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Colorado's Costliest Fire in History Kills 2; Severe Thunderstorms Pound Mid-Atlantic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:51 AM GMT on June 14, 2013

Two people are dead in the Colorado Springs area due to the Black Forest fire, which continues to rage virtually unchecked about five miles northeast of Colorado's second largest city (population 400,000.) The fire' had burned through 15,700 acres by late Thursday afternoon, and was 5% contained. Over 38,000 people in 13,000 homes had been evacuated. The weather was no help on Thursday, as afternoon temperatures spiked to 90°, winds were sustained at 33 mph, gusting to 40 mph, and the humidity dropped as low as 14%. The fire began on Tuesday, June 11, during a record heat wave. Colorado Springs hit 98° on June 10--the city's hottest temperature ever recorded so early in the year. The temperature topped out at 97° on June 11. The extreme heat, combined with the extreme drought gripping the region, made for ideal fire conditions. Fire conditions will not be as dangerous in the Colorado Springs area on Friday, as a weak cold front is expected to pass through the region during the afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures and increased humidity. Strong winds may still be a problem, though.


Figure 1. The Black Forest Fire burns behind a stand of trees on June 12, 2013, near Colorado Springs, Colo. (Chris Schneider/Getty Images)


Figure 2. Aerial view of a Colorado Springs neighborhood burned in the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013. (Image: AP Photo/John Wark)

The three most expensive fires in Colorado history have all occurred in the past year
The 360 homes burned by this week's Black Canyon fire are the most ever destroyed in Colorado by a fire, and will likely make it the most expensive fire in Colorado history. The previous record was the $353 million Waldo Canyon fire of June 23 - July 10, 2012. That fire killed two people, destroyed 347 homes, forced the evacuation of over 32,000 people, and burned 18,247 acres of land. The High Park fire of June, 2012, which destroyed 259 buildings near Fort Collins, now ranks as the third most expensive Colorado fire (it was the most expensive one at the time.) The Black Forest fire has a long ways to go if it wants to challenge the 2002 Hayman Fire as the largest fire in Colorado history. The Hayman fire burned 138,000 acres, an area about nine times as large as this week's Black Forest fire.

According to a federal report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012, Colorado can expect to see a sharp increase in wildfires during the coming decades, if the climate warms as expected. The report cited research predicting that a 1.8°F increase in Colorado's average temperature--the level of warming expected by 2050 under a moderate global warming scenario--would cause a factor of 2.8 - 6.6 increase in fire area burned in the state.


Video 1. Aerial view of the Colorado Springs Black Forest fire on June 11, 2013.

Severe thunderstorms pound the Mid-Atlantic
It was another intense day of severe thunderstorm activity for the Mid-Atlantic region on Thursday. A child was killed in Virginia by a falling tree, and at least three people were injured in Albemarle, North Carolina when a violent thunderstorm blew trees onto homes. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged 376 reports of damaging thunderstorm wind gusts in the 15 hours ending at 11:25 pm EDT Thursday night, and three of these gusts were 74 mph or greater. SPC is now acknowledging that Wednesday's bow echo that traveled 600 miles from Indiana to New Jersey was a low-end derecho, with over 150 damaging wind reports. The most impressive thunderstorm winds from the derecho occurred in Wabash County, Indiana, where a "macroburst" produced winds of 90 - 100 mph across an area seven miles long and three miles wide, destroying three buildings and causing extensive tree damage. Total damage from the two-day severe weather outbreak over the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic will likely run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.


Figure 3. Severe weather reports for the 15 hours ending at 11:25 pm EDT June 14, 2013, from SPC.


Figure 4. Radar composite of the June 12 - 13 bow echo that traveled from Indiana to new Jersey. Image credit: NOAA/SPC.

Jeff Masters
Black Forest wildfire.
Black Forest wildfire.
Taken from Palmer Park, this is the Black Forest fire. Currently 0% contained and covering approximately 8,000 acres.

Fire Severe Weather

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I was just going when I saw your comment:-

986. sar2401

You are even older than me and I feel that we are the envoys of what cant be proved but can at best be observed!
I wish I could keep my eyes open and my mind alert long enough to reply to what you have to say but the reality of the matter is that the future has been taken from our hands and it is for us to observe now rather than participate in.
Having said that I still think that there are a few out there who still give a Damm!
Good evening..

