Tag Archives: NOAA weather radio

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For September 26 – October 3, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to your week. For much of North American, there’s a touch of autumn in the air while spring is starting to kick in for the Southern Hemisphere. The big news this week (and for many days to come) is Hurricane Matthew, the first hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic season to achieve major hurricane status and the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic/Caribbean basin in almost a decade. Matthew has provided a consistent forecasting challenge and will continue to do so for several more days. As of today 4 October 2016) evacuations are pending for many areas along the southeastern USA coast. There’s also a severe weather threat in the USA’s central plains today…lots going on weather-wise for much of North America…so lets get started.

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

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

With Hurricane Matthew threat to many areas of the Caribbean (and North America), here’s some helpful information on making your own emergency preparedness kits. “Making a preparedness kit is one important way you can protect yourself and those around you. Remember that there are many types of emergencies – from those caused by illness to natural disasters – and you need different types of kits for a variety of situations.”

Further hurricane safety information…

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Do you live in a noisy location? If so, it can affect your quality of life. Here’s a cool citizen science project you can take part in…find out how noisy your location is while supplying data for an important study.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Perhaps we’re not out in the boonies as much as we thought. “It’s tricky to map an entire galaxy when you live in one of its arms. But astronomers have made the clearest map yet of the Milky Way – and it turns out that the arm that hosts our solar system is even bigger than previously thought.”

New research on Pluto suggests that it could have a deep salty ocean.

Check out this spectacular view…the first of its kind…of a billion stars shining in the Milky Way galaxy.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An excellent read on why you shouldn’t put all of your trust in a hurricane’s “cone of uncertainty.” Forecasters have a daunting challenge that is often made much worse by the almost unfathomable complexities of our planet’s atmosphere.

The NRDC has an excellent a concise overview on global warming that covers most any question anyone could ever have about this aspect of our changing climate.

A look into climates past. The longest lasting deserts on Earth are approximately 30 million years old and can give us a glimpse into future climate.

An interesting read on a surprising source of greenhouse gases…reservoirs built for many uses, including hydropower, drinking water, farm irrigation, and flood control, etc.

Part climatology, part public health in this read that, while focused on Australia, is applicable to all countries. Many in the medical profession are unsure of how to deal with climate change and its irrevocable connection to our health and well being.

Our planet’s future does depend on your vote. And this year, the stakes are higher than ever.

Speaking of the future, “Dear Tomorrow” is a project where today’s parents are writing letters concerning climate change to children of the future.

Finally, a sobering read that can be summed up by simply saying, “Science, Know Thy Enemy.” How The Attack On Science Is Becoming A Global Contagion.

Sorry to end this post on such a dour note, but unfortunately that is the current political, theological, and cultural climate we live in.

On a lighter note, I’d like to extend a sincere welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! There are lots of good times ahead.

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For September 19 – 27, 2016

Greetings and happy Autumnal Equinox to folks in the Northern Hemisphere! If you’re south of the equator,  I hope your start to the spring season has gotten off to a grand start. There’s plenty of science news to peruse this week, so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter could be going up for sale in the near future. Considering its my primary social media outlet, I’m watching this unfold with great interest and not a little concern.

Here’s an excellent read that you should take very seriously. “66 Ways To Protect Your Privacy Right Now.”

The FBI recommends that you cover up the webcam on your computer…and for a very good reason.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

An interesting new perspective. “Scientists Confirm The Universe Has No Direction.”

A very intriguing read on Jupiter’s moon Europa and some of the newest “secrets” discovered.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

Here’s an example of recycling at its best! Check out this table made from plastic pollution that’s found in our oceans.

A very concise overview of the causes behind wildfires.

According to recent World Health Organization data, over 90% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Frustrated by political inaction, 375 of the world’s top scientists, including 30 Nobel Prize winners, didn’t mince words as to the immediate climate threat and published an open letter regarding climate change.

While ozone is unhealthy at ground level, it’s presence in our upper atmosphere is crucial. Here’s an excellent read on how and why ozone is measured from space.

A very impressive data set! “Longest historic temperature record stretches back 2 million years.”

Getting priorities straight with bipartisan support at home and cooperation with other countries is the most satisfactory path to dealing with climate change.

Is extreme weather driven by climate change costing USA citizens a lot of money? You bet it is. Current estimates tally a total upwards of $67 Billion US dollars.

