Friday, January 31, 2020

A Super Forecast

Super Bowl, Weather at Kickoff Sunday (5:25p CST):
  • Miami: Sunny, 71°
  • San Francisco, Windy, Cloudy, 53°
  • Wichita, Sunny, 64°
  • Kansas City, High Clouds, 61°
Could the less favorable weather in SFO be an omen?

"I Feel Much Safer Having Read This Myself"

A (relatively) new 5-star review of When the Sirens Were Silent.

"...This book would be a great read for meteorologists, forecasters, weather enthusiasts, storm chasers, weather spotters and emergency managers. Sometimes these errors need to be discussed in order for people to learn from the past and to become more aware during severe weather..."

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Why Is the Chiefs' Mascot a Wolf?

Sports Illustrated has a story today about KC Wolf, the Chiefs mascot.
But, the story does not answer the question as to why the Chiefs' mascot is a wolf? Here is the story:

The Chiefs originally played at Kansas City's Municipal Stadium. Originally designed for baseball -- Jackie Robinson played there for the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs and the Kansas City, now Oakland, A's -- temporary bleachers were set up on the north side of the stadium behind the Chiefs' bench (arrow).
The fans behind the bench were especially vocal. They were often known to "boo" when they didn't think Hank Stram and the Chiefs were not sufficiently applying themselves. The Kansas City Star dubbed them to Wolfpack.

It was here that the longest game in AFL-NFL history was played. When the Beatles played Kansas City, their concert was at Municipal Stadium. Dad thought the tickets -- at $10 each -- were too expensive.

Since Arrowhead Stadium was designed for football, the tradition did not carry over. Municipal Stadium was razed after Arrowhead was built.

The Awful State of Governmental Research

An important article on the deplorable state of scientific research in the United States is here. A brief excerpt:

My experiences at four research universities and as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research fellow taught me that the relentless pursuit of taxpayer funding has eliminated curiosity, basic competence, and scientific integrity in many fields.
Yet, more importantly, training in “science” is now tantamount to grant-writing and learning how to obtain funding. Organized skepticism, critical thinking, and methodological rigor, if present at all, are afterthoughts. Thus, our nation’s institutions no longer perform their role as Eisenhower’s fountainhead of free ideas and discovery. Instead, American universities often produce corrupt, incompetent, or scientifically meaningless research that endangers the public, confounds public policy, and diminishes our nation’s preparedness to meet future challenges.
This is especially true in global warming research. Climategate should have resulted in the firing of many of the more prominent researchers. Instead, their wrongdoing was covered up by phony investigations. As the article goes on to say,

One reason non-government organizations lead the battle to improve science is that universities and federal funding agencies lack accountability and often ignore fraud and misconduct. There are numerous examples in which universities refused to hold their faculty accountable until elected officials intervened, and even when found guilty, faculty researchers continued to receive tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. 

I don't know how to fix the problem. But, if your local newspaper reports some scientific finding that sounds nonsensical, it probably is.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Future of U.S. Weather Modeling

Dr. Cliff Mass has produced another outstanding essay on the hoped-for future of U.S. meteorological computer modeling. It is here and it is highly recommended if you are interested in the topic.

I wish to pass along some miscellaneous thoughts of my own on this topic:
  • Before we embark on an project to completely revamp U.S. meteorological computer modeling we need to ask ourselves the most vital question of all: how good is good enough? Since we know there will never be perfection, how good is good enough? We need objective yardsticks against which to measure our success. 
  • How do we bring consistency into the process? The models currently crank out uncalibrated probabilities (bad!) and the quality of their forecasts varies hugely from storm to storm. 
We just had a snow-producing system move across Kansas and the models were awful. No consistency or skill. 

Here is the composite forecast for Wichita which received 1.4 inches. Forecast amounts were from zero to 9 inches. The average forecast was 4.5. The system over forecasted the snow amount. 

Here is the forecast for Dodge City which received 10 inches. Forecast amounts were from zero to 8 inches. The average was 3.8 inches. Dodge City's actual snow was both outside of the range of models' forecasts and had a lower average forecast than Wichita's in spite of Dodge City receiving 7 times more snow. 
In spite of model physics and computational power undreamed of twenty years ago, I can't tell that the global models have consistently improved at the time scales that are most important (zero to 60 hours). Yes, there is some aggregate improvement but meteorologists need consistency and specificity that we are not currently receiving. 

Note: There is improvement at 4-6 days and, perhaps, farther out in time. That is helpful but if we can't tell you the amount of snow the day before...

A Personal Note..

Thanks to all of the good wishes to my family and to me pertaining to the passing of my Father. My Mother is doing as well as we could hope. Thanks, again.

