Sunday, December 10, 2023

It Happened Again! Strong Tornado on the Ground With No Tornado Warning

This level of non-performance by the National Weather Service in obvious tornado situations is unacceptable and occurs far too often. 

As Tennessee digs itself out from the rubble caused by yesterday's tornado outbreak that killed six, we -- unfortunately -- need to discuss the National Weather Service's (NWS) unacceptably poor performance pertaining to the first major tornado of the day.

A tornado watch had been issued for the area at 11:35am. 

A supercell thunderstorm with considerable rotation developed in western Tennessee about 75 miles north of Memphis. As it moved northeast, and the rotation increased, I tweeted this at 11:40am. 
In the maze of lines above, what do you do not see is a red polygon indicative of a tornado warning. Other meteorologists were becoming alarmed and I salute Dr. Craig Ceecee and meteorologist Jeff Piotrowski for also attempting to give the residents of the area around Sharon some warning. 

From the Paducah radar, the tornado's signature was even more obvious -- complete with a "tornado debris signature" (TDS). Here is the image from 11:41. 
The TDS (lower right panel) became even more obvious on the next frame (included in the supplemental radar information, below). 

While I prefer to reserve "take cover" and similar language to the NWS, the situation had become too dire to wait. 
Above is the 10:44am tweet (using the Memphis radar), saying take cover now!  to the people around Sharon and toward Dresden. 

Moments later, the National Weather Service issued its first tornado warning.

Four minutes later, the NWS had to upgrade the tornado warning to an enhanced "particularly dangerous situation" tornado warning, likely due to the ominous TDS. 
The tornado had been on the ground, doing damage, before even the first NWS tornado warning was issued. The tornado touched down at 11:32, which means the NWS's tornado warning had a lead-time of negative 12 minutes!

I'm not the only person who noticed the late warning. 

Here is a photo of the fire station destroyed by the tornado.
The tornado was on the ground for 25 miles and lasted 31 minutes. Preliminary rating was EF-1 intensity.

The poor tornado warning performance by the National Weather Service is nothing new. Below, from the Department of Commerce's (NWS's parent agency) tornado warning statistics web site is a summary of the problem. Measured against the NWS's own performance targets, here is their performance from Fiscal 2012 to 2022 (ending September 30, 2022).. 
It would be appropriate if the Director of the NWS would take this life-threatening problem of poor tornado warning performance -- in obvious situations like these -- seriously rather than accusing those making him aware of the problem of "Monday morning quarterbacking." It is hardly Monday morning quarterbacking if you, and others, issued cautionary tornado messages in real time while the NWS did not. The NWS Director is in denial. 

The only way this and other issues pertaining to United States' extreme weather forecasting and disaster response get repaired is for Congress to create a Natural Disaster Review Board. Otherwise, these will only continue and put more lives in peril. 

For Meteorologists and Others Interested in the Radar Pertaining to This Tornado
The rotation in this storm (right) is very prominent as depicted by the Memphis WSR-88D.  The images begin at 11:38 and end at 11:51 am. 

And, from the Paducah radar, here is the 11:43pm image which shows the more prominent TDS in the lower right panel. The location of the various tornado signatures are circled. 

Here is 11:35am the tornado watch that included the area around Sharon and Dresden. 

Because of the importance of this post, it will be the top story on the blog through Monday. 

Today's Tornado Risk: Carolinas and Virginia

The brown area has a significant risk of tornadoes. The significant risk area includes Myrtle Beach. Any tornadoes will move quickly, so it is important that you monitor the weather the rest of the afternoon and into this evening. 

A tornado watch is in effect for the brown area in Virginia and South Carolina. 

Tornado Watch: Florida

After tornadoes kill six in Tennessee yesterday, we now have a tornado watch for parts of the northern Florida Peninsula. Please monitor local weather warnings. 

I will have more on my Twitter feed @usweatherexpert. 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

New England: Wind, Rain, Snow

Color code:
  • Green is flash flood watches. 
  • Brown/gold = high wind watch. 
  • Pink is a winter storm warning. 
  • Blue is a winter storm watch, 
  • Purple is a winter weather advisory (lesser condition)

This will be a major event in this area. Here is forecast snowfalls. There is a possibility these amounts are conservative.
Blizzard conditions are possible!

I will update in the morning. 

