Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tornado Outbreak

A few days ago, there was big news and hype about the several-day severe weather event. News outlets were hyping it up, big time. And all because a large trough was entering the western US. And now as it turns out, very few tornadoes (a few minor tornadoes were reported yesterday.) And not very many severe reports. A strong cold front is plowing south through the southern plains and undercutting storms, not allowing any surface-based updrafts. Snow is plentiful and near record cold is overspreading the plains.

This all goes to show that a synoptic scale pattern change can be easily over-hyped because tornadoes are mesoscale events that require very specific conditions to form. And we do not do a very good job and knowing those details a few days out. Although I might add that it seemed to me that the main winds were going to be misplaced into the cold air. A large trough is not the only needed ingredient for a tornado outbreak.

I just hate, that despite a better ability to forecast, we allow the meteorology field to be "presented" by an overzealous media wanting to hype rather than report. It does no service to us when hype takes the place of an accurate understanding of the weather.

Of course, the plethora of chasers who talk up EVERYTHING is probably worse.

Sigh...I am just glad I heard thunder and will probably hear more again soon.


  1. Seriously! I was watching the Weather Channel at the gym today. After they reported on winter storm "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" Walda, they had an in depth report from Tornado Hunt 2013: Day 1 where they found hail in a winter storm. I just wanted to know if it was going to rain tomorrow so I could turn the irrigation system off. Sheesh.

  2. SO, so interesting. When I took your Intro class back @ 2000, I wanted nothing more than to be a weatherman. All aspects of it. Yet, I was shut out from it. Why? I was pushed into another line of work, you might say. I might have been writing blogs about my own weather sorties, musings and such. But...
    I'm sad to say you were so unwelcoming, so detached from a Sophomore transfer student looking to begin and be taught even with hardships, I left. I don't want to say rude, but I will say since I had no formal training other than what 99.9% of us weather geeks start out with: personal education and drive. Yet at your class, you showed an elitist detachment to the point where my dreams were dashed. If I had to go through this.....type thing. So I left that dream behind.
    So ironic I happen, out of the blue, to stumble upon your blog, Paul, with all the God talk and what would Jesus do stuff (I AM a believer, p.s.) yet all of that was lost a few years ago as humility, patience, and any other adjective thrown in, was absent then. Man, did I feel bad. Here was my chance to learn what I've wanted to, by someone who was the best in the field....yet he seemed to have zero patience on the new kid.
    Well, time goes on as it always does...and new dreams arise.
    But if you're going to drink wine and suckle on your raised-fees & tuition salary in modest *haha* Glen Ellen and ponder God's thoughts, please think back to a time when your very own actions and behavior alienated one student, broke his dreams by callus desertion, and moved on to whatever was more attractive in other students. Enjoy the career and musings you've made, Paul. But don't get all pious too, too much. There are those of us whose life was not changed for front-page glory. Hey, we all are arseholes now and then, right? Just sad when that position is wasted due to...whatever..ego, boredom...and life was wasted for one's own focus on ....fill in the rest. I'm too depressed to think back when an excited student new to meteorology was told to find a new career and laughed at. Literally. Enjoy, Paul.

    1. What is most interesting about this comment is that this person speaks of something that is totally untrue. I have a lot of faults and there may be reasons to not like me as a teacher. But not caring or laughing at a student is not one of them. If this person has the courage, respond with your real name. We can talk and I won't judge you.