Category Archives: Meteorology & Much More

Summer Heat Illness: Potentially Deadly Yet Preventable. #SummerHeat

With the early summer heat that’s forecast for many states, it’s a good idea to review some summer heat safety precautions. The National Weather Service has one of the most comprehensive Heat Safety sites available. You’ll find not only how to stay cool, but how to care for children, pets, and vehicles, but information on ultraviolet (UV) safety and a heat index graphic which shows you (in spite of the actual air temperature) what temperature your body thinks it is and will react to.

Even the heartiest of souls can fall victim to heat illness. Here’s a quick reference infographic on the differences between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke…the latter of which can easily turn deadly. 

See the Common Heat Related Illnesses tab at the  NWS Heat Safety site for more important details on how this health issue can impact you.

In the meantime, stay cool and hydrated, dress for the weather, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Cheers!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Email: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For April 8 – 16, 2017

Greeting’s to everyone! If you’re celebrating the holiday weekend, I hope it’s a good one. For those not celebrating, I hope your spring/autumn is going as well as possible. Here in the USA, the severe weather season is in full swing this week with several days of challenging forecasts. Also, don’t forget the March For Science is coming up on 22 April 2017! This week’s post will be a bit on the brief side due to a developing severe weather setup…so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A disconcerting privacy read. In the process of trying to guard privacy rights, some people are trying to “trash their tracks.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Polluting your web history won’t keep you from having your rights violated by nefarious opportunists.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a good read on spring-time citizen science projects from SciStarter! Why sit on the sidelines when you can take part? Citizen scientists add valuable data to research projects that, in most situations, would be difficult to obtain.

Citizen science and weather go hand-in-hand exceptionally well! Here are four ways you can enjoy citizen science get involved and contribute valuable weather and climate data to data bases and research!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

It seems as if wind energy gets less expensive month by month…and that’s some very good news!

The drought in California may by “officially” over, but it’s best to not think it won’t happen again.

Speaking of California, here’s some very good renewables news. On one day in March, 2017, California got fifty percent of it’s electricity from solar power.

NASA has a new Night Light Map that shows patterns of human settlement across our humble home.

Challenging times ahead for the EPA. With air quality in the USA still problematic, the health of millions is at stake.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If this past winter seemed short for much of North America, you weren’t imagining things. For the southwestern USA states in particular, spring is coming earlier every year.

This is the kind of record breaking data that doesn’t bring about smiles. We’ve yet another record breaking month for low Arctic sea ice.

Here’s a very informative Science Friday interview with climate scientist Michael Mann on his recent House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology hearing testimony.

Time is running short. “We Must Reach Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, Says Former UN Climate Chief.

Weather balloons carry instrument packages that supply invaluable data for forecasting and observations. Check out this video of a weather balloon exploding at 100,000 feet!

The Heartland Institute is at it again…this time will a well oiled PR campaign based on unfounded accusations sans evidence.

PUBLIC POLICY

NASA continues to be the target of budget cuts that, in the long run, will mean the demise of valuable data that benefits us all.

Now that former Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt is running the USA’s EPA, some climate change denialists are bemoaning that, “he won’t fight.”

While on that topic, the train wreck continues. “Scott Pruitt Calls For An ‘Exit’ From The Paris Accord, Sharpening The Trump White House’s Climate Rift.”

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget the March For Science is only days away on 22 April 2017! Currently, there are over 500 satellite marches that will be taking place the world over!

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media…glad you’re along for the fun! Interesting times ahead.

Cheers!

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Severe Weather Safety Links To Keep You And Your Family Safe. #WeatherReady (Updated 7 April 2017)

For Monday, April 3, 2017, the Storm Prediction Center is forecasting numerous severe storms across parts of several southern states. The climatological peak of activity isn’t until May…so we’ve several more weeks of active severe weather episodes that may, or may not, materialize. Regardless, best to be prepared. I hope these links are of assistance to you.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS

SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION

One caveat about this category. The two links for the SPC and NWS are excellent sources and the starting point for everyone’s information. As for local broadcast meteorologists, I can only suggest that you watch those which are to your liking…which is extremely subjective…and therefore in the interest of fairness and objectivity, I have no recommendations.

