"In 1928, teletype machines replaced telegraph and telephone communication of weather information. Routine upper air observations by aircraft were standardized in 1931, replacing Kite Stations. But only 6 years later, in 1937, the first official Radiosonde program of comprehensive upper air balloon reports was established, ending the domestic aircraft observation program." - from A History of Weather Technology by meteorologist Miles Muzio; details below.
"It was difficult to know this country without having wintered there; for on arriving in summer everything is very pleasant on account of the woods, the beautiful landscapes, and the fishing for the many kinds of fish found there. There are six months of winter in that country. The cold was severe and more extreme than in France, and lasted much longer." - Samuel de Champlain, early 1600s - from a great summary of the evolution of America's weather service from NOAA.
1 Dead After St. Louis Storm Blows Beer Tent Over. Severe straight-line winds bloew across St. Louis late Saturday; the latest from AP and Weatherbug.com: "One person died Saturday and more than a dozen were taken to a hospital with injuries after high winds blew over a beer tent near Busch Stadium in St. Louis. At least five others were critically injured and up to 100 people were treated at the scene after straight-line winds whipped through a large tent near Kilroy's Sports Bar, where about 200 people were celebrating after the Cardinals beat Milwaukee 7-3 earlier in the afternoon, officials said. Eddie Roth, a spokesman for the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, said winds of about 50 mph shattered aluminum poles that held up the tent, which was located south of the stadium. The force of the wind blew the tent onto an adjacent railroad bridge."
* more details here from The Washington Post.
Ah...Spring In Wyoming. From the Wyoming Highway Patrol: "You gotta love spring time in Wyoming! Whatever your travel plans are this weekend, please buckle up!"
"...it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods." - from a New York Times story, details below.
This Morning's Weather Balloon In Tallahassee (Florida) Actually Hit A Person. The crazy details from the local Tallahassee NWS office: "We have an interesting story about this morning’s weather balloon launch! When the instrument fell back to the ground around 9:30 AM, it actually landed on a person in Jefferson county! This is one of the main reasons that we attach a parachute to the instrument every time we send one up. It allowed the instrument to fall slow enough that it did not injure anyone on the ground. We have uploaded an image of the approximate path of the balloon based on a model derived wind forecast. Sure enough, it shows a touchdown in Jefferson county! If you are ever lucky enough to stumble upon (or be targeted by) one of our instruments, be sure to send it back to us! Enclosed within the instrument itself is a postage paid mailing bag. Just follow the attached instructions, drop it off at the post office, and we’ll recycle it! Be sure you let the battery cool down first as this may take several hours.
* Fun Fact: Based on the size and population density of Jefferson county, a rough estimate of your odds of being hit by the instrument (provided you were in Jefferson county this morning) are 1 in 506,800,000,000,000,000!!!!!
Sunday Severe Threat. T-storms may exceed severe limits from San Antonio to Oklahoma City, Springfield, Missouri and St. Louis to Louisville. A few isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out. Map courtesy of NOAA SPC.
Hard Lessons From Twisters Have Made Alabama One Of The Best Prepared In Country. Here's an excerpt of a great story from The Birmingham News (al.com) about lessons learned from last April's deadly tornado outbreak: "The tornado that plowed through downtown Cullman one year ago today brought entire city blocks to the ground, making mulch of some businesses, churches and homes. And almost as soon as the city got a good look at the devastation, a second storm hit. "The volunteers started coming in from everywhere," said Kasey Kearce, the executive director of Cullman's United Way. "It was tee-total chaos." Like every other community hit in the April 27 tornadoes, Cullman found it wasn't fully prepared to respond -- not just to the damage inflicted by a vicious twister but to the outpouring of help from generous, good-hearted people."
