Showing posts from December, 2018

Tornado Records -- The GOOD Kind!

There wasn't a single tornado that caused extreme damage -- for the first time since records began being kept (1950). That type of tornado is defined as EF-4 and EF-5 intensity on the Fujita intensity scale. Even better: the trend in this type of tornado is down. And, 99 other great things are here . ADDITION: I was not aware of this (posted 1:27pm CST). If we can get through the day (there is a tornado watch in effect as I write this) without a tornado death, and I think we can, this is quite an accomplishment for weather science. The tornado warning system is a Nobel Prize-worthy endeavor . Congratulations to meteorologists at the  National Weather Service,  in private sector meteorology and  to emergency managers across our nation!

Sunday Fun: World's Most Obvious Prediction

From the Wall Street Journal.

Book Review: "The Man Who Caught the Storm"

Yesterday, I finished reading The Man Who Caught the Storm  by Brantley Hargrove. Here is a brief review. My rating?  5 Stars.  The book begins a little slowly but picks up quickly and turns into a compelling read. As a meteorologist and storm chaser, I was impressed by the thorough research and scientific accuracy. It is very refreshing to read a book of this nature and find it to be accurate. While I knew of Tim, I did not know him personally other than to say hello at a couple of conferences. That stipulated, this portrait of the man and his work ring true. I believe this book will be interesting to all who might be interested in the story of an outstanding scientist who pushed the envelope too far and became the first storm chaser (along with his son and a friend) to be killed by a tornado. The only concern I have is whether a reader who is not a weather aficionado will be able to completely follow the chapters regarding his last storm chase, which involved the El Reno (Okl

"What's Going On" at the Post Office

I was pleased to learn this morning the USPS is going to issue a Marvin Gaye stamp in 2019. The late Motown singer was one of my favorite signers. The date of issue has not been released.

Rest in Peace, Joe Audsley

A hero has passed away. Joe Audsley, the hero of the Ruskin-Heights Tornado, passed away on Christmas. It was Joe, along with his (late) partner, Bob Babb, who issued the Weather Bureau's first modern-day tornado warning. It was credited with saving scores of lives in the 1957 Ruskin Heights Tornado. I tell his story in Warnings (pictured above in 2010 with an autographed copy). When Joe issued that landmark warning, the Weather Bureau was not in the tornado warning  business. Since then, the (now) National Weather Service's tornado warnings have saved tens of thousands of lives and the death rate from tornadoes has been cut by 95%! But on that May, 1957, evening, Joe and Bob thought they would be fired the next day. I first got acquainted with Joe when my Grandmother took me to visit the Weather Bureau office at what is now called the Charles Wheeler Airport (then, Municipal Airport) in downtown Kansas City. Joe eventually moved to the National Weather Service Technical

Sign Up For ChaserCon!

As previously mentioned, ChaserCon -- the largest gathering of storm chasers, meteorologists specializing in tornadoes and severe storms, and weather aficionados -- will be coming to Wichita February 8-10. The Wichita Eagle  has more here . It is now time to start signing up and you can easily do that here . The public is invited. The event will be of special interest to emergency managers and first responders both in terms of the presentations and sponsors' booths. I am going to be the keynote speaker Saturday evening and I'm really looking forward to it. I have a very special presentation I believe everyone will greatly enjoy.

"Warnings:" For Your Christmas Gift Card

Perfect Use For  Your  Amazon or Other Gift Card!                                                                "You Will Love This Book"           --- Gary England, August, 2018 Warnings  is written in the style of a novel and is packed with exciting, uplifting stories.  Remember: a great hardcover book is highly portable and always charged. It is the perfect way to use that Christmas gift card. Click here to go to Warnings'  site at Amazon. 

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!!

Mindy and I wish to extend the heartiest Christmas  greetings to all of our customers and readers.  It was on this date on 1941 the North Platte Canteen opened to serve railroad passengers during World War II. If you received a gift card from Santa, and you've already read my book , then I recommend Bob Greene's The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen . 

50 Years Ago Tonight

Christmas Eve, 1968, witnessed one of the most amazing things in history: Apollo Eight orbited the moon while Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders conducted a live broadcast. While the image of the moon's surface was extremely grainy, everyone watching was transfixed that it was occurring at all: live television from the moon! It was just six years earlier that technology allowed worldwide broadcasts on earth. The lunar commentary would have been spectacular enough. Then, without advance fanfare, the astronauts began reading from the Book of Genesis and it was stunning. All seven of us in our family watching the television were uplifted by those 6,000 year-old words. In an era when you can watch continuous live HD images from the International Space Station (below), the reading of the Bible from the Moon may not have seemed so extraordinary. Yet it was. Fifty years ago tonight. What a Christmas gift to the Earth!

