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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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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1299. Randyman
7:36 PM GMT on August 10, 2005

Irene Better Organized...Near Tropical Storm Strength

Issued: 2:30 PM Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The center of Tropical Depression Irene is located near 22.8N and 58.2W, or about 770 miles southeast of Bermuda. Movement is estimated to be slightly north of due west at 12 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, mainly in squalls north and east of the center.

Irene is clearly getting better organized this afternoon with intense thunderstorms developing near and around a more distinguishable center. We do think Irene will be upgraded to a tropical storm over the next 12-24 hours based on the latest trends. As for movement, we do favor a general west to west-northwest motion over the next 72 to 96 hours as high pressure remains anchored north of Irene. In the longer range time period we do think there is an increasing chance Irene may affect the east U.S. Coast before turning northward. Right now we do think areas extending from Northern Florida to North Carolina have the greatest chance of being affected.

For more information please refer to the latest track map and detailed discussion listed below.

Meteorologist: Fred Schmude
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1298. weatherguy03
7:36 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Great job Randyman. Finally some professionalism around here.
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1297. Randyman
6:02 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
A Very Entended Exclusive Discussion Regarding the Developments of Irene:

Got It Cosmic! I have your explanation you posed to me late last night after I went to sleep!

(Randyman.....I don't understand. It seems like the NHC and Steve Gergory's post here have been saying that a sheared smaller storm has a greater chance of going more west than north. Now this update you post says something different. Please explain....and if you don't mind give your qualifications, if any. Personally I have none, formally.)

I know this is an extremely long post but I don't say much on this blog and I think from time to time I should be allowed to do this. In addition, I think this is some valuable info for all concerned. So take a breath because here it is...

The extended version explanation:

I just got off the phone with one of the guys with ImpactWeather and I asked him the same question you (Cosmic) posed to me last night. He explained it to me like this - Normally, the lower level air flow in the tropics is from east to west while the mid and upper level flow is more toward the northwest and north-northwest...which explains why a weaker tropical system would travel more towards the west and a stronger system would turn more toward the northwest. However, the past two days this 'normal' flow has flip-flopped: the lower level flow is more toward the north-northwest while the mid and upper level flow is more toward the west. He says this is a very unsual air flow pattern for the tropics but this is indeed the case as of Monday, Tuesday, and today. This is explains why ImpactWeather changed the philosophy regarding Irene saying a stronger storm would more toward the west while a weaker storm would move toward the northwest. He, Chris Hebert, says they have just finished they 3:00pm update regarding Irene and their philosophy hasn't changed - they shifted their track very slightly to the left or west. [As of 8:15am CDT - In 120 hours ImpactWeather has the center around 30.2N and 74.5W still as a Tropical Storm moving to the west-northwest]

Could it be? Could the 180 degree change in StormTop's thoughts be accurate? Love him or hate him...Chris Hebert appears to echo what Mr. StormTop has been saying here on this blog for the past 24hours. Chris confirmed to me a few minutes ago that there is high strenghtening to the north of Irene. Here's the details...There is a high pressure to the northeast of Irene and there is another high off to the northwest of Irene with a weakness to the north of her - due to Harvey. The weakness to the north is what was causing the shear the past two days thus not allowing Irene to develop. However, the high to the northwest appears to be getting stronger today and will more likely not allow Irene to make a turn toward the northwest or north-northwest. But more likely cause it to move more in a west-northwest direction. Chris feels the weakness due to Harvey will begin having less of an affect on Irene and thus she will move in an area more favorable for development. Which explains why ImpactWeather keeps her more on a west-northwest track.

Where will she ultimately end up? Of Course no one knows for sure. But the guys at ImpactWeather feel she may ultimately end up maticulating her way toward the Georgia coast or the South Carolina/North Carolina coast in the long term. He felt the high to the northwest of Irene would really have to strengthen in order to make a landfall across Florida but he did say this was definately not out of the question at this point in time. A landfall as far south as Jacksonville would not be very far-fetched as of today. Of course all of this is subject to change between now and then but it appears Chris and ImpactW are becoming a little more confident in their forecast track. My personal feeling, from talking with Chris - ImpactWeather is leaning toward the Georgia or South Carolina coast. Again this will most likely change as time progresses.

