Monthly Archives: May, 2015

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 19 – 26, 2015

Multiple rounds of severe weather and flash flooding have made for a long and busy week for weather folks, from National Weather Service meteorologists, to broadcast meteorologists, and Skywarn spotters such as yours truly. Documenting the aftermath of storms, data as well as damage, is very time consuming as well…hence the (once again) brief post this week.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

An amazing graphic. “The Trillion Fold Increase In Computing Power, Visualized.”

An interesting read that many should take note of. “Five Things You Should Never Share On Social Media.”

The internet is an incredible place with a wealth of information and beneficial social networking. It’s also fertile ground for the visceral underbelly. Instances of nefarious behavior such as this are one of many reasons Tornado Quest has a very thorough Social Media Policy.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen science is incredibly amazing since it can make most anyone a scientist.

Some citizen science and atmospheric science in this article. “Weathernews Inc Acquires Weathermob To Build The Future Of Crowdsourced Forecasts.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Our planet Earth has its own flag…and it’s quite a beauty!

If a proposed ban against a ban isn’t an example of dysfunctional Sooner state government, I don’t know what is. Like some more earthquakes, Oklahoma?

How do you keep wind turbines turning? The key is in careful spacing.

Here’s a very handy and informative guide to recycling household items.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

In consideration of the ongoing and dangerous flash flooding in much of the plains states, here’s the link to NOAA’s Turn Around, Don’t Drown flood safety website.

Latest US Drought Monitor shows significant drought improvement over portions of Oklahoma and Texas, but the status quo continues for California and Nevada.

Here’s some very nice “drone” video of tornado damage done in Broken Arrow, OK on 16 May 2015.

How does climate change stack up against other worst case scenarios? Take a look and consider the alternatives.

Couldn’t have written this better myself. “As Pope Francis prepares to deliver a powerful message on climate change, deniers are beginning to realize they havenโ€™t got a prayer.

The impacts of El Nino are felt worldwide…and some areas suffer more than others.

That’s a wrap for this post!

I’d like to extend a sincere “welcome” to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. Tornado Quest can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. Once again…glad you’re here! Stick around…we’re here for the long haul.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers!

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Significant Flooding Event Underway: Overview & Safety Tips #arwx #kswx #okwx #txwx

As of 4:00 PM CDT, a significant flash flooding event is unfolding across parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The latest forecast discussion from the Tulsa National Weather Service (NWS) underscores this point and doesn’t mince words as to the significant dangers.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK

337 PM CDT SAT MAY 23 2015 .

.DISCUSSION…

…LIFE THREATENING FLOOD POTENTIAL TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY…

WIDESPREAD CONVECTION IS UNDERWAY ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS WITHIN AN EXPANDING PLUME OF TROPICAL MOISTURE. OBSERVED RAINFALL RATES HAVE BEEN IMPRESSIVE ESPECIALLY FOR AREAS BENEATH ANY CONVECTIVE SEGMENT THAT BECOMES ORIENTATED PERPENDICULAR TO THE LOW LEVEL SOUTHERLY FLOW. FLOW ALOFT WILL CONTINUE TO BACK AS UPPER TROUGH APPROACHES WHILE DIFFLUENT REGION GRADUALLY SPREADS EASTWARD. THIS WILL ALLOW THE ONGOING CONVECTION TO EXPAND IN COVERAGE FROM WEST TX NORTHWARD INTO CENTRAL AND EASTERN OK THIS EVENING AND OVERNIGHT. RAINFALL FORECASTS MAY BE CONSERVATIVE BASED ON OBSERVED CONDITIONS THIS AFTERNOON…AND LATER UPDATES MAY NEED TO INCREASE TOTALS A BIT FURTHER ESPECIALLY FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING ACROSS EASTERN OKLAHOMA.

