Tag Archives: CoCoRaHS

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.



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.


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)


  • 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!



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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For November 17 – 29, 2016

Greetings everyone! Thanks for stopping by. For those in the USA who celebrated the holiday, I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving. I took advantage of the rare opportunity for some R&R time for myself, so this week’s post will be a bit shorter than usual, but still full of thought-provoking ideas. There’s plenty to catch up on, especially on the front lines of climate change. On that note, let’s get started.

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


If you celebrated the USA’s Thanksgiving holiday, be thankful for many things, including science. There’s a myriad of topics to discuss and inspire a sense of wonder.


A reminder that even though winter may be settling in across North America, your mPING and CoCoRaHS reports are still important. They’re not just for severe thunderstorms. Every single report counts!


The Mercator maps that so many of us are familiar with give a very distorted view of the world. How distorted? This article with an interactive map with show you.


Interesting news on Mars. “Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what’s in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes.”


Oklahomans are suing frackers over earthquakes. I sincerely wish them luck in their pursuit of justice. Their defendants are capriciously deviant and very wealthy.


People in urban areas are at risk of air pollution induced health problems with around 85% exposed to levels deemed harmful by the World Health Organization. These particles are too small to see or smell, but have a devastating impact.


What scientists are seeing happening to the Arctic ice is both surprising and not a little alarming. Another spot-on and apt description is that the current scenario is, “seriously weird.”

The first decade of the 21st century set the pace. From Climate Central: USA Record Highs Will Far Outpace Lows With Warming.

Perilous times ahead in the USA regarding climate science & renewable energy. “The world is waiting to hear what President-elect Donald Trump has in mind for governing the U.S. Among the biggest questions is what will happen to the budget for climate and energy-related activities.”

An ominous note to what lays ahead in the world wide theater. In early 2017, the USA is poised to begin a potentially disastrous retreat from climate science leadership. China is more than happy to step up, don the crown and seat themselves in the throne. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The new GOES-R weather satellite is the most advanced one launched to date. It will not only provide amazing data, but could save your life someday.

As expected, Trump intends to dump the Paris climate accord, but at least 71 percent of the American public support it.


It’s been a very quiet year in the USA for tornadoes. As of November 21, 2016, 830 preliminary tornado reports so far which is well below the statistical average.

cx5qmmouaaaryfw-jpg-largeThat’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.



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

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For June 2 – 9, 2015

The southern plains of the contiguous USA are getting a well deserved respite from the recent heavy rains. They certainly busted the drought that had plagued the region for several years. But, as is often the case for that part of the country, it’s feast or famine (aka extremes) when it comes to weather. Unfortunately for California, the relentless drought has now become a way of life and residents are literally ripping up their water-guzzling lawns and lush flowerbeds for native (i.e. drought-tolerant) plants…which are what they should have planted in the first place. In terms of severe weather, an interesting fact that’s come to my attention is the number of tornadoes for Oklahoma in 2015. To date, there have been approximately seventy-seven tornadoes so far…and it’s still only early June. It will be interesting to see how the rest of summer and autumn (which has a slight uptick in severe weather events) turns out. In the tropics, a quieter year than normal is forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season…but it only takes one modest storm to make for a major disaster, especially in a densely populated area. The climate talks in Paris are just a few months away and that’s been a topic of great discussion as of late…but we’ll save that for another time.

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


Is there an attack on truth…and have we entered an age if willful ignorance? By some accounts, the answer is a resounding, “yes.”


The latest CoCoRaHS update is out. Since March, 2015, they’ve received a million reports from 17,000 stations…and every single one is important. CoCoRaHS is a great way to combine citizen science and your interest in weather.


As time passes, the connection between fracking and Oklahoma earthquake frequency becomes more obvious. “Mounting Evidence Says Injection Wells Cause Oklahoma’s Earthquake Surge.”


World Oceans Day was observed this week. In light of that, here’s an optimistic view of the future of our planet.


Here’s the latest US Drought Monitor map. Significant improvement for Oklahoma and Texas…and very little change for the hard hit western states.

The California drought is taking a heavy toll on western farmers to the tune of almost $3 billion in 2015 alone.

A case of too little, too late? “G7 Carbon Goal May Come Too Late, Scientists Say.”

Twenty-five views with a variety of powerful messages on our planet’s changing climate and future.

Check out this great storm chasing essay that not only has great photos, but a spot-on title. “For The Love Of The Storm: Chasing Isn’t All About Tornadoes.” Unfortunately, for many “extreme” storm chasers, a tornado is a means to an end.

The recent story about a hiatus in global warming was just that…a story. Wishful thinking for many who, for financial, legal, or political reasons, still fight scientific facts.

That’s a wrap for this post…see you next time!


Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For March 30 – April 6, 2015

The severe weather season has kicked into full swing across much of the great plains. So far there have been only a few events, but we’ve still the busiest and most active months ahead. Due to this week’s pending severe weather, this post will be shorter than usual. I’ve also addressed the current severe weather setup for this week in other posts.

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


A very good…and most timely…read on the hard-hitting realities that exist whether we want to believe them or not. “Why Scientific Truth May Hurt.”

A though-provoking read on what the climate movement must learn from religion.


The CoCoRaHS “Hail Week” runs from April 6 – 11. 2015. Learn how to measure and collect hail…and then report it when it does make an occasional visit to your location.


A nice article on my favorite search engine which, in the process of competing with Google has also tripled it’s growth.


After a two-year hiatus, the Large Hadron Collider is back in action and more powerful than before.


When it hits home, it hits harder. “Poll: Americans Starting to Worry About Climate Change Now That It Affects Their Lawns.”

No surprise here. The California drought is testing the limits of unfettered, unregulated, and endless growth.


Here’s a look at the latest US Drought Monitor. Conditions in California have remain steady as mandatory water rationing goes into effect. Extreme/exceptional conditions across Oklahoma and Texas actually worsened.

While on the topic of drought, the California drought saga continues.

This is a climactic “smoking gun” if there ever was one. “Thawing Permafrost Could Be The Worst Climate Threat You’ve Never Heard Of.”

Some good news from the National Weather Service. Impact-based warnings are becoming more commonplace across the nation.

A new technique in flood forecasting could prove beneficial for any populated area near a coastal area.

Emergency management officials are understandably concerned about the growing public complacency towards hurricane hazards.

Here’s a very nice graphic from the National Weather Service in Kansas City via the Oklahoma Mesonet that explains the recent changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlooks.

A very nice retrospective look back at the April 3-4, 1974 tornado Superoutbreak.

That’s a wrap for this post!

I’d also like to welcome my new followers! Glad you’re along!


Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For Sept. 14 – Oct. 1, 2014

Due to varying complicating factors which seem to creep up on us in life at the least opportune moments, I’m running a couple of weeks behind on weekly Tornado Quest Science Links posts. Add to that a personal illness…and things slow to a crawl and priorities change. Having said that, here’s a small selection of links for this post.


Here’s a very cool meteorology citizen science project for Earth Science Week (Oct. 12 – 18, 2014) from NASA!

Just because winter’s coming to the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t mean it’s time to put your rain gauge in hibernation. CoCoRaHS needs citizen science weather observers year round!


I saw this tweet on hand washing in my Twitter feed the other day. Flabbergasted. I can’t believe we still have to drum proper personal sanitation and hand-washing into people’s heads in the 21st Century.


As social scientists well know, how a message is delivered is as important as it’s content. Here’s another good article in the same vein.


Sweden FTW!!! Read about the world’s first garment made entirely from recycled cotton.


On Sept. 30, 2014, the HRRR forecast model officially went operational with NOAA. It’ been in use in an experimental stage for some time. I’ve enjoyed using it and think it will be a great asset.

If you’re keeping track of this year’s El Nino, histrionic is an apt understatement.

In a rush to rebuild after the tornado of May 20, 2013, many Moore, OK homes have been rebuilt with a lot left to desire.

The California drought is only getting worse with no sight of relief in sight.

Like to give yourself a nice refresher course on some meteorology and climate topics? Here’s a good place to start.

And that’s a wrap for this week. In addition to this WordPress blog, Tornado Quest can also be found on About MeTumblr and Instagram.

Have a great week…cheers! Continue reading →

Tornado Quest Science Links and Much, Much, More for August 10 – 17, 2014

To say this past week has been a busy one for the Pacific tropical cyclone season is almost a vast understatement. For those of us who enjoy watching weather events around the world unfold, there hasn’t been a shortage of tropical storms and hurricanes to keep us occupied. On the flip side, the Atlantic season has been quiet thanks to a significant amount of dry Saharan air from Africa that is hindering formation of tropical cyclones that could threaten the US eastern coast, Gulf region, or the Caribbean. For the lower 48, the latest look back at July from the National Climactic Data Center is out and it was indeed an unusually cool month for much of the plains states while western states dealt with drought conditions and wildfires. With several writing projects on hand, I’ve got a full dance card…so this weeks post will be a bit on the brief side.

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


A very thought-provoking read on the uncertainty that is inherent in science.

Most contemporary “science” documentaries are a faint copy of anything remotely educational.

A fascinating look into the writings of Issac Newton from Cambridge University.


Fireflies (aka lightning bugs) and citizen science are a perfect match.

If you love weather and want to get involved in citizen science, CoCoRaHS is a great place to start.

The Smithsonian Museum needs citizen science volunteers for a massive digitization project.


Here’s the full NCDC overview of the US climate for July, 2014. As you can see, it was an unusual month for much of the country.

In case you missed this, I’m re-posting the link regarding changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlooks. If you live in an area prone to severe weather, this applies to you and is important information that you need to familiarize yourself with.

