A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!
Friday, March 27, 2015
Spring Twisters. Spring Snow. All Depends on Your Location. Miami Beach Turns 100...
A quick look around the nation shows a mixed bag of precipitation and weather stories.
Chicago is dealing with snow (no real big surprise there..) and many are discussing the lack of warnings in Oklahoma for twisters earlier in the week in Moore, Oklahoma. There's nothing new under the sun to tornadoes ripping their way across the landscape in the Sooner State and if you live in Moore it seems a tornado will get you sooner or later.
Happens often in the world of weather forecasting, even in 2015, that something is missed and usually it's the big stuff that gets missed in a busted forecast. The milder temperatures and a little more rain goes unnoticed. When you blow it in the world of forecasting... it's always the big ones. These tornadoes could have been worse, they were not of the F4 or F5 category, however someone did die, many were without power and they drilled home the point that Spring has sprung in Twister Country.
In Seattle yesterday it was BLUETIFUL in that the sun came out and I now have the hint of a sunburn across my nose. It was delicious. I spent most of the day at Pike Place and then a walk with the kids around a nature preservation area behind the University area that faces out over the water complete with a view of Mt. Rainier. In Seattle when the weather is going to be clear...they say "the mountain is out today" and so it was............and it is such a beautiful sight to see.
(Ps the Mtn was not crooked.. I was ... fast shot in traffic...)
Seattle feels so much hillier than San Francisco.
It's not a street here and there...
It's not Kansas and it's not Miami Beach.
Speaking of Miami Beach it just turned 100!
See even Drudge was celebrating the fact...
Hey .. I'm on vacation.
Got to get the news somehow.
My kids don't use Cable TV...
As for the women meteorologist I'm highlighting today we look to snowy Boston, home of my beloved Red Sox to Cindy Fitzgibbon who does a great job at juggling her love of weather with a fantastic career as well as her love of her children and being a mother by enjoying the morning shift.
You see.. you can follow your passion and have it all. Takes hard work and dedication and believing in yourself!
Ps I'll update the blog with a song...but for now I'm late for a party ;)
Pss... Updated... enjoy. I still think it's a stupid movie. If you have EVER flown cross country to Seattle you would know... you don't fly cross country just to stand around outside and stare at someone, chicken out and fly back. It's a long, long, long, long, long flight to Seattle....
Why Use Twitter? It's a Perfect Fit for Meteorologists.
Today was a relatively slow day for weather news. Cold weather is happening in Iowa as a system moves slowly Eastward. My kids who used to live in Iowa are in Seattle as they really don't like snow and ice in Mid-March. It's snowing in Minneapolis today not Boston.
How do I know? Well, other than I do weather I can obviously Google it! To be honest though Google gives you a consensus of various weather sites and if you hit the news button you will get a news story that may or may not relate to you.
Truth is weather stories take time to write and evolve and are updated in real time, plus the time it takes to post. And, they are often as relevant as the updated version. I've seen Twisters hit somewhere in Oklahoma and the AP report will say "no deaths reported" which always makes me wince, as it's rare to have a F4 touch down in a populated area and have no one die. But, much like a tree falling in the forest, if no one is there to hear it does it make a sound or not? The story becomes updated with a small death toll and a high count of missing people. That story becomes updated again with a higher death count and less missing people. Stories evolve slowly even on the Internet.
Yet on Twitter the news comes in fast in real time and is verified often just as fast. Twitter is the easiest jumping off point to write a story or to learn about what is happening. I look down at my phone, go to Twitter and there I am in IKEA in Renton (a town near Seattle made famous for.. having the Seattle area IKEA store...) and immediately I find out there was hail and severe weather in Missouri and Arkansas. I also found out they found the "black box" for some plane I didn't even know had crashed into the Alps.
A random moment in my Twitter feed is mostly WEATHER RELATED STORIES... with a mix of other things I am interested in from sports to news to finding out what happened on General Hospital while shopping for things I don't really need in IKEA while on vacation.
