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  Posted 2015

All I Want for the Holidays is a NOAA Weather Radio!

December 22 2015

All I want for the holidays is a NOAA Weather Radio...a NOAA Weather Radio...a NOAA Weather Radio...All I want for the holidays is a NOAA Weather Radio so that I can stay aware of the weather and keep my friends and family safe!

Wherever I am, I can get the local weather forecast from the National Weather Service with one tap on my mobile phone’s home screen. I bookmarked to make sure that I have the latest weather news and information on-the-go. This will keep me safe and prepared.

NOAA Weather Radios broadcasts warnings, watches & forecasts around the clock. If I am lucky enough to get a NOAA Weather Radio, no matter where I am in my home I will hear an alert for hazardous weather. I can even use the radio with batteries for when I go camping so that I can stay informed about the weather. This is at the top of my list and will make a great gift for everyone! This would make a great gift for everyone on your list. You can buy weather radios in-store and online from many retail outlets such as electronics, department, and sporting goods stores. Learn more about NOAA Weather Radios at 

NOAA Weather Radios save lives! They make the perfect gift this holiday season. Add it to your wish list today! Happy Holidays!




Like Snow? Fly to Buffalo!

December 11 2015

Hello from Buffalo! I am visiting my friends at the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Buffalo, New York! They have the tough job of forecasting lake effect snow for their region. If you live in Buffalo, you know what lake effect snow is - last winter, they received more than 100 inches of snow!

Lake effect snow happens on the coast of all of the Great Lakes, like Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. My friends at the Buffalo office forecast for lake effect snow from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Lake effect snow happens in the late fall and early winter when the lake is still warm but the air is getting cold.

When really cold air from the north comes down over the lakes, the warm lake below acts as a source of energy. The cold air sucks up warmth and moisture from the lake through evaporation. How long the air spends over the lake is called residence time, and how far it travels over the lake is called fetch.

Residence time and fetch are very important because if the air doesn’t spend enough time over the lake, it doesn’t get enough energy or moisture to make lake effect snow. The wind must be coming from the right direction over the lake.

When the air reaches the shore, it dumps all of that moisture in snow form. These snow storms form in narrow bands that don’t really move, so five miles away it could be sunny, but in the storm you could get feet of snow. Last year, my friends at the NWS Office in Buffalo got over seven feet of snow in one storm!

So, if you like snow, Buffalo is for you! Remember, Be A Force of Nature this winter




Know on the Go! Always be Weather-Ready!

November 3 2015

Know before you go is what I always say! In my quest to be Weather-Ready and make sure my friends and family are as well, I am shouting from the treetops and letting everyone know about a great way to access the latest National Weather Service forecasts.

Wherever I am, I can get the local weather forecast from the National Weather Service with one tap on my mobile phone’s home screen. I bookmarked to make sure that I have the latest weather news and information on-the-go. This will keep me safe and prepared.

It’s simple and easy! Learn how to add the mobile version of to your iPhone or Android phone. Follow these three steps like I did for one-click access to your local forecast.

Know Your Risk, Take Action, and Be a Force of Nature just like me!




The Eye of a Hurricane: A Visit to the National Hurricane Center

September 14, 2015

I visited the National Hurricane Center in Florida this week! I learned a lot about tropical storms and hurricanes and how meteorologists forecast such powerful and destructive storm systems! The meteorologists are quite busy right now because we are currently in Hurricane Season. Hurricane season started on June 1 and runs through November 30. The National Hurricane Center issues watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous tropical weather.

When the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center see a storm is forming in the tropics, they work really hard to investigate the growing storm and learn how strong it is, where it is going, how long it will last, and if it will hit land. They use a lot of instruments to get observations and information about the storm and gather data from numerous sources. They use satellites, radar, and ocean buoys with weather instruments on them. My favorite to learn about was the Hurricane Hunter plane. If a tropical storm or hurricane is heading towards the United States, they can fly the plane right into the storm! They can collect a lot of data and information about wind speeds, the storm’s structure, and other observations that can help them make their forecast. When they fly through, their plane takes observations, but they also drop instruments into the storm to gather data. It sends back wind speed and direction, air pressure, and moisture information. Using all of these observations and information, they make their forecast!

You can check out these videos to see what it’s like to fly through a hurricane!

Also, take a virtual tour of the National Hurricane Center!

Remember, It only takes one storm to change your life and community. Tropical cyclones are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. If you live in an area prone to tropical cyclones, you need to be prepared. Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes from these storms.


