Thursday, October 31, 2019

Major Tornado Threat: Middle Atlantic States

Please factor this forecast into your Halloween Plans.
The brown area is a significant risk of tornadoes. The yellow area is an enhanced risk. If you live in these regions, it is important you keep up on the weather in your area. If I lived in these areas, I would call off trick-or-treating if a tornado watch is in effect at that time.

There is also a high risk of damaging winds in the purple area. 
On this forecast, yellow is a significant risk of thunderstorm-related gusts of 60 mph or higher. Red is an enhanced risk and purple is a high risk. In addition to all of that, lightning will be a hazard.

High Flu Risk in Most of the Nation

Here is the latest flu risk map from Diseasecast.

If you haven't done so, please strongly consider getting vaccinated against the flu. 

Flu kills far more people than drunk drivers.

According to, last year 79,000 people died of flu in the United Stats versus 10,585 due to drunk drivers. 

Only 37% of people get vaccinated. Please consider getting vaccinated. 

And, if someone gets the flu anyway, the best products for combating it are here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Southern California Fire Forecast for October 31

click to enlarge
Extremely critical wildfire conditions are forecast for the purple areas from 5am Thursday, Halloween, to 5am Friday.

The (Invisible) Record Cold in the Western U.S.

Did you know the U.S.A. (Lower 48) set an all-time October cold temperature of -35°F at Logan Canyon, Utah, yesterday. Or, that it was even colder there today? Or, that it was a record cold weather balloon launch in Grand Junction, Colorado? Or, that Denver set a record low of 3° this morning?

Of course you didn't.

That is because it is not part of global warming 'narrative.'

Below is one hour of records or temperature readings within one degree of record from earlier this week.
As indicated below, the problem in the United States has been cold, not warmth. I am not saying we are undergoing some great cooling.

My point is that this is not being covered, at all, in the mainstream media. Regardless that Big Climate wants you to believe 'the science is settled,' it certainly is not.


Attention: Eastern Time Zone Readers

I live in Wichita in the Central time zone. More and more, I am persuaded that our friends and fellow citizens in the Eastern time zone aren't aware of how time zones work.

Headline from yesterday.
This isn't the first time recently I've seen this suggestion. This past summer, some researchers at Johns Hopkins thought eliminating time zones was a good idea. Presumably, the rest of us would be on Eastern time, where Johns Hopkins is located.

Then, this morning, I was awakened by a very early call. Turns out the representative of this company, based in Columbus, was completely unaware (I asked her) that Kansas is in a different time zone than Ohio.

Before my retirement, this was a periodic issue working with a corporate home office in the Eastern time zone for 12 years. Actual dialog:

Home office: Okay, let's meet tomorrow at eight. 
Mike in Wichita: You realize that's 7am here?!
Home office: What?
Mike in Wichita: We are in the Central time zone. That would be 7 here. 
Home office: There will be many more participating from here; you can do it just this one time.

Of course, it was several times a year, not "one time." Personally, I'd rather have bamboo shoots under my fingernails than be in the office at 7 for a meeting.

Earlier this year, I was working with some people with PBS based in Boston. I had a conversation nearly identical to the one above when scheduling a teleconference.

So, as a public service, let's talk about time zones.
So, to my friends in Columbus, when you call at 8:30am there, it is 7:30am in Wichita.

What would it be like if we look the suggestion of Johns Hopkins and put everyone on the Eastern time zone? In December, the sun would not rise in Seattle until 11am. It would not set in Seattle in June until 11:30pm. I suspect the people of the State of Washington, along with most of the rest of the nation, would object.

Suggestion for my friends in the Eastern time zone, print out the map above and put it next to your phone. Check the state of the person you are calling to make sure it is business hours where they live before you dial.
They will thank you for it!

And, while we are on the subject of time zones, Daylight Saving Time ends Saturday night.

"Extremely Critical" Fire Danger in California

Click to enlarge
The purple area is the highest rated fire danger forecast the National Weather Service makes. Please be extremely cautious in this area. 

California Businesspeople: Move Your Business to Kansas!

From a blunt article about California's present and future:

Thanks to the tens of billions of dollars in liabilities from the wildfires last year, PG&E has filed for bankruptcy. The utility’s bankruptcy has been a source of absolute chaos. It looks like PG&E shareholders will likely be completely wiped out. It is unlikely that any new controlling party will bring the utility back from the dead. So Californians should not discount the possibility that being without power is their new normal. No one seems to know how the utility is going to survive at this point, and that’s a big problem for the millions of people they support. 
The incredible irony in all of this is that the green state of California has been keeping the lights on during this period with privately procured generators running on… wait for it… fossil fuels.

