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Weather & Natural Disasters

Oct 24

Hurricane Sandy: The ultimate October surprise?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 11:57 am Mountain Time

It’s too early to be remotely certain, but Hurricane Sandy has the potential to become a big f***in’ deal for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, transitioning into an epic storm of historic proportions — not a major hurricane per se, but a monster warm-core/cold-core hybrid, possibly a “subtropical hurricane” (a category which isn’t even supposed to exist) — and slamming the region early next week with lots of rain and wind, huge storm surge and severe coastal flooding (at astronomical high tide, no less), and, on the western edge of the storm, crippling snowfall (!). It could be like a Nor’easter on steroids, a rerun of the “Perfect Storm” of 1991, or conceivably something even worse. And all of this a week before the election, with potential aftermath effects lasting well past November 6.

Here’s what the Euro model predicts for late Monday night, per WeatherBell:

ecm_mslp_uv850berm_tropical_7

Over on my Weather Nerd blog for Pajamas Media, I write:

[I]t’s worth noting that two major swing states — Virginia and New Hampshire — plus North Carolina and Pennsylvania, if you consider those genuine swing states…, and to a lesser extent Florida, could be impacted by this storm in the week before the election. Heck, the eastern part of Ohio, the swing state to end all swing states, may get some snow from it. …

[Moreover], if Sandy does strike the northeast a week before the election, and does cause massive, widespread and long-lasting power outages, as well as enormous damage to trees and such — not to mention crippling snow over the Appalachians (and maybe parts of Ohio???) — … [w]e could well see depressed voter turnout throughout the affected region, if the infrastructural damage is still being significantly felt a week later, which seems possible. That might not affect the outcome of the presidential race (unless Ohio really is hard-hit), but, as my father points out via e-mail, it could harm President Obama’s popular vote totals, if folks in Democratic strongholds — particularly New York — don’t vote because the storm’s aftermath makes it too inconvenient (and besides, they know they aren’t in a swing state, so why go to all the extra trouble?). There’s been a lot of talk about Obama winning the electoral vote but losing the popular vote, like Bush in 2000; in a worst-case scenario, Sandy’s effects could made that more likely. Sandy could also impact some key congressional races, notably the U.S. Senate battles in Connecticut and Massachusetts. …

Harold Ambler, a fellow weatherblogger…sums things up nicely. … On Twitter, Ambler adds:

Hurricane Sandy has the potential to make people forget Irene and Halloween snow from 2011. May it instead turn out to sea…

Possible effects of Hurricane Sandy:
1. SEVERE coastal erosion
2. damaging storm surge
3. flooding rains
4. crippling snows on western edge
5. people without electricity for a long time
6. voting turnout affected the next week
7. President Obama having to tend to a national emergency in the run-up to the election

I might add, “8. Mitt Romney needing to blunt harsh criticisms of President Obama in the final days of the campaign because of the perception that it’s unseemly to attack the president when he’s tending to a national emergency.” Unless of course the Obama Administration’s response is perceived as inadequate or incompetent, in which case all bets are off. Likewise, in this scenario, Obama would need to cool it with the attacks on Romney during the final week of the campaign, and with campaigning generally, in order to appear focused on addressing the national emergency. Joe Biden and perhaps Bill Clinton would probably become Obama’s major campaign-trail surrogates in such a scenario, and their message would need to be less hard-edged because of the sensitivities of the moment.

I suspect, if Sandy continues to look like a big potential problem — a “big f***ing deal,” as someone once said — we’ll soon start to see conspiracy theories suggesting that Obama will try to delay the election because of the storm. That won’t happen. But, in a worst-case scenario, Sandy and its aftermath could definitely become a big part of the story of the election.

For the latest on Sandy, stay tuned to my Twitter feed and my PJM Weather Nerd blog.

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Aug 26

New Orleans in peril, again

Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 1:26 am Mountain Time

Again, for coverage of T.S. Isaac, check out my Pajamas Media “Weather Nerd” blog, and also follow me on Twitter. Forget Tampa and the RNC — that’s a sideshow. This storm is looking increasingly scary for New Orleans, though there’s still a great deal of uncertainty. Here’s what one computer model predicted Saturday night:

A1M3nk7CMAEJeeb.png_large

Yikes!! But again, that’s just one run of one computer model, and there’s lots of uncertainty. Click those PJM and Twitter links for more!

