WeatherBrains 949: Graham in A Chicken Suit

WeatherBrains Episode 949 is now online (March 25th, 2024). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE podcast for you!

Tonight on WeatherBrains is the topic of a significant anniversary in the meteorological field.  Tonight’s show focuses on the Super Outbreak of 1974.  Fifty years on, its impact is still being felt.  The warning process, victim impacts and how the event itself changed the weather community forever from a professional standpoint will all be discussed.

Our first Guest WeatherBrain is a previous alumni of the show, most recently in 2020.  He received his Bachelor of Science in meteorology at Penn State University.  He received his Master’s and PhD at the University of Chicago, where he studied tornadoes and severe storms under Dr. Ted Fujita.  He joined the faculty at Penn State in 1978 as an Associate Professor and taught courses in weather analysis and forecasting, natural disasters, as well as other topics.  He retired in 2019 after being the severe weather expert at The Weather Channel for over two decades.  Dr. Greg Forbes, we are honored to have you join the panel tonight.

Penn State Alumni Association - Gregory S. Forbes '72 EMS

Our next Guest WeatherBrain is no stranger to anyone interested in severe weather.  He dedicated well over three decades to the National Weather Service, including 22 years as a Lead Forecaster at the SPC.  He significantly advanced the field of severe weather forecasting and mesoscale convective system motion.  His contributions are recognized with numerous awards and mentorships and have all left a lasting impact on the research and operational  forecasting community.  Steve Corfidi, welcome to the show.

GEMS Alumni Achievement Award Winner - Stephen Corfidi — Penn State Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

Guest WeatherBrain No. 3 is making his sixth appearance on the podcast.  He serves as the Director of NOAA’s NWS Assistant Administrator for Weather Services.  He’s significantly advanced weather operations in the United States through his extensive experience and pivotal roles he’s previously played.  His career is distinguished by close collaboration with emergency managers.  Ken Graham, welcome to the show.

Last but certainly not least, Guest WeatherBrain No. 4 is a legend in his own right.  He received his Degree in Meteorology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1964.  He earned his Masters and PhD in Meteorology at Florida State University.  He served NOAA in a number of positions in his over four decades with the government agency in both research and operations including forecasting.  He retired from federal service in 2005.  He then served as a Senior Research Scientist in the Cooperative Institute for Research and Environmental Sciences until 2009.  His career began in Miami in the mid-60s as a hurricane specialist at the NHC.   Dr. Joe Golden, thanks for joining us tonight.

Joe Golden

Bruce Jones of Midland Weather Radio also is back to discuss the importance of NOAA Weather Radio and its timely warnings and information.  Also you can now get 25% off a NOAA Weather Radio at by using PROMO CODE SPANN25.

Our email officer Jen is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners. Reach us here:

  • Where our Panelists were in 1974 during Super Outbreak (15:45)
  • Soundings/CAPE/shear data prior to Super Outbreak (28:00)
  • Changing perspectives from mid-70s to today concerning convective outlooks (30:45)
  • Pattern recognition role in early meteorology evolution and it’s impact felt today (37:15)
  • How the Super Outbreak changed the National Weather Service (43:30)
  • Role of satellite imagery in Super Outbreak (57:35)
  • Experiences of emergency management and challenges of warning the public (01:07:00)
  • Myths busted during event (01:17:45)
  • Importance of ham radio during Super Outbreak (01:24:00)
  • Development/origins of the Fujita scale (01:28:30)
  • The Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice (No segment this week)
  • This Week in Tornado History With Jen (No segment this week)
  • E-Mail Segment (No segment this week)
  • and more!

Web Sites from Episode 949:  

AMS Weather Band

Midland Radio

Picks of the Week:

Steve Corfidi – Teletype catalog on Ebay

Bruce Jones – Out

James Aydelott – Zach Stanford on X: “Convergence of the chaser variety is real this afternoon across western Oklahoma where severe storms are expected later today”

Jen Narramore – Online Presentation for 50th Anniversary of the April 1974 Super Outbreak

Rick Smith – March 25, 1948 – The First Tornado Forecast

Neil Jacobs – Out

Troy Kimmel – Teletype photo

Kim Klockow-McClain – NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center on X

Bill Murray – Photo of Barney Fife and Troy Kimmel in Starkville

James Spann – Qualitative Analysis of the Lived Experience of Tornado Survivors and Factors Affecting Community Resilience: A Case Study of an EF3 Tornado in Jacksonville, Alabama

James Spann – User’s Guide to the National Water Prediction Service (NWPS)

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Troy Kimmel, Bill Murray, Rick Smith, James Aydelott, Jen Narramore, Dr. Neil Jacobs, and Dr. Kim Klockow-McClain. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating podcast about weather.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.