Category Archives: Weather Forecasting

Spring is on the way, and dangerous weather is coming with it…

You, like most organizations, have an inclement weather plan that provides guidance when dangerous weather strikes.  How much more effective could those plans be?

In 2015 there were 1259 reported tornadoes across the United States. December 23rd 2015 there were 39 tornadoes that caused 18 fatalities.

Our team understands that you have enough to worry about just managing your business so here are some things you can do this year to ensure your staff and facilities are safe.Storm Damage

STEP 1. Redevelop your business continuity plan- As you begin to redevelop your plan, the first step is to make sure all critical departments are represented. This will ensure critical functions are identified when preparing for weather disruptions including staff levels or loss of utilities.

STEP 2. Conduct a threat analysis – Are you located in tornado alley? A flood zone? On average, how many hurricanes does your town get in a five-year period? Make a list of every possible weather-related event that has or could occur. Consider the likelihood of new situations. Think also about how you are currently receiving weather information and think about how to improve that.

Receiving timely and accurate information provides the ability to act when necessary but also prevents false alarms that can be costly disruptions.

STEP 3. Be ready at all times – Evacuation orders, safety and health hazards, or damaged infrastructures may prevent employees from reporting to assigned locations in a timely manner. Identify alternative, prioritized gathering places and contact arrangements for employees to meet after a disaster. In addition, consider the credentials employees will need for gaining access into a disaster area, as authorities may restrict entry.

When your business or outdoor event is threatened by dangerous weather; filtering through the noise  Read more….

On a Mission to Pilger

tower

Pilger, Nebraska still stands tall

(“We’re on a mission from God”.)

That’s a famous line from the movie Blues Brothers. This seemed just about a important as getting the back taxes paid in time to save the orphanage from being closed. Except this wasn’t a mission from God  and this wasn’t a comedy. I was sent by Storm Assist, a collaborative effort by storm chasers to provide aid to communities directly impacted by damaging weather events.

I was given the real honor of delivering on behalf of Storm Assist (http://stormassist.org), funds for relief and recovery efforts currently underway in this close knit community we know as Pilger, Nebraska. after twin EF4 tornadoes terrorized this small farming town. Residents simply call it home and when I was on my way to meet them, I had no idea what to expect.

I had a pretty somber drive not knowing what I would see or feel and with the backdrop of cloud cover and appearing as though it was going to rain didn’t help the mood either. My heart began to sink low as I drew closer to town and when I finally arrived, my heart made its final decent deep into the pit of my stomach and my jaw literally fell in my lap. The first thing I saw were the mountains of debris of what obviously were homes and then just over my other shoulder were the empty spaces where they use to be.

Debris

These were homes

damage

Square block cleared out

24hr Gas Station

24hr convenience store and gas station with heavy damage

I made the left turn into town and you could see the total devastation to what was the hub of this town, the co-op. It provided grain storage, dry fertilizer and other chemicals, bulk deliveries of fuel, propane and oil. There was also a 24hr convenience store that provided gasoline and other essential items. It becomes kind of a gathering place in rural towns. It’s where you go for the local news and say hi.

I decided to park the car and walk around the town so I could really understand what I was seeing. There were some buildings but most were destroyed or otherwise completely gone. It was really difficult to visualize the town.

Slabs

Empty spaces

damage

Twisted metal

destruction

Total destruction

Mess

A mangled mess

Workers

Getting things working again

There are signs of the recovery currently underway as linemen and women are repairing the electrical lines. Utility workers were hard at work trying to restore those very crucial utilities many of us take for granted.  For the homes that were left standing , had porta potties placed out on the edge of their lawns.  I could hear one of the guys a few streets over shout in excitement as 1 more street had it’s water service restored. Orphan grain recovery teams are gathering whats left of Pilger’s life blood.

There was one thing that I expected to see, I don’t know why but I did, was the look of pity and despair. Not by everyone, just anyone. I saw none of that. What I did see aside from the workers were a few residents that still had homes, leave and head over to the volunteer area for an assignment. So I went too. I saw vehicles from SD, IA, MO and a good number of volunteers pitching in to lend a helping hand. Another older gentleman was tending what was left of his garden as a tarp flapped in the breeze while covering his damaged home going about his day. He joked a little and aside from the appearance of being in a war zone, life seemed pretty OK at that moment.

School

The school all blown out

forever

Cali lives forever

I stopped and took a small moment of silence to remember little Calista Dixion. We’ve all most likely seen the photograph of this little angel on the stretcher whom lost her life on that tragic day.  That photo is a reason so many of us feel deeply connected to her and this town. But she surely lives on in the hearts of all here in Pilger.

Flag

Showing strength and resolve

This flag is a recognizable symbol of strength and it’s sight provides comfort to so many in America in times of need. It was on was proudly on display in Pilger and gave me the sense that it represented their strength and resolve to pull through this very dark time. Thanks to the community and all of the people that support Storm Assist this town will rebuild. There is no doubt in my mind about that.

You can read details about funds provided to Pilger by going to http://stormassist.org

How can you help repair the normal to those affected by devastating weather like Pilger?

Please visit http://stormassist.org and consider making a donation. It really does make a difference.