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Aug 22

Will Hurricane Isaac Occupy the RNC?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 10:40 am Mountain Time

It’s way too early to be certain of where Tropical Storm Isaac will go, but Republican National Convention organizers have to be pretty nervous right now. The official NHC forecast has Isaac, by then a Category 1 hurricane, making a beeline for Tampa on the first day of the RNC (next Monday), and the most recent run of the GFS computer model has a fierce-looking hurricane sitting just offshore as of next Wednesday morning:

gfs_mslp_uv10m_mex_57

(Image via the excellent Weather Bell Models by meteorologist @RyanMaue.)

Dr. Jeff Masters says, “I put the odds of an evacuation occurring during the convention in the current situation at 3%.” I’ve posted a full update at my Weather Nerd blog, and will be posting updates there as often as I can, and also on Twitter, of course.

Mar 27

Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:19 am Mountain Time

A wildfire southwest of Denver is still totally uncontained this morning, one day after it killed one person, destroyed 15 to 25 strucutres, burned more than 3,000 acres, and gave off a huge smoke plume, blown northeastward by galeforce winds, that was impressively well-defined on radar:

@JimCantore wow dude that is a huge smoke plume! #cowx #COfire  on Twitpic

Another way of viewing that smoke plume is by looking at the brief time-lapse video I took out my office window in downtown Denver yesterday, looking south-southeast:

That video caught The Weather Channel’s attention after I tweeted it out, and it was featured in a loop on Weather Center Live last night:

I wish I’d taken more than 8 seconds of video! Unfortunately, my iPhone’s battery was already low when I started, and it died at the end of the video.

(By the way, I made the video with Time Lapse Camera HD for iPhone and iPad. Thanks to Timothy Burke for the TWC clip. And a hat-tip to Brandon Minich for suggesting the headline of this post.)

Sep 08

T.S. Nate could threaten U.S. Gulf Coast

Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 11:47 am Mountain Time

I’m blogging again over at Weather Nerd. Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s update on Tropical Storm Nate:

Sometimes, in the life of a tropical cyclone, there is a distinct turning point in the evolution of the track forecast, where the computer models suddenly shift toward a new and markedly different solution. When this happens, the National Hurricane Center…generally waits to see a few more model “runs” confirming the new thinking before it fully adopts the new consensus in its official forecast. This memorably happened in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, when the models shifted early Friday morning toward a solution targeting the New Orleans area, inspiring my “New Orleans in peril” post at midday Friday…eight hours before the NHC actually adopted the track that the models had begun shifting toward almost 24 hours before. …

We may be seeing a similar turning point with Tropical Storm Nate this morning. Yesterday, this storm looked like it was bound for Mexico. But things have changed overnight. This morning, shortly before the National Hurricane Center’s 11am EDT advisory, Charles Fenwick tweeted: “In the Gulf of Mexico, there was a good consensus on Nate heading to Tampico, Mexico. This morning, though, GFDL & HWRF shifted northeast with solutions south of Louisiana and in the middle of the western Gulf of Mexico respectively.” …

The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger, in a post titled “The northern Gulf of Mexico is back in play,” elaborates:

Just as it looked like the overnight models were converging on one solution for the track of Tropical Storm Nate, this morning’s models made an almost wholesale change.

Instead of an eventual westerly motion into Mexico, a number of forecast models have switched back to a more northerly movement by late this weekend, bringing Nate toward the northern Gulf of Mexico coast by late Sunday or Monday. …

Critically, if Nate does move northward it will cross over very warm Gulf waters, and would have several days to intensify. This raises the possibility of a major hurricane striking the New Orleans region.

To be clear, there is no reason to panic about possible threats to specific locales. The forecast can and will change in the coming hours and days. But with the Gulf waters being so warm, and so many vulnerable spots along the coast, this is definitely a situation to watch closely.

Read the whole thing, and stay tuned to Weather Nerd for the latest.

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Aug 31

Katia, Lee and Maria, oh my?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm Mountain Time

Katia, the storm that took Katrina’s place on the name list, is now officially a hurricane as of 11pm EDT, with winds of 75 mph. Hurricane Katia is expected to keep strengthening — to 100 mph in 1 day, 110 mph in 2 days, 115 mph in 3 days and 120 in 4 days (and it would hardly be shocking if she got even stronger, faster). It remains uncertain whether she’ll ever seriously threaten the U.S., though on balance, the more likely answer at this point seems to be “no.” But it’s just too early to say with a reasonable degree confidence. Any possible approach to the East Coast would likely occur no earlier than the weekend of 9/11, which is still an awfully long way off to be trusting computer models.

