Monthly Archives: April 2013


What happened in Boston on Monday was a tragedy, and a complete act of terrorism by the Tsarnaev brothers, and believe me I’m glad they got the one and I hope they find the other brother.  However there has always been something I’ve hated, that occurs around every large event like this, or even the fertilizer explosion in Texas.  I hate it when the news organizations try use pathos, and play off peoples emotions, and blow stories right out of the water.  The one article I read to day, was putting a significant amount of emphasis on the date on which one of the brothers became a US Citizen.  So what if he became a citizen last year on September 11th, in honesty, that would our fault, because we schedule the tests.

Or take the explosion in Texas for example, as soon as it occurred, every news corporation was reporting that the explosion was related in some way to the Boston bombing.  Come on people factories blowup, and unfortunately this one took the lives of many.  Today I read an article that stated that the fertilizer was storing the explosive ammonium nitrate.  Yes they would be storing this, because its a fertilizer, its not an explosive until it’s mixed with fuel oil.  The article made it seem as though the owners of the plant were hiding a bomb.  I don’t no why I bother to watch the news any more.

Tornadoes in Pennsylvania

Though many feel that the possibility of a tornado to occur in Pennsylvania is almost nonexistent, nothing could be further from the truth.  Depending on where you are in the State of PA you could be in the tornado alley of Pennsylvania.  The primary locations in which tornadoes occur tend to be in North Western, South Western, and South Eastern regions of our state.  Counties such as Crawford, Westmoreland, and Lancaster have all experienced in excess of thirty tornadoes since 1881.


Back on May 31st 1985, the state of Pennsylvania was the epicenter of a severe tornado outbreak, the deadliest in our state’s history.  In total, 43 tornadoes touched down including eight F4 tornadoes, one of which went through the state forest to our north, and a F5 tornado in the Sharon PA area, that decimated the town of Wheatland PA.

VIS_SAT_1985_MAY_31_smvisible satellite imagery from NOAA

As you can see from the satellite loop, the storms really develop towards the end of the loop, which was the late afternoon on May 31st.  The timing was one of the key factors in the number of people killed, because the morning was beautiful so many people went outside to enjoy the day, with tornadoes being the last thing on their mind.  In the end 88 people lost there lives.

Of the 41 tornadoes that occurred on that day, two were very powerful long tract tornadoes that ripped across Mercer and Venango counties.  The first was and F4 tornado that devastated Atlantic PA

AtlanticTornado1Atlantic PA tornado NOAA

Worst of them all occurred in Mercer county and destroyed the town of Wheatland PA.  At approximately 6:30pm the F5 tornado touched down outside of Niles OH, and continued across the PA/OH border in to the Sharon area.  Leaving 18 people dead and over 300 injured.

107_Village_PlazaF5 in Niles OH

In the end, May 31st 1985 will always stand out, as one of the deadliest days in weather history for the State of Pennsylvania, and even though I enjoy this kind of weather, we will most likely never see such a day again, on this day everything was perfect for the development of this outbreak, and it would be rare to see this happen again.

641px-May31CLEtracksTornado paths during the Outbreak.

Have a great summer and always be aware of your surroundings, and stay one step a head of what ever weather you might experience.






The movie Amistad was produced by Steven Spielberg, and told the story of a group of Africans, and there fight for freedom after causing a mutiny aboard the La Amistad, and being brought to the US to be tried on murder charges.  Through out the film Spielberg make us of pathos, to challenge our on freedom and make us feel a connection between the African’s fight, and our own fight for freedom.  There is one scene in the movie in which shows one of the characters, Cinque begs for freedom while in the courthouse.  This establishes Cinque’s ethos, due to his use of English, which sets him apart from the rest of the group and really established him as the leader of the group due to his intelligence.

During many of the court scenes pathos was used by the lawyers for the Africans, to win over the judge.  One such example is John Adam’s speech about the true meaning of freedom.


So this week I will be beginning multipart seris on severe weather.  It wont be about the usual, lightning and so on, however more uncommonly seen severe weather such as this weeks topic of a Micro Burst.

Of all the forms of severe weather, such as tornadoes, lightning, and hail, it might be hard to believe, but wind is the most deadly of all of these forces.  More people are killed by wind than tornadoes every year. Whether it is straight line wind from a thunderstorm or a microburst, wind is the real killer.  Of all wind related events, none is more sever than that of a microburst.

A Microburst is essentially a rapidly descending column of air, also known as a downdraft, the forms at the base of a thunderstorm super cell.


These straight line wind make determining whether or not the event was a tornado or mircoburst fairly easy, because all the damage is blown out from a single location.


Though it is still debatable whether it was a tornado or a micro burst,  a micro burst was possibly responsible for taking down one of Northwest Pennsylvania’s most historical sites.  The Kinzua bridge, once the tallest railroad bridge in the US and at one time the world.



North Korea

As we all know, recent relations with North Korea have continued to decrease and it seems that our world is on the brink of another war. One wrong step by either side could start this conflict.  When I watch the propaganda films produced by North Korea I can’t help but think of the lack of logos to their whole argument.  They seem to be solely running off of the pathos of it’s leader, and his feelings on how he thinks his military is feelings.  But in the end no matter how much propaganda the produce,  don’t feel that it will change the way we ultimately look at North Korea.  This past week I was watching an episode of Sponge Bob with some friends in my dorm, and this episode summed up the current North Korean conflict, fairly well.  Hr2p0bf

Fire Weather


In the map above, you can clearly see the currently the state of Pennsylvania is standing out like a sore thumb. Why is that? Its because currently as you read this the state of Pa is under what is know as a red flag warning, which means there is an extreme risk of rapidly spreading wildfires.  So if this is about just the possibility of forest fires, why is the Nation Weather Service in charge of issuing these Red Flag Warnings?

Actually the Nation Weather service has a lot of say when red flag warnings are issues, because they are truly a fire weather warning.  Fire weather is a combination of many factors the increase the potential for wild fire growth.  Typical it consists of a low relative humidity “The amount of moisture in the are” and also the speed of the wind for that day.  When there is a low relative humidity, more of the moisture contain within the fuel for a wild fire evaporates causing it to be more combustable.  The higher the wind speeds, the quicker the wild fire can spread.  So with dry fuel and high wind, the potential exists for a large forest fire.  This is one side of meteorology Im very interested in and would like to pursue.


This map show the current percentage of moisture in the fuel for a fire,  as you can see the State College area is between 5-8% so the fuels are extremely dry.

All images from National Weather Service State College