48-Hour Great Plains Snowfall

Here is the 48-hour snowfall ending at 6pm this evening.
Nearly 18" fell in southwest Kansas near U.S. 54 -- an exceptionally high amount for slightly over 24 hours. Fortunately, winds were light so there was little drifting. The snow is wonderful for the winter wheat. 

I do have a beef with Mother Nature. Since I retired, I could finally, finally, -- after 48 years -- completely enjoy watching a good snow storm instead of having at least some level of worry about my clients or my forecasting team or technology. 
The above map, zoomed in, shows yet another "snow hole" that encompasses my home. Since I retired, we haven't had a single snow that, at my home, covered the grass. So, come on Mother Nature! I don't need a blizzard. A nice 4" at 33° (so the roads don't get bad) will work fine. Thank you. 

A Fog Layer

Photo taken from the 18th floor of the Kansas City Sheraton. Below is a fog layer near the ground. Above is a deck of altocumulus clouds.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Goodbye, Dad

My Dad, Dick Smith, passed away Thursday. 

Dad and Mom were married 68 years and had five children. They set an amazing, loving example: all of their five children are on their first marriages and there are now 46 members of the Dick Smith Family. Dick Smith Ford, year after year, won Ford's "Blue Oval" award. The Oval is given only to the 1% of dealers with the best customer service as determined by third party survey companies. Dad retired in 2016.

I mention the Blue Oval because Dad taught me how to run a business and how to take care of customers in my businesses. But, far more importantly, he taught me how to be a man and how to take care of a family of my own.

Here is an example of the type of man he was: In 1957, the Ruskin Heights Tornado struck very near our home killing 44 and injuring 1000. At the time, there was no television radar and weather science knew very little about tornadoes, including how they moved and developed. With that background, when the Raytown, Missouri, police called and wanted to know if he could loan the authorities Ford station wagons to use as makeshift ambulances, Dad didn't hesitate -- even though lightning was still flashing in the darkness as there was still perceived danger because we didn't know if another tornado might develop. Dad drove to the dealership (which was in the direction of the storm), summoned his troops and they drove 14 station wagons to the damaged area.

Dad intensely loved every member of his family. He would light up with his smile and there was a big hug for all whenever we visited.
He also loved his Kansas City Chiefs. He was one of the very first "Red Coat" boosters of the team and was on the field at Super Bowls I and IV. I'm so glad he made it to see them win the AFC Championship Sunday. He will be cheering them on from Heaven as they play in the Super Bowl February 2.

Dad's obituary is here. My niece, Amy Holsopple, has written a tribute to the Chiefs and my Dad, here.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Davos Should Be Renamed the Hypocrisy Conference

Yes, they were rushing to hear Greta exhort us -- except for those in the audience -- of the need to cut our modest carbon footprints so the people in the audience can continue their gargantuan carbon footprints and lifestyles.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

I Love These Comments From President Trump at Davos

President Trump was addressing the intelligencia who attend the Davos Conference.

‘They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune-tellers…they predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 1970s, and an end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country, or eradicate our liberty. America will always be the proud, strong and unyielding bastion of freedom.’

Better For the Environment?

Almond milk is better for the environment? Not if the creamer uses 77 times more water! Another case of virtue signaling resulting in an adverse environmental outcome.

H/T: Zeke Hausfather

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Unfortunately, President Trump Was Correct

President Trump's contention that people in Puerto Rico were holding up the recovery from Hurricane Maria has unfortunately proven to be correct. The discovery of the warehouse full of supplies that has sat there, undistributed, since the hurricane struck is extremely unfortunate.
Long-time readers know I am extremely critical of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and the TSA. In addition to the story above, take a look at the headline below.
The scummy TSA is taking advantage of a (likely unconstitutional) governmental scheme called "civil asset forfeiture" where they can take your money without any evidence whatsoever that you are involved in a crime, let alone convicted of one. You have to spend your money (attorney fees, etc.) in a process that takes years to get your money back. The Supreme Court needs to shut this down.

The TSA is a major reason I don't fly much any more.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

This is What We Need to Push Economic Growth and De-Carbonize

This meme is perfect:

As the United States has proven with its lessened CO2 output without a carbon tax or other tithe to government, the best way to decarbonize is to allow the marketplace to handle it. The best solution is new generation nuclear. I'm very glad the British are going ahead with it. We need it in the United States, too, but, ironically, it is Big Climate that is most likely to stand in the way. 
The entire story is here. We need to accelerate the growth of next-generation nuclear. Because they are small and safe, not only can we use them in the first world, they can be put in Africa and other poor areas -- thus bringing prosperity -- while decarbonizing the atmosphere.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Tornado: Wrong Type of Hallway

If you are in charge of school safety in tornadoes, here is an important tip. Tornado sheltering should not take place in a hallway with windows or doors such as the one below at North Central High School in Kershaw County South Carolina.