INFOGRAPHICS

From the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a concise explanation of risk categories. (Graphic courtesy SPC)

Do you know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING? (Graphic courtesy NWS Amarillo, TX)

When a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, there is specific criteria that a thunderstorm must meet to be considered severe. You should be aware of those criteria and recognize them if you see them and what safety precautions to take. (Graphic courtesy NWS Birmingham, AL)

Your mobile device can save your life. Make sure your phones, tablets, et al. are charged at all times. (Graphic courtesy NOAA)

CITIZEN SCIENCE: CONTRIBUTING TO DATA BASES AND RESEARCH DURING/AFTER THE STORM

  • CoCoRaHS: “”Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nations.”
  • mPING: “Weather radars cannot “see” at the ground, so mPING reports are used by the NOAA National Weather Service to fine-tune their forecasts. NSSL uses the data in a variety of ways, including to develop new radar and forecasting technologies and techniques.”

Last but not least on the list of links is one that I know pertains to not a few people…a phobia of thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning and thunder. It may be no consolation, but I have two bits of encouragement for anyone who suffers with these challenges.

  1. The first three (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lightning) are obvious hazards, but thunder is harmless. It’s merely the air reacting to the sudden heating caused by the extremely hot lightning bolt. If you’ve ever experienced a static electric shock and heard a small “pop” sound, it’s basically the same thing, only on a larger scale. So let the thunder roar. It is what causes the thunder that you need to be wary of.
  2. Consider where you live or will be during a severe thunderstorm. The chances of the very spot you are in getting the worst of the storm are actually rather small. Let’s say you live in a 2,000 square foot home and a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area. The odds of the highest winds, largest hail, and perhaps flash flooding blasting the structure you’re in is quite small. On a map, you’re a mere speck that is barely seen without a magnifying glass. Let’s take it up a notch a bit an consider tornadoes. In spite of what you see on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, the local or national news, etc., tornadoes are an exceptionally rare event. Most tornadoes are also in the EF-0 or EF-1 category with maximum winds of perhaps 110 m.p.h. at peak intensity. Most frame homes and commercial buildings will easily sustain a direct hit from a tornado of this strength. Yes, it’ll leave a mess but if you read the safety rules above and take proper precautions, you’ll be fine. Scared? Yes. That’s normal. Our limbic system in our brain (aka fight or flight) is a wonderful part of hundreds of millions of years of evolution that has evolved to give us adrenaline, increased heart rate and respiration, and a host of other reactions that are there for our benefit. Bottom line: have a disaster/severe weather preparedness kit assembled and at-the-ready year round, know what to do in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning, avoid any lightning dangers, don’t drive or go into flash flooding areas, keep abreast of weather updates with a NOAA weather radio, your mobile device, and/or the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, and you’ll be just fine. Knowledge is power…and you’ll feel more powerful and less fearful with an increased knowledge of storms and what to do when a watch and warning is issued for your location.

Finally…one last word…

Please keep in mind that only NOAA weather radio, your local National Weather Service office, or reliable media are the best sources of important, timely, and potentially life-saving weather information, watches, and warnings! None of the links on this page should be used for life-&-death decisions or the protection of property!

Stay weather aware…and stay safe!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For February 25 – March 4, 2017

Greetings everyone and Happy Meteorological Spring to my friends and followers in the Northern Hemisphere. For many, it’s been an exceptionally warm winter and spring is already throttling up. In the USA, Skywarn spotter classes are ongoing as of this post. Check with your local National Weather Service office to see if there’s a class scheduled near you. And, as has been the case for the last few weeks, science and public policy have been front and center…so let’s get started.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Wind and solar power are gaining major ground in countries across the globe. Considering that change is often difficult, how will the status quo adapt?

Cities around the globe smarten up & go green as 2/3 of world population will live in urban areas by 2030.

Air pollution isn’t just a minor irritation, it’s a major health hazard with lethal implications. Here’s an excellent read on how to deal with and/or avoid potentially deadly poor air quality.

Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in the USA, environmental conditions were in a sorry state. It would behoove us to keep that in mind and fight against the threat of retrograding into a new dark age.

While on the topic of air pollution, other countries besides the USA have their share of air quality issues. The problem for USA citizens is their noxious air travels round the globe and eventually reaches us.

Here’s another sobering look at environmental conditions in the USA in the pre-EPA days.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A new earthquake outlook for 2017 highlights Oklahoma and California as the hot-spots for quake activity…so we’ve been warned.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If it seems like spring has come early this year for much of the Northern Hemisphere, you’re not imagining things.

