So I'm ashamed to say that it's been more than a week since I did my last blog. This is super-embarrassing because I used to promise to blog every day. As I would say in those "blogitis" entries:
"Bless me readers, for I have not blogged. It has been eight days since my last blog."
And so it is today, on the infamous day when Facebook goes public, that I return to the blogosphere. As I have said in the past, my reason for not blogging as frequently has to do with our talented newswriters covering what I used to, in the AccuWeather.com News section, and the fact that I have taken to putting out shorter notes about weather-related items on my Facebook Page and Twitter account. For example, if you haven't been following me on social media, you missed "rain gauge innards," "turn around, don't drown law," "Canary Island heat wave," and more, just in the last day or so.
I've also been unusually busy training my new social media intern, working with our new SM consultants and writing my WeatherWise magazine article on social media (That's right. I'm a published author now; look for it in the July-August 2012 issue, download my local NWS PowerPoint for a preview). And finally (lest you think I'm slacking), I read a pre-release copy of Mike Smith's new book during my spring yard sale last weekend (as I did for his prior book "Warnings" two years ago).
Mike heads up our Enterprise division in Wichita. This new book, entitled "When the Sirens Were Silent," gives his opinions on why so many people were killed during the Joplin tornado in 2011 (did you know: the sirens were not even sounded for the tornado warning that night!) and what we can do to prevent such a tragedy again. His blog has interviews, and the latest status on the availability of the book and e-book, which were released Tuesday, but are temporarily out of stock as of this writing. From Amazon.com:
"What if the warning system failed to provide a clear, timely notice of a major storm? Tragically, that scenario played out in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011. As a wedding, a high school graduation, and shopping trips were in progress, an invisible monster storm was developing west of the city. When it arrived, many were caught unaware. One hundred sixty-one perished and one thousand were injured. "When the Sirens Were Silent" is the gripping story of the Joplin tornado. It recounts that horrible day with a goal of insuring this does not happen again. The book gives you the tools you need to keep yourself and your family safe. Included are clever lift-out copies of the latest tornado safety rules for homes, schools, and offices."
Let's read that last sentence again. Included are clever lift-out copies of the latest tornado safety rules for homes, schools, and offices. Tell me the last weather book that gave you that! This is a great way to battle what Mike has described as "Warning Fatigue" that some residents in the Plains have because there is so much severe weather there. If only there were enough postage in the world to get those safety rules to everyone!
There's been a lot of news on amateur drones since I tested the DJI Phantom Quadcopter for storm chasing purposes last fall. Not to drone on, but let's take it from the top.
Today I'm pleased to announce a new suite of world radar maps and advisories from the national weather services of several countries on AccuWeather.com.
There's much ado this week about the polar vortex visiting the U.S. this week, but it wasn't long ago that we set over 7,800 cold records in July.
I caught an awesome lightning storm on the Dropcam at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions' office in downtown Wichita Wednesday night.
Hurricane Arthur set a number of records and caused damage across eastern North Carolina. View the storm through maps, webcams and more.
Meteorologically, Hurricane Arthur is a beautiful storm -- almost a textbook example of a hurricane, especially when the right color palettes are applied.