Showing posts from March, 2012

"Earth Hour" -- Whatever That Is -- Is Tonight

With a large sign that says, "what are you willing to do to save the planet?", tonight is something called " Earth Hour ."  Via WattsUpWithThat, Dr. Ross McKitrick has superb commentary .  

Background on the Chevy Volt

Bob Lutz has an interesting Forbes  column about misinformation pertaining to the Chevy Volt.  Recommended reading.     Disclosure: While this is my personal blog, General Motors is a client of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions my full-time employer. 

What if All of These News Stories Are Factually Wrong?

The last day or so, there has been a deluge of articles alleging  Outlet after outlet reported this story the last 24 hours. And, they are all wrong. That is not what the study says. An comment on Instapundit prompted me to get a copy of the study itself (as opposed to a press release about the study). The paper can be downloaded here  and I encourage you to read for yourself.  The question asked isn't about faith in science at all. It is about faith in scientists .   Here is the pertinent part of the paper on p. 172, right-hand column: "As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?" The study asks about scientists  as opposed to science.  That is a huge difference! Fakegate, Climategate 1 and 2, "Hide the Decline," etc., etc., etc. gives well-educated people (according to the study, the most  skeptical

Winter Wheat Rainfall

Here is a map of precipitation for the last ninety days: It is still too dry in the High Plains. Farther east, rainfall has been adequate to generous for this year's winter wheat.  The wheat, due to its rapid development, is vulnerable to a late season freeze. 

Kechi Clouds

Happy to report that, so far, no tornadoes have been reported with tonight's thunderstorms. There have been a number of reports of large hail, including some more than two inches in diameter. I took this photo of a hail shaft (behind the street light and radio tower) earlier this evening looking west from Kechi, Kansas. 

Watches in Effect

Strong thunderstorms are now occurring from southeast Nebraska to northwest Oklahoma. The pink is a tornado watch between Topeka and Omaha.  The blue is a severe thunderstorm watch. Please keep an eye on the weather in these areas this evening!

World's Largest Paper Airplane in Arizona Desert

Lifted aloft by a helicopter, the world's largest paper airplane was launched last week. It flew! 

Storms Developing Rapidly

At 5:52pm, the top of the thunderstorms about 50 mi. WSW of Kansas City are visible from downtown. AccuWeather regional radar shows three areas of strong thunderstorms that are moving slowly ENE. and, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the region until midnight. It includes Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan.  

Stormy Night in the Missouri Valley?

Looks like it.  I took this photo of the thunderstorms approaching downtown Kansas City just a few moments ago.  [caption id="attachment_8106" align="aligncenter" width="1565" caption="Thunderstorm approaches Kansas City 4:40pm CDT"] [/caption] AccuWeather regional radar shows the thunderstorms depicted above at right, new thunderstorms rapidly developing in Kansas' Flint Hills (center), and a strong cluster of storms in southern Nebraska (upper left).  [caption id="attachment_8107" align="aligncenter" width="913" caption="AccuWeather Regional Radar 4:40pm CDT"] [/caption] Stay tuned. I believe there will be strong to, possibly, severe storms scattered over the area during the night. 

Are Tornadoes Increasing?

Last week, here on the blog, I answered the question of whether tornadoes are "getting worse." The answer is clearly no .  At today's AccuWeather B2B tornado seminar in Omaha this morning I was asked if all tornadoes are increasing. I explained the answer is a very qualified no but I am less certain about that answer.  Here is a brand new graph from the National Severe Storms Laboratory's Dr. Harold Brooks. It shows all tornadoes from F-1 to F-5 intensity from 1950 to 2011. It would tend to indicate an increase. This graph does not include the very weak F-0 tornadoes which have clearly increased due strictly to storm chasing, i.e., if chasing didn't exist very few of those would ever be reported.  Here is why I conclude the correct answer is "no" in spite of the opposite being indicated by the graph. First, as I learned when I was researching Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather , the numbers from 1950-54 are imprecise and many were

Latest Game Gastronomic News

Last summer, I told you about the giant pretzels at the Texas Ranger's games . I can tell you, they are wonderful! Now, we learn, for the 2012 season they are going to serve two-foot long hot dogs. If I get a chance to sample one, I'll write another review.