That said, if the current model tracks do roughly hold (a huge, huge “if” with such long-range forecasts), Bermuda could be under the gun sometime late next week. Here’s the prediction by one computer, the excellent European model, for a week from today:

ec850uva_17
There’s Hurricane Katia in the middle. But what about the storm at left? That would be Lee, currently known as “93L,” which the computer models have been predicting for several days now, and which the NHC is now watching, giving it a 60% chance of development in the next 48 hours. It’s unclear whether “proto-Lee” will become a serious hurricane threat to someplace along the Gulf coast, or just a big rainmaker, possibly in areas that could really use it. (Rick Perry’s prayers answered, perhaps?) The models are still vacillating wildly from run-to-run at this early stage.

Lastly, long-range models like the 16-day GFS are calling for Hurricane Maria to form in 7-10 days, and basically follow Katia’s path near Bermuda and out to sea. Florida State meteorologist (and provider of these wonderful maps) Ryan Maue calls it a “conveyor belt of ‘fish storms.’”

uv900_90

Stay tuned, as they say.

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Aug 30

“Thank God for…Brendan Loy”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm Mountain Time

Dude… it’s PajamasMedia.com.

I apologize to my LRT readers for having so little coverage of Hurricane Irene here, while I was blogging up a storm (pun intended) over at my Pajamas Media site, Weather Nerd. Ideally, I would have done more partial cross-posting — understandably, PJM doesn’t let me do full cross-posts, since they pay me for exclusive content, but I can do partial cross-posts — but I was just so busy that I didn’t have the time. With Hurricane Katrina, I could basically take a week off of life, skip my classes, cut out sleep, and blog, blog, blog. Now I’ve got a job and three kids, so it was a little trickier.

Anyway, I haven’t yet seen PJM’s stats for Weather Nerd’s traffic, but I’m told the numbers were “phenomenal.” I’m curious if I topped my Katrina record of 34,278 visitors in a day. I know there was a major impact on my number of Twitter followers, which had sloooowly climbed to 1,600 over the course of my three years on Twitter — then skyrocketed over the weekend to more than 2,200. Here’s a look at my Twitter stats, showing my total number of followers (dark orange line) and number of tweets per day (light orange bars) over the last three months:

twittercounter.chart(4)

And to think, now all those new followers will now have to be indoctrinated into the cult of #PANIC, not to mention Karl Benson WAC jokes. :)

I also suspect that my Saturday-night tidal gauge post, which was simultaneously Instalanched and @fivethirtyeight’d, may have inadvertently contributed to the disruption of NOAA’s servers, causing all of the tidal gauges to simultaneously go offline for about an hour. I don’t know whether this is true, but the correlation was pretty strong, inspiring me to tweet: “Where were you when Brendan Loy and Nate Silver broke NOAA? #SuggestedAlanJacksonSongs”

(If it was my fault… um, sorry, NOAA!)

Obviously, outside the blogosphere and twittersphere, my coverage didn’t cause anything like the level of attention I got during Hurricane Katrina. But I did get mentioned by Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch on Fox Business News yesterday, as you can see in the video clip at the top of this post. Watch the whole thing if you dare, but be warned, it’s mostly absurd, conspiratorial, Obama-bashing, right-wing nonsense. Though Lindsey Piegza’s comments about what the media did “once we found out that the storm wasn’t as strong” are true, as I wrote over at Weather Nerd:

Was Irene overhyped? Well, yes and no. … As I wrote in my post about “misconceptions,” the mere fact that a worst-case scenario doesn’t occur is hardly proof that it should never have been considered a possibility, or that precautions taken against such a scenario were therefore unwarranted. That’s totally illogical. I’m sure NOAA officials and others would love to have access to the 20/20 Hindsight Computer Model that some commentators seem to possess, but absent that, I believe it was completely justified and necessary to evacuate the folks who were evacuated, given the uncertainties in the forecast at the time decisions had to be made (specifically with regard to the storm surge). It’s the nature of the beast, given the current limits of our forecasting ability, that most “alarms” will be “false alarms.” It’s simply impossible to know with certainty what a storm will do at the time when evacuation decisions must be made, so we have no choice but to “prepare for the worst,” knowing full well that, in most cases and in most places, the worst will not happen. Thus, the fact of a “false alarm,” without more, is not evidence of improper “hype.”

