Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snowfall Numbers Through the End of February

Over the last 4 winters, the snowfall ups and downs have been significant. Here are the seasonal snowfall totals through the end of February over the last 4 winters (This winter, 2011-12, 2010-11 & 2009-10)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Do I Like The Most About Television Meteorology?

When people ask me what I like the best about my job as a television meteorologist, I explain that its the perfect right brained-left brained activity. Its like solving equations while painting a picture. Most seem surprised at my answer and reply "It must be super-cool to work on TV everyday". Here is my reply.

While it is fun each morning working on the number one morning show in Cleveland, it requires alot of work that unfortunately most people don't see. The left brained element of my job--analyzing the meteorology-- while challenging, isn't the hardest part. Telling the story in a concise manner--the right brained element--was and still is the challenge. Let me explain both in detail:

First thing I do in the morning is analyze the latest computer model forecast data from different layers of the atmosphere. My browser lights up with about 23 individual tabs with each housing a separate set of data either in text or graphical form. Some animate, some are static. Before leaving for work, I have a good mental picture of the weather setup for the day. I eliminate any computer model that has a bias to the specific weather situation. Some models handle certain weather patterns differently than others. Once I get to work, I make final adjustments to the overall forecast using the final National Weather Service discussion and other summaries. There might be a forecast element you missed so its essential to not discount the NWS. This completes the left brained side of my job. The science is done.

As I drive to work each day, the right-brained part begins. I literally envision the weather forecast in a storyboard. This helps tremendously in "writing" the story which I will convey to the viewer. Once I get to the station, I take this storyboard and begin to select the graphical elements that best illustrate my mental picture. Our weather system has 3D animations, static pictures, computer simulations of weather data and many forecast elements that are "pulled out" of other graphics through "hot spots" embedded in the graphic triggered by my hand live on the air! (The trick is remembering is where you embedded all that stuff!) All of these aid in creating a strong slide show that is both visual, informative and most of all relevant to the weather of the day. Remember that we don't read a teleprompter. We present the weather forecast and all of its elements extemporaneously. A good way to remember it is the right brained part is made up of three separate elements: Visualization, illustration and presentation. All of these elements are dependent on the other. All are necessary to TELL THE STORY! By the way, none of this counts the separate elements that I create for social networking sites (Facebook, twitter) and other blog posts.

During the show, I often research topics to write about while juggling weather segments from both inside the studio and outside in the FOX8 front yard. All the while, listening to the show for changes and the well placed time cues from the producer in my earpiece. Its like carrying on a conversation while listening to music counting the beat in each measure! Its an exercise in multitasking.

So you see that television isn't at all about being famous. Its not about being glamorous. There is this perception that being in front of a camera on a television news program would be the closest thing to being a movie star. In this era of reality television where seemingly everyday people attain fame and fortune I can see why. The idea of having your "15 minutes of fame" can be very alluring to some. The attention you receive for working on a television show can be very intoxicating to the poorly initiated and inexperienced often blinding you of what really matters. That is "TELLING THE STORY". The main focus of any television reporter, anchor or meteorologist should be telling the story to your best ability, for the benefit of the viewer and to continue to tell the story better each time using all of the tools available! That's more rewarding than being in front of a camera. Unfortunately for many, this often times takes a back seat to the feeling of being in the limelight.

For me, its always been about having a job that stimulates my left brain and right brain. Its about pushing yourself to improve. Its about honing your craft of telling the story....while have some fun in the process.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wintery Mix Breaking Apart...

Friday morning update shows temps in the lower 20s. Bursts of snow in western areas, not much in Cleveland east or south. As temperatures climb, any remaining spotty snow will transition to on and off sleet and freezing rain. Little accumulation. Expect temps to rise into the mid 30s by noon with some drizzle...40s to the west by late afternoon

Friday, February 15, 2013

Russian Meteor Explosion - What We Know Now

No, Meteorologists don't study meteors. However, in times like this when a meteor impacts the earth, we are usually called upon to shed light on the scientific specifics. Here is what we know: * This was a random event * According to the European Space Angency, there is no relation to the asteroid expected to pass within the orbits of geostationary satellites later Friday. * The Russian meteor was moving between roughly 20-30,000 mph and exploded at an altitude of 30,000 feet about 930 miles east of Moscow. * Its initial size is estimated to be around 10 tons. * The damage was caused by the shock wave from the blast NOT its impact with the ground. This pressure pulse (sonic boom) caused windows and doors to blow out. Security camera video shows this perfectly. * After the blast, pieces of the main meteor rained down damaging roofs to buildings. The size of those smaller pieces isn't know yet. Meteor explosions in the atmosphere are not uncommon. Most of the time, these meteors explode or fall into the ocean. Remember that the earth is 75% water. Meteors this size (10 tons) are not as common. GREAT VIDEO COMPILATION of the meteor event. We will know more information about this event by the end of the day.

