Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tornado in Pennsylvania and Value of AccuWeather Warnings

Here is video of a tornado near Morgantown, Pennsylvania, this afternoon.
In addition to the obvious lesson that tornadoes can and do occur well away from "Tornado Alley," I would like to mention the value that AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions brings to storm situations throughout North America.

Here is a screenshot from one of our workstations when the storm was in progress.
The AccuWeather SkyGuard® tornado warning (pink) is considerably smaller and more precise than the National Weather Service's (red). When a too-large warning can cost businesses literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, the added precision from AccuWeather is a smart investment.

For more information? Sales@accuweather.com .

Monday, June 29, 2015

GREAT Summer Reading

From another happy reader:

With the holiday weekend and the rest of summer, time for some great reading. Whether hardcover, Kindle or Nook, pick up a copy of this uplifting book on a fascinating subject -- storms and how courageous scientists save thousands of lives every year.

Small Area of Tornado Risk Today

Here is a small area of tornado risk today.
People in the middle Ohio Valley should keep an eye on the weather this afternoon and evening.

Lightning Striking Airliner

Twice, I've been in an airliner hit by lightning. This is what it looked like on a flight from LAX to DEN, the second time. Fortunately, modern jets are designed for this and it is not a hazard.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tornado Warning Cancelled

The tornado warning for the St. Louis area has been cancelled. Large hail is still occurring at this moment in St. Louis (City).

So, this is the end of my coverage on this storm.

Update on Tornado near St. Charles, MO

Radar at 8:19pm.

Rotation at 8:19, moving ESE to SE. St. Charles take cover!! Take cover Bridgeton and Hazelwood.

Image of tornado via Twitter.

Tornado Warning: St. Louis Area

8:09pm, strong rotation moving SE to ESE. Take cover in St. Charles, Florissant, Bridgeton and Hazelwood!
Please follow my coverage on Twitter:  @usweatherexpert .

==original posting below===

Center of rotation at 8:03 is blue circle. It is moving SE. Tornado warning = red polygon. Take cover in this area.

Heads Up, St. Louis

A strong storm is moving southeast toward St. Charles and the northern part of the St. Louis' Bi-State Area. Radar from 7:54pm.

Tornado Watch: Missouri, Iowa & Illinois

Please note that the risk of "severe" (≥1") hail is "high" and ≥ 2" hail is moderate. So, there is a significant chance of destructive hail along with a tornado.

Radar at 3:14pm shows new thunderstorms developing in the rectangle. They are starting to move ESE to SE.
Please keep up on the weather if you live in the tornado watch.

This Week's Rainfall and Today's Tornado Risk

Here is the 7-day rainfall amount forecast:

And, there is a significant (brown, 5%) tornado risk in Missouri and a small part of Illinois and Iowa this afternoon and evening.
Please keep an eye out if you live in these areas.

Sunday Fun: It's All About the Dough

Do I mean the money that flows into Big Climate?

No, I mean the incredibly silly claim that global warming will keep dough from rising.

Commentary here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tornado Watch: Middle Atlantic

DC Tornado Risk; More Flooding Likely

The Washington-Baltimore area has a serious risk of tornadoes later today and this evening.
The significant risk (brown, 5%) includes Richmond and most of Delaware. The 10% area (yellow) includes all of the DC-Baltimore metro areas. Please make sure your dependents are aware of this risk and can get to safety if warnings are issued.

More heavy rain is likely over the next 72 hours which is going to increase the flood threat in the Midwest.
Stay tuned!

Agree 100%

An editorial on The Weather Channel and its new aggressive stance on global warming, global warming, global weirding, climate chaos, or whatever they are calling it this week.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ohio Valley Heads Up

Fairly large area of significant (brown) tornado risk later today and this evening.

We also have an extremely large area of flood watches (dark green).
The magenta areas are flash flood warnings and the bright green are flood warnings. More on that threat from AccuWeather.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tornado Risk Later Today

There is a small area of significant tornado risk in the Middle Atlantic region. Please keep an eye on the weather here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Radar at 7:40pm

The two polygons are tornado warnings as of 7:43pm.
There have been three tornadoes sighted, a gust to 80 mph reported and hail up to two inches in diameter. There is also a risk of flash flooding.

I will be tweeting @usweatherexpert occasionally.

However, this is the last blog posting on the severe weather threat for this evening.

Tornado Watch Until 2am

This watch includes Omaha and Des Moines. Please note the watch is in effect until 2am, so please make sure you have a way of getting a tornado warning after you retire for the evening.

There is also a significant flash flood risk during the night in Iowa. 

Keep an eye on the area outlined for the next two hours. Any supercell thunderstorm in that region has the potential to cause a significant tornado.