Speaking of priorities, science is perhaps the only self-correcting field of study…and climate scientists are giving us fair warning that it’s time to recalculate the math on climate change.

“President Obama signed a presidential memorandum establishing that climate-change impacts must be factored into the development of all national security-related doctrine, policies and plans.” For the USA, this is good news. Like it or not, climate change has become an important part of national and foreign policy.

Here’s important information for folks who are deaf or hard of hearing and need important NOAA Weather Radio watches, warnings, and other important weather information.

The Autumnal Equinox arrived earlier this week for the Northern Hemisphere. Here are answers to the five most common questions regarding this annual event.

A lightning bolt in Oklahoma has been deemed the world’s longest…just under 200 miles in length!

Let’s hope this comes to fruition. “Senate Weather Bill That Supports Forecast Improvement Can Benefit All Americans.”

Can climate change deniers be some of the world’s most efficient contrary contrarians? According to this article, I’d answer that question in the affirmative.

Finally, a spot on info-graphic from Dr. Marshall Shepherd that should help you out when you’re dogged with that sophomoric statement about being “wrong half the time.”

cs9hjuexeaanjgp-jpg-largeI can recall many occasions where the Storm Prediction Center has been absolutely hitting the bull’s eye with severe weather outlooks…but if they’re off a bit (as happened a few weeks ago), you’d think it was the end of western civilization as we know it whilst people are calling for heads to roll. Much of the general public isn’t aware of the intricacies of weather forecasting and doesn’t comprehend the fact that dealing with a three-dimensional fluid that is in a never-ending state of erratic flux is one of the most daunting challenges a meteorologist/climatologist/weather hobbyist/storm chaser faces.

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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 Much More For Feb. 22 – 29, 2016

Greetings to all! I hope everyone’s had an enjoyable week. Across North America, winter is winding down to a certain degree, but not without a recent spate of severe weather that, unfortunately, left several fatalities from tornadoes from Louisiana to Virginia over a two-day period. In spite of the calendar saying it’s still “winter,” severe weather knows no season…and there’s a plethora of examples of how severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can occur in the United States from January 1st to December 31st. On that note, let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

An excellent read on the hazards of the online world. “Your Virtual Friendships Come With Privacy Risks.”

A very interesting look at ten surprising ways NASA technology has improved our standard of living and life on Earth.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

An intriguing read on astronomers narrowing the search for “Planet Nine” in our solar system.

Check out this spectacular NASA video of a year in the life of our Sun.

A spectacular look at the rings of Saturn.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

In North America’s driest place, millions of yellow flowers are blanketing parts of Death Valley.

Which country has the worst air pollution? The answer surprises many people.

Bra gjort, Norge! 🙂 “Norway announces plans for Europe’s largest onshore wind farm

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you’ve not seen the new NOAA website, take a look. It’s very, very nice!

Do you have a new NOAA weather radio with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME)? Here’s a list of state-by-state SAME codes for you to help with programming.

Interested in becoming a Skywarn spotter for your local National Weather Service? Here’s what you need to know.

Speaking of learning about weather, here’s a nice beginner’s page on reading synoptic weather charts.

A spectacular video of a trio of waterspouts over Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain on 23 February 2016.

Heat waves that were, back in the day a rare occurrence, could become the annual norm.

A look at climates past and present. The ice on Antarctica could be headed for a major meltdown.

Another very interesting look at the comparisons of climates past and present.

As tropical cyclone Winston weakened in the Pacific, NASA took some amazing views of a very potent storm.

Unfortunately, it’s not science that frequently guides acceptance or rejection of climate science.

For many denialists, this is the modus operandi. “What’s the easiest way to show the world isn’t warming? Simple: ignore the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.”

Another example of climate denialism run amok as West Virginia, USA lawmakers push hard to block new science standards in schools.

Sadly, the climate change denialists that I referred to in the two previous posts will gladly stick their heads in the sand when faced with a case for optimism on climate change.

