Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 Hurricane Season: military aviation helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence (9/17/18)

In the aftermath of the devastating flooding rains in North and South Carolina and into Virginia, the Coast Guard has been hard at work on the ground, and as conditions permit, using helicopters to help flood victims. Here is some footage.


Direct link to video from okrajoe


Direct link to video from okrajoe


Direct link to video from ABC7 Sarasota


Direct link to video from US Department of Defense

Friday, September 14, 2018

2018 Hurricane Season: extra weather balloon launches for Hurricane Florence

I have blogged about the upper air data gathered by the National Weather Service (NWS) from weather balloons known as the upper air observation program. There are about 90 NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) that join other sites around the world in the upper air observation program by launching weather balloons with a radiosonde with sensors that record some weather data as the balloon ascends into the upper atmosphere. These "weather balloons" are launched per international agreement at the same time, at midnight and noon UTC. One of the important uses of this upper air data is that it is fed into the weather models that the NWS meteorologists and meteorologists from around the world use to come up with their weather forecasts.

I have written elsewhere about how NWS incident meteorologists will sometimes launch balloons for upper air observations to aid their fire weather forecasting.The data gathered by these balloon launches is also used by the National Hurricane Center in their hurricane forecast models.

Every so often when a large storm is threatening the U.S. the National Weather Service adds two extra weather balloon launches at 6AM and 6PM UTC, making for four balloon launches six hours apart. This was done in January 2016 for a large snow storm/blizzard that hit the east coast, see my January 2016 post on weather balloons. This week, many NWS WFOs in the upper air observation program, most but not all in the eastern half of the country, launched two additional weather balloons (one every six hours) to provide additional data for the NHC hurricane models. The NWS WFO Buffalo NY has a nice twitter post explaining balloon launches, with some nice graphics and photos.

I have two videos to share with you on upper air balloon launches. One shows a fairly typical balloon launch on a day that is not too windy.


Direct link to video from the City of Tampa

The second video is very short video from the NWS WFO Newport/Morehead NC, shared on their facebook page, go here to see the short video. The balloon launch was on or about September 13th. Note that because of the windy conditions, two people are holding on to the balloon as they exit the upper air building prior to launching the balloon.

I understand from a friend at the NWS WFO Norman Oklahoma that WFOs in Texas and Oklahoma stopped launching the two extra balloons as of today, September 14th, but WFOs to the east are continuing with the two extra balloon launches.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018 hurricane season: hurricane hunters continue to fly Hurricane Florence


Direct link to video


Direct link to video

As Hurricane Florence continues to make its way towards the southeast coast of the United States NOAA's hurricane hunters as well as those from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron continue to fly missions into and over Hurricane Florence. Aircraft reconnaissance plans of the day into hurricanes are available from this page from the National Hurricane Center. More information on hurricane hunter missions in the atlantic basin may be found on the tropical atlantic webpage. If you want to learn more about hurricane hunters, I wrote about NOAA's hurricane hunters in a series in June 2015 (the NOAA hurricane hunter known as Kermit is now refurbished). In May 2015 I wrote a series on the hurricane hunters of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.

Here are the reconnaissance missions into Florence planned for Thursday, September 13th. Teal refers to C-130s from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.




Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Hurricane Season: Hurricane Hunters flying Hurricane Florence


Direct link to video from USA Today

I expect that many of you in the United States know that Hurricane Florence is in the western atlantic making its way to a possible land fall in the southeastern United States as a category 4 hurricane sometime Thursday night into Friday.




According to the plan of the day from the National Hurricane Center for September 10, 2018, see below, there are four Hurricane Hunter flights into Florence. Teal refers to C-130s from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. NOAA 49 is NOAA's Gulfstream IV high altitude research aircraft.




I have a very high level of respect for all who crew the Hurricane Hunters. What you do is very dangerous. You do this to provide data to the NHC for their forecasts. The NHC forecasts in turn are used by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices as they issue products to warn their residents of upcoming impacts of a hurricane or tropical storm. The impacts of a hurricane or tropical storm may be felt many miles for the center of storm. Stay safe and please heed any evacuations.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Carr Fire: one month later

Just this morning I ran across a ten minute video about the Carr Fire: one month later, with a tribute to those who died at the end of the video. The Carr Fire was contained on August 30th at 229,651 acres. 1,091 residences, 503 outbuildings and 22 commercial structures were destroyed. Words escape me . . .

Rest in Peace:

Don Ray Smith, 81, volunteer bulldozer operator
Jeremy Stoke, 37, fire inspector, Redding Fire Department
Melody Bledsoe and her two grandchidren, Amy Roberts (4) and James Roberts (5)
An unidentified person (as of August 25th)
Jairus Ayeta, 21, PG&E apprentice lineman
Andrew Brake, 40, CAL FIRE mechanic

Thanks to all the firefighters on the ground and in the air, and their support crews.