What about the intensity? Again who knows? Only God knows how strong Irene may get (for all of you non-athiests). Chris felt Irene will start to move more in an environment that will more condusive for developmet in the short-term. He and Impact Weather see Irene eventually regaining Tropical Storm strength and possibly reaching hurricane strength as well. Again they are not sure just how strong Irene may get but he did mention a strong or major hurricane would definately NOT be out of the question. So stay tuned...

What about the NHC turning the advisories over the Hydrological Prediction Center? He and others at Impact were very puzzled by the move as well. They felt this was not a Harvey situation where you knew 100% for sure that Irene was going out to sea. So he was very confused by that move by the NHC. So was I.

What about the Gulf? He sees no imminent threat in the short-term as of today. But they have taken note of the very warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico especially right off of the Southeast coast of Texas and Southwest LA. So anything is possible in the long term.

What about the long-term in the Atlantic Tropics? Again, love him or hate him, but your boy StormTop may be right on with his prediction of that Afican dust becoming less of factor within the next week or so while the high pressure orientations may become much more favorable for tropical development. Chris appeared to say the exact same things StormTop has been saying minus the "Irene is a fish storm stuff" and "this will be a boring week talk". ImpactWeather expects things to become more active in time over the Atlantic within a short-while. Again how active? Only God stay tuned it should be interesting to say the least.

I will try to post more messages such as these to keep you guys up to date on these storms. I am no meteoriologist but I have been monitoring hurricanes and other weather related matters for the past 22 years now so I do know what I am talking about.

As a footnote: let's try to be a little more professional on this blog without the personal attacks. I enjoy talking about the weather everyday, all day so it is a great pleasure to me to have these type of discussions. So if everyone would please be more mindful of this for the remainder of this hurricane season. Let's keep this fun and informative. And yes StormTop this refers to you as well. As you see I have just gave you credit for many things you have said recently so you do indeed know quite a bit about hurricanes. However, try to remain courteous to others without all of the condescending comments. You never know, you may actually hurt someone's feelings in the process.

May God bless you guys and I'll be back later on...

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1296. evolution
7:28 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
someone said just a few posts ago that most of the heavy convection is occuring in the southeast me it looks like its occuring in the far northeast quadrant, it appears to me that the new circulation will be placed southwest of where the major convection is occuring now. remember this is STILL ONLY A TROPICAL DEPRESSION....meaning NO CLOSED CIRCULATION YET! although I think they will re-establish the circulation at the 5pm advisory and upgrade this to a TS.
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1295. cornflake826
7:31 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I agree, I see yet another landfalling hurricane in Floridas near future, but where? The farther away from Fort Lauderdale preferably.
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1294. Jedkins
7:29 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
All you need to know is if the high does not weaken(like what happened with frances and jeanne)then it will not turn, and by the way it's not unusual for storms to hit the east coast of florida they hit there more than any other part of the east coast of the US.So you have to watch if the high weakens because it weakined with floyd but if it does not the storm wont go through a blocking high.
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1293. Jedkins
7:23 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I Live near Clearwater FL which is near tampa just to let y'all know so unless this thing develops into a 4 or 5 (highly unlikely)I dont have to worry about damage here it would be minor if it crossed the state kind of like frances and jeanne jeanne made landfall as a 120 mph hurricane and we got 80 mph wind gusts and 10 inches of rain so thats about the worst it could get because this storm will almost ceratianly not get any stronger than cat 3 but never completely say never because you can never be sure with hurricanes but the worst thing over all to worry would be rain but because we live close to the coast that threat would still be low.It would be nothing more than an interesting storm to watch .
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1292. weatherguy03
7:21 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Its going to be one of those situations for the East Coast as to when it starts to turn. I remember Floyd here in Florida, we were wondering when it was going to finally make the turn. Thankfully for us it did. As each day goes by we will have to see about that northerly turn and when it will start to occur.
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1291. 53rdWeatherRECON
3:11 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
This image and animated looks as if there is a burst of convection over the southern portion that resembles the "eye" formation of this morning. The new "eye" this morning came out from under a similar burst and proceded due west out of the burst.
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1290. Jedkins
7:16 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Yes maybe gfs has a little sense while all the other models are tuning a storm right into a big high pressure ridge which can't happen so unless the high weakens this thing wont turn north and will be a florida storm but the question is a big IF the ridge weakens or stays strong.
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1289. Jedkins
7:21 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Well even if it is I won't do any bashing these things are ver hard to predict and if any of us including me get it right its almost luck because these storms are very very hard to predict so dont praise anyone if they get it right or bash them if they get it wrong.
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1288. Jedkins
7:19 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Yes I am just going by current situation listen if this high does not weaken then it has no choice but to head towards florida.
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1287. punkasshans
2:15 PM EST on August 10, 2005
Looks like the NHC is going to come out and say this storm is headed for the eastern united states at 5pm. The models cant seem to get a grip on this storm. Looks like my prediction will be wrong. Still lots of time till any potential landfall though.
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1286. Hawkeyewx
2:06 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
Accuweather just updated their official forecast track and it now has Irene gradually turning northwest into the Wilmington area by Tuesday night.
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1285. Jedkins
7:13 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Sorry to say but I think neather of these models are accurate and are doing very poor right now just my oppinion.
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1284. napleswx
7:12 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Interesting what the HPC has to say about the GFS now.

