Sunday, July 27, 2008

Survive The Storm - KSPR

I just went through all four segments of the Survive The Storm special by KSPR. It is very informative, and has a great overview of the tools they use on air to get the word out. I wanted to pass it along, because I think the Ozark Storms readers should know this information about storms, and will probably find the tools cool.

Something that should go hand in hand with all of it is everyone in the Ozarks should have a NOAA All Hazards Radio.

Be safe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Severe Storms Possible Today

While some thunderstorm activity is possible this morning, severe storms are possible later today. The main threat will be wind, hail, torrential rainfall and deadly lightning. As of 7am, the HWO notes that spotter activation may be needed later this afternoon and evening.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weather Warrior Get Together

There is a local networking site called Ozarks Weather Fans made up of local weather enthusiasts, including the KSPR weather team. About a month ago, my daughter turned me on to this site, and the KSPR blog and live chat. The local enthusiasts call themselves Weather Warriors, and have had a couple of get togethers so far. She has been waiting patiently to go to the July Weather Warrior get together to meet everyone.

We had a great time at Lamberts with the local Weather Warriors, including the KSPR Weather Team pictured above (I'm the short one!). From left to right Natalie Nunn, Josh DeBerge Kevin Lighty (WX9KSL) are three of the nicest and genuine people you will ever meet. Not to mention their sense of humor... Daniel Brown (KC0SPZ), a Master Control Operator for the station also came, he's a great guy. It was great to meet Mindi and her family, and Gary. I'm anxious for the next get together in September now!

If you're visiting here, I'm fairly certain you're into weather. You should check out the Ozarks Weather Fans site. It gives users an avenue to discuss weather, post photos, etc.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

East, Southeast...what's the difference really?

When intercepting storms, the direction of the road and direction of the storm are of the utmost importance. The May 10th tornadic event really had me evaluating this subject. There were two factors on that day that really drove it home. First, the fact that the storms were moving east, then southeast. The second was the trip down Mo-248 when trying to get out of the storm paths.

Understanding Storm Movement
First, it's very important to pay close attention to the storm warnings as they are issued. The National Weather Service has all of the cool tools, so when they give storm direction, it's important to listen to that. It's very easy to miss when out spotting/chasing because we typically have multiple radios going, and sometimes we are involved in 2-way communication. Actually it's common to be in 2-way communication with 2 or 3 people. (Is that 3-way and 4-way, or 4-way and 6-way?)

Second, it's important to understand storms can change movement. Some storms will become "right movers", and those that do often have the potential to be more severe. So it is important to not get so entranced by a storm that common sense and visual inspection get overridden. The NWS may report a storm is moving down a specific path, but we have to stay on our toes in case mother nature changes things up.

Understanding The Roads

Getting into unfamiliar territory can be problematic. This is why one of my rules that I try to stick to is to always have a passenger to help with navigation if I am in an area I'm not used to. On May 10th, we ended up in the Aurora area, which I have not traveled much. When the main storm coming from the Newton County area was reported to be headed our way, we went south. Once we were past the point of no return, another tornado warning was issued for a storm down that way. The spotters that went north ended up in a similar situation when moving north away from the Newton County storm were caught between that one and a tornado warning issued for Jasper County coming out of the Carthage area.

We had to make decisions fast, and to be quite frank, we felt they were decisions that could mean the difference between escaping a confirmed damaging tornado, or putting ourselves in it's path. We were comfortable with our knowledge of storms and the track of the current storms, but not with the roads in the area. We made the best decision we could make with the information we had, but in hindsight, we could have made better choices. If we had known how Highway 248 routed, we certainly would have. But I've already written about that.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Trtan of KOLR10 this year, and we talked about the May 4th, 2003 video shot from the back window of their vehicle by Nick Penka as they were running from that killer storm. The subject of road direction came up and Tom said they ended up closer to that storm than expected because the road they were fleeing on actually was more northeast than east, so they were staying in the path of the storm when they thought they were getting out of it's way. That was a close call!


All of this to say that if you do spot or chase, don't get too comfortable. Remember the first thing to plan is your escape, which means you must know your road options. If you don't spot or chase, this is just another one of the dangers that you should be aware of before you consider doing so. Training is so important, because when it's panic time, training is what will kick in. All four spot/chase teams I worked with on May 10th had to make the same decisions we did, and we all made it out fine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thank You MSU - Upward Bound Students

Thanks for having me out today. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the group about storm spotting and how SkyWarn functions in our area. I hope I kept it interesting for you, I know that time of the morning is hard for me to get going. You guys were a great group with great questions.

If there are any questions I can answer, you can find my email address at the bottom right of this site. I enjoy talking about weather and spotting, so no question will be a bother to me.

Take care.