Archive for August, 2007

FELIX?
August 31, 2007

Might we have Felix?
SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE STATEMENTNWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL910 AM AST FRI AUG 31 2007

SATELLITE IMAGES AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT THE TROPICALWAVE AND ASSOCIATED LOW PRESSURE AREA LOCATED ABOUT 250 MILES EASTOF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS COULD BE DEVELOPING INTO A TROPICALDEPRESSION. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER WILL INVESTIGATETHE SYSTEM EARLY THIS AFTERNOON TO CONFIRM IF A DEPRESSION HASFORMED. WATCHES AND WARNINGS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THEWINDWARD ISLANDS…AND ALL INTERESTS IN THAT AREA SHOULD BE READYTO TAKE QUICK ACTION…IF NECESSARY. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT…HEAVY RAIN AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS WILL SPREAD OVER THE WINDWARDISLANDS LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT.

TODAY IN WEATHER HISTORY
August 31, 2007

August 31st, 1993
Hurricane Emily lashed the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Hatteras NWS Office recorded a gust of 98 mph and was deluged with 7.51 inches of rain. Sound water levels rose to 10.5 feet above normal north of Buxton and 8.5 feet above normal in the villages of Frisco and Hatteras. Diamond Shoals coastal marine buoy recorded sustained winds of 103 mph with gusts to 148 mph after the eye passed.
The World Meteorological Organization is who decides what names to use each year. They rotate the list of names every six years. The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is very deadly or costly. Then the name is retired and a new name is chosen. The letters Q,U,X,Y and Z are never used to name a tropical storm.
The name Emily has been used since 1993 and here is a recap of those dates.

Tropical Storm Emily (1999):
Tropical Storm Emily formed on August 24th from the same cluster of tropical waves that spawned Hurricane Cindy and Hurricane Dennis. The storm moved roughly north until the 28th when it was absorbed by Hurricane Cindy. Emily never directly affected land and there is no damage reported in association with it.

HURRICANE EMILY (2005):
Hurricane Emily was the fifth named storm, third hurricane, second major hurricane and first Category 5 of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Emily then made landfall on the Yucatan Penninsula as a Category 4 storm, first on the island of Cozumel and then just north of Tulum on the mainland of Quintana Roo. After crossing the Bay of Campeche the hurricane made a final destructive landfall in the state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico.

Hurricane Hunters
August 31, 2007

Have you ever wanted to fly into a Hurricane! Scroll down to question number 6 and perhaps you have the qualifications to actually become a Hurricane Hunter. If you don’t and aspire to, I’m sure a recruiting officer could steer you in the right direction. These questions and answers, from the Hurricane Hunters website, http://www.hurricanehunters.com/, are most interesting and informative.

ENJOY!

1. Do you fly over the top of the hurricane?

NO!! The tops of a big hurricane can be over 50,000 feet high, and our planes could never get up there (they can only go up to 30,000 feet). Besides, the weather we’re interested in is down at the bottom of the storm, where it will affect the coastline it hits. For this reason, we fly in as low as possible and still be safe. This altitude can be anywhere from 1,000 feet to 10,000 feet.

2. Is it a dangerous job?

Safety is always our primary concern, whether we’re flying in the clear blue sky or through an intense hurricane’s eyewall. There is always a risk associated with aviation, but we pride ourselves on the fact that we have flown over 100,000 mishap-free hours.

3. Do you carry parachutes?

No. If we ever had a serious enough situation to consider bailing out over the ocean, we would be better off trying to ditch the aircraft. We do carry life preservers and there are two twenty-man rafts containing survival gear stowed in the aircraft’s wings.

4. How much money do you make?

It depends on the individual’s rank and years of experience, and whether or not he or she is a full-time Hurricane Hunter (an Air Reserve Technician, or ART) or a regular reservist. ART salaries are anywhere from $27,000 to $50,000 per year, whereas a reservist will make between $8,000 and $15,000 in a typical year.

5. Can I get a ride into a hurricane?

Sorry, but it’s not likely. Only qualified crew members, public affairs representatives, and news media are allowed on storm missions. But you can take a Cyber Flight by clicking

here.


6. How can I become a Hurricane Hunter?

The first step is to talk to our recruiter (228-377-5236) at the 403d Wing and find out if you qualify for the Air Force Reserve and specifically for an opening in the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. We are always on the lookout for qualified, highly motivated individuals.

7. Are the aircraft’s wings specially reinforced?

Believe it or not, they aren’t. Remember that airplanes are built to go very fast through the air, and they don’t care if the wind is 5 knots (nautical miles per hour) or 150 knots! As we approach the strongest winds in a hurricane, we simply turn gradually into the wind (called “crabbing”) until we punch through into the calm eye. Although there are usually some bumps on the way through, they are nothing that the airplane can’t handle (although the folks on board can occasionally get sick!).

8. What is it like to fly through a hurricane?

Hurricanes vary considerably in both size and intensity, but in general there are just a few “exciting” moments that usually occur during eyewall penetration. The eyewall is the ring of strongest winds closest to the eye, and we must fly through it to get the information we need. Remember, you can click

here to take a Cyber Flight!

9. What is a dropsonde?

It’s a small tube with instruments in it that has a parachute attached. It also has a radio transmitter to send data back up to the airplane. At various places in the storm such as in the eyewall and at the center of a hurricane, the weather reconnaissance loadmaster will release the “sonde” into the storm. As it’s falling, and right up until it hits the water, it sends temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and wind direction back to the aircraft at a rate of twice each second. This is the information the hurricane forecasters use to decide if the storm is getting stronger or weaker.