And, the joy of Twitter is you can scroll FAST without hurting Aunt Minnie's feelings or not getting lost in 20 family posts or having to endure endless rants on politics by relatives and friends you don't have the nerve to unfriend. To be honest there is a saying you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family... or something like that and that applies to Facebook. Cousin Martha is really annoyed that you didn't read her entire rant about the family reunion. The National Weather Service in Seattle and Miami isn't devastated to find out that you didn't read their post or look at their beautiful sunrise picture. Whereas on Facebook the lady you used to work with who is a cousin by marriage to your Aunt Samantha is annoyed you didn't read her entire post about how the cat got out and was chased by the dog who was attacked by the neighbor's dog who already attacked two poodles and a bunny rabbit last month. You stand there at Publix staring at her like a deer in the headlights when she asks why you didn't call to check on her injured pooch and are afraid to say "oh uh I didn't know" because you know darn well she will call Aunt Samantha and complain that some people ignore her on Facebook. Come on... you know this happens .... or something like it. Beauty of Twitter is you CAN pick your friends and family of tweeting buddies... and most likely Aunt Martha isn't even on Twitter and half of your family members started an account, but never kept it going. And, if they did...they can only write 180 characters and that's easy enough to read if you want to..
On Twitter you are almost anonymous as you sail through stories of interest and scroll past stories you have no interest in reading. You click on links you want to see or ignore them for things you were looking for faster than it takes to debate whether to wish someone Happy Birthday on Facebook.
Yes it only has 180 characters. I'm sorry, it's not a long read. That's what my blog is for... people who like long reads. It's not the New York Times and it's not a friendly chat room though there are ways to chat in private messages. My daughter told me to be careful with that as that's how Anthony Weiner lost his ummm .... the respect of his constituents. I told her don't worry the only pics I'm passing around are weather pics... but don't say I didn't warn ya...or you could go down in flames.
Depending on the day or the moment you can get enough of a Cliff Notes view of more than you want to know about anything you are interested in and to me that's what I love about Twitter.
Years back I couldn't get into it. I am obviously someone who writes in more than 140 characters . . .
Everyone was talking about Twitter and I couldn't wrap my long winded head around it. And, then I needed information on the Earthquake in Japan for an article I was writing and voila the world opened up for me in seconds. In real time my feed flew by with real, relevant facts on every detail about the disaster that was barely visible on CNN or FOX. Not even Drudge was showing info then that I needed... Whether the stories were from Reuters or Russia Today I was getting information I needed in a fast, quick format. Yes, you have to verify, but whether I was Lois Lane back when or whether I am BobbiStorm today a good reporter always has to verify. But, on Twitter I could tailor make the results for what I was writing and verify on another site faster than you could say "Okay, NOW I GET TWITTER" and it's the place I hide, read info and scroll through while ignoring my various email accounts as well as 500 people who are not really my closest friends on Facebook. No, it's not a good message board or chat room during the Hurricane Season when there is a Cat 4 headed for Miami, but to tell you the truth that doesn't happen all the time. Twitter is live and immediate, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year ... 86,400 seconds in a day and when a news story is breaking that's how fast your feed flies... or if there's a big story going on at #GH the feed flies faster than a witch on a broomstick caught up in a Twister.........
Trust me if you get used to Snapchat that allows a whole 31 characters....... you will begin to feel you can write a novella on Twitter. And, there are ways around the 31 characters, but you'll have to Google that or look around on Twitter.
It's raining right now in Seattle after a beautiful day with mixed sun and clouds.
But on Twitter I can find out the most interesting Seattle Trivia ...
Hey to each his own. I know a lot of people who check their weather apps to see if it's raining before going outside when they are only steps from the door. Know how I know it's not just me? I read it on Twitter this morning and laughed. And, then... I moved on fast to a story on El NINO, MJO and how sunspots may or may not affect the coming Hurricane Season.