Tornado Threat Update, 7:25pm


6:25pm "Multiple fatalities" reported from Montgomery Co./Clarksville. 

These are "customers" (homes and businesses) without power. 71,000 customers = ~175K people without power. This is from 5:42pm. 

The purple = rotation/tornado tracks as of 5:45pm.
Please ignore the symbols and focus on the purple tracks. Lighter = stronger storm. 

Final Tennessee/Kentucky rotation/tornado tracks. 

There is a continuing threat of tornadoes in the red-outlined area. In addition, the NWS SPC says that the purple area with have a rapidly increasing risk of tornadoes in the next couple of hours. Please follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert. 

A strong tornado has passed through the north part of the Nashville Metro with considerable damage. There is one report of "injuries" but it is no more specific than that. This as of 5pm. 

--- original posting ---

The red outlined area are where tornado watches will be issued shortly. This is a serious situation with tornadoes likely. 

Special Note for Middle Tennessee and Nashville

There is a serious risk of tornadoes in Middle Tennessee the rest of the afternoon. In fact, the general weather ingredients for a tornado in the area have improved during the past hour. I urge you, your family and friends to monitor the situation the rest of the afternoon! Please foreword this if you believe it would be helpful.

Radar at 3:12pm. 
Note the tornado-warned supercell thunderstorm to the west southwest of downtown Nashville. 

Tornado Outlook: Updated 2:15p Saturday!

This is a big deal:  The yellow, hatched area has an enhanced risk of strong tornadoes. This includes Nashville. Special vigilance in monitoring the weather is called for. Make sure your weather radar works and your television is on. If you have tornado sirens in your neighborhood, crack a window in that direction 

The brown area has a significant risk of tornadoes. 

Yes, They Want Us to Eat Bugs

With the world meeting of climate hypocrites at the halfway point, I wish to make it clear that I'm not kidding when I say that the participants want us to eat bugs to "save the planet." Go the WEF website, here


News Item

Not surprising. The public is more than fed up with one-sided climate "news." 

Friday, December 8, 2023

Tornado Risk: Saturday Afternoon and Evening

This forecast has been updated with the tornado risk area
moved a bit to the east. Please click here for the updated forecast. 

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has outlined the area in brown that has a significant risk of tornadoes. The more likely time is Saturday afternoon and evening. My interpretation of the latest meteorological data would indicate the higher chance of significant tornadoes will be in northern Mississippi and southwest Tennessee and, perhaps, east central Arkansas. 

As this is an out-of-season threat, you may wish to contact any friends or relatives you may have in the brown area. 

Dr. Craig Ceecee has provided public tornado shelter locations in advance. 

Of course, I will update the forecast tomorrow morning and afternoon. 

Big Climate Evidently Did More Focus Groups...

...and they must have shown they could get away with the "tipping point" ruse again. Big Climate started using tipping point scare tactics way back in 1989, according to my research. They are at it again. 

Don't lose any sleep over this latest nonsense!

Here is my blog post from 2013 titled Tipsy From Tipping Points
Above is a partial list of tipping points, not one of which came to pass. Let that sink in. All of these and not a single one happened!

Don't fall for it!

It isn't a coincidence that all of this is coming out now. Remember, 70,000 people (fewer than 35 scientists) in Dubai -- right now -- are plotting to spend your money to line their pockets. These press releases are cunningly planned to overwhelm you with propaganda to gain political support. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Modern Meteorology is a Marvel

I'm sure you've heard about the record flooding in the Northwest. The headline below is from today's Daily Mail.

What people may not realize is this extraordinary rain event (and snow in higher elevations) was first forecast nine days ago. There were followups in the interim (see below).
Note the lower forecast included mention of the 20" of rain equivalent.

It would have been impossible for this type of forecast to have been made, say, in 2010. Modern meteorology has made tremendous progress in forecasting extreme events. With this type of lead-time, local emergency management and other officials have time to plan so as to mitigate the effects of the disaster. 

Congratulations to weather science and, in this case, the National Weather Service in particular. 

America: Losing Its Capabilities?

The United States used to dazzle the world when it came to construction: whether it was the Chrysler or Empire State Buildings, the astounding materiel ramp-up during World War II, the atomic bomb (for better or worse), the Panama Canal (when other nations failed), and the interstate highway system are just a few of the many, many examples. 
When it came to railroading, consider "The Overseas Railroad" from Miami to Key West (also known as "Flagler's Folly"). Amazingly, that railroad was built and financed by a single entrepreneur, Henry Flagler. The government wasn't involved. 