An interesting look (with reference information) on changes in western USA precipitation patterns.

Speaking of western USA precipitation, could dust ease the relentless California drought?

Forest in Europe (and likely many other regions) are showing the effects of climate change.

This is the 45th anniversary of Hurricane Camille…a rare Category 5 tropical cyclone that made landfall on the central Gulf coast. Here’s a detailed overview and a stunning photo gallery from NOAA of Camille’s aftermath.


Earlier this week, I posted this article. Being optimistic in sustainability topics comes naturally to me as I’m excited by and very enthused at the prospects. Perhaps the article could have been written or worded differently, but I’m merely passing along information that I hope my followers will find of interest or value. One individual associated with a university took exception to the way the article was written. I’ve no problem with that, but the rebuttal was aimed at me and not the site or its author…both of whom are 100% responsible for the content…content over which I have no control. This is the case with 99% of the information that most of us share in social media. Said individual is entitled to his/her opinion, but the professional and tactful recourse would have been to contact the original creators of the article. This is a classic case of “kill the messenger.”  I try my absolute best to share articles and information that will convey information to the widest audience possible. I also try my best to keep an upbeat online demeanor but you and I well know how challenging that can be. Regardless of our “mood-of-the-day,” one thing I’ve learned from many successful social media people is branding. Not everyone is the life-of-the-party online, but some forethought and manners can go a long way. Also, our online reputation is something to be closely guarded and protected.  It says a lot about you, your friends, and everyone’s employer. Finally, while not the last word, a caveat I recommend to many…and often. I Do No Argue On The Internet.

Now that we’ve gotten that singularly unattractive business out of the way…I hope all of you have a great week and plenty of things to smile about. Life is good…and very short…it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself!



Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For March 11 – 18, 2014

Running a day late in posting this weeks Gee-O-Science links due to a full dance card. Eventually, someone will invent a 36 hour day…and I will fill each extra hour exponentially until a 48 hour day is invented. Now, back to biz…

Spring is finally making it’s presence knows across much of the Northern Hemisphere. While the occasional cool spell will linger for several more weeks, a few severe weather episodes have occurred across the Great Plains of the USA. What will the spring of 2014 bring across tornado-prone areas of North America? Much too early to tell and a great deal of speculation can’t be trusted. The best policy is to have a proper emergency preparedness plan in place and keep tabs on your local forecasts several days in advance. Having said that, let’s get on with this weeks links…


Neil deGrasse Tyson is hosting a new “Cosmos” series and gives his thoughts on how science got cool & why he doesn’t debate deniers.

What is a naturalist? The answer to that question can be as varied as the subjects studied.

A very cool list: “Twelve Amazing Women Who Totally Rocked At Science.”


Major world-wide brands take on a variety of important progressive topics. Is climate change a “hands-off” topic?


Are you involved in CoCoRaHS? Even if you’re not, check out the USA National Phenology Network and, as a citizen scientist, document how animals and plants respond to local weather conditions.

Yes, you too could find a planet…or something else equally important! No Ph.D required! Citizen science FTW!


As odd as it may sound, seismic activity can be accompanied by “lightning beneath our feet.”

A drone has filmed a volcano eruption from a bird’s-eye view. This is a little to close for comfort!


Is the USA’s EPA running out of time to craft carbon emissions standards for industrial polluters beyond power plants?

Interesting read by the Capital Weather Gang: The Misplaced  Emphasis On Extreme Weather In Environmental Threat Communication.


NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center has released their State Of The Climate report for February, 2014.

For RadarScope users, here’s an important essay on identifying non-precipitation echoes.

El Nino is making the rounds of atmospheric discussion topics as of late. Bob Henson of NCAR/UCAR writes on the challenges of forecasting El Nino development.

This week marks the 89th anniversary of the Tri-State tornado…the single deadliest tornado event in US history.

The Norman, OK NWS office has put together a nice video on the advanced spotter training topic of severe thunderstorm ingredients.

NOAA has designated March 16-22 as Flood Safety Awareness Week. Here’s some very important and potentially life saving information on the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” campaign.

While on the topic of flooding, the American Red Cross has a new flood safety app!

Here’s some promising research being done at the Univ. of AL/Huntsville on lightning prediction.

Some things never change. In spite of years of mounting evidence, the vitriolic consternation over climate change continues.

Recent Gallup poll indicates that “A Steady 57% in U.S. Blame Humans For Global Warming.”

Here’s a “spot on” must-read essay that addresses one of the most annoying facets of social media and the attention-hungry “social-media-rologists” (whom I would never confuse with citizen scientists).

And that’s a wrap for this week…

Remember, this is Flood Safety Awareness Week. Also, if you’ve not done so, get your emergency preparedness kit in order and buy a good NOAA weather radio ASAP. Your life may depend on it.


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