To test how fast news is available put in #MOWX if you are reading this Tuesday evening and you will get weather info in real time, fast real time. Or #hail or #storm or #snow or
Ps... Women meteorologist of the day is Chrissy Warrilow.
"Chrissy Warrilow is thrilled to serve the state of Georgia as a member of the GPB New Media Team and as a meteorologist. After growing up in Alpharetta, Chrissy graduated from Georgia Tech in 2007 with her degree in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Chrissy’s experience includes internships with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Cumulus Radio in Atlanta, and WGCL-TV CBS Atlanta. She is a member of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association, as well as the Iota (Georgia Tech) Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Fraternity for College and University Bands"
Spring Solstice in Seattle.. Is it Really Spring??
So far away from the tropics this morning in Seattle with my kids who are on the West Coast. So far away from Miami and Raleigh, back on the West Coast... The picture above is about as high up on the West Coast that I could be today looking out the window onto Old Forest Ridge. An incredible road that winds its way up the ridge that looks more like a mountain to me, but is really one of the seven hills that Seattle is built upon. You feel ask if you are riding up through the Blue Ridge Parkway.
See what I mean?
The main thing I wanted to point out today is how "normal" the US radar is finally in that the snow is in the north and the rain is in the South. Most of the weather is still on the East Coast, but as we have transitioned into Spring we have what looks like a normal "winter" pattern. What a year...
As I watched the spring solstice slide officially from winter into spring, I watched winter work it's white magical, endless web across the radar in my room here in Seattle. What else would you use a TV screen for ??? I sit here typing, watching the current loop jiggle about back and forth as the sun flirts with the idea of coming out. There's a progression of fronts ... wet weather systems moving from West to East. Moisture down from the Gulf of Mexico (still there) moving in and merging with the East bound Southern Jet. Across the top half of the nation winter holds onto it's cold, icy grip. My daughter in New York sent me pictures Friday afternoon of her back yard private Siberia covered again in snow and ice.
Note the flow from the Gulf of Mexico. Still awfully wet down there and funneling moisture north into the plains and the Deep South.
How difficult is it to love two different places at the same time, both so different and so far from each other. Key West...........and Seattle, about as far away from each other as you can get. But, I love them both.
Tawana Andrews an on air meteorologist in the "Delta" is my women in meteorology for the day. I follow her, though not sure how I came to follow her I'm betting it's a retweet from a guy named Brad. She's good. She earned her degree from FSU an incredibly, excellent meteorology school.
http://www.eoas.fsu.edu/programs/meteorology Great program if you are interested...
If you love weather and are a young girl...
Think on it...
Get with it...
You might end up one day being the Head of the NHC ;)
View from my window as I sit here typing...
Going off and out now to play with my kids in the city by Puget Sound on the banks of Lake Washington and Lake Union and so many lakes and hills here. Flowers in bloom everywhere. Tulips pushing up through the ground in shades of pink and purple..
More to come...
Ps... Florida song for the Florida in me and for in so many of you... beautiful song, but a great group.
I want to discuss a few topics today and this image above hits on two of those weather related topics.
Jennifer Watson is a meteorologist, specifically a female meteorologist, tweeting incredible pictures of last night's very photogenic display of the Northern Lights. Let's take a look at that picture up close and personal. If only I could have seen it really in person up close and personal, but sometimes the Internet is as close as you can get.
You see "weather" is about meteorology which is an atmospheric science. It's all about the atmosphere. The first meteorologists without degrees were sky watchers who took note of coincidences and kept records if only in their own diaries. An example of this would be Benjamin Franklin.
You know Benjamin Franklin from the half dollar coin and standing outside in the rain fame during a lightning storm and an appreciation for cougars....yes THAT Benjamin Franklin...