In terms of latest euro mslp forecast It shows a complete reversal of earlier runs - very high pressure Caribbean and particularly over Florida. Similar to last season but higher over Florida. That would mean sinking/dry air in the region. But since it doesn't appear right with El Nino, it may be off with the MSLP anomaly forecast. It's SO vastly different from the May run that I'm tending not to believe it. Well see

Federal firefighters feel the burn of budget cuts
By Carter Evans

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES - The Colorado fire is just the latest in a series of wildfires across the West that has put an enormous strain on resources. The reach of the sequester extends all the way from Washington, D.C. to the flaming front lines.

Fire season has exploded across the country. So far this year, more than 19,000 wildfires have scorched the equivalent of 700 square miles, forcing thousands out of their homes.
...

"We've seen a significant change for the worse, in terms of how hot fires burn and how quickly they explode," said Tom Harbour, fire chief for the U.S. Forest Service.

But federal firefighters are facing another challenge: a loss $50 million mandated by the budget sequester. That forced the Forest Service to cut 500 firefighters and 50 engines just when they're needed most.

"We're going to have to work harder," said Harbour. "We're gonna face more fire with fewer firefighters."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57589494/fe deral-firefighters-feel-the-burn-of-budget-cuts/
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:









In my opinion 92L was less organized than this system.

It all comes down to a subjective opinion of the degree of organization and deep convection.


That was 90L in 2009, that one still irks me. 2009 should have been 10-3-2. That being said, the ASCAT clearly showed a well-defined circulation associated with 92L earlier this June as well as being able to produce organized convection for over a day. Certainly a far cry better than Tropical Storm Jose in 2011. However, I agree with the decision not to upgrade 92L, what was the point? By the time it managed to meet most of the criteria to become a tropical storm it had about 6 hours to live before it would be sheared to death by the TUTT. Either way it doesn't really matter, the fact that something like 92L developed in the MDR in early-June is very telling about the potential in the upcoming CV season.
Quoting sar2401:

She listened intently, thought my arguments were sound, but still decided that first base is where we'd remain to meet our fiery end. My point being, even when we know the end of the world may be around the corner, it's awfully hard to convince other people of that most of the time. :-)



And good for her, for not falling for your pitch!
1006. sar2401
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
613 PM MDT SAT JUN 15 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHEYENNE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL KIMBALL COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF NEBRASKA...SNIP...

TORNADO...RADAR INDICATED
HAIL...1.50IN

$$

CLAYCOMB

I have a serious question (I know, hard to believe) about these radar indicated tornadoes. We deal with this all the time in SkyWarn. When I'm the net controller, and we three or four of these things at once, I'm never sure if I should advise observers to get out of the way or see if they can get a better look and confirm or deny there's actually a tornado on the ground. Out of all these radar indicated tornadoes, how many are really tornadoes? Has there actually been any follow up on this by the NWS or some university somewhere. I realize the real probability is 100% or zero, but it sure would be nice to have a general idea of how accurate these warnings are on average.
1007. sar2401
Quoting daddyjames:


And good for her, for not falling for your pitch!

Well, that's not what I said to her at the time. :-) I wonder what ever happened to her? Probably married some rich (not me), handsome (not me) guy and lived happily ever after. All I have left are unfulfilled dreams of rounding the bases to the applause of thousands.
1008. Patrap
SEVERE WEATHER 101

TORNADO DETECTION


Forecasters and storm spotters have learned to recognize certain thunderstorm features and structure that make tornado formation more likely. Some of these are visual cues, like the rear-flank downdraft, and others are particular patterns in radar images, like the tornadic vortex signature (TVS).

Storm spotters have been trained to recognize tornado conditions and report what they see to the National Weather Service. Storm spotters can be emergency managers or even local people with a keen interest in severe weather who have taken formal storm spotter training in their community.

Computer programs, called algorithms, analyze Doppler radar data and display it in ways that make it easier for forecasters to identify dangerous weather. A storm with a tornado observed by radar has certain distinguishing features and forecasters are trained to recognize them.

When a Doppler radar detects a large rotating updraft that occurs inside a supercell, it is called a mesocyclone. The mesocyclone is usually 2-6 miles in diameter, and is much larger than the tornado that may develop within it.




