Archive for March, 2009

Abigail Adams: One Tough Lady
March 31, 2009

Who Wore the Pants in the Adams Family?

Who Wore the Pants in the Adams Family?

 

 

On This Date in History:  When the Continental Congress got together, it was a congregation of white men.  People of color certainly were not welcome and neither were the women folk.  So, it’s not surprising that the documents that came out of that political body and the later Constitutional Convention left those two groups of people a little short in the equal rights department.  But, women had a bit of an advantage as the old saying “behind every great man is a great woman” was as appropriate then as it is today.

Somehow I think Abby Would Approve of Rosie

Somehow I think Abby Would Approve of Rosie

There was one delegate who had a particularly strong wife.  His name was John Adams and her name was Abigail.  She not only supported him, she also provided some political advice.  On this date in 1776, Abigail Adams wrote her husband, “I long to hear tht you have declared independency-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.  Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.  Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.  If perticular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Whoa!  Looks like to me old Abby didn’t really think much of men in general and specifically to men in power.  But, this left John between a rock and a hard place.  He had his colleagues on one hand as well as prevailing law but on the other hand he had his beloved wife.  He may have spent his working time with the men but he did not have to spend the night with them.  So, on April 14, 1776 Adams delicately replied, “As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh…Depend upon it, We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems…in Practice you know We are the subjects.  We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give this up, which would compleantly subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat, I hope General Washington, and all our brave Heroes would fight.”

The Ghost of Abby Probably Helped with the last Buttons

The Ghost of Abby Probably Helped with the last Buttons

Abigail was not amused.  She wrote back on May 7, 1776, “…whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives.  But you must remember that Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken-and…we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and…throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.” 

From this little exchange, it’s easy to see how Abigail Adams and her outspoken, independent and forceful position on issues earned her the nickname “Mrs. President” when her husband John served as the nation’s second President.  She obviously was interested in more than just the women’s right to vote.  And, while that did not come around until August 18, 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, I suspect that Abigail would be quite pleased at the gains that women have made in society and politics in the 21st Century.  Nevertheless, I suspect she would still find something to say about it and other things on her mind. 

NAM Has Man System South On Thursday Evening

NAM Has Man System South On Thursday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  The forecast is running pretty much on track.  On Tuesday we move to the mid to upper 60’s in advance of another in a series of storm systems coming across the country.  This guy will be the most benign of the trio to come this week.  I think Tuesday will generally be dry but when we get toward sunset or maybe a bit earlier, rain chances will increase.  A few rumbles of thunder can’t be ruled out but it shouldn’t be overly worthwhile.  Wednesday and most of Thursday will be dry and temperatures will be mild on Wednesday but back up to the upper 60’s and possibly low 70’s on Thursday.  As I write this at 11:30 on Monday night, the SPC hasn’t shown much interest in calling for strong storms around here late Thursday but, I’m telling you that its possible.  If you recall, several days ago I noted that the GFS was showing that to be the case but then it backed off.  Well, the GFS indicates some potential problems on Tuesday night but the NAM does not agree and I tend to think that the overall pattern is

European Has System Through By Monday Morning

European Has System Through By Monday Morning

not overly supportive of the more menacing GFS solution.  But, for Thursday, both the GFS and NAM indicate a very strong veering pattern very similar to what we had over the weekend.  And the timing appears to be similar which is well after sunset so I would suggest a similar potential.  A few strong storms will be possible but they will probably be in a weakening phase.  Now, the third amigo comes on Sunday afternoon and the GFS and that guy is showing signs of being a trouble maker. I made note of it yesterday as it developed over Japan and how the models really kept it going and becoming quite ferocious around here over the weekend.  That potential is there.  The only thing that I see here that may be an inhibiting factor would be not enough time for the full brunt of Gulf moisture to get in here and our temperatures will be warm, but not all that warm as we get to near 70 on Saturday and Sunday we probably won’t get there before the system gets here.  Still lots of time for several things to happen and so the SPC still does not have an outline for it but does make mention.  Just keep aware that if you have activities planned on Sunday, have a plan B in the kitchen drawer.

 

 

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Is This How You Celebrate Easter?
March 30, 2009

Charles F Lummis took this photo of Los Hermanos Penitentes

Charles F Lummis took this photo of Los Hermanos Penitentes

 

This Date in History:  The week before Easter is the holiest of seasons for Los Hermanos Penitentes.  That is spanish for the Penitent Brothers which is a centuries old somewhat obscure group with roots that go back to the Spanish Conquistadors and Franciscan Missionaries and the strong Christians in medieval Europe.  Some consider the group to be a cult. 

Lummis in 1885

Lummis in 1885

The Penitentes generally subscribe to the notion that man is evil and that the only way to rid oneself of that evil is through punishment.  In an effort to reach that goal, the Penitentes regard Good Friday as the most scared holiday with a bloody ritual that they developed from more subtle practices introduced to them by the Franciscans.  Occasionally, the Franciscans were known to practice self-flagellation in order to purify ones soul.  By 1800, the Penitentes formed an official fraternity complete with officers and a constitution.  They first held their rituals in area churches but, when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, remote villages were abandoned by the church.  In those remote areas, the parishioners tried to maintain a sense of organized faith, in spite of the abscence of priests which led to a development of extreme practices.  In 1833, the bishop of Durango, Mexico condemned the brotherhood and later in the 19th century, their ceremonies were banned completely from church grounds.

Sun Dance of Conchiti Pueblo 1888

Sun Dance of Cochiti Pueblo 1888

So, what is it that these folks did that caused such action?  On this date in 1888, ethanologist and writer Charles F. Lummis became the first outsider to photograph the ceremony.  Apparently, we’re lucky to have any photographs from his trip because Lummis was still learning how to use a camera in 1888.  On the Thursday before Easter, Lummis witnessed a flute player leading a bunch of women in a slow procession.  It was a painful procession since many of the women were handicapped by cactus stuffed tightly in their shoes.  Behind the women came the brothers of blood.  These poor souls had a dark bag over their head to protect them from the sin of vanity.  They were not to gain any glory from their suffering.  Each man wore a crown of thorns pressed deeply into their head.  As these guys walked, they whipped themselves over their own backs with lashes studded with cactus and yucca.  Behind them came three men, each carrying a heavy wooden cross.  These guys couldn’t whip themselves so the Brothers of Light did the work.  The Brothers of Light were the inner circle of the fraternity…the officers I suppose.  Next was Good Friday.

The Death Cart

The Death Cart

Lummis could not believe his eyes when he witnessed a black hooded man with blood pouring from an open wound in his right side.  He had volunteered to accept the honor of portraying Jesus.  He begged for nails but too many of the men who played that part died after getting nailed to the cross so he was just bound with ropes.  But, that wasn’t easy.  He was bound so tight, his arms turned black.  Two other guys showed up with cactus in bundles strapped to their backs.  The lay down at the foot of the cross and begged for rocks to be used to drive the cactus deeper into their flesh.  These guys rolled around on the ground in agony for over 30 minutes.  Watching over the whole ceremony was the Death Cart, which was a two wheeled wagon with a skeleton sitting in it clutching a bow and arrow, which was to symbolize sudden death. 

Supposed Modern Day Penitentes

Supposed Modern Day Penitentes

Now, supposedly Penitentes’ ritual has eased up a bit.  By the 1920’s, roads brought more access to their area and in 1947, the bishop of Santa Fe welcomed them as a “pious association of men joined in charity to commemorate the Passion and death of the Redeemer.”  Trouble was, with the new roads and better modes of transportation in the 20th century, tourists and shutterbugs showed up in greater numbers.  I suppose as part of the idea of avoiding the glorification of their suffering, the hoards of tourists simply drove the sect into deeper secrecy.  Today, it is said that Los Hermanos Penitentes still are around Colorado and New Mexico, but no one really knows what they are up to.  I have yet to find anything in the New Testament that would support the need for them to continue their practices…but, it’s a free country and one must admire their determination if nothing else.  It may be hard to find any phonies  in that fraternity…and certainly no frat boys.

European Model Shows Trouble Next Sunday

European Model Shows Trouble Next Sunday

Weather Bottom Line:  Pretty lousy day, as expected for Sunday.  Cloudy, windy…brisk and chilly.  We’ll rebound to near 60 on Monday.  Tuesday also will get to the low 60’s.  A system will come through on Tuesday night bringing with it some rain and perhaps some thunderstorms. I wouldn’t get too worked up over it.  Wednesday will be pretty good and there will be a good chance for rain with a chance for t’storms on late Thursday. Last time I checked, the GFS had backed off the idea of strong storms…but we’ll see what its up to as the week progresses.   In general, temepratures will be chilly at night and mild during the afternoon all week.   Now, this is a long way out and I’m talking about a system that is all the way across the Pacific in Japan at this time early Monday morning.  But, there is some indication that that guy could be trouble in the midwest and possibly the Ohio Valley over next weekend. ..see the ECMWF above… I’ll keep  up with it as things become more definitive.

A New Phone, Big Election Win and New York Terrorist
March 29, 2009

Accused Seems to Enjoy Being a Celebrity

Accused Seems to Enjoy Being a Celebrity

Hold the Phone!

Hold the Phone!

Hello? Son, is that You?

Hello? Son, is that You?

On This Date in History:
The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 when he spilled acid on his trousers and shouted, “Watson, Come Here! I want you.”  Good thing for Al that Watson was able to hear him over the telephone.  Bell may never have known that his phone worked and he may have had even greater problems with acid in his pants.  President Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House in 1878 complete with a telephone switchboard.  For some reason, no one ever thought that it might be a good idea to have a phone put in the president’s office.  President Herbert Hoover apparently grew weary of having to go to the foyer outside of the Oval Office to use the phone.  So, on this date in 1929, he had one installed in his office.  Naturally, it didn’t work as Hoover grew incensed that his son was not able to get through to the Oval Office on an outside line.  See, the stock market had not crashed yet and so Herb had plenty of time on his hands.  I bet when the economy went south a year later he wished that he never had that phone put in. 

