Weather Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release
For more information contact:
Ross Forsyth — Ross@nationalweathermuseum.com

Local Museum Names First Weather Hall of Fame Inductees

Aug. 30, 2018 — Three long-time leaders in the weather industry will be the first honorees named to the Weather Hall of Fame, officials with the National Weather Museum and Science Center announced today. Their induction will take place during a banquet on Saturday, October 20 in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Weather Hall of Fame honorees are Jim Cantore, meteorologist with The Weather Channel, in the media category; Dr. Elbert W. (Joe) Friday, Jr., retired director of the NOAA National Weather Service, in the public service category; and Thomas J McNellis Jr., senior manager with Lockheed Martin, in the private sector category.

Banquet tickets and sponsorships are available at weatherhalloffame.org. As part of the Weather Hall of Fame weekend, the National Weather Museum and Science Center is organizing 5K and 10K races on Sunday, Oct. 21 in Norman. More information and race registration to follow.

Weather Hall of Fame Inductee Bios
Jim Cantore is one of the most recognized faces in weather. Known for his live reports from severe weather events, Cantore embodies the passion and knowledge of The Weather Channel that makes him the weather authority viewers turn to when the forecast turns dire. He has covered every major weather event of the past 30 years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Irene and Superstorm Sandy, solidifying his role and the role of The Weather Channel as the leading source for severe weather coverage. Cantore is well known for his animated, tenacious style, both in the field and in the studio.
As Weather’s storm tracker, Cantore reports tirelessly before, during and after weather events, providing live reports and insights for the network. When not in the field, he covers the latest forecast and weather news on “AMHQ” weekdays from 6 – 9 a.m. ET.
He is also is a frequent contributor to NBC programs such as “Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “TODAY,” as well as for NBC affiliates nationwide and multiple MSNBC shows.
A native of White River Junction, Vermont, Cantore graduated with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Lyndon State College, where he returns each year to work with students in the meteorology program. Weather hired Cantore out of college and he first appeared on air in July 1986. He was inducted into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center Hall of Fame in February 2013, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Southeast Chapter. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Elbert W. Friday, Jr. is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. He is a Past President, Fellow, and Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society, and a Charter Member of the National Weather Association. He has served as the Director of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the Director of NOAA Research, the Director and Deputy Director of the NOAA National Weather Service, and as United States Permanent Representative to the World Meteorological Organization. He completed a 20-year career in the United States Air Force, retiring with rank of Colonel in 1981.
An Oklahoma native, Friday attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics in 1961, a Master of Science in Meteorology in 1967, and a Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1969. He served at OU as the Weathernews Chair in Applied Meteorology.
He is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association’s Federal Executive of the Year for 1993, and the AMS’s Cleveland Abbe Award. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Thomas J. McNellis Jr. was appointed Senior Manager of Advanced Programs Strategy for the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems line of business in November 2015. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, McNellis supports a cross-functional team responsible for identifying and shaping new markets for radar and radio frequency systems, such as DARPA, Office of Naval Research, and MIT-Lincoln Labs. In this role, he is responsible for partnering with the customer community to identify and propose new solutions to solve critical mission needs.
McNellis has worked more than 25 years on advanced RF systems, including radar, electronics warfare and communications and signal processing. In his prior position, he served as Senior Programs Manager responsible for advanced technology development and demonstration for next-generation phased array radar systems.

In 1995 McNellis led a team developing a new “through-the-sensor” technology for the Navy’s premier SPY-1 radar to provide high-fidelity environmental characterization at sea. This lead to his Lockheed team partnering on the National Weather Radar Testbed program with the U.S. Navy, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma, the Federal Aviation Administration and Basic Commerce and Industries to build the $25M phased array National Weather Radar Testbed in Norman. The NWRT was operated by NSSL from 2004 to 2017, advancing the state of the art in tornado detection and warning using adaptive radar scanning, and facilitated research for multi-mission phased array, and assimilation of radar data into forecast models.
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, McNellis received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He began his career in 1982 as a radar engineer at Texas Instruments, and came to Moorestown in 1988 where he has held a series of engineering and management assignments including Manager of Advanced Systems Engineering, and Engineering Project Manager for advanced radar programs.

All-Time State High Temperatures

All-Time State High Temperatures

By The Numbers

Have you ever wondered what the warmest temperature has been for your state? What about the highest measured in the United States? You can view these records, as well as others on the State Climate Extremes Committee tab on National Centers for Environmental Information webpage. Other state records include minimum temperature, 24-hour precipitation, 24-snowfall, snow depth, and largest hail size if available. This blog will focus on all-time high temperatures by state.

Including the Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, there are 78 state all-time high temperatures. The District of Columbia is not included. Here are some facts by the numbers.

