Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trip to OKC

I spent most of last week in Oklahoma City for the AMS (American Meteorological Society) Broadcast conference. I am fortunate to be serving on the broadcast board for the next 3 years, helping advance this wonderful organization that so many broadcasters are a part of. There is going to be an overhaul of the Doppler radar network across the United States, upgrading to Dual Polarimetric. This upgrade on the radar will allow us to understand what the radar beam is hitting (i.e. rain, hail, snowflakes, ice crystals, tornado debris, birds, insects) and it will also give us better estimation on rainfall amounts. There are so many cases where heavy rain and hail occur simultaneously, and the Doppler radar estimates are not accurate because of the large hailstones. I also had a chance to listen to some great case studies on different weather topics, including climate (seems to be a big topic these days) The next conference will be in Boston (a nice place to cool off next summer)

On the last day of the conference, I had another opportunity to tour the National Weather Center on the OU campus. It was interesting when we arrived at the top of the building, looking straight south, you could see where an EF4 tornado lifted before charging into Norman, OK on May 24th (this year). The tornado actually lifted near Goldsby, but there was a distinct clearing in the trees straight south of the weather center building. Some of the meteorologists on duty that night had already found shelter, while others were going to wait until the last minute. The image posted here is the track of the strong tornado that lifted just before going into Norman (Norman would be off the top of the map)

Get ready for the heat. July is about to start, and I feel like we've already had our fair share of 100s, but there will be many more to come based on the way things are looking.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Helping a small town

Some of you may know I'm from the Geneseo area and it's a town of about 250-300 on the Rice/Ellsworth county line. The community is working to make some improvements on the buildings that line Main street. Several buildings are in need of repair, including one building called the 55+ Club, which needs a new roof. When I was growing up in Geneseo, the building was used for senior citizen meals and receptions.

In an effort to raise some money to get a new roof, Home Communications Inc. is having a BBQ this Friday and asking for donations to help offset the cost of the roof repair. I'm attaching the flier in case anyone reading this in central Kansas is interested in going. These small Kansas towns have seen a decrease in population over the last several years, so keeping them going requires a little more effort, even from those who don't live there anymore, but still call it home (like me)

Harvest is going to be in full swing for the next few weeks, so hopefully I'll get a chance to head home and help for a day or two.
Have a great week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Arizona Fires

Smoke was passing over Kansas Tuesday afternoon from the wildfire that has been burning since May 29th in eastern Arizona. The satellite images here clearly show the fire almost right on the Arizona/New Mexico stateline, and there is concern the fire may spread into western portions of New Mexico.

Upper level winds (30,000 - 50,000 feet) continue to blow from southwest to northeast, carrying more smoke toward Kansas. So it's possible (and maybe even likely) that more smoke will be coming our way before the fire is extinguished. Rain in the short term is not likely, but there should be some changes early next week that may bring some moisture to the southwest US. Hopefully by then, the fire will be under control, but with hot weather and strong winds, it is going to be a long battle.

The wheat harvest has started in Kansas. It sure seems early for it, but just like always, depends on what kind of weather we've been having and with the recent hot spell, it's time to get it before a storm comes through and takes it.

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