The Nashville Tornadoes of March 2-3, 2020

Although life as we all know it has changed since this weather event only about a month ago, and even since just a few weeks ago when I wrote this post, we are still committed to reviewing past weather events, providing weather safety information, and generally discussing interesting meteorology topics via this blog. While we realize that life is not normal for so many of us, we hope that by continuing to blog on these important topics gives you, our readers, a sense of consistency and normalcy when everything in the world is changing by the minute.

I would also be remiss not to mention that, between the time which this blog was written a few weeks ago and the time it was pushed live to our website, yet another tragic round of severe weather impacted parts of the Southeast and Midwest on March 28. Numerous thunderstorms caused widespread wind damage and at least 30 reported tornadoes from Iowa and Illinois south to Kentucky and Arkansas. One of the largest was an EF-3 tornado which hit the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas. At least 83 homes were destroyed, and although there were 22 injuries, thankfully no fatalities were reported. The weather keeps marching on, further compounding and complicating the difficult situation of quarantine and social distancing which is already in effect due to the ongoing pandemic.

That being said, this blog post will focus on the deadly tornadoes which impacted the Nashville area on March 2 and 3, 2020.

On the evening of March 2 into March 3, deadly tornadoes marched through central Tennessee and made a direct hit on the city of Nashville. The storms were particularly deadly because some of the strongest impacts occurred after dark and during the overnight hours when most people were sleeping. At least 24 people lost their lives as a result of these storms, including at least five children under age 13. Countless others suffered injuries, and tens of thousands were left without power and suffered damage to their homes. While the most common time of day for tornadoes to occur is late afternoon or early evening, they can occur at any time of day. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that came together to create such a high-impact event.

Putnam County, TN tornado damage. Courtesy: National Weather Service.
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Third Thursday Interview: Kathryn Prociv

Can you believe we’re already this far into March and at the spring equinox? Additionally, we are again at the Third Thursday of the month, which means it is time for our next interview with a colleague to learn more about how she is using her experience and knowledge in the field of meteorology.
These interviews are so much fun for us, because even though we are professional colleagues of the individuals we will profile in the coming months, it is always fun to learn more about them as people as well! This month, our Third Thursday guest interview is with Kathryn Prociv, CCM. I had the privilege of getting to know Kathryn while she was taking her CCM exam last year. I immediately found her engaging, interesting, and very knowledgeable. I hope you find her story as interesting as I did!

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Preparedness in Times of Uncertainty

What a week it has been! At this time last week, I was driving down to Rockland County, New York on the first absolutely beautiful spring day we’ve had, expecting to appear at a trial later that day. My student intern and I were having a great conversation, and the drive was smooth and uneventful. As events turned out, I found myself (and my intern) driving back down to Rockland County on Wednesday. By the time we were on our way home, life as we knew it was quickly beginning to unravel. Her college made the move to online classes for the remainder of the semester, and in the coming days everything else quickly followed with closures and cancellations coming too fast to keep up with.

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Counting down to the Spring (Vernal) Equinox

In just one week, spring will have officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Although the winter here in upstate New York has been relatively mild in terms of temperatures, the frequency of days on which a cold rain has occurred has me anxiously awaiting the increased sunshine and longer days to come in the next few months. Although we wrote a blog post last year on why we have the seasons, I thought it would be fun to look at some little known facts about the spring, or vernal equinox.

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March Madness – And We Aren’t Talking Basketball

NCAA March Madness officially runs from March 17 through April 7 this year, but that’s not what this blog is about! March is here, spring is just around the corner, and we are entering one of the wildest months for weather. As one of the “shoulder” or transition months between winter and spring, March is known for a smorgasbord of wild weather events. Extreme cold? Check. Extreme heat? Check. Blizzards? Check. Tornadoes? Check. Flooding? Check. Let’s take a look back at some of the most historical weather events that have occurred in the third month of the year.

The National Weather Service in Cheyenne’s parking Lot in the thick of a blizzard in March 2019. Photo by NWS MIC Jeff Garmon.
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The National Weather Service Turns 150

On February 9, 2020, the National Weather Service celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation. While many people are aware of the important services that this agency provides in support of its mission to protect lives and property, you may not be aware of some of the unique history of the agency, the role it has played in our history, and how technological advances have helped to improve the science of weather forecasting by leaps and bounds in the last 150 years.

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Third Thursday Interview: Cordie Goodrich

Hello, and happy Thursday everyone! We are so excited to introduce our newest series – Third Thursdays! On the third Thursday of every month, we will be profiling someone in the sciences that inspires us. We believe that everyone has a story, and we can all learn something from each person. Throughout our careers and lives, we have been fortunate to meet people from varied backgrounds and walks of life. Through this blog, we hope to share their stories….to inspire and motivate you, to entertain you, and to make learning about science easy, accessible, and fun! We hope you enjoy our newest series, and without further ado….I introduce to you all, Cordie Goodrich!

I first met Cordie last year when we were in a mutual friend’s wedding together. Cordie is one of those people you meet and instantly like – she is witty, kind, charismatic….I could go on and on! When I began brainstorming a list of rockstars for our Third Thursday series, several people came to mind and Cordie was among them. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what she did…but she’s been to Antarctica and her Instagram stories of “work” frequently showed her jetting around on a boat in Bermuda. So basically, living her best life while working, and if there was ever a candidate for a Third Thursday interview, Cordie was it!

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What’s Weather Have to do with Building Basements?

Depending on where you live in the country, basements might be the norm…or they might be more of an added bonus. I grew up in Alabama (without a basement) and never gave it much thought, until my fiance and I moved back to my home state a few months ago. We began looking around at potential homes, and he asked why basements are so uncommon here. Since he grew up in Ohio, nearly every home he had spent time in while growing up had a basement.

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Fog: A Ground and Air Transportation Hazard

Even if you are not a basketball fan, you no doubt heard the news of the passing of LA Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and 7 other people in a helicopter crash in southern California last week. The tragic news sent shock waves across the nation. As the parent of a teenage daughter who is a basketball player nearly year-round, I found this tragedy personally very difficult to process, especially upon learning that there were teammates, coaches, and parents who were scheduled to play a game that day on the doomed flight. The children, families, and coaches left behind will be dealing with this loss for a long time to come. As I sat down to write this blog post today, I was going to write on an entirely different topic, but given the thoughts in my mind, I thought it would be timely to use the opportunity to talk a bit about the hazard that fog presents to both ground and aviation travel.

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