Pro-Global Warming Behavior Exactly As Forecast

This is was posted last week in a comment pertaining to Fakegate (I do not know the name of the commenter): On the whole AGW theory supporters will do anything but talk about the science. They do make broad sweeping claims that are not reflected by the data. They don’t just stop at ‘it’s bad’ but insist on ‘it’s rapidly getting worse’. It takes but a few minutes for a sceptic to prove that by any metric you can think of, save maybe Arctic ice, it is not getting worse. If they’d lie about something so easy to prove, one is left with the only conclusion that they’d lie about the lot. Claiming cold events as proof of AGW has to be the lamest and most credibility busting act of all. They could just say that cold events are still to be expected under natural variation but no, they have to kick their cause into the long green grass of loony land. Bolding mine.  I thought about the above assertion when I was tweeted this story by an environmental journalist today that ties the recent warmt

More on Storm Chase Touring Companies

Last week, I was quoted in an article at about the safe way for novices to see storms which is signing up with a reputable storm chase company. Here is an article about Tempest Tours , one of several companies offering to take you to see the storms. 

Federal Government: Injecting Itself Where It Is Not Needed

We have completely messed up agencies, the DHS and TSA. The National Weather Service budget is being cut in a way that could cause accuracy of aviation and extreme weather forecasts to lessen. So, what is the federal government working on? Making valuable in-vehicle navigation systems -- which I believe make us safer -- less practical to use . This is a classic case of a bureaucracy finding non-problems to occupy its time. This seems like an agency that should have its budget cut rather than the National Weather Service.  

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?!

Now it is hurting penguins' sex lives . Guess we have to add another item to the list of things caused by global warming .     

Ken Reeves

The AccuWeather family tonight is grieving the loss of Ken Reeves. Ken passed away this afternoon as a result of an accident at his home. He had been with the company for 29 years and was Vice President of the AccuWeather Television Network. He was well known though out the commercial weather industry. We will all miss him.     There is additional information here . 

This Tornado Video is Fascinating

There is a lot of tornado video out there these days, which I view as unfortunate due to the now four incidents in the last twelve months where people have been injured or killed shooting video of storms. A lot of the video -- including much of it labeled "incredible" -- is not very good. So, it is infrequent that you see video that is worth viewing. These are worth viewing. I'm posting these videos because I believe they make an important point: You will likely be injured if you stay outside as a tornado approaches, even if the tornado appears not to be on the ground. The first video of the West Liberty, KY tornado (March 2) shows good rotation but the tornado, at least at times, does not appear to be on the ground. You can hear doubt about whether they are in danger expressed by the male voice. At least part of the reason there is confusion is because the cloud does not seem to extend all the way to the ground. FYI: That doesn't matter. If the rotating winds reach t


 Congratulations to Bill Self and his team!!!

NASCAR Weather

It is going to be a challenge to finish this afternoon's NASCAR race at Fontana, California. AccuWeather regional radar at 2:20pm CDT shows showers approaching from the south southwest that will be arriving by the scheduled end of the race. [caption id="attachment_8061" align="aligncenter" width="942" caption="Blue arrows are the direction of movement of the showers."] [/caption]

"A Little Song...A Little Dance...A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants"

Since I was on the road, I didn't get to see Modern Family  on March 14. The episode "Send Out the Clowns" was the funniest thing since The Mary Tyler Moore Show's  " Chuckle's Bites the Dust ."  I am not  usually a fan of this type of humor but you've got to see this episode (click here ). Modern Family  is the best-written show on television.   

Sunday Morning Funnies

Funny man W. C. Fields refused to work with children and I thought of him during yesterday's "human interest" moment during the coverage of the Arnold Palmer Golf Tournament on NBC/Golf Channel.   They brought a young man on set whose life had been saved by the doctors at the Palmer hospital.  Things started fine as Arnold reaches out. Mom decided to let Arnie hold her son. In spite of saving his life, son was not happy  to be away from Mom. What seemed like a good idea seconds ago was going downhill rapidly. So, son goes back to Mom. Son looks suspiciously like he has "pulled one over" on them. Finally, Mr. Palmer announces a lifetime exemption for the young man -- meaning he can play in any future Palmer Invitational without qualifying. That seems to make him very, very happy.    

Winter Wheat Belt Rainfall

Here is what this past week's rainfall across the winter wheat belt looked like. Given the much warmer than average weather the last two weeks, the wheat is way ahead of schedule. This makes it much more vulnerable to a late-season hard freeze. That said, the wheat around Wichita looks great. 

Richmond Now Under Tornado Watch

New tornado watch until midnight Eastern. It includes Richmond and Petersburg.  AccuWeather Regional Radar at 6:50pm EDT shows strong thunderstorms over the region. The supercell southeast of Lynchburg has produced very large hail and has been tornado-warned several times. It is moving in the general direction of Richmond.