In just the last 5-10 minutes, multiple severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued. The storms are moving southeast. Radar from 6:36pm.

Short Term Storm Risk

The Storm Prediction Center says there is a 5% (significant risk threshold) the rest of the evening in the brown area and a substantial risk in the yellow area.

There is my forecast. If a supercell thunderstorm can develop in this area, it will become severe very, very quickly, which is why I am posting this. 
If you live in this area -- or have friends or relatives in this area --please let them know that if thunderstorms approach, they should be ready to take shelter quickly. I'll post at least once again this evening. 

40 Years Ago Today: The Downburst

It was 40 years ago today that Eastern Flight 66 crashed on approach to JFK International Airport in New York. After being called in to investigate the crash, Dr. Ted Fujita coined the term "downburst" to describe the intense wind shear that caused the crash.

The era from the 60's to the mid-80's saw, on average, one of these crashes occurred every 18 months or so, a rate that is unimaginable today. The crashes continued along than needed because the "consensus" was that Dr. Fujita had it wrong. I tell the story of the conquering of the downburst in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather

Another Day of Tornado Risk in Midwest

The brown area is at risk for tornadoes again today. Please keep up on the weather if thunderstorms approach your location.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today's Tornado Risk

Today's 5% or greater (brown) area includes NYC, Hartford, Springfield (MA) and northern New Jersey. A severe thunderstorm watch is already out for this region. Please keep an eye on the weather when thunderstorms approach.

Serious Message

Monday, June 22, 2015

Southern Iowa: Dangerous Tornado

5:20pm, the tornado is located in the circle and it is moving southeast. Radar indicates it may potentially be a strong tornado.

Tornado Watch: Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa

Storms are now developing in Iowa near the west end of the tornado watch. Keep an eye on the weather in this area.

Today's Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Risk

If you live in the Midwest, or are flying through Chicago, Milwaukee or Detroit, it is a good idea to keep up on the weather for the rest of the day and tonight.

Let's break it down, using forecasts from the NWS Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado Threat

Five percent (brown) is the significant threshold. Note that a broad band from Ottawa to Chicago to Detroit has double that risk. Note: 10% means there is a ten percent change of a tornado within 25 mi. of any give point in the risk area.

Damaging Wind Threat

Here, 15% (yellow) is the significant threshold. In addition to the 30% area, the hatching means
means that wind gusts of 75 mph or stronger are possible. That means it is a good idea to bring items that might be blown about (i.e., lawn furniture) indoors.

Large Hail Threat

There is a significant risk (yellow or red) of large (≥1") all the way from Kansas City to Syracuse.
In this region, you'll want to put your car in the garage.

Air Travel

O'Hare has average 3 hour delays that will only get worse. Delays are also reported from Midway. The best idea would be to see if your airline will re-route you around the storms (e.g., if you are traveling from Salt Lake City to Richmond via Chicago on United, see if they will route you through Houston).

Here is the radar at 11:55am. It is a mess! Airline conditions in the region will only get worse today.

Given the recent wet conditions, high winds will be able to topple trees more readily than in average conditions. This may resort in power failures given the forecast of very high winds. If you have a generator, make sure it has adequate fuel. If you don't, make sure your flashlights, cell phone and computer are fully charged before the storms approach. Of course, you'll want to unplug sensitive electrical items as the storms approach due to the possibility of power surge damage.

Good luck.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Pope's Climate Encyclical

I wrote not to expect me to write about the rumored Pope Francis climate encyclical right away. I wanted to have a chance to read it before commenting.

Today's Mass readings had a meteorological underlying theme and I wonder if that factored into the Holy Father's timing for the release of his climate document.

In this commentary, I have put the Pope's words in bold print. 

The last three days, I have been trying to make my way through the encyclical. It is tough sledding because there are so many scientific errors and odd passages, even on topics not directly related to global warming. For example, there is a strange paragraph on GMO's (#134) where Francis acknowledges they have brought food to the poor but he apparently doesn't like them anyway for rather nebulous reasons.

In paragraph 182, he says,

182. An assessment of the environmental impact of business ventures and projects demands transparent political processes involving a free exchange of views. 

Yet, the Washington Post and others are reporting that the scientific committee advising the Pope did not want to hear an "off note" and rescinded an invitation to a scientist who believes solar effects play more of a role in climate changes than the 'consensus' scientists. Which is it? Free exchange of views or not? Shouldn't the Vatican set an example?

For all of excitement from U.S. liberals, there are many items reaffirming traditional Catholic teaching.

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?

I humbly salute Pope Francis for reaffirming traditional Catholic teaching here and also explaining that population control is not the answer. Care for the environment has always been part of Catholic teaching so there is little new in that regard.

