Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oak Openings 3 years later

It has now been over 3 years since the tornado outbreak on the night of June 5th, 2010. While many lives will never be the same, neither will some of the landscape. Here is a view of the Oak Openings landscape before an EF-2 tornado touched down:

2009, Oak Openings Ariel View

Soon after the tornado touched down you can actually still see fallen trees and the exact path of the tornado through the wooded area. Thankfully the tornado lifted just before reaching a populated area just outside the park. 

October 2010
As of 2012, new trees had begun to grow where the tornado had passed.... 

Hopefully this great park will continue to heal from the large scar this storm left.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

StormTrack Weather Spotter Sign-Up

 Here is your chance to join the StormTrack Weather Team! We are forming a team of social media weather spotters and we want your help. Be part of an exclusive group of trained spotters that will give us real time weather information. This will be an exciting new way to communicate with communities across our viewing area when nasty weather moves in.

Why create this group of storm spotters?
 During severe weather events it is important to get as many high quality reports as we can. That means accurate accounts of what you are seeing/have seen and pictures from what mother nature is doing where you are. In short, you will be a trained group of weather information sharers. If you are looking to join to have the 'biggest' or 'worst' report every storm, this isn't the group for you.

How do you sign up?
 Send an e-mail to to express your interest. Include what city you live and if you've ever been a storm spotter for the National Weather Service. We will reply with more information and how you can start reporting!

Are there any requirements?
 Yes! But not many.
1) You need to be active on Facebook or Twitter. That is, after all, how we will gather information.
2) A basic amount of storm knowledge will be required, such as cloud and severe weather structure. If you have never taken a class on storms before we will help with an online class and web chats!
3) Safety. We are not asking you to be a storm chaser or put yourself in danger. We simply are looking for storm reports and pictures when it can be done safely.

We are excited you want to be part of our team during severe weather. Again, this will be a great tool for helping warn others in the path of storms. But don't think this is just about us getting reports from you -- Our team of meteorologist will host video chats regarding severe weather events in which you may be invited in to speak, your pictures will be more likely to be used on-air and know your helping others that may be in the path of a storm. If you are ready to join, sign up today!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado Compared

What if the tornadoes from this past week in Oklahoma actually touched down here in our area? It's a hypothetical question -- But northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan typically record around 4 tornadoes each year.

Today is a great reminder of just how possible that is, being the third anniversary of the Fulton Co, Dundee and Millbury tornadoes.

Just to give you an idea of how big that monster El Reno, OK tornado really was we have plotted overtop a map of Toledo. It was randomly placed and has nothing to do with certain homes, neighborhoods or cities being safer than others. In addition we placed the F4 1965 Palm Sunday (RED) and EF4 Millbury (GREEN) tornadoes to comparing the size. I tried to plot the two local tornadoes as close as possible to their actual track.

Even with this image -- it's still hard to image just how big that tornado really was. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weather Community Loses a Legend

You never saw his video plastered all over the national news outlets. You might only know him because he was on a +Discovery Channel  show called 'storm chasers'. But Tim Samaras deserves a much better title than 'storm chaser'. The research his team did was for one purpose:

To improve warnings.

On Friday May 31st, 2013 Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and long time research partner Carl Young were killed by the EF-3 El Reno, OK tornado. An event that has rocked the weather community to it's core.

I only met Tim Samaras one time face to face. He was a keynote speaker at the 2009 Des Moines NWA severe weather conference. As a graduating meteorology student he made a big impression on me. He showed me that weather was much more than looking at charts and forecasting rain/sun.

Simply put, Tim was a genius.

Tim's expertise was not reserved for just tornadoes either. His lightning videography and research was incredible. Tim and his Twistex team would travel to the desert southwest during Monsoon season simply to record lightning at high speeds. +National Geographic did a great piece on his lightning chasing last August found HERE.

I hope these videos will inspire the next generation of meteorologists and researchers. Based on the way he carried himself, Tim would want it that way.