Our 25th annual Fermilab/WGN-TV Tornado and Severe Storms Seminar is fast approaching and we hope many of you will be able to join us there on Saturday, April 9. Our seminars run approximately 3-4 hours and are completely free of charge. Seating is on a first come, first served basis and the first seminar gets underway this year at Noon on Saturday, April 9. The entire program is repeated beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9. Feel free to join us for either one. Hope to see you there and thanks for your interest and continuing support of our annual programs! For more information, go to http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/severe/Fermilab05.php
Here's this year's line-up of speakers. Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Allsopp of the National Weather Service-Chicago Forecast Office was kind enough to put the list of our speakers together:
The 24th Annual Fermilab Tornado and Severe Storm Seminar
Saturday April 9, 2005, Noon - 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Ramsey Auditorium, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Ill.
Tom Skilling, Chief Meteorologist, WGN-TV - 15th Anniversary look back on the 1990 Plainfield Tornado disaster and the heart-wrenching coverage of that disaster on television. Plus the report which aired only days later of Paul Sirvatka's stunning storm in progress tornado chase video of the wall cloud which was to go on to become the devastating Plainfield tornado.
Paul Sirvatka, Meteorology Professor, College of DuPage - Post-Plainfield moves to enhance area storm spotter training plus Paul's encounter on a storm chase with the wall cloud which was to become the infamous Plainfield twister. Also, the COD Storm Chase program which has been opened to the public this season.
Jim Stefkovitch, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the NWS Chicago office - Doppler radar's role in the tornado and severe weather warning process. Also a look at the new "polygonal" NWS warnings, which begin in the Chicago area this year, which will better and more precisely target the areas most at risk from incoming severe weather.
Paul Merzlock, Lead Forecaster, NWS Chicago - A look back at the meteorological environment which spawned the deadly 1990 Plainfield tornado and stunning similarities between that tornado and last year's damaging Roanoke, Ill., twister.
Dr. Joe Schaefer, Director of the Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Okla. - Important changes, which become operational for the first time this year, in the way severe weather watches outline the area at risk for severe weather - a county watch system which will more precisely designate areas at risk than the long employed box-shaped watches.
Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, MD, University of Illinois, Chicago - YOU Can Make a Difference in Lightning Injuries. Recent studies have shown that the lightning safety message is being heard by more people and that lives are being saved. Lightning injuries and how they occur, and what you can do to prevent lightning injuries in your own neighborhood.
Brian Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Omaha - It Doesn't Always Look Like a Tornado. Brian will talk about the 2-1/2 mile wide monster storm that struck Hallam, Neb., as well as other tornadoes that did not look like tornadoes including the Tri-state tornado in 1925, the Lemont, Ill., and Jordan, Iowa, storms in 1976, and the Plainfield tornado in 1990.
Al Pietrycha, Forecaster, NWS Chicago – A brief overview of the April 20, 2004, northern Illinois tornado outbreak, including the deadly Granville-Utica tornado.
Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Chicago - Tornadoes and severe weather hazards - understanding the risks and spotting suggestions.
Although the origin of the word “blizzard” is obscure, the term appeared in the United States 135 years ago and its first use was possibly on March 14, 1870, to describe a storm that produced heavy snow and high winds in Minnesota. Technically, a blizzard is an intense winter storm with sustained winds 35 m.p.h. or higher and sufficient falling and/or blowing snow to reduce visibility below one-quarter mile for at least three hours. Colloquially, the term is loosely applied to any heavy snowstorm. Blizzard conditions figured prominently in one of the worst-ever U.S. winter storms, the “Storm of the Century” that raked the eastern quarter of the nation on March 13-14, 1993. It impacted 100 million people in 26 states from Florida to Maine and claimed 270 victims. The storm produced 11 tornadoes in Florida, a 12-foot storm surge on Florida’s west coast, 20-40” of snow and whiteout conditions from Atlanta to Maine, and winds gusting to 101 m.p.h. in Fairview, N.C.
Memories of Chicago’s mild winter are fading as the city slips ever deeper into unrelenting springtime chill. Sub-normal temperatures began nearly a month ago and now, with daytime readings projected to run 8-15º below normal through the upcoming week, there’s no apparent end to the ongoing and lengthy cold spell.
Computer models indicate that the jet stream, anchored to our south, remains in a position that favors the southward movement of cold air from northern and central Canada. That means continued, persistent cold weather for Chicago and the Midwest, as well as the Ohio Valley and the East.
A burst of light snow (such as the dusting Friday evening) has accompanied each new surge of cold air, and that scenario will dominate area weather this week. However, a stronger storm system, possibly with the ability to tap deeper moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, threatens the area with a significant rain/snow event this coming Friday and Saturday.