Believe it or not, the situation is likely even worse than depicted above
The Kansas Flint Hills
Give some serious thought to moving to Kansas and Wichita in particular. Here are some excellent reasons:
  • We have plenty of reliable electricity and natural gas. Rates are far less than California's.
  • In most of the ways that matter, we have a better lifestyle. Short commutes, very low cost of living (Wichita has the lowest housing costs in the nation), plenty to do at low costs.
  • Extremely nice people from all over the nation due to the aircraft industry. 
  • If you want to ski, Colorado is driving distance. 
  • If you like the ocean, we have cheap non-stop flights (Allegiant Airlines, an ultra-low-cost airline). 
I know what Californians are going to think: What about those tornadoes? The statistical chances are very low. It is certainly less than the combination of major earthquakes & wildfires & blackouts which is far, far higher.

So, come and check us out. I think you'll be impressed.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Is Global Cooling the Real Climate Danger?

As many of you know, I am a "lukewarmer" -- I believe the planet is warming but at a slower rate than many believe and that the effects of the warming, when netted out (e.g., the items you are never told about by the media, such as greater food production due to a warmer climate), will not be all that severe.

I also, frequently, state that global cooling would be a catastrophe for mankind. However, I have not forecasted cooling.

That stipulated, here is a piece from scientists I respect that believe cooling is beginning. I suggest you read it because it outlines their evidence. Are they correct? It is hard to tell.
It is difficult to detect a recent short-term (the length of time of that any worldwide cooling trend that may have begun) cooling trend because the world data has been 'adjusted' to death; in some cases unethically. In the United States, we are fortunate to have a "gold standard" temperature sensing network in all 50 states that does not require any adjustment. The graph below is the raw data. It tells a very different story than the "adjusted" data.
According to the gold standard U.S. data, there has been no warming since it was installed in 2003. And, since the end of 2016, there has been significant cooling. As the article at the blue link correctly indicates, the 2019 corn and soybean crops have suffered significantly due to the cool growing season, especially at the beginning.

In most ways, we can adjust to global warming.

Global cooling, and the accompanying famines that would result, would mean the deaths of millions as we could not grow enough food. Energy costs would skyrocket as would deaths due to cold (there are about 17 killed by cold weather for every person who dies due to heat).

For the people like who desire a colder climate, be careful what you wish for. 

If, and this is a big 'if,' cooling is the real danger then we would want to put all of the greenhouse gas we possibly could into the atmosphere. It would take years longer than it should to even acknowledge cooling because there are so many invested in the catastrophic global warming hypothesis. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Extremely Critical Fire Danger in the Southland

Most of Ventura and parts of Los Angeles Counties are in the "extremely critical" wildfire danger category. 

More fires are already occurring. In the case of the Getty Fire, police are going door-to-door to get people to evacuate. Traffic is a "nightmare" on the 405 freeway.
Los Angeles Times
It is a day to be extremely cautious in the Southland. 

Addition: The Los Angeles Times just removed its paywall pertaining to Getty Fire coverage. 

"Warnings" -- A Great Gift!!

A brand new review at Amazon:
I would recommend that all weather geeks, meteorologists, forecasters, emergency management personnel, storm spotters and chasers read Mike Smith's uplifting tome on weather warnings. All info presented was thoughtful and pragmatic and historically accurate -- A great read. Mr. Smith is also a great writer. 

And, the review immediately before:
I expected this book to be interesting. But, I didn't expect it to be such a page-turner. I couldn't put it down. The writing is excellent. It has a good pace and kept me coming back for more. I love reading about weather, but I can't say too many meteorology books have had me up min the middle of the night saying, "just one more chapter!" This one did. The specific storm stories weave together the topics perfectly. I want to deliver a free copy to anyone who snakes about the weatherman never getting it right. They just don't understand. This book shines a light on the everyday heroics of storm forecasters that go unnoticed and unappreciated. And, it's a fun read!

And, yesterday, an unsolicited comment from Twitter about both books.

This uplifting book is a perfect gift. 
With the holidays coming....

