07/23/2014

Weather Blog: Today's Storm Threats

From Jude Redfield...

    Scattered storms keep developing throughout the day. Locally heavy rain will occur with quite a bit of lightning. Severe weather is not likely, but an isolated severe storm is *POSSIBLE*  Even though the jetstream is not involved, pulse style storms can quickly form and often quickly die. When these storms collapse they put down gusty winds...SOMETIMES reaching severe criteria. Where these storms get going don't be surprised by rain amounts exceeding 1"  Unless the forecast changes it doesn't appear everyone will see rain. Rain chances approach 60% which is better than nothing. Hopefully you get the lawn watered for free because we are right back to dry weather Thursday & Friday.

    The cold front moves south late tonight end our rain and storm show. This cools us down tomorrow, lowers the humidity and brightens the blue in the sky. We are back to much better air quality for the rest of the week. Rick, Marc and Jeremy will have radar updates during the rest of the day. -Jude Redfield-

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07/22/2014

Storms Are Possible On Wednesday... My Analysis Of The Severe Weather Risk!

We will see a cold front arrive in the afternoon on Wednesday and that front is likely to spark some t-storms. In a hot and humid summer airmass, I know a lot are wondering if this could produce severe weather. In tonight's blog, I have a full analysis of the severe weather threat!

 

 

Storm Prediction Center Severe Weather Risk For Wednesday

 

SPC has avoided placing us in a severe weather risk on Wednesday, but they have now included some low end severe weather probabilities for Wednesday. Let me show you their latest.

 

SPC Categorical Risk Of Severe Weather Wednesday

Notice has our entire area in the "general t-storm" risk for Wednesday.

 

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SPC Probabilistic Risk Of Severe Weather Wednesday

Notice SPC has a 5% chance of severe storms on Wednesday. This is to cover for "pulse" type severe storms meaning they do not see an organized severe weather threat.

 

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My Thoughts On Our Severe Weather Risk On Wednesday

 

To get organized severe weather, we traditionally need specific ingredients present. Since we don't analyze severe threats all the time in the summer, I want to refresh you quickly on the ingredients I look for when assessing whether a severe weather event could occur. All three of these items need to be present for large scale organized severe weather events.

 

Severe Weather Ingredients

 

Forcing

The forcing on Wednesday will come from a cold front moving across the area. This is a solid front with much cooler air behind it, so the forcing should be sufficient to fire some storms in our area.

 

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Wind Energy / Instability

The wind energy and instability can be combined on a single map showing instability / bulk shear. Bulk shear is a pretty simple value that allows us to look at the maximum wind speed in the mid levels of the atmosphere. In my experience, we need at least 35 knots / 40 mph to support organized severe weather in our area. If the wind energy is weaker, the storms never can mature long enough to produce widespread severe weather.

 

The data suggests instability is more than sufficient, but the winds are pathetic. They are not just weak, but nearly non-existent on Wednesday at about 5 - 10 mph.

 

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My Thoughts On Severe Weather Chances Wednesday

 

The data has been consistently showing solid instability for storms on Wednesday. There really is no question that it will be favorable for severe weather. There is also enough forcing to fire storms and I don't see an issue there either. The wind energy is the limiting factor. It is not just weak, but most of the data suggests you could run faster than the mid level winds. Wind energy is so important because it acts as a mechanism to evacuate rain above the updraft which effectively is the lifeline of the storm. As the rain accumulates above the updraft, it gets heavier and heavier. Eventually the rain becomes so heavy that the updraft cannot support the weight and collapses in a process referred to as "precipitation loading".

 

Precipitation Loading

 

Precipitation loading means that each individual storm won't last that long and can never mature to the point where it can produce widespread, organized severe weather.

 

AdvanceTrak seems to have a very solid handle on this system. Notice the storms are scattered and you just don't see a lot of the intense core colors (dark purple / black / white). AdvanceTrak supports the idea of only an isolated severe threat at best. It also gives a very realistic timeline so you know when to expect the storms. Notice the timestamp on the top right part of each image.

 

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If there was any isolated severe weather, damaging winds with frequent lightning would be the main threats.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember it is Summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".

 

If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!

 

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The Door to Hell!

More than four decades ago over a remote part of the Karakum Desert, located in the far southern part of the former USSR, a fiery crater opened up and has been burning continuously ever since.  

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What makes this fiery crater so unique is that it's not volcanic, and it's not entirely natural either.  

