Tag Archives: NWS

Blizzard warning!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As I write these words, my fancy I-phone weather app tells me it is 72 degrees in Amarillo, Texas.

Tomorrow? Blizzard warning is in effect. It’s the middle of March!

Which brings me to a brief point. The weather in the Texas Panhandle keeps everyone on their toes. My wife and I lived there for 23 years. We saw snow in April; we also saw the temperature rise to, oh, 70 degrees on the same day!

Someone I met there once said you could “experience all the seasons of the year in a single day.” He wasn’t kidding!

It’s good to remember that Amarillo sits just about 3,700 feet above sea level. Rocky Mountains are about a three-hour drive to the west. The wind blows incessantly there from the north and west during the winter and early spring.

So today the warmth bathed the region. Snow is coming in just a few hours. And when the National Weather Service issues a “blizzard warning,” well … then you’d better unpack your parka.

The weather there is sure to give complete strangers something to talk about as they go through their day.

‘Doppler Dave’ set to wage a form of war

Dave Oliver might not like to be associated with the term “war,” but that’s how I see the next stage of the iconic Amarillo, Texas, TV meteorologist’s life.

The man known throughout the Texas Panhandle as “Doppler Dave” is stepping away from the “green screen” for a while. He is fighting prostate cancer, which he said has been caught in its early stages. The cure rate for early detection of prostate cancer is good, so I want to join his many fans — and believe me, they number in the many thousands — in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Oliver and I are not great friends. I don’t know him well. I only know of him after living in Amarillo for more than 20 years. He has been chief meteorologist for KFDA NewsChannel 10 since before my wife and I moved to Amarillo in early 1995.

For a time, Oliver and I were NewsChannel 10 colleagues. After I left the Amarillo Globe-News in August 2012, I went to work as a freelance blogger for KFDA’s website. I wrote feature stories for the site. One of them involved the use of weather balloons at the National Weather Service station near the city’s international airport. The head weather guy at the NWS station in Amarillo spoke very highly of Oliver’s knowledge of the weather and his professionalism; Oliver spoke highly in return of his NWS colleague.

Oliver brings a sort of down-home folksiness to his broadcasts. It sells greatly in the community he serves. He speaks plainly and, to the best of my knowledge, steers away from meteorologists’ techno-speak we occasionally hear. He manages to tell viewers what the weather is doing without going into a scientific dissertation regarding “hook echoes” and “straight-line wind.”

My wife and I have moved away from the Panhandle. Thankfully, the Internet allows me to stay abreast of goings-on in the city where my wife and I lived for so many years. Dave Oliver’s announcement caught me by surprise.

With that, I want to say, “Get well, ‘Doppler Dave.'” Your legions of fans will await your return to the air.

They’re calling it ‘Sharpiegate’ … sheesh!

I wish I could have avoided referring to this latest Donald Trump controversy as a “gate”-type matter, but I guess I must.

They’re calling it “Sharpiegate” now. This is the story involving the president producing a map showing that, by golly, Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction.

You know what happened next, right? The National Weather Service contradicted the president’s assertion. Trump wouldn’t/couldn’t admit he goofed. So he trots out the map with the Sharpie-drawn line extending from the “cone of uncertainty” that the NWS had established regarding Dorian’s path.

Now the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has weighed in. NOAA backs Trump’s assertion.

I fear all NOAA has done is feed Trump’s never-ending Twitter tirade appetite. The president will bask in whatever NOAA has presumed.


How about we end this matter? How about we no longer are fixated over whether Trump drew that line extending from that cone of uncertainty. I have no doubt he did, but that shouldn’t consume us.

Oh, wait! If the media plan to let it go, will the president follow suit? Or is he going to keep stirring it up for the media to report on it … and then accuse the media of peddling “fake news”?

My head is about to explode.

Not all Category 1 storms are alike

I have learned something while watching the non-stop media coverage of Hurricane Florence as it pounds the coasts of North and South Carolina.

It is this: Not all hurricane categories can be judged by the same parameters.

Florence blasted ashore overnight as a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 supposedly is the least damaging, least threatening of these storms, which can be labeled as high as Category 5.

Here’s the deal: Florence brought a lot of water with it. Weather forecasters are saying it could dump as much as 3 feet of rainfall on the Carolina coast.

This is a bit of a surprise to me. My family and I once endured a Category 1 hurricane when we lived in Beaumont, Texas. Hurricane Bonnie made landfall while blasting ashore from the Gulf of Mexico in 1986. Bonnie was considered — even in the moment — to be a somewhat tepid event. Yes, it brought some heavy wind — about 85 mph sustained winds and occasional gusts of around 100 mph. However, the rainfall wasn’t nearly as heavy as what we’re seeing right now along the Carolina coastline.

Thousands of residents throughout the Golden Triangle lost power. Ours was out for just a few hours. Others endured days without any electricity.

Rainfall? Flooding? I don’t recall anywhere near the deluge that’s been brought by Hurricane Florence.

So, when they say a hurricane is a “mere” Category 1 event, that all depends on so many other factors that accompany such a storm as it blasts the coastline.

I’ll take Hurricane Bonnie over Hurricane Florence any day of the week.