Jack Frost nipping


jFrost5 e1514917160476 350x240 Jack Frost nipping    (copyright  S. + G. Windsor )

As you may have noticed, the Northeastern US is experiencing a frigid Arctic blast this first week of  January 2017.  In Damascus Maryland,  it’s bringing record low single digit temperatures and a long streak of  consecutive days without surpassing freezing.

It’s bone chilling,  but it does make for some nice Jack Frost.

Hurricane Irma Satellite images

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma, was the strongest and longest lasting Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded. Also the storm had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (295 kph) which was a Category 5.

Below are some Satellite images in the Atlantic.

999x 999 350x233 Hurricane Irma Satellite  images








Infrared  Satellite  image,   courtesy NOAA / GOES


800x 1 350x238 Hurricane Irma Satellite  images








Visible Satellite image ,  courtesy CIRA / RAMMB


Laurel,Md. Tornado

Below is a radar image of the storm that came through on Sept. 29th,2015
producing intense rainfall and a brief tornado. It took the shape of a bow echo
 radar signature. The report:


BowieTorn2 300x261 Laurel,Md. Tornado 

      Screen Shot 2015 10 08 at 8.55.55 AM 300x227 Laurel,Md. Tornado   

(images NWS ) 

Historic extreme tornados in “Dixie Alley ”

I was looking at some data regarding  historic tornado activity east of the Mississippi.    This  years  severe weather  has been active in Texas , Oklahoma and  Kansas .   I made this simplified graphic  to show the locations of the most extreme  (F3, F4,F5  ) tornados  in  ”Dixie Alley ” for the last 50 years .

usamap5f543edit 200x300 Historic extreme tornados  in Dixie Alley











Sources:   National Weather service ,    TornadoHistoryProject.com

Winters Grip

February 2015  turned out to be the  coldest in the Maryland /D.C. area  since  1979.  Records were also set in much of the Northeast .  In this photo, warming roof  ice slowly bends as it hits the frigid  arctic air.

Wintersgrip3 Winters Grip

Storm chasers also asking “How’d it happen?” to Samaras team

( From an article  in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) by  G.Thomas Windsor


I stared at pictures of a storm chase vehicle twisted by the El Reno, Okla., tornado that took the lives of Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and Carl Young.

Though I didn’t know them, it struck a nerve. “If it could happen to one of the best of them, then …,” is a thought we who chase are surely pondering.

There will be debates, calls for the regulation of chasing and rethinking of the practice itself.

The challenge is the very wide spectrum of people who are chasing. Most are making an important contribution and aren’t reckless thrill-seekers. Tim Samaras and the others with him dedicated their lives pursuing answers, and they played a valuable role in gathering data to warn the public.

There’s now the familiar “why did it happen?” questions being asked.

Tim’s lifelong quest was to “better understand some of the final mechanisms for tornado genesis.” It’s the “how does it all come together?” question.

There’s also the “how does it all come together?” question involving such tragic fatalities.

• There can be rush-hour and chaser traffic jams (I’ve been in those): too many chasers in a small area with fleeing public.

• Though law enforcement officers work hard saving people’s lives, it’s been reported that one officer was blocking a possible exit road when disaster struck.

• Like an expanding storm, there is also an appetite for ever more dynamic footage. The chaser and the media are subtly taking greater risks and have grown accustomed to the new norm, of the incredibly dangerous.

A severe weather event is chaotic, unpredictable by nature. It is a coming together of many different things in the atmosphere. The tornado at El Reno took a sharp left turn; statistically, many don’t. It just so happened to rapidly grow into the widest tornado ever recorded.


Historic October Northeast Snowstorm


Below are some photos from a rare October 2011 storm in Pennsylvania  (8-10 inches of snow)    This storm caused massive outages  in the Northeast , affecting hundreds of thousands of people and resulting  in at least 22  fatalities.


SDC10917 300x225 Historic  October Northeast Snowstorm








SDC10908 300x225 Historic  October Northeast Snowstorm









SDC10910 e1320350921493 225x300 Historic  October Northeast Snowstorm



A “Thousand Points” of Citizen Weather Data

Today there is an exponential growth of global “social” weather communities.

When I first started storm intercepting 15 years ago, my connections where national. Now I might run into a few guys from Germany or from Europe on storm vacation tours (like last year). I periodically communicate with a meteorologist in India who has done work on early typhoon warning systems. I might chat with a chaser in Australia and ” shoot the breeze” on a social weather forum.

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Storm Chasing and Chaos Theory

Does the very act of storm chasing affect potential storms in the future? According to Chaos Theory the answer is yes. Imagine someone this month (January) down in the Australian outback speeding down a dirt road, moving towards a nice storm off in the distance. In the rear of their van a micro low pressure system is formed in the drag, as the dust swirls into a vortex and vanishes in the mirror. As this parcel of air dissipates and slowly makes its way around the globe ( let’s say 7 times by late spring ) it interacts with the much larger atmosphere. As air masses collide in the great plains this spring, the results will be somewhat different if this chase event had that not happened. (These are the kind of important thoughts one sometimes wonders during the looong wait till spring convection. According to some books I’ve been reading this scenario could hold true.

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