 

 

Another world leader was pleased on this date, and he should not have been surprised.  Eight

Goebbels Family...Not Exactly Ozzie and Harriet

Goebbels Family...Not Exactly Ozzie and Harriet

months after the Treaty of Versailles was signed and World War I was officially brought to an end.  In pragmatic terms, the war was pretty much a stalemate.  But, with the Germans and Turks pretty much spent militarily and economically and America having joined up with the Allies, it was impossible for Germany and its allies to continue.  Not through military defeat, but instead due to a position of weakness,  the Germans were forced to sign an agreement that was grossly tilted against them.  This peace treaty ultimately sowed the seeds for World War II.  Part of the deal was for Germany to leave it’s extreme western portion bordering France, the Rhineland, to be absent of military presence.  On March 7, 1936 German Chancellor Adolph Hitler unilaterally cancelled the Treaty of Versailles and remilitarized the Rhineland.  The world was outraged…but did nothing.  To show the world that he had legitimate support from all of Germany, Hitler called for an election for a referendum on the remilitarization of the region.  On March 17, Hitler made a speech in which he said that he wished for peace to continue with France.   On this date in 1936, it was a fine spring day in Germany and an excellent time for an election.  Joseph Goebbels announced that the Nazis received 99% of the vote!  What a surprise!  Hey, maybe it was legit.  

Jesse Owens PO'd Hitler in 1936 a few months after the Nazi election "victory"

Jesse Owens PO'd Hitler in 1936 a few months after the Nazi election "victory"

 I recall once in Louisville there was an election between political rivals, Charles D. Jacob and John G. Baxter.  That in itself was not unusual because the two squared off for the Louisville Mayor’s office several times.  Baxter was Mayor on two different occasions and I think Jacob got elected 5 times.  Anyway, Baxter was known for his political hijinx and had made a lot of enemies.  Once there was an assassination attempt made against him.  Perhaps the would-be assassin was reflecting public sentiment because Baxter went and lost an election to Jacob by getting only 100 out of 15,000 votes cast.  So, a near unanimous route is possible.  In this case, the Germans were very angry with the Treaty of Versailles and according to the Berlin Diary of correspondent William Shirer, the people of the Rhineland were overjoyed at the return of German troops to their region.   Shirer said that some correspondents reported some irregularlities but Shirer himself had no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Germans did, in fact, support the move into the Rhineland, whether they were a part of the Nazi Party or not.  If the vote indeed was a 99% win for the Nazis, it’s probably the only time that Joseph Goebbels had an honest press release.

The Mad Bomber?

The Mad Bomber?

And finally, we often think of terrorism as being something relatively new.  It’s not really.  It’s a tactic that is used by a group of people who do not have the means to face their opponent in a traditional military style.  The object of war is the conclusion of political aims and so is the same for most terrorists.  Some may consider some of the actions of the Sons of Liberty in colonial America to be terrorism.  And, in the first part of the 20th century through World War II, it was Jewish extremist groups that led numerous terror attacks against the ruling British in an effort to establish an independent Israel.  Now, while the Sons of Liberty may or may not have been terrorists, the legacy of domestic terrorism has continued from time to time.  Usually brought by nut cases.  Sometimes they get some infamous notoriety as the media likes to put name tags on them.  In the late 20th century there was the “Unibomber” but before that it was the “Mad Bomber” that terrorized New York. 

Ted Kaczynski "Unabomber"

Ted Kaczynski "Unabomber"

In 1940, a pipe bomb was found at New York’s electric company, Con Edison.  The note attached said, “Con Edison Crooks, this is for you.”  More bombs were found in 1941, each more powerful than the previous one.  That is until the end of 1941.  Perhaps he was taking a page from the Sons of Liberty or maybe he was just patriotic but the bomber left a note that said he would not plant any more bombs until after the war was over.  I guess he wanted to wait until things settled down after the war because it was not until this date in 1950 that the Mad

Sons of Liberty Was a Rough Crowd

Sons of Liberty Was a Rough Crowd

Bomber returned and set a bomb at Grand Central Station.  That one was disarmed but some of his other work went off in places like Radio City Music Hall, the Staten Island Ferry, Macy’s, the RCA building and again at Grand Central Station. 

The cops couldn’t track the guy down but an investigation by Con Edison found…you guessed it….the proverbial “disgruntled former employee.”  Seems that in 1931, George Peter Metesky had been injured on the job and Con Edison refused to pay for any medical benefits.  So, Metesky got sore and decided to start planting bombs.  Investigators found him living with his sister and in 1957 he was sent to a mental institution where he resided until his release in 1973.   Man, this guy sure could carry a grudge!  He was blowing stuff up over 20 years after he had felt shafted.  And to think, I always thought the Mad Bomber was Darryl Lamonica. 

Pretty Lousy Sunday

Pretty Lousy Sunday

Weather Bottom Line:  Tell you what, the data was really pretty good regarding the weather event of Saturday.   The dynamics were great but there wasn’t a whole lot else going for this stuff.  We had very strong winds aloft and also a good bit of veering of the winds.  But, we weren’t all that unstable to  help things out.  In the late afternoon we got to the low to mid 60’s which was sufficient to support big storms that got going to our southwest and produced big hail, high winds and a few tornadoes.  But, but the time it got to Louisville, the sun had been down for a few hours and so the instability was gone and we got thunderstorms and winds, but nothing really severe. 

The rest of the forecast looks on track through the weekend with a chilly and blustery day on Sunday with highs struggling to get to 50.  Back to the lower 60’s for early next week.

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Is Palm Sunday a Tornado Magnet? Strong Storms Today?
March 28, 2009

Is Palm Sunday a Tornado Magnet?

Is Palm Sunday a Tornado Magnet?

 

Momma Saved Her Boy

Momma Saved Her Boy

On This Date in History:  What is the dang deal with Palm Sunday and Tornado outbreaks?  There have been significant widespread tornado outbreaks on a Palm Sunday in the United States four times.  On March 27 1994 42 people perished.  On April 11, 1965 47 tornadoes took the lives of 217 and injured over 1500.   The event of April 5,1936 has a rather interesting trivial angle.    It featured  a very strong tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi.  A young mother was able to protect her one year old son, but 216 people died that day in Tupelo.  The little boy who survived?  Elvis Aaron Presley.

Toledo Paper With Tornado Headlines

Toledo Paper With Tornado Headlines

Now, when you look at a hurricane chart of significant hurricanes, you find the names of storms, but one kinda stands out.  That one simply says “Galveston 1900.”  That’s all you need to know.  But, you can’t just say “hey…what about the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak?”  The only possible answer is, “which one?”  The first and the fourth in the list was on this date in 192o.  At that time, there was no National Weather Service.  It was still known as the US Weather Bureau.   And at that time they did not do surveys or assessments to determine the stregnth and number of tornadoes.  So, the 38 tornadoes reported is generally thought to be far fewer than there actually were.  The twisters were reported in the Midwest and the Deep South.  Much of this area, especially 90 years ago, was very rural so no one can know for certain if there were tornadoes in sparsely populated areas.  Further, it is not known if a given single tornado was actually more than one.  But, that’s a rather academic argument because the bottom line is that over 380 people were killed that day and well over 1200 injured.  The states affected were Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Wilmette Illinios

Wilmette Illinios

This situation is something that is fairly common in the spring months in the US and that is why there have been so many significant events on Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday moves around each year but always falls in either March or April.  During that time, its not unusual for a strong storm to come out of the Rockies and clash with warm moist air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.   So, this guy comes out of the Rockies, swings around through Missouri and lifts up toward the Great Lakes.  Not only was there warm moist air ahead of the system, but there was also sunshine in the northern plains.  Most likely, there was a second piece of energy that swung through, perhaps on a warm front in the South and that is what resulted in the twisters there.

Elgin Illinois

Elgin Illinois

Now, there have been many advances in technology and procedures since then.  Really, the first time before the 1950’s that a formal post analysis was taken was after the March 18, 1925 Tri-State Tornado.   That evaluation concluded that it was a single tornado that stayed on the ground supposedly for 234 miles through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and killed 695 people.    Another analysis was done for the Tupelo Palm Sunday tornado and again in 1947 for a major tornado in Oklahoma.  Now, the practice is routine to investigate every tornado report to determine whether or not the damage assessment is supportive of an evidentuary tornado and, if so, then how strong and how big was the tornado.  We now have warnings and watches and super duper doppler future 3000 advanced 3-D storm tracker radars on TV to show us where tornadoes are.  We can actually see where tornadoes are on TV and even warn for potential tornadoes developing before anyone on the ground can see them.  Quite remarkable when one considers that just 70 years ago having several hundred people die from a tornado was not all that uncommon.

Dayton, Ohio Headlines

Dayton, Ohio Headlines

US Tornadoes and Tornado Days

US Tornadoes and Tornado Days

With all of that advancement, the number and frequency of fatalities due to tornadoes has dropped dramatically.   The number of reported tornadoes has also increased.  The reason is not Global Warming but instead we have a coverage of radars across the tornado prone regions of the US and also there are more people to report them and there are procedures in place to do post analysis.  Nowadays, we even see more and more tornadoes on the tube because there are so many people out there with video cameras to record the actual events.  More troubling, however, is the trend in the last several years of tornado fatalities rising.  There is some thought that this is due to  too much technology and too much reporting.  The National Weather Service is trying to improve on the ratio of tornado warnings to actual tornado touchdowns, but its tough.  I mean, the idea of the Doppler Radar is to be able to warn the public of a tornado before it ever is seen…to give people as much time as possible to prepare.  Trouble is, not all rotation in a thunderstorm turns into a tornado touchdown and there is no way to reliably differentiate which ones.  But, if you don’t warn for a rotating storm and it touches down and kills people, then people will be outraged that they knew a storm was rotating and had a tornadic potential and said nothing! 

