Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For April 13 – 20, 2019

Greetings to one and all! I hope your spring…or autumn…is going well. In the last week, we’ve had quite a round of severe weather across several states with all hazards, including tornadoes, having taken place. We’ve just observed Citizen Science Day and there are a two posts with great ways to take part in citizen science and collect or record weather data. Data from the USA’s Hurricane Michael was reevaluated and it’s become one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in USA history. As usual, there are plenty of severe weather preparedness infographics and links along with other topics, so let’s get started.

Hurricane Michael…now one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the USA.
Satellite image courtesy NOAA.
  1. Citizen Science Day was observed this past week. There are 2 ways you can indulge your weather geek…the 1st one is for the mPING app (iOS & Android) & helps research meteorologists gather data.
  2. The other weather Citizen Science Project is to join – CoCoRaHS: send in precipitation reports year round in the USA & Canada to help with important precipitation data records.
  3. Detecting small earthquakes can be a major challenge for seismologists. New data from studies done on California earthquakes show that small temblors occur up to ten times as often as previously thought.
  4. For Earth Day 2019, take your kids outside…and make sure you also get out and enjoy the magic of nature.
  5. The Earth’s global wind patterns are responsible for a great deal of weather events and also transport vast amounts of dust across continents and oceans. As of late, they’ve also been transporting micro-plastics to some of the most remote locations on the planet.
  6. A new research project from NASA further reinforces what many other studies have shown regarding global increases in temperature.
  7. Looking at climates of the past can give us valuable insight on climate patterns of the future. “A climate change preview: Trees at the South Pole, 60 feet of sea-level rise.”
  8. If you read any article about weather today, this excellent one by Dr. Marshall Shepherd should be THE one! “The Top 7 Most Unreasonable Expectations About Weather Forecasts.”
  9. NOAA has revised the rating of Hurricane Michael.
    Michael is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast.”
  10. Last but not least, the ugly side of selfish, immature, humanity brings itself to the surface when non-essential programming is momentarily interrupted by potentially life-saving weather information during a tornado warning.
    To everyone sending me death threats right now: you wouldn’t be saying a damn thing if a tornado was ravaging your home this afternoon. Lives are more important than 5 minutes of golf. I will continue to repeat that if and when we cut into programming to keep people safe.”


Here are some links and infographics that will provide a starting point for gathering online severe weather information. I hope you find plentiful information here that will help you become better prepared as we navigate one of the most volatile climactic seasons on our planet.

When severe weather is forecast, it is assigned a risk category. Hazards exist in all categories, hence it’s important to be aware of all of them. Note: tornadoes can and do occur even in Marginal Risk areas…and a Slight Risk does not mean that storms will be “slightly” severe.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

After thunderstorms form, they are carefully observed with Doppler Radar. This infographic explains how this amazing technology works and how its progressed over the years.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS/SPC

When severe weather is anticipated, a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch will be issued. It’s very important to know the difference between a Watch and a Warning.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS Amarillo

If a TORNADO WARNING is issued, it means you need to take cover immediately. Where you take cover can sometimes be a life-or-death situation.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS
Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

Here are more links that will help you prepare and stay informed during the severe weather season.

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.

Image 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! To my new followers, I’d like to extend a very warm “Welcome” and thank you for being a part of the fun. For my long-time followers, here’s a sincere “Thank You!” I appreciate all of the support and kind words!


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