Nice Time in Columbus

I intended to do some BLOGging from my trip to Columbus last weekend, but forgot to bring my CF card reader. Instead, here’s two entries at once from my trip to the Buckeye state.

Over the weekend I went to Columbus to give a couple of talks, and had a great time. The folks at the Ohio State student meteorology club arranged the travel and set up a fantastic little conference on Friday with speakers such as Stacy Stewart (NHC) and Chuck Doswell. Stacy’s talk on NHC’s experiences with Katrina was worth any admissions price, as was Chuck’s regarding a fascinating project to remap and document the Tri State Tornado from 18 March 1925. A former New Orleans TV meteorologist who returned there to work in his old station for Katrina described some harrowing experiences there also. Tom Niziol, Buffalo MIC, gave a chilling (pun intended) overview of the 1977 Buffalo blizzard, one which made me even more glad then before not to live there. Rick Shanklin from WFO Paducah gave a fine overview of the Evansville tornado.

My talk was on the severe weather danger to large event venues, a distinct concern there since they’ve got one of the few college football stadiums in the nation that rival OU’s in size. Saturday brought a day-long storm spotting seminar with speakers from the Wilmington and Paducah WFOs, as well as Chuck. I finished things off with a presentation on practical tips for spotting in low visibility settings, a common dilemma in Ohio. I hope the folks there got something good from these talks, and had as much fun attending as I did as one of the speakers for each day.

After hours I had a great time hanging out with folks like Chuck, Ken Haydu (my old supervisor from NHC, current Wilmington OH MIC, and someone I respect a lot as a manager and as a person), Tom (die-hard winter weather fanatic and avid snowflake photographer), and Mike Ryan (forecaster at Wilmington who was a huge help with the conference as well). Dinner one night was in Columbus’ German Village at a fantastic little German eatery called Schmidt’s Sausage Haus (website, independent review). [I recommend this place and the “Bahama Mama” sausage plate to anyone visiting Columbus!]

Friday evening between the end of the afternoon session and dinner, I went to the hotel room to unwind — and ended up tracking the Tennessee Valley tornado outbreak instead. The campus-area Fairfield Inn (a nice place to stay, by the way) had free broadband, so I got online and watched the event unfold a few hundred miles to my S. Saturday evening, with all the conference related items over and most folks departed, I took a brisk walk one to and through part of campus, where I watched some of a track meet conducted in 38-degree temperatures and a NW wind at 20 knots. Brrr! I also walked to near the football stadium, strolled directly across the football practice field, then past the baseball field and training center. Ohio State’s athletic facilities are nothing to laugh at. No wonder they have been able to recruit athletes for several national championship caliber sports.

I had a great time in Columbus, and folks like Ashley Jones (met club president) and Mike were fantastic in making it happen. They went through a ton of effort to get me, Chuck, Stacy, Tom, Rick and the other speakers onboard, and deserve a big applause for setting up a fine two-day event.

I didn’t get to see a whole lot of Columbus outside the campus. Maybe next time…


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