Showing posts from July, 2017

Rest in Peace, Sam Shepard

We have lost another great American, playwright and actor, Sam Shepard. He passed alway from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He died Thursday. Sam won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play,  Buried Child.  Sam is pictured above with Gen. Chuck Yeager. Mr. Shepard received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Gen. Yeager in The Right Stuff. General Yeager, a genuine hero, is still with us. The Right Stuff  is one of my two favorite movies and is my favorite book. What would be the greatest double feature of all time as seen on the movie house on my train layout. ALS is an especially awful disease for the victim and family. Mr. Shepard alluded to it in a tweet. Rest in peace, Sam Shepard.

Emily Inland

Tropical Storm Emily is now inland and will weaken a bit while over the Florida Peninsula.

Tropical Storm Emily Has Formed

Tropical Storm Emily has just formed off the coast of Florida just south of Tampa. It is moving east and will turn northeast later today. Sustained winds are around 40 mph with gusts to 55 mph or a little stronger and a waterspout/tornado or two may occur. The main threat, however, is very heavy rains and flooding.

Surprised and Imperiled by a Tornado

Yes, in South America, people fail to take proper shelter until it is too late.

Sunday Fun: Fire Tornado!!

My favorite part is where they tell you, "don't do this at home" and then give you the instructions for doing just that. The story is here .

Flash Flood Watch High Plains and Rockies

More than four inches of rain have already fallen near the Kansas-Colorado border. Additional heavy rains are possible.

Worsening Drought Over Northern Plains

The map below is a map we've displayed before, which is the NOAA map displaying the amount of rain -- above the average amounts -- needed to break a drought. Over parts of the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and northern Nebraska is becoming quite severe and is cutting into crop yields. Unfortunately, the rainfall amount forecast for the next seven days offers no hope of significant relief. We'll keep an eye on the situation.

Update on Middle Atlantic Flood Threat

Here is an update on the significant  flash flood threat in the East.  Heavy rains and flash flooding are already occurring with flash flooding occurring around Washington, DC with water rescues occurring. This is a serious situation, please monitor the weather throughout the next 36 hours. And, if you are traveling, make sure you have the AccuWeather app which will follow your car's location and provide storm warnings wherever you are. It can be located here .

Two Areas of Flood Risk This Weekend

Remember: Turn around, don't drown.  High Plains and Colorado-New Mexico For this part of our nation, these rainfall amounts are high, especially near the Colorado-New Mexico border. Risk of flash flooding is high. Middle Atlantic While it is hard to see the amounts, 4-5 inches are expected to fall on already wet soil in southern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, especially the next 30 hours or so. Flash flood risk is high.

Absolutely Mesmerizing!

Wow. I could hardly take my eyes of this video so I could write this high recommendation . H/T: Martin Libhart.

Some Business to Take Care Of

The Mike Smith Enterprises Blog is (c) 2017 by Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC. If you enjoy the blog, you will likely enjoy our books. While the hardcopies of both have sold out, there are great ebook versions available for Nook, Kindle and the (free) Kindle Cloud Reader which gives you the same reading experience as if you had a Kindle.  The books are: Warnings The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather  which tells the heroic story of how weather scientists created America's unique storm warning system that saves thousands of  lives each year. It is written in the style of a novel.  The other is When the Sirens Were Silent  which is the story of the Joplin tornado. Because the warning system failed that day, 161 people lost their lives -- the worst death toll for a single tornado since the civilian warning system began in the late 1950's. 

Why We Tell People to Go to the Lowest Floor

There was an tornado overnight in eastern Maryland. Via Twitter and NewsChannel 8, here is a photograph of an apartment complex. As you can see, the higher up, the more damage. With tornadoes, lower is better. These apartments, on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, were built with the garage on the ground floor to protect against hurricane storm surge. If I lived in that type of apartment, I would sit in my car (motor off due to carbon monoxide) in the garage until the threat passed.

Ever Want to Be Director of the National Hurricane Center?

If so, click here . Note: It is a really tough job.

Sunday Fun: The History of Wichita As the "Air Capital of the World"

This is a brief but extremely interesting piece . One thing it doesn't mention is our great new airport to complement all of the planes designed and built here.

