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23 July 2014

The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014

At the AMS Broadcast Meteorology conference last month in Lake Tahoe, I presented a talk about widespread rumors on Facebook last January that a paralyzing snowstorm was coming. This is just one example of the love/hate relationship that meteorologists have with Facebook, and I was quoted in an article on TV News Check about this as well a couple of weeks ago. As I told the reporter for TV News …

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4 July 2014

True Colour View of Arthur from NASA (Doppler sees winds at 100 MPH)

Frying Pan Shoals off the North Carolina coast caught a gust to 99 mph on their weather station. They were in the eye-wall of Hurricane Arthur at the time. Here on the Delmarva Peninsula there is a real risk of extreme rip currents behind the storm. With thousands of folks streaming to the Maryland and Delaware beaches for the holiday weekend, this is a serious threat. Something to think about: …

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30 June 2014

Yes, El Nino Is Coming But It’s Probably Not What You Think

  An El Nino is probably on the way for this autumn and winter, but despite what you may have heard about floods and fires, it’s not looking (right now) as if it will be a strong one. The strength of the El Nino IS a big deal however, because weak to moderate El Nino episodes tend to have different and milder impacts on worldwide weather, than the super strong ones …

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19 June 2014

Meteorology In The High Mountains Of California

  I am at the American Meteorological Society’s 42nd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology at Squaw Valley,Ca. We are just outside of Lake Tahoe, and I drove up from Las Vegas, through Death Valley and by Mammoth Lakes. The temperature ranged from 96 in Death Valley to 46 at Mammoth, and when i awoke here in Squaw Valley this morning it was 28 degrees! I thought I’d share some pics of …

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4 June 2014

A Busy Tuesday at the Hazardous Weather Test Bed in Norman,OK

If a thunderstorm has an extremely strong updraft it will push all the way into the stratosphere before weakening. The air actually starts to get warmer in the stratosphere, and a warm bubble of rising air suddenly finds itself colder than the air around it, and will eventually sink back down. So, the higher the updraft penetrates, the stronger it must be. This is why meteorologists are keen to know …

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2 June 2014

Here’s How Scientists Are Improving Warnings of Dangerous Weather

  Imagine a hot July weekend, and the beaches and or area lakes are packed with thousands of folks enjoying the sun, sand and water. While there is a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast, the skies are sunny, and the weather is the last thing on the minds of most people. It’s the first thing on the minds of weather forecasters, however, and if strong thunderstorms with deadly lightning …

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5 May 2014

Wichita Kansas Reaches 102 degrees Sunday. Earliest 100+ in 126 years of Records.

The high made it to 102 today in Wichita. From NWS Wichita: 125 km to the south, a massive wildfire is underway this Sunday evening in Guthrie,OK. Pictures from local TV show the extent. The area of EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT continues to grow. In the Great Plains, all heat and drought are compared to the height of the dust bowl in 1936. A dry spring means a hotter ground, and this …

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30 April 2014

NWS Weather Radar Upgrade Proving Wildly Successful

It was near midnight last night (April 28, 2014) when a strong super-cell storm developed an intense rotation as it approached Birmingham, AL (with a population of over a million people). Tornadoes are hard to spot at night (and they can often be wrapped in rain) making them invisible until it’s too late to take cover. While Doppler radar has made it possible to see this rotation inside a storm, …

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29 April 2014

Death Toll Mounting In Deep South

Below is what the radar image showed. The blue is wind toward the radar and the red is away from the radar. Virtually all of the tornadoes were inside the moderate risk area issued by the Storm Prediction Center. Severe weather forecasting has improved dramatically over the last 30 years.

