Tag Archives: SPC

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 Links And Much, Much More For May 5 – 12, 2015

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

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

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

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

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

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

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

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

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A QUICK NOTE TO MY NEW FOLLOWERS…

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

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

Cheers!

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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