Hello to you. How are you?! It’s Friday here as I write to you, about 7:52 am. We made the mistake of attempting to walk Link and Spot before 7:30 am. With school having started there are folks walking to and waiting for the school buses, people driving there kids and themselves to school….a bit chaotic. If it’s hard for me, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for Link and Spot with their heightened senses of hearing and smell. So we put a note on our door so we don’t make the same mistake everyday lol. If it was just Kyle and I it wouldn’t be so bad but the dogs don’t handle humans in smaller packaging very well! Nobody looked very happy that we saw. I said a prayer for them as I watched the filing on to the bus – “I hope you have a good day oh and be nice to each other!”
Alvarado is growing and there are a lot of things we need to get worked out as this is happening. I think once the construction in the housing addition is completed we will finally be in a place to do that. When Kyle and I were still going to City Council meetings we told them something is going to have to be done about North Cummings as they were considering more development. North Cummings is the road behind our house and one of the main arteries for the neighborhoods around us. We told them they needed to make another exit for the new addition but they didn’t choose to do that. Now all the roads are really tore up and congested! You can’t just keep putting more traffic on a single lane road and not expect there aren’t going to be problems! Alvarado is right in the middle of Dallas and Ft Worth TX. We thought it would take longer before those cities started to spread out to us, but such is not the case and it’s only been about 9 years! The noise is so bad at times I’ve resorted to wearing ear plugs! Growth is good but you have to be strategic about it and have vision to avoid the mistakes so many other places have made. You have to think about the quality of life of the people you already have living in a place before profit margins.
I had an interesting dream before waking that I know was triggered by seeing a NASA article I am sharing with you. The dream was about staying in a village. I was in an old house looking out an upstairs window. I could see an old man standing in a plowed field and it looked like a black clouded storm was going to blow over the man while he was working. He stayed in the field and when the cloud reached him it seemed to become like black smoke and flowed over him. He bent down into the cloud of smoke and disappeared.
America’s Biggest Problem (14 min 40 sec long – urban sprawl problem – this is what it’s like to live in Alvarado and other small towns near big cities)
Severe Storms Show off their “Plume-age”
Aug. 15, 2018
It’s not quite a smoking gun, but one could be forgiven for thinking of it that way: a distinctive cloud formation that often signals damaging storms below.
Easily identifiable in satellite imagery, the Above Anvil Cirrus Plume, or AACP, looks like a plume of smoke emanating out from the top of what, in all likelihood, is a serious storm.
“The plume pattern in the imagery instantly tells you without the need for radar or lightning observations or other information that these are the storms you really, really need to look out for,” said Kris Bedka, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
The plumes have been a frequent sight over the U.S. this summer as outbreaks of severe weather have raked across the Midwest, bringing high winds, tornadoes and hail with them.
In this still image of the North Dakota storms, jet stream air collides with towering updrafts and forms U-shaped areas of cold temperatures shown in blue. The warmer plumes, which are represented by yellow tints, are visible traveling downstream.
Bedka is studying the AACP phenomenon with colleagues at the University of Oklahoma. Their research is showing that compared to non-plumed storms, plumed storms are significantly more likely to produce high winds, major tornadoes and large hail. In addition, their findings could help weather forecasters provide earlier warnings of severe and tornadic storms not just in the U.S. but around the world.
There are also implications for climate.
“Plume signatures are not only useful for identifying potentially severe storms, but they also represent transport of ice and water vapor into the stratosphere,” said Elisa Murillo, a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma who has collaborated extensively with Bedka on AACP research. “Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, and its presence in the stratosphere has strong impacts on climate.”
The Makings of a Plume
To understand why the plumes are such good indicators of severe weather, it helps to understand the conditions that generate them.
Typical thunderstorms top out at the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere — the lowest part of Earth’s atmosphere — and the stratosphere. As storm-producing cumulonimbus clouds hit the tropopause their tops flatten out, giving them an anvil-like appearance.
Plumes form when intense updrafts puncture the tropopause and drag cloud tops up into the stratosphere with them. There, racing stratospheric jet-stream winds and powerful updrafts collide.
“You have wind flows exceeding 100 miles an hour at the jet-stream level running into this towering updraft,” said Bedka. “So jet-stream winds are forced to go around.”
As the jet-stream air collides with the updraft, it rises slightly and becomes colder, forming a U- or V-shaped area of cold temperatures.
In May, these plumed storms over northeast Kansas and southern Nebraska produced numerous tornadoes, baseball-sized hail and 80 mph straight-line winds.
The collision between updraft and jet stream also causes a ripple effect and transports cirrus cloud ice downstream to form the plume. Plumes are typically warmer than the underlying anvil cloud because they mix with the air in the stratosphere where temperature warms with height.
Where there’s Smoke…
Over the course of their research, Bedka and his colleagues identified hundreds of plumed storms over the U.S. using highly detailed imagery collected at one-minute intervals by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite System, specifically GOES-14 and GOES-16. They then determined when the plumes first formed, how long they lasted and when they decayed.
Next, they linked that satellite data to radar and lightning data from the same storms. They also compared the timing of plume formation to when severe weather actually occurred and when severe weather warnings were issued by the National Weather Service. What they found was significant.
“We found about 400 plume-producing storms across 13 severe weather outbreaks,” said Bedka, “and in about 100 of them you had a plume appearing 10 minutes before the first warning, potentially providing additional lead time for saving lives and property.”
In a few storms that lead time stretched out even further to about 30 minutes.
The plume-producing storms also generated 14 times more severe weather events per storm than storms without plumes. In addition, 88 percent of EF-2 or greater tornadoes and 86 percent of 2-inch-plus hail reports came from plume-producing storms.
“Identifying this plume feature can be paired with radar observations, routinely available here in the U.S., to improve our warning capabilities,” said Murillo. “In many places across the world where radar data are not as accessible, early identification of AACPs can help improve warnings and severe weather preparedness.”
Kris Bedka, atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, is studying Above Anvil Cirrus Plumes with colleagues at the University of Oklahoma. Their research could improve storm warning capabilities in the U.S. and around the world.
Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman
Hail, Hail the Cirrus Plume
In terms of cost, storms that drop hail — often storms of the plumed variety — are the most significant.
According to the National Weather Service, hail did $1.7 billion in damage in the U.S. in 2017 — more than all the damage from lightning, tornadoes and thunderstorm winds combined.
If they’re big enough, hailstones can shatter glass, dent metal, break shingles and mangle crops. A plumed storm over the Cordoba region of Argentina in February 2018 produced hailstones more than 7 inches in diameter. Hail more than 8 inches in diameter has been recorded over Nebraska and South Dakota in recent years.
Though these extreme hail events are rare, Bedka and colleagues hope their research might add a new dimension to the prediction of the severe storms that generate the most dangerous, expensive weather. They’re already collaborating with other scientists to develop an algorithm to automatically detect plumes in satellite imagery.
“The combination of new satellite information such as that from GOES-16 with radar and lightning observations collected from the ground provides an unprecedented package to unravel and provide advance warning of these complex storms,” said Bedka.
NASA’s Langley Research Center
Last Updated: Aug. 16, 2018
Editor: Joe Atkinson
Numbers in the Words:
Urban Sprawl = 145/10/1
Growth = 91/10/1
Traffic = 63/9 cycle
Weather = 80/8/4/2/1
Climate = 63/9 cycle
Storm = 85/13/4/2/1
Plume = 67/13/4/2/1
Satellite Imagery = 181/10/1
America = 50/5 divided by 2 = 2.5 = 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 = 8/4/2/1