Monday, March 31, 2014

Great Article on Preparing for Tornado Season

KGOU FM in Norman, Oklahoma, has a great article about how to prepare for tornado season that looks like it will begin in earnest this week:
  1. Have a plan
  2. Have three ways to receive warnings
  3. Understand that Twitter and Facebook may not accurately reflect the situation
  4. Know the counties near where you live
  5. Understand the safest places to seek shelter and what to wear
  6. Accept that a tornado can hit you
The details for each of those points are here.

40th Anniversary of the April 3-4, 1974 Super Tornado Outbreak

This map was assembled by Dr. Ted Fujita and his survey team after one of the 2 or 3 worst tornado outbreaks in U.S. history:
click to enlarge
What weather science learned from investigating this outbreak changed the entire warning system for the better. I discuss this in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather

A new 5-Star review of Warnings was posted at Amazon last week. It says,

Really interesting book on how the warnings systems have progressed through the years. Did not realize the early links between air disasters and the building of the warning system. The pictures of the damage really help to bring the scope and importance of the warning system home.

Unfortunately, it is likely multiple tornadoes will occur in the central U.S. this week. While the National Weather Service, television meteorologists, emergency managers and private sector meteorologists will almost certainly do their normal great job, their efforts only pay off if you take the warnings seriously and act on them.

Remember, a watch means that weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes in the next few hours.

A warning means it is time to take cover.

Check back with this blog and with AccuWeather as the weather unfolds this week.

ADDITION: Stan Finger of the Wichita Eagle has a great story about the Superoutbreak here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Central Third of U.S.: A Good Week to Keep Up on the Weather

Immediate issue: Blizzard

Orange = blizzard warning. Light green is a blizzard watch, both for tonight and Monday. Pink is a winter storm warning. Dark green is a winter storm watch.

As the week progresses: Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

It is too soon to start posting maps. That said, if you are in the Great Plains and Midwest, pay attention to the weather starting Tuesday.

More Vile Global Warming Politics

Last week, I wrote about vile global warming politics. That included coverage of one of a number of college professors that want to jail people like me who do not believe global warming is a major problem. Unfortunately, they keep crawling out of the woodwork.
Look, I get this topic is confusing to a lot of people. They read a lot of nonsense in the newspaper or they see Al Gore's movie and they have no way of knowing the movie is loaded with errors.

So, I ask this basic question: If the facts were on your side, would you call for jailing those that disagree? Of course not. These are the last gasps before they lose all credibility if temperatures continue to fail to rise.

This week, you'll read about a new IPCC report and you will hear a lot of hot air from politicians about coming together to fix the weather. All that does not change the fact that earth's temperature has not risen for 17 years, even though climate 'science' forecast temperatures to rapidly rise.

Sunday Feature: Wichita Rotary's Work in Haiti

Governments spend tens of billions of dollars tilting at the global warming windmill; enriching no one but Al Gore and a cadre of climate 'scientists' making dubious 'contributions.'

Or, you can chose to be part of an organization that actually makes a different in peoples' lives and does so by spending our own money doing so. I've chosen the latter, the Rotary Club of Wichita. After watching the video, I hope you will check out your local Rotary Club. Whether it is providing nutrition and an education to children in Haiti or wiping out polio worldwide, Rotary makes a difference every day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Badly Needed Moisture on the Way

From the European model the next ten days' precipitation:

And, for the Plains,
One comment: I believe Kansas is too dry in this forecast.

Blizzard Watch in Effect

Winter storm (dark green) and blizzard (light green) watches are in effect for Sunday night and Monday. This winter just won't seem to end.

Tornado Watch for Florida

"Very Interesting"

That is how a new review of Warnings at Amazon is titled.
It goes on to say,

Really interesting book on how the warnings systems have progressed through the years. Did not realize the early links between air disasters and the building of the warning system. 

You can read the entire interview, and 40 others, here. This summer is the 20th anniversary of the taming of the downburst making you and everyone that boards and airliner much safer. With storm season underway, now is a great time to read Warnings. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tornado Watch Till 3am

Nighttime tornado watches are especially dangerous.