Last but definitely not least, here’s some potentially life-saving information on flood safety from the National Weather Service. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

CcB9szrW8AApdSV.jpg large

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers on social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Sept. 23 – 30, 2015

All eyes are on the Atlantic as Hurricane Joaquin intensifies and is forecast to effect the eastern USA seaboard and many inland areas. There still exists a great deal of forecast uncertainty and there are a myriad of variables to contend with. We’ll touch on that later. In other news, a very nice lunar eclipse provided quite a spectacle for tens of millions of people. Trust me, it was quite a sight. There was also exciting news from NASA regarding the presence of water on the planet Mars. In consideration of the ongoing events (Joaquin) and several important projects underway, this week’s post will be exceptionally brief.

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

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

National Preparedness Month may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t give anyone permission for complacency or the luxury of not worrying because, “those things only happen to other people. Yes, it can happen to you. The impacts to you could be considerable, even as a storm is weakening, well inland, and no longer has many of its tropical characteristics. This is a case where it’s best to err on the side of caution…just in case.

 GENERAL SCIENCE/CRITICAL THINKING

Bad science is always fair game…and should be. It should also be “called on the carpet” at every opportunity.

The USA is stuck with an anti-science congress. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change soon.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Check out the myriad of citizen science opportunities from NOAA.

Like to help document light pollution in urban areas? There’s an app for that.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The exciting astronomy news this week: salty water detected flowing on Mars in close proximity to the Curiosity rover.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Air pollution kills millions every year. Who does it kill and why…and what can be done about it?

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An excellent read by Greg Laden: The Climate Change Consensus Extends Beyond Climate Scientists.

Hurricane Joaquin is the big meteorology story for the next several days. In addition to the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, NOAA weather radio, and your local National Weather Service office, follow the National Hurricane Center for the latest updates on Joaquin. For the benefit of the safety of your loved ones as well as yourself, please use very strong discretion in filtering information about Joaquin. Your weather information, including potentially life-saving warnings, needs to come from official sources. In the twenty-plus years I’ve been using the internet, a great deal of speculation can find its way into the public’s discussion. At this time, my bottom line message to you is prepare ahead of time while you have time.

THE QUIXOTIC

Another loose cannon donning a tin foil hat is on the loose. What will they dream up next? 8-/

On the brighter side, two last bits of business…

  • I’d like to send a very warm welcome and “hello” to my new followers on social media. I’m glad you folks are along for the fun. The best is yet to come and I’m in this for the long haul.
  • Coming soon, I’ll be hosting weather and science “hangouts” on FriendLife. Dates and times will be posted on Tornado Quest’s Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress social media outlets. I look forward to chatting with many of you!

That’s a wrap for this week!

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

Tornado Quest on Twitter

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!

 

 

Update For Thursday’s Ongoing Storms And Severe Weather Potential

Today, 9 April 2015, is shaping up to be a very active severe weather day across a vast area of the contiguous 48 states. Like yesterday, this has been well forecast several days in advance. Let’s take a look at the mid-afternoon severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). This outlook will remain valid from 3:00 PM CDT to approximately 8:00 PM CDT.

THURSDAY MID-AFTERNOON CATEGORICAL SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Outlook 2000 UTC 9 April 2015As you can see, there is a large area covered by Marginal, Slight, and Enhanced severe weather risks today. The current outlook also considers northern Illinois and bordering parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri to be at the highest risk of tornadoes. This is well covered by the current tornado watches. If you live anywhere in the Marginal, Slight, or Enhanced risk area and are under a watch, pay special attention to a reliable, official source of warning information and be prepared to take precautions should a warning be issued for your area. Expect all modes of severe weather, especially in the tornado watches. Now, let’s take a look at the current SPC watches as of 3:45 PM CDT.

SPC WATCHES IN EFFECT AS OF 3:45 PM CDT

SPC Watches 1 9 April 2015As of this post, a new watch is pending for parts of southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. There are currently seven watches in effect…four severe thunderstorm watches and three tornado watches. The area of highest tornado potential is well covered by the tornado watches for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Lake Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Another tornado watch farther to the south covers much of the ArkLaTex region in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. The atmospheric ingredients in this region are such that a couple of tornadoes are possible and storms are forming well ahead of an advancing cold front that’s currently moving through parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. A very busy and active severe weather day is well underway…so pay special attention to official sources of weather watch and warning information. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the best sources of timely watch and warning information will come from the Storm Prediction Center, your local National Weather Service office, and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice. We have a long evening ahead, but if you have prepared ahead of time and plan accordingly, it will be much easier and less stressful on you. And remember…you are being looked after by some of the best atmospheric scientists in the field…and trust me, some of these folks are top-notch experts with an inimitable dedication to their profession, willingly carrying the heavy responsibility that rests on their shoulders all while keeping your safety in mind.