Damaged car

Like a rag doll

foundation debris

Foundation debris

debris from the co-op

Mangled and twisted debris from the co-op

Don’t Believe The Hype

Storm chasing and amateur forecasting have found a platform and incredibly large following throughout most realms in social media. Unfortunately a large portion of it is total crap and can be misleading. So pay attention here.

My disclaimer: I am a amateur forecaster, self educated in the field of meteorology for storm chasing purposes only. I do not hold a degree or even a certificate of course study. Most on twitter, facebook or whatever platform you use do not either. So read them with caution

As the title states, don’t believe the hype. Just don’t! In most cases these fools, trolls or whatever you call them are elevating themselves as an experts in storm chasing and meteorology. You’ll hear terms like “Death Ridge” being used in March where one does not exist or “Tornado Outbreak” used on just about every set up. The problem is they are being misused and many of those people’s followers are none the wiser and bite hook, line and sinker. Those same “Storm Chasers” and I use that term loosely anymore, will come unglued when the media promotes the same hype failing to realize their own ignorance in the matter. I’m not saying these amateurs should not post their forecasts because some of them are great reads, the problem is, the crap cut and paste forecast. It’s a combination of bits and pieces from around the internet. These people will grab 1 or 2 conditions from the SPC, failing to look at the whole discussion and take a slight risk for isolated supercells and tornadoes and start screaming the sky is falling. People get all in a frenzy and start getting ready for the end. I think and its only an opinion, drill down and say why something will or will not occur.

The issue with these HYPER forecasts is, many are totally wrong and only add to the misinformation abound. Most of these internet meteorologists haven’t the foggiest idea what they are even posting about, only posting because someone else said it. They only thing they are doing is promoting bullshit. Hell some of them are now photoshopping their chasing history because they have none. Chasing anymore has become more about look at me than look at the storm. They go so far as to make their own weather maps with hatch marks in an attempt to look official, when a few barely drive yet.

Here are a couple of observations regarding this area:
People that can truly forecast avoid posting the hyper forecasts (With the exception of Reed Timmer) but will post insightful thoughts on a particular setup. Now since I mentioned Reed, I will say he is now competing for a audience with noobs that don’t know shit from shinola so I guess in his case some hype is required. But legit forecasters, whether college educated, or self-educated, some even just starting will add to a setup discussion instead of typical regurgitation of another’s forecast and posting SPC most is the most irritating. I usually see the mad scramble to be first on Facebook after the SPC does an update and then boom boom boom. If you were forecasting, post the map you were using. There are a lot of sources of weather models and my belief is many just look for pretty colors when they post forecast and only mention areas of high CAPE or EHI totally missing other environmental triggers or lack there of. Ask them what the forcing mechanism is and you get huh? I’m no great forecaster, but I don’t do it for the public, I do it so I don’t burn a bunch of gas for nothing. I will take the see text or very low slight risk because I have looked and calculated the potential. You will seldom see me right in the middle of the 5% box. I try and play with some type of strategy based on my forecast. Sometimes I’m wrong, and if I bust I look at how the day unfolded so I can learn from my mistakes.

When I chase, I also rarely hook up with other chasers unless it was planned or we play the same discrete option. If I do end up in the chaser caravan I will make my own play leaving the group. That’s just me. I hate chase roaches and do my best to avoid playing someone else’s strategy. But since this post is about forecasting I will through out another term
FORECAST ROACH: One who lacks the skill to post an insightful forecast so they roach and re post others as their own.

I sound like an elitist, I get that. That is not my goal. But the shear amount of bullshit anymore is maddening. (notice that weather term I threw in there) I just call it like I see it. I just like chasing. I have had the privilege to meet and chase with some really good people with some talent. But you don’t here much about that because they’re too busy chasing. Oh and if you post a pic asking “What is this?” YOU SUCK and need to take a frickin Skywarn class again. Be what your gonna be, but be true to what you are. You will always have to work for what you want but know if you shortcut and bullshit your way… It will burn you. Age has nothing to do with it. You get what you put in.

YoWindow Weather Forecast Software

Found this really cool weather software called yowindow.
YoWindow reflects the weather in a landscape.
It works like looking out of your window. That simple! But you can look into the future. Winking smile

Now you can see the weather without ever looking at numbers. Or you can display your numbers. The free version shows 3 days of forecast weather and the ultimate version $9.99 has up to 9 days. I thought it was cool enough to buy it after I added my own picture so I did. Now I’ve got a 9 day look at the weather anywhere. Forecast comes from the National Weather Service and the location of the sun, moon, moon phase, sunrise and sunset times correspond to the actual values for the place you choose.

The look of the landscape changes considerably depending on the season. YoWindow selects the most appropriate season for the given date at the place you choose (we use weather history). Scroll through the year using the calendar – and you will see how seasons change.

Occasionally, you may notice interesting objects in the skies like a plane or a shooting star.

 
With a little photo editing you can add your own image like this one I shot from this season:

This software is fantastic and fun it features:

  • Full featured weather station for Windows and Mac OS
  • Real cloud coverage, rain/snow, mist, grass swings to the wind, Sun, Moon, mist, thunderstorms…
  • You can scroll the time! You can look at the weather hour by hour, minute by minute.  yowindow3_preview2
  • Turn any picture into YoWindow landscape
  • Temperature on desktop – near the system clock
  • Plug in your Personal Weather Station

 

YoWindow.com Forecast by NWS

Check it out yowindow.com

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