Monday, May 31, 2021

100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre


I lived in Oklahoma from 1970 to 1975 and had no idea that the Tulsa race atrocity had occurred. Evidently, that was common. From the Wall Street Journal's coverage,

Ms. Cash’s mother, Altamese Marion Scott-Hudson, born 11 years after the massacre, didn’t learn about the family’s history until she was 66 years old. 

In fact, I don't think I knew anything about it, even though I've taken a number of American history courses, until the last decade. 

I don't have words to describe how terrible this was and how awful it is that Americans have not known about this event until now. 

The history of man's humanity to man is long and horrible. Since the Tulsa Race Massacre we've seen the horrific slaughters caused by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and so many others. In the last few weeks, we've observed violence against Americans of Asian descent and a rapid uptick in violence against Jews. These are alarming trends. 

We are all children of God: nothing else -- race, religion, our national origins -- matters. 


Amazon has a terrific price for Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.

If you would like to read this acclaimed book, now is a great opportunity.

Derecho Season is Here

An outstanding article about the type of storm that used to be called an "inland hurricane." Click here

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday Fun: Colorful, Rotating Supercell in West Texas

A "low precipitation" (LP) supercell in west Texas Sunday produced a feast for the eyes. You can see a couple of extraordinary time-lapse videos here and here

The first of the videos (red link) really illustrates what we mean by "rotation."

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Palmer Drought Index, May 20, 2021

Here is the moisture data across the nation as of May 20 (latest available). Since that time, widespread rains have occurred in the central USA. 

While I don't have a ten-day map, below is the 7-day rainfall map. Unfortunately, the data in the West is not complete.

Below is the forecast rain for the next five days.

Bad News

Friday, May 28, 2021

Sober Article About Global Warming and What We Should Do About It

Remember the terrible 2012 drought in Texas? It was supposed to be a precursor to eternal drought in Texas caused by global warming. Showtime even did a one-hour documentary on it. Oops. 

Of course, that drought is gone. It was a typical fluctuation of weather. Anthony Watts posted this great graph of Texas rainfall (below) to illustrate. When it was extremely dry it was "climate change." When it got wet it was "weather." 

Speaking of oops, there were a number of articles that attempted to tie the Joplin Tornado to global warming. This is what you get when you try to retrieve them today:
When it comes Big Climate, an accurate motto would be: Always Certain; Usually Wrong.

Final point: absolutely the last thing we should do is install more wind turbines.
Still, independent climate scientists continue to point a more positive direction. Short, cogent read here.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

With Flooding From the Ozarks to Oklahoma City... important reminder. 

To My Readers

The Blogspot software is not working properly. So, I will not be able to do real-time weather updates at this time. 

Tornado and Damaging Wind Forecast Starting at 7am Thursday

 The brown area has a significant tornado risk. 

Below is the forecast for damaging wind potential. 

The hatched area may have wind gusts to 75 mph or higher.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Major Severe Weather Event in Central Plains

A number of tornadoes were reported (red) as well as large hail (green) and damaging winds (blue).

And, while there were no reports of tornadoes or large hail, wind damage reports were common in the Northeast. 

These were reports up to 11:20pm. 

Hail hail swaths are up to 11pm. Most of the large hail had ceased by that time. 

Finally, the heaviest rains were in Kansas and Nebraska. These are amounts to 11:40pm.

Thursday's Tornado Risk

There is an enhanced risk (yellow) in a band from Stillwater, OK to Joplin, MO (yellow).

The brown areas has a significant risk of tornadoes. There are indications that the severe thunderstorms and accompanying tornado threat could begin relatively early in the day. 