What we do: NSSL developed the WSR-88D Mesoscale Detection Algorithm to analyze radar data and look for a rotation pattern meeting specific criteria for size, strength, vertical depth, and duration. A mesocyclone is usually 2-6 miles in diameter, and is much larger than the tornado that may develop within it.

NSSL researchers discovered the Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS), a Doppler radar velocity pattern that indicates a region of intense concentrated rotation. The TVS appears on radar several kilometers above the ground before a tornado touches ground. It has smaller, tighter rotation than a mesocyclone. While the existence of a TVS does not guarantee a tornado, it does strongly increase the probability of a tornado occurring.





A “hook echo” describes a pattern in radar reflectivity images that looks like a hook extending from the radar echo, usually in the right-rear part of the storm (relative to the motion of the storm). A hook is often associated with a mesocyclone and indicates favorable conditions for tornado formation. The hook is caused by the rear flank downdraft and is the result of precipitation wrapping around the back side of the updraft.

Dual-polarization radar technology, installed on NWS radars, can detect the presence of random shaped and sized targets like leaves, insulation or other debris. This gives meteorologists a high degree of confidence that a damaging tornado is on the ground, and is especially helpful at night when tornadoes are difficult to see with the human eye.


What we do: NSSL's On-Demand, a web-based tool helps confirm when and where tornadoes have possibly occurred by mapping circulations on Google Earth satellite images. NWS forecasters can quickly review warnings and check their accuracy with this system. Emergency responders and damage surveyors have also used On-Demand to produce high-resolution street maps of potentially damaged areas so they can more effectively begin rescue and recovery efforts.

NSSL engineers and scientists have adapted phased array technology, formerly used on Navy ships for surveillance, for use in weather forecasting. Phased array technology can scan an entire storm in less than one minute, allowing forecasters to see signs of developing tornadoes well ahead of current radar technology. NSSL uses a mobile Doppler radar to position close to tornadic storms to scan the entire lifecycle of a tornado. This helps us understand atmospheric processes to help improve forecasts of significant weather events.

NSSL's second generation Warning Decision Support System, WDSS-II, is an advanced algorithm development and visualization platform that accepts data from multiple sources and organizes it in ways that convey critical severe weather information to warning meteorologists.

NSSL developed the Tornado Detection Algorithm now used by the National Weather Service in their forecasting operations. Work continues on the next-generation system which uses Multiple Radars and Multiple Sensors (MRMS) to present critical information to forecasters.


Tornadic Vortex Signature in radar data. In this display, the circle is a mesocyclone, and the triangle is the TVS. [+]

NSSL built the first real-time displays of Doppler velocity data. This lead to an NSSL scientist's discovery of the Tornadic Vortex Signature in radar velocity data in the 1970's. These developments helped spur deployment of the WSR-88D NEXRAD radar network. The Department of Commerce recognized NSSL's contribution to the NEXRAD program and to our Nation by awarding a Gold Medal to NSSL.



NSSL made the first observations of a tornadic storm with two Doppler radars (called dual-Doppler). The radars were located about 40 miles from each other and were able to record data on the same storm but from two different perspectives. The data was used to map the structure of a tornadic storm at several altitudes.

NSSL has used an airborne Doppler radar (installed on NOAA's P-3 research aircraft) to study storms. The first direct measurements of a tornado recorded with an airborne Doppler radar were made by NSSL. New concepts of making dual-Doppler measurements using the WSR-88D with the airborne Doppler were first tested in 1989 and are now used routinely.

The Oklahoma Weather Alert Remote Notification (OK-WARN) program provides deaf and hard-of-hearing Oklahomans access to emergency severe weather information via alphanumeric pagers and/or E-mail addresses. NSSL scientist Vincent Wood received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal award for his part in developing this hazardous weather pager program.


Quoting sar2401:

Well, that's not what I said to her at the time. :-) I wonder what ever happened to her? Probably married some rich (not me), handsome (not me) guy and lived happily ever after. All I have left are unfulfilled dreams of rounding the bases to the applause of thousands.


What exactly did you have in mind "applause of thousands"? I think I am getting a better understanding of things.

And, remember, Unanswered Prayers (Garth Brooks).
Quoting sar2401:

I have a serious question (I know, hard to believe) about these radar indicated tornadoes. We deal with this all the time in SkyWarn. When I'm the net controller, and we three or four of these things at once, I'm never sure if I should advise observers to get out of the way or see if they can get a better look and confirm or deny there's actually a tornado on the ground. Out of all these radar indicated tornadoes, how many are really tornadoes? Has there actually been any follow up on this by the NWS or some university somewhere. I realize the real probability is 100% or zero, but it sure would be nice to have a general idea of how accurate these warnings are on average.