Summer’s Last Hurrah! Labor Day Weather Safety!

September 3, 2015

Labor Day isn't just a day for barbecues, parades, and road trips. It's also a day to reach out to those who make your everyday life easier and thank them for their hard work. I would like to thank all who work or have worked hard to make our country great!

This Labor Day weekend I’m going on a short trip to visit friends.  Before I head out on my travels I’m going to make sure I’m Weather-Ready! I always check the National Weather Service’s homepage first to see if there are any weather watches or warnings out along my route or at my destination. I check the National Weather Service’s website every morning to make sure I know my risks and am prepared for any type of weather I might encounter. 

Also, I visit the NWS Seasonal Safety Campaign website so that I can check the hazards I could possibly encounter on my weekend trip.  Whether you are traveling to the ocean, mountains, or anywhere in between this upcoming weekend, you need to be aware of the different hazards you might encounter and how to stay safe!  This time of year across the country you could encounter both summer and fall hazards, so be prepared!


Staying Safe with NOAA’s Partners

August 11, 2015

I’ve had a lot of fun this summer learning about weather and preparedness with some of NOAA’s partners!

One of my favorite places to visit when I want to learn while playing games is SciJinks. I also think their bad weather joke generator is a hoot! Another site with fun games is the UCAR Kids Page. It even has lesson plans for teachers so these games can be used in the classroom! For those looking to dig into the science behind the weather, the NASA Earth Science site has a lot of really interesting weather information.

The Red Cross has a really fun app called Monster Guard that will help kids learn to prepare for potential disasters. I learned all about how to prepare for real life emergencies in my house and other places I go.  Also, I get to practice what I learn as I go through lots of fun, challenging levels in the Monster Guard app. Another really neat place to visit is the Smithsonian Weather Lab where you get to take on the role of a meteorologist! The Smithsonian’s Science Center created this online tool that lets you predict spring weather and how people should dress for it in particular parts of the United States. Let me tell you, suggesting wearing shorts in Alaska in April is wrong. Brr!

Spend some time this school year learning all about science and preparedness with some of NOAA’s partners!  Stay safe my friends!


Be Weather-Ready, Be Firewise!

July 30, 2015

The sound of a crackling campfire, the smell of roasting marshmallows, snuggling into my comfy sleeping bag after a day of hiking...I love camping! It is one of my favorite summer activities. As I pack for my trip and double check my supplies, I also check the weather forecast at and check with the local Park Service so that I know if there is a risk for wildfires.

Wildfires are fires that happen in wooded areas and can start from lightning or from people who do not carefully handle flames. Winds and dry plants can spread a fire very quickly. When I am camping, I make sure my fire is built in a location where it can easily be contained, away from loose brush or other items that could easily catch fire and spread the flames. I am never far away from my fire once it is lit and I always have water on hand. Before leaving the fire I pour water over the ashes, even if it already looks like it is out. All it takes is one ember catching nearby brush or grass on fire to start a wildfire.

If you spot a wildfire, you should walk or drive away from the fire immediately and call 911 to report it. Weather conditions and the type of ground cover can make the fire change direction quickly so it is important that stay far away from the fire. If you live in an area that is near woods, it is important to have a plan of action and emergency supplies in case a fire starts, and to always listen to officials when a wildfire is happening in your area.

To learn more about fire forecasts and wildfire safety and prevention, check out the NWS Wildfire Safety Page.  Also, visit my friends at Firewise Communities  to learn all about all of the risks of wildfires and how to be prepared for a wildfire.


Beat the Heat!

July 10, 2015

Summer is one of my favorite times of year! It is full of vacations, outdoor activities, and fun in the sun! The warm months and long days mean that there is plenty of time for baseball games, pool parties, and barbecues. But, don’t let the hot sunny days fool you. Heat waves can be dangerous and heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.

Heat waves are dangerous because your body cannot cool itself properly when exposed to an extreme combination of heat and humidity. Even though I enjoy being outside during the summer, there are things I do to keep myself safe from the heat:
  • I slow down. I will reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day.
  • I dress for summer. I wear lightweight, loose lifting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight and a wide brimmed hat.
  • I drink plenty of water and decaffeinated fluids, even when I don't feel thirsty.
  • During the hottest time of day, I spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries.
  • I stay out of the sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
  • I take a cool bath or shower to help keep my body cool.