Then, there was the Transcontinental Railroad. It was chartered by Congress and the Lincoln Administration and built in the 1860's between Omaha and Sacramento. Its 1,928 mile length crossed two mountain ranges (including the Sierra in California with its abominable winters). The entire railroad was completed in just six years using picks and shovels. 
A train on the original Transcontinental Railroad route in 2023. If you look
closely, the route for the tracks had to be dynamited out as they climbed the
mountain. Then, they had to remove the debris using picks and shovels.
That's why the latest news involving California's high speed railroad is so very discouraging. In 2005, it was sold to voters as 500 miles of high-speed rail (220 mph) between Los Angeles and San Francisco and ready for passengers by 2020. Instead, it didn't begin construction until 2015. And, instead of being ready in 2020, only a partial segment (over flat terrain) is expected to open -- between Merced and Bakersfield -- during 2030 or later! Keep in mind that we have mechanized bulldozers, excavators and tunnel boring equipment today which were mere dreams when the Transcontinental and Overseas Railroads were being built -- so progress, once construction starts, should be much faster today!

The cost has ballooned from $30 billion to more than $100 billion of which only $25 billion has been raised. Nancy Pelosi made a big announcement Tuesday that the feds are going to chip in an additional $3 billion, but that is just a drop in the bucket of the project's deficit. Many question whether it will ever be operational.
California high speed rail bridge under construction in 2019
Regardless of your politics and opinion of the high-speed rail project, it was approved and construction has begun. The fact is that, construction-wise, when compared to the Transcontinental and Overseas Railroads, this is a piece of cake! The lack of progress is a genuine black mark on our nation. We may be losing, or have lost, the ability to take on and complete mega-projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. Heck, we couldn't even get the cost estimate remotely correct. 

Whether this project was (in the words of some pundits) "primarily a vehicle for graft" is also beside the point. What does it say about our nation that graft of this magnitude is tolerated? One hundred billion dollars is hardly buying a politician a drink at lunch. 

We are used to Washington being utterly dysfunctional. 
What is a new is that, while the State of California is the defacto "contractor," the private sector companies seem to fall farther behind by the day (if news reports are correct) with no real end in sight. This past March, a legislative committee established to give a "peer-review" to the project wrote:

Since its inception in 2008, the Group has issued 18 letters and members have testified before Legislative and Congressional committees 15 times. In reviewing past letters and testimony, a consistent theme emerges: 1) project costs, schedules, and ridership estimates are uncertain and subject to significant risk of deteriorating, a typical experience for mega-projects; 2) the project is underfunded, and its financing is unstable, raising costs and making effective management difficult if not impossible; 3) more legislative oversight is needed. This letter reinforces the message, but with a sense of urgency over the ever-higher stakes...

Not exactly encouraging. 

Thank about this: China has 26,000 miles of high-speed rail in operation. Europe has a lesser system. It is America, evidently, that can't seem to do this. 

The acid test will be whether the really fast (if not officially "high speed") rail project just approved between Los Angeles and Las Vegas gets built for reasonable cost and in a reasonable amount of time. That will be tackled by the people who has successfully built Brightline between Miami and Orlando. They are now running more than 20 trains each day.

The Brightline West people believe they can get it done in five years -- before the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. 

If the Brightline people can pull this off -- against what is, in places, rather difficult terrain -- then I withdraw my concerns. In fact, built on time and on budget, the Brightline project is likely to be a huge commercial success. That would be wonderful for all involved. 

Cross your fingers. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Weekend Storm Outlook

There are two areas of weather concern this weekend. You may wish to use these forecasts for planning purposes. 

There is some possibility of tornadoes and/or severe thunderstorms in the yellow area Saturday or Saturday night. At this point, it does not look like a major tornado outbreak is in the offing. There could be some hail farther north than the yellow area, perhaps as far north as I-64. This may adjusted in later outlooks.

From my friends at AccuWeather. The potential exists for damaging winds. We have one lucky break in that the trees are not leafed out in December. Regardless, there exists the potential for some power outages and I agree with them that flight delays are quite likely as thunderstorms will accompany the winds in some places. 

Of course, I'll update this as the event gets closer.