Tornado Tower Twisting Toward Tulsa

Proposed Tulsa Tornado Tower Illustration

Proposed Tulsa Tornado Tower Illustration

TULSA, OK – A tall tornado may be on order very soon for the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It was February when we first heard talk about the idea of building an actual tower that looked like a tornado in the downtown portion of the city.  The idea originated with the architect firm Kinslow, Keith, and Todd.

Since that time, people in 50 states and 44 countries have seen or heard about the story.

Those with money want to be part of the whirlwind of activity.  In fact, investors in Asia and Europe are saying they want the tornado tower to be built sooner than later.

KFOR.com reports that the proposed site is about a fourth of a block but could be larger.   The size will depend on whether the tower is 17 or 30 floors high.

Officials are now saying there is a 70-80 percent chance the tower will be presented to city leaders for approval within 2 years.

Taking Action During Severe Weather Is Up To Us

Image via Huffington Post

Image via Huffington Post

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA – A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect….A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect….  We hear this alert quite often each year.   But to some, it becomes numb to the ears.   Many of these warnings are issued each year.

When hail is greater than one-inch in diameter or winds exceed 58 miles per hour, a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.   Not all severe thunderstorm warnings carry their weight.   In other words, some of them are a typical average thunderstorm that rumbles through with a small area receiving gusty winds and not much more.

The problem is, you can’t always be sure.

With each storm that misses your home, there will be one that doesn’t.   And should your roof wind up in the neighbors swimming pool, it may feel like a tornado but it might have been that severe thunderstorm warning.   The same warning that you stopped paying attention to.   The weather radio sounded one too many times.   Finally, you unplugged it.   Enough.

About six months ago, while co-presenting some weather information to a Kansas State University communications class via Skype, we posed the question, “How often do you take action when you hear that a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued?”

While we could not visually see students raise or not raise their hands, the analysis proved its point.   We were told by Dr. Steve Smethers who presided over the class that only about 3% of students signaled they would seek shelter or take some sort of action when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued.   Tornado warnings received a different response.   Far more of those in the class said they paid attention and would head for shelter.

The National Weather Service has taken steps to differentiate one severe thunderstorm warning from another.  In fact, some severe thunderstorm warnings get tagged with “tornado possible” or “potentially dangerous situation”.  It is the government’s way of emphasizing that not all severe thunderstorm warnings are treated equally.

The way that we, the media, relay these details highlighted in warnings is critical.   It might result in the way they are perceived by the public.  For instance, “…take this warning seriously, the National Weather Service says this severe thunderstorm is packing winds of 80 to 90 miles per hour.   It is causing widespread damage, so to move to shelter and treat it like it is a tornado…”

Much like Monday’s severe storm in Louisiana, we saw again that significant damage can occur in a good old-fashioned severe thunderstorm warning.   A slow moving railroad train was blown off of a tall bridge about 10 miles east of New Orleans.  Some of the railroad cars were empty and were tipped over like toys.  Winds were estimated at 70 miles per hour.   Thankfully no one was hurt.

The bottom line is that you may never get everyone to pay attention when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.   But once one is issued, it is up to all of us to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our family.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether it is a flood, earthquake, tornado or typhoon.   If we don’t take personal responsibility, no warning can save anyone.

 

 

 

 

Severe Weather Threat May Bring Tornadoes to Plains

Image via Storm Prediction Center.

Image via Storm Prediction Center.

KANSAS CITY, MO – It’s no surprise that in late April, an area of the Plains is targeted for severe storms and possibly tornadoes.   That is the case for Friday, when conditions may pull together for active weather.

A strong upper level disturbance lifting out of the southwestern U.S. will pull into the nation’s heartland.   When combined with rich gulf moisture and a low pressure system, supercell thunderstorms with tornadoes are likely in areas like central and eastern Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas.

Over 45 million people will be affected by the severe weather event.   It’s a good time to review your family’s tornado safety plan in the event of an emergency.

Car Lot Hopes To Cheat Mother Nature

Image courtesy of WFAA-TV.

Image courtesy of WFAA-TV.

DENTON, TX – When your car lot is located in tornado alley, it is difficult to avoid getting battered by hail every so often.

One dealership is sick of having a “hail sale”, especially after suffering $45,000 in storm damages to 22 cars in 2014.

WFAA.com says Ezec Auto Sales on Fort Worth Drive is doing something to thwart car damage anytime that the risk of hail is in the forecast.   They drape tarps over their cars on the lot.

“Sometimes people are kind of laughing, criticizing when we’re doing that,” said manager Ezequiel Quinonez.

Their theory is that hail just might bounce off the tarp, minimizing any damage.   “I don’t know if it will help us too much, but at least we’re trying our best,” said worker Lucrecia Quevedo.

Image courtesy of WFAA-TV.

 

Rare Tornado Hits Southern California Desert

Image courtesy of NBC Los Angeles

Image courtesy of NBC Los Angeles

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA – The National Weather Service confirms that a tornado touched down Tuesday just north of a desert town in Riverside County.

Forecasters believe it was a strong thunderstorm with just the right ingredients that occurred between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m.

The twister did not do any significant damage and remained in open desert, therefore it was rated as an EF-0.