Once again…for your convenience…here are some handy safety rules and weather links…

Finally, another reminder that if you have a smart phone, you can put it to good use during severe weather year round by downloading the mPING app and reporting to the National Severe Storms Laboratory any severe weather you experience. This is a great way for you to take your mind off the unpleasant side of severe weather while contributing information to research meteorologists. Every report counts…including yours…but please don’t put yourself in danger just to get that report.

Remember, stay informed, stay safe, stay calm.

Cheers!

Updated: Wednesday’s Severe Weather Episode For Central/Southern Plains

For the mid-day Day 1 Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a Moderate Risk was introduced for parts of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The possibility of this happening had been mentioned in previous outlooks. Considering some of the atmospheric ingredients coming into place, I’m not at all surprised. This post will focus on the mid-afternoon update issued by the SPC at 3:00 PM CDT (2000 UTC). More severe weather outlook updates will be issued by the SPC today. The next one will be at approximately 8:00 PM CDT (0100 UTC) and 1:00 AM CDT (0600 UTC). Keep in mind that severe weather setups are in a constant state of flux…and rarely do situations stay static from one hour to the next. This is where keeping in touch with your local National Weather Service office and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice are beneficial along with NOAA weather radio and, if available to you, a quality smart phone warning app. This post will be quite brief since things are rapidly falling into place for a busy severe weather day.

Let’s take a look at the mid-afternoon SPC severe weather update.

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK ISSUED AT 12:01 PM CDT

PSWO 1 8 April 2014The SPC has issued a special Public Severe Weather Outlook that concisely explains today’s severe weather potential. This essentially has all the information you need to know. The next best step is making sure your emergency kit is in order and keep tabs on any warnings that are issued. Here’s a look at the mid-afternoon severe weather update from SPC.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK

Day 1 Categorical Outlook 1 8 April 2015Very little has changed from the earlier forecasts other than an increase in the likelihood of damaging straight-line winds and very large hail…possible up to three inches in diameter. As I’ve stated in previous posts, this is a very complex forecast scenario, is no “slam-dunk” forecast, and variables have come into play that may have a significant change in storm mode and hazards. Not everyone in the categorical outlook areas will see severe weather, but if you live anywhere in the Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, and Moderate Risk, be sure to keep in touch with official sources of watch and warning information. When and where will the storms form? From the mid-afternoon discussion, “ROUGHLY NEAR THE KANSAS/OKLAHOMA BORDER AREA EASTWARD THROUGH THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY…IS STILL EXPECTED TO BECOME THE FOCUS FOR THE PRIMARY STORM DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN COVERAGE/INTENSITY ALONG THE PLAINS PORTIONS OF THIS BOUNDARY MAY NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE 00-02Z (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT) TIME FRAME.” In other words, some of the strongest storms may not get going until close to sunset…or even after dark. At night, it can be particularly difficult to see storms…so pay particular attention to any warning that is issued. Make sure you have a source of reliable official warnings handy through your evening and plan accordingly. While you’re at it, do yourself a favor and avoid the fear mongers. For those of you with anxiety and/or phobias regarding storms, deal with PTSD due to a previous encounter with a storm-related event, or are simply experiencing a great deal of worry, they’ll do you no good. Overall, they offer very little information that hasn’t already been disseminated by OFFICIAL watch and warning sources, and their actions (especially in social media) are usually self-serving.

In a scenario such as this, tornadoes are always front and center in everyone’s concern. Here’s a look at the mid-afternoon SPC tornado outlook map.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON TORNADO OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Tornado Outlook 1 8 April 2015

The current thinking is the highest probability for a tornado is in the red shaded area. The highest probability for a significant (EF2 – EF5) tornado is in the black “hatched” area. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone in the tornado outlook area will see a tornado…or even be in a tornado warning. Tornadoes can also occur in the 5% or 2% area, but that’s less likely. Just because someone lives right outside of the 10% or 5% area doesn’t mean they should let their guard down and take a cavalier attitude. On the flip side, the purpose of this map and all others isn’t to scare you, but keep you informed as to what kind of severe weather you may experience so if it occurs, you can take the necessary precautions.

