20150911 Huntsville Storms

On 9/11/2015 storms rolled in from the north into Huntsville. I was able to capture the shelf cloud coming over Chapman Mountain! I also captured what the untrained eye may have thought was a tornado. Interestingly enough, WHNT’s meteorologist discussed clouds like this and asked if a new cloud type needed to be named. We’ll leave that decision to the professionals.

Does this cloud need a new type of name? We'll leave that debate to the professionals, but several people confused this for a tornado, but it has zero rotation.

Does this cloud need a new type of name? We’ll leave that debate to the professionals, but several people confused this for a tornado, but it has zero rotation.

Shelf cloud beginning to pop up  over Chapman Mountain.

Shelf cloud beginning to pop up over Chapman Mountain.

Panorama of the shelf cloud coming over Chapman Mountain.

Panorama of the shelf cloud coming over Chapman Mountain.

Shelf Cloud coming over Chapman Mountain and over US-72.

Shelf Cloud coming over Chapman Mountain and over US-72.

Inside the Whale's Mouth. Looking south over US-72.

Inside the Whale’s Mouth. Looking south over US-72.

 

Timelapse of the storms.

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20150331: North Alabama Storms

20150331_193542b

I forgot to post this after the 3/31 storm chase. Nothing scary or super exciting. We chased for the lightning and hail mostly. No real tornado threat on the cell we chased.

20150331: Storms entered the North Alabama area heading ESE. We began chasing this cell in Athens, AL with the cell almost due west of us. We went all the way to Russellville where we finally entered the cell and were able to breach the core, down to Trinity where we breached the core a second time, over to Decatur and then finally back to Huntsville.

Our first core breach was over the Tennessee River on the SR-101 bridge in Joe Wheeler State Park:

We were able to get back in front of the storm and had a second core breach near Trinity, AL on the US-72 looking toward Nucor Steel.

I created a compilation of some of the lightning we saw that night from the start in Athens to the finish.

North Alabama: Are You Storm Ready?

NORTH ALABAMA: ARE YOU STORM READY?

AlabamaStormChasersLogo(small)A lot of people are asking if the 2015 tornado season is going to be bad since we had a bad winter. While it is true that in the past some bad winters were followed by bad tornado seasons, it is equally true that past bad winters were followed by mild tornado seasons. Just because it was a bad winter in 2010/11 and it was followed by a bad 2011 tornado season doesn’t follow that a bad winter equals a bad tornado season. That is what is called confusing correlation with causation.

What is more important is being prepared for any severe weather threat, be it an average storm season or a more active season. It does no good to only be concerned about whether or not we will have 200 tornadoes in any given year, because it only takes a single storm, single flood, or a single tornado to destroy lives and property.

You need to be prepared for extended power outages. You need to be prepared for a loss of local store services (or ones operating on cash only). You need to be prepared to stay in your home or evacuate as the circumstances dictate.

So what do you need before a storm?

