May is finally here which means the peak month for tornado activity has arrived. It just so happens that the computer model forecasts are hinting at a rather quiet period for the southern plains. In the meantime, we’ve got several days ahead with well above average temperatures which bring their own hazards. Our bodies are not yet acclimated to the heat. Even the most active and athletic individual can fall victim to heat related illnesses very quickly. I’d like to pass along some helpful information that’s beneficial to have on hand.
Ultra Violet Radiation Awareness: Protecting yourself from UV rays is very important, even in quite mild & cool weather.
Heat: A Major Killer: The “visually spectacular” weather events make the rounds on media but heat, which lacks the “sensationalism” of a tornado outbreak or hurricane, kills far more people each year than violent weather events combined. This page from the NWS is very comprehensive and explains many of the advisories that are issued by your local NWS office.
I hope this information is helpful to you and, regardless of where you live, it helps you stay safe in the sizzling summer days ahead.
Summer has arrived with a vengeance in the southern plains. Hopefully this won’t be an omen, but we’ve already had several days of head indicies well over 100 degrees F. and numerous Ozone Alert days. For those of you who aren’t familiar with said alert, it basically means that the ozone which helps maintain life as we know it due to its presence in our upper atmosphere has a tendency, largely to blame on over dependence on fossil fuels, to collect near the ground. Add to that a ridge of high pressure, little or no wind, and a metro area buzzing with cars, trucks, and every kind of gas-powered tool to manicure lawns to the point of perfection and you’ve got the makings for a vast amount of ozone collecting at ground level. This stuff is not good for you to breathe. And I’m talking to the healthy ones out there. For folks with respiratory problems, heart disease, etc., it can make for rough going. Summer is here. Get ready. Surviving a summer on the southern plains of the USA is a test of wills. But, enough of that. On to a lighter topic.
This Friday (7.3.09) I’m going to be a guest on Skeptically Speaking which is likely the only skeptic-themed radio show in the world. This is my kind of radio! The topic is storm chasing and realted topics. Am I excited? You bet! Am I nervous? You bet! Who in their right mind wouldn’t be? The advantage of a setting like this is I won’t be misquoted or have statements taken out of context. My experience in the past on print interviews has been lackluster at best. At least this time my words will be my own, there will be plenty of friendly banter going on, and I get to verbally crush into molecular pulp so many of the ridiculous myths that are pervasive in the topics of severe weather and tornadoes. Sadly, some of those myths that people cling to have cost some their lives. I’ll also lay out the hard and fast facts about storm chasing which, to sum up briefly, consist of a great deal of failure, frustration, and exhaustion. Tornadoes are an extremely elusive, irratic, and incredibly rare phenomenon. Their fleeting existence eludes those of us who seek them out year after year in an atmospheric cat-and-mouse game. The lovely Desiree and company of Skeptically Speaking will no doubt lead me gently into this uncharted territory. I have no doubt it will be great fun. If you miss the show, visit the Skeptically Speaking website (http://skepticallyspeaking.com) and you can listen to the show at your convenience. While you’re there, check out the other fascinating array of guests and topics from other shows. So, here goes…another new adventure. Mom, I’m dedicating this one to you.