US Tornado Deaths 1950-2008

US Tornado Deaths 1950-2008

 The TV stations go on the air and report constantly on the severe weather threat.  Some are better at it than others.  Some of the people on the air really aren’t qualified to be in such a position of responsibility.  Fortunately, in Louisville, we have a pretty good crop of folks.  In fact, even with some of the recent changes in personnel, we still have an unusual number of well versed people at each station.  But, not everywhere is like that.  I once worked at a place where we stayed on the air all night when the threat for tornadoes was very limited, at best.  The stunt was strictly promotional.  There are many tv foofs who want to get into a duel with their local National Weather Service office.  In more cases than not, the person that tries to promote his or her ability to be greater than the offiicial entity of the United States Government that is responsible for collecting and disseminating information and passing it on to the public is typically someone with a shaky or limited background.  Anyway, the fear is that all of this stuff going out into the public creates a ho-hum attitude from many people.   It’s almost a cry wolf syndrome and people are beginning to not take warnings seriously.  That is a big problem but is also a tough one to overcome.  I’m afraid its something we will have to cope with for some time to come because I am skeptical that research can improve regarding the exact development of potential tornadic thunderstorms…and I doubt if there will be a trend to hire smarter tv weather people.

Not Counted 60 Years Ago?

Not Counted 60 Years Ago?

But, there has been one welcome change since 1920 and its one that would have most of us scratching our heads today.  The reason why there is not an exact number of fatalities and injuries from the Palm Sunday outbreak of 1920 is that many of the dead and injured, particulary in Alabama and Georgia, were African-Americans.  If you can believe it…more than 50 years after the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution that followed a bloody Civil War….deaths and injuries for non-whites were not included in natural disasters as part of individual state protocal.  Unbelievable.  When the Federal Government got more involved in 1950’s, the National Weather Bureau did not subscribe to that nonsense.  Something to consider…in 2009 Barack Obama was elected President of the United States but in 1949, he would not have been counted as a person killed had he died in a tornado at that time.

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

SPC Sat Tornado Probability

SPC Sat Tornado Probability

Weather Bottom Line

: It’s not Palm Sunday, but its that time of year.   There is a system that is typical for creating havoc across the Midwest and South.  Not too dissimilar from the Palm Sunday tornado in 1920, we have had a series of areas of low pressure swinging out of the Rockies and across the South.  These can arguably be attributed to pieces of energy breaking off a powerful storm coming out of the Northwest.  Those disturbances have produced 6 tornado reports on Thursday and 19 on Friday.  Now, the big bopper is coming out to play.  On Friday, the Texas Panhandle had temperatures in the 20’s with blizzard conditions as the big storm dove out of the Rockies.  Meanwhile, in South Texas temperatures were around the 100 degree mark.  Yup…I’d say there is quite a contrast in weather criteria across the country and, just like life, when there is great contrast, often there is conflict.

So, this big guy will swing down across North Texas and then up to the Northeast. 

SPC Sat Hail Probability

SPC Sat Hail Probability

On Saturday, we’ll have a chance for showers.  Highs will only be in the  low 60’s, perhaps.  It’s in the evening when we get into some potential trouble.  The main surface storm center will come pretty close to running right over the top of us.  We will be very windy.  There will be a pretty good chance for some damaging winds.  With the cold core coming over us, hail is certainly not out of the question.  And, there will be the potential for isolated tornadoes.  However, from what I have seen in viewing the forecast vertical profiles and the accompanying indecies,  it would seem to me that the severe thunderstorm threat will be pretty high but the tornado threat will be a bit inhibited.  Twisters are not out of the question but should be most likely in the Southeastern US.  Our dynamics from the 00Z Sat NAM and 18Z Fri GFS both are advertised to be best Saturday afternoon, but that is generally prior to when the heaviest rain will be coming through.  Its the transistion time from around sunset through about 10 pm that is most suspect.  Sunday looks crummy with windy conditions and then we start to ramp up the temperatures early next week.  Thursday, the GFS still wants to bring some racket here on Thursday.   

SPC Sat Wind Probability

SPC Sat Wind Probability

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1238 AM CDT SAT MAR 28 2009
  
   VALID 281200Z – 291200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS A LARGE PORTION OF THE
   OH/TN VLYS INTO THE SERN STATES…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   STACKED UPR LOW OVER OK/N TX AT THE START OF THE PERIOD WILL SLOWLY
   TRANSLATE EWD INTO THE LWR OH/TN VLYS AND DEEP SOUTH THROUGH
   SATURDAY NIGHT.  ATTENDANT SFC LOW WILL SHIFT FROM NEAR MEMPHIS NEWD
   INTO THE CNTRL GRTLKS REGION BY 12Z SUNDAY.  TRAILING CDFNT WILL
   SWEEP EWD TO THE S OF THE LOW FROM THE MS VLY EARLY SATURDAY TO THE
   APLCNS AND NRN FL BY SUNDAY MORNING.  AHEAD OF THE FRONT…A WARM
   FRONT WILL DEVELOP NWD INTO CNTRL/NRN GA…THE CNTRL CAROLINAS…AND
   INTO TIDEWATER VA/MD.
  
   …SERN STATES INTO THE CAROLINAS/VA…
   ANOTHER COMPLEX CONVECTIVE FCST WITH GREAT UNCERTAINTY WILL EXIST
   FOR SATURDAY.  CNTRL GULF COAST MCS THAT IGNITED ALONG INCREASING
   MOIST SLY LLVL FLOW ON FRIDAY EVENING WILL BE ONGOING AT 12Z ACROSS
   ERN MS…AL AND THE FL PNHDL.  AHEAD OF THIS SYSTEM…GULF BOUNDARY
   LAYER THAT WAS SHUNTED SWD ON FRIDAY…IS EXPECTED TO SURGE NWD INTO
   AT LEAST SRN/CNTRL GA AND EVENTUALLY THE CNTRL CAROLINAS BY SATURDAY
   AFTN/EVE.  ALTHOUGH THERE IS SOME QUESTION ON HOW MUCH HEATING CAN
   BE REALIZED…MLCAPES SHOULD RANGE FROM 1000-1500 J/KG FROM SERN AL
   NEWD INTO THE CAROLINAS.  A LIKELY MCV…BORNE FROM THE MCS…WILL
   MOVE ENEWD INTO THIS INSTABILITY AXIS…SUPPORTING A CONTINUED SVR
   THREAT DOWNSTREAM INTO THE OVERNIGHT AS FAR NE AS VA.
  
   SUFFICIENT VERTICAL SHEAR WILL EXIST FOR ORGANIZED STORMS ACROSS THE
   REGION OWING TO SLY H85 FLOW OF 50 KTS VEERING TO WSWLY AT H5 IN
   EXCESS OF 60 KTS.  SUPERCELL MODES WILL LIKELY TRANSITION INTO
   BOWS/LEWPS GIVING DMGG WINDS AND LARGE HAIL.  HIGHEST TORNADO RISK
   WILL ACCOMPANY DISCRETE CELLS THAT CAN INTERACT WITH THE RETREATING
   WRMFNT…NAMELY FROM SERN AL…CNTRL/SRN GA NEWD INTO THE CNTRL
   CAROLINAS.
  
   …TN/OH VLYS…
   A SEPARATE AREA OF SVR POTENTIAL WILL LIKELY DEVELOP ACROSS PORTIONS
   OF THE TN/OH VLYS DURING THE AFTN/EVE.  STRONGEST DCVA WILL
   TRANSLATE NEWD AWAY FROM THE RICH GULF MOISTURE SOURCE FARTHER SE.
   BUT…LINGERING 50S SFC DEW POINTS ARCING BACK ALONG THE CDFNT/SFC
   LOW INTO THE LWR OH VLY BENEATH STEEP MID-TROPOSPHERIC LAPSE RATES
   WILL CONTRIBUTE TO MLCAPES OF A FEW HUNDRED J PER KG.  EXPECT THAT
   SCTD TSTMS WILL DEVELOP AND SLOWLY INTENSIFY FROM PARTS OF WRN
   KY/MIDDLE TN AMIDST STRONG VERTICAL SHEAR.  A FEW LOW-TOPPED
   SUPERCELLS MAY EVOLVE AND ADVANCE INTO PARTS OF SRN IND…SWRN OH
   AND KY/ERN TN DURING THE EVENING.  LARGE HAIL AND ISOLD DMGG WIND
   GUSTS WILL BE POSSIBLE.  TORNADOES CANNOT BE RULED OUT…ESPECIALLY
   WITH MORE SUSTAINED STORMS AND CLOSE TO THE SFC LOW TRACK.  SVR
   THREATS WILL DIMINISH WITH NE EXTENT AND AFTER SUNSET.
  
   ..RACY/HURLBUT.. 03/28/2009

NoBody Remembers Louisville’s Demon;Sat Storms
March 27, 2009

Imagine What a Downtown Twister Would Do Today

Imagine What a Downtown Twister Would Do Today

Main street between 11th and 12th street after 1890 tornado…note railroad bridge over river in background.

A quick shout of thanks to Chris Birke of the Southeast Outlook for the nice article last week.

Tracks of 4 Kentuckiana Tornadoes Mar 27, 1890

Tracks of 4 Kentuckiana Tornadoes Mar 27, 1890

The Remnant of the Water Tower

The Remnant of the Water Tower

On This Date in History:

The Courier Journal headline said a Demon visted Louisille.

Everyone knows about the tornado outbreak on April 3, 1974 that produced the tornado that ripped up Louisville that afternoon. But, very few people are familiar with an arguably more devastating and certainly more deadly tornado on this date in 1890. The tornado started in the Parkland area of Louisville and basically traveled right through downtown, terminating near the end of present day Zorn Avenue and the water tower. The present day water tower is a replacement for the one destroyed in 1890. Remember, we are talking about 1890 and that water tower was needed to be able to get the water for the city up the hill to the resevoir.