 

Second Hurricane Name Removed Forever

imagesNEW YORK CITY, NY – Just last week the World Meteorological Organization announced that “Isis” was booted from the 2016 list of hurricane names.   Its association with the brutal Islamic State militant group is why the name was replaced with “Ivette”.

But, that’s not all.

A second name, “Odile” will not be used in 2020 and was removed at Mexico’s request.  Hurricane Odile battered the Baja Peninsula in September of last year and was one of the most powerful to hit Baja in history.   11 people were killed as a result of Odile.

Other famous storms that have been erased include Sandy in 2012, Katrina in 2005 and Mitch in 1998.

 

TV Weatherman Retires After 66,000 Forecasts

KDKA-TV Meteorologist Dennis Bowman who retired on April 17th.

KDKA-TV Meteorologist Dennis Bowman who retired on April 17th.

PITTSBURGH, PA – He’s been a mainstay on KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh for  years.  On Friday, meteorologist Dennis Bowman is saying goodbye.

The legendary weatherman has been helping people plan their days and keeping them safe during severe weather since 1972.

Give or take, it’s estimated he did about 66,000 forecasts on television.

Bowman has worked in Missouri, Indiana, New York and Kansas but spent the last quarter century in Pittsburgh.  16 of those years were at WPXI and a decade at KDKA.

The CBS affiliate says that their long-time weatherman was once a TV station pitch man selling everything from vacuum cleaners to grain silos.  It was a common occurrence in the early days of television.

He’s also been a ventriloquist, game show and children’s show host.

Bowman said, “The forecast will never be perfect, just as those of us who forecast it won’t be.  But it gets better and better all the time, and we can only imagine what the next four decades will bring.”

 

Isis Removed As A Hurricane Name

NEW YORK CITY, NY – The United Nations has made the decision to remove “Isis” from its list of future hurricane names.  Time Magazine reported that the downloadU.N. deemed it inappropriate because of the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group.

Clare Nullis is the spokesperson for the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization.   She said it’s not unprecedented for the group to make such a change.

The list rotates every six years and if hurricane names are removed, it is often because they caused too much damage and too much death.

The WMO Hurricane Committee doesn’t take a vote, but decides by consensus.

Isis could have been a named storm in the Eastern North Pacific in 2016.   Isis has been replaced with Ivette.

NOAA Weather Radio Has A Hit On Their Hands


downloadKANSAS CITY, MO – There’s a radio station for almost any format nowadays.  From AM to FM, to Internet streams to satellite radio, there isn’t a style and sound that you can’t find or build on your own.   Or is there?  Wait a minute.   Have the programming minds missed a small audience?  Could there be three or four people who might tune-in for the strangest twist of all?

Everyone talks about the weather.  For instance, when you step into an elevator with a stranger someone is sure to say, “that wind is sure cold.”  If weather is the proverbial ice breaker in conversation, it’s surely just as hot in song.  Maybe there’s a new format just screaming to be launched.   “All Weather Hits, All The Time”!

The brains at NOAA just might want to conjure this format up.  When conditions are too boring for even the robotic voices to keep talking about, it may be the perfect solution for some variety on your weather alert radio.

Could you imagine?  NOAA weather radio with information and music!  We might be onto something here.

From the upper levels of the chart, these songs might storm their way to the top!

When suggesting the stormiest of smash hits, we cannot leave out The Doors legendary track “Riders on the Storm”.   This one will be requested often especially during severe weather season  It goes in hot rotation.   Joining it there is Garth Brooks, “The Thunder Rolls”, “I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt,  “Stormy” by Classics IV, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, “Tornado” by Little Big Town, “Lightning Strikes” by Lou Christie and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedance Clearwater Revival.

Oh yeah.  Rain songs.  No shortage of those.   There’s “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, “Blame it on the Rain” by Milli Vanilli, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” by Willie Nelson, “Rainy Days and Mondays” by the Carpenters, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” by B.J. Thomas,  “It Never Rains in Southern California” from Albert Hammond, “Bring on the Rain” by Jo Dee Messina, “The Rain” by Oran Juice Jones, “Walking in the Rain” by The Ronettes, “No Rain” by Blind Melon,  “Mandolin Rain” by Bruce Hornsby, “November Rain” by Guns and Roses and how could we leave out “Purple Rain” by Prince?

Don’t want to be annoying with too many stormy titles, so we better  make sure we mix in some fair weather tunes.  “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by John Denver, “Sunny and 75″ by Joe Nichols, “Pocket Full Of Sunshine” by Natasha Beddingfield, and we will wind up the hour with “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.

Not enough wintry songs, though.  Someone needs to get into the studio and start recording.    Let’s toss in “Snowbird” by Anne Murray and “Let it Snow” by Dean Martin.  It’s chilling just thinking of how many Christmas classics we can mix in.

This may just be the million dollar idea that NOAA has been waiting for.   “Your destination to initiation, NOAA weather radio with music, weather and a siren that will send a shrill up your spine!”

Rock on.

 

 

Severe Weather Slams New Orleans Area

wms-inwspng-79716fb338ed4972NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOLA.com reports that a tornado warning was issued for parts of southeast Louisiana, including northwestern St. Bernard Parish and southwestern Orleans Parish.

Large hail pummeled the northern half of Kenner county.  The storm also produced downed power lines, trees and caused some flooding.

A Flash flood watch is in effect through Friday evening across the New Orleans area.