Sunday, January 31, 2016

Special Storm Outlook

The Blizzard

Here is AccuWeather's forecast of snowfalls.

In addition, there will be very high winds which will cause severe drifting of the snow. This is a forecast of wind gusts in knots (1 knot = 1.15 mph or 50 knots = 58 mph). The orange areas are forecast wind gusts above 50 mph. This forecast is for noon on Tuesday, February 2. The highest winds will extend into western Iowa later in the day.
This is a dangerous storm -- you do not want to get caught traveling in it. Please prepare for the storm before the snow begins falling. 

Tornado Threat

Below is a map of the threat for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms from sunrise Tuesday to sunrise Wednesday. The yellow, 15%, is the significant threshold. The red area is especially at risk. I urge you to monitor the weather Tuesday if you live in these areas.

Reminder: This blog no longer covers day-to-day weather nor do we do live storm blogging. I will present another update tomorrow and Tuesday as the storm develops.

Is Geography Taught Any More?

It is just amazing to me that network television makes mistake after mistake in geography. 
Saw this just a few minutes ago. Sheesh. 

My Gosh: This is the Opposite of Science

Pro-global warming advocates masquerading as scientists have done it again. Dr. Judith Curry has details.

Sunday Fun: A Solution to Storm Chasers' 'Timing' Problems

To the numerous people are guests of storm chasers: Until now, the lack of timely 'comfort' stops could mean the difference between seeing a tornado and seeing a rained out has-been of a thunderstorm.

No longer! The solution for storm chasers is here! I have an appropriate name for this new convenience: The Loaded Gun Lavatory.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How Long Can You Live Without Electricity?

If the sun should spin another Carrington Event toward earth, electrical power would cease for a long period of time. The same would be true of an EMP attack. Or, a cyber attack.

Here is an article on the subject.

It is election season. I recommend asking your friendly politician what he or she is doing to hardening our critical infrastructure.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Happy Kansas Day!!

Today is "Kansas Day" where residents of the Sunflower State celebrate our admittance into the Union.
After last night's spectacular sunset, the temperature in Wichita on this fine January day is 70° 71°.

Blizzard and Tornado "Heads Up"

With the new emphasis in the blog, we will no longer live blog storms nor provide daily storm coverage (scroll down for the details). However, we will provide "heads up" for major events.

It looks like one of those major events will occur next week.

Yes, blizzard. In addition to very heavy snowfalls in Kansas and Colorado, winds will gust to 55 mph in some areas.


I do plan another update or two late Sunday and/or Monday. In the meantime, if you live in these areas plan according. Additional details are available from AccuWeather.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Kansas Sky Ablaze With Color

Unfortunately, cameras do not capture the Kansas sky in its full glory but I hope you'll enjoy these photos.

Looking west about ten minutes ago:

Looking southeast:

How Do You Become a Meteorologist?

A worthwhile blog post from a friend of mine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Don't Worry About 2015 Being the 'Warmest' Year

While the blizzard was in progress, the pro-catastrophic global warming advocates were busy fobbing off an editorial as fact that last year was the warmest year in modern history Climate scientist Judith Curry takes apart that contention here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Worse Than Predicted"? Really?

Issues with the forecasts of coastal flooding from the just-departed blizzard have been a consistent theme on Twitter today:
If you scroll down to the post immediately below, you will see -- five days in advance -- a map sent to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions' clients that called for "coastal wind gusts to 65 mph." In addition, the text portion of the forecast stated,

Damaging high wind gusts up to 65 mph are expected along the immediate coastline from Cape Cod southward to Cape Hatteras. Coastal erosion and flooding are likely to be exacerbated by higher monthly tide conditions during the height of the storm.  
Since multiple emergency managers (according to the tweets) are now complaining about the forecasts of coastal flooding, it is appropriate to ask the question, Which forecasts were they using?