Trains Not On Schedule: Old Union Depot Destroyed

Trains Not On Schedule: Old Union Depot Destroyed

Tobacco Warehouse Wiped Out

Tobacco Warehouse Wiped Out

The city only had enough water for 6 days and water rationing was called on. I suppose it wasn’t all that dramatic given there is a big river right next to the city, but usage in the plumbing system would not be

New Union Depot Built 1891

New Union Depot Built 1891

possible and folks would have to use a whole lot of buckets. Just think what would happen today if the water system was shut down. Anyway, death toll estimates vary but most put it at upwards of 120, though I believe the offiicial number is 76.  Either way the National Weather Service lists it as part of the top tornado outbreak in Southern Indiana and Central Kentucky…ahead of 1974. It probably would have been worse had it not hit between 8 and 9 pm since most of the businesses downtown were shuttered for the night. I am told by folks at Cave Hill that funerals were held every hour for a week. I first learned of the date of the tornado when Snow White and I wandered about Cave Hill and found a section with numerous headstones with the same date of death. I knew then that something catastrophic had happened and recalled the 1890 tornado. You can learn a lot from wandering around a cemetery.

Falls City Hall Debris-Original Photo Claimed 75 dead

Falls City Hall Debris-Original Photo Claimed 75 dead

We hear about the 1974 “outbreak”. Well this was a big outbreak as well. Twenty-four significant tornadoes were reported that day across the midwest. The Louisville tornado is estimated to have been an F-4 tornado. It destroyed some 766 buildings including 5 churches, 7 railroad depots, 2 public halls, 3 schools, 10 tobacco warehouses, 32 manufacturing plants and 532 dwellings were destroyed by the tornado.  At least 44 people were killed at the Falls City Hall at 1124 West Market Street where 75 people (presumably men) were at a lodge meeting and 125 children with their mothers were downstairs taking dancing lessons.  It is one of the highest number of deaths ever recorded in a single building in US history.  The cost of the damage in 1890 dollars was $2.5 million.

Here is a link to photos from the UL Library

http://www.library.louisville.edu/depts/sc/index-stereo.asp

Here is a link from the NWS with the path and information on 5 tornadoes that day in Kentucky

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=tornado_climatology_1890

Here is an article from the Filson Club

http://www.filsonhistorical.org/news_v5n2_cyclone.html

I would invite you to visit these websites. I cherry picked much of the information from the Filson society and the NWS sites. Also, I have this stuff in my head from the research I did for my thesis regarding 19th Century Louisville as well as other work I did as a graduate student. I think in all liklihood, local historian George Yater should be given some credit and I would encourage you to check out his work at the LFPL or the Louisville Encycolopedia if you want more information.

23 Jefferson County Tornadoes

23 Jefferson County Tornadoes

One thing I found rather interesting was that apparently the precursor to the National Weather Service, the US Weather Bureau, actually issued a statement saying that very nasty weather could be in the picture. I did not know they were issuing what we would call a watch that early in our history. I know it seems like that with all of our technology and mass communications today that severe potential gets screamed out so much by some people that it seems like overload. Fatalities and injuries are actually going up annually in this country the past several years after many years of falling rates. One might argue its from the “cry wolf” syndrome…tv foofs who try to make a name for themselves by scaring you into watching them.  just check out my blog….I’ll usually tell you several days in advance if I think Mother Nature is up to no good. In 1890, the Courier Journal called it the “the whirling tiger of the air.” Lets hope that doesnt happen again, but it could…and in fact, I’d say someday it will…we all need to pay attention and don’t think “oh it can’t happen here”. Phooey. It can  and actually has many times…so wise up…..and remember, if the “Demon” visited today, it would probably rival or possibly outstrip the carnage of the 1974 tornado, especially if it happened during the middle of a workday.

SPC Convective Outlook Risk Area Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

SPC Convective Outlook Risk Area Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

Spring Tornadoes In Kentuckiana

Spring Tornadoes In Kentuckiana

Weather Bottom Line: Well now.  That should get your attention.  And, just in time for the anniversary of the 1890 “Demon” we have a threat of severe weather  Friday evening that will carry on through Saturday evening.  If you want to check your watches, I believe the 1890 tornado occured at 7:49pm.  This is not to say that we will have a tornado but, we certainly will be under the threat of strong storms both Friday and Saturday.   And remember, this is not unusual. If you look at the map to the left, you will see the number of tornadoes that have visited the region during the spring.  You’ll have to figure the color codes yourself but I think green is FO, F4 is orange and F5 is red.

Here’s the way it breaks down.  There is general agreement with the indicies that Saturday evening will be the far greatest threat.   Friday night looks to feature some thunderstorms and rain.  Then a second wave, the main storm center, comes across and that is the biggest threat.  You can tell from the SPC probability chart that the SE United States has the biggest threat but we’re in a decent threat area.  The GFS has some very strong indicators for Saturday evening in all threat areas including the tornado parameters, high wind and the hail threat.  It’s gonna be windy no doubt about it.  The NAM is not as agressive with the tornado parameters but does indicate significant thunderstorms.  The threat appears to be the highest about 9 or 10 pm.  I would expect at least a severe thunderstorm watch Saturday evening and night and most likely at tornado watch.  Rain totals will be somewhere between a half  inch and an inch.  Friday evening may produce a couple of strong thunderstorms but there is nothing to indicate a real big event Friday night.  Saturday should be showtime.  One item of note…the GFS goes bananas again on Thursday..but that’s a week away so we’ll worry about it then.  In any event, this Saturday caper just may qualify for a Colonel Klink moment.

Friday should be a nice day for the most part…mid to upper 60’s I should think.  Look for me and Snow White out at Cave Hill feeding our little duckies.  I need to take a break from my searching.  The SPC Saturday severe discussion is below.

SPC Saturday Severe Weather Probability

SPC Saturday Severe Weather Probability

DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1255 AM CDT FRI MAR 27 2009

VALID 281200Z – 291200Z

…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS PORTIONS CENTRAL/SRN
APPALACHIANS AND OH VALLEY REGION…MOST OF SERN CONUS….

…SYNOPSIS…
DOMINANT UPPER AIR FEATURE FOR THIS PERIOD WILL REMAIN STG MID-UPPER
LEVEL LOW — NOW EVIDENT IN MOISTURE CHANNEL IMAGERY OVER 4-CORNERS
REGION.  THIS CYCLONE IS FCST TO PIVOT SEWD/EWD ACROSS SRN PLAINS
DAY-1…THEN LIFT NEWD FROM VICINITY SERN OK/RED RIVER VALLEY REGION
EARLY IN PERIOD.  SHORTWAVE TROUGH — INITIALLY ANALYZED OVER BC
NEAR LARGE SCALE MEAN RIDGE POSITION — WILL DIG SEWD ACROSS NRN
PLAINS DAY-1…THEN PHASE/MERGE WITH EJECTING UPPER LOW OVER MS
VALLEY DURING 29/00Z-29/06Z TIME FRAME.  BLENDED PERTURBATION THEN
SHOULD CONTINUE EJECTING NEWD ACROSS KY/INDIANA/OH…BASED ON SREF
CONSENSUS…ETA-KF AND OPERATIONAL SPECTRAL/NAM PROGS.  ATTACHED
TROUGH WILL TRAIL SWD AND MOVE EWD ACROSS TN VALLEY AND GULF COASTAL
PLAIN.

RELATED SFC CYCLONE WILL OCCLUDE DAY-1…WITH TRIPLE-POINT/OCCLUSION
LOW THEN DEVELOPING OVER ARKLATEX REGION AND LIFTING NEWD OVER
MID-SOUTH EARLY THIS PERIOD.  PRIMARY SFC LOW THEN SHOULD MOVE NEWD
TO VICINITY SERN ONT BY 29/12Z…WHILE ANOTHER OCCLUSION BEGINS TO
OCCUR OVER CENTRAL APPALACHIANS.  COLD FRONT — MOVING EWD ACROSS MS
AND SRN LA TO START DAY-2 — THEN SHOULD CROSS MOST OF SERN
CONUS…REACHING FROM CENTRAL/W-CENTRAL VA SSWWD ACROSS NRN/WRN
PORTIONS FL PENINSULA BY 29/12Z.  WARM FRONT IS EXPECTED TO LIFT NWD
ACROSS PORTIONS GA/AL/SC EARLY IN PERIOD AHEAD OF COLD FRONT…THEN
NWD ACROSS NC/VA/MD TIDEWATER REGION FROM LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY
EVENING ONWARD.

MEANWHILE…MID-UPPER SHORTWAVE TROUGH NOW OVER NRN PACIFIC — S OF
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS — SHOULD DIG SEWD THROUGH RETROGRADING LONGWAVE
RIDGE AND MOVE ASHORE PACIFIC NW AROUND 29/00Z…WITH POTENTIAL FOR
ISOLATED/ACCOMPANYING THUNDER.  THIS FEATURE SHOULD AMPLIFY OVER
INLAND NWRN STATES DURING ENSUING 12 HOURS.

…SERN CONUS…
SPATIALLY WIDESPREAD POTENTIAL FOR SVR WILL EXIST THIS
PERIOD…INITIALLY CARRYING OVER FROM DAY-1 ALONG/AHEAD OF SFC COLD
FRONT FROM MID-SOUTH TO MS/AL GULF COAST…THEN
SHIFTING/REDEVELOPING EWD ACROSS SRN APPALACHIANS/PIEDMONT TO SRN
ATLANTIC COAST STATES.

WITHIN THIS BROAD REGION…CONDITIONAL DANGER EXISTS FOR
CONCENTRATED OUTBREAK OF SEVERE — SPECIFICALLY TORNADOES AND
DAMAGING WIND FROM NEAR MS/AL BORDER EWD TO PORTIONS CAROLINAS.
THIS THREAT — CURRENTLY FOCUSED INSIDE 45-PERCENT PROBABILITY LINE
— WILL DEPEND STRONGLY ON MESOSCALE PROCESSES RESULTING FROM DAY-1
CONVECTIVE/BOUNDARY ACTIVITY AND RELATED IMPACT ON MOISTURE
FIELD…AS DISCUSSED IN DAY-1 OUTLOOK.

WIND FIELDS WILL BE QUITE STRONG OVER BROAD WARM SECTOR COVERING
MUCH OF SERN CONUS…YIELDING DEEP-LAYER SHEAR AND — IN AREAS
RELATIVELY UNDISTURBED BY MCS ACTIVITY — LOW LEVEL HODOGRAPHS
FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS AND BOW ECHOES.