  1. Make sure you have non-perishable food items. During an extended power outage, your milk and eggs are not going to do you any good once they spoil.
  2. Make sure your car’s gas tank is full in case power is out for an extended period and gas stations are shut down. You should also fill your gas cans as well. If you do not use them, then you will have the gas to keep mowing your lawns.
  3. Make sure you have an alternative way to cook food (even if you have a gas stove, because utilities may have to shut gas down if there is a problem at the source or anywhere along the lines). A camp stove or grill are great ways to cook when the power is out. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you have a few bags of charcoal ready to go. If you have a propane grill, make sure your tank is at least 1/2 full. If you have a camp stove, make sure you have enough mini-propane tanks.
  4. Make sure you have bottled water. A half case of water (per person in the household) at a minimum should be readily available.
  5. Make sure all your electronics are fully charged. Make sure you have a supply of batteries ready to go for battery-operated electronics, flashlights, LED lights, etc. If you lose power, only use your phone for emergencies to conserve battery life. Make sure you turn off your WiFi on your phone so it does not waste battery searching for a WiFi signal. If cell service goes down, put your phone on airplane mode (or turn it off) to conserve battery and check a few times a day to see if cell signal is back. If you have an inverter for your car, that is great, but remember to start your engine and run it for a few minutes while you are using the inverter. Inverters can drain batteries quickly, especially older batteries or batteries that have been jump-started before. Keep in mind that using the inverter, and thus running the engine, is using your gas, so be mindful of how much you use it.
  6. Keep flashlights or lanterns nearby and ready to go. Make sure you have lighters/matches to light any candles or kerosene/propane lanterns you have. Make sure lighters and matches are in an easy-to-find place so you are not digging for them in the dark.
  7. You should already have a NOAA Weather Radio. If you do not have one, do yourself and your family a favor and spend the extra money next payday to buy one. The NOAA Weather Radio is an invaluable asset, especially if you cannot hear tornado sirens where you live, sirens do not wake you up when you are sleeping, or the power goes out so you cannot get Internet or TV news. The NOAA Weather Radio can SAVE YOUR LIFE!
  8. Make sure any prescription medication is easily accessible so you are not fumbling in the dark trying to find your pills. If you are running low on one and it is ready for a refill, take care of that now: not the day the storm is supposed to be on top of you.
  9. Your house should already have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher in it. Make sure everyone knows where those are at and they are easily accessible in the dark.
  10. Do not forget about your pets: take them into account when figuring out how much bottled water you should have and make sure they have enough dog food to last for extended period with no stores being open.
  11. Talk to everyone in your household about safety and evacuation plans. Where are the safe places to hunker down within your house to ride out a storm? Where is a safe place to meet if you are separated during a storm event, evacuation, etc? If you must evacuate or leave your house because of damage, where is the nearest public evacuation center or storm shelter? Have a practice drill now and then (at least twice a year) to make sure everyone is familiar with the plan and can execute it properly.
  12. Have a “bug-out bag” ready to go. This doesn’t mean you need a prepper bag full of seeds and ammunition. It means you need the basics ready to go in case something happens (like a tree falling on your house, a lightning strike causing a house fire, or a tornado damaging your home). The bag should include things like underwear, change of clothes, toiletries, baby diapers, etc. One thing people often forget is important paperwork. Scan your important documents and put them on a small flash drive (or CD-R) that can go in your bag (marriage license/certificate, mortgage, insurance paperwork (auto, car & life), birth certificates, etc). This should be in your room where you can grab it quickly as you escape your house. Your bag should also contain some cash because an extended power outage means no credit card readers are going to be working.
  13. Make sure your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts are updated in your phone.
  14. Stay calm. Don’t panic. Panic leads to bad decision making. Be aware of your surroundings.

Best wishes, as always,
Blair

Winter Weather Ready

NORTH ALABAMA: ARE YOU WINTER WEATHER READY?
And what exactly does that mean?

Winter weather has already claimed lives in Alabama. Don't be a statistic!

This Wednesday night (3/4) and Thursday morning (3/5), Alabama is expecting severe winter weather that the NWS originally had labeled “disastrous.” I am not sure I entirely agreed with the adjective “disastrous,” but it wass definitely going to suck. All models agreed that Alabama was getting it, but they disagreed on the time Alabama was going to be hit by it.

So are you ready for what comes with it? Because you really don’t need bread and milk.

North Alabama was originally expecting 1/2″ to 3/4″ of ice accumulation with single-digit temps followed by snowfall, but models are now showing 1/4″ ice accumulations with low to mid-teen temps. That much ice accumulation puts tree limbs and power lines in jeopardy of coming down, which means you could lose power: even lose it for several days if crews cannot get out right away. Your milk isn’t going to do you any good in a fridge without power (or outside where it will freeze solid).

So what do you need?