IIRC, the ratio is 4:1. For every 4 tornado warnings, there is one confirmed tornado. I am just going off of memory and this is probably wrong, but it's the best that I can think of. When I'm under a tornado warning and it is radar indicated, I'm not under tor warnings much though, I go outside and look to see if I can see anything once the rotation gets close. Of course, I am trying to do this in the safest manner as that is what a SkyWarn spotter does. If I see any funnel/tornado, that hardly ever happens, then I report it. If I don't see anything tornadic, I don't report anything.
1011. Dakster
Quoting mikatnight:
Repost from this morning. Any thoughts?

In regards to the prognostications that this season's set-up is similar to that of 2004, I thought I'd post this to refresh our memories a bit...

2004 Atlantic hurricane season
(From Wikipedia)

The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season had an unusually late date of formation for the first tropical cyclone. It was also notable because more than half of the season's 16 tropical cyclones brushed or struck the United States. The hurricane season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. Due to a Modoki El Niño – a rare type of El Niño in which unfavorable conditions are produced over the eastern Pacific instead of the Atlantic basin due to warmer sea surface temperatures farther west along the equatorial Pacific – the season was above average. The first storm, Alex, developed offshore of the Southeastern United States on July 31...

So, it got off to a late start. hmmm. And first I've heard of a "Modoki El Nino". I reckon we don't have one of those this year?



Levi was talking about a possible Modoki this year - but don't know whether he thinks we will still have one or not. Maybe he can chime in on that?
1012. sar2401
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:

Federal firefighters feel the burn of budget cuts
By Carter Evans

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES


How much do you want to bet me that has been no decrease in the donuts and coffee budget for meetings? When I was a consultant for a large utility company on the west coast, I was actually asked to prepare a report on things like meeting expenses back in the days just before the company went belly up. We had about 32,000 employees at the time, and meetings of every type and description were the main source of recreation within the company. After spending many days scouring actuals for the last year (and, ironically, being well paid to do this) I discovered that we spending about $17 million a year on "consumables" for meetings! That would have been enough to hire about 350 linemen, who we were laying off like crazy, and who actually did most of the work to keep the electricity flowing. My report was filed without being read, and I never saw a decrease in the unending supply of donuts and coffee available to me thereafter.

I suspect the Feds can probably dig up $50 million somewhere if they'd just hire a few consultants. :-)
1013. sar2401
Quoting wxchaser97:

IIRC, the ratio is 4:1. For every 4 tornado warnings, there is one confirmed tornado. I am just going off of memory and this is probably wrong, but it's the best that I can think of. When I'm under a tornado warning and it is radar indicated, I'm not under tor warnings much though, I go outside and look to see if I can see anything once the rotation gets close. Of course, I am trying to do this in the safest manner as that is what a SkyWarn spotter does. If I see any funnel/tornado, that hardly ever happens, then I report it. If I don't see anything tornadic, I don't report anything.

Thanks, I think I've heard about the same ratio somewhere, but I have no idea where. I will say that, if you're acting as a SkyWarn spotter, I'd want to know what you don't see as much as what you do. If I have a really well-trained spotter who's right under what appears to be a hook echo on radar, and the only thing he or she sees is something like a garden variety thunderstrom, that's also useful information from a ground truth perspective.
Quoting sar2401:

I have a serious question (I know, hard to believe) about these radar indicated tornadoes. We deal with this all the time in SkyWarn. When I'm the net controller, and we three or four of these things at once, I'm never sure if I should advise observers to get out of the way or see if they can get a better look and confirm or deny there's actually a tornado on the ground. Out of all these radar indicated tornadoes, how many are really tornadoes? Has there actually been any follow up on this by the NWS or some university somewhere. I realize the real probability is 100% or zero, but it sure would be nice to have a general idea of how accurate these warnings are on average.