Yet overhype certainly exists, not so much in the forecasts or the precautions, but in the media coverage. “Preparation for the worst-case scenario makes sense,” writes the Telegraph’s Toby Harnden, “and could have saved hundreds during Katrina. But the worst-case scenario was largely portrayed as inevitable.” That’s a big problem in the early stages of hurricane coverage: the tendency to filter out the uncertainties, and treat the worst-case possibilities as probabilities or near-certainties. This, in turn, feeds into a cycle of self-perpetuating hype, which at some point seems to pass a “point of no return,” after which any walk-back of the doomsday talk is seen as irresponsibly advising people to “let their guard down” — not to mention hurting ratings. That helps cause what I view as the primary problem, which I’ve observed many times over the years: the MSM’s failure to adjust the tone and substance of the coverage once it has become apparent that the worst-case scenario(s), despite having previously been realistic possibilities, have now become unrealistic. In other words, they fail to dial down the hype a notch when the hype, once reasonable, is clearly no longer justified. I tweeted Friday morning about this, stating: “Media must be careful today. Fine line b/w preventing complacency & overhyping a weakened Irene (which breeds cynicism and…complacency). Ideally, you communicate that Irene is a big deal that people should take seriously, but no longer likely to be an apocalyptic hellstorm. But that’s hard to do in practice, especially when MSM weather coverage generally has two settings: 1. #Ignore. 2. #OMGApocalypticHellstorm!” …

This pattern is dangerous, because it can breed both complacency and arrogance — the latter exemplified by Anne Thompson’s comment on the NBC Nightly News that New Yorkers had gained their “swagger” back because “New York took the best that Irene could give, and made it through.” That statement might make sense, if Irene had given New York anything close to “the best [it] could give.” But Irene didn’t do that. It’s absolutely critical to understand that this was nowhere near the worst-case scenario for NYC & environs, thanks to Irene’s limited strength. That scenario will occur come to pass someday; it just wasn’t today, thank goodness. But my fear now is that, when the eventual day of reckoning comes, folks won’t take it seriously because “they said that about Irene too.” Complacency caused by media overhype can kill, just as surely as complacency caused by people “letting their guard down” due to underhype. Finding the proper balance is very tricky, and impossible to do perfectly — but the media certainly needs to do better.

By the way, on the subject of “hype,” Irene’s death toll is now 40, the fourth-worst in the U.S. since 1980, according to Nate Silver. And its economic damage could end up being between $14 billion and $26 billion, which would rank somehwere between fourth and eighth since 1980 in inflation-adjusted terms. So it’s not like this was a non-event (as folks in Vermont and the Catskills will tell you).

Anyway… on to the next worst-case scenario! Tropical Storm Katia — bearer of the name that replaced “Katrina,” which was of course retired from the rotating six-year name list — has formed off the African coast, and is expected to steadily strengthen, eventually becoming a major hurricane. Some computer models have shown an eventual threat to the U.S. East Coast (we’re talking about something in the 10 to 14 day range, maybe around the weekend of 9/11), but the latest model runs, via Ryan Maue, seem to imply recurvature out to sea:

uv900panel_22

Bottom line, it’s way, way, way too early to tell what Katia will do. But I’ll be watching. :) And I’ll just make this highly speculative, totally unfounded, irresponsible comment: if the storm that inherited Katrina’s spot on the hurricane name list hits New York and/or Washington on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I may conclude that Michele Bachmann was right. :P

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Aug 26

Irene: not a monster, but still a threat

Friday, August 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm Mountain Time

Sorry for the lack of updates here. I’ve been tracking Irene over at Weather Nerd for Pajamas Media (hey, they pay me!), and on Twitter… while also still, y’know, having a job and a family :) … so I just haven’t had very much time to post here as well.

But anyway, as I’m sure you all know by now, Hurricane Irene has weakened and is expected to hit the northeast as a minimal Category 1 or strong tropical storm, far weaker than feared. Even so, this remains a serious situation, with lots of real risks — primarily storm surge and inland flooding (not so much wind) — and folks need to be prepared for the worst. That means you, New Jersey beachgoers:

P.S. By the way, a bit of navel-gazing… in a sort of pale, Twitter-age echo of my blog’s rise to prominence during Katrina, I’ve seen my Twitter follower count absolutely soar in the last three days, from 1,598 on Wednesday to 2,102 now.

