Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years Eve Flash Flood Risk

If you are celebrating tonight and live in the yellow area, please be aware of the risk of flash flooding. Remember: Turn around, don't drown!

California: Danger...Danger...Danger

This morning's computer models are near unanimous that extremely heavy rain will fall over California during the next ten days. This applies to the entire state, including Southern California.

I urge Californians and those traveling to California to keep up on the weather the next week as flooding may develop at lower elevations over time and heavy snow may close highways over the higher elevations.

I'll update these forecasts, stay tuned.

Saturday Fun: Two Vending Machines I Want in My Home

If you have lived in St. Louis, you know what Ted Drewes is. This is the first I have seen of a vending machine.

I love Ted's so much that it is memorialized in the St. Louis part of my train layout.
Kathleen, my birthday is coming up......

And, if I can't get Ted Drewes, I'll settle for this beauty found -- you guessed it -- only in Las Vegas.
Nothing like technological progress to make our lives better!!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Some Cogent Climate Blogs

Highly recommended from this past week:

Some of the troubling behavior of mainstream climate science. I have looked into these same issues and I agree with them.

From Scott Adams on comparing the climates of climate scientists and skeptics.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Very Cold Weather Forecast for Early 2017

Here is the forecast for January 3 to 7, 2017.

And, here is the forecast precipitation:
Very cold and, in some areas, very snowy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Yesterday's Tornadoes and Damaging Winds

The three tornadoes reported so far (there may have been one in Nebraska) are the northeasternmost tornadoes since reliable records began being kept in 1950.

Here are the previous Christmas Day tornadoes.

If You Have Enjoyed the Travel Weather Coverage...

....on this blog, you'd likely enjoy my 5-Star rated book about how meteorologists create the warnings that save so many lives*.
It might make a great use of a gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

*You may recall the best-selling book, The Children's Blizzard which was the story of an unwarned blizzard that took the lives of 500, mostly schoolchildren. Given the Christmas travel period, the death toll from the current blizzard would likely have been in the hundreds. It is the warning system that makes the difference. Yes, meteorologists are unsung heroes who work on Christmas Day and every day.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Attention Mr. Trump

There is a tremendous blizzard raging over eastern Wyoming and parts of southeast Montana, far southwest North Dakota and far northwest South Dakota. This includes parts of Interstates 90 and 25 during the busy Christmas travel period. But, you wouldn't know from the radar. Why? Because it is in one of the serious radar gaps we have in our nation.

People I speak to in Washington say there are moves to purchase some radars to plug these gaps which are badly, badly needed. I'm hoping the incoming Administration will be amenable to these plans.

UPDATE: While on the subject,

Blizzard in Full Progress

Here is the AccuWeather Regional Radar as of 5:45pm CST. The blizzard is in full progress, especially in the western part of the Dakotas. The ice storm is still developing.

Please do not try to travel in the blizzard (orange) and ice storm warning (deep purple) areas. 

Hope Your Christmas Was Great

Hope your Christmas was as great as ours.

Dangerous Ice Storm / Blizzard Warnings!

The deep purple color is an ice storm warning. It has been shifted west since last night. In the ice storm warning area, power failures could occur. Please prepare accordingly as they could last several days in places. The light purple area is a freezing rain advisory where roads could be icy and dangerous.

The orange is the blizzard warning. Don't even think about traveling in the blizzard area as high drifts will make roads impassible. Pink is winter storm warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Until 5pm

The NWS Storm Prediction Center says winds gusts to 70 mph with the thunderstorms and "a tornado or two possible."

A Small Tornado

There may be a very small tornado near Dodge City. See the little notch southwest of town?

I've highlighted the wind flow and put a dot where the tornado might be. However, if there was a tornado it was very brief and these are nearly impossible to warn of. That may be the case all day.

Strong Thunderstorms in Western Kansas

The line of thunderstorms with the potential for damaging winds and a very brief tornado or two has formed earlier in the day than I had expected.
I am also surprised by the amount of lightning.  Update: 62 mph winds reported near Montezuma, Kansas, which is SW of Dodge City. I will update this on Twitter @usweatherexpert .

Please keep up on the weather in the area outlined by AccuWeather!