IMPACT: WET SOILS ALONG WITH MANY LARGER RIVERS NEAR OR CURRENTLY IN FLOOD STAGE WILL ALLOW FOR RAPID ONSET OF FLASH FLOODING. EVEN THE CONSERVATIVE RAINFALL TOTALS WILL PRODUCE LIFE AND PROPERTY THREATENING FLOODING. THE RAINFALL AXIS WILL SHIFT EASTWARD SUNDAY AFTERNOON / OVERNIGHT AND IMPACT WESTERN ARKANSAS. WHILE THE RAINFALL TOTALS MAY TAPER A BIT AS THE UPPER FORCING REMAINS LESS…THE SATURATED CONDITIONS WILL MAINTAIN THE POTENTIAL FOR DANGEROUS FLOODING. OF ADDITIONAL CONCERN WILL BE MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY AS A LARGE COMPLEX OF STORMS ORIGINATES ACROSS WESTERN TX AND SPREADS NORTHEASTWARD. WHILE THE BULK OF THIS RAINFALL IS CURRENTLY FORECAST NEAR THE ARKLATEX REGION…HEALTHY RAINFALL TOTALS ARE LIKELY TO SPREAD INTO SE OK AND WEST CENTRAL ARKANSAS WHICH WILL QUICKLY WORSEN ANY ONGOING FLOOD CONDITIONS. A LULL IN CONVECTIVE COVERAGE IS EXPECTED FOR THE MID WEEK PERIOD BEFORE A COLD FRONT AND UPPER WAVE IMPACT THE REGION BY LATE NEXT WEEK WITH MORE WIDESPREAD RAINFALL POSSIBLE.

Though rather technical in nature, the basic message behind the forecast discussion is quite simple. Over a vast area of the southern plains, a significant and potentially life-threatening flash flooding potential exists. As a result, the Tulsa NWS has also issued a Flash Flood Watch.

FLOOD WATCH

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK

355 PM CDT SAT MAY 23 2015

PUSHMATAHA-CHOCTAW-OSAGE-WASHINGTON OK-NOWATA-CRAIG-OTTAWA-PAWNEE- TULSA-ROGERS-MAYES-DELAWARE-CREEK-OKFUSKEE-OKMULGEE-WAGONER- CHEROKEE-ADAIR-MUSKOGEE-MCINTOSH-SEQUOYAH-PITTSBURG-HASKELL- LATIMER-LE FLORE- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…ANTLERS…CLAYTON…HUGO…PAWHUSKA… BARTLESVILLE…NOWATA…VINITA…MIAMI…PAWNEE…TULSA… CLAREMORE…PRYOR…JAY…BRISTOW…OKEMAH…OKMULGEE…WAGONER… TAHLEQUAH…STILWELL…MUSKOGEE…EUFAULA…SALLISAW… MCALESTER…STIGLER…WILBURTON…POTEAU

355 PM CDT SAT MAY 23 2015

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH MONDAY MORNING…

…LIFE AND PROPERTY THREATENING FLOODING EVENT UNDERWAY…

THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR

* PORTIONS OF EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA…NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA AND SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA…INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS…IN EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA…CHEROKEE…MUSKOGEE…OKFUSKEE AND SEQUOYAH. IN NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA…ADAIR…CRAIG…CREEK… DELAWARE…MAYES…NOWATA…OKMULGEE…OSAGE…OTTAWA… PAWNEE…ROGERS…TULSA…WAGONER AND WASHINGTON. IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA…CHOCTAW…HASKELL…LATIMER…LE FLORE…MCINTOSH… PITTSBURG AND PUSHMATAHA.

* THROUGH MONDAY MORNING

* WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL OVERSPREAD MUCH OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA TONIGHT…AND SPREAD EASTWARD INTO WESTERN ARKANSAS DURING THE DAY ON SUNDAY. RAINFALL RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR WILL BE COMMON WITH THE HEAVIEST RAINS.

* WIDESPREAD RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS MUCH OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA…ESPECIALLY AREAS ALONG AND WEST OF A LINE FROM MIAMI OKLAHOMA TO HUGO OKLAHOMA. LOCAL AMOUNTS OF 8 TO 9 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE WITHIN THIS SAME AREA.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

LIFE THREATENING FLOODING CAN QUICKLY DEVELOP WITH THESE RAINFALL AMOUNTS…ESPECIALLY NEAR AREA RIVERS AND LAKES. BE PREPARED TO ACT QUICKLY SHOULD WARNINGS BE ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD TO UNKNOWN DEPTHS. TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE TO REACH YOUR DESTINATION OR WAIT UNTIL THE WATER RECEDES.

IF YOU ARE IN THE WATCH AREA…KEEP INFORMED…AND BE READY FOR QUICK ACTION IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED OR IF A WARNING IS ISSUED. HAVE A MEANS OF RECEIVING ANY WARNINGS ISSUED OVERNIGHT SUCH AS A WEATHER RADIO.

For many parts of Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas, the flooding threat is just as significant. The latest information from your local NWS office can be obtained by NOAA weather radio or clicking your locale on this map which will take you directly to your NWS office. Obviously, the weather media (local and national) outlets of your choice have excellent information as well. Most of the flooding will take place in the Arkansas/Red Basin region. The West Gulf region is also expecting major flooding as well.