That stated, and also stating that I write this with a heavy heart, the quality of the science in the encyclical would not have passed muster in my (Catholic school) third grade weather class. Consider paragraph 23: 

Climate as a common good
23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all...

"Climate" is in no way a common good. The atmosphere is a common good and, in a sense, may be "meant for all." By that I mean that the composition of the atmosphere is the same everywhere (78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, etc.). Climate is hardly the same everywhere. There is nothing "common" about the climate in the Antarctic compared to Miami. There is nothing common between the climate of the Sahara compared to windward Kauai. For that matter, there is nothing common between windward Kauai (wettest spot on earth) to leeward Kauai (the Barking Sands dessert) less than 40 miles away.

If, perhaps, climate was stable over the centuries one might say it is a "common good" but climate has never been stable. Since the Little Ice Age, the warming has been wonderful for humanity. The longer (net) growing seasons have allowed farmers to grow enough food to feed the world. Of course, there are many starving but that is an issue of food distribution, not of sufficient caloric production. 

To illustrate: The pro-catastrophic global warming people say that significant human influence on the climate began in the 1950's. So, let's look at a graph of world temperatures from 1850 to 1958:
There are tremendous changes without any human influence.

The Pope also doesn't seem to realize there will be winners whenever climate changes since he only talks about potential losses. For example, the extremely poor region of the world near the Sahara is already getting greener. Or, how forests are already growing more wood that can be used for housing for the poor.

So, the notion climate is a "common good" wouldn't have passed muster with Mrs. Evgen who taught us weather at St. Catherine's.

Pope Francis goes on to state,

A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.  

Forget for a moment that "consensus" has nothing to do with science. Let's consider the statement on its own merits. Assuming "presently" means in the last few years or decades, here is a composite of the four most prominent metrics of world temperatures for the last 20 years. There is no "disturbing warming."

The next sentence says, In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level Well, yes, but this has been going on -- at approximately the same rate -- since the end of the Little Ice Age. 
There is no indication -- none -- that the rate of sea level rise has increased!

I could go on and on but I will not. You get my point. Let's skip forward. 

Consider this paragraph:

169. As far as the protection of biodiversity and issues related to desertification are concerned, progress has been far less significant... See item about Sahara getting greener. To my knowledge, the science does not support this contention.

...With regard to climate change, the advances have been regrettably few. Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility,  If the increasing number of scientists that are concerned about cooling are correct, we do not want to reduce greenhouse gases. The additional CO2 has apparently been mildly helpful in increasing agricultural output -- crucial for the Pope's goal of feeding the poor.

...above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most. The Conference of the United Nations on Sustainable Development, “Rio+20” (Rio de Janeiro 2012), issued a wide-ranging but ineffectual outcome document. International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good. Those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility. Even as this Encyclical was being prepared, the debate was intensifying. We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.

That is a political statement, not a theological or moral statement.

As many have pointed out, Catholics are not obliged to believe the contents of this or any other encyclical. I think it is unfortunate that Francis decided to wade into the science and politics of global warming.

I do (humbly) like the way Pope Francis ends the encyclical and I will end this commentary the same way.

A Christian prayer in union with creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.

Praise be to you!

Potential Damaging Wind Event

A derecho may form in the Northern Plains this evening and overnight.
This is going to be my last severe weather update of the day to allow coverage of the Pope's climate statement.

Tornado Watch Issued

This watch is in effect until 10pm.

NOTE: South Dakota is at risk a a tornado or two and very high winds this evening and tonight. I'll update on this threat at least once more.

Extensive Severe Weather Threat for Monday

On a next-day severe weather outlook, 15% (yellow) is the significant threshold. Where you see the hatching, especially violent storms -- including violent tornadoes -- are possible. Please keep up on the weather in this region.

Also, if you are planning to fly through Chicago tomorrow, earlier is better. Airlines will often let you take an earlier flight in these situations if there are seats available.

Today's Tornado Risk

There two areas of potential tornado risk today. The five percent areas are significant. Please keep an eye on the weather in these areas.

Sunday Fun: Father's Day Edition

Happy Father's Day!!

I'm hoping I get the perfect gift, listed below:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tremendous Storms Over SE Iowa

These storms tower 65,000' up into the atmosphere.

Very, very impressive on radar. We know that hail at least 3" in diameter has fallen. Numerous indications of damaging winds, as well.
Above is the radar at 6:20pm. Storms are generally moving SE to the SE of Des Moines and more easterly near Cedar Rapids. Please keep up on local sources of weather information.

This will be my last blog update of the evening. 

Tornado Watch Issued

I disagree the chance of a significant tornado (i.e., ≥EF-2) is "low." I would call it "moderate." See below.

As of 3:57pm, storms rapidly developing in central Iowa.