Merry, Merry Christmas

From me, Mindy, and Forecaster Evie, we wish you the merriest of Christmases. In that spirit, you might enjoy the above video.

On this blog and elsewhere, I often talk about the amazing people I am privileged to work with at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. Wednesday we had our annual holiday lunch and "secret Santa" gift exchange (thank you Michelle Strecker and Cynthia Atchison!).

When I opened my gift, this Scrabble fan was blown away. A framed Scrabble board with weather
words. Ali is a tremendous meteorologist and she is a wonderful person: which is typical of our staff. Thank you so much, Ali. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Special Forecast For 6pm Christmas

Using the best computer model for this purpose:
Please see posting below for snowfall amounts. There will be severe drifting with this storm and road, even interstate highways, will be impassible.

While most of the focus has been on the blizzard, there will be a serious ice storm. There will likely be power failures that will last for a few days as well as highways that will be impassible, at least while the storm is in progress and for the next day or so.

Farther south, at 6pm (shortly before the Chiefs' game), the yellow areas are thunderstorms where high winds could occur. However, unless large storms, such as with the map above, you cannot exactly locate the position of the thunderstorms. They could occur anywhere from the Missouri River area to northeast Oklahoma.

Latest on the Northern Plains Blizzard and Ice Storm

Keep in mind that not only will more than a foot of snow fall, high winds will cause severe drifting. Here is a summary of conditions for tomorrow:
There could be power failures in the ice storm (deep purple) area. Icy road conditions in the lighter purple. The hunter green area is a winter storm watch where ice could turn to snow.

Please complete your travels as soon as possible. It will be extremely dangerous to travel once the storm commences. 

Christmas Day Damaging Wind and Tornado Threat

Unfortunately, there is still a significant risk of a tornado or two and fairly widespread damaging winds on Christmas Day. The thunderstorms will have relatively little cloud-to-ground lightning and a low chance of damaging hail.

So, you may want to keep an eye on the weather as these fast-moving thunderstorms affect Kansas and immediately surrounding areas.

Christmas Eve: How the Pro-Life Movement Walks the Walk

On Christmas Eve, there are countless stories about how Mary and Joseph could not find room in the inn. So, it seems appropriate to discuss how the pro-life movement helps care for children and their mothers after their children are born regardless of time of year. 

This posting was partly inspired as I was watching an episode of Law and Order's a few months ago when the character of policewoman Anita Van Buren commented about pro-life people, "yeah, they want the mothers to have the babies but they don't care what happens after they are born..."  Do an online search using those words and there are dozens of similar entries that libel the pro-life movement in a similar manner.
So, let's learn the truth. 

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal ran a column by Bill McGurn about Good Counsel, a home and network for challenged mothers in the New York area that decide to keep their babies:

Just a few evenings from now, children badly costumed as shepherds and angels and wise men will appear in nativity pageants the world over. Even the worst of these performances will underscore the hope and humbleness of that first Christmas, when a Jewish woman with child brought forth her son in a stable because there was no room for her at the inn.
More than two millennia later, the Bronx has improved on ancient Bethlehem. Here at Fulton Avenue and 167th Street, in one of New York’s toughest neighborhoods, a pregnant woman with nowhere else to turn will always find what she needs most: an open door and a caring heart. 
Welcome to Good Counsel, a network of six homes plus a 24/7 hotline. They are the life’s work of Chris Bell, a lean and gentle 59-year-old husband and father whose story could never be made for the big screen today because only Jimmy Stewart in his prime could do him justice. 
Monique Campbell and her daughter, Kimberly.ENLARGE
Monique Campbell and her daughter, Kimberly. 
Way back in 1985, Mr. Bell had complained to a priest that no one was doing anything for homeless pregnant women. The priest in effect responded: “Hey, pal, what about you?
Not long after, Mr. Bell co-founded his first Good Counsel home with the help of that same priest. The home was opened in a former convent in Hoboken, N.J., which turned out to have been part of the parish where Frank Sinatra had been baptized. So when a Daily News columnist named Bill Reel wrote a Mother’s Day piece on this struggling new enterprise, Mr. Bell soon received a call from Old Blue Eyes himself—along with a $10,000 check. Three decades on, the need has not abated.
“I was scared when I first came here,” says Monique Campbell. “But Good Counsel teaches you what you need to be on your own, whether it’s how to cook or the training you need for a job.” 
Ms. Campbell, 21 years old, came to Good Counsel earlier this year after her family threw her out upon learning she was pregnant. Her daughter, Kimberly, was born this past summer, so mom is now finishing her GED while also working to become a certified nursing assistant.
His column goes on to say,