High Risk of Damaging Tornadoes, Winds and Hail Next 24 Hours. Updated, 11:30am

Let's begin with the headline, 
If you live in the red or orange areas, you need to plan for destructive weather -- now. I'll break weather forecast into its components below, but let's begin with recommendations:
  • Make sure you have three independent means to get storm warnings. I used to say two but with the failure of both WEA and the sirens during the Selden Tornado Monday, make sure you have three. I would recommend the AccuWeather App, WEA, WeatherCall, or a weather radio. This is especially important since some tornadoes could occur after dark. 
  • Insure your sheltering area is ready to go: clean and clear, a couple of bottles of water, diapers, battery flashlight and radio or television. Wear shoes into your shelter area. If you have a bicycle or similar helmet, take it/them into the shelter area. 
  • Make provisions for infirm friends and relatives now.... Early in the day. 
  • Fully charge your laptop and smartphone but disconnect the charger before thunderstorms arrive (a power surge due to lightning could damage them). 
  • There is a real chance of power failures. So, go ahead and get extra cash at the ATM and fill your vehicle with fuel.
  • With the above, if you want to purchase a portable generator, fine, but make sure you do not use it indoors or near windows or other air intakes. 
  • Whatever you do, if a tornado warning or extreme wind warning is issued, get into shelter immediately. Do not go outdoors to see it!
Now, the weather breakdown:

Using my scale, the red area has a high tornado risk and the yellow area has an enhanced risk. The tornadoes should begin 3pm or after, Central Daylight Time. 
The brown area has a significant risk. The hatching is where violent tornadoes are forecast to occur. Update 11:30am, NWS wisely pulled the hatching farther south and enlarged the 15% area. 
 I do have a concern that the yellow area may need to be dropped a little farther south into the Liberal and Pratt areas in Kansas. I'll update these forecasts early this afternoon. 

Damaging Winds
The thunderstorms may congee into a squall line or even a derecho -- a line of very damaging winds. 
The yellow is where there is a significant risk of wind gusts above 60 mph. The hatched area is where they could gust above 75 mph. This certainly puts power failures -- perhaps extensive -- into play. 

Damaging Hail
Again, the yellow area is whee there is a significant risk of hail 1-2" in diameter. The hatched area is where hail larger than 2" in diameter is forecast to occur. Large hail driven by powerful winds can be very destructive. 

There is also a risk of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the central and southern Great Plains and Ozarks region tomorrow. I'll cover that early this afternoon. 

Judith Curry on "Manufacturing a Consensus"

Just like a 'consensus' (which has nothing to do with science or the scientific method) was manufactured for global warming, the same was done to suppress suspicions the Wuhan virus originated at a Chinese government lab in that city. Of course, that lab had/has connections to Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

I don't know how the coronavirus began. But Judy's story of how the consensus was manufactured is well worth your time. 

Unfortunately, we live in an era where we need to be skeptical about everything. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Unfortunate Weather News Out of China

Two stories out of China,

Too often, we take America's storm warning program for granted. China, and many nations, have a long way to go. 

President Biden's Proposal, Part II - Mitigating Disasters in the United States

Disconnecting Disaster Mitigation From Climate 
Day after the 2007 F-5 Greensburg Tornado
Photo by Larry Schwarm
In part one yesterday, we discussed President Biden's proposal to mitigate weather/climate disasters and how it would work with a National Disaster Review Board

If President Biden's proposal is to do the most good, I believe we need to subtract global warming from the equation. I know that may seem counterintuitive, so please allow me to explain. 
White House

The Futility of Tying Disaster Mitigation to Global Warming
The White House's statement rationalizes its already meritorious proposal because of what they call "22 separate weather and climate released disasters" in 2021. Most of those are nonsense as we've explained on numerous occasions. Additionally, the White House's statement cites the February Texas winter storms and record cold as another reason for spending the money. Let's spend a little time on that one. 
Please click to enlarge
Thanks to graphic artist Trina Sanders, above is a graph of National Weather Service temperature data since January 1, 2019, for its station in Austin, Texas. Austin was the city hardest hit. Please click to enlarge. When you do, you'll see actual daily temperatures in dark green, the average range of temperatures in light green, warm temperatures in orange (above green zone) and record cold in blue (below green zone). Here's my point:
Can we really attribute those 5 terrible days  
to a change in climate?!
Of course not. It was weather.

