World's Largest Weather Instrument

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:05 PM GMT on August 05, 2005

If you've driving the stretch of I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and get off at the Baker exit near Death Valley, you have the opportunity to see the ultimate tacky weather object--the world's tallest thermometer. Rising a full 134 feet above the dusty streets of Baker (population: 700),
the working thermometer is the brainchild of Baker resident Willis Herron, who spent $700,000 erecting the huge instrument. In an article in the June 2005 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Willis says: "Awww, I know it's tacky. But I also know people won't be able to pass it more than four or five times without saying, 'What is that?'". And hopefully pull off the expressway to take a look--and buy a burger at the Mad Greek restaurant or a slice of strawberry pie at the original Bun Boy restaurant, now owned by Steve Carter, whom Herron sold the thermometer to in 2000.

The thermometer weighs 76,812 pounds, sports 4900 light bulbs, and is held together by 125 cubic yards of concrete--much of this added after 70-mph winds snapped the thermometer in half shortly after it was built in 1991. The 134 foot height is symbolic of the 134 degree maximum temperature recorded in Death Valley in 1913--the all-time record for North America.

Dr. Jeff Masters

The world's tallest thermomerter! (robsters)
Located in Baker, California, 109 degrees
The world's tallest thermomerter!

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1350. CosmicEvents
10:04 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
RANDYMAN.....Thank you for your response. Your own insight and the insight that you are receiving from others can only help to improve the knowledge of all of us. I hope you keep up the informative posts throughout the entire hurricane season.
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10:14 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
no im in new orleans.......
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1348. evolution
10:11 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
ST - you're on the FL east coast right?
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1347. evolution
10:07 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
no, uh i don't know
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10:01 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
deb recon is ready to go in at any time including tonigh at midnight if necessary..according to the satellite loops i agree with the other guys i think its back up to tropical storm will only get stronger in the next 48 hours...this is what you call a sleeper gets everyone off guard and bam explodes to hurricane strength in 6 to 8 hours...irene will be a nightmare for someone..right now im thinking between 25 and 27 degrees on the fla coast monday night...thats not a prediction but just as it looks right 5am tomorrow ill be able to tell you where its going and if they shift the cone to the south like im predicting i will be sure of my prediction...deb florida is by no means out the woods...this is a serious threat to the sunshine state if the high strengthens...
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1345. HurricaneKing
10:04 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Did everyone elses blogs change?
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1344. evolution
9:56 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
dare i say it......stormtop.....i think i agree with you. i guess maybe we'll see what this ridge does. does anyone have a link to show the forecast of the ridge (besides the obvious models) i guess maybe it because you've been wrong so many times're bound to get one right though, just kidding. these things are nothing but an over-calculated crap shoot!
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1343. deb1
10:02 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
HK, hope your cousin gets better soon. Stay positive.
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1342. cjnew
5:00 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
HK....people might not like the GA cat 5 thing...thats very serious...and some people dont know that we are young.....but havent talk to you in hey :)
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1341. HurricaneKing
10:01 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
How come when I post everyone else quits posting?
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1340. deb1
9:59 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
53rdWeatherRecon, that's an interesting link.