The Darvaza gas crater or “The Door to Hell” is a 230 foot wide burning hole in the earth located approximately 250 miles east of the Caspian Sea in modern day Turkmenistan. 

Map door to hell

It's formation started in 1971 when geologist from the former USSR identified the area as a substantial oil field site.  Soviet petrochemical engineers proceeded to set up a drilling rig and started drilling operations at the site when the ground gave way.  The drilling rig dissappeared into the newly formed crater.

Fortunately no lives were lost in the incident, but large quantities of methane gas started leaking into the air posing a serious environmental problem and a potential danger to those in nearby villages.  Fearing the release of more gas into the atmosphere, the engineers decided to light it on fire.  

The remaining gas was expected to burn up in a matter of days or a few weeks.  However, more than 40 years later, the gaseous pit is still burning!  

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On a dark night, the glow of the fiery crater can be seen from miles away and the smell of burning sulfur can be detected from a distance that becomes quite strong as you near the hot edge of the crater.

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The Door to Hell has become one of Turkmenistan's few tourist attractions as it draws hundreds of adventure seekers each year out into the Karakum desert where summer temperatures can reach a blistering 120° without the help of the oversided Darvaza fire pit!

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In April 2010, the president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, visited the site and ordered officials to find a way to put out the blaze for fears that the fire would draw off gas from other nearby drilling sites potentially damaging Turkmenistan's vital energy exports. 

In an effort to energize the country's economy, Turkmenistan plans to increase its production and export of natural gas to portions of Europe and Asia in the coming years.

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The Karakum Desert, where Darvaza is located, has one of the largest gas reserves in the world.

No word on when the famous Darvaza fire will be put out.  

 

The Derweze (Darvaza) area in Turkmenistan is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell.

 

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Weather Blog: Drenching Downpours For Some

From Jude Redfield...

    Air quality alert today with afternoon feels like temps near 100.  Much needed rain arrives *FOR SOME* tomorrow. It does not look like a 100% chance, rather a 50%-60%.  Where it does rain it's going to pour, but you know how that works...hit or miss. Our severe weather risk is very low tomorrow. The howling jetstream that would help fuel the potential for widespread damaging wind is not even close to us. Other than an isolated severe thunderstorm or two don't expect much in that department. Hopefully you get the rain because we go right back to a dry pattern Thursday and Friday.

    A jab of cooler, less humid air arrives Thursday and Friday before a warm rebound this weekend. That is short lived as the 3rd invasion of autumn-like chill arrives for the end of the month and start of August. Hard to believe we could have 3 of these chilly (low humidity) events in what is supposed to be the hottest month of the year. Gotta love the weather! :):):):)   -Jude Redfield-

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07/21/2014

Are You Ready For Some Chilly July / August Weather? Wait Until You See What Is Coming...

The pattern this July has resulted in below normal temperatures re-occurring over and over again. While it will heat up in the next couple of days, the medium and long range data suggests a big time cool down approaching our area. The question is... FACT or FICTION?

 

A Discussion Of The Cool Weather Pattern

 

This has been a very interesting 9 months. We got locked in a very cold pattern this last winter and, to be honest, this pattern has re-emerged even during the hot summer months. We have a drought to our west which meant heat still had to be a part of our summer, but watching these cool spells has been extremely interesting.

 

The genesis of this pattern this winter and right now has been persistenting blocking weather systems over the north Atlantic and Europe. Right now we have a brutally strong blocking weather pattern over Europe. This is a combination of a powerful "high over low" and a modified omega block. Notice how the jet stream resembles the greek letter omege "Ω".

 

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This is quite frankly a POWERFUL block. The result has been a cascade effect across the Atlantic into Canada and the US. The block means storms are not going to move... at all. Watch this storm over central / eastern Canada starting Wednesday.

 

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Ok, let's see if it moves by Friday... nope.

 

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Maybe it will move by Sunday... nope.

 

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When a storm won't move from central / eastern Canada, it means it will be tugging on the colder air in the northern Canada or the north pole and send cool air in our direction. This is an inevitability when a low pressure gets stuck in this part of Canada. By early next week, you can see the result is a very deep dip in the jet stream for the eastern US meaning another invasion of Canadian air.

 

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How Cool Are We Talking About?

 

Understanding the why, let's start to talk specifics. For what it is worth, the record lows next week are in the low to mid 50s and the data is suggesting some of those could be in danger. Here is a look at the highs for the first half of next week.

 

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My Thoughts On Another Invasion Of Cold Air... Fact Or Fiction?