  • The warmest temperature measured in the United States is 134°F in Greenland Ranch, California on July 10th, 1913.
  • All states, including Alaska and Hawaii, have reached 100°F.
  • Maryland and Oklahoma lead the way with four records each.
    • Maryland – 109°F (July 3rd,1898, Aug 6th, 1918, Aug 7th, 1918, July 10th, 1936)
    • Oklahoma – 120°F (July 18th, 1936, July 19th, 1936, Aug 10th, 1936, Aug 12th, 1936)
  • Nebraska, Virgin Islands, and Virginia have three records.
    • Nebraska – 118°F (July 15th, 1934, July 17th, 1936, July 24th, 1936)
    • Virgin Islands – 99°F (July 31st, 1988, Aug 4th, 1994, June 23rd, 1996)
    • Virginia – 110°F (July 5th and 7th, 1990, July 15th, 1954)
  • Seven locations have set their state’s record more than once.
    • North Bridgton, Maine – 105°F on July 4th and July 10th, 1911.
    • Cumberland, Maryland – 109°F on August 6th & 7th, 1918.
    • Altus Iris Res Station – 120°F on July 19th, 1936 and August 12th, 1936.
    • Phoenixville 1E, Pennsylvania – 111°F on July 9th, & 10th, 1936.
    • Perryville, Tennessee – 113°F on July 29th, 1930 and August 9th, 1930.
    • Charlotte Amalia Cyril E King AP, Virgin Islands – 99°F on August 4, 1994 and June 23, 1996.
    • Columbia 2SSE, Virginia – 110°F on July 5th & 7th, 1900.
  • Records by month.
    • July – 50
    • August – 18
    • June – 8
    • April and September – 1
  • Records by decade.
    • 1930s – 35
    • 1910s – 10
    • 1990s – 8
    • 1980s – 6
    • 1950s – 5
    • 1890s – 4
    • 1920s – 3
    • 1900s, 1970s – 2
    • 1960s, 2000s, 2010s – 1
    • The only decade since 1890 with zero records, the 1940s.
  • Oldest Record.
    • Glendive, Montana – 117°F on July 20th, 1893.
  • Newest Record.
    • Columbia University of South Carolina, SC – 113°F on June 29th, 2012.
  • Most Usual Location Name.
    • Ice Harbor Dam in Washington reached 118°F on August 5th, 1961.

Interested in exploring more about all-time maximum temperatures by state? Here is a Google Map of their records. If you click on an icon, you can view the actually Cooperative Observer’s form when available. Enjoy!

 

Hurricane Preventer: Saharan Dust

Hurricane Preventer: Saharan Dust

By: Marina Kobasiuk

Hurricanes need specific conditions in order to form and strengthen; generally this means higher ocean temperatures, warm and moist air above the water, and low wind shear so storms can stay organized and not loose the air masses that feed them. There are other factors as no weather phenomenon or condition exists in a vacuum, but these more prevalent ones tend to control much of hurricane development. Currently in this 2018 season though there has been a more unique occurrence that has been helping to keep the Atlantic quiet. That would be the clouds of dust carried from the Sahara in West Africa by winds moving towards the Americas. 

These air masses are extremely dry, and while they’re not an uncommon event at all due to the Easterly winds in that region, the plume observed at the end of June was visibly larger than most on satellites. This larger mass of dust has likely been preventing larger storms from forming as the dryer conditions lie above the moist layer that’s at the surface and restrict convection and keep storms from intensifying. This is such a regular occurrence in the region that the term “Saharan air layer” is used to refer to the section of atmosphere all this heat and dust resides in. This influx of particles is also tied to air quality in the southern united states and the Caribbean with the dry, hot, and dusty air interacting with local air masses and adding to pollution problems.

In May, NOAA predicted that the Atlantic was likely to see an “near or above normal” hurricane season, but this hasn’t come to pass exactly. There have been relatively less storms and even fewer have intensified enough to be named. The conditions at face value should be favoring storms as sea surface temperatures are higher and broke records in June. The month was the fifth warmest June ever for the planet, and the sea surface temperatures when averaged made it the sixth warmest June ever for the sea surface. Ocean temperatures of this sort should be ripe for severe weather development, but the dust plumes that were also pushed into the atmosphere at the same time seem to be contributing to the lack of storms and keeping this available energy under wraps. But while this is the current pattern now, as the dust clears and ocean temperatures continue to rise with the rest of summer, the chance of a hurricane becomes higher. The later half of the season is normally the more active and intense part to begin with and this effect might only be a break before the 2018 shifts once again.

 

Summary: The recent weeks the Atlantic’s hurricane season has been going slowly, and while things can change, dust plumes from Africa could be keeping the effects of a warm ocean in check for now.

