Articles by Paul Douglas

Hurricane Blog
August 30

Minimizing Tropical Storm Risk With Real-Time Weather Data

by Paul Douglas Meteorologists track storms of all shapes and sizes, but there is nothing quite as awe-inspiring and destructive as a major landfalling hurricane. These Texas-size whirlwinds of trouble produce a weather-trifecta of risk: storm surge, high winds, and inland flooding. Called typhoons in the western Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean, they are identical in structure and formation; drawing warmth from the oceans and converting it into raging spiral bands of shrieking winds and blinding rain. The lighter the winds aloft and warmer the seas, the greater the potential for a cluster of thunderstorms to strengthen into a...

July 24

Flooding Frequency and Intensity are Increasing – Are You Factoring the Latest Trends?

by Paul Douglas A tropical storm named “Agnes” flooded my home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1972; a traumatic event that ultimately led me to pursue a degree in meteorology at nearby Penn State. Many of us have a flood-related story or close encounter, and rising water is impacting more Americans with every passing year. There is precedent for concern: according to NOAA only extreme heat has claimed more American lives over the last 30 years. In fact, flooding is the costliest natural disaster in the United States. It accounted for more than $268 billion in damage in 2017, a number...

Lightning Strike Blog
June 6

Harnessing the Power of Lightning Strikes

by Paul Douglas “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work” said, Mark Twain. Most of us have had a close call with lightning and no wonder. Cloud to ground lightning strikes the Earth approximately 50 times a second – roughly 1.4 billion flashes every year. According to NOAA, an average of 47 Americans are struck and killed by lightning annually – deadlier than tornadoes and hurricanes many years. Lightning is terrifying and vaguely mysterious – scientists don’t begin to have all the answers. But it serves a purpose in nature. These crackling electrostatic...

May 21

Leveraging Global Air Quality for Business

by Paul Douglas An old joke insists that Californians don’t trust air they can’t actually see. Unfortunately, air pollution is no laughing matter. According to recent research, more than 95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air, contributing to more than 6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. In the US alone studies suggest 7,000 to as many as 200,000 premature deaths occur annually as a result of unhealthy air. At this rate, a conservative estimate can state that air pollution claims as many lives as traffic accidents each year. The statistics are staggering, but the first step is understanding. Air...

Tornadic Activity (3-20-2018)
March 27

Multiple Strands of Evidence – Severe Weather is Increasing Worldwide

by Paul Douglas It’s definitely not your grandfather’s weather anymore. Data suggest an uptick in severe weather, worldwide – symptomatic of a warming atmosphere and warming oceans. It’s basic physics: every 2F of warming means roughly 8 percent more water vapor floating overhead; more fuel to “juice” storms and produce heavier summer rains and winter snows. The result has been a subsequent increase in billion-dollar weather events across the United States since 1980. The United States has experienced 25 separate 500-year floods since 2010, according to NOAA. During Hurricane Harvey, the town of Nederland, Texas received 64.58” of rain. By...

Historical Weather
February 14

The Power of Historical Weather

by Paul Douglas “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana Meteorologists are preoccupied with predicting some future state of the atmosphere. Too many days it’s a thankless, seemingly impossible task. To have any real success forecasting the weather it’s essential to look back in time to see what already happened, and why? Our humbling new reality: every storm is different, each weather scenario uniquely challenging. The atmosphere has never been identical to the one outside your window right now. The only way to accurately model the future is to analyze the past, with...

January 17

The Extended Outlook Calls for Real-Time, Streaming Weather Alerts

by Paul Douglas As a meteorologist, one of my daily responsibilities has always been to forecast the weather – both for consumers and businesses alike. When issuing a forecast, I’m free to look at the data and models and issue my own forecast: I can make a subjective prediction that differs from my competitors, or the National Weather Service (NWS). But, the NWS is the ONLY U.S. agency that issues official alerts for threatening weather conditions, in any form. If every forecaster issued their own weather alerts, the result would be chaos, widespread confusion, with a much greater risk of...