And, while it is more difficult to give as a gift, the ebook version has 16 extra photos. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Extremely Critical Fire Forecast for Southern California

Critical fire danger is in red. The purple area is designated "extremely critical. That includes areas to the north and northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

California Fire Weather Update

Until 5am PDT Monday. 
The purple area is described by SPC as "extremely critical" with the red "critical"

Here is a wider view.

3 Map Summary of the Week Ahead

Here are three maps from AccuWeather to brief you on the upcoming change to winter weather.

Please monitor the weather in your area as the week progresses.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Taste of Winter on the Way

Use the relatively warm weather now to prepare for winter-like conditions throughout the Central U.S. by mid-week.

A major cold front will be moving through the nation the next couple of days and it will be huge changes in temperature.
The blue line is the position of the cold front as of 4pm Sunday. Note temperatures in the 20s of the northern High Plains. 

By Monday afternoon, the slow-moving front will bring high temperatures in the 20's as far south as Kansas.

The consequence of all of this will be a cold and, possibly, snowy Halloween in a large part of the central United States. The green are is where the National Weather Service is forecasting accumulating snow from 7am Thursday to 7am Friday.
I'll update the forecast over the next couple of days. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Yesterday's Early-Season Snowfall

The snow in the Texas Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma set records for heavy snow so early in the season. Arnett, Oklahoma, in northwest Oklahoma, had eleven inches.

To the east of the snow, the textured white is clouds.

Weather-Related Costume Ideas & Halloween Cold Wave Forecast

Someone in the National Weather Service made an amusing list of weather-related Halloween costume ideas. So, if you have been on the fence about how to dress Thursday, here you go.
It will be a cold Thursday evening in most of the nation. Please check the forecast as you make your plans for your children's trick-or-treating. 

Addition: Here is a forecast of temperatures for late next week. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Attention: Wichita Eagle

The Wichita Eagle is my hometown newspaper. Secretary of State Pompeo, also from Wichita (and a very smart man, I've met him a couple of times), was in town today with Ivanka Trump to meet with (the brilliant) Dr. Sheree Utash of Wichita State University. Ivanka and Sheree are on the President's workforce development team. They are also touring our aircraft factories to see 21st Century manufacturing techniques.

The Eagle is currently running a headline on its website I immediately thought was questionable:
I know Mike well enough that I thought it was highly unlikely he'd say that about a question. Sure enough, he did not. In the interview itself:

Eagle: And what good really is the word of the U.S. in light of the president’s treatment of the Kurds? Has that undercut U.S. credibility?
Pompeo: The whole predicate of your question is insane....

See the difference? Yet, in the headline, "Your question is insane" is in quotation marks which means means those were his exact words. Yet, they were not.

As was pointed out on Twitter this morning:
In this era of huge distrust of the media, quoting someone correctly is just basic journalism. The Eagle has had to lay off dozens of employees (including reporters) and just recently discontinued its Saturday edition. More than ever, this is not the time to misquote people.

A Measured, Smart Posting on Global Warming

Dr. Cliff Mass of the University of Washington has produced another outstanding essay on global warming that is a must read.

While I tend to be incrementally less concerned than Cliff, we absolutely agree on the actions we should be taking.* The actions we should be taking are:
  • New generation nuclear.
  • Nuclear fusion. 
  • Building a more resilient society. 
But, the extremists are getting in the way of actual solutions. Please read Cliff's piece.

*With the exception of a carbon tax because I don't trust the politicians with a new tax. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

World's Least Surprising Headline

We are supposed to reduce our carbon footprints. The people with the giant carbon footprints think it is "do as I say, not as I do."

A Tornado Warning Is a Tornado Warning Regardless of Its Conveyance

Controversy pertaining to the 
Dallas Tornado and its warning. 

Let's sort through the issues.

1. The first is that the official NWS warning was issued two minutes after the tornado touched down. This is true but not the main point. Their tornado watch for Dallas was issued nearly two full hours before the tornado touched down. It forecast a major tornado risk.
Others were emphasizing the tornado threat, including yours truly, before the tornado touched down.

2. Next, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram continues with the "no warning" theme. It is true that the NBC station, carrying the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, didn't initially interrupt the game.
The station, KXAS TV, has acknowledged its mistake of not interrupting. But, it turns out the people in question were warned. Here is a quote from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's story:
"We got a warning on our cellphones but that was it."

A tornado warning is a tornado warning regardless of how it arrives!

