What you see above is the forecast from the Severe Storm Center regarding the potential for severe weather. We are in the slight risk today as a cold front moves down through the region. The biggest threat will be strong winds and hail. The map above is the probability of severe winds which by definition are winds in excess of 58 mph. The parameter for severe hail is .75″ or greater. The SPC probability for hail is 15%. What is going on is that we have a huge amount of potential energy in the form of lots of heat and moisture. We’ve had that for the past few days. When you have a pile of potential energy, think of it as a pile of wood…maybe even with a little kerosene on it. Its just a pile of wood unless someone throws a match on it. In our case, we had an upper disturbance on Tuesday that came down and ignited a few strong thunderstorms. Wednesday, we reloaded the atmosphere and late day heating ignited some late day isolated t’storms but basically, all that potential energy remains. Today we will be adding more potential energy with daytime heating. The front will serve as a big match that will light the whole pile of potential energy and that is why we are in the slight risk for severe storms. The wind fields are such that the potential for tornadic activity is limited but its not completely out of the question that in the chaos of strong storms running into each other or perhaps bowing out that a small tornado may spin up briefly. But we are most concerned with strong winds blowing out of the storms in a straight line nature with some hail. There will probably be a ton of lightning too. Get your work or play done by 4 pm today. Might be a good idea to pick up the kids toys outside, lower the umbrella in the back yard and move in yard furniture…anything in your yard that might blow away or into something else. This situation isn’t totally ominous, but its something to be aware of and we will certainly be keeping your apprised of the situation as it develops.
Archive for July, 2007
Good Shot For Strong Storms Today
July 19, 2007
July 18, 2007
Computer update went pretty much without a hitch….well..okay there was one hitch but I think we got that licked. Seems there’s never a perfect upgrade session. See, what’s going on is that the NWS is going from county based warnings to storm based warnings. What that will mean for you is that instead of there being a warning issued for an entire county, the warning will be issued for wherever the storm is expected to travel. The result is a warned area in the shape of a polygon that may encompass several counties. This is great for West Texas where any one county may be the size of half the state of Kentucky. Around here, I have been told we have more counties per square mile than any other place in the country. So, there will be many times when there is a polygon that covers parts of 6 counties. Try explaining that in a crawl. In my view, the system is designed with graphics in mind because showing a map will be much more effective than trying to describe a 3 square mile area of one county, the northern half of an adjacent county and a 2 square mile area of a third, and so forth. So, the computer systems have to be updated to reflect the new warning criteria which is scheduled to go into full effect in October but it looks like most NWS offices are doing it now. Today will not be a great chance to see the new system in action, but Thursday afternoon may provide a good opportunity before a great weekend comes about.
This Date In History: Ted Kennedy’s aspiration for higher political office went into the drink on this date in 1969 on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. The Kennedy’s were having a party as a reunion for 5 women who had worked on the late Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Ted Kennedy said that he was driving Mary Jo Kopechne to the ferry that would take both of them home to their separate destinations. He said they took a wrong turn and ended up going off the end of a wooden bridge and into the water. Kennedy swam safely to shore while Kopechne drowned. There are many details of Kennedy’s story that have raised many questions, one of which is his story of taking Kopechne home. Apparently, she had left her purse and room key at the party. Go on any website and find out more sordid details. One thing is for certain, Mary Jo Kopechne’s life came to an end on this date in 1969 while millions of Americans were keeping tabs on the progress of the Apollo 11 astronauts. As for Ted Kennedy, he reported the accident 10 hours after it happened and he received a two month suspended sentence and suspension of his driver’s license for a year for leaving the scene of an accident. Politically, it was Ted Kennedy’s Waterloo as he never ran successfully for President as the questions about Chappaquiddick continue to this day. Yet, he has remained a member of the United States Senate and Mary Jo Kopechne has become but a footnote to history.
The writer Hunter S. Thompson was born in Louisville on this date in 1929 just prior to the end of the Roaring 20′s and the stock market crash in October 1929. Thompson started a two page newspaper at age of ten, which he sold for 4 cents. By his late teens he was in trouble for drinking, carousing, pyromania and vandalism. By the time he was 18, he went to jail for robbery but was released as long as he joined the Air Force. In the USAF he became a sports reporter and later got a job as a reporter in New York, though his stint at that publication was short as he was fired for kicking a soft drink machine. He went on to write conventional journalism but hit his stride as an author. Hells Angels became a best seller in 1970. Later, he was to cover the Kentucky Derby but it is said he went on a week-long boozing streak instead. His editors kept sending copy boys to try and find him and he gave them scribbled notes. The result was an unusual article titled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which was hailed as a some sort of new journalistic style….gonzo journalism. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail both became best sellers. Thompson took his own life a couple of years ago.
