Best of Other BLOGs Lately

I’ve been bereft of BLOGging of late, at least in this medium.

Truth be told, I’ve had an intermittent case of writer’s block. When the block lifts and I get an imaginative spurt, I’m in bed, in the shower, driving, at work, or otherwise indisposed from capturing prosaic lightning in a bottle that can be expressed here; and its luster fades fast along with my memory of specifics. Lacking the time, opportunity or creativity lately to devise much of my own prose while in a position to compose it, I shall divert loyal readers’ attention to some thought-stimulating entries by friends and colleagues of mine in the BLOGosphere, along with recent chase and photo entries I’ve made elsewhere.

My beautiful and enormously gifted wife Elke, a writer and thinker of an extraordinarily insightful and gifted nature, recently began a BLOG, Sojourner between the Eternities. She doesn’t write much these days, but when she does, it’s powerful. Here was her entry as her father lay in what would be his death bed. The few entries she has so far are but a tiny tip of the vast and seemingly limitless reservoir of spiritual and natural insight she possesses, and which I get to behold on a daily basis. Maybe I’ll be able to dig up some absolutely dazzling old e-mail writings of hers on natural wonders that she may post there too. In the meantime, check out the fine tribute to their dad that her brother Gernot wrote (edited lovingly by Elke before publishing online). She also took the photo of her dad and his wonderful wife Sue, who is a dear friend of ours and beloved as a grandmotherly figure by my kids.

Weatherwise, please check out Patrick Marsh’s discussion on preliminary tornado reports versus actual tornadoes. In the aftermath of the recent three-day severe episode from Oklahoma to the Atlantic Tidewater, the issue of tornado-report confusion has reached a crescendo. Simply put, tornado reports are not the same as actual tornadoes! In fact, at least 30 different reports of the same Sanford/Broadway/Holly Spring/Raleigh NC tornado came in, all now distilled to one tornado. I cannot emphasize this enough; daily report logs are PRELIMINARY and WILL change as events are surveyed and Storm Data compiled over a span of weeks. Do not take same-day or next-day tornado counts literally!!!!

Mike Smith, in one of his latest entries, gave much-appreciated kudos to convective outlooks, watches and warnings for the recent Carolinas/Virginia tornado outbreak, with a nice discussion leading into how much more deadly an event like this might have been in the days before the integrated warning system got this reliable. In addition, the 1630Z outlook (before any tornadoes) was upgraded to tornado probabilities supporting a “HIGH RISK” in the area that later got hardest hit. Mike’s plea for tying down of mobile homes is one that should be heeded. While this step won’t do much good against EF3+ tornadoes, it can save lives in the great majority of events that are weaker, and the residents are not afforded time to reach adequate shelter nearby. I would take it a step further and urge mobile home residents, whether in tied-down units or not, to leave and position themselves in or within a few minutes’ access of a sturdy permanent structure whenever a tornado watch is issued. Yes, the probability your particular place gets hit is low, even on a major outbreak day like that; but I suspect the families of those who were severely hurt or killed would testify that it is a chance not worth taking.

Chuck Doswell just posted a slam-dunk piece on Monday-morning quarterbacking, specifically the second-guessing of official, national severe storms forecasts by pompous little second-guessing ignoramuses who seem to appear out of the woodwork from time to time in the storm-chasing world. Hey: Talk is cheap. Back it up! I used to live in Missouri, so…show me. Prove your self-proclaimed superiority on a consistent basis, with daily and publicly available advanced forecasts of all three specific forms of severe weather all year long, and the post-event verification statistics to back up your claim. Any blind chicken can get a worm sometimes; and even a busted clock is right at once or twice a day (depending on if it specifies a.m. and p.m.). Who can outperform the experts time and again? Step up and take Chuck’s challenge…if you dare. Otherwise, I call BS to any second-guessing fools.

Storm observer and saxophonist Bob Hartig posted a fine rant on the failure of highway department contractors to account for severe weather in their work. I agree with some of his critics who say the chasers (and public at large) need to be aware of these construction zones and severe weather threats themselves. While that’s true, it doesn’t absolve the managers of these projects and crews for their responsibility to minimize hazards also—and that includes advanced awareness of severe-storm situations.

I actually have been doing a little BLOGging–summaries of my first two storm intercept trips of the season to reactivate our Storms Observed This Year BLOG for…this year! If you’re interested, check out my reports, with a few photos, on the US-412 storm in northern Oklahoma, and three supercells (including the tornadic Tushka storm) in southeastern Oklahoma.

Finally, I have been keeping up with Image of the Week, adding a new personal favorite from my outdoor photography portfolio on a weekly basis, in hopes that others can enjoy the images and gain inspiration in some way regarding the outcomes of God’s handiwork in the land, water and sky around us.


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