 

I have to be honest, I don't think this is just a possibility but I think it is going to happen. The block over Europe is so titantically strong that the impact across the Atlantic Ocean should create a virtual stand still for storms in the jet stream. Have you ever run up on traffic that goes on for an hour? Sometimes we think, how can the traffic extend SO FAR, but a stop in the traffic flow causes extreme back-ups. This is absolutely no different and we are seeing a traffic jam of storms that leaves a storm in the perfect spot to fire cool air in our direction. This is a cascade of events that will ultimately lead to a cool spell next week. I am not the only one convinced, CPC has pushed "all in" on this philosphy and have a 70% - 80% chance of below normal temperatures in the 6 - 10 day forecast and 8 - 14 day forecast.

 

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In my mind, it isn't if it will get cool, but it is about how cool it will get. Some of the data does suggest near record cool early or mid next week, but I think that is still aggressive at this point. The mid level temperatures are cool but below mid 50s still seems a bit aggressive. At this point, I think 70s for highs and lows in the mid 50s are on the table by the middle of next week... August! What a wild 9 months!!!

 

 

Remember it is Summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".

 

If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marc-Weinberg/171330336238674#!/pages/Marc-Weinberg/171330336238674

 

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Dramatic Dashcam Video of Deadly Rock Slide in China!

This dashcam video from friday afternoon shows people fleeing their cars after the first rocks begin to fall along national highway in Maoxian county, in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Women and children are seen running for cover moments before a flying boulder knocks a person to the ground.  A man stops to help the victim to their feet and walks them out of harm's way.

As the rocks rain down others are left cowering against the mountainside, as pieces continue to pepper the cars below even smashing the window of the car with the dashcam.

Eleven people were reportedly killed in the disaster, with 19 others treated for injuries.

 

 

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Weather Blog: Too Hot? This Will Chill You Out!!!

From Jude Redfield...

    On this date 21 July 1983 → Vostok, Antarctica recorded Earth's coldest surface temperature ever measured by a thermometer: 129 degrees below zero.   **READ BELOW FOR INFO ON WHAT *COULD* BE AN EVEN COLDER TEMPERATURE**

Lowest temperature recorded on Earth


The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K), at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.

****Analysis of satellite data has indicated a probable temperature of around −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F; 180.0 K), also in Antarctica, on August 10, 2010; however, this has not been confirmed by ground measurements. Both readings are lower than the sublimation point of carbon dioxide (dry ice)****

    Awesome videos below to help explain whats going on in the coldest place...

 

 

 

In contrast to the cold we are looking at another wave of heat. Our high temps locally head into the low 90s this afternoon and keep climbing tomorrow. Heat indices on Tuesday end up between 100-103.  What's worse, searing heat or numbing cold?

-Jude Redfield-

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07/20/2014

What in the World is a Sprite???

High above the clouds during thunderstorms, some 50 miles above Earth a different kind of lightning dances. Bursts of red and blue light, known as "sprites," flash for a scant one thousandth of a second. They are often only visible to those in flight above a storm, and happen so quickly you might not even see it unless you chance to be looking directly at it. One hard-to-reach place that gets a good view of sprites is the International Space Station. On April 30, 2012, astronauts on the ISS captured the signature red flash of a sprite, offering the world and researchers a rare opportunity to observe one.

676251main1_ISS-sprite-670A sprite glows red (inset) in this image captured by astronauts on the International Space Station on April 30, 2012. Credit: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

High above the clouds during thunderstorms, some 50 miles above Earth a different kind of lightning dances. Bursts of red and blue light, known as "sprites," flash for a scant one thousandth of a second. They are often only visible to those in flight above a storm, and happen so quickly you might not even see it unless you chance to be looking directly at it. One hard-to-reach place that gets a good view of sprites is the International Space Station. On April 30, 2012, astronauts on the ISS captured the signature red flash of a sprite, offering the world and researchers a rare opportunity to observe one.

Indeed, sprites are so hard to catch on film, that pilots had claimed to see them for almost a century before scientists at the University of Minnesota accidentally caught one on camera in July of 1989. Since then, researchers aboard planes have occasionally snapped a shot, but it continues to be difficult to methodically film them. So a group of scientists, along with help from Japan's NHK television, sought them out regularly for two weeks in the summer of 2011.