Post-Christmas Travel Alert

A winter storm may move out of the Rockies Tuesday and onto the Great Plains and Midwest Wednesday and Thursday. The maps below are preliminary forecasts of 3" or more of snow. Thursday Friday You may want to keep this in mind as you plan your travel for the post-Christmas period.

Statistically, When Is the Coldest Day of the Year?

click to enlarge

Flu Risk Ramping Up!

Per this morning's Diseasecast , clicking on the Flu Map will reveal a rapidly increasing risk of influenza over the next one to two weeks. click to enlarge This is especially serious in the Ohio Valley and Middle Atlantic region with the State of Ohio especially at risk. I believe so much in the new science of proactive health forecasting that I am an investor in Ascel Bio (for full disclosure) which produces the Diseasecast forecasts. With all of the holiday parties this weekend and with New Year's Eve coming up, I urge you to practice good hygiene.  Wash your hands, cover your mouth, et cetera. Ascel Bio's experts have picked best-in-class products for flu prevention in the "Shop Now" area. Click on on it and it will take to your  Amazon account. Finally, there are great blogs on keeping healthy. Want to keep your family healthy? I encourage you to add Diseasecast to your arsenal of health tools. 


A meteotsunami is a rare rapid rise in water level caused by barometric pressure changes associated with a squall line. One occurred yesterday in Florida and it is the most pronounced I have seen. I don't know how to embed Facebook video, so click here .

A Perfect Christmas Gift For Someone Who Likes Weather

5.0 out of 5 stars Lively and informative Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase If I were to tell you that I just read a history on the growth/improve- ment  of  storm  forecasting techniques in the 20th century, you'd  proba bly  think  it sounded dull.  Well, you'd be wrong. This book is  any thing but  dull. "You Will Love This Book"                      --- Gary England Warnings  is written in the style of a novel and is packed with exciting, uplifting stories.  Remember: a great hardcover book is highly portable and always charged. It is the perfect gift for those that like weather or even an uplifting, non-fiction story.

Two Areas of Tornado Threats Today

The brown areas have a significant tornado risk while the yellow area from south of Tampa to Orlando has an enhanced risk. I'm highlighting this today because the run-up to Christmas may be distracting people from their usual habit of checking the weather.

Solid Financial Goals From CNBC


Walt Mossberg Qutting Facebook

Renowned tech columnist Walt Mossberg has announced he will quit Facebook by the end of the year, after realising his own values now differ to those put in place by the social media giant. Mossberg, a former writer with the Wall Street Journal and current board member with the News Literacy Project, took to Twitter today to confirm his resignation to the world. “I am doing this – after being on Facebook for nearly 12 years – because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable there,” he said. When he was at the Wall Street Journal  I eagerly awaited his weekly column because I believed he was honest and straightforward. So, I am not surprised he came to the decision to dump Facebook.  His entire announcement is here . The only way these tech companies are going to reform is if they lose customers and money and, even then, it may be too late. Increasingly, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., are cancers on our

Monday Fun: 115 Years Ago Today...

...Orville and Wilbur and their Wright Flyer took to the air for the first time. Compared to today, flying in 1903 was primitive. For example, There was no complicated (eight boarding groups!) boarding procedure. There was unlimited leg room. And, the Wrights were served the same number of free in-flight meals you get in coach today. Happy Holiday Travel!!

Apparently, Mocking Global Warming is Now "Sensitive"

I was surprised to see the following tag on my Twitter feed this morning. So, knowing this was Twitter, I clicked "view." Below, you will see the 'sensitive' material. Meanwhile, over at Facebook: Conclusion? Social media isn't very sociable.

Sunday Fun: World's Only Private 787 Dreamliner

Wow. I figure if I spent my entire retirement funds I could probably afford to fly it from Wichita to Kansas City, one way. Enjoy. Three days ago, Boeing announced a private version of the 777 which is even larger than the 787. Wow.

Do Tornado Warnings Save Lives? Absolutely!

Snow covering tornado debris in Taylorville, Illinois Photo by: "State Journal-Register" Even in 2018, there are people who dispute the fact that tornado warnings save lives. Today, I came across a story in the Springfield, Illinois, State Journal-Register  pertaining to the warnings that clearly saved lives as a tornado passed near a (called-off due to the warnings) Santa Parade on December 1 in Taylorville, Illinois. I would like to congratulate the National Weather Service on a job well done as well as the officials and citizens of Taylorville for responding in the proper manner. While there was considerable damage, there was no loss of life. 

Attention: Storm Chasers and Anyone Interested in Weather or Storms!

