Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For March 2 – 9, 2019

Greetings to one and all! I hope that, for my friends and followers in the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological spring is off to a good start for you. In the USA, spring got off to a tragic start with several strong to violent tornadoes occurring in the southeastern states. We’ll look at several links related to those tornadoes this week. I’ve also included links and infographics regarding severe weather preparedness. With severe weather events becoming more numerous, it’s that time of year to be very severe weather aware. There are several interesting topics to cover, so let’s get started.

  1. “It is dangerous to have national security analysis conform to politics.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Former Defense Leaders Warn White House It’s ‘Dangerous’ To Downplay Climate Change.”
  2. As the battle lines harden, the “weather wars” are taking on a new dimension and ferocity. “How the Weather Gets Weaponized in Climate Change Messaging.”
  3. In parts of the Northern Hemisphere, sea ice is at record low levels. “Arctic sea ice extent for February 2019 was the seventh lowest in the satellite record for the month, tying with 2015. So far this winter, sea ice extent has remained above the 2017 record low maximum.”
  4. We often hear about heatwaves when they occur over land masses, but understanding the importance of heat waves over oceans is equally important.
  5. Here’s an excellent essay from Dr. Marshall Shepherd and his take on the Alabama, Florida, and Georgia tornado outbreak. “Four Forecast And Messaging Takeaways From The Southern Tornado Outbreak.”
  6. Meteorologist Dan Satterfield has also written and excellent essay that touches on many ‘hot button’ topics…one of which is the fallacy that ‘tornado warning sirens’ are useful in saving lives. “Thoughts on the Lee County Alabama Tornado: Worthless Sirens and Unsafe Mobile Homes.”
  7. When meteorologists from the National Weather Service conduct damage surveys, they are faced with an exceptionally daunting task. Here’s a concise overview of how those surveys are done from the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama.
  8. The Capital Weather Gang has also written a thought provoking article on the recent tornadoes. Regardless of the technology available and warning network, tragedies such as this are inevitable. “A Great Forecast But A Deadly Tornado Tragedy In Alabama. What Went Wrong?”
  9. I wouldn’t go so far as to blame society, but there are some other valid points in the essay. People die in tornadoes due to a number of factors that are not addressed here…the most glaring void is the absence of the fact that in a violent (EF-4/EF-5) tornado, underground shelters are often the only safe places. “Nearly all tornadoes are survivable, so why are people still dying?”
  10. Placing the 3 March 2019 tornado outbreak in a historical perspective is essential to understanding tornado behavior, occurrence, and your personal risk.


The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) will issue daily thunderstorm outlooks. The risk categories can run from ‘general’ thunderstorms to the very rare High Risk scenarios. Understanding what each risk category means is very important. Equally important is to remember than Marginal or Slight does not mean that storms will be ‘marginally’ or ‘slightly’ severe. Tornadoes have occurred on Marginal Risk days. The SPC has further information on risk categories at this page.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

National Weather Service Homepage

Storm Prediction Center

National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center

NOAA Weather Radio

Interactive NOAA Weather Radio Coverage Map

Sky Watcher Cloud Chart: An excellent 2 page PDF file from NOAA and NASA on cloud types and and information on how clouds form.

Tornadoes, Lightning, & Thunderstorms: Nature’s Most Violent Storms (PDF file)

Tornado Safety Rules from the Storm Prediction Center

Highway Overpasses As Tornado Shelters (Slide Presentation)

The Online Tornado FAQ

Facts About Derechos

American Red Cross Severe Weather Safety Information

Flash Flooding: Turn Around, Don’t Drown Basic Disaster Supply Kit Info

Preparing Your Pets For Disasters And Emergencies

This excellent preparedness checklist from the American Red Cross can be used in a myriad of preparedness scenarios year round.

Please keep in mind that ONLY your local National Weather Service office, NOAA Weather Radio, or reliable broadcast media are the BEST sources of important, timely, and potentially life-saving weather information, watches, and warnings! None of the links on this page should be used for life-&-death decisions or the protection of property!

That’s a wrap for this post I’d like to extend a warm “Welcome” to my new followers in social media and a sincere “Thank You” for my long-time followers! Thanks to all of you for all the support and kind words. Your friendship and loyalty is appreciated a great deal!


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