If anyone is interested in seeing all the various forecast models tracks in one place, Col State have a good site:
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1339. HurricaneKing
9:59 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I give it a 55mph tropical storm.
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1338. cjnew
4:57 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
i think that it looks better now then it did when it was first i think its a tropical storm
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1337. deb1
9:30 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
So in the absence of any recon data, and no flights planned so far for tomorrow, how reliable do you all think the estimates of Irene's current strength are?
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1336. cjnew
4:54 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
just curious. if the storm does what some are saying...the south florida you have an idea where it might go after in the gulf...i know it's to earlt to know and that we arent sure if its going to make the first landfall...but i just couldnt stop my curious mind from asking
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1335. HurricaneKing
9:55 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I'm changing my mind. I say Georgia as a cat5.
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1334. weatherguy03
9:53 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Oh Jedkins I was reading your mind..too funny..
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1333. weatherguy03
9:50 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I think once we get a plane in there we will get a better idea where this storm is going. This will also help the models initialize alittle better.
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1332. Jedkins
9:47 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Yes because the high is already too strong for it to hit any further north then daytone beach if it don't weakin then we are talkin a florida storm and it will also be stronger because if it supposed to reach cat 1 with a much weaker ridge then a stronger ridge would also support a stronger storm and notice that the very dry air lessens significantly beyond 48 hours.
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1331. corpuswatch
9:31 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Randyman..very well said...I echo your feelings on the silliness that has been going on here. This blog could be something that teaches and allows folks to share their ideas/predictions with others interested in weather, but some choose to use it for other purposes.It is rather irritating to be reading the blog and see the postings of folks namecalling..hopefully your gentle reminder will sink in. Weather is such an interesting subject!
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1330. Jedkins
9:39 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
They need to fly a recon in there it also improves accuracy of the models a little and then they will know where the actual center is and actual strength,personally I think if they flew a recon into it it would be upgrded to 45 mph tropical storm moving due west or slightly north of west and the west - northwest direction right now is debateable and seems to be slightly north of west.
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9:32 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
you right jed and that what concerns me..i am worried the high will be much stronger then the computers are grasping right now and take irene on a more wsw track in 24 hours..anyway the next 36 hours will be crucial for the florida coast...if the high is a little weaker i think the charleston sc could be in for the bullseye and wilmington being on the east wide would get the worse weather...this thing is getting better organized and irene is starting to show the banding affect...this could be a storm that blows up very explosively ...she is sitting on temps in the upper 80s and low 90s in other spots...the high to the nw of the bermuda high is definitely strengthing the bermuda high and unless things change irene will not be able to north or nw as long as this high stays in place which it looks like to me will be no problem for it to do and that in itself threatens florida which im very concerned talking about the se coast from miami to jacksonville ..most likely in between 25 and 27 degrees lat...i will have mor about midnight tonight and i suppose i will be ready to make my prediction by 5am in the morning...i think the storm will increase in strength and speed and also stay on the south side of the cone...this will likely be shifted more southward by 5 am tomorrow morning...i hope im wrong fla Lord knows you been through a lot...
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1327. HurricaneKing
9:41 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I'm having a tough time my cousin is very sick in the hospital.
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1326. weatherboyfsu
9:27 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Ok,,,,im thinking that Mrs. Irene will make landfall between Jacksonville and Savannah Georgia sometime around late tuesday evening...wednesday morning.....I dont think Jacksonville has ever had a direct hit from a Hurricane...but we will see.......the winds will be around 85-90 mph......rack-em as Jim Rome would say.....
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1325. Jedkins
9:34 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
You may be right on both I may be right it's hard to say I say west fort pierce florida categore 2 but you know we are just basically guessing I could be wrong you could be wrong so whoever gets it right dont praise them and dont bash if somone gets it wrong(at least not much an exception would be if somone is being rude about there prediction)
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1324. Jedkins
9:33 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
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1323. HurricaneKing
9:32 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I still say the NC SC border as a CAT3/4.
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1322. Jedkins
9:31 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
No not really lol it would actually be south florida if it did not GA but that doesn't have to do with much anyway
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1321. Jedkins
9:28 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
But Irene is further south then Andrew was so it dont need to move west southwest all it has to do is continue moving in the directon right now it could take a few northerly jogs and still hit southflorida by going due west so it's farther south to begin with then andrew.
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1320. HurricaneKing
9:29 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
If it keeps moving the way its moving it would be Georgia.
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1319. Hawkeyewx
4:25 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
When the NHC has no recon data available they always like to wait for good convection to form over the center before upgrading a system to TS, even if a few other factors favor upgrading.
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1318. Jedkins
9:18 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
See understand that if the ridge does not weaken from where it is now the storm will head for florida but most models weaken the ridge but currently if that ridge does not weaken like is expected boom florida landfall and that is why I say it is not as unlikely as you think heck look at the hurricane Andrew figure that is kinna scary lol.
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1317. outrocket
4:20 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
no predictions on this one,have about had that attitude since day 1 with this odd bird...but I would not want to be on the bad end of the statistics for this heads up GA......
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1316. LSUHurricaneHunter
9:23 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Whats interesting is that in andrews case, the high built in so strong that the storm took on a wsw track. i'm not saying that this will happen in this case, but theres always a possibility.
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1315. turtlehurricane
9:15 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
i have updated my forecast on my blog
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1314. Jedkins
9:17 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I think the NHC has made a mistake in not upgrading it to a TS they are being very conservative right now and they have said so them selves.
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1313. 53rdWeatherRECON
5:04 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
Look at the track for this famous storm.Link

Now that is just to prove that Florida is not out of the woods yet! I hope and pray that Irene will not follow suit.
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1312. punkasshans
4:13 PM EST on August 10, 2005
Convection seems to be trying to blow up near the center of the system. Maybe this is the development the NHC is looking for (along with accuweather and ImpactWeather).
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1311. punkasshans
4:12 PM EST on August 10, 2005

Thats what I thought. But they keep saying they cant find the circulation, or at least pinpoint it, so I thought maybe thats what evolution was getting at.
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1310. Hawkeyewx
4:02 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
Evolution, tropical depressions are defined as having a closed circulation. If there was no cc it would be called a wave.
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1309. punkasshans
3:56 PM EST on August 10, 2005
I would say I have learned more in this blog over the last few weeks than i have in a long time in regards to hurricanes. Its been very informative if you ignore the argueing. Stormtop has some interesting ideas. . and it appears he is actually getting one right this time.

