This sign needs to be everywhere

By: Josh Eachus

At, we’re frequently examining the struggle of communicating flood dangers. From Houston to Baton Rouge, we have pointed to countless challenges during heavy rain events that strand drivers and claim lives. Melissa Huffman submits several factors that may constrain action to areal and flash flood warnings like lack of familiarity with the flooded area, to being in a warning message restrictive setting like a vehicle. Perhaps it is all just disconnect from messenger to receiver. I have even suggested an alternate framing of the warning message to circumvent the “I can make it” mentality. But now, another city on the Gulf Coast is instituting a simple road sign that could become flood safety’s biggest ally since “turn around don’t drown.”

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Overuse of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

By: Joe Lauria

As I’ve talked about in previous blogs, my feeling is that the public…my customers…don’t pay attention to the vast majority of severe thunderstorm warnings (SVRs). This is NOT a criticism of the issuing of the warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS)–they have a mandate to follow–rather, this is more of an issue with the criteria and the end results of what typically happens after storms move through.

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Dreaming of a jog around the old gym

By: Josh Eachus

Thomas Friedman’s 10th “flattener” from his 2005 book, “The World is Flat” is simply “the steroids.” From the world-wide web to workflow software to the rapid spread of information, the steroids referred to all of the digital advances that would come in a rapidly developing technological landscape. 12 years later, the visionary book is no longer a modern take on how the digital world will evolve. We’ve made it there, for better and for worse. Social media has brought an injection of “steroids” to digital information and workflow, but not without side-effects.

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Lost in Translation

By: Melissa Huffman

Social science has really risen to prominence recently in operational meteorology, given the frequency of devastating natural disasters the United States experiences and the increasing number of people being affected by them. This is pretty cool when you think about it… two seemingly unrelated fields working together to help keep people safe.

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Lightning: The Underrated Killer

By: Mike Johnson

Early season college football can be summed in a few simple observations.  1) Tailgating parties will litter stadium parking lots, 2) pre-season rankings are worthless, and 3) there will be lightning delays.  While I love a good discussion on tailgating and football polls, this really isn’t the forum.  However, based on recent human behavior, a discussion on lightning is certainly worth the time and effort.

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What recent research tells us about evacuation decisions during Hurricane Matthew

By: Josh Eachus

A common question in meteorology circles after Hurricane Matthew: why didn’t they evacuate? We can’t just say storm surge will be 7-11 feet. We can’t just say know your evacuation zone. Even combining the two, while a step in the right direction, isn’t enough. Riad et. al (1999) said that evacuation can be understood as the result of three basic social psychological processes: (a) risk perception, (b) social influence, and (c) access to resources. But at some point, it all becomes too much! Say, what? It sounds like paralysis by analysis. But, in striving for the zero fatality outcomes, we continue to weave fundamental concepts of risk perception and information processing into weather messaging.

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Local Perspective: Hurricane Matthew


By: Minh Phan

“I’m so ridiculously prepared everyone would wanna be at my house. If it gets to cat 3 I’m out. Cat 2 is a breeze.”

Others felt the coverage on Matthew was dramatic and overhyped.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be that bad. Georgia has a reputation of panicking in weather situations.”

Those who expressed their intent to evacuate did so out of extra precaution, playing it safe and leaving in case the storm delivered a heavy blow to the region.

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A post-tropical cyclone with tropical storm warnings expected to have hurricane-like impacts

Explain that in 140 characters or less.

What began on August 17th as a strong tropical disturbance near Africa ended Florida’s decade-long hurricane drought two weeks later, but the story didn’t end there. The 20-day telenovela brought as many twists and turns as the last three episodes of Bachelor in Paradise (complete with tropical locales). It was an exercise in emotional fragility for weather forecasters. As one of my colleagues best put it, the storm that wouldn’t form was also the one that wouldn’t go away. Continue Reading