On This Date in History:
When we go to our cities, we expect to see great sky scrapers. We marvel at the buildings and how they were built. They are engineering marvels. But, often people don’t think of the things that make it possible. There is the problem of plumbing. Somehow you have to get water to the top floors in such a way that the water faucets and toilets flush operate on demand like they do on the ground. Then there is the problem of climate control inside the building. Conditions outside the building can be very different 1000 feet off the surface compared to the ground floor. But, the one thing that everyone probably takes for granted is how does one get to the top floors. The truth is, the ability to build skyward existed before the first tall buildings came into existence. The reason is that it was not pragmatic due to the fact the only way to get to the upper floors was by the stairs.
Enter Elisha Graves Otis. Hoists had been used to build tall things well before the mid-19th century when Otis came on the scene. But, the problem was safety. Things that go up tend to want to come down. Elevators in use were not reliable enough for general use. Otis
changed all of that when he put two metal hooks on the sides of the elevator car. The hooks were attached to a springline that in turn was attached to the cable that lifted the car. If the hoist cable became slack or if it broke, the hooks immediately sprung out and caught into teeth that were cut into the sides of the elevator shaft. The elevator car was saved.
On this date in 1854 at the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York City Otis demonstrated his elevator. He stood on a hoisting platform that also had packing crates and barrels. He and the cargo was lifted 30 feet into the air and then the crowd gasped when Elisha ordered the hoisting rope cut. Otis calmly doffed his hat, bowed to the crowd and said “All safe, gentlemen, all safe!” The New York Tribune called Otis’ presentation “daring” and “sensational.” Funny thing is…Otis didn’t know what he had. He thought his new invention was a flop and planned to go west and pan for gold. But, fortunately for him, before he was able to leave he got two orders. So, he thought perhaps it was best to put off the gold trek.
Yet, he still had to wait. It was three years before a high profile customer emerged when a New York department store thought it would take a chance and install an Otis Elevator to take passengers up and down 5 floors at a speed of 40 feet per minute. Now, that’s pretty slow…in fact…such an elevator today would take 36 minutes to get to the top of the Sears Tower. Nevertheless, the safe elevator develolped by Elisha Otis made it possible for engineers to build buildings as taller. Before Otis, the tallest anyone would build was 6 floors because stairs beyond that level made it impractical. By the 1870′s, buildings grew to as high as 12 stories. By 1904, Otis’s sons had taken over the Otis Company and it pioneered a new innovation which was a gearless traction elevator. This made it possible for greater speed and so buildings could go as high as they could build them. The building considered the first true modern “skyscraper” was the 41 story 1907 Singer Building in New York. It was 612 feet tall and was demolished in 1968. Until 911, it was the second tallest building ever destroyed behind a TV tower that came down amidst NATO bombing during the Balkins conflict. Just 25 years later, the 102 story Empire State Building opened. Today, elevators can move as fast as 1800 feet per minute. Yes indeed…the great buildings of the world would not have been possible without a man named Otis.
Weather Bottom Line:
Forecast is still generally on track. It should be pretty active in the plains for Monday. Big Boppers are almost sure to make an appearance and I wouldn’t be surprised to see twisters around and about along with hail. But that will be well to our west. We will be in the mid 60′s by midday and low 70′s for the afternoon. Now, the main source of energy will not only be winding down but it will also lift northeast and more or less miss us. A piece of dying energy will track well to our southwest and with a night time timing of the frontal passage Tuesday night, strong storm chances around here is pretty
limited for Tuesday night or early Wednesday. We will cool a bit but not get chilly…this is a Pacific system. On Thursday a low will track through the Dixie states to our south perhaps increasing rain chances. Right now, it looks to me that next weekend, there will be the prospect of strong storms in our area. It’s pretty far out and so things can change….the SPC won’t even guess on the 4-8 day outlook….but at this time, data is pointing in that direction so keep an eye on the forecast if you have outdoor plans next weekend.
DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1228 PM CDT SUN MAR 22 2009
VALID 231200Z – 241200Z
…THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF ERN KS…NRN
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF THE GREAT
PLAINS AND UPPER MIDWEST…
…NEBRASKA AND SOUTH DAKOTA…
A WELL-DEVELOPED UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE FOUR CORNERS REGION
WILL CLOSE-OFF TONIGHT ACROSS COLORADO AND MOVE QUICKLY ENEWD INTO
CNTRL HIGH PLAINS MONDAY. AHEAD OF THE SYSTEM…A BROAD 50 TO 65 KT
LOW-LEVEL JET WILL BE IN PLACE FROM THE SRN PLAINS EXTENDING NWD
INTO THE MID-MO RIVER VALLEY. ELEVATED WARM ADVECTION THUNDERSTORMS
WITH SOME MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL SHOULD BE ONGOING AT THE BEGINNING
OF THE PERIOD FROM WRN IA AND ERN NEB SSWWD ACROSS ERN KS INTO NRN
OK. AS THE UPPER-LEVEL SYSTEM APPROACHES THE GREAT PLAINS…A
POWERFUL 80 TO 100 KT MID-LEVEL JET WILL ROUND THE BASE OF THE
TROUGH AND EJECT NEWD INTO THE CNTRL PLAINS. THE LEFT EXIT REGION OF
THE JET ALONG WITH A PLUME OF STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES IS
FORECAST TO SPREAD ACROSS NEBRASKA EARLY IN THE PERIOD. IN
RESPONSE…THE MODELS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT…DEVELOPING A
CONCENTRATED CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS WRN SD AND NW NEB
MONDAY MORNING. THIS ACTIVITY SHOULD SPREAD ENEWD INTO ERN SD BY
EARLY AFTERNOON EXPANDING SWD WITH TIME ACROSS NCNTRL AND ERN NEB.