Direct link to video



Wednesday, September 05, 2018

NJ Forest Fire Service 2018 engine deployments (Sept. 5th): update

It has been several days since I posted my last update on the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) type-4 engines deployed in the western U.S. It is time to provide an update on where these engines are.

Engines A-45 and T-9 had been assigned to the Stone Fire (California) last week, they were demobilized from that fire, on or about August 28th with a possible crew rotation, see an August 28th post on Facebook from the NJFFS A2 Firefighters Association. The Stone Fire is now at 100 percent containment, having burned 39,387 acres.

Meanwhile Engines A-29 and T-5 were demobilized from the County Line Fire near Carlin Nevada, for more information see my August 27th post. According to the NJFFS A2 Firefighters Association in an August 31st Facebook Post, crew rotation occurred on August 31st with engines A-29 and T-5 being assigned to the Great Basis Task Force.

I was wondering where these four NJFFS engines are currently assigned. I got my answer from my friends at the NJFFS A2 Firefighters Association in their September 4th update on their Facebook Page. Engines A-45 and T-9 are currently assigned to the Hirz fire, 18 miles northeast of Redding CA (46,051 acres burned at 70 percent containment. Meanwhile, engines A-29 and T-5 (part of Great Basin Task Force 18) are working the Gance Fire in northern Elko County, Nevada (4,500 acres burned, containment unknown).

I continue to be very proud of the good work the NJFFS crews have done helping out our friends in California and the Great Basin fight wildfires. Some of you returned home in time to spend part of the holiday weekend with your family and friends in New Jersey. Others were fighting wildfires. Thank-you for your service and your sacrifice. Stay safe.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Flying over the Delaware River

Here is another fun video uploaded by flyinphilsphotos of a flight over the Delaware River from Frenchtown to Milford NJ. Thanks to my pilot friends who take me flying, I have been on such a flight several times, but I'm not so good at taking videos from the right seat. The Delaware is a great and easy river to fly over.


Direct link to video from flyinphilsphotos on Youtube

Sunday, September 02, 2018

2018 Atlantic City Airshow

On this Labor Day weekend I hope that you enjoy this 35 minute video from the 2018 Atlantic City Airshow that took place last weekend. In the meantime be safe and enjoy.


Direct link to video


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

IMETs in Action: What they do and August 27th through 29th Deployments

I like to post periodically about the great work that National Weather Service Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) do, see for example my August 10th post.

I have shared the video below before, but it bears repeating. Hear NWS Incident Meteorologist Jeremy Wolfe discuss what he does on a wildfire assignment.



direct link to video

For more on IMETs do, check out my post of July 21, 2017 on IMET training, my post of post August 15, 2016 about how IMETs use weather balloons. For a general overview of what IMETs do, see this article, Eyes on the Sky: A Day in the Life of an Incident Meteorologist. Safety is the number one mission of an IMET, see this August 18th post by the US National Weather Service IMET Facebook Page

Recent IMET balloon launch
US NWS Glasgow, Montana IMET and US NWS Anchorage, Alaska IMET write up with photos about balloon launch on the Goldstone Fire in Montana, video of balloon launch (As I write this the Gladstone Fire has burned 9,337 acres and is at 22 percent containment).

Now I want to share some IMET deployments since August 27th as posted on the US National Weather Service IMET Facebook Page.

August 27th Deployments



August 28th and 29th Deployments






Monday, August 27, 2018

NJ Forest Fire Service 2018 engine deployments (Aug 27th): update

The two New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) Type-4 engines, B45 and T9 continue to be assigned to the Stone Fire where they are engaged in mop-up,  patrol containment lines, and suppressing spot fires. The Stone Fire has burned 39,387 acres and is at 72 percent containment as I write this. My friends at the NJFFS A2 Firefighters Association Facebook Page have posted two updates on their Facebook page that you might be interested, an update from earlier this morning, August 27th and on August 24th they shared some photos and a video of the Stone Fire, the camp, and a nice shot of a nearby train. Photos and video courtesy of Kenny Lunden Jr.

Meanwhile, NJFFS type-4 engines, A29 and T5, were demobilized from the Sheep Creek Fire on Sunday, August 26th and reassigned to initial attack at the County Line Fire (5 miles south of Carlin, Nevada). As I write this, the County Line Fire has burned 12,833 acres and is at 50 percent containment. See this August 26th update from the NJFFS A2 Firefighters Association for more information on this deployment.

On August 27th, the Sheep Creek Fire had burned 59,789 acres and was at 100 percent containment.