MIXED-MODE EVENT IS LIKELY.  QLCS SHOULD SUPPORT BOWS/LEWPS AND
PERHAPS EMBEDDED SUPERCELLS NEAR FRONT.  POTENTIAL FOR CLUSTERED/MCS
ACTIVITY OR DISCRETE STORMS EXISTS NEARLY ANYWHERE WITHIN WARM
SECTOR AWAY FROM AREAS STABILIZED BY PRECIP AND PRIOR CONVECTION.
ANY SUSTAINED SUPERCELLS WILL POSE THREAT OF TORNADOES GIVEN FCST
RICH MOISTURE…LOW LCL…LARGE 0-1 KM AGL HODOGRAPHS…AND BROAD
AREA OF AOA 50 KT EFFECTIVE SHEAR MAGNITUDE.  AREAS NOT AFFECTED BY
CLOUD/PRECIP COVER DURING DIURNAL HEATING PERIOD MAY ATTAIN MLCAPE
1000-2000 J/KG.  SFC-BASED EFFECTIVE INFLOW PARCELS SHOULD BE
POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF MID-SOUTH…AL/GA AND CAROLINAS E OF
MOUNTAINS WITHIN 10-12 HOURS AHEAD OF COLD FROPA.  MAIN FACTOR
PRECLUDING SMALLER CORRIDOR OF GREATER PROBABILITIES ATTM IS
UNCERTAINTY OVER TIMING/LOCATION OF PRECIP-STABILIZED SWATHS AND
RESULTING MESOSCALE BOUNDARY CHARACTERISTICS.

INSTABILITY OF BOUNDARY LAYER AIR MASS ALSO IS FCST TO BECOME WEAKER
AHEAD OF COLD FRONT FROM KY NWD ACROSS OH VALLEY REGION TO GREAT
LAKES…WITH DISTANCE FROM OPTIMAL GULF RETURN-FLOW REGIME.
THEREFORE PROBABILITIES ARE RAMPED DOWN GRADUALLY WITH NWD EXTENT.
HOWEVER…POCKETS OF CLOUD BREAKS AND SUSTAINED DIURNAL HEATING
WOULD BOOST MLCAPES AND ENCOURAGE MESOSCALE CONCENTRATIONS OF SVR
POTENTIAL DURING 28/18Z-29/00Z TIME FRAME.

..EDWARDS.. 03/27/2009

War Not Over So Senate Stages Drunken Bash
March 26, 2009

Ladies Who Weren't Invited To the 1804 Senate Bash

Ladies Who Weren't Invited To the 1804 Senate Bash

 

This Date In History

Bigger Than This Loaf of Bread?

Bigger Than This Loaf of Bread?

In 1801, Charles Wilson Peale unearthed a previously un-named prehistoric skeleton. It became known as a Mastadon but, at the time, it got the nickname Mammoth for its size. So, the term mammoth became popular in early 19th century America to describe something very large. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson received a “mammoth” 1200 pound hunk of cheese from a bunch of Baptist from Massachusettes in appreciation for his advocation of religious tolerance. Remember, the Baptists weren’t always welcome in many corners of early American society, but they had been an effective thorn in the side of the Brits in Colonial America, particularly in places like Williamsburg.

Modern Day Tipsy Senator?

Modern Day Tipsy Senator?

In any event, on this date in 1804, Jefferson attended a public party in the Senate that featured a “mammoth loaf” of bread. The big ole loaf of bread was baked to go along with what was left of the two year old cheese….and a giant portion of roast beef….and an ample supply of alcohol. The occasion was to show support for Jefferson’s use of the US Navy to go after the Barbary Pirates. The Barbary Coast was an area of Northern Africa which was supposed to be part of the Ottoman Empire but was really controlled by local powers in Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli. It was a region controlled by Islamists. They had been impairing US commerce so Jefferson sent the US Navy to enforce and, if need be attack, the bad guys. Numerous battles ensued. One note of interest….this military action of the United States against these Islamic states was funded by Congress, but was an undeclared military action by the United States that lasted

Reuben James Puts His Head on the Line to Save Decatur

Reuben James Puts His Head on the Line to Save Decatur

for some 4 years. Those who think the Iraq war or the current conflict in Afghanistan, or Vietnam or Korea  were unprecedented need to look more at Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. There are differences but the similiarities are worth noting, especially when one looks at Iraq.  Oh yes..its also worth noting that written observations say that the event with the “mammoth loaf” and the leftover “mammoth cheese” turned into a drunken, noisy affair…something some folks might say has been going on in the Senate ever since.  President Jefferson walked up, pulled out his pockeknife and sliced the first piece of bread and the party was on.  The booze was flowing.  The war wasn’t over but the party went on anyway. 

Now, there had been a big victory on February 16, 1804 in which a daring plan was undertaken when the Americans went into Tripoli Harbor and stealthily boarded the captured American Frigate Philadelphia.  The 74 volunteers were led by Lt. Stephen Decatur.  The group was successful in torching the Philadelphia but not without a fight.  During the hand-to-hand fighting, Botswain’s Mate Reuben James was seriously wounded but still managed to get himself in between and enemy combatant with a very large sword and the group’s commander, Decatur.  James literally put

World War II Destroyer Reuben James

World War II Destroyer Reuben James

Frigate USS Reuben James

Frigate USS Reuben James

his life on the line to save the commander.  James eventually recovered from his injuries and served in the Navy for more than an additional 3 decades.  That is why there is a frigate currently in the US Navy called the USS Reuben James (FF 57).  His story is one in US Navy lore to exemplify the heroic tradition of the service.  And the action taken by Decatur and his entrourage was called “the most daring act of the age” by British Admiral Lord Nelson.  So, it was a pretty big deal and its the only reason I can think of to justify such a bash by the Senate…that is of course unless one wants to discount the possibility that the Senators just wanted an excuse to party down.  Because, it certainly wasn’t because of the war…it wasn’t over for another year and really wasn’t completely settled until 1815.

SPC Convective Outlook Fri 8AM to Sat 8AM

SPC Convective Outlook Fri 8AM to Sat 8AM

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8AM to Sun 8AM

Weather Bottom Line: 

I’m tempted to break out Colonel Klink but its too early to be offering any “I told you so” comments, especially since its a shade off on timing.  But, the above depiction is the SPC Convective Outlook for Friday March 27 to Saturday March 28.  Notice how far north they have taken the severe risk area…all the way to Louisville.  Now, the reason it doesn’t encompass Loiusville is due to timing.  The next day the region is to our east.  Hence, when the storms may come over us, it will be well into the night and so the timing issue arises.  But, we still will have a risk of t’storms either late Friday or, if the system slows a bit, then a better chance on Saturday.  Having said all of that….I would plan on rain on Friday night with possible storms and also look for rain with storms on Saturday and the data seems to support pretty good looking activity through Saturday afternoon.  I would not be surprised to see the SPC make a further revision in their slight risk area.  Just something to keep in mind.  Otherwise, Thursday looks damp the first part of the day and somewhat coolish in the low to mid 60’s.  Friday should be decent with highs in the mid to upper 60’s.

DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0224 AM CDT WED MAR 25 2009
  
   VALID 271200Z – 281200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM ERN TX EWD INTO TN VALLEY
   AND CNTRL GULF STATES…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
  
   A SIGNIFICANT MIDLEVEL LOW IS FORECAST TO TRANSLATE EWD THROUGH THE
   SRN PLAINS INTO THE LOWER MS VALLEY DURING THE DAY THREE PERIOD.
   THIS SYSTEM WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY A 100+ KT MIDLEVEL JET STREAK AND
   INCREASING DIFFLUENT FLOW IN THE HIGH-LEVELS…BETWEEN CYCLONICLY
   CURVED POLAR JET STREAK AND SUBTROPICAL JET SITUATED ALONG THE GULF
   COAST.  THE NET RESULT WILL BE INTENSE LARGE-SCALE FORCING FOR
   ASCENT SPREADING EWD THROUGH OK/TX INTO THE LOWER MS VALLEY THROUGH
   THE FORECAST PERIOD.
  
   IN THE LOW LEVELS…LATEST GFS AND ECMWF DIFFER SLIGHTLY ON THE
   TRACK AND INTENSITY OF ATTENDANT SURFACE LOW WITH THE GFS BEING THE
   MOST PROGRESSIVE AND DEEPEST SOLUTION.  BOTH MODELS HAVE INDICATED
   FAIRLY GOOD RUN-TO-RUN CONSISTENCY WITH A BLEND OF THE TWO FOLLOWED
   FOR THE SURFACE PATTERN.  AS SUCH…IT APPEARS THE PRIMARY SURFACE
   LOW WILL DEVELOP FROM N-CNTRL TX ENEWD THROUGH THE ARKLATEX BEFORE
   MOVING MORE NNEWD TOWARD THE CONFLUENCE OF THE MS AND OH RIVERS.
   TRAILING COLD FRONT WILL SHIFT EWD FROM ERN TX INTO THE LOWER MS
   VALLEY WHILE ASSOCIATED WARM FRONT LIFTS NWD THROUGH THE TN VALLEY
   TOWARD THE OH RIVER.
  
   …ERN TX EWD INTO THE TN VALLEY AND CNTRL GULF STATES…
  
   …POTENTIAL INCREASING FOR A SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK FRI AND FRI
   NIGHT…
  
   MODEL GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO INDICATE THAT A RATHER BROAD WARM SECTOR
   WILL BECOME ESTABLISHED FRI FROM ERN TX EWD ACROSS THE GULF COAST
   STATES WITH DEWPOINTS INCREASING THROUGH THE 60S TO PERHAPS AROUND
   70 ALONG THE COAST.  THIS MOISTURE WILL COMBINE WITH STEEP MIDLEVEL
   LAPSE RATES…RESULTING IN A MODERATELY UNSTABLE AIR MASS BY
   AFTERNOON.
  