While many people just love his work, I would warn young writers to not follow Thompson’s lead. Getting and staying loaded in the hopes of writing some great article or book will more than likely not produce great results unless your goal is to see an Herman Munster’s employer, Mr. Goodman.
July 17, 2007
I’m a little busy today. Snow White and I went rowing this morning. Quite humid out there which told me there was a lot of potential energy. There was a dying MCS to our northwest and another behind it. Normally you might think that the earlier storms might prevent others from forming or if they move in, they would get zapped because the earlier activity used up all of the energy. But…this was the morning and so the storms leave behind moisture and the heating of the day hadn’t gotten going yet. So, there was plenty of time to reload and so look for scattered storms this afternoon. Some may be strong. While I watch that, I’m upgrading the computers so you’ll have to find out what happened on this date in history yourself unless I find time later today.
Are You Anastasia?
July 16, 2007
Before we get to the girl….the weather will be fine if you like typical week-after-Bastille Day in Louisville. Hot and humid with scattered afternoon t’storms. Not too many today but best chances for wandering storms will be Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday will be hot and Thursday night will be the best chance for general rain as a front moves through.
On This Date In History: The Romanov Royal Family in Russia met its doom. Czar Nicholas II was put in a bad spot as he was not really trained to be the Czar. He took the throne in 1896 and was pretty aloof. He got the Russians into a war with the Japanese in 1905 and his fleet got totally annihilated in a naval battle north of Japan. Then he goes and gets them into WWI in 1914 when his army is completely ill-equipped for modern warfare. They had lots of guys but they were more suited for a war in 1814 instead of 1914. The only reason they got into it was a stupid treaty with the Serbs. The people had gotten angry in 1905 and forced the Czar to create the Duma, a form of Congress. But he kept on dissolving the Duma whenever it came up with some sort of reforms. So, in 1917 the Russian Revolution broke out. In July 1918 they captured the royal family and on this date in 1918, the family was lined up for a photograph and then gunned down.
What about the girl?
Rumor was that the whole family was killed except for Anastasia, the young daughter. During the 20th century, several women showed up in Europe and even the United States claiming to be Anastasia. The most convincing of these Anastasias was a woman, Anna Anderson, who moved to the United States and died there in 1984. In 1991, the bodies of the Royal Family were exhumed only to find that Anastasia was indeed not there. However, DNA comparisons between Anna Anderson and the Royal Family proved she was not Anastasia. So, the question remains…..what happened to Anastasia?
In Baseball People have been suspicious about the big home run totals of the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. Barry Bonds total of 73 home runs is 22% more than Babe Ruth’s 60. On this date in 1920, Ruth hit his 30th home run to break his record of 29. He ended up with 54 home runs for the year, breaking his record by 86%!!! Beer and Hot Dogs are suspected as the key to his unfathomable success.
July 14, 2007
It will be relatively dry Saturday but the mercury will move to the upper 80′s. A front of sorts will move in on Sunday bringing a risk of a few thunderstorms. Don’t cancel your plans though, in fact, perhaps you will want to extend your celebration of Fête Nationale.
So….whats all this foot stuff. It’s not foot, its Fête and Fête Nationale means “national holiday” in french. I know many Americans think “national holiday” and France are synonymous but try to get beyond that and think of your high school English class and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. If you were paying attention in class and still remember, Dickens’ classic was set in the time of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille. On this date in 1789, the French peasants stormed the notorious French prison that held many political prisoners at the behest of King Louis XVI. The French were inspired by the new Americans who had gained independence from England just 8 years earlier with the essential help of the French. Remember, it was the French Navy that bottled up Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown while George Washington, with the assistance of Lafayette, locked up the Redcoats by land.
So, it took the French a few years but eventually they got fired up. One of an assortment of grievances was a taxation system that really stuck it to the third estate…the peasants which made up about 98% of the French citizenry. The first estate was the clergy and the second estate was the nobles. Anyway, they stormed the Bastille, Marie Antoinette and the King lost their heads and the first French Republic eventually came into being. Didn’t last too long because Napoleon named himself emperor not too far down the road so it took them awhile before Democracy really took hold. In this country we declared independence in 1776, won in 1781 but never got a good Constitution until 1787 and not a President until 1789. So it takes time. Remember that next time you watch the news. Democracies don’t spring up instantly.
