Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For March 16 – 23, 2019

Greetings to one and all. This has been a very eventful week across a vast area of our planet. Cyclone Idai has devastated a significant part of southern Africa with almost 1,5 million people affected and a death toll that will no doubt be rising for some time. The humanitarian crisis is beyond description. Meanwhile, the central plains USA has been under the wrath of unprecedented flooding that may go on for weeks. The severe weather season has gotten off to a robust start across much of the USA. The infographic below shows how your mobile device can be crucial to you getting severe weather watch and warning information.

There are plenty of other topics to cover, so let’s get started.

  1. Before NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover said it’s final goodbye, it captured some spectacular images that have to be seen to be believed.
  2. For my fellow dinosaur lovers, an intriguing read. “There are More Dinosaurs to Discover from the Time of T. rex
  3. Recycling is an exceptionally important part of improving the health of our environment and reducing waste. Recently, China’s decision to no longer take a vast amount of recyclables is causing ramifications from Australia to the USA.
  4. There’s an irrevocable link between air quality and public health. In spite of progress made in recent decades, air pollution remains a significant health hazard. While this article focuses some on the UK, it is applicable the world over. “Deadly Air In Our Cities: The Invisible Killer.”
  5. This is a clear cut of ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face.’ To remove science from clean air standards is inhumanely irresponsible.
  6. While variations in severe weather activity vary in the USA from year to year, this interesting map from NOAA can show your monthly risk of severe weather. Move the slider button at the bottom of the map to highlight the climatological activity of severe weather occurrence. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that severe weather, including tornadoes, has occurred in many regions during all seasons…including winter.
  7. This spring 2019 outlook from NOAA has an ominous note…the possibility of further flooding in the USA could continue into May.
  8. As of 21 March 2019, the staggering humanitarian crisis in Africa in the wake of Cyclone Idai is getting worse by the day. In the USA, the central Midwestern states are dealing with record setting flooding with billions of dollars in damage. Both of these stories are still developing and updates are
  9. One of the most tragic elements of any severe weather event are fatalities and injuries that could have been avoided if warnings and forecasts had been heeded by the general public. The common refrain is, “We had no warning.” or “We’ve never seen anything like this before.” The social science dimension is crucial to understanding public reaction to life-saving warning information.
  10. The latest State Of The Climate report from NOAA is out…February 2019 was yet another month that has set a world-wide climate record being the fifth warmest February on record for the globe.
Infographic courtesy NOAA


One crucial element to being “severe weather savvy” is understanding the process of severe weather outlooks and local forecasts and warnings. 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. Your local National Weather Service office determines whether or not a thunderstorm meets severe criteria. The infographic below clearly explains what defines a severe thunderstorm.

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 Emergency Kit checklist from the American Red Cross is very helpful in assisting you while you compile items for your kit. A kit like this should be available year round…there are many winter weather scenarios where the same items will come in handy.

Infographic courtesy American Red Cross

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 very 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!


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