I like that stormtop actually changed his prediction this time, unlike with Emily. Well done. I stuck to my guns and am getting burned. I find it hard to believe now that this storm will actually turn north, but there is still the possibility. Looks like a SC/NC border landfall is likely. (And from what Randyman has spoke of, Georgia/SC is also possible.)

I still find it hard to believe Florida will get hit. But its seems many of you are worried about it. We will just have to wait and see what happens to the system as it develops over the next 2 days. In two days time (ie sometime on late friday or possibly saturday) we should know where this storm is headed. That gives four days time for people to get out of its way. I would say thats a good success story (should it hold true).

Keep up the good work on here folks. Looks like stormtop and randyman are going to be the "winners" out of this one.
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8:21 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
thanks randy i appreciate the nice comments you made about only trying to help the guys and gals on here..i know everyone has there own opinion on these things like this but sometimes i just get a little disgusted when they say they are seeing something which isnt there..i love this hobby i have been forecasting hurricanes since 1965 when betsy hit louisiana..i will try to be more patient and understanding in the future for the other hurricanes we will have to deal with later on...this is a great site for people to learn and i would like to see this turned into a talk channel weather being the topic..this would be ideal for the guys and gals that really want to learn they will have the oppurtunity...all that aside randy im really worried how strong that high will be and how strong irene will get..i think the high will block any north movement and it worries me that irene will stay more to the bottom of the cone..i think either tonight or early tomorrow morning the nhc may have to drop the cone more to the south and put florida more in the bullseye...if this high is as strong as i think it will be then i think a wsw course is very possible beginning in the next 24 hours...i will be watching for that closely and also the intensity..i think the stronger irene gets the more the high will shove her more on a wsw track also im looking for her to pick up speed a tad to 15 mph in the next 24 hours.....well time will tell and i thank you again for the kind words...StormTop
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1305. evolution
8:29 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
it'll be interesting where the center is actually postioned after it is upgraded to a TS probably by tomorrow morning if not by 5pm today. i think it will cause the models to shift south and west again. it seems more likely to impact some part of the east coast atleast a little before it heads out to sea. if that high builds in stronger and persists longer, i'd say even south florida could be at risk
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1304. punkasshans
3:30 PM EST on August 10, 2005
Randyman. . finally someone that can explain themselves clearly! Thank you for those great posts. Continue the good work.
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1303. napleswx
8:27 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Another interesting note the lastest 12Z run of FSUmm5 thru 84 hrs has shifted the track south.

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1302. evolution
8:22 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
thanks randyman....that's what i was saying earlier. many others spotted a jog to the north (it did in fact very early this morning), but the rest of today, i've noticed a more south and westward motion to the entire area of convection. again....remember THERE IS NO EYE, OR CLOSED CIRCULATION at this point.
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1301. Randyman
7:40 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Tropical Depression Irene - Advisory 21
Issued: 02:39 PM CDT Wednesday August 10, 2005

At 3PM CDT, we estimate that the center of Irene will be near 22.7N/58.2W, or about 770 miles southeast of Bermuda. Movement is slightly north of due west at about 12 mph. Maximum winds are near 35 mph.

Irene continues to become better organized with intense thunderstorms developing near the center. Even though thunderstorms are increasing, we can't be certain of the presence of a well-defined circulation center without exact recon data. Overall, based on satellite trends and decreasing wind shear, we do think Irene will regain tropical storm strength over the next 12-24 hours.

As for the forecast track, all model guidance is indicating a general west-northwest to northwest track for the next 5-7 days. We see no reason to disagree with model guidance. Our forecast track continues to be closer to the southern edge of the guidance because Irene has continued to track a little to the south or left of most of the model guidance.

Although our confidence in the long-range future of Irene has improved only slightly today, the chance of an east U.S. Coast landfall appears to be increasing. Irene could move very close to the east U.S. Coast before it turns northward, or it could make landfall anywhere between northern Florida and Cape Hatteras around next Tuesday. We have low confidence in the intensity forecast, but should the wind shear which has been affecting Irene let up significantly, then Irene could reach hurricane strength in 2-3 days.

The next advisory will be issued near 9PM CDT.

Fred Schmude
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1300. 53rdWeatherRECON
3:35 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
In this satellite loop with the lat/long on. you can see the top (N most part) being sheered or squished. The southen portion seems to be strengthing and whenever I see them squished from top to bottom it usually means movement to the W or E. I realize that hurricanes go through regeneration but I see a regeneration going on in this system. New eywall regeneration. Again I realize that only happens in Hurricanes.
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