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1283. punkasshans
2:10 PM EST on August 10, 2005
Outflow is starting to look fair to good in all quadrants however. Good sign for the future (or bad, depending on your take).
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1282. punkasshans
2:08 PM EST on August 10, 2005
I noticed that once i posted that it was looking good. It seems to want to trick me over and over again. I still think its a tropical storm at the next advisory though. Its so much more impressive than it was earlier in the day, they cant keep it as a depression.
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1281. Hawkeyewx
1:57 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
The ECMWF has really been the only other model that has kept Irene going more toward the west.

What Irene needs right now is a big burst of deep convection over the center to tighten up the core because the system is still quite disorganized. The satellite impressive enough with the expanding outflow to the northwest through northeast and the decent mid-level circulation, until you realize most of the cloudiness is just remnant debris from ealier brief convective bursts. The only decent convection left is in the southeast part of the circulation.
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1280. punkasshans
1:50 PM EST on August 10, 2005
Other than the BAMs, would you say there has been an accurate model? It just doesnt seem like it.
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1279. Hawkeyewx
1:36 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
The 12z GFDL has continued its trend of shifting a bit farther west.
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1278. Hawkeyewx
1:35 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
Certainly the BAMs have been best so far, but now that Irene is getting better organized who the heck knows what model will be right.
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1277. punkasshans
1:34 PM EST on August 10, 2005
So which model would you say has been the most consistent with this storm, or i should say, most accurate?
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1276. Hawkeyewx
1:24 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
punk, the CMC and UKMET are two of the models that have never wavered from a northward turn through the Bermuda area.

The ECMWF has, however, been turning Irene harder to the right near the coast with each of the last few runs. It now just brushes it by Cape Hatteras and takes it out to sea. The NAM still insists Irene will turn north to Bermuda. The 12z NOGAPS shifts a tad west with Irene brushing by Cape Hatteras.
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1275. LSUHurricaneHunter
6:24 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
punkasshans, you cant but much faith (if any at all) into the models with this storm. Even the NHC still claims that the modeling consensus could and most likely will be toward the west or south of the current models.
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1274. punkasshans
1:12 PM EST on August 10, 2005
The models are beginning to change, moving the storm further north more quickly. CMC and UKMET both put it going just west of Bermuda again.

Also the UKMET has a new system developing out of the wave coming off of Africa right now.