   TSTMS SHOULD BE ONGOING FRI MORNING BOTH WITHIN WARM SECTOR AND N OF
   WARM FRONT FROM THE OZARK PLATEAU EWD INTO THE LOWER MS VALLEY.
   ADDITIONAL TSTMS WILL DEVELOP THROUGH THE DAY ALONG AND AHEAD OF
   COLD FRONT AS A BAND OF STRONG ASCENT ASSOCIATED WITH UPPER SYSTEM
   OVERSPREADS FRONTAL ZONE.  ACTIVITY WILL LIKELY CONSOLIDATE ALONG
   COLD FRONT FRI NIGHT AS IT BEGINS TO ACCELERATE EWD THROUGH THE
   LOWER MS VALLEY.
  
   UNCERTAINTY STILL EXISTS WITH REGARD TO THE DOMINANT CONVECTIVE
   MODE…DEGREE OF CONVECTIVE INSTABILITY…AND WHETHER ANY WEAKER
   IMPULSES WILL PRECEDE PRIMARY UPPER TROUGH…POTENTIALLY INFLUENCING
   THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONVECTIVE EVENT.  HOWEVER…SHOULD A WARM
   SECTOR ENVIRONMENT SIMILAR TO THE 25/00Z GFS ACTUALLY DEVELOP /I.E.
   MLCAPE OF 1500-2500 J PER KG AND 0-1 KM SHEAR OF 30-40 KT/…THE
   POTENTIAL WILL EXIST FOR A SIGNIFICANT TORNADO EVENT FRI AND FRI
   NIGHT. 
  
   A CATEGORICAL SLIGHT RISK WILL BE INTRODUCED ATTM DUE TO THE
   ABOVE-MENTIONED UNCERTAINTIES.  HOWEVER…SHOULD MODEL GUIDANCE
   REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH THE CURRENTLY FORECAST
   THERMODYNAMIC/KINEMATIC PARAMETERS…AN UPGRADE TO AT LEAST MODERATE
   RISK WILL BE REQUIRED IN SUBSEQUENT OUTLOOKS.
  
   ..MEAD.. 03/25/2009

Plot To Burn New York Foiled By NYFD
March 25, 2009

Confederates Hoped to Find New York City The Same Turmoil As 1863

Confederates Hoped to Find New York City The Same Turmoil As 1863

 

 

On this Date in History:  When you get to late 1864, the prospects of the South were running low.  The west was pretty much subdued and General William T. Sherman was making his march to the sea.  Now, in a post from last October, I told you about how Confederate raiders in October 1864 made the northernmost attack on the Union in Vermont as they raced into St. Albans, Vermont and robbed several banks before fleeing back to Canada.  Well, the Candian plot wasn’t done just yet.

Harper's Weekly Rendition of Arsonist

Harper's Weekly Rendition of Arsonist

The Confederate Canadian agents, perhaps emboldened by their Vermont excursion came up with a bolder plan.  They would burn New York City.  The agents had been assured that the city was ripe for rebellion.  Now, that may have been true earlier in the war when there was the infamous New York Draft Riot  against the war, but by late in 1864, it was no longer the case.  A case of bad intelligence.  Undeterred, the plotters decided that they would bring the horror of war home to New Yorkers and carried out their plan on November 25, 1864.  Happy Thanksgiving, right?  Here was the plan:  An agent would check into a Gotham hotel, concealing a incendiary liquid in glass.  Its called a Greek fire in a valise.  The perpetrator would set his room ablaze and then leave.  After several of these firebugs successfully created several infernos, the city streets were filled with rumors as panic people ran about and firemen ran helter skelter from hotel to hotel.    One thing the arsonists didn’t count on was the famed New York Fire Department.  Today’s heroes of

Kennedy: Bad Timing

Kennedy: Bad Timing

New York were yesterday’s heroes of New York as well.  Twelve fires broke out almost simultaneously but the firemen reacted so quickly the damage was limited and the fires were extinguished.  So much for the great Greek fire.

Well, it turned out to be a Greek tragedy for one of the perpetrators.  Two were captured, including Confederate Captain Robert Cobb Kennedy.  On this date in 1865, Kennedy was hanged for his failed enterprise and received the distinction of being the last soldier hanged before the end of the Civil War…which effectively came a little more than 2 weeks later with the surrender of Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865.    They say that timing in life is everything, but I’d say this is one of the greatest examples and consequence to bad timing. 

SPC Wed Convective Outlook

SPC Wed Convective Outlook

SPC Thu Convective Outlook

SPC Thu Convective Outlook

Weather Bottom Line: 

The storms that were so ferocious out west did pretty much what I said that they would do which is to fall apart.  But, they were even more benign than even I thought.  Temperatures will back off a bit but be far from cold for the rest of the week. Generally in the low to mid 60’s.   We could still see some showers for Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday.  Wednesday would be post frontal and Thursday would be the fringes of an area of low pressure that will move through the Dixie states and may cause some mischief there.  Now, on Saturday we move back toward 70 and that is the day that I have been suspicious about possibly giving us some action.  There will be a strong low coming out of the west on Friday.  The ETA is advertising some pretty decent rain Friday night and the GFS concurs though its less intense and doesn’t seem as interested in t’storms as the ETA.  The SPC isn’t too enthused either but…if the low trajects northeast a bit sooner than the current data suggests then it may be a different story.  I suspect that what is happening is that the Friday night rain will settle things down enough that anything on Saturday won’t be that exciting.  However, the possibility remains and I do note that in the SPC discussion, they keep the option open to issue an area of concern for Saturday, though they seem to be more focused on areas to our south and southeast.  The air behind the weekend system is still not too terribly cold because there is another in the series of storms coming out of the northwest that will prevent the cold air from moving too far south.

SPC Friday Convective Outlook

SPC Friday Convective Outlook

 DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0332 AM CDT TUE MAR 24 2009
  
   VALID 271200Z – 011200Z
  
   …DISCUSSION…
  
   LATEST MEDIUM-RANGE GUIDANCE REMAINS RELATIVELY CONSISTENT /IN BOTH
   INTER-MODEL COMPARISON AND INTRA-MODEL RUN-TO-RUN TENDENCIES/ IN THE
   EVOLUTION OF THE LARGE-SCALE PATTERN THROUGH D5 /SAT MAR 28TH/.
   THROUGH THIS TIME FRAME…A POWERFUL MID/UPPER-LEVEL LOW WILL
   TRANSLATE EWD THROUGH THE CNTRL/SRN PLAINS ON D4 /FRI MAR 27TH/
   BEFORE LIFTING RAPIDLY NEWD INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION ON D5.  IN
   THE LOW LEVELS…SURFACE LOW OVER THE SRN PLAINS WILL DEVELOP NEWD
   THROUGH THE MID MS VALLEY…AND EVENTUALLY MORE NWD INTO THE GREAT
   LAKES.  MEANWHILE…TRAILING STRONG COLD FRONT WILL SURGE EWD
   THROUGH THE SRN PLAINS…LOWER MS VALLEY…EVENTUALLY REACHING THE
   MID/SERN ATLANTIC COAST BY LATE D5 OR D6 /SUN MAR 29TH/.
  
   ON D4…A MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR MASS IS EXPECTED TO SPREAD NWD/NEWD
   ACROSS THE LOWER MS VALLEY IN ADVANCE OF EWD-MOVING COLD FRONT.
   THIS INSTABILITY WILL COMBINE WITH STRENGTHENING WIND FIELDS AND
   INCREASED FORCING FOR ASCENT TO FOSTER WIDESPREAD TSTMS ACROSS THE
   REGION FRI AND FRI NIGHT.  SOME MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THAT A
   FAIRLY LARGE AREA OF MODERATE INSTABILITY WILL DEVELOP WITHIN SYSTEM
   WARM SECTOR.  SHOULD THIS OCCUR…THE POTENTIAL WILL EXIST FOR A
   FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER EPISODE…INCLUDING THE THREAT FOR
   STRONG TORNADOES.
  
   THE THREAT FOR SEVERE STORMS WILL CONTINUE INTO D5 OVER PORTIONS OF
   THE CNTRL AND ERN GULF STATES EWD TO THE SERN ATLANTIC COAST.  GIVEN
   THAT THE PRIMARY SURFACE LOW AND STRONGEST DYNAMIC FORCING WILL
   REMAIN DISPLACED WELL TO THE N OF THE REGION…THERE IS SOME
   QUESTION AS TO HOW WIDESPREAD THESE SEVERE STORMS WILL BE.
   THEREFORE…NO AREA WILL BE DELIMITED ATTM.
  
   BEYOND D5…MODEL SOLUTIONS BEGIN TO DIVERGE…LEAVING THE REMAINING
   PORTION OF THE EXTENDED PERIOD QUITE UNCERTAIN.
  
   ..MEAD.. 03/24/2009

Blame Exxon Valdez on Captain Bligh; Midwest Storms
March 24, 2009

valdez-otter

1300 Miles of Coast Affected

1300 Miles of Coast Affected

On This Date in History:

   The press loves anniveraries in years that have a nice ring to it.  You wouldn’t hear of the 19th annivesary of an event.  But, the next year on the 20th anniversary, well then its big news.  Today is the 20th anniversary of one of the biggest environmental disasters in world history and the biggest one in US history…at least man-made disasters.  On this date in 1989, the Exxon Valdez dumped a bunch of oil into Prince William Sound and spoiled some 1300 miles of coastline.  It is estimated that some 250,000 seabirds died as a result of the spill.  A year later, it was found that the normal killer whale pod of 36 that roamed the area had been depleted by 14.  There were also about 1000 sea otters that died as well as 151 bald eagles.  In 2003, it was estimated that about 20,000 gallons of oil remained soaked in the sands of the region, which poses a continual threat to wildlife.