I would say it's never really a good idea to advise someone to go out looking for a tornado on a tornado warned storm. If the NWS sees enough rotation on radar to issue a warning than it should just be assumed there is a tornado on the ground, even though there are obviously plenty of false alarms.
1015. Dakster
Quoting sar2401:


How much do you want to bet me that has been no decrease in the donuts and coffee budget for meetings? When I was a consultant for a large utility company on the west coast, I was actually asked to prepare a report on things like meeting expenses back in the days just before the company went belly up. We had about 32,000 employees at the time, and meetings of every type and description were the main source of recreation within the company. After spending many days scouring actuals for the last year (and, ironically, being well paid to do this) I discovered that we spending about $17 million a year on "consumables" for meetings! That would have been enough to hire about 350 linemen, who we were laying off like crazy, and who actually did most of the work to keep the electricity flowing. My report was filed without being read, and I never saw a decrease in the unending supply of donuts and coffee available to me thereafter.

I suspect the Feds can probably dig up $50 million somewhere if they'd just hire a few consultants. :-)


Paralysis by analysis -- and not your analysis.

All of the spending is public ercord, you just have to ask (and know where to ask) for it.
1016. sar2401
Quoting daddyjames:


What exactly did you have in mind "applause of thousands"? I think I am getting a better understanding of things.

And, remember, Unanswered Prayers (Garth Brooks).

Well, that was a metaphor rather than a real wish. Kind of like the whole fireworks thing in the background in...what was that movie..."Airplane"?
Quoting sar2401:

Thanks, I think I've heard about the same ratio somewhere, but I have no idea where. I will say that, if you're acting as a SkyWarn spotter, I'd want to know what you don't see as much as what you do. If I have a really well-trained spotter who's right under what appears to be a hook echo on radar, and the only thing he or she sees is something like a garden variety thunderstrom, that's also useful information from a ground truth perspective.

Yeah I forgot where I heard that, probably somewhere on the blog.

My only problem is, I don't know where to report what I don't see. It's easy to report a tornado/rotating funnel to the NWS, and I personally know the person who takes in the reports at NWS Detroit. I don't have a ham so I can't radio in a report, but that is something I plan to change eventually.
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Partially subjective?

Designation is almost wholly subjective:

Subtropical waters: try and find a definition of the boundries.

Organized deep convection: Organized as in little league baseball or Marine Corp Drills? Deep as the deep end of a pool or deep as the Mariana Trench?

Well Defined Center: NHC says
No formal definition of well-defined center exists, but we are evaluating some proposed operational guidelines.
I was referring to subjectivity with the wind measurements. But yeah, the definition as a a whole is pretty subjective.
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I would say it's never really a good idea to advise someone to go out looking for a tornado on a tornado warned storm. If the NWS sees enough rotation on radar to issue a warning than it should just be assumed there is a tornado on the ground, even though there are obviously plenty of false alarms.

Personally, every time a tornado warning is issued I go outside instead of the basement. The rest of my family, besides my dad who also likes the wx, goes downstairs. It's just that I like seeing if there is something going on. The only time I have physically seen a rotating funnel or tornado was in 2007. Here is a pic of the funnel below.
1020. sar2401
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I would say it's never really a good idea to advise someone to go out looking for a tornado on a tornado warned storm. If the NWS sees enough rotation on radar to issue a warning than it should just be assumed there is a tornado on the ground, even though there are obviously plenty of false alarms.

Which is exactly the issue. As long as I have spotters in the field, and they can observe safely, it's pretty darned helpful if we can at least confirm they don't see a tornado, so the warning can be allowed to expire or be pulled early. During the historic outbreak of 2011, we were getting warnings on almost any storm that even looked like it might have convection. After about 10 straight hours of this, people started to not pay attention any longer. Unfortunately, the very last tornado of the day occured one county over from me. There had been no tornadic activity in our part of the state since the beginning of the outbreak. A church decided to go ahead with evening services because of all the false alarms. Unfortunately, this last one was not a false alarm, and five of the twenty people in the building died. False alarms are, in their own way, as bad as no warning. I hope the NWS gets better at this as time progresses.
Quoting Dakster:


Levi was talking about a possible Modoki this year - but don't know whether he thinks we will still have one or not. Maybe he can chime in on that?


Kind of a mix of signals going on. Interestingly enough, precipitation patterns forecast for the the US certainly are indicative of a Modoki El Nino.