He watched the weather from early on ... obviously you think he was standing out there in the thunder storm with a kite randomly?? You can read about his personal discovery of how he discovered "storms" move and his appreciation for storms & hurricanes in the link below.
But for generations it seems when you think of a weather person you think of a "weatherman" despite the fact that there are a good number of incredible female meteorologists. Many, choose careers in "good government jobs" that provide benefits for their family, continuity and they don't have to worry how they will appear on screen on TV. In fact, maybe women doing the weather locally are not meteorologists, but women in the field of journalism who have always been closet weather fanatics. And, many like the men in that field of early television go back to school and pursue the golden degree of meteorology to back their knowledge of weather up with the credibility of the degree.
A good example of this is Miri Marshall in Baltimore who is an on air personality well respected for her weather forecasting and stories covering...the weather.
Miri is what you call a "Weather Anchor" in the news business. You can follow her on Twitter at:
I was in Baltimore recently. I have a love/hate affair with Baltimore. It's close to the water, in the South officially, has a football team with purple on their jerseys and a rich history in all fields I love from weather to history to politics. And, yet it's hard to see myself living there which is something I have pondered on many times. On paper it's perfect. While driving down Reistertown Road I keep thinking why can't they clean it up? Much the way I feel at the Inner Harbor...why can't they clean it up?
I digress... the point here is I plan on trying to highlight as many female meteorologists this coming hurricane season as I can and feel free to refer me to your favorite "Weatherwomen" and I mean that. I've never been much to get into the war of the sexes. It's not my style. I enjoy being a girl (yes even at my age) and yet I realize sadly that when you think of weathermen you think of weatherMEN.
In truth, when I am at the NHC or AOML it hits me nonstop how there are so many more men in our field than women. A close friend of mine is Howie Friedman, a meteorologist that many professionals know well, but one that is not well known by the average Joe or Josephine in the general public.
Howie and I were sitting in the van once on a long ride down to Key West where he was attending a conference at the Navy Base ...if I remember that part well... and we talked on why he keeps working when so many of his colleagues have retired. One... he loves what he does and MAINLY he told me he values the chance his position gives him to help mentor minorities and WOMEN in the field of meteorology. He has mentored interns down to the point of offering to car pool them to AOML offices far from where they live up in Broward County. He has pushed the agenda for women further than most I know. I kept wondering to myself if this really is so hard...for women and minorities to make it in the weather business. He's right. It is hard, it is not easy breaking into the brotherhood of male meteorologists. Personally, I love that there are so many men in the field. Nothing like going to a conference and standing there wedged between men like Dr. Bill Gray who towers over me and other great male mets, but I do notice there are few women there besides me. That can be nice at times ;) but it doesn't tell the whole story.
Note from Howie's bio online. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Friedman/
"He is the director of AOML's Office for Equal Employment Opportunity, a former member of the NOAA EEO and Diversity Councils, the Science Advisory Panel of the Museum of Science and Discovery (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), past chairperson of the AMS Board on School and Popular Meteorological and Oceanographic Education and, the AMS Board on Women and Minorities."
He has worked hard at that goal and many fine meteorologists have their degrees and jobs because of his dedication to that goal he set for himself.
Meteorology is more than going online and trying to understand the plethora of models both global and otherwise. To the amateur trying to make a forecast is like trying to pick the winner of March Madness.
Note this paragraph from the link below. "This education usually includes a bachelor's or higher degree from a college or university. Many meteorologists have degrees in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other fields. The broader term "atmospheric science" often is used to describe the combination of meteorology and other branches of physical science that are involved in studying the atmosphere."
It's all about understanding the climate (history of every day weather averaged together...), how geography affects weather, how ocean currents affects weather, how sun storms affect a hurricane season, how every little detail of Earth Sciences connect mathematically with a deep understanding of chemistry and physics. And, that is the cliff notes version.
