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WeatherBrains 212: Tropical Slant in Winter

WeatherBrains Episode 212 is now online (Feb. 15, 2010). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

WeatherBrains - February 15, 2010

Tara Golden, MeteorologistOur guest panelist this week is meteorologist Tara Golden from the NWS office in Birmingham, AL. Tara attended University of South Alabama and obtained her BS in Meteorology in 2007. She has worked at the NWS office in Mobile plus the NWS office in Birmingham. She was the recipient of the Exxon Mobil Scholarship Award in 2006. Born and raised in Baileyton, Alabama, the 1993 Blizzard and the 1995 Joppa Tornado influenced her interest in weather. She is one of the authors of the National Weather Service BMX’s annual severe weather preparedness guide. She presented a poster at the National Weather Association Meeting in Norfolk in October, 2009. She also worked with the Alabama Department of Transportation to get tornado warnings displayed on the variable message signs above the interstate in the Birmingham metro area. She is an accomplished amateur photographer and avid football fan – especially Brett Favre.

This episode we feature Dr. Keith Blackwell from the University of South Alabama (USA). Dr. Keith Blackwell joined the faculty of the Department of Earth Sciences at USA in September, 1996, after serving thirteen years as a meteorologist with the U.S. Air Force having achieved the rank of Major in 1994. He subsequently spent another seven years in the USAF reserve where he served as Chief of Weather Forecast Applications with the 15th Operational Weather Squadron before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2005.

Dr. Keith Blackwell, University of South AlabamaDr. Blackwell has published several journal papers on tropical weather systems, including two studies on eyewall wall replacement cycles, low-level wind maxima, and extreme rainfall in landfalling hurricanes. His current research is in intensity assessment and structural aspects of landfalling hurricanes. Dr. Blackwell developed a numerical hurricane track and wind profile model called the Blackwell Over-surface Hurricane Wind (BLOHW) Model. With the help of this model, he has provided real-time hurricane forecasts for up to 100 industrial, educational, and governmental clients through USA’s Coastal Weather Research Center during hurricane emergencies, including Danny (97), Georges (98), Lili (02), Ivan (04), and Katrina (05).

Dr. Blackwell teaches the senior course on synoptic meteorology and forecasting at the University of South Alabama. He also teaches a tropical discussion course during hurricane season each year, as well as a summer course titled “Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast” at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Prior to his appointment to USA, Dr. Blackwell was the Director of Meteorology at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. While at the Academy, he served as Director of the Cadet Summer Research Program (1994-96) and was Secretary of the Weather Career Field Selection Board (1994-1996). In addition to his teaching experience at the University of South Alabama and the Air Force Academy, Dr. Blackwell was a Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (1992-93) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (1991-92). He was also a Lecturer for the Department of Defense Mesoscale Modeling and Forecasting Seminar at Air Weather Service Headquarters (1992)and the Lead Scientist and Team Chief for the Regional Numerical Models Team at Air Force Global Weather Central in Omaha NE from 1990-1993.

Dr. Blackwell has also worked as a forecaster with Capitol Weather Service in Mobile, AL, (1981-1983) prior to joining the U.S. Air Force. In addition, he was an Air Pollution Meteorologist with Air Pollution Control in the Jefferson County Health Department in Birmingham, AL (1980-81).

Among his many awards, Dr. Blackwell has received two Meritorious Service Medals from the U.S. Air Force Academy and 15th Operational Weather Squadron, the Outstanding Educator Award for Teaching Excellence at the Air Force Academy, the Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award for Air Weather Service while at AFGWC, and recently the Dean’s Lecture Award in the College of Arts and Sciences at USA (the college’s highest faculty award). In addition, Dr. Blackwell was asked to testify before the U.S. Senate’s subcommittee on Disaster Prediction and Prevention following the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

We also get a third guest, Bo Crawford, the Armchair Angler. Bo brings us up-to-date on a big fishing tournament – the Bass Master’s Tournament – and the impact of cold water.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • still a lot of winter weather but fewer than a week ago
  • about 67 percent of country with snow
  • 84 warmest at Whitman, CA
  • 49 states had snow last week
  • and more!
  • Our mail bag has been getting some attention and Kevin puts it in perspective.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: There has been a lot of news about this over the last couple of weeks. In fact, at one point last week, snow was falling or had fallen on every state in the lower 48 states. Of course, the topic is snow – soft, white, often crippling to travel, beautiful as it falls, frozen precipitation, gorgeous crystals, etc. But how do you measure the stuff. That is the topic for 101 this week.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of February 16th. The focus is on 1995 and a major problem with warning responsibility and a critical lightning strike.

    Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Web Sites from Episode 212:

    University of South Alabama

    USA Department of Earth Sciences

    USA’s Coastal Weather Research Center

    NWS Birmingham, AL, web page

    Armchair Angler

    Bassmaster’s 2010 Tournament

    Picks of the Week:

    Dr. Tim Coleman – NCEP Ensembles

    JB Elliott – Plymouth State Weather Center Global Interactive

    Tara Golden – Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama

    Bill Murray – World Weather Extremes

    Brian Peters – Umbrella for Stormy Weather

    Kevin Selle – New SPC Analysis Page

    James Spann – No Pick so he gets the fog horn from himself!


    Firefly – From Scott Udell

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like JB Elliott, Kevin Selle, Dr. Tim Coleman, Bill Murray, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

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