Via security camera, here's what happened moments later when the tornado struck. Fortunately, it was a Saturday.

You want to shelter students in interior hallways that do not have windows or doors to the outside. 

More tornado safety rules for home, school and office, here.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Amazing How Good Meteorologists Are

From the NFL Network this afternoon.
In the playoffs, there are no ties so there were only two alternatives, Chiefs or Titans.
They were 100% wrong. 

This time of year, meteorologists have to contend with: no precipitation, rain, freezing rain, drizzle, freezing drizzle, sleet or snow. Then, we have to forecast, "how much"? We even got the rare out-of-season tornado outbreak correct.

Forecasting the future is hard. Meteorologists do a great job week after week.

H/T: Lisa Teachman

We Did It!!!

The Chiefs will be the home team in Super Bowl LIV.

Congratulations to the San Francisco 49'ers. See you in MiamiNot at these prices.

Go Chiefs!!!

At 2:05 CST, the Chiefs play for the AFC Championship for the third time since they won Super Bowl IV isn 1970. I have been a huge Chiefs fan since they moved to Kansas City. So, I will be concentrating on my big screen this afternoon. I hope you will join me in cheering the Chiefs to victory!

Reader Note

For personal reasons, there will be no blogging the next 2-3 days.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Sunday Feature: The Science of God

A very well done video at how science, more and more, points to God as the Creator of the universe.

Congratulations Wichita State University Students

A group of students of Wichita State University has won one of the major innovation awards at the just-ended Consumer Electronics Show. Their company, Viv02, has created a non-invasive fetal oxygen monitoring device. This new device has the potential to save the lives of babies at risk of oxygen loss during labor while also minimizing the need for C-sections. The full details are here.

Wichita State is an up-and-coming university that does amazing, innovative work. Congratulations on this life-saving innovation!!

Friday, January 17, 2020

How Did That Tornado Outbreak Forecast Work Out?

One week ago today, we were warning that an unseasonable tornado outbreak was likely in the south central United States. The graphic below was included. It was the NWS SPC's forecast of tornadoes on the 10th (Friday) though 6am on the 11th.
Now that the NWS has had time to gather all of the tornado reports (red dots), we can see the forecast was outstanding. Perhaps the brown (5%) tornado area should have been a little farther northeast but it was otherwise about perfect.

Below is a detailed map of the storms that occurred both Friday and Saturday.

Forecasting out-of-season tornado outbreaks is difficult. SPC meteorologists and meteorologists throughout the weather enterprise deserve our thanks.

United Airlines Says Its Rotten Customer Service is Due to Global Warming

From the: Global warming, is there anything it can't do? category.
Wall Street Journal, 1/15/20
Bjorn Lomborg -- hilariously -- brings up this Dilbert comic as a response.

The gold standard climate temperature data reveals that temperatures are not rising in the United States since the network was installed in 2005.
United evidently believes its customers are gullible and will believe this nonsense. Their global warming statement is a continuation of its long-time policy of blaming the weather for its operational incompetence.

And, while we are on the subject of global warming and travel:
In 1999, London's rather liberal The Guardian told us that by 2020,
"Spain will be ridden with malaria, the eastern Mediterranean will be as hot as the Sahara desert...and there will be almost no snow in the Alps."

I just checked the Alps snow report and learned 435 resorts are currently open for skiing.

None of these gloom and doom global forecasts has turned out to be correct.

And, finally, in the Maldives where global warming's sea level rise has
been forecast to "swallow" the islands, a brand-new resort opened Tuesday. Pictured below, the resort
is another built in the (what I call) "up close and personal with the ocean" style. Considering the islands were supposed to be 70% underwater by this time, the investors don't seem too terribly worried about global warming.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

10:30p Thursday Winter Storm Update

Here are the latest hazardous condition headlines:
Pinks are winter storm warnings. 

The red line from the Lake of the Ozarks region to the far northeast Texas Panhandle is where there will be 1/4" ice accumulation with isolated 1/3" values. There have been a few power failures and others will occur during the night. 

Special Freezing Rain Update for Kansas

The National Weather Service has increased the amount of ice accumulation they are forecasting for south central Kansas.
On the map at right, the yellow area is where .2 to .4 inches of ice accumulation is predicted.