While every meteorologist attempts to provide the best possible information to his or her users, the intended audience/users for forecasts differ:
  • Television meteorologists forecast for the general public and try to build the largest audience they can by doing so. However, they cannot provide a high degree of specificity in 2 to 2.5 minutes.
  • The National Weather Service is forecasting for the general public and emergency managers. However, they have to treat everyone equally. They do not have the mission to provide special products to different users or different locations. 
  • AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions forecasts for its clients which include emergency managers. We treat every client's need specifically. For example, railroads don't care much about hail. Aircraft manufacturers with planes outside of their factories (which can receive millions, per plane, in hail damage) care greatly about hail. So, our forecasts for those clients differ significantly due to client's differing requirements. 
  • AccuWeather's video last week explicitly emphasized there would be serious coastal flooding. Unlike broadcast television news, we are not constrained by time limits and can devote as much time as needed to a serious storm-related issue. 
There is nothing wrong with different forecast organizations emphasizing different things in their forecasts. That said, it is important for a person, a business, or an organization to select a source of  forecasts that ties into your interests. Once you have selected a source of forecasts, stay with it. Academic research demonstrates that using multiple sources of weather forecasts degrades the quality of weather-related decisions. 

How Well Did Weather Science Forecast the Blizzard?

The forecast of the huge blizzard in the East was another triumph for AccuWeather and for weather science in general.

Here is the forecast sent to the clients of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions five days before the start of the blizzard:
Five days in advance we were forecasting one to two feet in the areas that ultimately were hardest hit!  The area within the pink line was forecast to have "blizzard conditions" -- another excellent forecast of extreme conditions well in advance. 

Here is a map of the amounts of snow that actually fell. As you view this, please keep in mind the shape of the two maps (map projection) is not exactly the same. Note there are two bands of heaviest snow, one along the Ohio River and one along the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. The forecast got that nearly perfectly correct -- five days out. Of course, we were not yet forecasting three feet as that would have been a nearly impossible forecast that in advance. 
click to enlarge
Forecasts of this nature allow our clients such as transportation companies, electric utilities, emergency managers, etc., to make plans to deal with the storm far in advance. Other forecasts of this storm were quite good. 

Combined with the huge forecasting success of the vicious Christmas week storm, one would think people would be praising meteorologists and newspaper editorials would be written as to the value of weather science -- lives and dollars saved and uncounted billions (yes, billions) of hours of inconvenience mitigated. 

So, it came as quite an unpleasant surprise yesterday evening when it came to my attention there is a children's book ("Bedtime Math" to which I am intentionally not linking) that teaches young children that meteorologists are buffoons. Below are samples of the pages in question (h/t Dr. Harold Brooks).

Parents, obviously this is nonsense but I'd like to make a bigger point. Children in the 2010's need to be taught that forecasts of extreme weather are important and should be taken seriously as they grow up. Social science research demonstrates that teenagers are at elevated risk of being killed and injured in extreme weather. A better appreciation of the value and reliability of warnings of storms might just help prevent future family tragedies. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Special Announcement

This blog began in November, 2009, the day before Climategate broke. Of course, Climategate was one of the worst scandals in the history of atmospheric science. We were so busy reading the Climategate emails and trying to verify information that we were beginning to wonder what we got ourselves into. 

Kim Dugger, Mindy Cook, and I have had a great deal of fun writing the blog. It received high praise during Hurricane Sandy as the “gold standard” of coverage of the run-up to that storm. At one time or another more than three million people have visited the blog.

After more than seven years, the blog is going to continue but with a different emphasis. With the exception of storms that are scientifically unusual, I am going to discontinue daily coverage of breaking weather news. There are two reasons:
  •           The first is that my duties at AccuWeather are important and demanding. I don’t have the time I used to have.
  •          The need for real-time weather information has changed. In 2009, sophisticated smartphone apps to warn of storms did not exist in the form they do today. The need for “heads up’s” are not as great as they used to be.

So, the emphasis of this blog going forward will be issues facing weather science and related areas. I plan to post several times a week with some occasional help from Mindy. Hope you'll continue reading. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Final Snowfall Map From the NWS

click to enlarge

Wrap-Up of Blizzard Coverage

Photo via Facebook from Baltimore.

There is a terrific interactive map of snow amounts here.

The most was at Glengary, WV with 40 inches.