The RAMSDIS close up satellite also seems to support that the storm is moving northwest rather than west. It may even be north of the NHC forecast points. Cant wait for what the NHC says at 5pm (or hydrological center. . who ever is sending out the advisories).
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1273. HurricaneKing
6:13 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
NC as a cat3
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1272. punkasshans
1:06 PM EST on August 10, 2005
I think it is safe to say this storm has a closed circulation. Just look at a visible loop, its looking really nice right now. No doubt it my mind we will have a 45 mph tropical storm at 5pm.
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1271. spagetio
6:10 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
Ack! I'm still hoping Dora in '64 was a bit of a fluke and Jacksonville doesn't see a hurricane this year (or any year). Charlie, Frances and Jeanne were bad enough last year and didn't make landfall anywhere near here...
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1270. Jedkins
5:59 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
It is starting to look like frances and the strength at landfall could be similar too.
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1269. cornflake826
5:41 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
To be at honest, watching this all today has amazed me, i see this storm continue with its west track and slowly but steadly strengthening, I also dont see anything that is going to cause this storm going north or nw. So I believe fl is not out of any woods yet, maybe far se fla but still wants its getting going west and picking up speed and intensity we might have a s fla storm, but im gearing to more north of palm beach to jacksonville, at least im hoping that!!! and hopefully no more then a cat 2, but just like andrew this thing could easily grow into a monster quick as it hits the bahamian hot waters
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1268. whirlwind
1:43 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
did ya guys notice irene's track is getting closer to that of frances' track?? take a look
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1267. evolution
5:45 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
sorry here are the other links Link that support the more west movement Link
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1266. evolution
5:35 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
okay, so many of you see the "jog" north Link on the IR loop. however, what appears to be the center of circulation in this loop....if fact is probably not a center of circulation at all. remember, this is this a DEPRESSION with no closed circulation apparent. if you look at the above link you'll notice the deeper convection to the south end of what some are calling the "center". if you look at the ramsdis loops you'll see that IF a central circulation DOES reform, it could very well be in this southern area of convection. check out the WV loop too, it supports the same data as what the ramsdis IR shows. I think STORMTOP may be right on with this dead west movement at the moment, especially when some other images are showing a more north movement.
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1264. Jedkins
5:37 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
I know the NHC does the same things these are hard to predict because the weather changes often.
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1263. Jedkins
5:31 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
LOL florida to north carolina thats all I can say at the moment but these models are doing that curve out to sea tendency again and this storm is still moving do west and even the NHC trak which is away from the main model group is still has moving northwest in 12 hour but I dont believe that will happen but Time will tell and I am not sure will it will go I am goining to go ahead and say east florida but thats just an idea and I could be wrong and if I am right then dont praise me its almost a guess with these things because high pressure ridges shear etc. change often and it is hard to forecast these thing so if I get it right dont prasie me and if I am wrong dont bash or you will make an enemy lol.
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1262. whirlwind
1:31 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
i think gmboy95 is repeating what stormtop has been saying...?
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1261. HurricaneKing
5:25 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
he is being smart.
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5:24 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
1259. jeff14photos
10:24 AM PDT on August 10, 2005
gosh gmboy whats your problm
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1258. gmboy95
5:15 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
would an example of a stupid judgement be maybe....."you dont have to worry about this is a fish storm"...."i will be keeping my eye on that wuss storm irene"....or my favorite "this storm has no chance of hitting the us"....I feel educated!!!!
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1257. Hawkeyewx
12:08 PM CDT on August 10, 2005
I don't like to nitpick too much, but a westward movement implies easterlies. Westerlies means from the west to the east.
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1256. whirlwind
12:59 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
listening to the news, this sounds like what they were saying with jeanne and frances.

it all depends on when and if irene will turn north. same crap.
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1255. whirlwind
12:56 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
Stormtop-- can you give me a link showing the westerlies steering currents and the high? thx
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4:48 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
ok im not going to say another word you will see what i mean when the next advisory comes out...maybe then you will see bridging of highs mean..i cant explain it any better then im doing..the storrm cant go northward if the high strengthens and the storm is pushed back down in the westerlies..this is the same scenario as jeanne ..i give up just follow the nhc and dont make any stupid judgements that florida is out the woods...its not and i cant stress that enough to all of you...this storm is strengthing and is caught up in the westerlies do i have to say just waiting to see if the high is strong enough to push the track on a more wsw course later tonight...
1253. whirlwind
12:52 PM EDT on August 10, 2005
what about the bermuda high... how will that affect irene?
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1252. gmboy95
4:50 PM GMT on August 10, 2005
maybe its me...but my untrained eye sees a north/northwest movement
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1251. punkasshans
11:45 AM EST on August 10, 2005
i didnt think his last comment was bad. . .

anyway, the storm will most likely keep going west for another 60/72 hours and then push north once the high moves too far east. I, personally, think florida and geogia are safe. SC, NC and north should be watching the storm, but i think it will stay off the shore line.
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1250. jeff14photos
9:43 AM PDT on August 10, 2005
oh stormtop dont you ever give up.
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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