  1. Make sure you have non-perishable food items.
  2. Make sure your car’s gas tank is full in case power is out for an extended period and gas stations are shut down. It will not hurt to fill your gas cans, either. If you do not use them, then that is one less thing you have to do in a month when it is time to mow your lawn the first time.
  3. Make sure you have an alternative way to cook food if you have an electric stove in your house and you lose electricity. A camp stove or grill are great ways to cook when the power’s out. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you have a few bags of charcoal ready to go. If you have a propane grill, make sure your tank is at least 1/2 full. If you have a camp stove, make sure you have enough mini-propane tanks.
  4. Make sure you have bottled water. Freezing pipes is a big possibility, and thanks to single-digit temps, not just the ones inside your house, but the larger one coming to your house from the street may freeze as well, cutting water off to your house completely. Make sure your bottled water is not in your garage: bottled water is no good to you if it is frozen solid.
  5. Make sure all your electronics are fully charged. Make sure you have a supply of batteries ready to go for battery-operated electronics, flashlights, LED Lights, etc. If you lose power, only use your phone for emergencies to conserve battery life. Make sure you turn off your WiFi on your phone so it does not waste battery searching for a WiFi signal. If cell service goes down, put your phone on airplane mode to conserve battery and check every few hours to see if cell signal is back. If you have an inverter for your car, that is great, but remember to start your engine and run it for a few minutes while you are using the inverter. Inverters can drain batteries quickly, especially older batteries or batteries that have been jump-started before. Keep in mind that using the inverter, and thus running the engine, is using your gas, so be mindful of how much you use it.
  6. Keep flashlights or lanterns nearby and ready to go. Make sure you have lighters/matches to light any candles or kerosene/propane lanterns you have. Make sure lighters and matches are in an easy-to-find place so you are not digging for them in the dark.
  7. You should already have a NOAA Weather Radio. If you don not have one, do yourself and your family a favor and spend the extra money next payday to buy one. The NOAA Weather Radio is an invaluable asset, especially if you cannot hear tornado sirens where you live, sirens do not wake you up when you are sleeping, or the power goes out so you cannot get Internet or TV news. The NOAA Weather Radio can SAVE YOUR LIFE!
  8. Make sure any prescription medication is easily accessible so you are not fumbling in the dark trying to find your pills. If you are running low on one and it is ready for a refill, take care of that now: not the day the storm is supposed to be on top of you.
  9. Your house should already have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher in it. Make sure everyone knows where those are at and they are easily accessible in the dark.
  10. Make sure you have a heat source in case you lose power: wood or Chemlogs for the fireplace (please make sure your chimney vent is open before lighting a fire), extra blankets, etc. If the power goes out, you can cover windows with blankets or sheets to help keep cold air at bay and keep the inside of the house warmer just a little bit longer. Close off unused rooms to keep the heat from moving into the rooms (and their cold air from moving into the used rooms). Place towels, rags, pillow cases, etc. along the bottom of doors or windows with bad weather stripping to keep the cold air out and the warmer air inside. Dress in layers.
  11. Don’t forget about your pets. Your pets need to come inside. It doesn’t matter if your pet is outside the rest of the year – your pet cannot handle single-digit temperatures and their food and water will freeze. Bring your pets inside and make sure they have plenty of food and water. Don’t forget to take into account your pets when getting bottled water.
  12. Talk to everyone in your household about safety and evacuation plans. Where is the safe places to hunker down within your house to ride out a storm? Where is a safe place to meet if you are separated during a storm event, evacuation, etc? Have a practice drill now and then (at least twice a year) to make sure everyone is familiar with the plan and can execute it properly.
  13. Have a “bug-out bag” ready to go. This doesn’t mean you need a prepper bag full of seeds and ammunition. It means you need the basics ready to go in case something happens (like a tree falling on your house, or a lightning strike causing a house fire). Underwear, change of clothes, toiletries, baby diapers, etc. One thing people often forget is important paperwork. Scan your important documents and put them on a small flash drive (or CD-R) that can go in your bag (marriage license/certificate, mortgage, insurance paperwork (auto,car & life), birth certificates, etc). This should be in your room where you can grab it quickly as you escape your house. Your bag should also contain some cash because an extended power outage means no credit card readers are going to be working.
  14. Make sure your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts are updated in your phone.