NYC Central Park (official measuring site) had 26.8" which missed the record by 0.1 inches. JFK had 30.2 inches.

In Washington, there was a measurement failure at the official site at Reagan Airport. It appears the city had around 22-25 inches with nearby northwest suburbs receiving more than 30 inches.

Sunday Fun: A New Prime Number

Remember in math class we learned about "prime" numbers -- numbers that were not divisible by any number except themselves and one? Examples would be 2, 3, 5, etc. Well thanks to Central Missouri University, there is a new prime number:

Now, who's up for checking their work??

H/t: Ann Althouse

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Additional Snow Expected

Here is a map of additional snow from 7am this morning until the end of the storm.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Great Reading During the Storm

While you are hunkered down for the weekend because of weather forecasts, how about a great book about how forecasts are made and the people that make them? You can download the Kindle version here.

Blizzard Update: 5:30pm Friday

AccuWeather is providing live updates from D.C. here.

The forecasts have been superb, so far.

Here is the graph of snow accumulation for Washington, DC.

And, for New York:

These diagrams are the most recent composite computer model runs and I am showing them primarily for storm timing purposes. With very high winds, there will be extreme drifting and travel difficulties.

There will be power failures in some areas. In NY and other areas where the storm has not begun, please make final provisions.

Update on the Blizzard and Tornado Threats

Blizzard Warnings now in effect as far east at NYC.

Here is the AccuWeather Regional Radar as of 9:30am EST:
Nashville had thundersnow. Considerable ice is occurring now in the pink areas.

The winter storm is vast.
Pink is a winter storm warning. It is now snowing in Starkville, MS. Orange is a blizzard warning.

Farther south, there is a chance of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms over the Florida Peninsula as the day progresses.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Serious Overnight Tornado Risk!

This tornado watch is in effect until 3am CST. The risk of tornadoes is high and of strong tornadoes moderate. Please make sure you keep up on the weather during the night.

Update on the Blizzard

These graphics tell the story:

Winds in the the designated blizzard area may gust to 45 mph or higher. Details from AccuWeather. In the "icy mix" area, there will be scattered power failures, especially in North Carolina.

Tornado Risk in the South

The brown, 5%, is the significant threshold. If you live in the shaded brown or yellow areas, please keep an eye on the weather later today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blizzard Update: 7:45pm EST

Here are the two most reliable computer models that show the pattern of snowfall with the blizzard in the Middle Atlantic states.

East of Nashville, they are pretty much the same with the exception of the location of the heaviest snows. One has it right over Washington, DC and the other has it over southwest Virginia. In the bullseye area, the total snow (before drifting) could exceed two feet.

This is a forecast map wind gusts during the storm. Peak winds from Washington, DC across Delmarva will be near 50 mph. The greens are peak winds gusting to near 35 mph. 

Quick Blizzard Update

At least two airlines have issued waivers for the Middle Atlantic Region due to the pending blizzard -- use them. As indicated below, if you must go to DC-Baltimore area (power failures possible over the weekend, in addition to the snow) you need to arrive before noon Friday. After that time, all modes of transportation are in peril through the weekend. 

I'll have a complete blizzard update this evening. 

New Review of "When the Sirens Were Silent"

Goodreads has a new review of When the Sirens Were Silent. Click here to read it.

Also, Amazon ranks Sirens at #75 in its "short reads" category. That is out of all Kindle books!

Sirens is the story of the Joplin tornado and what went wrong to cause so many unnecessary deaths. It has complete tornado safety rules for home, school and offices. With tornado season about a month away, check it out!

Blizzard Watch Posted

A blizzard watch has been issued for the Washington-Baltimore areas from noon Friday to 6am Sunday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Travel Tips

If you should need to get to DC Metro, Richmond or Baltimore before Monday night plan to arrive before noon Friday. After that time, the (highly likely) blizzard will shut down all modes of travel. The snow will fall at least into late Saturday afternoon (perhaps longer) and with wind gusts above 35 mph, travel will likely be shut down at least into Monday.

If you need to travel to the East Coast, I urge you to read my airline crisis survival guide.