USA, rainfall during El Niño Modoki



From Wikipedia's entry on Tropical Storm Arlene (which I really need to work on):

"The origins of Tropical Storm Arlene can be traced to a distinct tropical wave, embedded within an area of deep atmospheric moisture, that emerged off the coast of Africa on June 13, 2011. The wave tracked westward across the Atlantic for several days, reaching the western Caribbean Sea in late June. By June 24, it began interacting with the extension of a monsoon trough in the region, generating broad cyclonic flow and scattered convection in conjunction with an upper trough to its northwest. The amplified wave slowly proceeded west-northwestward along Central America, bringing heavy rainfall to the area. Initially, the disturbance's development was impeded by the trough aloft and adjacent land, though the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted favorable conditions for tropical cyclogenesis over the Bay of Campeche, coupled with abating wind shear."

Sound familiar?

Only difference this time is that the upper-level trough is northeast of the disturbance now, not northwest.

Quoting TomTaylor:
Few things with the monsoon trough/low amplitude tropical wave or "blob" in the SW Caribbean.

It is weak in the low-levels (below), strongest in the mid-levels(image).




It looks impressive on satellite but a lot of the cyclonic turning and convective action we are seeing is not really being reflected at the surface. It's going to take some time for the vorticity to pick up in the low levels, so for now all this convection we are seeing doesn't mean a whole lot. In fact, much of it is falling apart as we near the oceanic convective D-min.

With that said, a lingering trough off the east coast extending west across the Bahamas, Cuba, and the northern Caribbean will allow the feature to gain some latitude over the next 48hrs. The latitude gains it makes in these next couple of days will be critical to the eventual development prospects of the storm. Beyond 48hrs, the trough lifts out and ridging builds back in which will push the system west. Should the system gain enough latitude for it to spend a reasonable amount of time in the waters of the Bay of Campeche, I would not be surprised to see a development as the GFS has consistently been showing. Upper level winds over the region should be favorable. GFS and ECMWF both agree on anticyclonic flow over the Bay of Campeche in 5 days. Funny enough, the CMC actually places an ULL over the Bay in 5 days. This difference explains why the CMC doesn't develop anything.

12z GFS Day 5 200mb Winds




12z CMC Day 5 200mb Winds



Thank you Tom
MLB NWS will sometimes call me if even a meso is around for a spot report. They encourage us to send in spot reports if if you see things not jiving with warnings or even if you are looking at something that they are trying to decide to put a warning on..They especially urged it for spotters farther from the radar ball. E-mail, phone, ham they don't care.
1025. sar2401
Quoting wxchaser97:

Yeah I forgot where I heard that, probably somewhere on the blog.

My only problem is, I don't know where to report what I don't see. It's easy to report a tornado/rotating funnel to the NWS, and I personally know the person who takes in the reports at NWS Detroit. I don't have a ham so I can't radio in a report, but that is something I plan to change eventually.

For sure, get your ham ticket. It's only 35 multiple choice questions, no Morse code, and I'd bet that you and the majority of people here could pass with about four hours of study if know anything about electronics. Heck, I passed all three levels and am an extra class license holder, and I'm pretty much a dope. :-)You can get a pretty high quality handheld radio, car charger, external mike, and car antenna for less than $100. Even if you never become an active spotter, a ham radio is going to work when nothing else does, so it's nice to have a little extra security.

Since you know weather and know the meteorologist at the report desk, don't be afraid to call him with what you see that doesn't match a warning. He's looking at the same radar you are, and radar is not foolproof. They don't want every citizen calling in to say it's raining, but I'm sure he would welcome a call from you.
And matches what has been observed over the past three months:


>

Quoting sar2401:

For sure, get your ham ticket. It's only 35 multiple choice questions, no Morse code, and I'd bet that you and the majority of people here could pass with about four hours of study if know anything about electronics. Heck, I passed all three levels and am an extra class license holder, and I'm pretty much a dope. :-)You can get a pretty high quality handheld radio, car charger, external mike, and car antenna for less than $100. Even if you never become an active spotter, a ham radio is going to work when nothing else does, so it's nice to have a little extra security.

Since you know weather and know the meteorologist at the report desk, don't be afraid to call her with what you see that doesn't match a warning. She's looking at the same radar you are, and radar is not foolproof. They don't want every citizen calling in to say it's raining, but I'm sure she would welcome a call from you.


Actually, the person who get's the reports is a women. I'm sure she would appreciate any ground truth call from a spotter, I'll keep that in mind when the next round of severe storms come to my area, whenever that happens.