Ozone Pollution and its Sources

Ozone Pollution and its Sources

By: Marina Kobasiuk

Tracking the air quality of a region becomes vitally important in the summer months as pollutants along with heat and humidity can combine to create major health risks. One of the most commonly observed gasses is Ozone (O3), a molecule formed from three atoms of oxygen. Ozone is naturally found in large amounts in the stratosphere, and high up in the atmosphere like that it is actually part of the reason life can thrive on Earth. Ozone absorbs the UVB rays that are from the ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since these rays are tied to cellular damages in humans, plants, and marine creatures, the ozone layer protects us from those effects. Midway through the stratosphere this molecule is extremely helpful, but lower down in the troposphere it can become part of smog along with other compounds in the air, which is how ozone becomes a health risk. Sensitive populations such as the young and elderly, or those with conditions like asthma, should always be considered if there are air quality alerts, but healthy individuals are also effected so be aware of what official outlets in your local area recommend when these conditions occur!

Interestingly, ozone itself is not a pollutant that humans create directly. It is created when compounds containing nitrogen react in sunlight along with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As it is technically a secondary pollutant, tracking the multitude of ways in which ozone can be created is a daunting task. Especially when VOCs are in so many of the products people use daily. In fact they have recently been found to be produced by many items designed to evaporate quickly, such as drying paint. As well as products that disperse scents through the same mechanism of evaporation, such as perfume or anything with a manufactured smell. And a significant number of the products created today have these chemicals added to make them less offensive to our senses. These all emit various VOCs and therefore are contributors to the creation of surface ozone all around the globe. Common assumption puts these as minor emissions but the quantities add up to create major pollution, as the study estimates they could equal that of vehicles. This disparity is due to how engines and their fuels are designed to prevent evaporation, which along with cleaner transportation has greatly reduces pollution. In direct contrast these scented products are made to create emissions for their own sake. Which means in daily life these compounds could linger inside and contribute to indoor pollution before they even reach the outdoors and diminish the overall air quality. So the research done on how these emissions interact with ozone levels and how they could possibly be regulated will be an important next step in controlling pollution.

 

Summary: Air Quality is a frequent concern in the summer months, so looking at ozone and how it is produced is one important part of a much bigger picture.

Weather Hall of Fame!

Weather Hall of Fame at the National Weather Museum and Science Center.

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Weather Hall of Fame at the NWMSC. Nominations are open now and will be due back to us by July 29th at midnight.
Please take some time to nominate a well deserving member of the weather community.

Nomination Guidelines
Any member of the National Weather Museum and Science Center (NWMSC) may nominate one or more individuals for election to the Weather Hall of Fame at the National Weather Museum and Science Center each year. There are three categories for nomination; representatives from the private sector, from the public sector, and from the media. A nomination consists of a letter to include the following information and attachments of up to two supporting letters or statements.

  • Name of Individual
  • Affiliation
  • Sector representing (private, public or media)

A brief description (up to one-page) of the individual’s contributions to the weather enterprise. Up to two supporting letters/statements (not to exceed one-page each) may be included in the nomination package.

Nominations not successful in the first year of submission will be automatically reconsidered in the following two years. After three years a new nomination will be required.

Nominations should be emailed to: 
award@nationalweathermuseum.com or snail mailed to:

The National Weather Museum and Science Center

1200B W Rock Creek Rd

Norman, OK 73069

 

We will be hosting a Banquet for Recipients:
A banquet will be held in the fall to honor the recipients and acknowledge their contribution to the weather community.

Stay on the lookout for more information and be sure to get your nominations in by July 29th!

Hawaii’s Volcanic Effects

Hawaii’s Volcanic Effects

By: Chris Michaels

Recently, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted and sent an ash column 30,000 feet into the air. That’s just under cruising altitude for most airliners and led to many airport delays in the local area. While that is impressive, it likely is not enough to cause any global cooling episode in years to come.In order to impact the earth’s climate, the ash column would have needed to extend into the stratosphere. According to climate scientist, Dr. Michael Mann, the stratosphere is roughly 46,000 feet above ground level. Meaning the ash is currently in the lower troposphere, where clouds, and most of the Earth’s other weather phenomena occur alongside airline flight paths. It is capped by the tropopause at the top which is a border between the troposphere and stratosphere, and can be difficult for particles to cross, since the temperature and density of the atmosphere is different for each layer.

Why would it have to reach the stratosphere to impact the climate? This is where aerosols released during the eruption can float without settling out of the atmosphere and reflect incoming solar radiation. That would, in turn, lead to cooler temperatures on Earth. We saw this happen in the early 1980s, after Mount St. Helens sent an ash column nearly 80,000 feet into the atmosphere.

Summary: Kilauea volcano is unlikely to directly change Earth’s climate on a significant scale due to the height of its major ash plume, which stayed below the level of the stratosphere.

 

(https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/k-lauea-volcano-lava-fountaining)

Fewer deaths in the 2018 Tornado Season?

Fewer deaths in the 2018 Tornado Season?

By: Chris Michaels

The United States as a whole is having what National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls, “an incredibly quiet tornado season.”

As of June 4, there have been 449 reported tornadoes in the country. Keep in mind that reports are not all confirmed tornadoes, some have not been validated yet, and may never be as reports overlap or there is not enough damage to assess. On average, we normally see 792 tornado reports by this time of the year.

So far this year, there have only been four tornadoes rated EF-3 or higher in the country. On average, there are 37 tornadoes within this range per year in the U.S. Since more than 85 percent of tornado fatalities occur in EF-3 tornadoes or stronger, there have been significantly less fatalities this year than normal as well. Alongside these numbers increased public awareness has also helped lower the number of overall deaths.

It’s always good to have a safety plan and continually keep it up to date. Make sure your family, friends, and co-workers are aware of that plan, whether it be at home or at work. It should always be ready to be put into action should a tornado warning be issued wherever you are, and practice is always recommended for this kind of precaution.

 

Summary: Low fatalities have been reported up to this point for tornadoes in the United States, due to below average activity this season and increased safety efforts.

The Beginnings of the National Weather Museum & Science Center

The Beginnings of the National Weather Museum & Science Center

The National Weather Museum & Science Center (NWMSC) was established to capture the rich history of Meteorology and related sciences. Originally, the museum was meant to look back at the roots of weather tools and forecasting. However, through discussions, the decision was made to also focus on current weather developments and future plans to better understand our atmosphere. These include better preparation and mitigation of the impact of severe weather, enhanced actionable communication about it, and learning from each of these events.

Douglas Forsyth, then [title/position within NOAA?], volunteered to spearhead the effort to bring the NWMSC to reality. Doug gathered a team of people with similar passion and started three parallel efforts: starting a 501 (c) (3), pulling together artifacts and exhibits for the NWMSC, and making plans for a home for it in Norman.

So how did this growing treasure in Norman, OK, come to be?

It was an output of the Norman Chamber of Commerce Weather Committee. The group started in 2004 and is still active today. The first Weather committee co-chairs were Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier and Warren Qualley. The logic behind the formation of the Weather Committee was two-fold: 1) the large and increasing presence of weather-related activities in Norman (e.g. the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, as well as the increasing number of commercial weather-related businesses starting up or relocating to Norman), and 2) the fact that Norman is situated in Tornado Alley, basically smack in the middle of a natural severe storm laboratory, making it an awesome site for weather enthusiasts. There were several ideas that the Weather Committee discussed, including the National Weather Festival, arguably the largest and best (maybe the only?) in the country and world.

While this is only a small glimpse into the NWMSC Several future Blogs will explore more of the rich history of the National Weather Museum & Science Center, so stay tuned!

 

Social media summary: If you’ve never heard of the National Weather Museum and Science Center, now is a great time to learn! Read about how this amazing museum came to be, the idea behind it, and what it aims to do.  

Space Weather

Space Weather

By: Warren Qualley

Most of us know about meteorology which, according to the Oxford Dictionary (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/), is defined as: The branch of science concerned with the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere, especially as a means of forecasting the weather. People also know weather which they define as: The state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc. However, what most people don’t know is that there is something called space weather. Oxford Dictionary’s definition of space weather is: Conditions in the region of space close to the earth, especially the presence of electromagnetic radiation and charged particles emitted by the sun, that can affect human activity and technology. 

So how did the “weather” get carried over into “space weather”? The short answer, at least in regard to aviation, can be found on a website from The American Meteorological Society (https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/policy/studies-analysis/space-weather-and-aviation/) which states, in part, the conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health.”

It’s amazing how weather activities outside our atmosphere, can affect us. Even though earth’s weather forecast might seem clear, threats can still be out there. The three main hazards to aviation from space weather include disruption in High Frequency (HF) communications, satellite navigation system errors, and radiation hazards to humans and avionics. Fortunately, there is some predictability to these events. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO, monitors solar activity and issues outlooks, forecasts and warnings of events. To mitigate the effects of the three hazards when they are predicted or present, airlines avoid high latitude routes (e.g. cross-polar) and higher altitudes.

Monitoring and predicting space weather is a high priority for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations body, which establishes the rules for global aviation. The World Meteorological Organization provides scientific input into this process as well, and those involved in all aspects of aviation continue to make flying safer from the effects of space weather.

 

Social media Summary: Almost all of us have heard of weather, but not everyone knows about space weather! Learn a little bit about the amazing nature of space weather, and how it can impact us here on earth.