Before we wind this up…here’s a look at the SPC damaging wind and hail outlooks.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON HAIL OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Hail Outlook 1 8 April 2015 The chances for large hail are especially significant in the red shaded area and the hatched area for parts of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and a small part of west-central Illinois. Once again, not everyone will see large hail, but the possibility is there. You might consider making sure your vehicles or anything that could be damaged by large hail is under cover. Now a quick look at the SPC damaging wind outlook.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON WIND OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Wind Outlook 1 8 April 2015The 30% damaging wind outlook area closely corresponds with the tornado outlook. North-central Oklahoma to west-central Missouri are the areas currently most vulnerable. Perhaps most important is the fact that any storms that form and become severe in any of the outlook areas have the potential for damaging straight-line winds, large hail, and tornadoes. Another very important and often overlooked risk is for flash flooding. The severe thunderstorms that form today can put down copious amounts of rain that can turn a low lying road or small creek into a roaring river that can sweep away even the largest of vehicles. Remember the safety phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” It could save your life. Lightning will also be a hazard with any thunderstorm…severe our otherwise…so mind the lightning danger.

Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on what’s ahead especially in the Enhanced and Moderate Risk areas, time to put your game face on and keep on top of all watches and warnings. If you have a solid plan of action to take if you need to seek shelter and a reliable, hype-free source of watch and warning information, you will be safe. Yes, much of the information from official sources will sound stern at times, but it’s their job. You are being looked after by some of the best atmospheric scientists in the field…and trust me, some of these folks are top-notch experts with an inimitable dedication to their profession, willingly carrying the heavy responsibility that rests on their shoulders all while keeping your safety in mind.

For your convenience, here are some excellent sources of weather and weather safety information:

Finally, if you have a smart phone, you can put it to good use by downloading the mPING app and reporting to the National Severe Storms Laboratory any severe weather you experience. This is a great way for you to take your mind off the unpleasant side of severe weather while contributing information to research meteorologists. Every report counts…including yours…but please don’t put yourself in danger just to get that report.

Remember, stay informed, stay safe, stay calm.

Since things are getting very busy for me, this will likely be the last post for the Tornado Quest blog. For the rest of the duration of this event, I can most easily be followed or reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TornadoQuest.

Cheers!

Updated: Potentially Active Severe Weather Episode Mid-Week For Central/Southern Plains

As expected, there have been significant changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlooks for this week. The most notable change is with the Thursday outlook which, as of this post, has the outlook area covering states much farther to the northeast that in previous outlooks. Regardless, we’ve a busy weather week ahead. Let’s first take a look at Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY

SPC Wed Outlook 1 6 April 2015

Wednesday’s Slight Risk has been expanded and now covers a large area from south-central OK into southern Iowa and western Illinois. Several major metro areas are within the Slight Risk and include Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Wichita, and all surrounding suburbs. Warm, moist air is flowing northward across the risk area and will provide the fuel for the storms. In western Oklahoma, Kansas, and northwest Texas, a “dryline” (which is a sharp demarcation line between dry and moist air) will be the focal point for storm development. In the early hours of Wednesday, storm formation will be deterred by a “cap” which literally stops warm, moist parcels of air from rising and forming storms. Eventually, ingredients in the recipe will come into play that will allow the cap to “break” and storms will develop. Once that happens, storms that develop should rapidly become supercell thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, large hail, strong straight-line winds, and the potential for tornadoes. The SPC specifically addresses the tornado threat with, “THE AMPLY MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER AND FAVORABLE LOW-LEVEL SHEAR — PARTICULARLY NORTHWARD INTO KANSAS NEARER THE ADVANCING SURFACE LOW — WILL LIKELY BE SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT RISK FOR TORNADOES.” In other words, plentiful moisture for storm “fuel” along with wind shear that will allow storms to rotate will be present. There’s no reason to panic, just be aware that “tis the season” and any storms that form in the right environment have tornadic potential. Some forecast data hints at storms being somewhat isolated from each other, but any storms that do form will quickly become severe. As the evening progresses, storms will likely become more numerous, less isolated, and a reduction in the tornado threat may occur, but the large hail and damaging straight-line wind threat will continue. Flash flooding will also be an issue with any location that experiences torrential rainfall. Flooding kills more people every year than all other weather hazards combined and, in my opinion is a greatly underrated weather hazard. Now let’s take a look at Wednesday’s SPC Severe Weather Probabilistic map.