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Aug 24

#PREPARE

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm Mountain Time

Sorry to keep posting these computer model maps, but they’re just so sensational, I can’t help myself. From the 0Z GFS:

FirefoxScreenSnapz073

Over on Weather Nerd, I write:

Holy hell. That map is downright terrifying. (It’s even worse when viewed as an animation. Hat tip: Ryan Maue.) It represents something pretty darn close to the true worst-case scenario, the New York nightmare that experts have feared for years — a Category 2 hurricane, perhaps even a low-end Cat. 3, making landfall in New Jersey, and pushing a severe storm surge into New York harbor, with devastating effects.

I emphasize again that this is just one possible scenario among several, and probably not even the most likely. But such scenarios are always unlikely, right up until the point when they’re about to happen — at which point it’s too late to prepare for them! So everyone needs to prepare as if they’re going to suffer a direct hit, and not just by a minimal hurricane, but by a monster. (And if that preparation proves, in retrospect, to have been unnecessary, breathe a sigh of relief and know that you were right to prepare for the worst, not blithely assume the best.) … This is no mere hypestorm.

For those who remember me from Katrina, I’ll say that the “Get the Hell Out!” moment hasn’t arrived yet. But if we get to tomorrow night and things haven’t changed in the forecast… it may.

Stay tuned to Weather Nerd and my Twitter feed for updates.

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Aug 24

Long Island Express II?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm Mountain Time

It’s still way too early to focus on specific possible landfall points, let alone those indicated by individual model runs. Forecasts 4 and 5 days out have huge errors. These predictions can and will change. All that said, check out the 18Z GFS…

20110824-060724.jpg

Wow.

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Aug 24

The trend is no longer your friend

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm Mountain Time

The computer models forecasting Hurricane Irene’s track have shifted back west today, decisively ending the eastward “trend” of the forecasts, and bringing New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, and Southern New England very much back into the bullseye of the risk zone. This also increases the risk of a direct hit (rather than a glancing blow) in North Carolina, and significant impacts in the mid-Atlantic region. Don’t #PANIC, but #PREPARE. This could be a big, big deal.

Details at Weather Nerd and on my Twitter feed. Below, an image of the ECMWF (European), GFDL, GFS and HWRF 96-hour forecasts, as of this afternoon:

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Aug 23

The trend is your friend

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm Mountain Time

The 0Z GFS computer model shifts Irene’s landfall point to the east, again — from NYC/Long Island to Cape Cod. The rightward trend continues. This hurricane may yet stay out to sea, folks.

20110823-110447.jpg

By the way, I’m blogging at Pajamas Media’s “Weather Nerd” again, at least for the moment.

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Aug 23

Earthquake strikes East Coast!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm Mountain Time

As if Hurricane Irene’s menacing approach wasn’t enough, an earthquake of preliminary magnitude 5.9 struck northeastern Virginia about 20 minutes ago, and — as is typical for earthquakes in the eastern two-thirds of the country — was felt far & wide, from Toronto to the Deep South. I haven’t heard any damage reports yet. (I just learned about this via a text message from my mother-in-law, of all people.) But an earthquake of that magnitude in that part of the country could, I would think, cause some actual damage. Don’t laugh, Californians.

East Coast readers, did you feel it? Was there any damage?

[UPDATE, 1:24 PM: There has been damage to the National Cathedral. Coverage here. Also, there are reports that the Washington Monument is tilting. Um, #PANIC!?! ... Oh, also, Gizmodo is collecting quake videos.]

P.S. Incidentally, this follows on the heels of Colorado’s largest earthquake since 1967, which hit near Trinidad (in the southern part of the state, near the New Mexico border) late last night, just about the time I was going to bed. It was a 5.3, and no, I didn’t feel it.

P.P.S. About the “felt far & wide” thing, here’s a bit more, from a 2008 blog post:

If you’re a Californian wondering how on earth [a relatively minor earthquake] could be felt so strongly, and in places [so] far afield … , it’s because, as explained here, “seismic waves in the East travel farther and pack more destructive punches.” The exact reason for this phenomenon is a topic of much debate among scientists, but “one explanation is that eastern geology is older and simpler, with fewer faults in the ground to slow the travel of quake waves.” See also here:

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast.

That point is graphically illustrated here:

Charleston1895

Of course, [today's earthquake] is nothing compared to the Big One that will someday destroy Memphis and cause massive devastation all across the [central and eastern U.S.].