Make no mistake: No Good Counsel home will ever make it to the cover of House Beautiful. Because Mr. Bell takes no government money, his will always be a shoestring operation. With all those moms and babies, moreover, chaos is a feature, not a bug. 
But the homes are warm. They are safe. And the folks who staff them count it a good thing when a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy who prefers to keep her baby actually has the choice to do so. 
Janelle Washington, a Vassar graduate whose son Izen (the name means “never give up”) was born in October, says that such has been her experience with Good Counsel that her goal now is to get a job as a counselor for women like herself. “So I can give back,” she explains. 
The most extraordinary thing about Good Counsel? 
“That it exists,” says Jozylyn Perez. Earlier this year Ms. Perez found herself pregnant, with three other children to feed—and no apartment. “When I had no place to go they didn’t ask me any questions about who I was. They said ‘this is your room’ and ‘we’re going to take care of you until you can take care of yourself and your child.’ ”
Here in Wichita, Via Christi Health and various Catholics support Girard House which is also a (wonderful) home for pregnant teenagers and young women. Very much like Good Counsel, they not only provide a place to live, they teach young women parenting and job skills. I have visited Girard and came away tremendously impressed.

Okay, but what do pro-lifers do after the young mothers leave these homes? I can only answer that question for Wichita, so here goes:
  • Guadalupe Clinic, sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, provides medical care at greatly reduced costs. The faith of the mother does not matter. 
  • Many Catholic parishes and evangelical Christian churches offer free or reduced-cost daycare and full time pre-school. 
  • In the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, an education by our excellent schools is free for everyone. Yes, free. At our parish, full-time pre-school begins at age 4. We are determined that no child will be deprived a good education regardless of the parents' financial condition. 
  • Finally, we have The Lord's Diner. It provides a free hot dinner to anyone who shows up. Because we have neighborhoods of working poor in Wichita, the Diner now has a food truck that prepares and distributes hot meals in those neighborhoods. In some cases, it provides meals for multiple nights that can be taken from the truck, put in the refrigerator, then warmed when needed. 
I know that similar programs are available throughout the nation, run by people with big hearts who want to help their fellow human beings in difficult circumstances and, most of all, want the next generation of children to grow up safe, secure, healthy and well-educated. 

A big thanks to the Wall Street Journal for highlighting how the pro-life movement advocates and cares for women in difficult circumstances, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

6:30PM Friday: Watches & Warnings

Orange is a blizzard warning. Lime green is a blizzard watch. Pink is a winter storm warning. Blue is a winter weather advisory (lesser condition). Gray is a dense fog advisory. Green along the California coast is flooding advisory.

The blizzard will occur Christmas Day and Sunday night.

Friday Christmas Travel Update

The blizzard is still on for the northern Great Plains.
To the south, there is the potential of thunderstorms to cause 70+ mph winds and brief tornadoes, especially in Kansas and Nebraska.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Latest Weather Update

Here is the latest radar.

Here is a map of the latest watches and warnings.
Lime green is a blizzard watch. I expect that to be extended into the Nebraska Panhandle and far eastern Wyoming. Pink is a winter storm warning. Deep green is a winter storm watch. Dark blue is a winter weather advisory (a lesser condition). The green in California is flood warnings.

Winter Weather in the Far Northeast

Map of Past Christmas Day Tornadoes

From Rob Hart of the NWS, this is a map of Christmas Day tornadoes since 1964. It would be highly unusual to get them as far north as is forecast this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Quick Look at Extreme Storms Forecast for Christmas Day

Vital information if you are considering traveling Sunday in the central United States. Yes, a full-fledged blizzard is likely from the Nebraska Panhandle to central North Dakota. Do not try to travel by car through the region and flights (ie., Rapid City) in the area will almost certainly be cancelled.

