Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For May 4 – 11, 2019

Greetings to one and all! The severe weather season across North America has been in full force the past few days with a number of very potent events. There’s a plethora of topics to cover this week, so let’s get started.

  1. The last twenty years has seen an unprecedented amount of information, news, editorials, op-eds, et al. available to the general public. The perilous, persistent dangers of misinformation have been around for centuries, but, as this thought provoking essay explains, can be more problematic in the 21st century. In spite of that, spreading misinformation is nothing new.
  2. This is a spectacular astronomical image with 265,000 galaxies visible from sixteen years of Hubble imagery. Let that number sink in and you get a sense of the vastness of the universe.
  3. This has been one of the biggest stories of the week…and for all the right reasons. The status and health of our planet, and close to a million species, is at stake. “The evidence is incontestable. Our destruction of biodiversity and ecosystem services has reached levels that threaten our well-being at least as much as human-induced climate change.”
  4. Disaster preparedness is an essential part of recovery from natural hazards. According to a new national index, many states that are the most vulnerable to natural disasters are the least prepared.
  5. This has been an active week for severe weather across the USA. A few images of sprites have been posted online. This is a fascinating phenomenon linked to lightning within strong to severe thunderstorms. Here’s a concise read on this amazing atmospheric spectacle.
  6. A fascinating read. “New research finds ocean activity may control the strength and intensity of summer monsoons. The results could help researchers predict how monsoons will change with warming oceans.”
  7. Never underestimate the powerful persuasion skills of children. They may be instrumental in helping climate change denialists to consider the sound science that exists.
  8. What happens when a raindrop hits a puddle? It’s more than just a tiny splash.
  9. This is a climate factor that few on this planet will not feel the effects of. “El Niño Is Now Stronger and Stranger, Coral Records Show.”
  10. Last but not least, here’s the latest NOAA State Of The Climate Report…this one is for April 2019. In April alone, there’s a preliminary count of 274 tornadoes.
Graphic courtesy NOAA


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.

Testing your NOAA weather year round is one of the best ways to stay informed on weather conditions for your area regardless of the season. Many National Weather Service offices conduct weekly tests. It’s also a good idea to replace the batteries in your NOAA weather radio when you change batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

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

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, Texas, USA
Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

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

If a TORNADO WARNING is issued and you are in the warned area, there are good options and bad options for taking shelter. The choice can sometimes be a life-and-death decision. Bad options have killed countless people in recent years.

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

Preparing Your Pets For Disasters And Emergencies Basic Disaster Supply Kit Info

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! To my new followers, I’d like to extend a sincere “Welcome” and thank you for being a part of the fun. For my long-time followers, your loyalty is deeply appreciated. Thanks so much for the support and kind words!


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