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7 April 2015

Thunderstorms, On a Scale of 0 to 5

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman issues all of the weather watches for severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes, across the U.S. In addition, they also put out an outlook several times per day that indicates the threat level across the country over the next several days. In the past this outlook had three levels for severe storm risk: slight, moderate, and high, but this has now been revised, and the graphic …


1 April 2015

Jaw Dropping Images of Super Typhoon Maysak

NASA Astronauts have been sending back jaw dropping images of Super Typhoon Maysak, headed toward the Philippines with winds of nearly 240 km/hr. Astronaut Terry Virts uploaded some incredible photos of the eye of Maysak to his Twitter account as well and they provide one of the best views of an intense tropical cyclone ever made from low Earth orbit. The Super Typhoone is likely going to hit the northern Philippines in …


11 February 2015

Coldest Air of The Winter Headed For the NE U.S. and Midwest

A true outbreak of Polar air is headed for the northeastern quarter of the U.S. beginning Thursday. It will actually come in at least two and maybe 3 waves. The first wave will bring snow showers and plunging temps on Thursday to the East Coast from Virginia to Maine, and another surge will arrive Saturday evening with even colder air. A true Polar air mass often brings a dusting of …


25 January 2015

East Coast Blizzard Brewing?

  There are increasing signs this early Sunday morning that the winter of 2015 is about to go into high gear. A major nor’easter is likely to develop Monday and move NE to off the New England coast by Tuesday evening. A word of warning here- there is still a lot of uncertainty in the strength and track of this low and that will play a big role in how …


15 December 2014

Cool Science Pics

Thought I’d share some cool pics taken from Space today. The first one below is from the past week, and is a great view from the ISS courtesy of Astronaut Barry Wilmore. Notice the city lights shining through the clouds. I forecasted a sunny Sunday in Maryland and Delaware today. Missed it by THAT much! Severe storms hit Oklahoma Sunday evening ahead of a powerful tropospheric low pressure system. The …


29 November 2014

Using Your Smartphone to Improve Weather Forecasts and Warnings

You need to download an app called mPing. mPing is a free app developed by scientists at the University of Oklahoma (My alma mater!) and the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, and it’s aim is to improve forecasts and weather models by letting everyone know what type of precipitation is falling on you right now. You might say, that we have radar for that, but in reality, radar …


27 July 2014

Rare Mid-Summer Tornado Outbreak Possible In Midwest Sunday

An unusually strong summer cool front is expected to kick off numerous super-cell thunderstorms Sunday across the Midwest and even into the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast. With thousands of folks at campgrounds and beaches, the possibilities that the storms may catch folks in the open and away from sturdy shelter is much higher than normal. Just this week, an EF1 tornado hit the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and left two dead and over …


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 …


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: …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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, …


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.


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 …


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 …


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; …


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 …