Photo credit above: "
Emergency Officials To Storm Chasers: Stay Home. An interesting (and inevitable?) reaction to the flood of storm chasers hitting America's highways every time severe weather threatens. And as long as local stations and national networks keep airing spectacular footage those storm chasers will continue to...chase. I have mixed feelings. I understand the safety challenges, for the chasers and emergency first responders trying to do their jobs. And yet research confirms that many people do not take evasive action during a life-threatening situation until and unless they actually see that the tornado is real, on the ground, moving toward their neighborhood. In a perfect world (it ain't) we'd have a national network of live HD webcams, and not have to rely on people holding up iPhones, but until that day comes, I think we'll continue to have this problem. AP and Fortwayne.com have the story; here's an excerpt: "MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — The recent outbreak of severe weather in Kansas had storm chasers out in full force. So many of them, in fact, that emergency officials everywhere are taking notice, and putting out warnings. Delaware County Emergency Management Agency Director Jason Rogers' advice to would-be storm chasers? Stay home. "We certainly do not encourage people to put themselves in harm's way just to be able to see a storm," he said. Sometimes, storm chasers can become a hindrance rather than a help, he added. That happened in Kansas, where officials said that the large amount of storm chasers -- jamming the streets with their vehicles -- hindered emergency responders."
A Year After Major Tornado Outbreak, Industry, Victims Share Stories. More details from PropertyCasualty360.com: "About one year after a tornado tore off the roof and blew out some walls of the Hodges home in Harvest, Ala., another twister this year in March destroyed the house. “It was close to what it was before the [first] storm,” James Hodges says of how the home was nearly rebuilt before being hit again this year. Like it had after the first storm, State Farm, the Hodges’ insurer, is paying to have the home rebuilt—this time starting at the foundation, which was just poured."
"On Cable TV they have a weather channel - 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window." - Dan Spencer
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
The History Of American Weather Technology. Here's a snippet of a very informative post from meteorologist Miles Muzio at the WeatherWhys Blog - at Bakersfield Now: "How important is the weather? From earliest civilization, farming has been completely dependent upon adequate amounts of rainfall and sunshine, a lack of freezing temperatures together with conditions that limited pests. Travel across great oceans from ancient time has also depended upon favorable winds and a minimum of storminess to guarantee success. Agriculture and commerce have indeed bowed to the whims of weather at every step of the way from the start. While various innovations of science were ongoing in renaissance Europe, the new world beckoned as a potential proving ground for technological advancement born out of necessity and opportunity. A prominent American colonist and perhaps the most famous pioneer to blaze new scientific trails was Benjamin Franklin. His iconic kite experiment has forever installed this man into the American persona for ingenuity and insight."
* NOAA has a terrific story about the evolution of weather observation and technology here.
"A flash flood of hail? Is this for real?"
What TV Viewers Are Doing On Their Tablets (Study). Here's an excerpt of an interesting study from lostremote.com: "It seems like we’ve been publishing a couple TV-tablet studies every week — you can catch up in our social TV research section — and today Nielsen published part two of its tablet study, which breaks it all down by demographic. You may remember the first study that found 45% of US tablet owners are using the device daily in front of TV. Today, Nielsen answers the question, what are they doing on their tablets? And how does it change across demographic groups?"
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt
Risk of Spring
"There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends" mused Arnot Sheppard.
That's two miserable Saturdays in a row. It was joyously foul - a million dollar rain for farmers and gardeners; not nearly enough rain to replenish low lake water levels. It could have been worse. Sleet fell as I ducked out to retrieve my Star Tribune newspaper at 8 am. Had the lowest 3,000 feet of the atmosphere been 2-3 F. colder we'd be tromping around in 2-4" of slush.
Cue the robins and lawn mowers. This week should restore your faith in a Minnesota spring; low-60s today, 70 tomorrow, near 80 Tuesday before falling back into the low 70s by the weekend. Rain brushes southeastern Minnesota tonight, a few strong/severe T-storms possible late Tuesday, a spattering of showers and T-showers Friday into the weekend. A vigorous boundary setting up nearby (80s over Iowa, 60s up north) may ignite rounds of heavy showers and storms this week. We could even make another big dent in our nagging long-term drought.
My outlook: more shorts and t-shirts, fewer jackets, with a bit more spring in your step!
"Never forget who you are, for surely the world won't. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones.
"Protect Our Winters" Mobilizing Skiers, Snowboarders Against Climate Change. The story from AP and The Washington Post: "DENVER — Backcountry pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones says he’s seen the effects of climate change up close after 18 years of heading to Alaska for deep winter powder. “Our season ends a week earlier than it used to. The glacier we use to land on, we can’t anymore,” Jones said. It’s a big part of why Jones formed Protect Our Winters in 2007 to unite snowboarders and skiers to save what they love. Coming off a shortened ski season with weak snowfall in much of Colorado, Utah and the Northeast, there’s a sense of urgency to what Protect Our Winters wants to do next — get Congress to pay more attention to climate change."