Besides, if the French had gotten their act together sooner, the US may not have ever stretched from sea to shining sea. If you recall, that big old land acquisition by Thomas Jefferson, which by the way he admitted may not have been Constitutional, was called the Louisiana purchase and was done by slipping Napoleon a few greenbacks. Talk about selfishness. Napoleon needed the money to fund his latest war so he gave up what became the breadbasket of the world and the bulk of what would be the greatest nation the world has ever seen for $15 million. He ended up exiled and the US went to superpowerdom. Anyway, if you see a Frenchman today, wish him happy Bastille Day, or Fête Nationale as it is officially, although less commonly, known today. By the way, its interesting, is it not, that our media is referred to as the “third estate”. I suppose its because the press is supposed to be the voice of the people. However, I know that the press doesn’t always speak for me. I mean, think about it….do you really want me speaking for you?
On This Date in History: Outlaw Johnny Ringo gained his independence before the French. He was a member of the infamous “cowboys” of Arizona. He was found in Turkey Creek Canyon near Tombstone, AZ with fatal gunshot wound to the head. It was thought that he killed himself or was killed by “Buckskin” Leslie or “Johnny behind the Deuce.” Then Wyatt Earp claimed to have killed him when he was writing about his life as a lawman. I guess since Wyatt Earp spent much of his later years in Hollywood and because the story was better cinema than perhaps the truth, Hollywood chose Earp’s account and in all the films about Earp, Ringo meets his demise at the hands of Earp…except in Tombstone in which Val Kilmer does the deed instead of Kurt Russel.
In baseball history, Hank Aaron hit his 500th homerun in 1968 exactly one year after Eddie Matthews hit his 500th. In 2004, the Houston Astros fired manager Jimy Williams not long after Williams was booed roundly at the All-Star game which was played in Houston. The Astros, under Phil Garner, staged a big come back in the second half of the season and ended up in the playoffs then made the World Series the following year for the first time in club history. Perhaps the day should be known as Astros Independence from Jimy Williams Day!
Do you have paraskavedekatriaphobia?
July 13, 2007
Paraskavedekatriaphobia is fear of Friday the 13th. Why is it supposed to be unlucky. Well, my staff of researchers have come up with some interesting tidbits. Statistically, the 13th of any given month is the one most likely to fall on a Friday. It is thought that the fear factor has Christian roots. At the last Supper, there were 13 people and Judas was the 13th to arrive. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and some theologians have reached the conclusion that the great flood began on a Friday and Adam and Eve ate the apple on a Friday. How they know the last two is beyond me. So, go about your business and be positive. Its just a number on the calendar and when people look at these things, they tend to look for the bad. There have been all sorts of good things that have happened on Friday the 13th. But, if you want to be careful, don’t go to dinner with 12 other people, stay out of heavy rain and wait to eat that apple until Saturday. I refuse to acknowledge any bad luck associated with black cats so as not to offend my kitties, Nit and Wit.
On This Date In History: Well, Friday the 13th proved unlucky for William Henry McCarty. He is thought to have been born around 1860 in New York. It is unknown who is father was. His mother, Catherine McCarty moved to Indiana in the 1860′s and to Wichita Kansas in 1870 where she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. She moved to the warmer and drier climate of Santa Fe where she married William Antrim. Since there were two Billies in the house, she called her son Henry. His mother died in 1874 and his step-father wanted nothing to do with him so he sent him to a foster home where he had to earn his own keep. He wasn’t too keen on washing dishes and such, so he turned to the dark side. He fell in with horse thieves and such and eventually got into a fight with Windy Cahill, whom he shot dead. Rather than face murder charges he fled. He teamed up with outlaw Jesse Evans and went to Lincoln County, New Mexico and took up with forces pitted against Henry Tunstall. He changed his name to William H. Bonney. Tunstall ended up taking in “the kid” as he thought he was just the product of a troubled life. Billy the Kid ended up killing Sheriff Brady, among others and became a notorious outlaw. Pat Garrett became sheriff of Lincoln County and on this date, shot and killed Billy the Kid. It is known “the kid” was shot in the dark, but it is said he was shot in the back by Garrett, who was a former friend, on this date in 1881. That event didn’t prove too lucky for Garrett either.
He wrote a semi-successful book on his nabbing the notorious teenage outlaw but then failed at just about everything else he did. The public didn’t really embrace his celebrity too much as it was accepted he had shot “the kid” in the back. He ran for office several times for the Senate and various places for sheriff but lost every time. He had become friends with Teddy Roosevelt and in 1901 the President appointed Garrett as customs collector in El Paso. Roosevelt found out that Garrett had associated with some unsavory fellows and did not re-appoint him. Garrett became financially destitute and while working on a real estate deal of sorts, was shot to death…in the back of the head.
So…add avoiding shooting an outlaw in the dark to your list of things to avoid for the day.