The map on the left is a forecast of the effects of the freezing rain. They are:
  • Extremely hazardous highway conditions. 
  • Perhaps some very isolated power outages.
I'm not sure why, since they increased the amount of freezing rain they are forecasting, they have not issued a winter storm warning. Regardless, I would have any errands or travel completed by a time the freezing rain begins in your location. 

For reference, here is the regional radar as of 2:30pm. 
While light snow is falling in Liberal, most of the freezing rain shown (red-salmon color) is still aloft due to the dry air near the ground. That is going to change this evening and with a current temperature of 27° at Wichita's Jabara Airport, there could be considerable ice accumulation during the night. 

Allow plenty of extra time to go to work in the morning.

Temperatures will rise above freezing mid- to late morning tomorrow allowing the ice to melt. 

New Winter Storm Forecast in the Central U.S.

Here are the current advisories:
  • Colbat blue = winter storm watch. 
  • Purple = winter weather advisory
  • Pink = winter storm warning
  • Brown = high wind
  • Green = various flood warnings/advisories 
I'm concerned the freezing rain forecast in the Great Plains is not getting enough attention. 
No significant freezing rain is forecast to occur before 6pm CST.

The above map is the most likely scenario. In the areas of middle and darker green shading, roads will become extremely hazardous and there could be a power failure or two. I would urge you not to travel once the freezing rain begins.

Farther north, the precipitation type will be snow. Pinks are areas where more than six inches is forecast to fall.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Another Verified 5-Star Review of "Warnings"

The review is here.

Plus, there two new ratings at Goodreads.
If you have a post-holiday gift card or are wanting a book for a warm winter vacation (and you'll need it later this month and February), Warnings would be an ideal choice.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Book Recommendation: "Weathering Life"

It is always a pleasure to recommend a book on the topic of weather, especially when a friend is the author. James Spann is the chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham and is known for the hundreds of lives saved from his "long form" tornado coverage.

Weathering Life is an autobiography with many interesting stories and vignettes pertaining to his life and career. If you would like to learn what it is like to be a meteorologist specializing in television or are just interested in a good book, I certainly recommend Weathering Life.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

More Global Warming Propaganda From NOAA

In case you missed this posting on account of the storm coverage. 
Licensed From Rawpixel 
While from time-to-time I would differ with them on some policy issue, I used to have tremendous respect for the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From its inception in 1970, great scientists did outstanding, important work for the nation. While NOAA still does a great deal of important work, it has gotten into the global warming propaganda business. And, that is a shame.

Yesterday, it issued the 2019 version of a map that is pure propaganda, designed to feed the narrative of worsening disasters. That is just not true.
click to enlarge
In order to create a billion dollar "disaster," NOAA aggregates events from different regions and/or different days, sometimes even from different weather systems to they reach the billion dollar threshold. Let's take some examples from this year's map.
The West
The California + Alaska wildfires -- summer and fall -- is a real laugher. Combining two states (San Francisco to Fairbanks is 2,139 miles) plus fires over two seasons supposedly = a single event.

The Colorado thunderstorms that brought the hail on July 4 dissipated. New thunderstorms formed on the 5th. They were two separate events as shown by the radar on the NWS Boulder's Facebook page.
Again, they had to combine two separate events to create a billion-dollar disaster 

Tornadoes and Thunderstorms
These are utter jokes. Aggregating "Rockies, Central, and Northeast Tornadoes" over three days is not "a" disaster. They are separate events from different storms. Same is true of "Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Northeast" over three days as well as "Central Severe Weather," again over three days. 

A hurricane plowing through several states over several days is a single disaster because the damage is caused by a single, unique storm. In the case immediately above, aggregating "severe weather" in a wide geographic region over seven days is not even close to being a single event. 

The 2011 catastrophic Joplin Tornado produced $2.8 billion in damage; that is a "billion-dollar tornado event." These are not "billion dollar disasters" -- they are manufactured for propaganda purposes and, also, to tell Congress that NOAA (like every federal agency) needs more tax $$$ because of global warming and worsening weather. 

In the United States, as far as I know, there is no type of disaster which is worsening. Here are Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr's United States disaster trend data.

Since we are talking about global warming, here are the world-wide figures. Whether measured by deaths or dollars, there is no increase in either due to global warming or any other reason. 

NOAA: You used to be much better than this. Please go back to being an "honest broker" and provide high quality meteorological and climate data that does not tilt toward one side or another. 

Addition: 11:30pm Thursday, similar commentary on this same topic from Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr

Addition II, Saturday: And, yet another problem with NOAA data -- one that makes the rate of sea level rise look worse than it is. As a commenter at WattsUpWithThat puts it: