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Cooler weather for OKC by midweek

Who's ready for cooler weather? A cold front will cool late afternoon temperatures on Wednesday into the upper 60's across much of the state and we'll see lows in the high 50's Wednesday night! No worries though, Summer isn't over yet. 

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Crack an egg, bake a cookie

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Crack an egg, bake a cookie

Based on 30-year averages, where the hottest week of the year occurs from California to Maine. (Source: NOAA)

No doubt at some point in the next couple of weeks, a reporter at your local news station will demonstrate the ability to bake cookies inside a car or fry an egg on the sidewalk. After all, it's the hottest time of the year in the US and a slow news day calls for such experiments, right? For the majority of the country though, after the next 12 days, temps, on average, will begin to trend toward college football season, er, um, Fall. Yes, Fall.

Across the U.S., 30-year averages help pinpoint the likely dates for the hottest days of the year. For instance, the peak for southern New Mexico typically is June 16 to 30, while North Dakota is Aug. 1 to 5, according to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information. Highs have already topped out for the year in much of the Northeast. Southern Texas and Louisiana won’t get there until mid-August, and parts of coastal California have to wait until September.

While heat can be a health threat, it will also move markets. Hot weather in the corridor between Chicago and Houston, as well as in the large Northeastern cities, can spike energy demand, spiking wholesale electric rates as well as natural gas prices. In the Q3, electric generation will account for 47% of U.S. natural gas demand, government data show.

So go bake a cookie while you still can and enjoy the remainder of your summer!

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San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo

Thought I would share a few photos from the San Diego zoo. What a sprawling complex this place is with over 100 acres of land dedicated to open air caging and natural habitats.

The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California housing over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies.[1] Its parent organization, San Diego Zoo Global, is the largest zoological membership association in the world, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than a half million people.[6] San Diego Zoo pioneered the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats.

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Dodging Bullets

Just flew into DIA in one of those crazy little regional jets United operates. Dodged these storms throughout the approach. 

 

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Infrared satellite - What is it?

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Infrared satellite - What is it?

This image found in WDT's iMap Pro product is taken in the infrared band of light and shows relative warmth of objects. Lower layers of clouds, generally warmer and lower in altitude, are colored gray. Colder and generally higher clouds tops are highlighted in colors. Infrared imagery is useful for determining cloud features both at day and night. 

The thermal or infrared images recorded by sensors called scanning radiometers enable a trained analyst to determine cloud heights and types, to calculate land and surface water temperatures, and to locate ocean surface features. Infrared satellite imagery can be used effectively for tropical cyclones with a visible eye pattern, using the Dvorak technique, where the difference between the temperature of the warm eye and the surrounding cold cloud tops can be used to determine its intensity (colder cloud tops generally indicate a more intense storm). Infrared pictures depict ocean eddies or vortices and map currents such as the Gulf Stream which are valuable to the shipping industry. Fishermen and farmers are interested in knowing land and water temperatures to protect their crops against frost or increase their catch from the sea. Even El Niño phenomena can be spotted. Using color-digitized techniques, the gray shaded thermal images can be converted to color for easier identification of desired information.

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Today's crazy severe weather

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Today's crazy severe weather

Below is a quick timeline of the SPC outlooks from the past four updates. So far no tornadoes have occurred in the 10% hatched area but they are occurring elsewhere in the country. Way elsewhere.

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Weather #Hashtag Wasteland

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Weather #Hashtag Wasteland

The state-level weather hashtag is dead. What/who killed it? Twitterbots created by people who believe they are doing something grand for public safety by rebroadcasting every possible official weather product with a state level hashtag. It's asinine. Here's why: 

This timeline indicating hourly use of the hashtag #mnwx is current as I write. That's a nice jump in activity due to severe weather getting underway but 89% of this entire graph is bot activity retransmitting watch and warning information.

This timeline indicating hourly use of the hashtag #mnwx is current as I write. That's a nice jump in activity due to severe weather getting underway but 89% of this entire graph is bot activity retransmitting watch and warning information.

At one time, following a state-level weather hashtag resulted in quality information. The primary problem then was people retweeting an informative or interesting tweet while leaving the original hashtag intact, creating clutter. That clutter was manageable...
Here is my timeline as I write this:

Just one of the many bots out there killing off the state level hashtags.

Just one of the many bots out there killing off the state level hashtags.

And the kicker is these accounts have minimal followers, very, very few retweets, and are truly just there taking up space:

Interrogating the #mnwx hashtag, the most influential are producers of original content (left). Those on the right are mostly bots or bots posting on behalf of a TV weather personality.

Interrogating the #mnwx hashtag, the most influential are producers of original content (left). Those on the right are mostly bots or bots posting on behalf of a TV weather personality.

The only recourse you have as a Twitter user is to report/block/mute bot accounts. Here's a quick look at how to do so:

Don't just block the account, REPORT it.

Don't just block the account, REPORT it.

In Twitter's eyes, this likely isn't spam. In my eyes it is. So I mark it as such. You should too.

In Twitter's eyes, this likely isn't spam. In my eyes it is. So I mark it as such. You should too.

Either option here will accomplish what you need to accomplish - shutting up the bot. 

Either option here will accomplish what you need to accomplish - shutting up the bot. 

I hate that something so well-intentioned has turned into a useless feed of nonsense and that the nonsense has propagated across all weather-related hashtags. Perhaps with a little bit of pushback, these will eventually go away. 

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Lightning vs. Airbags

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Lightning vs. Airbags

On July 6, 2015, at 10:40:23 pm lightning struck at the marina where my wife and I dock our boat. Because we have that investment on the water there, I have the asset monitored via WDT's WeatherOps system. 

The images here were sent to me via email according to immediacy of threat of lightning within my predefined range-ring within the WeatherOps system; yellow when lighting was approaching and red when lightning struck within the ring (click to enlarge).

At 10:40pm lightning struck. Our security guy, Bruce, was in his truck at the time - sitting next to the tree that took a direct hit. His airbags deployed in his 2014 Chevy Silverado:

And here is the tree that took the direct hit:

Finally, here is the data (also from WDT) regarding the specific strikes that were in the area at the time. Note: the strike that hit the tree is to the NW of the marina. 

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So how common is it for lighting to trigger airbags? Not very common at all. In fact, I was hoping I could give a rundown of instances but they are so few and far between that there isn't much information available. I will note that late model Chevy products with side curtain airbag deployment are the most common among the few documented. 

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Holy Christ the west Pacific is a mess

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Holy Christ the west Pacific is a mess

If you ever want to see a meteorologist flip shit over a graphic, post one like the image in the header, of which can also be found here. Personally, I could stare at it for hours...

The western Pacific is lit up and at least two more disturbances are hanging out to the east of the three meteorologically deficient areas of low pressure depicted above. 

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Could July set Oklahoma rainfall records too?

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Could July set Oklahoma rainfall records too?

Rainfall is again on the way for most of Oklahoma and after a record year for rainfall, could July be a chart topper as well and keep this wet trend alive? The answer is: Quite possibly.

The Weather Prediction Center paints a large swath of potential rainfall accumulation over the central U.S. over the next 72 hours.

The Weather Prediction Center paints a large swath of potential rainfall accumulation over the central U.S. over the next 72 hours.

As has been the case for the past several events, OKC gets the a reference X and the largest amounts in the swath. This will change but I found it worth pointing out regardless.

Regarding July potentially carrying on the record wet, here is a map showing what forecasters think the next 30-days will look like, precip-wise:

One month precipitation outlook covering July.

One month precipitation outlook covering July.

And finally, here's the rainfall totals map for June, just for a point of reference. Oklahoma City recorded 5.77 inches during June to bring its January-June total to 34.43 inches. That tops 1908's total of 33.23 inches as the wettest period on record.


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A Sunset Flight

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A Sunset Flight

Looked outside this evening and saw a killer sunset and cumulous. That meant it was time to fire up the UAV, a Phantom 3 Advanced, and snag some photos and video. Ensure you watch the video in HD.

My DJI Phantom 3 on a sunset flight managed to capture some nice cumulous clouds, a cool sunset, a dog swimming, birds flying, and a guy in one of those innertube fishing things...


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Dark Sky app adds crowdsourced weather reporting

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Dark Sky app adds crowdsourced weather reporting

Lately there have been several weather reporting apps released touting the ability to crowdsource human-filed weather reports and access barometric pressure information from smart devices. Dark Sky integrated it in their latest release (last week) and will likely be the first successful private weather crowdsourcing solution. 

Dark Sky is very well positioned. They utilize paid and free data from various sources, both public and private, to operate a visually appealing app that otherwise performs on par with hundreds of other weather apps. The key words are "Visually appealing" and Dark Sky has no doubt capitalized well on their funky radar color table, unique global view and, of course, future radar and alerting.

The use of an app to gather information from its users for the purpose of resale is nothing new. In fact you'd likely be surprised to know the mPing app, a free NSSL app for iOS and Android designed for anyone to submit reports to NOAA agencies. That information you send to mPing is now being resold to those who mold raw data into usable formats. How much is that data worth? Last time I communicated with the OU Extension, they were asking $10k/yr for the output API (no call limit). Remember, this is for a non quality-controlled output that is not used by that many people. 

With your shiny new knowledge about mPing, imagine the potential for an app like Dark Sky to resell citizen-sourced data. Now consider how much more valuable this data would be if it could be QCd in real-time and resold. As of right now, Dark Sky appears to be utilizing the data for their own purposes, most likely to better hone their precip and precip-type alerting. My questions are: 

  • will Dark Sky expand their reporting to include severe weather or stick with just precip/precip type?
  • is there a business opportunity for someone who can combine all these reporting APIs, QC them and create a single, value-added output?

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LinkedIn is Boring

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LinkedIn is Boring

Nearly every day that I write about something here I post it on LinkedIn. I post on behalf of corporations as well and even encourage the upgrade to "premium" accounts for individuals in a sales capacity at $25/month. LinkedIn is marketed as a powerful tool for business people but other than its search capability to find users in a vertical I want to market to, the platform is useless. I mean seriously, go to your LinkedIn account right now and scroll through your timeline, then tell me how far you get before losing interest. Here's a textual version of my current timeline:

-Invite your friends to LinkedIn!
-Sponsored post from Webroot
-So and so is now following so and so
-People in your network have new connections
-See anyone you know? Connect with them
-Bill Combes likes this
-Jobs you may be interested in
-Visa shared:

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Tropical Depression Bill

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Tropical Depression Bill

Bill's center of rotation is 5 miles north-northwest of Ft. Worth as I write. Movement is 335 degrees at 7mph. Flash Flood Warnings are slowly being issued in response to rainfall occurring and expected. Still though, there is no certainty as to where rain bands will set up. Much like a snow event, Bill could bring 5" of rain to a location and 20 miles west of that spot only record a trace. 

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'Brown Ocean' to cause heavy flooding in Texas & Oklahoma

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'Brown Ocean' to cause heavy flooding in Texas & Oklahoma

Like the cute little meteorological terms that came before it, Brown Ocean now joins the ever-growing list of hype words for media. It's in good company with recents like 'weather bomb' and 'polar vortex'. It'll appear Dr. Marshall Shepherd is who we can blame for this one (although the term was coined long ago):

Now that I've written the key words for SEO, lets get down to non-meteorological business and look at some pretty maps. We'll start with the Weather Prediction Center's QPF map for Days 1-3 which clearly indicates that those in DFW will commute to work by boat:

Now to drill down a bit more and look at the region that will be affected. Here's the NAM model and it's thoughts about track and total rainfall. Note that it spares the DFW area:

And finally, here is the GFS model which clearly hates Oklahoma, specifically Tulsa:

This has the potential to be a nasty flooding event with so much of N Texas and Eastern Oklahoma already saturated. 

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Eastern Oklahoma Flooding Risk

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Eastern Oklahoma Flooding Risk

After record-breaking rainfall for May in Oklahoma, June has stepped to the plate with huge rainmakers inching through the state since late last week. This time rain is falling on heavily saturated ground. 

The Daily Averaged Fractional Water Index at 2 inches map displays the 24-hour-averaged soil moisture at 2 inches (5 cm) under native sod for the previous day. Fractional water index ranges from 0 (completely dry) to 1.0 (completely saturated). 

The Daily Averaged Fractional Water Index at 2 inches map displays the 24-hour-averaged soil moisture at 2 inches (5 cm) under native sod for the previous day. Fractional water index ranges from 0 (completely dry) to 1.0 (completely saturated). 

Some big rainfall totals are on the way.

Hopefully the OKC metro area will be spared given the rough time we've had in this area related to flooding. Tulsa might not be so lucky. We'll have to see how this pans out as the system (Tropical Storm Bill) is just now coming onshore as I type this.

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The 2015 hurricane season - by the numbers

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The 2015 hurricane season - by the numbers

For the 2015 hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 - November 30, I have listed below some of the more prominent guesses from both public and private organizations. 

Some notes 

Tropical season peak conditions: Sept 8-10 based on climatology
Named storms: winds of 39 mph or higher
Hurricane: winds of 74 mph or higher
Major hurricane: Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher

NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms , of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, including zero to 2 major hurricanes. I'm not sure anyone could be more vague but butts are certainly well covered given a 30 percent swing as well as a moderate spread between high and low guesses. 

NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms , of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, including zero to 2 major hurricanes. I'm not sure anyone could be more vague but butts are certainly well covered given a 30 percent swing as well as a moderate spread between high and low guesses. 

A total of 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by The Weather Channel Professional Division. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

A total of 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by The Weather Channel Professional Division. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

With 8 named tropical storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane predicted for the Atlantic Basin this season, AccuWeather.com's long-range forecasting team anticipates two or three of these systems to make landfall in the United States.

With 8 named tropical storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane predicted for the Atlantic Basin this season, AccuWeather.com's long-range forecasting team anticipates two or three of these systems to make landfall in the United States.

CSU's Philip Klotzbach and William Gray estimate that 2015 will have 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. Note: this is the June 1 outlook which includes Ana.

CSU's Philip Klotzbach and William Gray estimate that 2015 will have 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. Note: this is the June 1 outlook which includes Ana.

WeatherBell kept it simple and to the point. Named Storms: 7-9, Hurricanes 3-5, Major Hurricanes: 1-2.

WeatherBell kept it simple and to the point. Named Storms: 7-9, Hurricanes 3-5, Major Hurricanes: 1-2.

Conclusion

It'll appear most everyone kept things reined in. I do this blog entry each year and generally there is one outlier that really want's some nasty tropical activity to happen. Not in 2015 though! I'll write again post-season and see who wins, although the organizations with large spreads should be disqualified...

 

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