Hey, I might add getting a ham ticket as another to-do thing this summer. I have the time for studying and the money for the equipment.
Flash Flood in Philippines on Saturday, 15 June, 2013 at 18:54 (06:54 PM) UTC.
Description
At least 50,000 residents left their homes as massive flooding caused by a heavy downpour hit the province of North Cotabato on Friday evening."Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza said 6 towns covering 26 barangays were devastated by the flood. Affected municipalities include Carmen, Kabacan, Matalam, Mlang, President Roxas and Tulunan. As of late Saturday afternoon, many areas were reported to be still submerged in floodwater, prompting residents to build tents along the shoulder of the national highway. At least 2 houses in Tuael, President Roxas were destroyed by a landslide, Mendoza said. A hanging bridge in Minapan, Tulunan was also damaged by the flooding. Schools in Kabacan including Dilangalen Elementary School, Lumayong Elementary School, Lumayong High School, Malabuaya Elementary School, and Datu Mantawil Memorial Elementary School were inundated with floodwater. Minapan Elementary School and Minapan High School in Tulunan were also flooded, Mendoza said. Mendoza added that the village centers of Kayaga and Salapungan in Kabacan were also damaged by the flooding. There are no reports of casualties as of posting.
1029. sar2401
Quoting Skyepony:
MLB NWS will sometimes call me if even a meso is around for a spot report. They encourage us to send in spot reports if if you see things not jiving with warnings or even if you are looking at something that they are trying to decide to put a warning on..They especially urged it for spotters farther from the radar ball. E-mail, phone, ham they don't care.

What she said...:-) Really, this may not be very well known, even among weather geeks, but local NWS offices almost always want reliable reports of what's really happening on the ground. They don't really know unless they get a report from public safety, amateur radio, or the media. Things go downhill from there, since every office now has a Twitter and FB account. They would really like to be able to talk to you to get some confirmation of not only what they see on radar but what other members of the public are reporting on social networks.
1030. 19N81W
dust
1031. 19N81W
lots of dust....
1032. 19N81W
i can see it out my window
Flash Flood in USA on Saturday, 15 June, 2013 at 18:57 (06:57 PM) UTC.
Description
Heavy showers and thunderstorms brought flooding rains to portions of the Rio Grande Valley Friday night, threatening area residents and forcing evacuations. An upper-level disturbance over Texas is responsible for the slow-moving and heavy thunderstorm activity. Eagle Pass, Texas, and the neighboring Piedras Negras, Mexico, have seen over 10.88 inches of rain over 7 hours. The massive amount of rain quickly raised the water level of the Rio Grande River Valley from around 3 feet at the Eagle Pass Water Level Gauge, to a raging torrent over 17 feet high, all in less than 24 hours time. Flash flooding occurred due to the rain for many low-lying areas in the region, especially the Seco Mines neighborhood. Evacuation centers were opened across the region to accommodate displaced area residents. The next stop for the flood waters will be down river, near Laredo. The waters, however, are not expected to peak around 20 feet there. While this will be moderate flood stage, it is still expected to be too low to impact a large number of residences there. A few showers and thunderstorms across the region may aggravate flooding for the region. Over the next couple of days, waters are expected to recede thanks to dry weather for the region. The upper-level disturbance overhead today is expected to move northeast, replaced by high pressure. The rains across the region will at least help to cut into the drought across the region. Much of Texas, especially the Rio Grande River Valley, is in an extreme to exceptional drought.
1034. Dakster
Thanks DaddyJames.... If we have a Modiki - then we really need to watch out this Hurricane Season.

Quoting Dakster:
Thanks DaddyJames.... If we have a Modiki - then we really need to watch out this Hurricane Season.



Definitely! Of course, put more weight on what Levi has to say, over me . . . :D
1036. sar2401
Quoting wxchaser97:


Actually, the person who get's the reports is a women. I'm

Hey, I might add getting a ham ticket as another to-do thing this summer. I have the time for studying and the money for the equipment.

You kind of cut out there, good buddy. :-)

I'm volunteer examiner (VE) for the FCC, and me, alng with two other Extra class hams, give classes and tests. There's almost always a local radio club that's either about to start classes or giving exams. There are also some very good online resources, like Ham Test Online. The Amatuer Radio Relay League (ARRL) has information about tests all over the country as well as classes and study materials. Send me a mail here if you have questions or need help.
Here comes the dust.. Click pic to enlarge.
1038. GBguy88
My picture got used in the blog! Cool!
Quoting GBguy88:
My picture got used in the blog! Cool!

