What do you mean, “Slight Risk?”


Here are some thoughts to the general public about the differences in the categories for the risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Sean is Chief Meteorologist at a TV Station in the Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA area, and also a former roommate of mine from what seems ages ago.

Originally posted on The Show:

The levels of severe (damaging) thunderstorm and/or tornado risk may mean one thing to a meteorologist… but another to the general public.  When you hear “Slight risk of severe thunderstorms or tornadoes,” it has a more ominous connotation than you may think.

There are three levels of risk.  The official definitions from the Storm Prediction Center website:

Slight Risk implies that well-organized severe thunderstorms (or tornadoes) are expected but in relatively small numbers/coverage, or a small chance of a more significant severe event. Not all severe storm events will be covered with a Slight Risk, especially during the summer when short-lived, “pulse-type” severe storms are relatively common during the afternoon.

Moderate Risk implies a greater concentration of severe thunderstorms, and in most situations, greater magnitude of severe weather and greater forecaster confidence compared to a Slight Risk. A Moderate Risk is usually reserved for days with…

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Facebook’s Decisions Have Forced Me to Begin to Make Some Decisions…04/13/2014

cropped-192181109_5d99655a95.jpgAs you may or may not know, I have three blogs. My about page can tell you how I got to this point, and for the most part, the blogs themselves are fine. The weather blog (NMIRecWx), the “microblog”(wxym.blogspot.com) where I share smaller post and pictures, and finally the main Ministry & Meteorology blog, where I usually discuss my thoughts and feelings about youth ministry from time to time. In the mix is Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for helping to spread the information. Originally, when I started blogging back in 2004, and then trying to podcast, this was an avenue to allow me to create website content and see what I could do. The three blogs grew some, but growth wasn’t what this was about. These places have been my “sandbox,” as a friend who works in radio once described a station that wasn’t part of their regular network. Basically, just things to experiment with.

I’m still planning to utilize the blogs as they are, but the changes I foresee are with Facebook. Recently, Facebook has been changing the way that pages, not people’s profiles, are distributed, and this has lead me to think about my future on Facebook as a hobbyist blogger. I’m thinking that I will leave my twitter feeds in place, since they haven’t messed with the way my information goes out, but Facebook has gone to using algorithms, that unless you post a lot, and you can get people to like them, then they don’t show up in people’s newsfeeds. I posed that question to Facebook in a customer feedback survey. I asked them how is a hobbyist, like myself, who have people Like (aka subscribe) to a feed supposed to compete with no money, and expect people to get any information about the subject that you write or podcast?

I haven’t made any final decisions, yet, but I’m beginning to think that I may close down the Facebook pages for Ministry&Meteorology? and Northern Michigan Recreational Weather and just put them through my profile again. I used to separate them so that I wouldn’t inundate people’s newsfeeds with shared things, or such. I don’t share as much with the articles on Ministry & Meteorology? as I used to, and most people like the weather things I share, and since the post views on NMIRecWx’s Facebook page are so low and most of my friends have expressed interest on what I post on the weather, I might as well.

I’m going to think about this a bit, but I’m really leaning toward deleting the other two feeds. I’m not sure that it’s worth it. Twitter is different. There are ways for me differentiate the feeds, although, I may post on both. I do have a small following on Twitter with the weather feed. I’m kind of a sentimentalist with things at times. I hate having to say good bye to things that seemed to be fun, but when something doesn’t work, you need to throw it out. I knew there would come a time when Facebook would truly begin to undo itself, and I think that over the last year or two it has, it will be several years, before  they really see what they have done, but it’s coming. I’m just the beginning…

Cross-posted on Ministry & Meteorology?.

Spring Finally Arrives, only to be Followed by Winter…4/12/2014

Owly Images

Expected Rainfall Amounts

I’ve been watching this system during the last week, as I was working in the office. The computer models that help us forecast the weather (GFS and ECMWF) both had different ideas on what would happen. However, as the week continued, the two began to come a some sort of a consensus, with the ECMWF model the better idea. Since then the area to be concerned about has shifted to the south a bit, but the main idea since earlier in the week has been right, 1 to 3 inches of RAIN, will fall over about a 36 hour period starting late this afternoon.

For those of you wanting the snow to go away, well this will take out all, but the largest snow piles in your yard. So through about Sunday night, rain heavy at times, maybe even some thunder, especially on Sunday. There is also a downside to this, a flood watch. This means that there will be a chance that some of the rivers and streams around northern lower Michigan could flood. So be aware. WWA-04-12-14a

Of course, the title above said something about winter again? Yes, it will be a wet snow, but several inches of snow is possible as this system moves to the east, and pulls the colder air out of Canada. Monday is still a little out there to reliably forecast amounts, but I’ll say that accumulations will be light, to maybe plowable, especially in northwest lower Michigan. So while today is starting out rather dry, this weekend will end up soggy, with a layer of wet snow.