The new GOES-16 weather satellite is sending back amazing high-resolution images!

For the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of meteorological spring occurred on 1 March 2017. Here’s a look back at an unusually warm winter from Climate Central.

2017winterreview_miami_en_title_lg

Sea surface temperatures and weather/climate are inextricably linked. From the National Weather Service in New Orleans, LA, “The Gulf has remained warm this winter, generally 2-7F above avg now. Pic from the NOAA View Global Data Explorer.”

c53aixlwcaadv9o-jpg-large

For the state of California, it was famine to feast in terms of rainfall. Here’s a look at the “atmospheric rivers” that kept the state dry, then inundated it with dangerous flooding conditions.

Speaking of drought, here’s the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for March, 2017. In spite of recent rains, drought conditions persist or increase across many areas of the plains and southern states.

month_drought

Though the focus of this article is on the recent heat wave in parts of Australia, it applies to other continents as well. “Climate Scientists Say Likelihood Of Extreme Summers Surging Due To Global Warming.”

What do citizens of the USA think about climate change? This interesting read provides some maps and links to answer that question.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1_22_48-pmPercentage of adults, by state, who think global warming is happening. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication | George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication

An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Severe Weather Safety Link Of The Week: With the severe weather season well underway across the USA, here’s a very comprehensive yet concise overview of severe weather and it’s hazards from the National Weather Service. “Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, And Lightning. Natures Most Violent Storms.” (20 page PDF file)

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

NOAA is about to take a bit hit from the Trump administration, specifically their satellite division. This is ugly…and it will only get worse. Nefariously draconian comes to mind (considering that much of the life-saving data you benefit from comes from the portion of NOAA that’s under the gun), but that would be to politely generous.

Four Ways NOAA Benefits Your Life Today.” This is a “must-read” by Dr. Marshall Shepherd on the irreplaceable benefits that NOAA and the National Weather Service provide to USA citizens.

Do scientists really lose credibility when they become political? Absolutely not. We need all the scientists involved in the current political climate as possible.

Fighting fire with fire is the only way to deal with the building hostilities toward the scientific community.

Things are bad indeed. “Responding to attacks on scientific expertise and threats to public funding, the growing protest of American scientists might also suggest something about the perceived direness of the state of the world under Trump: If the scientists are organizing, then things must be really bad.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stopped collecting important climate and environmental data. No data = no science = no progress.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A Norwegian news site is on to an excellent way to deal with trolls and/or people who have a “knee-jerk” reaction to a headline and leave hostile and threatening comments. Make them read and article or essay and answer questions about it before they’re allowed to comment. There’s nothing like a little mature, critical thinking to take the place of sophomoric rants.

This disconcerting privacy read will make you think twice about carrying a mobile device in and out of the USA. In case you’re wondering, your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights don’t apply.

Your privacy in the safety of your own home is also a hazard. Chances are, you are your own worst security risk.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to send out a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. We’re in interesting times…so hang on…lots more fun to come.

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

What Does A Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch mean? #alwx #mswx #flwx

The new Tornado Watch for parts of AL, FL, & a small part of MS is a Particularly Dangerous  Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch. Many folks are not quite sure what that means. From the NOAA Storm Prediction Center’s FAQ, here’s the definition…

2.7 I noticed the wording “THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION” in some of your watches. What does this mean? What is the criteria for a PDS watch?
The “Particularly Dangerous Situation” wording is used in Tornado Watches for rare situations when long-lived intense tornadoes are likely. This enhanced wording may also accompany Severe Thunderstorm Watches for widespread significant severe events, usually produced by exceptionally intense derechos. PDS watches are issued, when in the opinion of the forecaster, the likelihood of significant events is boosted by very volatile atmospheric conditions. Usually this decision is based on a number of atmospheric clues and parameters, so the decision to issue a PDS watch is subjective with no hard criteria. However, the SPC goal is to have 3 out of every 4 PDS Tornado Watches verifying with multiple intense tornadoes. PDS watches are most often issued with a High risk in Day 1 Convective Outlooks.”