So, No More WaPo Promotion of Al Gore?

Details here .

Gore: Couldn't Agree More

It would be nice if, just once, Al Gore led with something truthful. Here is an interview from yesterday , and this is the first statement: WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Al Gore  says that recent environmental devastation and extreme weather, more than anything, is what is changing minds on the climate crisis. This is absolutely untrue. From Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., and including the first half of 2017, here is the trend in weather-related disasters. Disasters are diminishing! There is no doubt on this. Some will say, "more billion dollar disasters" but that is just inflation and people putting more (luxury homes on the coast in the path of hurricanes). As always, Gore is wrong.

Drug Expiration Dates Aren't

Kathleen gets unhappy with me when I take a drug (shortly) after its expiration date. As it turns out, they last much longer . That said, read the whole thing. 

Why Science Should NEVER Be Based on "Consensus"

More here . Keep in mind this consensus failure when people talk about the global warming consensus.

A Survey of Television Weathercasters: When Politics Outweighs Science

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has departed from the mission of its first 80 years, which was to advance and disseminate meteorological knowledge. The Society has wandered from that mission to one of advocacy related to the politics and public opinion pertaining to climate change. There has been no vote of the members of the Society on this change of emphasis. As part of its advocacy on climate change, the AMS periodically takes a number of actions to influence the public, political leaders and its members. Those include briefings in Washington, DC, press releases, "policy statements," and even pressure on individual members to a espouse views concordant with the so-called “consensus” pertaining to catastrophic global warming.   For example, I received a call from the Executive Director of the Society, during which he urged me to stop writing articles on my blog that raised questions about aspects of the science and politics of climate change. I declined

Welcome Paul McCartney

Glad to have you in Wichita.

Tornado Risk Later Today

The brown (5%) are is where there is a significant threat. There is also the potential for high wind event. So, please keep an eye on the weather later today.

Saving the Monarch Butterlies

We are about six weeks from Monarch butterfly season in southern Kansas. But I, too, have noticed the declining numbers. Here is an interesting article as to what can be done to save the species .

New in Aeronautics: The Weinermo-Drone

Yes, the folks at Oscar Mayer have done it again. A drone that can deliver a single hot dog. Details here .

Stunning Image of Jupiter's Red Spot

Keep in mind, the red spot is a storm. Meteorologists love looking at a storm of this terrible storm without having to worry about it! Credit: NASA.

A Union Pacific Train on Weather Radar

Saw something I have never seen before this evening: what I believe is a Union Pacific (UPRR) double stack train moving across the prairie on weather radar. I measured the size of the echo and it ranges from 2 to 3.5 miles (depending on angle from the radar) which is roughly the right length and, where it can be observed, the echo passes north of the center of Greensburg and Cullison, Kansas. The train runs through the north side of those towns. I'm guessing it was a double stack or auto rack train as they would be more reflective of the weather radar signal than a merchandise train (boxcars). A  rough  estimate of the speed would be 60-70 mph which is approximately correct if a train was getting "clear" signals. The train would be on the UPRR's Golden State Route that runs from Topeka to El Paso. The first photo from 9:40pm shows the train echo between Mullinville and Bucklin. The track is located north of the highway from Bucklin to Cullison to Pratt. This is a

The View From the Smith Ranch

Kansas Sky on a Friday Evening....

Earlier Today

Images from a time-lapse captured by the NWS at El Paso from earlier today. The center photo shows a "haboob" moving across I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad west of El Paso. A haboob is triggered by a thunderstorm. The cold air that pours out of a thunderstorm is heavier than the warmer air surrounding the thunderstorm. So, it clings to the ground while picking up dust.

Global Warming: Now, Let Me Get This Straight... warming is going to wipe out the human race . So, the way we are supposed to fight global warming is:  not to have children . Got it. Since the outcome of both scenarios is exactly the same (no people on earth), I'll add this editorial comment: Having and raising children is great  fun.

Science and Religion Complement Each Other

An article well worth your time.