Tornado warning northeast of Houston. People in Dayton, Liberty, and Kenefick should be in shelter.
Please monitor the weather if you live in these areas.

From a Resident of Joplin

Joplin friends…it's that time of year again. 
Mike Smith's book is full of good information about tornado season. 
                                                               ---Susan Mertens, Joplin resident

With yesterday's destructive tornadoes in Missouri and the forecast of more many tornadoes next week, the 2014 tornado season is here. When the Sirens Were Silent goes behind the scenes and explains what went horribly wrong on May 22, 2011, causing the loss of 161 lives. In addition to the gripping minute-by-minute account of the tornado, there are lift out pages with the tornado safety rules for home, for work, and for the office.

We priced the ebook (the print version sold out months ago) to be easily affordable at $2.99 and it available from Amazon (Kindle or free online reader) or Barnes & Noble (Nook).

The next time the sirens go off in your neighborhood, you'll be relieved that you read the book and know exactly what to do.

"Chemotherapy For a Cold"

Wall Street Journal, David Klein
Matt Ridley has an insightful piece on the Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal about global warming. The entire piece is at the link and I wholeheartedly recommend reading it. His final paragraph:

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population "bomb," pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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

ISU professor blames climate change for salamander shrinkage

From the Des Moines Register

Today's Tornado and Large Hail Threat

Here is the tornado threat with the significant threat in brown:

There is a very significant threat of large hail with hailstones of more than 2" in the hatched area.

If you live in these areas, please keep up on today's weather.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tornado Watch: Missouri

Here is the radar at 5:16pm.

Severe Thunderstorm Update, 1:53pm

Yellow polygon = severe thunderstorm warning for large hail and damaging winds. The thunderstorm is moving northeast. The inset photo, taken by Cat Morsberger, shows the storm when it was near Lawrence.

Two other storms are strengthening near Olathe and Spring Hill. Storms are moving rapidly northeast.

Tornado Watch: Kansas, Missouri, and Far Northeast Oklahoma

Until 8pm CDT.
At 12:56pm, radar shows thunderstorms developing along the west edge of the tornado watch and moving northeast.

Another 5-Star Review of "Sirens"

A new reader review of When the Sirens Were Silent has been posted at Amazon. It says,

It's a quick read but raises some very good questions about the actions that were or were not taken that fateful day in Joplin's history. It will also bring up points that could well save your life.

Since the government's tornado warning system began in 1957, the Joplin storm is the only tornado to cause a triple-digit death toll (161). A lot went wrong that day, the When the Sirens Were Silent tells this "behind the scenes" story. It also includes vital information on tornado safety for the school, office, and home. The print version sold out months ago but it is available in ebook form for only $2.99 and you can read it on your computer's screen or load the Kindle or Nook version.

Tornado Threat This Evening and Friday

After yesterday evening's California tornadoes (see below), there is a threat of tornadoes in the Ozarks region very late this afternoon and evening:
There is also a chance of damaging thunderstorm winds:

For Friday and Friday night, there is a chance of tornadoes and very large hail (hatched) in the yellow areas:
If you live these areas, please keep an eye on the weather. 

Another Happy Reader!

The following was posted on the Warnings Facebook page by Debra Wallace Karina and it is used here with permission:

Mike, we brought my Mom here from Chicago so she could get out of the weather there and get better after a bad fall and hospital stay. While she is recouping here in KS, she took a look at all my books in the bookcase in my living room. She found your book after checking out some others books I have, and then she spent a lot of time reading it. Then she said that she really loved your book ( Warnings) and all the content was very interesting too. I wanted to share this with you. She said you were a great author! 

This is an especially good time to read Warnings. Tornado season is beginning, it will likely be an active hurricane season, and this summer makes a major two-decade milestone in aviation safety. All of this will be more meaningful if you have read this 5-Star book.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How Did Analysts Figure Flight 370 Crashed Into the Indian Ocean?

Interesting story from The Seattle Times

Tornado north of Sacramento This Evening

On radar, this tornado looked just like one in the Great Plains. It was located east I-5 near the town of Willows. This wasn't the typical "landspout"-type central California tornado but was one capable of considerable damage had it been in a populated area.