Giant Hail on Radar

Here is what very large hail (two inches or more) looks like on radar. The orange oval is the area where hail was likely falling at 5:17pm EDT. The two orange arrows indicate a non-meteorological echo known as a "hail spike." There is no precipitation falling along the spike. It is an artifact of the way the radar senses the hail. Unfortunately, the Roanoke WSR-88D does not have dual-polarization as yet so I cannot show you what the hail would look like on that type of display.   There is also a tornado warning (purple polygon) in effect on that storm.  Update: Saturday, 9:15pm CDT. Via Facebook here is a photo of some of the hail from this storm. [caption id="attachment_8047" align="aligncenter" width="899" caption="Hail in Franklin Co., Virginia. Exact location unknown."] [/caption]  

Two Tornado Warnings -- Tornado Threat Continues

There are now two tornado warnings (purple polygons) and several severe thunderstorm warnings (amber) in the NC-VA area where a tornado watch continues until 11pm EDT. The storms are moving northeast.  [caption id="attachment_8023" align="aligncenter" width="907" caption="Radar at 5:08pm EDT"] [/caption]     I am not  going to live-blog this storm but I am posting this to make sure you are aware of the ongoing threat in the area.  

Tornado Watch in North Carolina and Virginia Until 11pm EDT

AccuWeather regional radar shows some very strong storms near the NC-VA border as of 4:10pm EDT. A tornado warning is out at the time of this posting for northern Patrick Co. Keep an eye on the weather in these areas!

Exciting Way to Learn About Science

The Team America Rocketry Challenge has a contest for college scholarships and, by participating, you can learn a great deal about science and have a lot of fun. I loved shooting off rockets as a boy. However, you'll have to act fast as the deadline to sign up to participate is in ten days. President Obama has supported this along with another science challenge for students recently and I want to congratulate him for doing so. It is vitally important to improve America's standing in science and math knowledge among our young people.

Indoor Clouds? Yes.

This isn't Photoshop. Details here . 

I Like "Forecast the Facts" "No" Video

" Forecast the Facts " is an activist group that is attempting to " influence " television meteorologists to shill on behalf of global warming.  When you get to their home page they ask if the visitor believes that there is "solid evidence the earth is warming" (present tense). Of course, the correct answer is "no." The graph below -- from the pro-global warming Hadley Center -- demonstrates unquestionably that no warming has occurred for the past fifteen years. If anything, there has been cooling in the last six. [caption id="attachment_7981" align="aligncenter" width="646" caption="Temperature departure from long-term average from Hadley Center, Great Britain."] [/caption] So, I clicked on "no." It then goes on to tell us that a growing number of people doubt global warming (correct!) and then it tells us 2011 was a "record year" for extreme weather. Since the topic is "global&quo

A Very Nice Storm Time-Lapse

From Bing. Click here . 

We're Number 4! We're Number 4!

In the quality of computer models used for weather forecasting says Dr. Cliff Mass of the University of Washington. I generally agree with Cliff's analysis but want to put a couple of items into perspective.  It is generally agreed the U.S. has the worst weather on earth. So, we have to spend more on radars, meteorologists to man the radars, etc., than other nations. Canada spends less on launching weather balloons than other nations. The computer models cannot make forecasts that are more spatially accurate than the scale on which we measure the weather.  The Obama Administration has proposed cutting out the wind profiler network altogether which is used to provide the data for the models. Again, you get more accurate forecasts than the scale on which we observe the atmosphere. I am a big fan of the National Weather Service's and their mission of serving the public. There are many, many dedicated people in the NWS. But, I'm concerned about the direction of the NWS these d

Two Reasons to Celebrate

International Meteorology Day. Details here .  National Chip and Dip Day. Details here . I always ask for extra salsa.   

What Do You Call a Drive Through 'Car Wash' for Small Airplanes?

At the Newton, Kansas, airport (EWK). 

"Dying to See a Tornado"

From my colleagues at AccuWeather . Given the injuries sustained by some storm chasers last year and a fatality this tornado season, we discuss that photographing tornadoes is not worth your life.

Kill All Viruses? Not so Fast!

Details here . 

Are Tornadoes Getting Stronger Due to Global Warming?

There was very recently a story in the national media asking whether tornadoes have gotten stronger due to 'global warming.' The answer is "no" for two reasons: Global warming is not  currently occurring and hasn't for a decade and a half. If anything, there is a downward trend in number of violent tornadoes.  Let's start with #1.   Here is the current chart of temperatures versus the long-term normal (vertical scale) as computed by the (pro-global warming) Hadley Center in Great Britain covering the last 15 years. There is no warming trend. You cannot have stronger tornadoes in the last two years due to global warming if temperatures were cooling during that period. Note: I do not make any prediction as to future temperature trends. I don't know nor does anyone else.  Second, there simply is no upward trend in violent (F-3 to F-5 intensity) tornadoes. Here is the official data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If anything, total n