Fake Weather, Hurricane Style

During hurricane season, one of National Weather Service's models, the GFS, has a propensity for forecasting hurricanes the never form. As I often put it, it forecasts "9 out of every 2 hurricanes." Unfortunately, there are a number of meteorologists, storm chasers and weather aficionados who, in order to get clicks or make a name for themselves, post these forecasts. This has occurred twice in the last week. The GFS forecasts a hurricane and the click bait begins. So far this year, it is forecast five hurricanes with zero actual hurricanes. I am intentionally not  forecasting the images/forecasts because I don't wish to contribute to this madness.

Want the Warning First? AccuWeather App is the Answer!

I saw this item on Twitter yesterday. Craig is writing about the FCC's program where your cell phone is supposed to trigger if a tornado, flash flood, tsunami or other life-threatening natural disaster is imminent. I have found the FCC's is not 100% reliable. As result of multi-state, multi-storm testing, I can confidently state the AccuWeather app is both more reliable and more timely delivering NWS warnings than the FCC's WEA system. Especially with the tornado threat in the Midwest today, I recommend it for you and your family! It is free: Download it today .

The Global Warming Crowd Goes Delusional

I want to thank the North Carolina reader that brought this to my attention this morning. Two words come to mind. One is the obvious, "delusional." The second is, "sad." It is just sad that there are people who, as the case for catastrophic  global warming collapsed, feel the need go against the science and publish an article that is nothing but hype. Environmentalist Dr. Bjorn Lomborg calls articles like these, "climate porn." He points out that even the United Nations , in its assessment of the economic effects of global warming, says "The impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers. Changes in age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is high relative to the impact of climate change." There seems to be a subset of people who are only hap

Midwest Tornado Risk Later Today

The brown area is where there is a significant risk of tornadoes later today. It includes Detroit, Flint, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Toledo and the northernmost suburbs of Chicago. If you were following me on Twitter yesterday (@usweatherexpert) you saw the major tornadoes in North Dakota and Minnesota that largely missed populated areas. The same weather system will be affecting the Lake Michigan Region later today. So, keep up on the weather when thunderstorms approach.

Tornado Watch: North Dakota and Minnesota

A tornado watch has been issued until 10pm for eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Please keep an eye on the weather when you hear thunder or other signs of the approach of thunderstorms.

Drive-In Etiquette: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Yes, it is summer, time to visit Drive-Thru restaurants.  Went to Sonic this afternoon to get a Diet Coke with lime. As I was turning from the street into the parking lot, there was a black pickup with a large Dallas Cowboys emblem at the ordering position already ordering as I approached. There was no one in front of her. I noticed it was 1:31. At 1:41, the drive-thru window was shoveling sacks, giant hot dogs, malts, drinks, ice cream sundaes, etc., etc. for what was obviously intended to feed numerous people. She drove off at 1:42. Eleven minutes for a single person. By the time I got to the drive-thru, the line behind me was as far as the rear-view mirror could see. People, come on. When you are feeding the entire office or team a late lunch,  please pull into a stall!   Yes, that means you have to tip. So, what?! My (very accurate) car thermometer said it was 97° and if you were the carhop, you would want a tip, too. Thank you for reading my venting.

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

California drought headlines: H/T: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Insightful Thought of the Day

"The (safety) behavior we recommend during inclement weather (i.e., tornado warnings, hurricane evaluations, etc.) has to outweigh the cost and inconvenience."  -- Dr. Laura Myers, University of Alabama

Tornado Risk: Minnesota

The NWS SPC is forecasting a significant (5%, brown) tornado risk generally west of the Twin Cities this evening. From there, there is an enhanced chance of damaging winds (15% is the signifiant threshold in this forecast) from the Twin Cities to Rockford and the Quad Cities. I recommend that people in these areas prepare accordingly.

Today's Sunday Fun: "One of the Coolest Towns I've Been To"

Wichita's "Keeper of the Plains", the symbol of our city. Kevin Connelly From Bill On the Road : It’s not something I often write about, but for me,  every city falls into one of two categories:  a place to live or a place to visit.  Very rarely does a city or town meet both criteria.  Some places may be great to visit, even often, but it just doesn’t feel like home. Only a handful of places I’ve encountered have fallen into  both  categories.  Wichita, Kansas feels like a place I could call home  and  it’s such a fun town that I’ll definitely go back. And, for the people that call this home – I apologize if you wanted to keep it under wraps – but, I can’t keep it to myself.  Wichita, Kansas is one of the coolest towns I’ve been to. I had lunch two weeks ago with the President of a Wichita company who was a native of Houston. She has lived in Austin (college) then spent her adult life in Houston until moving to Wichita three years ago to take her present job.