Stay calm. Don’t panic. Panic leads to bad decision making. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay safe and stay warm.

Best wishes, as always,
Blair

BWAHAHA 2/21 – 2/27

BWAHAHA (Blair’s Week Attempts at Haha’s) 2/21 – 2/27: I guess all that panic was worth it since Snowmageddon actually happened here in Alabama. Average snowfall for my area was 7.75″ with some places reporting over 9″. In my backyard we got 7.67″ (based on the average of five measurements on a large flat non-grass & non-concrete surface). That’s a lot of snow for Alabama. Our personal record at our house was 11.96″ back in 2011. The record for Huntsville was set in the 60’s at 17.1″. Craziness!!!! I’ll put up a blog entry for my storm chasing that day. And now we’ll likely get some more ice and snow this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Well, I guess we had it coming since we started issuing gay marriage licenses. <evil grin>

This week brought me a ray of happiness and sunshine as Jimmy did this on his show. One of the things that pisses me off the most is anti-vaxxers who espouse their ignorance every day and cause more and more people to fall for their claptrap, thus reducing herd immunity and bringing back diseases we had practically eliminated thanks to vaccines. So to see this on a mainstream show put a giant grin on my face. Way to go Jimmy!!!!

Then I found this gem. I don’t know how I missed this back in 2008, but I’m happy I found it today.

OTHER STUFF:

  • This storm is taking forever to get here. From 0300 to 0900 and now extended again. If it sits over us as long as it sat over Texas, we could see inches on the higher side of the “possible.” Or it’ll just fucking rain.
  • C'mon... you can do it! C'mon! C'mon! C'mon! My laughter will be covering up tears if it just frickin' rains here.

    C’mon… you can do it! C’mon! C’mon! C’mon! My laughter will be covering up tears if it just frickin’ rains here.

  • If you work out of the home, a “snow day” don’t mean a damn thing. Enjoy your day off assholes! ;)
  • A lot of people are talking about their sexual exploits from last night on social media. We don’t care how many inches you got last night!
  • “I’ve noticed that about your people, Doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million.” ‪#‎RIPSpock

140 CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS:

  • Momma said knock you out, Rick gonna knock you out! ‪#‎TWD‬ ‪#‎TheWalkingDead‬ ‪#‎deadbuzz‬
  • Wait... now I'm confused, is the ISIS Flag black and white or gold and blue? #TheDress

    Wait… now I’m confused, is the ISIS Flag black and white or gold and blue? #TheDress

  • Look at these gold-colored starving children! ‪#‎TheDress‬

    Look at these gold-colored starving children! ‪#‎TheDress‬

@MIDNIGHT #HASHTAGWARS:

  • Playing Chicken With Doing Dishes ‪#‎RoommatesIn5Words‬ @midnight
  • Oh, rents due? My bad. ‪#‎RoommatesIn5Words‬ @midnight
  • What is that fucking smell? ‪#‎RoommatesIn5Words‬ @midnight

CAPTION CENTRAL:

  • That's the appropriate level of security for those toys.

    That’s the appropriate level of security for those toys.

  • Oh look, the bathroom comes with an atheist baby changing station! (Mmm... BBQ baby!)

    Oh look, the bathroom comes with an atheist baby changing station! (Mmm… BBQ baby!)

  • It's cool 'til a drunk person stumbles and impales themselves. Of course, if it's a good party, no one will notice.

    It’s cool ’til a drunk person stumbles and impales themselves. Of course, if it’s a good party, no one will notice.