Here’s some important flash flooding safety information from the NWS. Remember, Turn Around, Don’t Drown. More people are killed every year from flooding than all other weather hazards combined. Last but not least, here’s some helpful disaster supply kit information from Ready.gov.

Stay safe and stay very weather aware during this event. With knowledge being power, you have all the information at your fingertips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Cheers!

 

 

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 12 – 19, 2015

We’ve had another active severe weather week across much of the Great Plains. One of the beneficial “side-effects” of the recent storms is the badly needed drought relief that has been felt across much of Oklahoma and Texas. For agricultural and ranching interests, this is really good news. Many reservoirs that were dangerously low are filling up nicely. Unfortunately, flooding has been an issue in many areas. It was also an active period for tornadoes, particularly in Oklahoma. I have a few links from local National Weather Service offices in this post with preliminary damage survey information. Since the severe weather keeps me exceptionally busy (and today, 19 May 2015 is no exception),ย  I’ll be on the brief side for this post.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

If, like me, you spend a considerable amount of time doing research work online in preparation for science-based articles, essays, or proposals, here’s a very handy read on research tools.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

SciStarter is your “go-to” website for all things citizen science. Check out some of the new projects they’ve recently listed!

This has been one of the “hottest” citizen science stories in quite some time. Did Wyoming criminalize citizen science?

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Oklahoma “quakegate” gets more interesting by the day. “Groups call on state leaders to take action to prevent more earthquakes.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Levels of ozone increase as the Northern Hemisphere spring weather warms. This could be making some seasonal allergy sufferers feel even worse.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Much to the chagrin of many…”Networks Are Obligated To Preempt Your TV Shows During A Tornado” How some people fail to comprehend this leaves me…speechless.

A thought-provoking essay on the California drought which, as of late, has now become a new way of life.

Here’s a very informative read on what could be ahead for 2015 and the current El Niรฑo.

2015 got off to a warm start…and it may have no place to go but up from here.

Satellites are incredible tools that gather a wealth of information on weather and climate…but they’re not infallible.

The “third stage” of climate change denial has arrived and become the current popular modus operandi.

Looking into the climate events of the past: Oceans may have played a part in the Great Plains Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

Damage surveys are ongoing at several National Weather Service offices in the aftermath of recent tornado events: Norman, OK; Tulsa, OK; Springfield, MO; Lubbock, TX. This information is very preliminary and will be updated as surveys are completed. Check with your local National Weather Service office for any details on recent severe weather in your area.

That’s a wrap for this post! Severe weather could be on tap for the plains states this weekend…so stay weather aware!

Cheers!

 

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 5 – 12, 2015

The last day of an active severe weather episode is underway as of this post with tornado and severe thunderstorm watches in effect for parts of the Great Lakes and Ohio valley region. The focus of most of the week’s severe weather has been across the central and southern plains. If you’d like to review some of the data from past severe weather events, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Events Archive. It’s a treasure trove of information that can prove helpful in many regards, especially for those interested in using past events and their relation to forecasting techniques. It’s also been a very long week for me…so this will be a very short post. Still, there are several items I’d like to share with you.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

How often should you post on social media? It depends on what you’re using. The most important “A-#1” rule to remember is…quality over quantity.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Check out iSeeChange… a crowdsourced citizen science journal of community submitted local weather and environment observations.

A reminder for you to download the mPING app for your iOS or Android smart phone. It’s a very small app, won’t take a lot of space, and will help weather research with your real-time reports!

Has Wyoming criminalized citizen science? Certainly seems suspiciously malevolent to me.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

“Using the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers have observed a gas clump in the early stages of its gravitational collapse for the first time.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

There’s a reason I never use incandescent bulbs unless absolutely necessary. “The Shocking Truth About LED lights.”

The western drought hasn’t spared Arizona from the same kind of water woes California is facing.

Starbucks is going to stop selling bottled water in drought-ravaged California.

The western drought isn’t only bringing problems related to water, the coming “fire season” is expected to be difficult as well.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

With the addition of the Marginal and Enhanced SPC risk categories, I’m often asked what is the meaning behind it all. Fortunately, the folks at SPC have this handy graphic.

A very interesting read on weather forecasters, specifically those in broadcast media, and changing attitudes toward climate change.

A very tough job indeed. “Two Guys In Paris Aim To Charm The World Into Climate Action.”

