Tag: Paul Douglas

Backed up traffic on highway
August 4

Searching for Best Practices: Hurricane Evacuations During a Pandemic

Focused evacuations and new sheltering options may help to lower risk. Hurricane evacuations are chaotic under the best of circumstances. But the specter of evacuees trying to outrun a hurricane and a deadly bug sounds like something out of a dark Stephen King novel. “Why would I leave the safety of my home to mingle with unknown, potentially un-masked strangers in hotels and auditoriums who might be infected with Covid-19? Why expose my family to additional risk? I’ll just stay where I am and take my chances with the storm.” Which may be precisely what not to do with a...

Large weather disaster
February 27

Weather and Climate Disasters Are Increasing Across the U.S.

Many days the news headlines sound like a movie trailer for The Apocalypse. For many years I’ve wondered if media and social media are merely doing a better/faster job of reporting weather extremes that have been fairly constant over time, or is a warmer, wetter, more volatile atmosphere loading the dice in favor of more meteorological mayhem? Billion-dollar weather disasters have roughly tripled since 1980. Don’t believe me? Compare a recent insurance bill from something you paid 20 or 30 years ago. All of us are paying a price for an uptick in extreme weather. Is this a cosmic coincidence?...

tropical storm Sebastian
October 3

Is It Time to Scrap the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Rating Scale?

MIT Tropical Expert: “The Saffir-Simpson scale is deeply deficient and should be discarded.” Science evolves over time. Our understanding of the natural world improves as new technology comes online, leveraging more granular, reliable, repeatable data sets. The science of meteorology, like every other science, is a moving target. The Fujita tornado rating scale was upgraded and enhanced in 2006 to better reflect observed wind damage. NOAA is launching WSSI, the Winter Storm Severity Index, a new, experimental winter storm rating scale with five categories. Sound familiar? Is it time to rethink the Saffir-Simpson rating scale for hurricanes, which only predicts...

Hurricane From Space
July 11

Steps to Take Before a Hurricane Arrives

“Hurricanes have killed more people in the last 50 years than any other natural cataclysm” according to MIT meteorology professor and tropical scientist Kerry Emanuel. I’m an old Eagle Scout, and the motto: “Be Prepared” is as relevant today as ever. Get out in front of risk. Take steps (now) to avoid serious problems (later). That mindset certainly applies to the biggest, wildest, most terrifying storms on the planet. What have I learned tracking these fickle weather beasts over the course of 4 decades? Don’t count on the latest technology or the government to save you. At the end of...

Tornado Damage
June 7

6 Takeaways From The Biggest Swarm of U.S. Tornadoes Since 2011

America’s tornado drought is officially over. The last few years have been relatively quiet, with few large, violent tornadoes. In 2018 there were no tornado-related deaths in traditional Tornado Alley, stretching from Texas to Iowa. But so far in 2019, 31 Americans have lost their lives to tornadoes, nature’s most extreme, unpredictable and capricious wind storms. In the last 2 weeks at least 366 tornadoes have been observed east of the Rockies. Once again, the United States is living up to its reputation as the tornado capital of the planet. Over the last couple weeks I’ve watched in morbid fascination...

satellite image of earth with hurricane
March 8

Rapid Ocean Warming Poses New Challenges for Tropical Cyclone Prediction

Better Hurricane Forecasts Will Require Near-Real-Time, Deep Ocean Monitoring “How many more eyewall replacement cycles before landfall? Let me check the latest real-time, deep ocean temperature anomalies first”. This scenario may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Recent studies confirm warming of the world’s oceans is taking place faster than previously estimated; as much as 40% faster than the United Nations estimated in 2015. The implications of warming seas include stronger and more rapidly-intensifying hurricanes and more extreme rainfall amounts. Research confirms roughly 93% of the additional warming from man-made greenhouse gases is going into the world’s oceans. Climate...

Historical Weather
February 14

The Power of Historical Weather Data

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 15

The Extended Outlook Calls for Customized Advisories

NOAA issues advisories; special alerts that instantly quantify risk to life and property at a given GPS location. At a glance, users can gauge threat levels and take necessary precautions. AerisWeather supports 120 different NOAA weather and civil advisories for the United States, with another 45 additional advisories issued by Environment Canada, because weather threats don’t stop at the U.S. border. Advisories can be categorized by type, creating a more manageable subset of the comprehensive master list, ie. flood advisories, wind-related advisories, fire-related advisories, etc. The advisory list is inclusive and comprehensive; everything from Avalanche Warnings and Ice Storm Warnings...

November 20

Coming Soon: Category 4 Winter Storms?

Capital Gang meteorologist Sammy Sleet here, with an update on the crazy Nor’easter impacting the Mid-Atlantic states this morning. Latest models are in, and the good folks at NOAA have upgraded this system to a rare Category 4! A combination of heavy, wet snow, ice and high winds will result in severe coastal flooding and power outages. Travel in many communities west of I-95 may become impossible later today as snowfall rates increase – best to hunker down and stay put until this beast blows over. You heard it right, a Category 4 winter storm is on the way! A...