And, farther south, the potential for tornadoes on Christmas Day.

We will continue to update the Christmas travel. Keep checking back for the latest.

"We are Proud Partners With You and We Love Your Services"

So says ServiceMaster Recovery Management about AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. Details here.

If your business is affected by weather and natural hazards you need to be partnering with AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

Christmas Travel Weather

A mess in the West.
Below is the 5-day precipitation totals.
In some locations, this is the heaviest rainstorm/snowstorm is three years. So, expect traffic and airline delays.

A major winter storm -- with near blizzard conditions in some areas -- will develop in over the weekend in the Rockies and northern Great Plains. The storm will make its way into Ontario and Saskatchewan. Snowfalls will exceed ten inches in a number of areas with considerable drifting.

And, if this wasn't enough, there is a risk of tornadoes on Christmas day in Kansas and Oklahoma. This includes Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
There is a slight risk of tornadoes in north central and northeast Texas as well as the Ozarks region of southwest Missouri. So, we'll have to keep an eye on that as later data comes in.

Tornadoes can occur any day of the year in the United States. On Christmas Day 2012, a tornado struck Mobile. Cars were literally falling out of the sky (watch the end of the video). So, I'll keep you updated on the flood (West), blizzard (northern Great Plains) and tornado threats (Central Great Plains) as we approach Christmas Day. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Complete Travel Weather Updates on the Blog Starting Tomorrow

Here is a quick look at AccuWeather's forecast for Christmas:
Please check back tomorrow for day-by-day forecasts.

"Current Climate Crisis"

This article is so silly that, at first, I thought it might have come from the New York Times. However, the Washington Post is rapidly catching up to the Times in the level of hysteria pertaining to global warming.
Get this:

Brearley plays a critical, and entirely accidental, role in climate change because of his position as the chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts within the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Yes, apparently the drafters of the Constitution were supposed to have thought of global warming when they were drafting the document.

The author, one Todd Cort from Yale (no surprise there), makes it clear he is no fan of George Bush but rationalizes Barack Obama's administration in this manner:

The Obama administration did not solve climate change, but it did make significant strides both domestically and in international agreements. 

Yup, those "international agreements" are vitally important when China is bringing each week one coal plant online.

Regardless, Mr. Cort doesn't seem to approve of President Elect Trump (who hasn't even been sworn in yet), just like he did not approve of Mr. Bush. My suggestion to Mr. Cort: Stop whining about 1787 and support candidates who might actually win a general election, electoral college and all.

Heads Up in the West

Traveling to the Southwest for Christmas?

Take a Look at the AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions' LinkedIn Page

It is here.
As we get it up and running, you'll find a wealth of information useful to any business or enterprise affected by weather or natural hazards.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Still Looking For a Christmas Gift?

Just heard today from another happy reader. If you know someone who likes weather or just a good non-fiction book, Warnings is the perfect choice.
Take a look at the 59 Amazon (5-Star!) ratings. So, please give this book some consideration when shopping for Christmas gifts.  

Sunday Thoughts

I have some thoughts I'd like to share with you.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons gave a tremendous show at Hartman Arena in Wichita Friday evening. The Four Seasons have been my favorite group since 1964. I got to shake his hand which was a real thrill.
He is playing in Dallas tonight and, if you have never attended one of his concerts, I highly encourage you to do so.

While Kathleen and I were attending the concert in Wichita Friday evening, our son, Brandon, was on his way home from north Kansas City. He saw a truck spin on the ice and roll four times. He tried to call 9-1-1 but it was overwhelmed by the number of accidents and it took forever to get through.
So, Brandon stayed with the driver for a full hour -- in the icy cold and drizzle -- until paramedics arrived! The driver had a broken leg and other potentially serious injuries. Brandon said the driver, toward the end of the hour, was starting to shout and begin to "lose it." So, he asked him what were his favorite musical groups and played those songs on his iTunes and sang with the driver to help take his mind off his pain and uncomfortable situation.

That was a tremendously charitable and Christian thing to do. Extremely proud of you, Brandon!