Update on Winter Storms

Midwest Storm:

First, let me state that a winter weather advisory (dark blue) is in effect now in south central and eastern Kansas due to freezing drizzle. Multiple accidents have occurred on the Kansas Turnpike due to the slick conditions.
Elsewhere, the winter weather advisories are for snow. The pink is a winter storm warning for more than 4 inches of snow. Here are amounts from AccuWeather:

Here is the timing:

East Coast Storm:

On the East Coast, the concern is a major winter storm with blizzard conditions beginning Friday.

Here is the most likely area for heavy snow (≥4") one Friday:

And, the heavy snow area on Saturday:

Total snow amounts will likely be greater than 12" in places with winds gusting above 35 mph. This will shut down transportation, so plan accordingly.

More Needed Rain and Snow in California

The above normal rainy season in California continues, especially in the northern two-thirds of the state (where most of the storage is located). Of course, much more rain is needed to break the drought.

Below is a map that indicates how much additional rain -- in addition to the normal amounts -- is needed to break the drought.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Storm Threat to the Northeast

My colleagues at AccuWeather are forecasting a major winter storm in the Northeast the end of the week. 
 One storm produces snow in the Midwest tonight through tomorrow night.

The second, more powerful, storm will develop Thursday and move into the Northeast the end of the week. 
There is the potential for blizzard conditions in places. If you are traveling to this region the end of the week, please factor the forecast into your plans and check back with for both local and travel forecasts.

The 'Misleading' Temperature Graph

I have not previously posted this graph before because we have -- extensively -- dealt with the issue of uncertainty in measuring earth's land+sea temperatures and how those changes have been manipulated (yes, manipulated) by some of the pro-catastrophic global warming scientist/advocates. Do a Google search if you would like to see some of that coverage.

An article at Powerline does a good job of discussing the controversy pertaining to this graph and I recommend it.

But, there is a far more important question that I'll bring up (for the umpteenth time): What is the optimal temperature for earth? Climate science refuses (yes, refuses) to answer or attempt to answer that question. There are many who believe the optimal temperature is actually higher than today and that the higher levels of CO2 increase agriculture production to the extent that it cancels out the other issues.

Are they correct? I don't know. But, it is telling that the climate scientists I have asked refuse to answer the question.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Tragic Sarasota Tornado

This morning's news of two people killed overnight by a tornado in Sarasota, Florida, brings sadness and concern to all meteorologists. If preliminary reports are correct, the tornado occurred at 3:10 am Eastern time.

Was there a tornado watch? But, it was issued at 12:45am -- while many were sleeping. And, that is the problem. How do we reach with a tornado warning when they are sleeping? It seems that smart phones are the answer as there are apps that alarm if a tornado warning is issued in the middle of the night. But, they seem to have achieved little acceptance, so far.

AccuWeather's Steve Root has done research that indicates that years with the type of El Nino we have currently have are followed by a more active an usual spring tornado season.

So, I recommend you get a weather radio* or an app that will alarm you in the middle of the night.

*Please get your weather radio programmed properly for your home's location. If you don't, you'll quickly tire of irrelevant warnings awakening you during the night.

Sunday Fun: Another Celebrity in Wichita

From the Wichita Eagle, Harrison Ford was in town again for pilot training.
Mr. Ford is pictured with the owner of Sabor restaurant, Melad Stephan Friday evening. Sabor is one of our favorite restaurants. Ford also visited (if Star Wars fans are interested) Cabelas and Super Target. He generally stays at the (excellent) Hyatt Regency*. I once ran into the late director Sydney Pollack at dinner there.

Below is from Facebook:
We get a lot of celebrities for flight training.

*My three favorite Wichita hotels are the Hyatt Regency, the Ambassador (both downtown) and the full service Marriott on the east side by the Turnpike.

Sunday Fun: A New Prime Number

Now that the blizzard has, for the most part, wound down, a math story. Remember prime numbers from school? Numbers that can be divided by themselves and one, only? Such as 2, 3, 5, etc. A new prime has been found:
                                                      274,207,281 − 1
Now, whose up for checking their work?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tornado Threat in Florida

The brown area has a significant risk for tornadoes later today. Please keep up on the latest weather information.