Picture Jumble-solve the puzzle
July 12, 2007
Great day today. Don’t worry about it. This is the type of July day that makes one wonder how anyone can say Louisville is in the South.
Let’s Review: Yesterday we had a little discussion about Impeachment. What is impeachment? Impeachment is merely the first part of the process for a legislative body to remove a governmental official from office. Usually, its without that person’s consent and usually its an elected official, although appointed officials like judges can be removed by this process. That is why it is accurate to say President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton were impeached. But they were not removed from office because the second part of the process is called conviction. Neither were convicted of the charges brought by impeachment. Senator Barak Obama lately has said that impeachment should not be used as a political tool and for that reason is not in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Bush or Vice-President Cheney. However, I believe Mr. Obama is in error. See, because its an action by a political body, then it is therefore an political action. No one goes to jail if they are convicted. The founding fathers put this little action into the Constitution so that if someone was acting criminally but somehow skirted the law, then they could act.
Also, in my view, the founders weren’t exactly totally trusting of the people. In the original Constitution, the only federal offices voted for directly by the people were Representatives and those office holders had to face re-election every two years. State legislatures elected Senators and the President is really elected by the electoral college, not the people. So the impeachment apparatus was set up also to allow for the removal from office of an individual that the elite members of Congress might deem was not up to the job. Andrew Johnson was impeached for removing a cabinet member after Congress passed an forbidding him to do so without prior consent. It was clearly an unconstitutional measure but they were setting a trap for Johnson who fired Secretary of War Stanton just to challenge them. Congress didn’t like his Reconstruction policy and was trying to get rid of him but in the end, Johnson held on to his job by one vote. When articles of impeachment were brought against President Nixon, one of them was for taking one FBI file. If you recall, the Clinton administration grabbed 900 FBI files. They blamed it on a former bouncer, Craig Livingstone and nothing was done. But later in his term, Clinton was brought up for impeachment in part for lying to a judge in a Civil suit. It seems to be the lesser of the two charges yet, the former was ignored. In our earlier case of Aaron Burr, he actually shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel and he had murder charges brought against him by the state of New York and he eluded the law, yet he was not removed from office. So, impeachment is a political tool and the founders intended it to be that way.
On this Date in History: Three firsts. Wild Bill Hickock gunned down his first man in 1861; Dwight D. Eisenhower took the first Presidential helicopter ride in 1957; Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman Vice-Presidential candidate in 1984. In 1995, a heatwave hit Chicagoland and over 1000 people died in a week. The mercury hit as high as 106 with a heat index of nearly 120. Heatwaves have happened in the past and they will happen again, its not a fair indication of any anthropogenic global warming. Evidence would be found elsewhere.
July 11, 2007
Looking For Fossils and Discovering a Local Treasure
July 6, 2007
If you recall some time ago, I reported to you about how the new director of the National Hurricane Center began his tenure by criticising his boss, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. He ragged on them for cutting his budget by $700,000 and for spending money, $4 million, on a birthday celebration for NOAA’s 200th birthday, never mind that NOAA didn’t come into existence until 1970. They claim the root of their existence dates back to 1807 and they refute the claim of $4 million. They said its more like $1.5 million. In any event, the new director, Bill Proenza, said his budget cuts could result in forecast accuracy reduced by as much as 16% mainly because the QuikScat satellite is reaching the end of its expected life and there is no replacement. Well, now he’s getting heat from within. Apparently 3 of the top 5 forecasters are calling for his removal. They say he has hurt morale and they don’t like his management style. So, a bunch of Feds showed up at the hurricane center recently to do an investigation. Meantime, as far as I can tell, plans remain underway for NOAA to spend more money on changing the name from the National Hurricane Center to the NOAA Hurricane Center. I guess the agency has a narcissistic edge to them and think its important that we acknowledge the superiority of the government. Anyway, it’s turned into a soap opera and it’s a shame because the National Hurricane Center has probably been one of the better stories of US Government agencies in many years. Reports say that there have been shouting matches between the pro and con Proenza legions at the NHC. I guess some think he shouldn’t rock the boat, spark up a cigar during the bogus party and hope Quikscat doesn’t go down on his watch. There’s got to be something more here. I know some of the guys at the NHC and I can’t believe that they would want to get rid of a guy who wants to get them more tools and maintain their budget unless there’s something they aren’t saying. Maybe NOAA itself is behind it to try and get rid of the guy for making them look silly by publicizing their party, budget cuts and name changes. By making it look like it came from within, that takes them off the hook. In any event, let’s hope they bury the barometer and don’t take their differences to the field when the hurricane game comes to town. This is one team we need to be on the same page with the tempest returns.