Ship Unloads What Was Left of Valdez Oil

Ship Unloads What Was Left of Valdez Oil

I’m not going to go into detail about the event.  You can get that from your news source.  The beef that I always have on this subject is the reporting.  The report was that 11 million gallons of oil was spilled.  That would be fine except that the media always reports oil usage and the price of oil in barrels.  Why not spills?  I have speculated in a previous post that the media does this to make it sexier…that is…sound as bad as possible.  If it’s “Big Oil” it must be bad.  I mean, if they said that it was 257,000 barrels of oil that spilled, that sounds bad…but not as bad as 11 million gallons.  I know the reason is that the general public can’t relate to a barrel of oil, but it can relate to gallons.  But, if that’s the case, why not report all issues regarding crude oil in gallons?  Nevertheless, it was  a terrible accident and one thing that baffles some experts is that Exxon-Mobil still uses a  number of single hull supertankers. Though its reported as about 6% of its shipping, it’s still more than any other oil company and that seems surprising given the negative publicity of the Exxon Valdez. Even the sister ship of the Valdez, which also has a single hull, still goes into  Prince William Sound regularly.  Single hull ships are cheaper to rent than double hulled ones but Exxon claims the estimated $18 million it saves annually by using the single hulled ships is not a consideration.  To be fair, that is a drop in the bucket for the company.  Royal Dutch Shell is the largest operator of tankers in Europe and only uses single hull ships when there are no double hulled ones available.  That only accounts for about 1.8% of its shipping needs.  It’s a mystery why Exxon-Mobil hasn’t jumped on board as the other major oil companies have done.

Anyway, here are some facts that you won’t get from your media source.  The Exxon-Valdez ran aground at 12:04 AM on March 24, 1989.  The Captain, Joseph Hazelwood had been seen drinking in a bar prior to the ship’s departure.  But, that was not the cause of the accident.  The captain was in his quarters and had sent a message to the bridge to steer the ship back into the shipping lanes after it had maneuvered to avoid icebergs.  The helmsman never got the message.  Ultimately, it was a lack of internal communication that was the root cause. 

Captain William Bligh

Captain William Bligh

The 987 foot ship ran aground on Bligh Reef, which  is off of Bligh Island.  The reef is well known as another famous wreck happened there in 1910 when the Olympia of the Alaska Steamship Company ran aground.  The island and the reef were named for the infamous Captain Bligh, who was an officer with Captain James Cook when the explorer who found the Hawaiian Islands was rummaging around Alaska in 1778, which was eleven years prior to Bligh

I Think Charles Laughton in 1935 Made a Better Bligh Than the Real Bligh

I Think Charles Laughton in 1935 Made a Better Bligh Than the Real Bligh

becoming a Captain and getting his HMS Bounty taken from him near Tahiti.  That’s another story but I bet you didn’t know that the story ends up with Bligh navigating an open boat about 23 feet long full of 19 men some 3600 miles.  He was really quite a seaman, but the movies don’t tell you all of that.  There is also Resolution Cove near Bligh Island where Cook took his ship, HMS Resolution, for repairs.  What was Cook doing in Alaska? Searching for the mythical Northwest Passage.  Cook went on to Hawaii where he was subsequently killed and Bligh performed some heroic acts that got him noticed back home.  Eventually, Bligh became a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy.

If you want to vacation on Bligh Island, here is some information on it…though I don’t think I’d plan a trip in the winter. 

SPC Convective Outlook 8am Tue to 8am Wed

SPC Convective Outlook 8am Tue to 8am Wed

Tue Tornado Threat

Tue Tornado Threat

Weather Bottom Line:

Tue Wind Threat

Tue Wind Threat

  Everything is shaping up as expected.  They had some big old storms in the midwest.  Really pretty wild with Valentine, NE getting the booby prize.  I think they recorded a high of something like 66 on Monday and by the end of the day, they had a blizzard warning.  Before that they were under A Severe Thunderstorm Watch, A Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning for a tornado on the ground nearby.  All of that energy zips up to the northeast on Tuesday.  There will be big storms to our west but by the time the front gets here, the energy will have lifted away and it will be the

SPC Threat Wed

SPC Threat Wed

SPC Fri & Sat Threat

SPC Fri & Sat Threat

overnight period so look for some t’storms with gusty winds on Tuesday night but not much excitement.  A piece of the energy breaks off to the south on Wednesday giving parts of Texas some action.  That stuff pivots around us through the Dixie states on Thursday and we may get a shower or two out of that but that’s it.  Our temperatures will be above seasonal averages for the latter half of the week after getting to the mid to maybe upper 70’s on Tuesday.  We’ll be cooler for the last 3 days of the week but not cold by any stretch.  Now, the SPC has the risk for strong storms to our south on Saturday, but I still think we need to keep an eye out for some strong activity here.  We’ll see how the SPC alters their areas of concern as we go through the week.

 DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1255 AM CDT TUE MAR 24 2009
  
   VALID 241200Z – 251200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM E TX/WRN-NRN LA TO MID MS
   VALLEY…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
  

Tue Hail Threat

Tue Hail Threat

MID/UPPER LEVEL LOW CENTERED OVER SD AT 12Z TODAY IS EXPECTED TO
   BECOME NEGATIVELY TILTED AS IT TRACKS ENEWD ACROSS THE UPPER MS
   VALLEY.  THIS EVOLUTION WILL OCCUR AS A SHORT WAVE TROUGH EMANATING
   FROM THE SRN ROCKIES MOVES THROUGH THE SRN/CENTRAL PLAINS THIS
   MORNING…AND THEN TRACKS NEWD THROUGH THE LOWER MO VALLEY TO WRN
   GREAT LAKES REGION BY 12Z WEDNESDAY.  IN THE LOW LEVELS…SURFACE
   LOW IS EXPECTED TO SLOWLY FILL/OCCLUDE AS IT TRACKS ENEWD FROM ERN
   SD INTO CENTRAL MN TODAY…AND THEN DEEPEN AGAIN TONIGHT IN RESPONSE
   TO NEGATIVE TILT OF UPPER SYSTEM.  MEANWHILE…A SECONDARY LOW
   SHOULD FORM ALONG THE COLD FRONT IN NRN MO AND TRACK NEWD INTO SRN
   WI…WITH THE TRAILING COLD FRONT SPREADING EWD THROUGH THE UPPER/
   MID MS VALLEY AND ARKLATEX REGION/E TX.  THIS FRONT SHOULD REACH THE
   CENTRAL GREAT LAKES…LOWER TN/MS VALLEYS TO S TX BY 12Z WEDNESDAY.
  
   …ERN TX/NWRN LA TO MID MS VALLEY…
   SSWLY LOW LEVEL FLOW ACROSS THE WARM SECTOR WILL MAINTAIN MOISTURE
   RETURN TODAY IN ADVANCE OF THE COLD FRONT.  SURFACE DEWPOINTS IN THE
   LOWER 60S SHOULD REACH INTO THE ARKLATEX REGION EWD THROUGH THE
   LOWER MS VALLEY.  MEANWHILE…SELY SURFACE TRAJECTORIES EMANATING
   FROM A DRIER AIR MASS ACROSS THE OH/TN VALLEYS SHOULD LIMIT THE
   BREADTH OF THE NRN EXTENT OF THE WARM SECTOR/MOISTURE RETURN ACROSS
   THE MID MS VALLEY INTO UPPER MIDWEST.
  
   AT 12Z TODAY…TSTMS ARE EXPECTED TO BE ONGOING ALONG THE COLD FRONT
   FROM ERN/SRN IA THROUGH WRN MO TO CENTRAL OK.  INSTABILITY WILL BE
   WEAKER /MLCAPE BELOW 500 J/KG/ FROM MO THROUGH THE MID MS VALLEY.
   HOWEVER…STRONG FORCING FOR ASCENT ALONG THE ADVANCING COLD FRONT
   AND AHEAD OF THE CENTRAL/SRN PLAINS SHORT WAVE TROUGH SHOULD
   COMPENSATE FOR THE WEAK INSTABILITY AND SUPPORT AN EWD MOVING SQUALL
   LINE.  FARTHER S…FORCING FOR ASCENT WILL BE WEAKER INTO THE
   ARKLATEX REGION AND ERN TX…THOUGH GREATER INSTABILITY /MLCAPE
   500-1000 J/KG/ AND SURFACE HEATING SHOULD COMPENSATE ALLOWING FOR
   TSTM DEVELOPMENT SWD ALONG AND AHEAD OF THE COLD FRONT.
  
   PRIMARY SEVERE THREAT IS EXPECTED TO BE DAMAGING WINDS…ESPECIALLY
   FROM ERN OK INTO CENTRAL AR AND THE SRN HALF OF MO WHERE THE
   GREATEST FRONTAL SURGE IS FORECAST AND GIVEN 40-50+ KT SOUTHWESTERLY
   MEAN FLOW.  A STRONG SSWLY LLJ /50-60 KT/ EXTENDING FROM THE
   ARKLATEX TO MID MS VALLEY WILL PROMOTE LARGE LOW LEVEL HODOGRAPH
   CURVATURE AND THE POTENTIAL FOR TORNADOES.  AT THIS TIME…THE
   GREATEST TORNADO THREAT IS EXPECTED TO BE FROM SERN OK/ARKLATEX
   REGION TO SRN MO WHERE INSTABILITY WILL BE GREATER AND DEEP LAYER
   SHEAR VECTORS ARE FAVORABLY ORIENTED FOR SOME DISCRETE STORMS/
   SUPERCELLS.  SEVERE WEATHER THREAT SHOULD PERSIST INTO THE
   EVENING/OVERNIGHT PERIOD ACROSS SRN AR TO E TX/LA WHERE
   INSTABILITY/SHEAR PARAMETERS WILL FAVOR A CONTINUED POTENTIAL FOR
   ORGANIZED STORMS.
  
   …UPPER MS VALLEY…
   IF DIABATIC HEATING CAN OCCUR INVOF OCCLUDED SURFACE LOW…SETUP
   WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOW-TOPPED TSTMS TODAY.
   ALTHOUGH VERTICAL SHEAR WILL NOT BE STRONG OWING TO THE CLOSE
   PROXIMITY TO DEEP-LAYER LOW CENTER…STEEP MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES AND
   COLD MID LEVEL TEMPERATURES SHOULD SUPPORT SOME HAIL WITH THE MORE
   INTENSE TSTMS.
  