10. How do you get the sea-level pressure if you’re below 10,000 feet?

We can estimate the pressure from the aircraft’s instruments as long as we’re no higher than 5,000 feet. Above that, we use the pressure instrument on a dropsonde launched out of the airplane to measure the surface pressure.

11. What’s the main reason you have for flying into hurricanes, besides getting the pressure?

The exact location of the center is extremely important to the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Although they have excellent satellite photos that show the eye (that’s how we know where to head to in the first place!), they can’t tell where the pressure center is. Another important reason we fly is to give the forecasters accurate wind speeds within a 105 nautical mile radius of the eye. We can send wind speed data every 30 seconds as we make our cuts through the hurricane.

12. Why do the hurricane forecasters want all that wind speed data?

They use it to help tell them where the storm might go and whether it’s getting stronger or weaker (along with the pressure). But, the most important use of the wind speed data is when the hurricane is approaching a coastline and is going to make landfall. The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have the awesome responsibility to decide how much of the coast needs to be evacuated and what types of watches and warnings to issue. Knowing precisely where the damaging winds are can make these difficult decisions a little easier.

13. Do you go into the eye just one time on each mission?

Most of the time we have enough fuel to allow us to make four center fixes on each mission. A center fix is simply when we mark the center and send a special message to the National Hurricane Center.

14. When you do four fixes, do you just fly back and forth through the storm?

Normally we try to go through different parts of the storm to give a more complete picture to the forecasters. If you want to see the pattern we usually fly, take the

Cyber Flight!

15. How long can your WC-130 airplane stay in the air?

We can carry enough fuel to fly for 14 hours, but that’s it; we can’t be refueled in the air (not that anybody would come out and do it for us anyway!). Our average hurricane missions last about 11 hours.

Morning Storms
August 30, 2007

Here are a couple pictures from this mornings storms that may have awoken some of you (like me) out of bed. Both of these shots were taken from north of Ozark.

If you want to see the rest of the lightning pics from this morning click >HERE

KATRINA
August 30, 2007


This is quite a sobering read. At the time it was written, Katrina was a CAT5 with sustained winds of 175 mph!

WWUS74 KLIX 281550NPWLIXURGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED HURRICANE KATRINA MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969. MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED.
CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS. THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE…OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE…ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET…DO NOT VENTUREOUTSIDE!
LAZ038-040-050-056>070-282100-ASSUMPTION-LIVINGSTON-LOWER JEFFERSON-LOWER LAFOURCHE-LOWER PLAQUEMINES-LOWER ST. BERNARD-LOWER TERREBONNE-ORLEANS-ST. CHARLES-ST. JAMES-ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST-ST. TAMMANY-TANGIPAHOA-UPPER JEFFERSON-UPPER LAFOURCHE-UPPER PLAQUEMINES-UPPER ST. BERNARD-UPPER TERREBONNE-1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

FALLING THROUGH A THUNDERSTORM!
August 29, 2007


On this day back in 1959, Lieutenant Colonel William Rankin bailed out of his F8U jet at a height of 46,000 feet directly into a violent thunderstorm and lived! It took over three times the normal descent time of 13 minutes for him to reach the ground. Of the 45 minute journey, he says; “it was one of the most bizarre and painful experiences imaginable”

There is a book about the account “The Man who rode the thunder”, though it appears to be out of print and the copies that are floating around are commanding high dollars. Here is an excerpt of the tale from an archived time magazine article.


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,937849-1,00.html

Lunar Eclipse Picture
August 28, 2007


This was the best lunar eclipse I have ever seen. The moon was just about 2/3 eclipsed when the red from all the world’s sunsets began showing. Here is a montage showing the progress of the eclipse from start to total eclipse.

A Break From the Heat?
August 27, 2007

Just when warmer 850 mb temperatures were creeping back across our area, we may get spared from the real heat. A tropical disturbance in the Gulf is forecast to drift north over the next 48 hours. In turn, we’ll likely see increasing chances for showers and storms on Wednesday, along with cooler temperatures thanks to the cloud cover.

This upper level disturbance could linger through the middle of the week, keeping clouds and showers and storms in our forecast.

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE TUESDAY!
August 26, 2007

First and foremost, this has nothing to do with Mars or the Moon being the same size or any of that sort of malarkey. This is a real event that will take place early Tuesday morning. A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes through the shadow of the earth. Reflected light given off from the moon is scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere and often the moon will appear reddish or orange. It’s a little early in the morning but we should have a clear sky for the show. Happy viewing!

Check this neat site out for more info,
lunar eclipses for beginners.

More Meteors……A Historical Night
August 24, 2007

If you missed the previous meteor show, don’t worry, we’re expecting a special show on the night of August 31. According to Bob Moody, President of the Arkansas/Oklahoma Astronomical Society, a historical meteor shower is expected during the morning of September 1.

Earth is about to cross the dust trail of comet Kiess, a comet that takes some 2000 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. The trail is very narrow, so Earth will be exposed to meteoroids for only about an hour and a half. The meteoroids will approach from the direction of the constellation Auriga, the charioteer, in the north-eastern part of the sky, causing a meteor shower called the “Aurigids.”

These meteors have been calculated to be from the year 4 A.D. This is your only chance to see this shower; the dust trail is not going to hit again in our lifetime.