Harvard: Air Pollution Stops Global Warming. Well, that's one way to curb our global warming trend - just pollute more. In a counterintuitive story, a lessening of air pollution (smog) may actually increase the rate of warming in the years to come. An excerpt from Fox News: "While greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane warm the Earth's surface, tiny particles in the air can have the reverse effect on regional scales. "What we've shown is that particulate pollution over the eastern United States has delayed the warming that we would expect to see from increasing greenhouse gases," says lead author Eric Leibensperger (Ph.D. '11), who completed the work as a graduate student in applied physics at SEAS." Photo credit: AP.
"Warming Hole" Delayed Climate Change Over Eastern U.S.: Study. Details from physorg.com: "For the sake of protecting human health and reducing acid rain, we've now cut the emissions that lead to particulate pollution," he adds, "but these cuts have caused the greenhouse warming in this region to ramp up to match the global trend." At this point, most of the "catch-up" warming has already occurred."
Map credit above: "This figure illustrates the mean effect on surface temperature, during the period 1970-1990, of particulate pollution. The central region was cooled by as much as 1 degree Celsius. Credit: Image courtesy of Eric Liebensberger."
Atmospheric Warming Altering Ocean Salinity And The Water Cycle. Here's an excerpt from rdmag.com: "A clear change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signaling shifts and acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle tied directly to climate change. In a paper published in Science, Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) reported changing patterns of salinity in the global ocean during the past 50 years, marking a clear symptom of climate change. Lead author Paul Durack said that by looking at observed ocean salinity changes and the relationship between salinity, rainfall, and evaporation in climate models, they determined the water cycle has become 4% stronger from 1950 to 2000. This is twice the response projected by current generation global climate models."
Photo credit above: "Monitoring of the Southern Ocean using arrays of anchored and drifting instruments reveals freshening of deep waters around Antarctica. Some of the extra melting of ice around the edge of Antarctica is flowing into the deep sea and getting carried down to the deep ocean by ocean currents. Image: Steve Rintoul/CSIRO."
Arbor Day And The History Of Living Green. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story from The L.A. Times: "In the Louisiana parish that was home to generations of my family, people lived hard lives as field hands or sharecroppers, laboring from "can see in the morning" to "can't see at night." They hoed and picked cotton, corn, peas and other crops; they understood the planting cycle; they ate locally grown fruits and vegetables without ever visiting a supermarket. Long before the terms "eco-friendly" and "environmentalism" came into vogue, generations of Americans embraced the principles of recycle, reuse, reduce without ever naming them. Earth love was lived rather than proclaimed."
Photo credit above: "Though best remembered for his innovative uses of the peanut and sweet potato, George Washington Carver "spoke for the trees" decades before Dr. Seuss created the Lorax. (Tuskegee University Archives/Museum / April 26, 2012)."
Photo credit above: Reuters.
Photo credit above: "READING THE OCEAN: Around 3,500 robotic buoys have been deployed throughout the world's oceans, delivering unprecedented data on temperature, salinity and other measures. Image: CSIRO: Alicia Navidad."
Canadian Businesses Unprepared For Global Warming, Panel Says. Details from the Edmonton Journal: "OTTAWA — Canadian businesses are putting their bottom line and the country's economic health at risk by neglecting to prepare for anticipated impacts of a changing climate, says a new report released Friday by a federal government-funded advisory panel. The study, produced by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, says that securities regulators also have a role to play in requiring better information from businesses for the public and investors."
Photo credit above: "Bear Mountain Wind Park, 16 kilometers southwest of Dawson Creek, B.C., is part of the province's billion-dollar green-energy economy. Canadian busineses are putting their bottom line and the country's economic health at risk by neglecting to prepare for anticipated impacts of a changing climate, says a new report released Friday by a federal government-funded advisory pane. Photograph: B.C. Ministry of the Environment."
Map credit above: "Surface salinity changes for 1950 to 2000. Red indicates regions becoming saltier, and blue regions becoming fresher. Credit: Paul Durack." Map courtesy of Climate Central.
Photo credit: Wichita office of The National Weather Service.
Video credit above: "EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the American public supports her agency's mission. (David Abel/Globe Staff)."
Photo credit above: "The bottles lining this depth profiler deploy at different depths to study changes in temperature and salinity in the ocean. Credit: CSIRO."