  For more information on Heat Safety, visit the NWS Heat Safety page. Stay safe this summer: Know Your Risk, Take Action and Be a Force of Nature!


Summer Travel: My Weather-Ready Road Trip!

June 26, 2015

I’m going on a road trip! After I pack my sunscreen and my camera, I’m going to make sure I’m Weather-Ready! First, I will check the National Weather Service’s homepage to see if there are any weather watches or warnings out along my route or at my destination. I check the National Weather Service’s website every morning to make sure I know my risks and am prepared for any type of weather I might encounter.

I will also double check my Weather-Ready driving emergency kit to make sure it is stocked! It has bottled water, nonperishable snacks, a first aid kit, an extra car charger for my cellphone, a blanket, extra clothing, and extra medicine in case I need it.

The last thing I will do before I leave is make sure my cell phone is fully charged. I put it away when I drive, but if I hear a strange chirping noise, I know to pull over safely and check it out. The chirping noise is a Wireless Emergency Alert and will tell me if severe weather, such as a tornado or a flood, is happening in the area I am traveling. Once I am Weather-Ready, it will be time to hop in the car and go and have fun!


When Thunder Roars Go Indoors!

June 23, 2015

Did you know that if you hear thunder, you are in danger?  Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.  There are about 25 million lightning strikes in the United States each year. I think lightning is fascinating to watch, but I never forget that something so fascinating can also be very dangerous!  About 50 people are killed each year in the United States by lightning, but hundreds are permanently injured.

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity that occurs either in a cloud or between a cloud and the ground.  Thunder is the sound made by lightning as it heats the air to as hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Did you know that is 5 times hotter than the sun?!  This makes lighting very powerful and very hazardous.  When lightning strikes a home, it can create enough heat to ignite a fire. There is enough electricity in a flash of lightning to power a 100 watt light bulb for about three months.  So, even if it means you have to take a break from playing, swimming, or working outside, play it safe. No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!

Here is how I keep myself safe from lightning:
  • When I hear thunder, even a distant rumble, I know lightning is likely within striking distance. Lightning threats can extend 10 miles from the storm!  I go to a safe place immediately including a house, large building or a car with a metal roof to protect me from lightning.
  • When I am inside, I stay away from windows and doors and I do not touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet. I also stay off my corded telephone. 
  • I stay away from sinks and do not take a shower or bath during a thunderstorm.
  • I never go back outside until 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.
As my friend Leon the Lightning Safety Lion always says “When Thunder Roars Go Indoors.” You can find more facts about lightning and lightning safety and play Leon’s Lightning Safety game at NOAA’s Lightning Safety Web Site


Ready for a trip to the beach!

June 9, 2015

I love going to the beach! I like to build sand castles, swim, and go boogie boarding! But when I go into the ocean, I always remember how powerful waves can be. Rip currents are strong currents moving away from the beach that can carry a swimmer towards the ocean. When waves crash on the shore, the water flows back towards the ocean. If the flow towards the ocean becomes stronger than the waves coming in, a rip current is formed. I also pay attention to when waves are above my head, so I know it’s time to move closer to shore. Before I head out to the beach, I always check out to see if there are rip current warnings or high waves forecast for my beach. When I get to my beach, I look to see if there are beach warning flags out and check in with my lifeguard. And I always swim with a buddy! Visit for more safety tips!


Hurricane Season is almost here!

May 22, 2015

Are you prepared? I am! 

It only takes one storm to change your life and your community. Hurricanes and tropical storms are among nature’s most powerful and destructive storms. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, it is a good idea to be prepared. Remember, even if you live well away from the coastline, your community can be threatened by dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes from these storms.

Here’s what I’ve done to make sure I’m ready for a tropical storm or hurricane:

  • I identified my hurricane risk. I know that storm surge and strong winds could pose a problem for my home. I also know that if I have to evacuate I need to keep an eye out for inland flooding.  
  • I know my evacuation zone information and will be prepared to leave if asked to do so.
  • I created a communications plan so that my friends and family will know that I am ok and will know how to contact me. My cousin who lives in Ohio will be my primary point of contact since she likely won’t be located along the coast.
  • My preparedness kit is up to date. I replaced expired items and made sure I had enough food and water to last 3 days.

Even if you don’t live near the coast it is important to at least understand the dangers of these tropical storms. You may visit the coast and need to evacuate if a storm heads your way. Understanding your risk will help you and your loved ones stay safe.