All watches, regardless of whether they’re the “typical’ Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch, are something you should watch very carefully, but when a PDS watch is issued, a very active severe weather episode is expected with large hail, strong damaging straight line winds, strong to violent (EF-2+) tornadoes and, last but not least, flash flooding along with dangerous lightning are expected. Considering this PDS Tornado Watch is going into the overnight hours, make sure you have at least three ways of receiving warnings, your NOAA weather radio has fresh batteries and is set on standby, your shelter precautions are in place, and you stay very weather aware by following official sources of potentially life saving information. At night, tornadoes are often difficult to impossible to see…so if you’re in a warning, please take shelter immediately. Lastly, follow @NWSSPC, @NWSBirmingham, @NWSMobile, @NWSTallahassee on Twitter and the broadcast meteorologists/media outlets of your choice.

Stay weather aware and stay safe!

 

 

Hurricane Season Has Gone Full Throttle.

To say that the Atlantic and Pacific tropical cyclone season has revved up is a vast understatement. As of this post (30 August 2016) portions of Florida are under a Hurricane Watch as Tropical Depression Nine is expected to strengthen to tropical storm status before landfall on the western Florida coast. In the Pacific, the big island of Hawaii is under a hurricane warning as Madeline approaches from the east with another hurricane, Lester, on its heels.  Whether you’re expecting deteriorating weather conditions or live in a hurricane prone region, I’d like to pass along some safety information that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Ready.gov ~  “This page explains what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.”

From NOAA, FEMA, & the American Red Cross ~ Tropical Cyclones: A Preparedness Guide (12 page PDF file)

NOAA Weather Radio ~ Regardless of where you live, these should be as common in every residence as smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

Wireless Emergency Alerts ~ Available as text messages on your mobile phone.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown ~ Flood safety information. Each year, more deaths result from flooding than any other thunderstorm related hazard.

From FEMA ~ Emergency Supply List (2 page PDF file)

The National Hurricane Center and related accounts are on Twitter…these are “must follows” and, in addition to your local National Weather Service office and the local media outlets of your choice, will offer you the most timely and potentially life-saving information.

Finally, two concise infographics covering where to get hurricane information and preparing your hurricane supplies.

Hurricane Info Hurricane Supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to add a cautionary note that this list is not comprehensive and none of these links on this site (or any other NON-OFFICIAL site  or blog) should be used for the protection of life and/or property. It is also not comprehensive as there are many local broadcast meteorologists across the USA that offer you valuable information. Information from meteorologists also changes by the hour…often by the minute…so it’s imperative to constantly stay abreast of the latest information. With knowledge being power, you’re empowering yourself to help keep you and your loved ones safe and sound.

I hope this list is of help to those who need the information. At the very least, it’s a starting place where you can bookmark many of these links for future reference.

Stay safe and good luck!

 

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For April 4 – 11, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope all of you are having a great start to the week and the weather is good, if not interesting, in your neck of the woods. The North American severe weather season has gotten into full swing with several days already having had all modes of severe weather occur. There’s plenty of climate change stories in the news as well with over 120 nations ready to sign the UN accord on climate change. On that note, let’s get started.

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A job well done! Watch the SpaceX land it’s rocket on a floating pad in full 4K resolution!

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

This NASA researcher claims ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes in advance.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Many people play the romanticist view of mid 19th century United Kingdom, and England in particular, as an era of chivalrous gentlemen & alluringly coquettish women. Nothing could be further from the truth in this retrospective of a London-based sewage disaster.

A recent study suggests that the Earth’s soils could store tremendous amounts of greenhouse gasses.

For my fellow musicians. “The Eco Guide To Guitars.”

Even in the 21st century with a plethora of information available, there’s uncertainly and doubt in being an environmentalist.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

National Hurricane Preparedness Week may not be until May, but it’s never too soon to prepare. The National Hurricane Center’s preparedness website has everything you need to know.

A good read on the inexorable climate/weather/public health link and how climate change can harm your health.

An interesting concept that has it benefits…and inevitable drawbacks. Forecasting tornadoes in the long-term.

Speaking of forecasting, here’s an interesting read on Panasonic’s claim of having created the world’s best weather model.

There are many facets of climate change that are very clear-cut while others are more vague.

A good read from Climate Central. “Climate change is a major threat to human health, with extreme heat likely to kill 27,000 Americans annually by 2100, according to a report released by the White House.”

Slow but steady progress as over 120 nations will sign the UN’s accord to fight global warming.