WEDNESDAY’S SEVERE WEATHER PROBABILISTIC MAP

SPC Wed Outlook 2 6 April 2015

The purpose of this SPC map is very simple, but certainly not meant to frighten anyone. It simply shows the probability of severe weather, including significant events, of occurring within twenty-five miles of any given point. Not every location within the Slight Risk 15% area or the significant severe “hatched” area will see storms. Some locations may not even see a drop of rain. It simply lets you know that within these areas, particularly the “hatched” area outlined in black, has a higher probability of severe weather being reported. This doesn’t mean an imminent disaster, but the Slight Risk also doesn’t mean storms will be “slightly” severe. At this time, SPC forecasters feel that storms within the hatched area will be pretty potent…which means if you live in or will be traveling through this area, expect a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch, numerous warnings, and some robust storms that won’t hesitate to show off how much shake, rattle, and roll they can make. It does not mean the end of the world or “death raining from the skies” which, unfortunately, is the message that many attention hungry fear mongers will convey through social media. If you have a well stocked emergency kit, a disaster/shelter plan in place, have good sources of watch and warning information, and heed all warnings and advisories only from official sources (your local National Weather Service office and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice), you will be safe. If you’re in an area where a warning has been issued, do not run outside with your camcorder to capture your ten seconds of YouTube fame, jump in a car and decide to become and impromptu “storm chaser,” or panic and try to drive out of the path of a storm. Those actions will expose you to lightning, high winds which can make driving difficult, low visibility, traffic congestion, and flash flooding which (with only two feet or less of water) can sweep you and your vehicle away. Plan ahead (as in now) for a day of severe weather, stay weather aware, and you’ll be fine. Now we can turn our attention to Thursday.

THURSDAY

SPC Day 4 Outlook 6 April 2015

At the risk of sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet, when I first saw this map, my immediate thought was, “Ah-Ha! Just as I thought. The severe weather threat area has been shifted to the north and east! Wednesday’s storms have overturned much of the atmosphere and laid out tons of outflow boundaries! What a mess…and forecasting nightmare.” I’m beginning to think that almost forty years of being a “weather geek” is paying off. But enough of me, back to the SPC severe outlook for Thursday. Due to the previous days severe weather and certain changes in the atmospheric “recipe,” this day presents (as stated in the SPC outlook), “SUBSTANTIAL CHALLENGES WITH RESPECT TO THE CONVECTIVE FORECAST.” In other words, severe weather is very likely, but what a headache it is trying to narrow things down to when and where. Wednesday’s storms will have had an effect on the atmosphere that will change where and when new storms form. To make matters more challenging, computer forecast models are not fully in agreement on where storms will be at the beginning of the day and where they will form as the hours pass. The threat for large hail and damaging straight line winds will definitely be present and the risk for tornadoes could be somewhat less than on Wednesday, but don’t let your guard down. Any storms that form Thursday will be just as potent as Wednesday’s storms and you should heed official information on watches and warnings with the same degree of caution. In spite of the possibility that Wednesday’s storms may have taken some of Thursday’s severe weather energy, it will be a day you’ll want to be keenly weather aware, especially in the red 30% area for parts of Illinois and Missouri. Once again, there’s no need to panic or worry. Simply be prepared, avoid the fear mongers, stick with official sources of weather information, and you will be fine. Let’s take a quick look at Friday.

FRIDAY

SPC Day 5 Outlook 6 April 2015By the time Friday rolls around, much of the “energy” for storms will have moved to an area stretching from Georgia northward to the DelMarVa region. Time will tell, but it appears at this time that damaging straight line winds and large hail will be the primary threats. As is the case with previous days, what transpires Friday will depend a great deal on Thursday’s storm activity. If you live in or near the 15% probability region, keep a reliable source of official weather information handy. As is always the case, as each specific forecast time draws nearer, the SPC forecasters can be more specific as to where and when storms will occur and what threats will be most prominent.