Consider another example: remember the terrible 2012-13 drought in Texas? It was supposed to be a precursor to eternal drought in the Longhorn State caused by global warming. Showtime even did a one-hour documentary on it. The drought was put into the category of "abyss."  
Of course, that drought is long gone and things have been back to normal for several years. The drought was an unfortunate fluctuation of weather. Anthony Watts posted this great graph of Texas rainfall (below) from 1895 to 2021 to illustrate the point. When it was extremely dry it was "climate change." When it got wet and things returned to normal it was "weather." 
Texas' Yearly Rainfall Since 1895. From: Anthony Watts
The severe drought is sarcastically labeled "climate change."
Things back to normal = weather.

Speaking of bad science, there were a number of articles that attempted to tie the 2011 Joplin Tornado to global warming. This is what you get when you try to retrieve them today:
As of today, the U.S. has gone the longest period -- since records began -- without a F-5 intensity tornado! Fantastic news. All of 2011 the hand-wringing about worsening tornadoes was, like the cold wave and drought, proven wrong. 

Why am I spending all this time reviewing this?

I am concerned that tying disaster mitigation
 to global warming is a political non-starter. 

The above examples clearly indicates that global warming has little to do with U.S. disasters. When this is widely understood, a global warming foundation will crumble. 

When one side ties weather-disasters to global warming (even putting their fingers in their ears going nyah-nyah-nyah) while the other calls the contentions baseless, and vice-versa, nothing gets done. And, it will poison the well for future mitigation expenditures. 

Disaster Mitigation Is Worthy on Its Own and Will Pay Big Dividends
Economists have demonstrated, many times, that investing in better weather forecasting and in disaster mitigation will return at least $20 for every dollar spent. That is an amazing return-on-investment. That does not include lives saved. 

As discussed yesterday, the United States is so far in debt we simply can no longer tolerate the "lets throw money around" approach to disaster mitigation. 

An independent, non-political National Disaster Review Board can help guide the nation as to get the best value for our hard-earned tax dollars. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Breaking News: President Biden: $1 Billion For Disaster Mitigation

President Biden announced in the last few hours that he is going to redirect $1 billion of federal spending toward disaster mitigation (more money for FEMA plus reinforcing bridges, etc.). He cites global warming as the underlying need for the money. Biden is also requesting an improvement in NASA's earth monitoring from space. 

I've read several news articles along with the White House's own description of the plan. My conclusion is that the plan is well-intended but -- typical of Washington -- it is "a little of this and a little of that" and probably won't make much of a difference. After all, there are lots of bridges, ports, sea walls, FEMA staffing, etc., etc., and that amount money will make very little real difference. 

Curiously, NOAA isn't even mentioned. The primary agency we rely on to warn us of weather/climate disasters is left out. I draw two conclusions:
  • Sadly, yet another NOAA administrator (awaiting Senate confirmation) who knows nothing about weather is not what the nation needs now. Without meteorological and political expertise, no one is advocating for the agency's important role. 
  • If independent confirmation of the need for a National Disaster Review Board was needed, this is certainly it! 
A National Disaster Review Board's (NDRB) function, among other things, would be to highlight priorities to avert the human and economic costs of disasters. Assume for a moment that a billion dollars 
for disaster mitigation becomes available. President Biden or some future president could go to the NDRB (as some have gone to the NTSB in the past) and ask, "How could this amount be best spent?"


If I were asked today about the weather part of the equation, rather than giving the money to (too often) hapless FEMA (which manages rather prevents disasters), I would recommend:
  1. The NWS should get money for state-of-the-art gap-filler radars
  2. NWS should also get part of the money to re-locate WSR-88D radars where the original sites have become compromised because of trees and buildings built near the radar sites in the last 25 years. 
  3. Communications for any independent radars (University of Missouri, CASA, University of Louisiana - Monroe) for which the owners wish to make part of the national network.
  4. Finally, I would include replacement of the aging (20+ year-old) FAA Terminal Doppler Radars which are vital adjuncts to the WSR-88D network of primary radars.
  5. Add automatic rawinsonde equipment (e.g., here) and/or profilers to sample the atmosphere in data-sparse areas. Essential in an era of mesoscale models which are increasingly important in the forecasting of extreme weather conditions.
All of that would make a measurable difference in disaster mitigation and would leave roughly two-thirds of the one billion dollars left over. It would also have day-to-day economic and safety benefits for aviation, surface transportation, snow removal and others related to the "nation's economy" part of the National Weather Service's mandate. 

