf of the Hokkaido Branch of the Association of Japanese Exchange and Teaching (HAJET), I would like to applaud your meteorologist Bernie Rayno and the journalistic integrity he displayed recently on Nancy Graces show airing on CNN (see link below) while reporting on the continuing crisis in Fukushima, Japan. This is truly an uncertain time which will most certainly have global ramifications in the coming years. This said, I never thought it would be a meteorologist who would play such a crucial role in delivering factual and unbiased news to American viewers. Mr. Rayno showed great care with his word choice and the manner with which he answered the talking heads questions and baseless counter-point.

HAJET is a branch of the National Association of Japanese Exchange and Teaching (AJET) that works directly with the Japanese governments Council of Local Authorities and Foreign Relations (CLAIR). HAJET represents over 200 foreign nationals from English speaking countries all over the world, all of whom are employed directly by local school boards and regional school districts in Japans Hokkaido Prefecture. We feel as though the need for clear and factual reporting on Fukushima around the world at this time is essential not only for international dialogue and understanding, but also so that our families and friends may be kept abreast of the facts.

Mr. Rayno is a credit to your organization. We hope AccuWeather will continue to hold its meteorologists to the highest journalistic standard whenever possible.”

Tornado Watch Until 9pm

Thunderstorms are starting (at 2:10pm) to develop near Concordia, KS and more are expected to develop in southern Nebraska and the Kansas Flint Hills during the afternoon. Those storms will spread rapidly northeast.  Keep an eye on the weather if you are in the watch.

Current warnings are always available from AccuWeather, click here. Zoom in for more detail.

Kudos for AccuWeather.Com

If you do not use AccuWeather.Com for your online weather, you really should try it -- for whatever part of the world in which you have an interest.

We received this compliment today:

"I am a resident of Kathmandu, Nepal. I really admire the way you people are putting so much effort into keeping me up to date with the weather forecast in my region and around the world. I really thank AccuWeather and its team from the bottom of my heart. You people are doing a great job - just keep it up."

Today's Tornado Threat

Tornadoes are possible later today and tonight in the outlined area which includes Kansas City, Omaha and Des Moines. The highest probabilities are from far eastern Nebraska to central Iowa.

Winter Hangs On

Pink = winter storm warning. Orange = blizzard warning. All of the green areas are various flood warnings due, in part, to the heavy snow cover which will grow a little deeper today.