It’s my hope that these posts are helpful in your preparation for an active and interesting episode of weather. If anything,  I hope to give those of you that have a degree of anxiety or phobias towards storms a sense of being in control by acquiring knowledge. Knowledge being power, and a sense of empowerment begets a calmer state of mind. In our contemporary world where divisiveness on the most menial of topics runs rampant, the human species needs all the “calm” we can get.

Let’s meet again tomorrow and take a look at this show Mother Nature has on the schedule. Who knows what changes she’ll have up her sleeve by then. In the mean time, check your NOAA weather radio, emergency kit, and plan your day accordingly. If you’d like to see all of the SPC’s information, you can find it here. If you need information from your local National Weather Service office, click your location on the “NWS Forecast Offices Map” and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Finally, if you need information on NOAA weather radio, you can find it all here.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For March 16 – 24, 2015

A belated happy spring to one and all! The vernal equinox took place on 20 March 2015 and (astronomically) ushered in spring for the Northern Hemisphere. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a day with an equal number of hours of sunlight and darkness, here’s your chance. It only happens twice a year. For the time being, winter is still keeping a chill in the air over much of North America, but the warmth of spring is making itself felt in many other regions. Just a quick reminder that the spring severe weather season is upon us and before it gets too busy, now’s the time to prepare your emergency kit, have a plan of action at home or work, and reliable, official sources of severe weather warning information: a NOAA weather radio, a high-quality smart phone warning app, the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, and your local National Weather Service offices in social media. This will come in handy for many across the central USA plains this week as severe weather is forecast by the Storm Prediction Center. This post was delayed by one day so I could share some “up-to-date” information regarding the severe weather potential. I’ll also give a quick overview at the end of this post on what you can expect…and how to get the most timely weather information.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

A brilliant spot-on essay by Lawrence Krauss, who is one of many on my ‘most admired’ list. “Teaching Doubt.” “Informed doubt is the very essence of science.”

SOCIAL SCIENCE

A little sociology, psychology, and geographic demography wrapped into one very interesting read; How Different Groups Think About Scientific Issues.

Good news for introverts such as myself. We are winning quiet victories.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen science FTW! Two new species of flowering plants have been discovered in South Africa.

Citizen scientists can pitch in on collecting climate data for this spring!

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is set to plunge to its death on April 30, 2015…but since 2011, Messenger has been doing some amazing work including capturing the most spectacular images of Mercury to date.

NASA tells Congress to take a hike. I couldn’t agree more.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

One of the many great things about paleontology is the ever-changing nature of its discoveries. And this newest one is not a little amazing.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Wind, like water, can sculpt the Earth’s landscapes in some amazing ways.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES/SUSTAINABILITY

A very good read on the connection between our urban biosphere and atmosphere. It’s also a good excuse for you to plant a tree!

As of late, the UK has been dealing with air pollution that warrants health warnings.

What smog-eating buildings lack in aesthetics is made up for in clean air.

Of note to seasonal allergy sufferers; Air pollutants could boost the potency of the very things that make you feel miserable.

Love to see this come to fruition. “Solar could meet CA energy demand 3 to 5 times over.”

Speaking of CA, solar plants produced 5% of the state’s electricity last year.

This gives a new meaning to “waste” not, want not. “This Public Bus Runs Entirely On Human Poop Converted Into Fuel.”

New roofs in France must be covered in plants or solar panels. I’ve no problem with that. Not only will it be a good renewables/sustainability move, anything…and I do mean anything…is more aesthetically appealing than a black tar and gravel roof.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Happy World Meteorological Day to all the atmospheric scientists, citizen scientists, and devoted weather hobbyists out there! Here’s a look at work the World Meteorological Organization is doing regarding climate change. “The WMO is working more broadly to better disseminate weather and climate information to those on the ground who need it to make informed decisions, including farmers, health workers and emergency managers.”

The latest State Of The Climate report has been released by NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center. The full report can be read here. A concise summary can be found here. Bottom line: global average temperatures for both February, 2015 and December, 2014 – February 2015 were above average across the board for land and sea surface temperatures. I highly recommend that those interested, regardless of your position, read the full report carefully.

This week’s US Drought Monitor shows a sliver of improvement, but otherwise the extreme/exceptional conditions persist from CA, NV, & OR to OK & TX.

As California’s drought worsens, a relief plan has been proposed. Water rationing may very well become a way of life while reserves of water up to 20,000 years old are being tapped. Desperate measures for desperate times indeed.