Being a geoscientist can be very hazardous work. Unfortunately, two scientists recently lost their lives while studying climate change.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to access research stations in Antarctica due to sea ice which is increasing due to a variety of reasons.

Thanks to Hadley Cells, we can take a look at an interesting map that averaged cloud cover over our planet for the past thirteen years.

This past week was the 110th anniversary of the Snyder, OK tornado…one of the top 20 deadliest tornadoes in USA history. The death toll of 97 is approximate since there is no data on exactly how many people were killed. One of the more sobering images is the mass grave containing more than thirty unidentified fatalities from the tornado.

A QUICK NOTE TO MY NEW FOLLOWERS…

I’d like to extend a sincere “Welcome!” to my new followers! I’m glad you’re along for the fun! There are some cool things in the works for Tornado Quest over the next few months. Like all good things, it takes time and finding the right people for the right job. If you’re new to Tornado Quest, don’t let the name fool you. I purposefully explore and share a wide spectrum of earth science information, specifically geoscience, environmental, and atmospheric science topics. There’s always something interesting going on with this amazingly complex planet we live on. To focus only on storm chasing and specifically tornadoes, really misses the point. As one of my meteorological mentors told me in the spring of 1984, “All weather is interesting. There’s something fascinating going on every day. If someone can’t grasp that and tornadoes are all they’re interested in, well…they’ve no business being a part of this science.” He couldn’t have been more correct.

That’s a wrap for this post! See you folks again soon!

Cheers!

Overview Of This Week’s Severe Weather Threat Across Southern and Central Great Plains

For the sake of brevity, I’ll keep this short, sweet, and to the point. We’ve an active severe weather period across the Great Plains that, at this time, includes the threat for severe weather from today (Wednesday) through at least Sunday. This has been well forecast several days in advance by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and local National Weather Service (NWS) offices. Tuesday, 5 May 2015 was quite an active severe weather day with tornadoes in New Mexico and Texas along with scattered wind damage reports as far northeast as the Tulsa metro.

TUESDAY: 5 MAY 2015

SPC Storm Reports 5 May 2015That was a look at our appetizer, now for the main courses, of which there will be several. Let’s have a look at today.

Today’s severe weather scenario is a very complex and challenging one for forecasters. A Tornado Watch will be issued in short order for parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The bottom line is simply this: if and when storms do form, they will likely be severe. Not all areas in the Slight or Enhanced Risk areas will see severe weather. Here’s a look at the overall Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook.

STORM PREDICTION CENTER CATEGORICAL OUTLOOK FOR WEDNESDAY, 6 MAY 2015 (11:30 AM CDT)

SPC Day One Categorical Outlook 6 May 2015Two separate Enhanced Risk areas have been included within the Slight Risk area for parts of northwest Texas into southwestern Oklahoma and much of central Kansas into south-central Nebraska. These are the areas where the Storm Prediction Center feels the most significant severe weather events will take place. The gap between them over northwestern Oklahoma has some uncertainty at this time…but that could change with the mid afternoon or evening outlooks. Now, let’s take a look at today’s tornado threat.

SPC DAY ONE TORNADO OUTLOOK 6 MAY 2015 (11:30 AM CDT)

SPC Day One Tornado Outlook 6 May 2015As was the case with Tuesday, much of the Slight Risk area is covered with a 2% and 5% tornado threat. A 10% area has been incuded for much of central KS into south-central NE. In addition, a “hatched” area (outlined in black and filled with black dashes) covers the 10% area as well. This is to cover the probability of a few tornadoes (hopefully very few) that are of EF-2 to EF-5 intensity within twenty-five miles of a given point within the hatched area. There’s no reason to panic or fall victim to fear mongers, but folks living anywhere in the tornado threat area, especially for parts of Kansas and Nebraska, need to pay extra close attention to watch and warming information and plan accordingly.

SPC DAY ONE WIND OUTLOOK 6 MAY 2015 (11:30 AM CDT)

SPC Day One Wind Outlook 6 May 2015Let’s take a quick look at the severe weather wind threat. As expected, the highest probabilities for strong, damaging straight-line winds are over parts of Kansas and Nebraska. The threat extends well into much of Oklahoma and central Texas. This coves the possibilities of damaging winds of 60 mph or higher with any storms. Straight line winds, especially those associated with downbursts or microbursts can be intense enough that people will report a tornado in progress. The challenge with damaging straight line winds is the possibility that, especially over densely populated areas, thousands of people can lose electrical power, etc. over a wide swath in addition to damage to roofs, siding, fences, and even vehicles hit by flying debris. It’s safe to say that any storm that is considered severe today and tonight by your local NWS office carries this threat.