El Niños and La Niñas are particularly difficult to predict at this time of year, so exactly what happens remains to be seen.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. If you’d like more information, please see the links below.

Cheers!

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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Tornado Quest Science Links For February 15 – 22, 2016

Greetings all! I hope everyone’s having a great week. The weather across much of North America has been relatively tranquil this week with unseasonably warm temperatures across much of the southern plains. As of today (22 February 2016) a busy severe weather day is on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday (23 & 24 February 2016) from Texas to the east coast states. Speaking of severe weather, all across the United States the National Weather Service offices are holding Skywarn spotting training classes. If you’re interested in severe weather and contributing to your community, I’d strongly recommend you take one of these courses and spend two (if not more) seasons as an “intern” with a seasoned spotter. On that note, let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Fortunately, the United States citizenry has a satisfactory of support for science.

In spite of the optimism expressed in the previous link, there’s still putrid bounty of anxiety and antagonism towards science within the US of A.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Sweden, you are amazing in every way! “Sweden To Go Carbon Neutral By 2045.”

Some great tips here! “17 Sustainable Ways To Be A Better Person To Yourself And To Others.”

Four billion people are facing a life-threatening water shortage…and no, the USA is not exempt.

Very interesting, and not surprising, infographic on the world’s most polluted cities.

You know the air in parts of China is bad when ventilation “corridors” are being built so people don’t have to breathe the outdoor air.

Of great interest to many here in Oklahoma. “Does Living Near An Oil Or Natural Gas Well Affect Your Drinking Water?”

Another read for folks in Oklahoma who are constantly barraged with shake, frack, and roll. “Sierra Club Sues Over Oil Company Earthquakes.”

Climate change + drought = a continent-wide volatile scenario. “Mother Africa On Fire.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Interesting interactive chart showing temperature trends for over 3,100 cities in 2015.

The UK’s Met Office habit of naming storms is likely little more than misguided hype.

Some nice videos of climate scientists briefly discussing climate change.

A very important read from Climate Central. “What Scalia’s Death Means For Climate Change.” Like it or not, climate change has become as much a foreign & domestic policy issue as much as it is science.

A good read by Chris Mooney on where our Earth’s the most vulnerable regions to big swings in climate.

Two years ago, a large, inexplicable hot patch of water appeared in the Pacific Ocean, and stayed right through the seasons—until now. Referred to as “the Blob,” it’s gone away, taken by El Niño. Will it return?

Speaking of El Niño, it has passed its peak strength but impacts will continue according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

 My fellow lightning aficionados will enjoy this read. Lightning-produced ozone has been detected…and this could be important to air quality assessment and prediction in the future.

The University of Miami just opened a new research facility that, by creating a “hurricane in a box,” can help us prepare for dangerous and potentially cataclysmic storms.

An amazing view of ice shattering like plates of glass on North American’s Lake Superior.

THE QUIXOTIC

“Hairy Panic,” a fast growing tumbleweed with a name straight out of a third-rate horror flick rolls into an Australian city.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm “Welcome” to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Social Media & Online Safety Links

I’d first like to thank all the folks who stopped by my Tuesday stream. It was great seeing so many new faces as well as old friends. Early in the stream, we chatted about the very important topic of online safety. I’d intended to post the link to a Mashable article about protecting your online reputation, but for some technical reason FriendLife won’t let me re-post the link because I’d posted it some months earlier. So, in lieu of that, I’ve added the Mashable Online Reputation link along with one more article…

Protecting Your Online Reputation: 4 Things You Need To Know

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Social Media

Even after using the internet since 1995,  I still have to give myself the periodic “refresher course” in online safety. As the internet and world wide web grows to gigantic proportions, the security and safety risks also reach a fever pitch. It’s my hope that these two links will be of help to those of you who are interested.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by my FriendLife stream…see you again soon!

Cheers!

 

 

Winter Weather Safety Information

Over the next few days, a significant winter storm will be effecting many states from AR & TX eastward into the Mid-Atlantic coast and possibly New England. For your convenience, I’d like to pass along some information that I hope will be helpful to the folks involved.

For the latest forecasts, advisories, winter weather watches and warnings, check out the National Weather Service website.

From NOAA’s National Weather Service, here’s important winter weather safety information.

In addition, follow reliable broadcast meteorologists (national & local) of your choice & avoid the fear mongers and hypesters if possible.

Good luck and stay safe!

 

 

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