Arctic sea ice, which scientists knew was shrinking rapidly, has just hit a new low.

Merchants Of Doubt” will be showing in a few select cities. If you’re living in one where it will be showing, I’d take it in. There are plenty of folks who don’t think you should.

Waterspouts may appear graceful, benign, and even almost harmless, but they are as potentially deadly as any Great Plains tornado. Here’s an interesting video of a recent waterspout in Brazil.

Interesting concept that’s certainly worth a try. “Experimental Forecast Projects #Tornado Season.”

Intriguing read about weather’s second deadliest killer. “Morning is the time for powerful lightning.”

Here’s a very interesting read on severe weather and how it affects animal behavior.

The individual who compiled this data isn’t doing his reputation any favors. Besides, as the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” Regardless, here’s said individual’s take on the “dreariest” cities in the USA.

THE VISCERAL UNDERBELLY

This blatant violation of the 1st Amendment can only get worse from here. “Florida’s Climate Change Gag Order Claims Its First Victim.”

Someone please tell me this is a joke…right? “Solar eclipse: schoolchildren banned from watching on ‘religious and cultural’ grounds.”

THIS WEEK’S SEVERE WEATHER POTENTIAL…AND SOME HELPFUL HINTS

Updated 2:25 PM (1925 UTC) 24 March 2015: As of this post, an Elevated and Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms exists for Tuesday (from OK to MO) and Wednesday (TX northeast into IL/KY). As is always the case with Storm Prediction Center (SPC) severe weather outlooks, changes in status are inevitable. This video from the SPC will show you how severe weather forecasts are made. These forecasts are made by some of the top-notch atmospheric scientists in the USA and should be the primary severe weather outlooks you use. The SPC also issues all severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and mesoscale discussions (technical but informative products regarding the status of severe weather potential or ongoing storms). Now that we’ve covered that, here’s my subjective take on this week’s severe weather potential. The primary threats will be high winds and hail. Tornadoes will likely be far and few between if any are able to form. This isn’t the kind of “recipe” for a major severe weather outbreak, so there’s no reason to panic or worry unnecessarily. I’ll also spare you all the “geek-speak” that will no doubt flood social media and blogs since that is not the intended audience for this section of this post.

While you still have a day or so to prepare, look over your emergency kit to make sure it’s in order, your NOAA weather radio is function properly, follow the SPC, your local National Weather Service office, and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice on Twitter, and (if this applies to you) double-check your smart phone severe weather warning app. Though this only scratches the surface and I could go on for page after page on preparedness, it’s my intention to give you some helpful hints and give some peace of mind to those who tend to have strong feelings of anxiety or worry if and when severe weather is possible. One thing you can do that will most certainly alleviate any unnecessary discomfort on your part is to avoid the fear mongers, hype-sters, and over zealous “media-rologists.” It’s true that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, freedom of speech, and (as long as TOS are observed) can run their own social media accounts as they wish. On the other hand, the public (and possibly law enforcement) won’t take kindly to someone screaming “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. You’re free to follow whomever you wish in social media, but caveat emptor please. Just as one would never go to a homeopathic hobbyist for a severe medical condition, one should exercise extreme caution regarding severe weather warnings. As for the information I share on any of the social media outlets from Tornado Quest, I only share severe thunderstorm or tornado watch information for the southern plains from the SPC once all the information is online. I also enjoy sharing mesoscale discussions relevant to Oklahoma and surrounding states to give folks a “behind the scenes” look into what SPC forecasters are thinking. This is merely for convenience since (1.) I have a high concentration of followers in the southern plains and (2.) I try my best to make folks aware of official sources of information. If I comment or post a radar image of a particularly strong or tornadic storm, it’s more from a scientific or weather geek perspective. I do not and never will post warning information. Under no circumstances should any of the information I share on Tornado Quest be used for the safety of life and/or property. If you’ve read this far, it’s become obvious that this portion of the post is less about this week’s severe weather potential than how you can best get reliable and timely warnings from the best responsible sources. I’ve addressed this issue for years and, not unexpectedly, my opinions aren’t popular…but I stand behind every word.

And on that note, I’d like to welcome my new followers…I appreciate all of you a great deal. Stay weather aware folks! See you next time!

Cheers!

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