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28 April 2014

Major Severe Weather Outbreak Underway In Plains/Southeast

A strong low pressure system is really winding up in the Plains this Sunday evening, and winds are gusting to 48 mph behind  dry line front through Oklahoma and Texas. Ahead of the dry line, a moist and extremely unstable airmass is in place, and storms have already developed. Keep in mind that tornadoes require both unstable air AND strong low-level wind shear, and there is plenty of both in …

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14 March 2014

NWS Use of the Word Haboob Sets off Firestorm In West Texas

A haboob is a type of severe dust storm. The word has been in common use for at least 60 years, and it dates back to the 1920′s in the Sudan. The word itself is Arabic in origin, and the American Meteorological Society atmospheric science dictionary defines it thus: haboob (Many variant spellings, including habbub, habub, haboub, hubbob, hubbub.) A strong wind and sandstorm or duststorm in northern and central Sudan, especially around Khartoum, where the …

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8 March 2014

Why your car is covered with an inch of ice, instead of a foot of snow!

Guest post by Ilissa Ocko Ever wondered what the “wintry mix”’ you were suffering through was really made of, or argued with a friend about whether you were seeing sleet or hail? Wonder no more! On a recent ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, my husband and I encountered almost every type of precipitation possible. It had snowed four feet in four days where we snowmobiled in Yellowstone National Park; …

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13 February 2014

Wild Weather and Forecast Uncertainty

The flooding in the UK is the worst on record in many areas, and the SW mainline rail to Cornwall has washed away. This being just the latest in a series of powerful storms that have blasted the UK and Ireland since early January. Some areas had a months worth of rain last night alone, and some areas had two months worth of rain in two days. The BBC has …

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8 February 2014

Footsteps Of The Oldest Britains Uncovered By Phenomenal Seas

The Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4 this week used a word for the sea-state it has never used before – PHENOMENAL. It’s been that bad, with storm after storm and the worst flooding on record (Records of flooding go back to the time when the Virginia was a colony!). The storms have given archeologists a priceless gift though, because they uncovered footprints in the sand that have been dated …

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18 January 2014

The Challenges of Climate Change Communication

This is a re-post from the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. It’s a subject that meteorologists who work in TV deal with every day. Even if communicating climate is not part of your job, you’ll still learn some real science about climate. If your job is in any way connected to communicating science, this is a must see/read. Richard Alley, Susi Moser Featured in Yale Forum Communications …

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17 January 2014

Premiering Next Week- Revenge of The Polar Vortex (Starring the Dogs of Winter)

It’s coming back. Will it be as cold as the last one at the beginning of the year? Too soon to say but there are growing signs it will last longer and may come in several waves. Numerical weather ensembles (See last two blog posts) are in remarkable agreement that the cold will return. Model guidance is indicating temperatures as much as 40 degrees below normal by later next week! …

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14 January 2014

The Polar Vortex Gets Its 15 Minutes of Fame

I was asked by the AGU to do a post about the Polar Vortex for the AGU Blog THE BRIDGE. You can read it by clicking on the image below: and then you should read Bob Henson’s piece from the NCAR AtmosNews Journal

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2 January 2014

Cold and Snow, and High Winds As Well For Northeast USA. Storms Threaten UK Again as Well.

A strong winter storm will hit the NE later tonight and this one will have bitter cold and high winds. Note the predicted wind gusts at sunrise Friday from the European Model, and because of this Gale Warnings are in effect for waters from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine and into Atlantic Canada. Rawinsonde balloons this morning show a jet stream approaching 180 knots heading into the Atlantic, and this …

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24 December 2013

UK Pounded By Severe Winds. Friday May Be Worse!

A series of powerful storms is crossing the UK and numerical weather models indicate the worst may be on Friday. Some guidance is indicating the pressure at the center of the low may dip to an incredible 930 millibars (that would be about the same as a Category 4 hurricane). The storms are developing as jet stream winds over North America reach near record levels at over 250 knots!! I’ve …

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17 November 2013

November Severe Weather Outbreak Expected Sunday in Ohio Valley

I cannot remember the last time I saw a moderate risk for severe storms in November, but it has seemed to happen more often in recent years. A negatively tilted trough will swing through the region on Sunday and severe storms will likely develop along a fast-moving cold front. The wind field will be strong as well with south winds of 20-30 mph ahead of the front, with almost all …

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