U.S. Global Warming: What's Not to Like?

Earlier today, I posted the latest peer-reviewed science that indicates U.S. weather is getting milder as a result of global warming, especially as it pertains to agriculture.

More good news this afternoon (h/t Roger Pielke, Jr.),

"no [rain] gauge-based evidence had been found for a climate-driven, globally widespread change in the magnitude or frequency of floods during the last decades"

Global warming: What's not to like?

Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Threat Thursday Late Afternoon and Night

There is an elevated threat of severe thunderstorms, and possibly a tornado or two, in the yellow area. In the hatched area, there is the potential for wind gusts in excess of 75 mph and, perhaps, a violent tornado. Of course, I'll update this tomorrow.

Tornado season is getting underway.

United States' Climate Becoming More Conducive to Successful Agriculture

The name of the paper is Trends in Extreme United States Temperatures and it is published in "Journal of Climate." The paper reports temperatures are becoming less extreme. And, even better, with a warming trend in nighttime temperatures, the growing season is longer and agricultural productivity increases. The paper goes on to state,

The results show that monthly maximum temperatures are not often greatly changing — perhaps surprisingly, there are many stations that show some cooling. In contrast, the minimum temperatures show significant warming.

Via Anthony Watts, link below
AccuWeather's Steve Pryor and I have found exactly the same trends in Kansas. Our data also indicates precipitation, over all, is becoming more reliable. Anthony Watts has more, here.

To those of us who are actually looking at the science, none of this is a surprise. To summarize global warming in the United States so far: Fewer hurricanes, fewer violent tornadoes, less extreme temperatures and a longer growing season. What's not to like?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Catastrophic Mud Slide

From CBS News…
click to enlarge
Fourteen deaths and scores missing. If you would like to learn about the weather conditions preceding the slide, click here.


On This Date in 1948...

Lt. Ernie Fawbush and Lt. Robert Miller made the first accurate tornado forecast in modern history at Tinker, AFB, Oklahoma.
Miller (left) and Fawbush
There is a gripping account of how that forecast was made and its contribution to how weather scientists tamed (not "conquered") tornadoes in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.
Want to read it today? It is available in ebook for both Kindle and Nook. Warnings has a 5-Star rating at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. As one reviewer put it:

Smith skillfully makes this and other controversies seem not just important, but exciting. Meteorology, in his telling, has the same bare-knuckle energy we see in politics or sports. These battles, many of which Smith himself fought in, reveal how much of our modern, weather-safe lifestyle is contingent on personalities, and could have gone another way.
While weather forecasters often appear starchy and bland, Smith makes the weather into an urgent concern, and a remarkable victory. This story turns the weather into a quest, and meteorologists into the most unlikely heroes in recent literature.”
-Kevin Nenstiel
University of Nebraska
If you'd like to get a taste of the book, the first chapter is here.

Tornado season looks like it will begin this week. So, now is a great time to read Warnings. 

Update on Greensburg

Great article from the Kansas City Star. I agree with it: They need people to move there. The people I've met in Greensburg are just terrific.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eastern Snow Storm

Note at 8:42am Tuesday: Map still valid. 

Blizzard conditions are forecast for Cape Cod, eastern Maine and the Maritimes. AccuWeather has details here.

Article in "China Meteorological News" on Young People in Weather and Climate

Barry Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather and I wrote an article about the future of weather and climate science and how young people, especially in China, can participate. You can read the article here in English or, if you are so inclined, in Chinese.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vile Global Warming Politics

I need to begin by stating that Roger Pielke, Jr. is a friend of mine. Roger was a member of the board of directors of WeatherData, Inc. and we have remained friends since. I have a high opinion of his intellect and integrity.
Roger has been subjected to vociferous personal attacks this past week for having the temerity to accurately write that disasters (when adjusted for inflation and normalized by national wealth), so far, have not increased due to global warming. Judy Curry tells the full story here.

Judy is a climate scientist and former believer in catastrophic global warming. As the scientific case for the catastrophic part of global warming has crumbled the last decade, her views have changed. Fine. That is how things are supposed to work. The evidence changes, views change. Right? Unfortunately, that is not how things work in climate 'science.' Judy wrote Thursday:

As recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.

