Rogelio’s Roving Roadshow

Elke and I made the trek down to the TESSA meeting Saturday morning and enjoyed ourselves a great deal. Though we missed (what I hear was) a fantastic Super Spotter show by Gary Woodall, the talks that came after mine were worth the trip; and one can’t beat the price of admission: free.

Like others, I wish there could have been more of Al Moller. Al, as always, was quite engaging and passionate about his subject matter. I could listen to him all day, and watch one of his slide shows with no time limit whatsoever. Al Moller is the undisputed king of storm and cloud photography in my book; and the man never has been given his due by regional or national management for the extraordinary things he has done in meteorology and spotter education. Too bad it seemed as if he got truncated by time limits on this particular talk. Nevertheless, given Al’s tough circumstances of doing a daytime talk in the middle of a set of night shifts (try it…not easy!), I thought he did a fine job.

The art and science of hand analysis is a vanishing one, and one given far too little attention in most quarters. Therein was the big value of Al’s talk: to breathe a little more life into a sadly waning art (and science) form that is the very foundation of any high-quality forecast. And his striking shot of a formerly tornadic supercell — cast ablaze in the deep warm glow of sunset, an inverted sugar cone of orange sherbet twisting up into a ghostly chamber of alpenglow peach light — left an indelible impression. I just cannot get that gorgeous image out of my mind, nor do I desire to.

Lou Wicker’s talk was very comprehensive. His summary of the past, present and future of severe storms oriented research left little uncovered. A lot of it brought back memories of my own days heaving TOTO off the back of a NSSL pickup, or working in the old Norman Doppler building. I had to leave for part of the talk in order to coordinate some post-conference logistics with Martin and Erin; but it wasn’t hard to come back and pick up Lou’s presentation again. My only worry was that much of the material might have gone over the heads of a sizeable segment of the audience, despite his noble efforts to keep it basic. But I didn’t get that impression from the enthusiastic reaction of many folks afterward. Another fine presentation.

My only real disappointment was the pathetic attendance for the dinner at Spring Creek BBQ. Was it the rain? Was only about 5% of the audience hungry for dinner? I always thought BBQ was great rainy-day food, even if there had been some shredded beef sandwiches in the lunch bar. Elke and I had been looking forward to seeing a lot of folks who were in either the afternoon audience or at the vendor tables; but they didn’t show up for hot Texas chow afterward. Still, we had a good time chatting with those who did, including Steve Levine, Bill Reid, Erin Brown, and of course Martin and his dad.

Martin will post a full set of links soon somewhere within the TESSA website. It will include links to all talks; though my main show from there is online already. [Please use MSIE! Mozilla and Nutscrape each may barf a load of gibberish onto the screen.]

Rogelio’s Roving Roadshow stays near home tomorrow and Friday with outbreak, er, breakout sessions I’ll be giving on F Scale ratings at the National Severe Weather Workshop. Then next week it’s on to beautiful Jacksonville for a TC tornado talk at the Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference (PDF Agenda). Next I fly from Florida straight to northern Indiana for a talk about my workplace at WFO North Webster, and a two-part talk and panel-discussion during the IN/MI/OH Skywarn extravaganza (PDF Agenda). Then the Roadshow closes down for the season and thoughts turn to spring, supercells, and of course, storm observing.

Gotta love those panel discussions. I do, as long as they’re frank, open, have knowledgeable and opinionated panelists and not narrowly confined in subject matter. I’ll never, ever forget the “What is a Supercell?” panel-D from the winter-’96 Severe Local Storms Conference in San Francisco, featuring Don Burgess, Chuck Doswell, Les Lemon and others. I would have sacrificed that afternoon’s paper presentations for that legendary slugfest to keep truckin’ along. Done right, the panel-D is where the gloves come off and the truths pour forth — as long as the participants are honest and the questions are challenging and controversial. Controversy is my playground. So if you ever catch me in a panel-D, fire away.


One Response to “Rogelio’s Roving Roadshow”

  1. Canadian Texan on March 8th, 2005 1:04 am

    Would have loved to attend the TESSA event and absorb the presentations – looking forward to reviewing the various options to review the materials.

    On the art of hand analysis – I wonder if anyone has broached the idea producing of either a book or website devoted to keeping the rationale, the skills, and the passion for analysis alive??? I think it would not only serve as eye-candy for those of use who already love the hand analysis side of meteorology – and a way to continue to grow and learn from the most experienced (especially for those not working in the field), but could be a focal point for younger would-be analysis fans. I would suggest that some combination of a book/website might even serve to spark a renaissance in the art!

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