UPDATE: On phone with my parents. They felt it. Dad: “I was sitting at the computer table, and mom was in the kitchen. And the computer table starts to shake.” It felt like the way it would if mom was sitting at the table fidgeting and shaking it with her legs — but she wasn’t there. “Then I look and see the floor lamp is wobbling. ‘F***. Leanna, there’s an earthquake!’” Mom thinks shaking lasted 30 seconds, Dad thinks two minutes.

UPDATE 2: On the LRT Facebook page, a similar report from my friend Diane Krause in Hartford, CT: “Felt it!! Josh has some restless leg issues, so it’s not uncommon for me to accuse of him of ’shaking the house’ but this time he stopped moving entirely and the whole house really WAS shaking!! Only lasted a minute or two, we figured it was construction or something until I checked my facebook and saw all the quake statuses.”

P.P.P.S. I suspect, by the time the evening news rolls around, we’ll be hearing that the earthquake was “felt from Canada to Florida, and as far west as Illinois,” or something like that.

P.P.P.P.S. Some folks, in New York City and elsewhere, saw tweets about the earthquake before the felt the acutal earthquake, for reasons explained by Gizmodo here.

Meanwhile, it seems some folks want to be mayor of the earthquake.

UPDATE: Heh:

Police departments in greater Hartford said that the earthquake resulted in a flood of phone calls, although none reporting injuries or damage.

East Hartford police said that they received “about 9 million phone calls,” reporting the shaking, while West Hartford police said they were inundated with descriptions of ground shaking. In Glastonbury and Manchester, dispatchers were similarly tied up, taking call after call from residents eager to report the quake.

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Jul 18

Tropical Storm Dora (the Explorer)

Monday, July 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm Mountain Time

Tropical Storm Dora has formed in the Eastern Pacific, south of Mexico, and is expected to become a major hurricane within the next three days. This has produced an amusing tweet exchange among those of us familiar with the storm’s Nickelodeon namesake (Loyacita’s favorite show in the universe by far):

Andy Glockner: “Can you say dangerously high winds? Say it! Louder! Board up your windows! BUENO!”

Me: “Map says we need to go over the warm water, under the upper-level ridge, and that’s how we’ll become un huracán!”

Andy Glockner: “What category are we going to become? (Insert arrows pointing at a 4). THAT’S RIGHT! Cuatro! ‘Nuestra vientos son fuertes!’”

Kraig Williams: “I’m the Doppler map- I’m the Doppler map- I’m the Doppler map- I’m the Doppler map”

Me: “Wind shear, no shearing! Wind shear, no shearing! Wind shear, no shearing!” “OOOHHH MAAAN!!”

Heh.

(Yes, these are the depths to which my once-famous hurricane-blogging have sunk. Ah, parenthood.)

P.S. Also, from my #IfDoraMetHarryPotter hashtag sequence yesterday — tweeted after watching Deathly Hallows Part 2, then coming home to watch part of a Dora movie with the girls…

• “Accio Sticky Tape!” #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• Defense Against The Dark Arts Lesson 1: the power of saying "Swiper No Swiping!" three times. #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• After Dumbledore dies, Death Eaters break into song on the Astronomy Tower: "We did it! We did it! We did it! Hooray!" #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• "NOT MY MONKEY, YOU WITCH!" #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• Death Eaters install Lou Dobbs as Minister of Magic, institute English-only education at Hogwarts. #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• Instead of dementors, Azkaban guarded by sneezing snakes & pirate pigs. #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

• “I’m the Marauder’s Map, I’m the Marauder’s Map, I’m the Marauder’s Map, I’m the Marauder’s Map, I’m the Marauder’s Maaaap!!” #IfDoraMetHarryPotter

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Jun 01

Tornado hits Massachusetts (!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm Mountain Time

The wild and deadly tornado season of 2011 rolls on, with Southern New England — my old stomping grounds — the latest target. Check out this incredible video of a tornado crossing the Connecticut River in Springfield, Massachusetts:

At least four people are dead in Massachusetts, in what’s being called the state’s worst tornado outbreak in a century. And the damage is massive. It’s not Joplin-style devastation — houses stripped to their foundations, whole neighborhood leveled — but by New England standards, it’s very bad. Lots of major structural damage, many injuries, and undoubtedly a big economic toll.

P.S. Here’s a look at the tornado’s “debris ball” on radar. Again, very impressive for Massachusetts.

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