Why did award winning, tenured Judy feel the need to add that statement? What is the academic and research environment like these days?

Here is an example. The photo below is of Lawrence Torcello, a philosopher from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Torcello wrote an article (i.e., his words rather than
those of a reporter) claiming that it is "criminal" to be a global warming "denier" and clearly implies we (I meet his definition of "denier") should be jailed. He also states, while offering no evidence whatsoever, there is "well documented funding of global warming denialism."

He has since backed off a bit claiming his own words have been "misrepresented."

What I find fascinating is that a person who has studied philosophy, with no education in science (as far as I can tell from looking at his his university biography), has the chutzpah to claim to be an expert in determining who is right and wrong in forecasting future weather and then claiming those that disagree with his point of view are criminals.

He further goes on to say,

I am honoring the wishes of my university, which supports my academic freedom, and I am not accepting media requests at the present time.

Think about this for a moment: he claims "academic freedom" for himself but also wants to criminalize people that disagree with him on the future state of the climate. Hypocrisy, anyone?

Climate science has always had an unfortunate authoritarian streak. Lately, it has been especially ugly. So, I am disappointed in the American Meteorological Society and similar organizations as they sit silently while these attacks on personal freedom and free and open scientific exchange continue and multiply.

Fortunately, I work for AccuWeather which supports its employees having diverse views on climate change.

To sum up, ask yourself a question: Would a political movement (and that is what it has become, genuine science is now secondary) that has the facts on its side behave in this manner? Of course not. It would cite data rather than attacking people. Big Climate is losing the scientific battle as, month after month, (the graphic below includes February, 2014, data), temperatures stubbornly refuse to rise.
British Hadley Center data, the same used by the IPCC
Roger and I do not agree on every aspect of climate science. Judy and I don't agree on everything. That is actually a good thing because studying and examining other points of view is part of the method by which science advances. I have learned a lot from Roger. We want to encourage, not discourage, a variety of scientific views and approaches to global warming and innumerable other scientific challenges.

It well past time to recognize that mainstream climate 'science' has, tragically, morphed into a political, rather than scientific, movement. Scientists that disagree with the political movement's ideology are increasingly, both literally and metaphorically, shouted down. That is a shame. Since many of these people are paid by the taxpayers we deserve far better. 

A very wise Kansan, President Dwight Eisenhower, said in his farewell address:

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect -- as we should -- we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is past time for scientists in general, and atmospheric scientists in particular, to push back against the ugly authoritarian nature of today's climate 'science.'

Sunday: Basilica of St. Fidelis

Ever drive on I-70 between Salina, Kansas, and Denver, and wonder about the spectacular church south of the highway near Hays? It has received a major honor from the Catholic Church.
Travis Heying, Wichita Eagle
It has been named a "minor basilica" -- one of very few in the United States. The Wichita Eagle has details.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


What happens when a dust devil wanders into a controlled burn of a field of tumbleweeds?

Another example of why fighting wildfires is dangerous work.

Well, That's a Relief!

More, if you want to bother, is here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The State of Kansas is Now Closed...

…until tomorrow morning due to basketball.

Please call again.  

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Climate Models

Just click here.

The Greatest Day in Kansas Basketball History

Please excuse the interruption in our meteorological musings.
All three Kansas schools are playing this afternoon and evening in the NCAA Basketball Tourney with the (cumulatively) highest seeds ever. Enjoy March Madness!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More on the Long Range Weather Outlook

Was asked (see below) whether the change in pattern I'm expecting about the first of the month will be for a couple of weeks or longer term. The answer is, I don't know.

That said, there are at least four storms expected to affect the west and central United States between March 27 and April 20 and a guess for the end of the month. Where the thin solid lines take a curved dip to the south = a storm. More blue = greater intensity.

March 27

March 31

April 3

April 15

April 18

Total Precipitation from April 18 to 28
Conclusion? Beyond about 10 days, these patterns are tenuous. Still, the month of April looks like an improvement in the probability of rain for the western half of the United States.