Why Can't Monkeys Talk?

Earlier this week on the blog I reviewed Tom Wolfe's The Kingdom of Speech .  Today, the Washington Post  ran an article about why monkeys cannot speak . I suggest reading Wolfe's book and then reading the Post's  article.

The One Day Read

Would you like a great summer book that you can read in a day?  It tells the minute-by-minute story of the Joplin tornado -- the worst tornado in more than half a century. And, as a bonus, it provides complete tornado safety suggestions for home, school and the office. The softcover book sold out quickly. The ebook is available for Nook, Kindle or Amazon's free Kindle Cloud Reader. We priced the ebook version for an extremely reasonable $2.99.

Short, To The Point, Summary of Climate Points

With take about two minutes (tops) to read. It will summarize nicely what we know about climate change. Click here .

Summer Ozone and the Central United States

I was asked to comment on a scientific article and paper pertaining to harmful ozone in the Central United States. The article was published July 4. The hypothesis is that thunderstorms penetrating the tropopause (the atmospheric layer right below the stratosphere) and extending into the stratosphere cause a chemical reaction to occur that can lower concentrations of stratospheric ozone that are good aloft but bad when they reach the ground and then create accordant risks to people. I admit I have not read the paper. They want (depending on period of time) $10 to $25 for access to the entire paper. I have a philosophical problem paying twice (my tax dollars and the article access fee) for this research. So, I am going to excerpt the article from  weathernationtv  and comment on each item that I question. The Paper Begins A new study out of Harvard University reveals that the protective stratospheric ozone layer above the central United States is vulnerable to erosion during th

No, We Will Not "Soon" Have Weather Forecasts "Years or Even Decades" into the Future

I don't know who to blame more: public relations agencies/people who work for meteorological organizations wanting to improve the political climate for spending money on weather or reporters who lean toward hyping global warming wanting the public to believe we can accurately forecast the weather years into the future and thus detect differences in the weather caused by climate change. The answer is likely both. This July 4 article from Australia mirrors several articles that have appeared in the United States recently. Pro Tip: It will be decades before we'll have accurate forecasts decades into the future. Because of atmospheric chaos, it is entirely possible that we'll never have accurate forecasts in the decades time frame.

Book Review: "Kingdom of Speech"

I just finished reading Tom Wolfe’s Kingdom of Speech. It is the story of human beings’ unique ability to speak and communicate. It also discussed science’s rather surprising 150-year lack of progress in understanding how human’s speech ability developed. The issue of how speech developed calls into question evolution as it has been previously understood. At several points, I was reminded of the current back-and-forth about global warming and the often petty politics of the academy. It also discusses how difficult it is for new ideas to make it into the peer-reviewed literature.  The book's discussion of Wallace and Darwin was fascinating. However, when he turns to Noam Chomsky, the book becomes too much of a polemic. While Chomsky certain deserves criticism, it becomes far too personal. For that reason I give Speech 4 out of 5 stars.

Happy Independence Day!

If You Want to Save Lives From Major Storms Just...

...add CO2 -- the evil greenhouse gas -- to the atmosphere. While that comment is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it isn't entirely TIC. Let us begin with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Regardless of the addition of CO2, as we have written many times before, there is no  upward trend in hurricane, tornado or any other type of storm deaths in spite of what you have read in the media and elsewhere. Here's proof: Worldwide Total Weather-Related Deaths Please note: The above graph is total number of deaths. In spite of a 20-fold increase in population, weather-related deaths have plummeted to a tiny fraction of what they were 90 years ago. Of course, much of this is due to better warning systems, better communications and better emergency management techniques. That said, the forecast of a relentless rise in climate deaths ("climate refugees") could not be more wrong. United States Hurricanes Are Not Getting Worse Remember how, after Hurric