Summertime Safety

Hey y’all, happy Thursday! Tomorrow is the first day of May, and although summer doesn’t technically begin until June 20, it already feels like summer in my soul – and my backyard (hello Alabama warmth, I’ve missed you!) As we embark on the warmest time of year, I thought it might be a good time to refresh ourselves on summer safety tips as we plan for those backyard barbecues, beach and lake days, and more time spent outdoors in general!

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Ask Me Anything: Weather for Students

Hi guys! Welcome to our first Ask Me Anything, where we reached out to students of all ages to ask what their biggest questions about the weather were. We received some great questions, and we are so excited to answer them here!

Please feel free to ask questions at any time by filling out our question form, and we will be sure to answer them at a future AMA event!

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NOAA Profiles: Storm Prediction Center

In the past, we have blogged about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and discussed how the agency works. The overarching mission of NOAA is to predict and understand the climate, oceans, weather, as well as to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. In this unprecedented time in history which we now find ourselves living in, many of these faithful civil servants continue to report to work to do their jobs and protect the public. Many of these individuals are working from home like so many of us, but many also must continue to commute to their workplace to do their jobs; the vast volume of weather data and the difficult task of issuing warnings and forecasts is not possible to do from a personal desktop or laptop computer. Kelly and I are both married (or in Kelly’s case, soon to be married!) to meteorologists who work for NOAA (my husband works for the National Weather Service at a local Weather Forecast office, while Kelly’s husband works for National Weather Service at the National Water Center), and we are so grateful for them and their coworkers who truly model what civil service means.

I thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper into some of the agencies which make up NOAA, highlighting a little bit more of the invaluable work they do and how they contribute to NOAA’s mission. Since we are heading into the peak of severe weather season, it seemed like a great time to learn a little bit more about the Storm Prediction Center, which is located in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Third Thursday Interview: Jennifer Saari

In February 2014, I attended my first AMS Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement y’all. There were so many great talks, posters, and people. My professor at the time had told us to make sure we asked questions and talked to people….but, man, can that be intimidating! I didn’t get the courage to ask any questions in oral sessions…I mean, what if I asked a “dumb” question?! Luckily I now know that it is a very welcoming crowd – particularly for students – and there are, of course, no wrong questions. BUT – I did browse the poster session and got the courage to talk to different people presenting their work and research. Of course, a lot (okay, probably most) of it went over my head, and I certainly don’t remember what most of them were about…except for one. Even six years later, I still remember my favorite poster from that weekend and the person who presented it. This week’s Third Thursday interview will be highlighting that individual – Jennifer Saari.

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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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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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