AHEAD OF THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW…LARGE-SCALE ASCENT WILL BE QUITE
STRONG ACROSS THE WRN HALF OF NEB INTO SRN SD MONDAY MORNING.
FORECAST SOUNDINGS IN THIS AREA AT 15Z MONDAY SHOW STRONG VERTICAL
SHEAR /0-6 KM SHEAR OF 50-60 KT/ AND 850 TO 500 MB LAPSE RATES
AROUND 8.0 C/KM. THIS ALONG WITH THE STRONG LARGE-SCALE ASCENT
SHOULD BE SUPPORTIVE OF ISOLATED SUPERCELLS WITH HAIL. AS THE
COMPLEX MOVES NEWD INTO ERN SD AND DEVELOPS SWD ACROSS ERN NEB
MONDAY AFTERNOON…LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE POSSIBLE. A
FEW TORNADOES WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE ESPECIALLY IF THE CONVECTION CAN
A WELL-DEVELOPED UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE DESERT SOUTHWEST SUNDAY
NIGHT WILL MOVE INTO THE SRN ROCKIES MONDAY WITH SOUTHWEST FLOW IN
PLACE ACROSS THE SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS. AN IMPRESSIVE 80 TO 100 KT
MID-LEVEL JET WILL EJECT ENEWD ACROSS THE CNTRL PLAINS. SOUTH OF THE
AXIS OF THE JET…CONVECTION SHOULD NOT INITIATE THROUGH MUCH OF
MONDAY AFTERNOON DUE TO A CAPPING INVERSION. MODEL FORECASTS ARE IN
GOOD AGREEMENT WEAKENING THE CAP AND RAPIDLY INITIATING STORMS
BETWEEN 21Z AND 00Z ALONG THE INTERSTATE-35 CORRIDOR IN ERN KS WITH
THE CONVECTION DEVELOPING SSWWD INTO NRN AND CNTRL OK DURING THE
EARLY EVENING. DUE TO THE STRENGTH OF THE UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH AND
POSITION OF THE INSTABILITY AXIS…THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL CERTAINTY
THAT A LARGE AMOUNT OF THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP FROM NNE TO SSW
ACROSS THE REGION DURING THE EARLY TO MID-EVENING.
AS THE MID-LEVEL JET EJECTS ENEWD ACROSS THE CNTRL PLAINS…VERTICAL
SHEAR PROFILES WILL STRENGTHEN ACROSS THE SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS. BY
00Z TUESDAY…FORECAST SOUNDINGS SHOW 0-6 KM SHEAR VALUES RANGING
FROM AROUND 50 KT IN NCNTRL KS TO ABOUT 75 KT IN SRN OK. IN
ADDITION…MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL BE QUITE STEEP ALONG THE
INSTABILITY AXIS. THIS COMBINED WITH THE STRONG VERTICAL SHEAR
SHOULD BE FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS WITH LARGE HAIL. THE MOST INTENSE
STORMS COULD PRODUCE VERY LARGE HAIL FROM SE KS SSWWD ACROSS WCNTRL
OK WITH ISOLATED LARGE HAIL ALSO POSSIBLE IN NORTH TX. IN
ADDITION…FORECAST SOUNDINGS BY EARLY EVENING ACROSS CNTRL OK AND
SRN KS SHOW 0-1 KM SHEAR VALUES IN THE 30 TO 40 KT RANGE SUGGESTING
TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THE MORE ORGANIZED STORMS. A FEW
STRONG TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE ALONG THE INTERSTATE-35 CORRIDOR
ESPECIALLY IF SUPERCELLS CAN REMAIN DISCRETE THROUGH THE EARLY
EVENING. IF A SQUALL-LINE RAPIDLY DEVELOPS BY EARLY EVENING…THEN
THE DOMINATE SEVERE THREATS WOULD LIKELY BE HAIL AND WIND DAMAGE.
ALTHOUGH UNCERTAINTY STILL EXISTS CONCERNING STORM MODE…THE
POTENTIAL FOR A CONCENTRATED AREA FOR SEVERE CONVECTION WARRANTS A
MODERATE RISK FROM ERN KS SSWWD ACROSS NRN AND CNTRL OK.