How the Weather Influenced Space-X Crew Dragon Launch and Landing

Many families with school-aged kids, including my own, were very excited to watch the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket, containing astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. Meteorology is a field where the public and private sectors have to intentionally collaborate, and so it was really neat to see another positive outcome of a successful working relationship between a private company (SpaceX) and a government agency (NASA) to launch American astronauts into space on American soil for the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

Courtesy: NASA.
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Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

With everything that is going on here on planet Earth and in the United States right now, I was so excited to read this interesting bit of news about a new visitor to the night sky and our solar system, Comet C/2020 F3, known as NEOWISE. My kids and I have had a lot of fun looking for the comet in the night sky, and so I thought that it might be fun to learn a little bit more about it. Most of us who study the weather are fascinated by ANY cool object or phenomenon in the sky, and I am no exception! I distinctly recall being an elementary school student back in 1986 and learning about Halley’s Comet. It was visible to the naked eye at the time, and returns to earth once every 75 years. I remember thinking how OLD I would be when it returned in 2061 (which doesn’t seem nearly so far away nowadays!!!). Comet NEOWISE will only return to earth about once every 6800 years, so this is something you will not want to miss seeing!

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The Famous Tuskegee Airmen…and Meteorologists

The Tuskegee Airmen were a highly respected fighter group formed in 1941. Prior to 1940, African-Americans were not permitted to fly with the U.S. military. Thanks to advocacy by civil rights groups and others, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed legislation in 1940 which prohibited racial restrictions on voluntary enlistments in the military and allowed African-Americans to serve in all branches of the Armed Forces, including the Army Air Corps (although on a segregated basis). This led to the development and founding of an African-American pursuit squadron to be based and trained at Tuskegee, Alabama.

Courtesy: Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
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Successfully Working From Home

Hello, and happy Thursday everyone! Today is April 9, and it has been three weeks since the first “stay-at-home” order was issued in California due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow, New York will hit the three week mark as well. It’s hard to describe what the last few weeks have looked like, especially since it has impacted each of us in so many different ways, but the two words that come to my mind – roller coaster. It has been a roller coaster of emotions, with constant news updates and changes to policies and regulations. On top of all that, many are now are adjusting to a new normal, working from home. As someone who regularly works at home, I know that it can come with it’s own unique challenges and distractions. However, I also know that working from home right now is even more difficult – whether you are transitioning your children into online learning, adjusting to having your significant other as your coworker, or are trying to cope with the loneliness of social isolation if you live alone. Whatever your circumstance, I hope this blog can help bring some ease to your day to day. We will get through this together!

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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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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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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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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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The Decade’s Biggest Weather & Climate Disasters

There is generally always a time of reflection at the end of the year, and even more so at the end of a decade. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is responsible for monitoring and assessing the climate, and one of the ways they so is by tracking and evaluating the climate events that have great economical and societal impacts. These include drought, flooding, freezes, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfires, and winter storms. We’ve gathered together a list of the ten events that had the greatest economic impact between 2010-2019. Note that the total cost of several events from 2019 are still being calculated, including:

  • Tropical Storm Imelda – September 2019; Imelda represents the fifth 500-year flood that has impacted a portion of southeast Texas over the last five years;
  • Hurricane Dorian – September 2019; Dorian’s intensification to a category 5 storm marks the fourth consecutive year, in which a maximum category 5 storm developed in the Atlantic basin – a new record;
  • Mississippi River, Midwest and Southern Flooding – July 2019; historic flooding impacting agriculture, roads, bridges, levees, dams and other assets across many cities and towns;
  • Arkansas River Flooding – June 2019; historic flooding impacts thousands of homes, cars and businesses  due a combination of high rivers, levee failure and persistently heavy rainfall from May 20 through mid-July;
  • Missouri River and North Central Flooding – March 2019; historic Midwest flooding inundates millions of acres of agriculture, numerous cities and towns and causes widespread damage to roads, bridges, levees and dams
Hurricane María approaching Puerto Rico on September 19, 2017. NOAA GOES-16 satellite image overlaid on NASA Blue Marble background image. Image by Tim Loomis, NOAA Satellites group. 
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