   ..PETERS/GARNER.. 03/24/2009

Otis Takes Mankind to New Heights!
March 23, 2009

Otis From Superman?

Otis From Superman?

Otis Day?

Otis Day?

Otis Sistrunk?

Otis Sistrunk?

Ottis Toole?

Ottis Toole?

Elisha Otis?
Elisha Otis?

 

 

 

Which Otis Made Tall Buildings Possible?
Moving a Grand Piano Can Be Difficult Without an Elevator

Moving a Grand Piano Can Be Difficult Without an Elevator

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

Otis Demonstrates His Safe Elevator

Otis Demonstrates His Safe Elevator

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. 

41 Story Singer Building

41 Story Singer Building

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.

Midday Sunday SPC Severe Outlook Monday March 23, 2009

Midday Sunday SPC Severe Outlook Monday March 23, 2009

NAM Midday Monday in Mid 60's

NAM Midday Monday in Mid 60's

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

SPC Severe Probability for Monday

SPC Severe Probability for Monday

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
   OK…CNTRL OK…
  
   …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
   REMAIN DISCRETE.
  
   …OKLAHOMA/KANSAS/NORTH TEXAS…
   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.
  
   ..BROYLES.. 03/22/2009

“Thomas Paine” and Two Big Mistakes
March 22, 2009

A German Officer And the English Show Little Common Sense While a Modern Day Thomas Paine Presents His Own

A German Officer And the English Show Little Common Sense While a Modern Day Thomas Paine Presents His Own

Cruise As Von Stauffenberg Sans Accent

Cruise As Von Stauffenberg Sans Accent

On This Date in History:

Today was one of a couple of mistakes.  The first big mistake we will look at goes back to 1943.  Now, most people are well aware of the failed attempt on Hitler’s life in 1944 by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. This was played out recently in another Tom Cruise movie that I don’t think faired too well, Valkyrie. A bomb was placed next to Hitler at a staff meeting.  The bomb exploded but the device was placed next to a heavy table leg that protected the Fuhrer from the blast.  Hitler survived and the assassins were executed.  But, that was not the first attempt on Hitler’s life.  On this date in 1943, assassins were scratching their heads in disbelief as their plot failed before it got started.

Tresckow: Col. Klink Look Alike?

Tresckow: Col. Klink Look Alike?

It was the brainchild of Gen. Henning von Tresckow who didn’t seem to have much of a brain for such things.  He had thought back in the summer of 1941, before the European war became a true global conflict involving the United States, that Hitler was leading Germany on a road of ruin and humiliation.  So, he thought he’d simply walk up and arrest the Fuhrer.  When Hitler showed up to the location that was supposed to be his spot of detainment, he was surrounded by a bunch of SS body guards.  So, that plan got scrapped.  Undeterred, von Treskow tried again on March 13, 1943.  Hitler was to fly back to Germany from the USSR and he was to be handed a bomb disguised as a gift.  It had a timer set to explode while the plane was in the air.  All went as planned except that the detonator was defective and the bomb never went off.  Strike two.

Hitler Survived This

Hitler Survived This

A week later von Treskow tried again.  At least he was persistent.  This time he got some doof to be a suicide bomber.  He was to walk beside Hitler at a memorial dedication.  The bomber had two bombs…one in each pocket.  Both had 10 minute fuses.  But, they had a little problem.  Hitler only attended the dedication for 8 minutes.  The bomber might have been dumb but he wasn’t stupid.  When he learned that he would only be with Hitler for 8 minutes, he nixed the plan.  Von Tresckow should have stayed on the bench after he struck out.  In October 1943, he hooked up with von Stauffenberg and when the more famous Hitler assassination attempt failed on July 20, 1944, von Treskow decided to go into permanent would-be-assassin retirement when he took himself out with a grenade the following day.   No telling how many grenades it took, given this guy’s record.

Stamp Proposed by Newspaper

Stamp Proposed by Newspaper

The second big mistake

came in the mid 18th Century.  And this one is arguably bigger than the von Tresckow keystone cops episode.   After the British had won the French and Indian War, they had a pile of bills.  Since the crown was protecting the colonies, it figured that the colonies should help share the financial burden for their protection.  So, in 1764, parliament passed the Sugar Act which put a duty on all textiles, wine, coffee and sugar imported into the colonies.  Later that year, the Currency Act was passed and that devalued the money used in the colonies. But that wasn’t enough.  The next year, the crown passed the Quartering Act which meant that colonists were required to put up British soldiers in their homes…good way to save money on food and lodging for the boys overseas.  That pushed the colonists to the edge.  First there are all of these taxes and then they force uninvited guests into their homes.  But, it was on this date in 1765 that the British pushed too far, and that would ultimately be the beginning of the end.

Official Stamp

Official Stamp

The Stamp Act of 1765 required that colonists buy a stamp for all legal transactions  and commercial activity.  That included playing cards,  pamphlets and newspapers.  As politicians today have learned, its not a good idea to anger the fourth estate(the press) and I’m sure card players of the day probably had something to say in the taverns.   The colonists resisted this tax and by October of 1765, representatives from 9 colonies met at the Stamp Act Congress and drafted a Declaration of Rights and Grievances which outlined the colonists’ problems with the recent activities of the crown.  Parliament figured it was all more trouble than it was worth and enforcement would cost more than the Stamp Act would generate, so it rescinded the law.  But it was too late.   The biggest effect that the Stamp Act had was not monetary, but instead it had pushed the colonists toward independence.

Sons of Liberty Was a Rough Crowd

Sons of Liberty Was a Rough Crowd

The Stamp Act was the catalyst for the formation of the Sons of Liberty, who were a bunch of tradesman, mainly around Boston, who organized into a permanent group of agitators and resistance to pretty much anything that the crown did that they did not like.  There were other groups across the colonies that also organized.  The Stamp Act had served to rally the colonies into a united cause whereas previously they had been separate entities.  Eventually, you know where that led….to the bloody and complex transition from a bunch of independent colonies under British rule to a United States of America.  All because the government tried to squeeze more money out of the people without the consent of said people.

Thomas Paine Speaks via Youtube!

We The People Stimulus Package

We The People Stimulus Package

The Second American Revolution

The Second American Revolution

Today, there is a popular video of a gentleman portraying the revolutionary agitator Thomas Paine.  You can find that video at the right….”Thomas Paine” seems to think that we the people need to wake up and so he presents his “We the People Stimulus Package.” View it and see what you think.    If you like it, look at the “common sense” from our modern day “Paine” from July of 2008 called “The Second American Revolution.” As with all things in free speech, you can decide if its common sense or rubbish…but you should at least listen and consider his words.

SPC Convective Outlook Probability Mon AM to Tue AM

SPC Convective Outlook Probability Mon AM to Tue AM

SPC Convective Outllook Tue AM to Wed AM

SPC Convective Outllook Tue AM to Wed AM

Weather Bottom Line:

The weather story remains the same.  As expected we got to 61 on Saturday and look for mid to upper 60’s on Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday will be in the 70’s and perhaps Wednesday as well.  Still, Monday morning through Tuesday morning looks to be a pretty good bet for some action in the plains.  After that, the SPC has an area to our southwest that is suspicious.  After that, the upper pattern sets up with a flow such that shortwaves, or upper lows will have an opportunity to move through and if they did, wherever the dynamics were best suited, strong storms will erupt.  Trouble is, its tough to say exactly when and where that scenario will set up.  My guess is that from midweek through the end of the week, there will be a relatively unsettled pattern with probably a risk of strong storms somewhere from the southern plains and lower Mississippi Valley into and through the Ohio Valley.  We’ll have to wait to see how it shakes out.  Don’t look for any real chilly weather this week…we are getting deeper into spring, you know?

DAY 4-8 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0351 AM CDT SAT MAR 21 2009

VALID 241200Z – 291200Z

…DISCUSSION…

A LARGE-SCALE TROUGH WILL REMAIN ANCHORED OVER THE CENTRAL CONUS
THROUGH THE EXTENDED PERIOD WITH A SERIES OF DYNAMIC SHORT WAVE
TROUGHS ROTATING THROUGH THE MEAN LONG WAVE PATTERN.  ON D4 /TUE MAR
24TH/…IT APPEARS THE FIRST IMPULSE WILL SHIFT EWD THROUGH THE SRN
PLAINS INTO THE MID MS VALLEY…CONTRIBUTING TO STRONG TO SEVERE
TSTM DEVELOPMENT ALONG A SEWD-ADVANCING COLD FRONT OVER PORTIONS OF
ERN OK INTO THE ARKLATEX.

FROM D5 /WED MAR 25TH/ TO ABOUT D7 /FRI MAR 27TH/…CONSIDERABLE
MODEL DIFFERENCES EXIST IN THE TIMING AND TRACK OF SUBSEQUENT
VORTICITY MAXIMA TRANSLATING THROUGH THE MEAN LARGE-SCALE TROUGH.
REGARDLESS OF THESE DIFFERENCES…MOIST ONSHORE FLOW WILL CONTINUE
ACROSS THE WRN/CNTRL GULF STATES…COINCIDENT WITH MODESTLY SHEARED
KINEMATIC ENVIRONMENT.  AS SUCH…THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER
WILL EXIST THROUGH THIS TIME FRAME…THOUGH MORE PRECISE DETAILS OF
CONVECTIVE EVOLUTION REMAIN UNCERTAIN AT THIS JUNCTURE.

FROM D7 INTO D8 /SAT MAR 28TH/…LATEST RUNS OF THE ECMWF AND GFS
SUGGEST THAT A SIGNIFICANT SHORT WAVE TROUGH WILL EVOLVE OVER THE
SRN ROCKIES BEFORE SHIFTING EWD TOWARD THE MS VALLEY.  SHOULD THIS
SCENARIO UNFOLD…THE POTENTIAL WOULD EXIST FOR A MORE WIDESPREAD
SEVERE WEATHER EVENT FROM PARTS OF THE MID/LOWER MS VALLEY EWD
TOWARD THE ATLANTIC COAST.

..MEAD.. 03/21/2009