Congrats!! Hope you aren't suffering any smokey daze..
1041. GBguy88
Quoting Skyepony:

Congrats!! Hope you aren't suffering any smokey daze..


No, not on this side of town. We had a little bit of smoke briefly, but my worry was with the people of Black Forest. Fortunately they're getting it under control (thank you, rain!), so hopefully no more loss of life/property. I've lived in Florida my whole life, up until recently, so the fires are a completely new dynamic for me.
Quoting sar2401:

You kind of cut out there, good buddy. :-)

I'm volunteer examiner (VE) for the FCC, and me, alng with two other Extra class hams, give classes and tests. There's almost always a local radio club that's either about to start classes or giving exams. There are also some very good online resources, like Ham Test Online. The Amatuer Radio Relay League (ARRL) has information about tests all over the country as well as classes and study materials. Send me a mail here if you have questions or need help.

I accidentally hit the post comment button too early, I fixed it.

I'll start looking into all of this. If I have any questions, then I'll pop you a wumail.
Quoting Skyepony:
Here comes the dust.. Click pic to enlarge.


It has been miserable today in PR and adjacent islands and it looks like we will have to deal with it for a while.
Got some action bubbling in the SW Caribbean tonight. Each and everyday that goes by and we inch closer to the peak of the hurricane season these models will start showing storms after storms on their runs.



Conditions slowly but surely becoming more favorable.
1046. bappit
From the Houston-Galveston NWS forecast discussion earlier today:

NO RELIEF FROM THESE ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN SIGHT. MODELS HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN INDICATING SOME FORM OF TROPICAL WAVE OR DISTURBANCE (THOUGH TIMING DIFFERED) MOVING ACROSS THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN AROUND WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY. OUR HEAT SHIELDS SHOULD BE UP AT NEARLY FULL POWER GIVEN THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE UPPER RIDGE OVER TEXAS TO KEEP THEM WELL AWAY FROM SETX DURING THIS PERIOD.


Every 3 hours looks like a anti cyclone might be trying to form over our new AOI
Quoting bappit:
From the Houston-Galveston NWS forecast discussion earlier today:

NO RELIEF FROM THESE ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN SIGHT. MODELS HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN INDICATING SOME FORM OF TROPICAL WAVE OR DISTURBANCE (THOUGH TIMING DIFFERED) MOVING ACROSS THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN AROUND WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY. OUR HEAT SHIELDS SHOULD BE UP AT NEARLY FULL POWER GIVEN THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE UPPER RIDGE OVER TEXAS TO KEEP THEM WELL AWAY FROM SETX DURING THIS PERIOD.
Sounds like Tampa Shields.
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1050. beell
Quoting bappit:
From the Houston-Galveston NWS forecast discussion earlier today:

NO RELIEF FROM THESE ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN SIGHT. MODELS HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN INDICATING SOME FORM OF TROPICAL WAVE OR DISTURBANCE (THOUGH TIMING DIFFERED) MOVING ACROSS THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN AROUND WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY. OUR HEAT SHIELDS SHOULD BE UP AT NEARLY FULL POWER GIVEN THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE UPPER RIDGE OVER TEXAS TO KEEP THEM WELL AWAY FROM SETX DURING THIS PERIOD.


Sounds like an early version of the ECMWF season forecast.
:- )
1051. txjac
Quoting bappit:
From the Houston-Galveston NWS forecast discussion earlier today:

NO RELIEF FROM THESE ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN SIGHT. MODELS HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN INDICATING SOME FORM OF TROPICAL WAVE OR DISTURBANCE (THOUGH TIMING DIFFERED) MOVING ACROSS THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN AROUND WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY. OUR HEAT SHIELDS SHOULD BE UP AT NEARLY FULL POWER GIVEN THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE UPPER RIDGE OVER TEXAS TO KEEP THEM WELL AWAY FROM SETX DURING THIS PERIOD.


Well now, thats not very good. Wish is could sneak its way to Houston with some rain
I guess ya could hope for a " weakness " in the ridge?


Closeup of our SW Caribbean Disturbance