Again, this is just my opinion. I'm providing it only as an example. Put together 4-5 true experts (like the members of the NTSB) in meteorology, earth science (earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.), human factors, social science, engineering, applied economics and technology (along with a small, but expert, staff) and their consensus would be extremely valuable guidance to an administration, to Congress and to the nation as a whole. 

Important Note: The NDRB should not get into the "climate war." The USA already has agencies that handle it. The job of the NDRB should be to assist the government and private sector prevent disasters (whenever possible) and to mitigate them.

"Issues 2021" Podcast

1330 KNSS was kind enough to invite me to appear on their latest podcast during which we discussed a range of topics pertaining to weather and my career. You can listen here

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Tornado Risk This Afternoon and Evening

In the brown area, there is a significant risk of tornadoes from 1pm through about 10pm. The yellow area has an enhanced risk of tornadoes, especially this afternoon. 

Please closely monitor the weather in these areas. 

Sunday Fun: The Great Stan Freberg

After the tornadoes and flooding of last week I thought it would be fun to take a break. 

I've always been a Johnny Carson fan and when I saw one of his old (1960's) shows on YouTube, I watched. Among his guests last night was the great Stan Freberg. He was known for his wacky, and highly effective, television commercials (among other things). For those of you who have never seen one, here are a couple of treats. Please note: in that era, 60 second TV commercials were the norm.



A Commercial For Advertising on Radio

Stan produced comedy albums, radio comedy serials (who can forget "Chickenman"?) and far more. He passed away in 2015. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

To the Citizens of Joplin

Congratulations on your rebuilding and thank you for all of the kindnesses you showed me when I was addressing your chamber of commerce, when I was interviewing many of you, and when I was there to present When the Sirens Were Silent. I have written so much about the tornado and the unnecessary loss of life it caused I want to keep this fairly short. 

JMag has a number of commemorative stories about the storm. 

I hope it is many, many decades before you have to deal with a weather catastrophe again. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Since Joplin: Trouble With the Tornado Warning System

Joplin strip mall pulverized by the tornado

The Washington Post's "Capital Weather Gang" asked me to write a piece about the state of the tornado warning system in the decade after the Joplin Tornado. After considerable research, what I found was extremely troubling. The article is here

More than ever, I believe America needs a National Disaster Review Board. I make the case for it here. If you agree, please send a brief note to your congressional delegation. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

"He Felt Like the Existing Warning System Had Failed Him"

Yesterday's Joplin Globe had an extensive article about the tornado warning system the day of the horrific tornado ten years ago and how the warning system has changed since. The article did a thorough interview of a Joplinite who accidentally drove into the tornado.

The man, Stan Walters, said,

He did not hear the sirens. If he had heard them, he would have stayed put.

While sirens should not be a primary warning method (more below), the fact is he didn't hear the sirens because they were not sounded in a useful manner that day, thus the title of my book about the storm

The good news is that Joplin has completely changed its siren activation policy. The city has created a siren activation web site, which is here. During a tornado or extreme winds, they will activate the sirens for three minutes, turn them off for three minutes, and repeat until the danger has passed. 

Given the advances in technology since 2011, everyone should:
  • Use a tornado watch to tip you off as to when you should be paying attention to the weather. If a tornado watch is in effect, you should begin watching television or listening to radio as the sky darkens due to the approach of thunderstorms. 
  • Know your locale's siren activation policy but realize that it is likely you will only hear them outdoors, so reliance on them is not sufficient. 
  • Use smartphone technology for tornado warnings. Full instructions can be found here. If you follow the the instructions at the blue link, you will create a nighttime "tornado alarm" for yourself. 
  • Television and radio, when staffed by qualified meteorologists remain the best source of minute-by-minute coverage of tornadoes once the initial warning is received.
And, if you haven't already, make sure your "safe place" is ready in case a tornado warning is issued. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

NOW is the Time to Create a Preparedness Supply

I don't know if the intelligence community in Washington has picked up on something, or is just extrapolating from the recent Colonial Pipeline terrorist shutdown, but the flurry of articles on the subject of electrical system terrorism continue.  Plus, there is nothing we can do to stop a solar storm from attacking earth. 

