Thank You, PhillyWeather.Net

I appreciate this posting on the PhillyWeather blog:

- Mike Smith, who runs the Meteorological Musings blog and wrote a book (currently in my queue to read) called “Warnings” (about the amount of life saving work that’s been done to improve the US warning system for weather) made what I thought was a poignant (but necessary) challenge at one of the talks regarding Joplin about the shortcomings of the warnings issued during that afternoon by the NWS in Springfield. There was much discussion about tornado sirens and how there needs to be standards regarding when they need to be activated, as their usefulness becomes diminished as people are overwarned continuously.

I’m currently working on a project involving the Joplin storm. Blog readers will be learning more about it shortly.

Hope PhillyWeather enjoys reading Warnings

Extras for "Warnings" Readers

Did you know there is a web site exclusively for readers of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather?


All you have to do is go to:  www.warningsbook.com . Then, enter the row of numbers just above “First Edition” opposite the Dedication Page. As a hint, the first number is 10 and the last number is 1. No spaces. That will unlock the bonus page for you.

That will show full-resolution videos on a number of topics related to the book, including what happens when a tornado strikes a train, the simulation of the crash of Delta 191, my speech to the people of Greensburg, and others.

Just a bonus exclusively for Warnings readers!

From the American Meteorological Society’s Annual Meeting, Part 1

Hello from New Orleans. I’ve never been to a scientific meeting before with Marti Gras floats passing in front of a convention center escorted by police cars.

Trying to take all of this in is like drinking from a fire hose. Still, I promised I would pass along interesting info and I’ll do just that.

I do wish to comment on the overwhelming response to the “Poor Journalism” post below. Wow. Thousands have read it and I’ve received dozens and dozens of emails. For the record, I did submit a comment to ABC News and I hope they will correct the record.

And, without being self-serving: If you know a journalist, or anyone else, who is skeptical of storm warnings, please recommend Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.  It is an easy, non-technical read that will explain how the warning system works and the rapid, live-saving progress we have made.

Now, back to the AMS meeting.

There was an interesting presentation on a story first broken on this blog, the lack of warning when the tornado struck the St. Louis Airport on Good Friday evening, 2011. The presenter was Andrew Freedman of the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. Andrew wrote a two part story about the fiasco in St. Louis.

Andrew filled us in on some new details:

  • When the airport finally got word of the tornado (from an employee calling from home!), they evacuated the airport (not FAA’s) control tower. As this blog and the Post’s series said at the time, the airport people did not tell either the people in the terminal or the airline employees!
  • The damage was so extensive that Terminal 1 at the STL airport is still closed.
  • And, as has been reported here several times, and written about in Warnings, the FAA does not consider tornado warnings to be an aviation-specific product and does not distribute them on the aviation weather communications systems! This is just as true today as when I first wrote the book!
  • Bottom line: Unless you are at Denver or one of the (few) other airports that have made independent contingency plans, you are at great risk if a tornado approaches. 
More from the AMS tomorrow.

Really, Really Poor Journalism

I’m now in New Orleans (2.5 hours late, thanks Continental!) for the AMS Annual Meeting and several friends alerted me to Dianne Sawyer reporting, and emphasizing, earlier this evening there was “no warning” of the overnight tornadoes (see posting below). Here is the video:

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This seems to confirm my suspicion that there is a key on journalists’ word processors that says “there was no warning” and they simply press that key every time they have to do a story about storms.

Dianne: There was plenty of warning, starting 21 hours before the tornado struck!


Meteorologists really face an uphill battle:  The media keeps inaccurately telling people that storm after storm occurs without warning.

The public, who — outside of the affected area — doesn’t know better, assumes the media reporting is correct.

So, when a tornado warning affects them, they don’t act on it. Why should they?! The warnings are no good!

There is a really good book on this subject I could recommend to Dianne….

UPDATE: 9AM Tuesday:  Another blog post with the step-by-step of the warning process in Alabama.

UPDATE II:  Thank you Capital Weather Gang for the link.

"Would People Interested in Aviation Like ‘Warnings’?"

On the flight from Washington, D.C. to Houston this evening, I was asked if a person with a general interest in aviation would like my book, Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather


Based on the reviews, I believe the answer is clearly yes. There are several chapters surrounding how wind shear crashes — once the most common cause of airline accidents — have been completely eliminated by weather science and, especially, by courageous Dr. Ted Fujita. There is even a chapter about the drama surrounding the litigation after the crash; probably the most important litigation in aviation history.

Warnings is about people, history, and weather. It is not a dreaded “science book.” As one reviewer put it, Warnings makes meteorologists the most unlikely heroes in modern literature.

If you’d like to sample the style of writing, the first chapter is here. Give it a read. I believe you’ll enjoy it.

Warnings is available in hardcover and for Kindle and Nook.

From North to South, From the Mountains to the Sea

As a result of the contest we had earlier this year for readers to send in photos of themselves reading Warnings, I believe it is fair to say no book has soared to higher heights or to a greater geographic extent.

