Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For May 18 – 25, 2019

Greetings everyone! I hope the weather’s to your liking no matter where you live. Here in the Great Plains of the USA, it’s been a wild May with a significant amount of severe weather activity complete with numerous tornadoes and record setting floods across many states. There’s plenty to review this week, so let’s get started.

  1. Communicating scientific concepts and theories to the general public is one of the most daunting challenges scientists (and citizen scientists) will face. Often, misunderstanding how science and the scientific method fosters an atmosphere of anti-science hostility. Here’s an interesting and informative read on how to reverse the assault on science that has been going full steam in recent years.
  2. By the year 2100, sea level rise could reach levels that are much more than currently feared.
  3. If you’ve ever had a sneaking suspicion that China isn’t living up to it’s environmental obligations, you would be correct. They’re not only playing dice with their citizens, but life as we know it the world over.
  4. For some regions of our planet, it’s “double trouble” with a health endangering fight between air pollution and increases in CO2.
  5. Our planet’s biodiversity is bigger than most of us can comprehend. Here’s an interesting look at how the biodiversity is allocated…and how much it would weigh.
  6. Are hurricanes getting stronger and is climate change playing a part? According to some new data, the answer is in the affirmative.
  7. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK is like no other weather forcasting office in the world. Here’s an inside view of how this amazing part of NOAA works.
  8. The latest State Of The Climate report is out. “The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for April 2019 was the second highest for the month of April in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature was the third warmest January–April on record.”
  9. The latest USA Drought Monitor has some surprising news. Drought coverage for the USA has hit a 20 year low. Unfortunately, this has come at the expense of dangerous flooding across several great plains states.
  10. Last but not least, the NOAA Atlantic hurricane season outlook has been released. There are many variables involved, but as of now, a relatively normal season is expected.
Infographic 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 radio 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 NWS Amarillo, Texas
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
Infographic courtesy NWS Norman, OK

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

One of the most onerous and dangerous behaviors during severe weather is the practice of “sheltering’ under an overpass. Under no circumstances should anyone engage in this life-threatening activity.

Infographic courtesy NWS Norman, OK

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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