People ask me how come I didn't study meteorology in college for a degree. Well, I did. I studied meteorology, geography, geology and oceanography for my degree in International Relations. I studied English for my degree in ...English, something not too visible in my blogging or my tweeting but trust me I graduated with honors... back in the days before the Internet. Weather is my passion, it's not a job I would want to do 24/7 as to be honest the nitty, gritty behind the scenes mathematics is a bit boring for me . . . Meteorology is more than just people dressed nice on TV standing in front of a blue screen looking bigger than the East Coast of America pointing to cold fronts and an occasional hurricane.
For whatever reason... women tend to go into communications and men into meteorology. Women tend to always interview the head of the NHC. Maybe one day that will change.
The real "glass ceiling" that needs to be broken is not in politics but in meteorology and especially the National Hurricane Center.
This is a picture of some of the best in the field, that ran the NHC.
In order to really understand how this began, it's worth understanding where most early government meteorologists were made... not in college but in the armed forces during various wars. The field of hurricane research came out of trying to understand the Pacific Typhoons that plagued the American forces in the Pacific arena during WW2. Name one of the greats at the Hurricane Center or on air covering Hurricanes and it's hard to find one that was not in WW2.
Today the winds of change are out there...and yet we still have a long way to go.
Then again, another problem... Meteorology does not pay as well as other jobs. And, as I've said before when Josephine thinks on a career in meteorology (her true love) and then realizes what she can get at Amazon or Google ...she studies Computer Engineering and follows the weather models in her spare time. Maybe she creates an app or a weather model.
As Hugh told me in the car once... it's a hard job working at the NHC and most of what your job as a director involves is trying to get more money in the budget. I've had a lot of great conversations with meteorologists and forecasters in moving vehicles it seems.
Hugh is at FIU these days.
So, this rant on weather and women was brought to you because of a tweet made by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. It opened up a Pandora's Box of discussion.
Fluff being defined as dressing up as a penguin or an elephant, feeding an elephant, tasting food and and interviewing Rockettes during the weather segment. I'll add in showing pet pics endlessly two days before a possible catastrophic winter storm or hurricane.
The debate goes on...............
I'll be in Seattle for a while soon. Looking forward to seeing how women handle the weather there and waiting for it to be clear enough to see the mountain or as they say there "the mountain will be out today" as we gotta love Mt. Rainer.
There are two stories currently that are all the rage in weather circles right now.
1. Boston officially broke the record of the most snowfall "since recorded history" which would lead one to think maybe back since the Middle Ages or the days of the Tower of Babel. In reality that means since 1872, after the North beat the South and told them "no they can't leave the Union" but before the Spanish American War.
If I hear one more person talk on how unprecedented this snowfall was I may lose it totally. I mean Lord have mercy can we move on now..........fine, they broke the record. Enough already. I'm pretty sure that at some point in history before we started taking records there has been more snow. I'm pretty sure that during the Ice Age when the Finger Lakes were being carved out... there was more snow in Boston.
It's a lot of snow. I get it. Really.
2. The line going North and South up the mid part of the country that creates the Great Divide between way too cold and "isn't this a nice warm winter??"
Another view of this..
... up close and personal
Can't think when I saw such a division.
In theory in a few weeks winter is over.
So that's it... as a third story that we should be talking about ... let's look for a minute at the destruction Pam has wrought in Vanuatu.
(ummm I do shop there a lot. I actually own that top in black...)
A small chain of islands dealing with death, destruction and an overwhelming clean up ...
To understand this map better as well as what is going on in the environment.
Let's look at that map at the top of the page again...
See how warm the water is where Pam turned into a catastrophic cyclone.
Location: Miami, Raleigh, Crown Heights, Florida, United States
Weather Historian. Studied meteorology and geography at FIU. Been quoted in Wall Street Journal, Washington Post & everywhere else... Lecturer, stormchaser, writer, dancer. If it's tropical it's topical ... covering the weather & musing on life. Follow me on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/BobbiStorm