Stay safe this hurricane season! For more on hurricane safety and forecasts, visit the NWS Hurricane Safety page.


Storm Shelters: Know Where to Go!

March 27, 2015

Last week Oklahoma was hit with the state’s first tornadoes of the season. I saw lots of great stories about people taking shelter from the severe weather. Do you know where to go for shelter in case of a tornado? It’s a good idea to find out where your storm shelter is at home and at school, well before a tornado strikes. Ask your parents or teachers where you should go to shelter and learn how to get there. Doing so will help you stay safe during severe weather. A storm shelter is an underground or interior room with no windows that you can go to during severe weather.

Once you know where to go, you can help make sure the shelter is ready for an emergency. Here are a few things the experts recommend doing each year before the start of severe weather season:

  • Make sure the shelter is stocked with supplies you might need during an emergency, such as water and food. Check expiration dates on items in your emergency kit and replace any outdated items.
  • Remove clutter so that everyone who needs to shelter can fit inside. Don’t let it be used to store junk - it’s a room for people to use for emergencies only.
  • Clean out the dark corners so that it’s comfortable for people to use. If bugs are a concern, ask your family to call a professional to treat the area. If they treat for bugs themselves, ask that they be sure to follow all safety precautions listed on the packaging.


Tsunami Preparedness

March 23, 2015

Tsunami Preparedness Week is traditionally the last week in March in a number of states because of the devastating Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunamis, which occurred on March 27, 1964. But, I learned from my friends with the NOAA Tsunami Program that there is no season for tsunamis, so coastal communities hold tsunami preparedness activities all year round.

Some people get prepared by attending presentations and workshops to learn about tsunami safety. Others practice their evacuation routes. A few communities actually hold a fun run that follows their evacuation route. Folks can walk or run and have some fun outdoors while learning how to get to safety!

I encourage my friends who live, work and play on the coast to take part in tsunami preparedness activities and take action to protect themselves and their loved ones from tsunamis. The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Safety website has information about what to do before, during and after a tsunami. is a good website to visit to find out where and when activities are taking place. Local emergency management offices and NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices are also knowledgeable about tsunami preparedness activities in their areas. Be a force of nature! Make sure you know what to do if a tsunami happens while you’re at the coast.


Owlie Tornado Myths

Tornado Myths Get Untwisted

March 1, 2015

Some of the United State’s wildest weather happens during the spring. There are thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, and more! Today is March first and that means that meteorological spring is upon us! Most people will observe spring as starting on March 20th this year because of the position of the sun. However, meteorologists think of the seasons based on the types of weather typically seen during certain months. In March we usually see the number of thunderstorms increase. My meteorologist friends have put together a really cool Tornado Myths article that I’d like to share with you! You can find out why it’s not safe to take shelter under a bridge or overpass, whether tornadoes really dodge big cities, and more!

For more spring safety information, visit the NWS Spring Safety page!


radar located at the NWS Lake Charles Forecast Office.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No! It’s a NOAA Weather Balloon!

January 15, 2015

In order to predict the weather, we first need to observe the weather. Did you know that every day, NOAA’s National Weather Service launches weather balloons twice a day from 102 sites throughout the United States, the Caribbean and the Pacific to help with weather forecasting? I got to help launch a weather balloon at the Baltimore/Washington D.C. Weather Forecast Office while I was visiting last fall! It was a little windy so I had to make sure it was let go in an area where it wouldn’t get caught on a tree or other tall object during takeoff!

Each balloon has a sensor package and a parachute attached to it’s string. As the weather balloon rises through the atmosphere, the sensors measure air pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction from the Earth’s surface to about 20 miles high in the sky. This information is sent back to the surface using radio signals, where it is included as a starting point for weather forecast models. Forecasters then use the information when making their forecasts.

When the balloon gets to around 20 miles high in the sky, it will pop and the sensors fall to the ground. The parachute will open as it falls so the sensors and popped balloon come back to Earth slowly. It can land in a wide variety of locations, such as in trees, on bridges and in backyards — sometimes more than 200 miles away from where it was launched!

Once it lands, if found, it can be returned to the National Weather Service. Each one has its own addressed, postage-paid return mailbag. Returning them benefits the environment and saves taxpayer dollars by recycling the units for reuse. So, if you happen to find a weather balloon and its sensor package in your neck of the wood please return it to NOAA’s National Weather Service. I hope to find one some day!