For the first time, Chasercon -- the world's largest meeting of storm chasers and meteorologists who focus on storms -- will be in Wichita this February 8 to 10th. On Sunday, 10th, there will be a seminar on "how to forecast severe storms" which will be useful beyond storm chasers. It will be valuable for emergency managers and anyone wanting to get a jump on tornadoes and extreme thunderstorms. Here is a partial list of presenters: Dr. Greg Forbes (The Weather Channel) Tim Marshall, world expert on engineering buildings to minimize storm damage as well as an expert storm chaser Roger Edwards, forecaster, National Storm Prediction Center Dr. Jason Persoff, the storm chasing physician (really!) and photographer Jon Davies and his excellent storm forecasting class I will be delivering the keynote speech Saturday evening (9th) as well as moderating a panel of storm chasers/law enforcement/emergency management on how to make chasing safer as well as more useful

Protecting Wind Turbines From Lightning

Photo: As readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of wind power as it currently stands. However, that will change if cheap  storage becomes available and if we find better ways of protecting wind farms from lightning , ice , (ironically) high winds and other forms of extreme weather. The current generation of wind turbines is surprisingly delicate. An expensive helicopter used to de-ice a wind turbine in Canada. There is good news with regard to wind turbines and lightning mitigation. Wichita State University has developed a way to protect the turbines when they are struck. Wichita State researcher Billy Martin works on a Kansas wind turbine Wichita State's system for protecting wind turbines is an outgrowth research done by its National Institute for Aviation Research . After all, a turbine blade is similar to an aircraft wing or an airplane's propeller. I am hopeful all of this will add up to meaningful progress in the field of wind energy s

Do You Want More Complex Tornado Warnings??

This is the story of a bad idea: probabilistic storm warnings.  Under the current storm warning system, you are either in a storm warning or not. For example, in the illustration below, the red area is a tornado warning which is nested in a yellow severe thunderstorm warning (large hail or damaging winds). So, if you are in the tornado warning, your weather radio or tornado siren goes off, or the TV cuts in to let you know. You immediately go to shelter. That's it; that's all a member of the public has to know. Unfortunately, the meteorological research community has been in love with the idea of probabilistic weather forecasts ("20% chance of rain") for decades and now wants to extend that concept into tornado and other storm warnings. In their minds, probabilities of flash floods and tornadoes (to name two) are "more scientific" than "deterministic" (yes or no) warnings. What might a probabilistic tornado warning look like? Below is an e

"Warnings" -- A Review I Missed

I came across this a few hours ago.  The full story is here . Warnings  makes a great Christmas gift for anyone interested in weather or science. Click on the red link to see it at Amazon.

I Have An Idea That Will Solve Their Problem

Since the Oscars can't seem to find a host, I have an idea to staunch the loss of viewers: Have E! TV broadcast the celebrities: Getting out of their limos Walking the red carpet (while the limos are going around the block) Getting back into their limos. CNN Whole thing could be done in 45 minutes, tops. Then, publish an online list of the winners while the celebrities are driven to their respective parties.  No more nearly three-hour broadcasts. No more celebrities having to pretend to be interested while the "best technical awards" video plays. No more closeups of four "it's an honor to be nominated" losers while the winner isn't even in attendance.  Everybody wins. 

What Is It Like to File Insurance Claims After a Catastrophe?

A terrific article is here about the experience of filing claims after California's Camp Fire. I would have been even more critical of the insurance company than the author. At AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, because we were dealing with mission critical issues, we had (and I believe still have) human beings answering the phones 24/7 without automation. The customers loved it. Insurance claims people need to lose the automation when dealing with people who have lost everything.

Facebook is a Terrible Company

The latest proof of that contention is here via British investigators. I requested deletion of my Facebook page in April but I seriously doubt Facebook deleted it or any other users'.

Sunday Fun: For Catholics

Catholics believe, of course, that Jesus led a sinless life. Catholics also believe that his earthly mother, Mary, also lead a sinless life. Yesterday at the Mass for the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Josh Evans commented on the above by saying, "Can you imagine poor Joseph? Everything was always his fault!"

Ebola Worsens in Africa

The New York Post  has a heartbreaking story about the large, and growing, Ebola outbreak in the Congo which threatens to break out of that nation.

The Winter Storm Bust

This past Sunday, the computer models were unanimously forecasting heavy snow would fall over southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma beginning this afternoon and continuing into Saturday night. The Governor of Oklahoma (prematurely, in my opinion) declared an official "state of emergency." Food flew off store shelves. Now it is Friday afternoon and the storm... Ain't gonna happen. This is a historic bust and I want to spend a moment discussing what happened and why. It is has been a very long time since the computer models, in unison, were so very wrong. I hope meteorologists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma or some other research institution in the area affected by the bust will take hard look at what went wrong and use it to create more robust models. Meteorologists have a bad habit of presenting scientific papers about successes but often do not focus on the busts. This one demands attention. Next is the role of television