I have a really big post in the works about how I’m using Unidata’s fork of AWIPS II for weather stuff these days on my Macs. It has come a long way in a year, and I’m really digging it. (In fact, I have it up on a monitor at virtually all times at home these days as a situational awareness display.) In the meantime, I wanted to share an important finding on its own that may help a lot of struggling AWIPS users out there.
Water vapor imagery of the gigantic Midwest snowstorm, via NOAA.
I don’t like to sit on the sidelines of very many weather phenomena. The Midwest winter storm is a major exception. With snowfall totals in excess of 20″ in spots forecasted (looking on track if that water vapor imagery is any indication), I’ll be glad to avoid it. Its trailing front will swing through the Lowcountry, but will bring us showers and some occasionally gusty winds instead of a blizzard. Good luck to everybody who will be affected by the storm.
I can’t remember the last time I saw snow in December in SC; that’s what made the snow showers over the weekend that much more fun. Accumulation was very sparse (definitely not like snows we had back in February) but it was still a good time. Here are some iPhone photos I took during the snowstorm. There are a few photos of the heaviest snows still stuck on my mother’s point-and-shoot that I should extract and upload. Also, don’t forget this video of one of the snow showers.
We had a break in the clouds earlier today and I was able to get a little footage of just how fast the puffy cumulus clouds (forming fairly low to the ground) were racing by. You can also see some altocumulus coming into the frame from the right (and more from the south and southwest), indicating wind shear which will be supportive of strong to possibly severe storms later tonight.
I’ll be watching three weather chats today: WFO Charleston, SC, WFO Columbia, SC, and WFO Greenville-Spartanburg, SC as a threat for severe weather unfolds later today and into tonight. A reminder: These are not official NWS chat rooms — there won’t be any forecasters in there, but iembot will be there to relay watches, warnings, and other products from the various forecast offices as they are issued.
Updated April 16, 2014 to reflect the new conference.weather.im XMPP server.
Many years ago, the Iowa Environmental Mesonet at Iowa State University established iembot, a service that relays National Weather Service products from each forecast office in real time. iembot messages are available using a Web-based interface, via Twitter (for example, I follow @iembot_chs to receive products from the National Weather Service in Charleston), or via XMPP. While I’ve used all three methods, I far prefer XMPP — nothing beats the immediacy of receiving important messages in an IM client, and for me, weather messages certainly fit in that category. Thanks to Growl and Adium, two excellent (and open source) pieces of software that really make the Mac worth using, I’m able to do a number of cool things with the most important messages: sound an alarm, speak out the text of the alert, and even send a push notification to my iPhone when I’m not around (using another app, Boxcar, which has a Growl plugin). Continue reading →
I’m determined to one day provide my own forecasts for @chswx on Twitter. Mississippi State professor Jeff Haby’s site has been a great guide in helping me get started with real forecasting (beyond just looking at the forecast discussion and model runs quickly). It’s a ton of information to wrap around the head, but it’s very useful stuff.
The first rumbles of Spring are about in Charleston today, and I still find myself longing for software comparable to GR2Analyst, my go-to RADAR analysis software, on the Mac. However, WeatherScope, a project of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey at the University of Oklahoma, fills a need I had on Windows for a full-fledged weather map. In addition to overlaying Level III NEXRAD, it also lets you pull surface and upper-air data from a variety of sources, and plot it in a variety of ways. The interface is a bit cumbersome at first and the software takes some work to set up, but you can configure a pretty nice map in little time. Take a look at a map I created with a composite of the three state NEXRAD installations, a gradient and numerical display of air temperature, and a contour display of area dewpoints. While this software certainly will not replace GR2Analyst for RADAR functionality, it certainly holds its own, especially for free software!
I’d say the positioning of this van next to the Blingmobile was a pretty accurate omen for at least the first half of Monday. Seriously, who does this? And what does it say for my build that I was able to get in the car without the door touching the van? Common sense is extremely uncommon, that’s a fact. Other stuff just was really, really blah all day — not a fun one at all.
However, the weather’s been nice today, if almost hot — 86 at the airport! — so I refused to be defeated. It called for an outdoor lunch of quesadillas and water at Juanita Greenberg’s Nacho Royale on King Street, which was a pretty effective reboot of the day. Here’s the view from the back porch:
The warm weather combined with the Mondayness of it all had me craving a margarita. And while I decided not to make the trek down to Vendue Range for the rooftop experience that I alluded to in my tweet, I know Yo Burrito downtown would set me up right. And they delivered.
So Monday, here’s to you — because as crappy and oppressive as you can be, you are not infallible, and I once again claim victory.