14 August 2011

Thoughts and reflections...

It has been a while since I have utilized my blog... or really did anything useful in terms of my website or with weather in general. I plan on becoming a little more active on the blog and have a lot of stuff to talk about. There have been a few good and bad events that have transpired that I have been directly and indirectly involved with. I want to touch of these a little bit while I finally have the time to sit down, think, and reflect.

I am the type of guy that may seem a little rough along the edges and opinionated, but overall right more times than not on things I take issue with. A couple issues have been misidentifying storm structure and misrepresenting yourself. Two episodes come to mind, one I was involved with directly and one that I heard about from people I am good friends with. I will start with the direct issue.

Direct: A few months back the Chicago area was under the gun for severe weather. It was a marginal day and not chaseworthy, but held some potential for some boomers at home. Since I wasn't out chasing this day, I was online in NWSChat, on Facebook, and working on my website. On Facebook I noticed one of the posts was from Tom Skilling talking about the severe weather potential. I respect the man greatly so I clicked on it to see what his opinion on the day was. It was then I noticed some of the comments. Aside from your typical "Is it going to rain in....?" and "I hope it storms, I love storms!" There was a poster with a unique name that caught my eye. To back track a little, I have some meteorology background but never finished the degree so I like to think I do have a leg up in knowledge and experience than just your average enthusiast. Getting back, I noticed this poster had a comment referring people from Tom Skilling's page to his to get up to the minute severe weather updates. I thought I would check out the page because there have been some REALLY good pages out there from non-recognized people in the weather community. I had to send him a friend request since he created this page under a Facebook profile and not a like page. I should have known better then...

Storms had begun to form on the north side and in Wisconsin and at the onset he was doing a good job with posting radar images for those who can't afford a program like GR3 or Storm Lab. After 10 minutes though it was apparent that this persons knowledge of interpreting radar was well below average. He had a lot of followers that were asking him questions and his explanations were almost comical, however people actually thought they were being fed relevant information. I watched from the sidelines just soaking it all in until this person decided to call out the National Weather Service in Chicago for not issuing a tornado warning for a hook echo that he "spotted" on radar. There were 3 or 4 people that had immediately voiced their concerns for their safety and I assume made way for the basement. What had happened was this day (May 11th) was full of cell mergers and splitting cells. A lot of cellular interactions that briefly pulsed up to severe limits, before collapsing and gusting out. This cell was near Elgin and had just absorbed another cell onto its' southern flank giving it the illusion that there was a hook echo. A hook echo itself on radar doesn't signify a tornado. An example of this could be found during yesterdays storms....

Visually this storm looks like it could be a tornado producer since the common misconception is that any storm with a hook on BREF is tornadic. The storm yesterday closely resembles the storm I mentioned above.  Which this poster took upon himself to criticize meteorologists and Dr.s of the science for NOT issuing a tornado warning on. I had to chime in and made a comment simply referring to the >30td spreads, the lack of rotation on SRV (on LOT and TMDW), and the fact that this storm had just barfed out a gigantic OFB. 

He was not shy about spamming everyone with links to his page and forecasts, including my personal forecasting page. I had asked him repeatedly to stop, but he didn't seem to get it. So finally I launched an attack on his knowledge, his background, and the fact that he wouldn't stop spamming myself and others. I had used some of his comments as fuel for a couple of my own Facebook statuses in hopes that he would realize what an ASS he was making of himself. He had no good response but to call me childish for simply pointing out that he should be giving credit to the SPC/NWS because all of his forecasts are nearly carbon copies of theirs. All he did was redo their outlooks and add his input on when he thought storms would develop. For someone who is quick to bash those that know more than him, he sure does run with their ideas. Finally I ended up blocking him, but met backlash on my personal forecasting page from him, his family, and a couple of their followers.

To make an already to long story short.... he created a few fake profiles, threatened me by saying he knew where I lived, and made some whiny posts on his page. Fact still remains... you have no credibility, you need to stop misleading others, and most importantly learn how to take criticism. An 18 year old kid with no classes in basic meteorology shouldn't be spamming the NWS page with claims that he is an official source of severe weather. End of story. Hopefully this finally puts an end to anymore discussion on this as I need to take some time out to reflect on this gross misrepresentation. 

That was my direct conflict that I just felt a need to involve myself with. Now onto another pet peeve of mine.... along with more misrepresentation and misidentification.  

Indirect: A supercell thunderstorm developed the other night in NW IL and became tornado warned for a stretch of time near the Rockford area. I was at work so I really didn't get a chance to follow the situation and obviously chase. I was texted by Adam Lucio about a conflict on another friends page regarding this storm and false reports and identification. Once I found out who the accused were, I wasn't surprised and opted to stay out of the conflict and watch from the sidelines. There are issues in Illinois with groups of "super" spotters that feel their importance is paramount and they can do no wrong. Based on the pictures I have seen of the event, there was a wall cloud evident at one point. At the point the conflict occurred the storms were grossly outflow dominant and really posed no more threat. When another chaser questioned them about it, the conversation turned ugly with threats of violence and perhaps the most hated line I have in my book. "Well I have XX years of experience." It doesn't matter if you have 10 years of experience or 12 days... the fact was there was no wall cloud with that storm at that point. The fact that he mis-indentified something is bad, but the fact that these people refused to acknowledge it by using the "I have 15 years experience, I think I know what a wall cloud is" comment is hysterical. 

I would had hoped after 15+ years of chasing, you would be a little more humble and a little more open to making mistakes you all are clearly making.


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