Florida Keys

Great Wall of China
Australia

Colorado

While the contest is over, we invite you to post your photo, comments, or review at Facebook.com/warningsbook .

Thanks to all of our Warnings and blog readers. Mindy and I wish you the Merriest of Christmases!

A Great Book for Christmas

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather is best summed up by this review:

Smith skillfully makes this and other controversies seem not just important, but exciting. Meteorology, in his telling, has the same bare-knuckle energy we see in politics or sports. These battles, many of which Smith himself fought in, reveal how much of our modern, weather-safe lifestyle is contingent on personalities, and could have gone another way.

While weather forecasters often appear starchy and bland, Smith makes the weather into an urgent concern, and a remarkable victory. This story turns the weather into a quest, and meteorologists into the most unlikely heroes in recent literature.

With the news that 99% of the fatality-causing tornadoes of 2011 were forecast and warned of in advance strongly supports the subtitle of the book or, as reviewer Nenstiel puts it, “a remarkable victory.”

If you want to give a book that tells a real story with drama and relevance, please consider Warnings…with its 5-star reviews at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other superb reviews.

Spoken Like a True Author

For those of you that have read my book, thank you. For those of you who haven’t, there is ample inventory. 
     — President George H. W. Bush, speaking in Wichita earlier this month, quoted by The Wichita Eagle. 


The same could be said for Warnings

"Warnings" — Coverolis Force Down Under

Janine Marshall lives in Perth, Australia, and — to my knowledge — is the first Warnings reader down under. As you know, the coriolis effect causes the winds around high and low pressure systems to be reversed when compared to the Northern Hemisphere.

Obviously, it is coverolis force that causes the book cover to be reversed!  :-)

Actually, she photographed herself and the book in a mirror

Thanks, Bookshelf!

Just got back from a very successful book signing at The Bookshelf in McPherson.

McPherson is a pretty small Kansas town with a busy downtown.

Linda and crew did a great job of planning and holding the book signing. It was wonderful seeing long-time friends and making new ones.

One of the most gratifying moments was having a Warnings reader who so enjoyed the book he purchased six more for Christmas gifts!

Meteorologist Mike Smith + Marketer Mindy = Magic in McPherson

Okay, maybe it isn’t magic, but Mindy and I are on our way to McPherson to The Bookshelf where I will be signing copies of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather from 10am until noon. You can get some early Christmas shopping done!

If you’d like to give an inspiring and uplifting book, you can look at the reviews at the above link or at the Mike Smith Enterprises web page about Warnings

New Review of "Warnings"

This 5-star review was recently posted at Amazon:

Smith skillfully makes this and other controversies seem not just important, but exciting. Meteorology, in his telling, has the same bare-knuckle energy we see in politics or sports. These battles, many of which Smith himself fought in, reveal how much of our modern, weather-safe lifestyle is contingent on personalities, and could have gone another way.

While weather forecasters often appear starchy and bland, Smith makes the weather into an urgent concern, and a remarkable victory. This story turns the weather into a quest, and meteorologists into the most unlikely heroes in recent literature.

The entire review is here. Thanks to reviewer Kevin Nenstiel.

Just click to read the first chapter.

You might wish to consider Warnings as a Christmas gift for someone interested in weather or just a great non-fiction book written in mystery book style.

Cosmosphere Tornado Alley Event

Today was a great turn out for the Hutchinson, Kansas Cosmosphere Tornado Alley event where Mike was a guest speaker along with Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” Star Sean Casey who was also appearing with his Armored TIV2 vehicle.

Mike’s presentation “Warnings Save Lives: A Look Back at Greensburg, Udall and Joplin” described how this year was the deadliest tornado season since 1947 but how many, many lives have been saved due to early and accurate warning systems being in place.

Mike had a question and answer session from the audience after his presentation and signed his book
 WARNINGS: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.  The Cosmosphere is located at 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson or visit www.cosmo.org.

Saturday at the Cosmosphere

Repeating a Blog Post:
The real Apollo 13 on display  

Frequent readers of “Meteorological Musings” know what a fan I am of the Kansas Cosmosphere, generally thought to be the second best space museum in the world. It is second only to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.
There is an encore event surrounding Sean Casey’s IMAX movie Tornado Alley this Friday and Saturday. Here is the schedule:
Friday, Nov. 4
4 pm.  Sean Casey Presentation, with Q&A, “Storm Chasing Adventures”
4:45 pm.  Drawing for TIV2 ride winners followed by rides.
Saturday, Nov. 5
2:30 pm. Author and AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Senior Vice President Mike Smith presents “Warnings Save Lives: A Look Back at Greensburg, Udall and Joplin.”
3 pm.  Book sale and signing with Mike Smith, “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.”
4 pm.  Sean Casey Presentation, with Q&A, “Storm Chasing Adventures”
4:45 pm.  Drawing for TIV2 ride winners followed by rides.
The Cosmosphere is at 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson. 800-397-0330 or 620-662-2305. Visit www.cosmo.org
I will be incorporating some of the lessons learned during the just-ended tornado season, the worst since 1953.
Looking forward to seeing everyone next weekend at the Cosmosphere!!