DAY ONE HAIL OUTLOOK 6 MAY 2015 (11:30 AM CDT)

SPC Day One Hail Outlook 6 May 2015Today’s hail outlook from SPC covers a larger area than the two previous threats. All of the Enhanced Risk areas and much of the Slight Risk is covered by a hatched area with a threat of hail of two inches in diameter and larger within twenty-five miles of any given point. Within the 30% areas, the chances are close to one in three that this will occur. While much of the focus today will be on the tornado threat in Kansas and Nebraska, keep in mind that hail events cover a very wide area and it’s important to keep this in mind if you are in a warned area. Today will be an active severe weather day across the southern and central Great Plains with numerous severe storms expected. Keep in touch with your local NWS office and the SPC and the media outlets of your choice for the latest updates as this setup will evolve throughout the day. Of course, never forget your NOAA weather radio. I’d be remiss to not mention the threat for flash flooding. This will be possible with any storms, even some that are non-severe.

In summary, tornado watches are forthcoming from the SPC for parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas this afternoon and evening. Stay very weather aware with at least three reliable sources of watch and warning information close at hand and plan your day accordingly. There’s no need for panic or unnecessary worrying (that’s all to often fostered by fear mongers on social media…hence the importance of you getting your watch and warning information from official sources), but do keep abreast of the situation since it will unfold hour by hour and changes are inevitable, especially once storms commence. Tomorrow morning, we’ll take a look at the rest of the week…but now, let’s get today out of the way. Stay safe and weather aware!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 28 – May 5, 2015

After several days of respite from episodes of severe weather, an active week is underway with much of the Great Plains forecast to have multiple rounds of thunderstorms, some of which will be severe. Like many other posts for this time of year, this week will be somewhat brief. Between Skywarn spotting duties, storm chasing, and several writing projects, I’ve got a full dance card. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good science stories for our enjoyment.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

TECHNOLOGY/PRIVACY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Mind the apps you download from Google Play…or iTunes for that matter. Many popular ones, without your permission, are collecting a great deal of private data. For you and me, it’s simply a matter of common sense when choosing apps.

Snarks, trolls, & nefarious interlopers run amok in social media. It can be tough enough for adults who are targets but for our youth, much of the anonymous abuse can be particularly brutal. “Young people think friends more at risk of cyberbullying.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Can Instagram be used by citizen scientists to track climate change? You bet! Here’s how.

Here’s a very cool segment on the Diane Rehm show: The Environmental Outlook: Citizen Scientists.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The MESSENGER spacecraft exceeded all expectations before snapping one final image shortly before crashing into the surface of the planet Mercury.

An amazing look at the vastness of space…specifically within our own solar system.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Oklahoma earthquake and link to fracking gets more interesting by the week. Observing it from the perspective of a native Oklahoman, it’s like watching a slow motion train wreck.

Here’s a spectacular video from the United States Geological Survey of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano putting on quite a show.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Desperate times mean desperate measures. California is tapping into water reserves that are 20,000 years old to help take the edge off their brutal drought.

Tulsa has always had a problem with ozone for as far back as I can remember. As a result, it was no surprise that the former “oil capital” was ranked the 12th worst city in the USA for ozone levels.

A very good read! “The Next Step In Saving The Planet: E.O. Wilson And Sean Carroll In Conversation.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you have many reasons to hate pollen with a passion. Here’s another reason…it may mess with your weather.

Interesting essay with suggestions for dealing with disaster preparedness.

Speaking of disaster preparedness, the USA has been in somewhat of a hurricane “drought” for several years. It’s simply a matter of good luck that we’ve been this fortunate, but it won’t last forever.

Social science (sociology and psychology) and operational meteorology aren’t mutually exclusive. “Troubled Forecasters Seek Way To Improve Tornado Warnings.”

As glaciers in Antarctica retreat, the future results will not be pleasant to deal with.

A very nice interview with Heidi Cullen of Climate Central on the role of oceans in climate change.

An informative, and fun, infographic on five characteristics of science and/or climate change denial.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’ll be writing some posts with subjective analysis of this week’s severe weather setups for the Great Plains, Wednesday and Saturday in particular. If you’re in an area that will be under the gun for severe weather this week, remember to stay in touch with reliable media outlets of your choice, keep your NOAA weather radio handy, and follow your local National Weather Service office and the Storm Prediction Center for the latest severe weather information.

Cheers!

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