Friday, February 08, 2013

New England Snowstorm Update

Radar is still showing the two system phasing together...given the wind gusts tonight, thousands of people will be without power by Saturday. CURRENT RADAR LOOP LINK

Winds will exceed 60-70 mph along the coast
Sea surface temperatures are well above normal along the coast which according to some, might be amplifying the moisture content within the storm hence the high snow numbers..After looking at the actual sea surface temperatures, the numbers are not that high (in fact fairly cool) so the connection between higher precipitation amounts and the sea surface temperatures might not be as clear cut. In fact, a study done in 1988 says that "Surface energy fluxes had no significant impact on the development during the 24 hour period of rapid deepening" (courtesy Dr Ryan Maue)
Snow forecast amounts still showing 25"+ inches in eastern Massachusetts.

New England Nor-Easter Update

An historical New England storm is developing rapidly.

The National Weather Service office in Boston released this URGENT MESSAGE.....

Winter storm warnings and Blizzard warnings are posted for most of New England

The RPM model shows the circulation center off of the coast tonight

Initial snowfall forecasts could exceed 24 inches!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

New England Blizzard Snowfall Update

The models are in better agreement showing the areas with heavy snow. The question is whether or not the higher model output numbers (30"+) will continue in the next runs today and tonight. Here is the 12Z hi resolution NAM snowfall accumulations forecast. Notice the two bulls eyes of 30"+ circled in black.

Updates later today and this evening...

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Trip to Okinawa: Awesome "Random" Photos

I made it a point to do several things while overseas:

1. Observe everything: People watch. Look for subtle cultural nuances
2. Experience as much of the culture as possible.
3. Eat only Japanese food.
4. Try to converse in basic Japanese, i.e. "Please, Thank You, Hello, Good-bye"
5. Don't attempt to drive (they drive on the left side of the street)
6. Take as many pictures as possible that show the uniqueness of the culture even if it seems a bit strange

(All 6 goals were met until one dinner when the only viable option was a steak. I didn't complain.)

...Which brings me to number 6.

Normally, I focus on taking pictures of nature. An island in the Pacific offers infinite possibilities. The city also provides a great landscape for shots that tell a story of the metropolis--the city and its complex movements big and small frozen in time.

I couldn't help but see the many signs that don't translate well into English.

Some signs just make you laugh...what kind of coffee show is this?!

People are not laid to rest in cemeteries in Okinawa. Above ground tombs are used. They are located in some of the strangest places. These tombs are about the size of a shed; made of stone and marble.

Beverage vending machines are all over the place. They have both cold and warm beverages.

You'll find them EVERYWHERE and the most random places. Here is one that is next to a tomb. The service truck pulls up, fills the machine and goes on his way.

Forget, IHOP. Here, some restaurants have a conveyor belt with all kinds of sushi rotating around the restaurant.

You had better finish your dinner or this guy will rough you up!

Want a snack of almond and fish?

Snakes in booze.

One random observation:  I continued to follow the changing weather here in Ohio while overseas. I had to Google the link to the Storm Prediction Center website to find severe weather updates. Normally a Google search of "SPC" in the States yields the "Storm Prediction Center" website at the top. In Japan, the Storm Prediction Center was no where to be seen. However, the 11th listing for "SPC" in Japan was "Supergirls".  I didn't investigate further.

Monday, February 04, 2013

My Trip to Okinawa in Pictures: Post #1

Shuri Castle in Okinawa

My trip to the other side of the planet was an adventure. Navigating airports both here in the U.S. and abroad was a trip in and of itself.  What continues to amaze me after years of flying from Mexico to Europe and around the U.S. is the commercial flight machine. I check in at Hopkins Airport, receive my boarding passes for all of the connections around the world!  The whole process in an involuntary process like breathing:  It happens yet we think nothing of it.

Its so easy to take this complex system of airports, airplanes and airlines now all connected to reservation sites like & for granted. Consider that thousands of flights occurs globally each day at all hours of the night transporting tens of millions of people each day, its amazing that the air travel system with all of these various parts and people function--in most cases--with such a high level of efficiency.  But I digress...

As for jet lag, I didn't have a problem when I first got there. Once home in northern Ohio after 22 hours of flying each way with at least an hours worth of delays combined along with passport and customs checks, my body was thrown off and still is somewhat.  Since normally I am up at 1:50AM for work, adjusting back to normal time has been much easier than expected.

I took more than 400 photos while visiting Okinawa. I narrowed these 400 down to 61. Here are 16 of them focusing on nature.  Enjoy!

Tree stripped of branches from several typhoons

More stripped trees on the beach now coming back

Rock formation with erosion carved base from ocean water

230 foot cliff at Hedo Point - Northern tip of Okinawa
Hedo Point Cliff

Cave stalactites below Okinawa World

Banyon Tree

Midday overlooking a South China Sea inlet

South China Sea

Picture of resort from 1500 feet over the South China Sea

Aerial look of South China Sea coastline with shallow ocean, sediment deposits

Okinawa highlands from 1500 feet. Pacific Ocean in background

Sunset over the South China Sea