Filmed at 10,000 frames per second by Japan's NHK television, movies like this of electromagnetic bursts called "sprites" will help scientists better understand how weather high in the atmosphere relates to weather on the ground. Credit: NHK

Filming at 10,000 frames per second on two separate jets, the team recorded some of the best movies of sprites ever taken – movies that can be used to study this poorly understood phenomenon and the forces that create them. By filming from two jets flying 12 miles apart, the team mapped out the 3-dimensional nature of the sprites. Ground-based measurements rounded out the picture.

"Seeing these are spectacular," says Hans C. Stenbaek-Nielsen, a geophysicist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska. "But we need the movies, because not only are they so fast that you could blink and miss them, but they emit most of their light in red, where the human eye is relatively blind."

676305main_BigRed-Sprite_fullThis is the first color image of a sprite ever captured. It was taken in 1994 by a NASA-sponsored project through the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) that flew special cameras on two aircraft flown out of Oklahoma City. Credit: NASA/UAF

During those two weeks, the scientists hopped into their planes in Denver, Colo. each evening and chased storm clouds. Just figuring out which direction to fly next was a full time job, assigned to a single person with a computer watching the weather systems. Once a plane found a hot zone of sprites, however, they often lucked into filming numerous sprites in a row. The sprite's first flash is usually followed by a break up into numerous streamers of light – figuring out what causes this divergence is one of the key things researchers will try to understand from these films.

SpritesSprites over thunderstorms in Kansas on August 10, 2000, observed in the mesosphere, with and alititude of 50-90 kilometers as a response to powerful lightning discharges from tropospheric thunderstorms.  The true color of sprites is pink-red.  Credit: Walter Lyons, FMA Research, Fort Collins Colorado

The basic understanding of sprites is that they are related to lightning, in which a neutrally charged cloud discharges some of the electricity to ground. Normally negative charge is carried from the cloud to the ground, but about one out of every ten times it's positive charge -- and that leaves the top of the cloud negatively charged. With this one in ten chance, the electric field above the cloud is "just right" to produce the sprite, an electrical discharge 50 miles above the thunderstorm.

Typically the weather we experience on the ground is considered to be a separate phenomenon from the weather that goes on higher up in the atmosphere, in the area known as the mesosphere. The sprites show, however, that some fundamental science connects these two regions, opening interesting physics questions about the interchange of energy between them.

Images and Information Courtesy NASA

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July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind ...

July 1969. It's a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, followed quickly by President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out. It is only seven months since NASA's made a bold decision to send Apollo 8 all the way to the moon on the first manned flight of the massive Saturn V rocket.

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Smoke and flames signal the opening of a historic journey as the Saturn V clears the launch pad.
Image Credit: NASA

Now, on the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history.

At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the engines fire and Apollo 11 clears the tower. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earth orbit.

After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 gets a "go" for what mission controllers call "Translunar Injection" - in other words, it's time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia.

Collins later writes that Eagle is "the weirdest looking contraption I have ever seen in the sky," but it will prove its worth.

When it comes time to set Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong improvises, manually piloting the ship past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle's computer is sounding alarms.

It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once, but as Aldrin will later point out, "unfortunately it came up when we did not want to be trying to solve these particular problems."

When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew "You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again."

Armstrong will later confirm that landing was his biggest concern, saying "the unknowns were rampant," and "there were just a thousand things to worry about."

At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

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Buzz Aldrin climbs down the Eagle's ladder to the surface. Image Credit: NASA

Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: "magnificent desolation." They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.

They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle's legs. It reads, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

Armstrong and Aldrin blast off and dock with Collins in Columbia. Collins later says that "for the first time," he "really felt that we were going to carry this thing off."

The crew splashes down off Hawaii on July 24. Kennedy's challenge has been met. Men from Earth have walked on the moon and returned safely home.

In an interview years later, Armstrong praises the "hundreds of thousands" of people behind the project. "Every guy that's setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, 'If anything goes wrong here, it's not going to be my fault.'"

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Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong working at an equipment storage area on the lunar module. This is one of the few photos that show Armstrong during the moonwalk. Image Credit: NASA

In a post-flight press conference, Armstrong calls the flight "a beginning of a new age," while Collins talks about future journeys to Mars.

Over the next three and a half years, 10 astronauts will follow in their footsteps. Gene Cernan, commander of the last Apollo mission leaves the lunar surface with these words: "We leave as we came and, god willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind."

The bootprints of Apollo are waiting for company.

 

Video Credit: ReelNASA

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

 

Rick

 

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07/19/2014

VIDEO: Alligator vs Python!

Python swallows a Florida Alligator whole!  

 

YouTube Video courtesy Heiko Kiera aka ojatro

Now that's a mouthful!  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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