99fndfdThis is the surface map at 8am Monday morning. The purple is mixed precipitation and the blue is snow. So as the first part of the low moves off to the northeast, the colder air will move in behind the cold front, only to interact with the next surface low, and its moisture, along the front. This brings us the snow for about 12 hours, then high pressure builds into the region.

Initially, Monday will be in the 30, and Tuesday into the lower 30s. Wednesday the temperatures are expected to begin to recover, so that Thursday and Friday will be back toward the 50s again.

Spring arrives, only to allow Winter one last chance to spoil things, and then Spring returns again.

Just in the Nick of Time, He Returns with Weather…04/03/2014

CurrentEDDfronts-radar-1100a-04-03-14Well, a brief apology for not having written much. The winter has been long and hard, and well, boring at least for the last couple of months. Seeing that the last time I posted was about 1 and 1/2 months ago, almost 2. Of course, what has brought me out of the doldrums of blogging the weather? Interesting weather, why of course! First it was the fact that have been getting my mind into convective, severe weather mode as of late. When my mind begins to shift toward that, then my interest begins to come back. Also this storm. While there’s no severe weather expected in our neck of the woods, or North Woods if you like, there is the potential for ice.

When I was working the other night, I pulled back on the potential for ice, and I’m still a bit skeptical on us getting a bunch, but there is a possibility. The reason that I pulled back the other day was due to the way the models have been advertising this system. Lots of dry air on the front side, then when it does moisten, the temperature at about 5000 feet is around 46°F (+8°C). The GFS and ECMWF(the European) both show surface temperatures around 31°F for part of the morning. The dry air will impede the precipitation from getting here, and I think that the start time that models have is still a hair too fast. Then when the dry air does leave, the warm air aloft will be pulled to the ground, but the rain. So we will probably start out with some ice, my bet is that we will warm up faster than the models. I could be wrong, but when the 850 mb temperature at 8am on Friday is showing +7°C to +8°C air, I find it hard to believe that the surface temperature will stay below freezing for very long, unless there is some other cooling process going on, and I just don’t see it.

WS-04-03-14aSo the idea is that there will be some ice initially, and we will probably get a headline along the lines of a winter weather advisory for freezing rain. The definition of this is ice that accumulates 0.25″ or less. My guess looking at the latest models, is that we get 0.10″ then it warms up and is gone before things really get icy on the roads. Keep up with this storm however, it could end up being more messy than I think.

Once the storm moves through the region, then, everything changes over to snow quickly. However, it  doesn’t look too bad. The really messy area, with this whole storm will be the U.P. Western Upper will get snow, and several inches by the looks of it, and Eastern Upper will get a mix of rain/freezing rain/snow. That will be the place that will probably be the most impacted. I’ll have more on this as I can get to it today. I go back to work tomorrow(Friday) so I won’t be able to blog about it while at work. Just watch the forecast.

More Reality (and Hazards!)…02/21/2014

InstaWeather 02/21/2014When I went into work last night, I thought the main issue was on the front end of the storm. This is what happens when you don’t watch what is going on for a couple of weeks. As it turns out, even though we had some freezing rain and some high winds, the real excitement looks to be on the back end of this storm, as I awoke, with some moderate snow and very high winds.

Things that I know at the moment from Twitter and Facebook:

Here’s the snapshot of the current conditions around the Upper Great Lakes…02-21-2014-2:45pm-weatherLooking over the graphic, it shows wind gusts miles per hour, so with a lot of the gusts in the mid 30 mph range, it has been rather windy. At 830 am, the office issued a Public Information Statement showing the wind gusts overnight. Here are some of the top gusts…

LOCATION                       SPEED     TIME/DATE                            
1 ESE BREVORT                  60        1110 PM 02/20                        
4 NW BAY MILLS                 60        0218 AM 02/21                        
3 NE PARKDALE                  58        0600 PM 02/20                        
MACKINAW CITY                  57        1200 AM 02/21                        
2 SSE WEST BRANCH              54        1010 PM 02/20                        
2 W ELMIRA                     53        0745 PM 02/20                        
1 SE EMPIRE                    53        1009 PM 02/20                        
CHIPPEWA COUNTY INTERNATIONAL  51        1135 PM 02/20                        
MANISTEE                       51        1240 AM 02/21                        
1 NE WHITEFISH POINT           51        0112 AM 02/21                        
MANCELONA                      50        0829 PM 02/20                        
1 WNW WATERS                   50        0339 AM 02/21

^Use the scroll bar to see the time and date of the gusts^

The office has been advising people that the winds won’t be dying down until after midnight.