Take shelter when you receive a tornado warning regardless of whether it comes from television, a siren or a smartphone. It is ironic that smartphone warnings would be devalued by some affected by the tornado because, starting at 10am Sunday and has it has in the past, this blog emphasized using the smartphone as a "tornado alarm" because the primary tornado threat would be after dark.
When properly configured, a smartphone can be placed next to your bed and it will allow you to be awakened by a tornado warning for your specific location. It doesn't have the false alarm issue that NOAA Weather Radio and some other sources have. Increasingly over time, smartphones will evolve to be the primary tornado warning device.

Over and over, meteorologists have emphasized how important it is to have more than one way of receiving the warning. The Dallas Tornado is testament to that value of that advice.

3. A significant criticism of the National Weather Service: they did not have their radar (KFWS), which covers the DFW Metroplex, on tornado mode (called "SAILS"). The five-minute data interval was far too long for this situation. While both of the FAA's Doppler weather radars had technical issues Sunday evening, the DFW TDWR, which surveys the atmosphere at 1-minute intervals, clearly showed the tornado at 8:56pm (below) which was two minutes before KFWS depicted it.
DFW TDWR at 8:56pm. Circle is the tornado's location 
The DFW Metroplex is covered by more radars than any other metropolitan area in the United States. Anecdotally, I have run into a number of NWS employees who seem overly focused on their radar and seem to downplay the other radars in the area. Getting the warning out two minutes more quickly on a major tornado in a densely populated area is highly valuable.

My recommendations, which apply across the nation,
  • FAA needs to keep its TDWR radars in tip-top condition at all times. The semi-frequent outages of seven to ten days need to cease. The failure of the Love Field TDWR couldn't have come at a worse time. 
  • The NWS needs to be more aggressive at using data from other quality radars. 
  • The NWS, whenever a tornado watch is issued for their county warning area, should immediately go to SAILS mode with their radars in the affected area. 
This will probably be my last posting on this tornado but I will provide more information if it becomes pertinent. 

Supercell "Right Turns" -- A Tornado Warning Tipoff

For those that follow tornado meteorology closely here is some information about informing yourself via radar which supercell thunderstorms tend to produce tornadoes.

One of the things we look for is a supercell thunderstorm that makes a "right turn" relative to both the other storms in the area and its original path. Using Sunday's Dallas thunderstorm as an example, here are some illustrations.
Things were starting to become clear at 7:26pm Sunday evening as the northern storm was moving (relatively) rapidly northeast while the storm to its south was slowing. The "left-mover" (the northern storm) typically produces large hail while a right turning southern storm is more likely the tornado producer.
A half-hour later, at 7:58, the northern storms moved rapidly to Valley View while the southern storm over Tarrant County has slowed down and begun its right turn).

About fifteen minutes later the northern storm is getting ready to cross into Oklahoma while the southern storm has completed its right turn. At this point, I was tweeting for people in its path to be ready to take shelter "at a moment's notice."

Here is a closeup of the right turn.
There is more to tornado warnings than right turns. For major tornadoes, we look for,
  • Hook echoes. 
  • Velocity couplets (showing rapid rotation)
  • Sometimes positive polarity lightning 
  • Debris signatures 
It takes a lot of training and experience to get good at tornado warnings. However, if you are watching a supercell thunderstorm in a tornado watch, a right turn is a good indication that the situation may be about to get more dangerous.

The knowledge accumulated the last 50 years has led to America's amazing storm warning system that has saved tens of thousands of lives. That warning system worked well Sunday. As one reader put it while Sunday evening's storm were still in progress:

Monday, October 21, 2019

"Without Warning" = Fake News

"Without warning" is fake news and the journalists that wrote this headline should be ashamed of themselves.

Here is the forecast that was posted on this blog at 10am yesterday, 11 hours before the tornado.
North Dallas was in the "enhanced" tornado risk area. That forecast was reiterated throughout the day.

This tweet was 40 minutes before the tornado.

One minute before the tornado touched down. Note that it cited "NW Dallas" as the threat area.

Two minutes later as the tornado was touching down.
Here is the warning:
In addition, the DFW TV stations were cutting in with storm warnings, weather radios were going off and smartphones were sounding alarms. To claim the tornado struck "without warning" is simply absurd.

Some were appreciative of the warning effort.
So, don't believe it when the media reflexively writes "no warning" seemingly after every tornado. Trust the warning system to provide forecasts and warnings when major storms threaten.