It is almost impossible to overstate the catastrophe -- far worse than the COVID shortages or last week's gasoline shortages -- that would exist if our electricity was shut off in a large geographic area for any significant amount of time. Possible examples:
  • Stores quickly run out of goods -- including grocery and drug stores
  • Water supplies, at best, are limited. 
  • Hospital generators run out of fuel. 
  • Cell towers and telephone systems fail a few days into the crisis.  
That is why I urge my readers to stock up on essentials in a way that could sustain them for at least two weeks. We have a longer-duration supply in our home. We rotate things out so the supply is fresh. Included are water purification straws -- they are inexpensive and will be vital if water supplies become limited. 

I have no financial interest in any of this. I want my readers to be prepared if the worst should happen as I have absolutely no faith in the FBI or DHS's ability to stop a terrorist attack of this type. 

"Trust Science" -- Or Else

As "Rocket Boy" Homer Hickham added, "or else."

These "loyalty oaths" from scientific societies are disquieting, to put it mildly. Science in the United States has become far too politicized. I resigned from the American Meteorological Society after 51 years of membership because of its political activities. 

President Eisenhower warned us of this in his farewell address:

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

Science only works when there is skepticism. I'll pass on these oaths. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Great Dr. Ted Fujita

Ted Fujita was the most amazing meteorologist of my lifetime. 

Ted Fujita in 1993 during one of his visits to WeatherData, Inc.

He took a forensic approach to studying weather and, among other accomplishments, 

  • Discovered the downburst which stopped what was them the #1 cause of airline crashes
  • Created the Fujita Scale of tornado damage
  • Discovered so much about tornadoes that I can't list all it here
Photo of rain "curling" in a downburst
Copyright 1978, Michael R Smith

AccuWeather published a well-done biographical article Ted this morning. You'll enjoy reading more about him!

Violent Tornado in Wuhan, China

This occurred Friday. Wuhan is the city where the coronavirus is believed to have begun. 

Daily Mail

The tornado was caused by a supercell with a hook echo -- exactly what we would expect to see on American radar. 
There were casualties but I don't know a final number. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tornado Risk in West Texas, Huge Hail Risk in Southern Plains

Today, we have an enhanced risk of tornadoes in the west Texas High Plains.

Updated 11:38am
The yellow area is an enhanced risk. The brown area has a significant risk of tornadoes. 

In terms of damage, 
The significant threshold is yellow. The hatching = hail larger than 2" in diameter. So, the purple area has a serious risk of destructive hail. 

More on the Danger of Catastrophic Solar Storms

Saturday, I posted a piece titled "Well, This is Terrifying..." on the extreme danger posted by solar storms to America (especially) and the world. 

Meteorologist Roger Edwards brought the article, Racing the Sun to Protect America to my attention.

Posted Friday, it outlines the danger to GPS and to America should a strong solar storm occur. 

If you think the COVID shortages of 2020 or the gas shortages of last week were bad, the problems would be far, far worse if a solar storm (CME) should occur. 
With a Carrington intensity solar storm there is a chance your car will be dead (literally) along with many appliances that contain chips or are connected to commercial power. This is especially true in more northern locations. 

As the article goes on to say, 

Government leaders have known about this near-existential risk to America for years. They have promised to to act [since 2004] but haven't. 

This is a far greater risk than global warming or countless other items that occupy Washington's time. This is worth writing a note to your congressional delegations' web sites. Please do. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Saturday is the Tenth Anniversary of the Joplin Tornado

In terms of loss of life it was the worst tornado in 64 years and the worst-ever in the tornado warning era. That was due to a rare failure of the tornado warning system. Only When the Sirens Were Silent tells the true story of what went wrong that day.
Here is the Washington Post's review.

The book also contains three unique sets of tornado safety recommendations: for home, work and school. 

The paperback sold out quickly. I priced the ebook so it would be affordable to all: just $2.99. Hope you will consider reading it.