Robo Plow – If You're Tired of Shoveling

 Fun Stuff  Comments Off on Robo Plow – If You're Tired of Shoveling
Mar 162010

I must admit, shoveling snow is not much of a concern when you live in Tampa, but for my many friends in the colder climates further north, here’s a little something you probably wish you had…especially this winter. Here is the Robo Plow, built obviously by a bunch of people with a lot of time on their hands during the winter.

Now, if they’d just come up with one for raking those damned Live Oak leaves. Now that I could go for.


Hometown Pounded by Tornados

 Friends, Kings Mountain, Places  Comments Off on Hometown Pounded by Tornados
Jun 182009

What now appears to have maybe two tornados pounded my hometown of Kings Mountain Tuesday evening. West Kings Mountain out through Bethlehem and Oak Grove communities seem to have been hit the hardest.

Some Kings Mountain friends I follow on facebook experienced damage from having windows blown out to golf ball sized hail. My mom has called and there are people I know (including my sister’s in-laws) have trees over on their roofs. Mom rode around a little today out through Bethlehem community and talked yards full of down trees and homes of people I know with their windows all blown out.

Mom was unable to get one friends house because the road was blocked, and I even saw one report where Interstate 85 was closed at some point because of tree across the interstate.

Here’s a video from one of the local TV stations, but it doesn’t really capture the scale of the damage as I’m starting to understand it.


Fortunately, Mom only had a few limbs down in her yard, as the tornado, reportedly an EF 1 storm (winds of 86 – 100mph) seemed to stay further to the west and south. However, it reportedly cut a 16 mile long path.

It’s a bad time there, as a lot of people in that area are out of work.

Late Heading Home

 Business, General, Weather  Comments Off on Late Heading Home
Dec 072007

Evening SnowI’ve been in Reston, VA since Tuesday. I flew up for a series of work related meetings at my company’s headquarters. Now I’m trying to get home. Due to some slightly bad weather, things are running about ninety minutes behind (so far). I’m hoping it doesn’t get any worse.

The weather has actually been pleasant up here for me this week. Most of the residents didn’t care too much for it, but it was cold without being bitterly cold, and there was a very nice pretty snow that fell Wednesday. It made the usually ridiculous traffic even worse, but we don’t stay far from the office. I enjoyed having the chance to watch the snow fall. It kind of helped me get in a holiday mood.

Now I’m ready to head home. I was originally on a 9:30 pm flight, but learned yesterday that today’s meeting would wind up early enough for me to be on the earlier 6:30 flight. Fortunately I got on that since it’s already running an hour late. I’m sure the later flight will be running late as well. As usual on a weather-affected Friday afternoon/evening, the airport is a zoo. It’s times like this that make the Red Carpet Club worth the expense. I’m able to slip off into a corner work cubicle and enjoy some relative peace and quiet.

This weekend will be busy since I’ve been out of town for the week. I have the outside decorations up at the house, but the inside stuff will have to be done this weekend, and I’d like to get a lot of the holiday shopping out of the way. I may take Monday off and do some it also.

Cold In Tampa

 Culture, Family, Holidays, Kings Mountain, Places  Comments Off on Cold In Tampa
Nov 172007

It remains dry, but it’s been very cool the past few nights, getting into the 40’s. There could be some frost tonight north of here and inland. It’s definitely given things an Autumn feel. Looking at the web cams earlier today, I see that Appalachian Ski Mountain is already making snow like crazy, as has Sugar Mountain. There was a light dusting of snow up in the North Carolina mountains, but it sounds like it will be a bit warmer when we are up there Friday.

Lay’s nephews are over to spend the night, as two of them have birthday’s next week. We won’t be here. Lay and I will be traveling to North Carolina. While I’m taking the whole week off, Lay will be working Monday and Tuesday, so unfortunately, we’ll be on the road Wednesday. I am not looking forward to that.

Soon, I’ve got to take some time off that doesn’t involve travel, family obligations or anything else.  I just need some quiet downtime…next to impossible to get when Lay is also off. While the work load at work is down some, overall stress in my life in general remains a bit high, and I’m just really worn to a frazzle due the lack of vacation over the past couple years, and most especially this past year.

Hopefully, I can find some time to continue catching up on my blogging Sunday and early next week.

Can you really count the seconds between lightening and thunder to determine how far away it is?

 Fun Stuff, General, Science, Weather  Comments Off on Can you really count the seconds between lightening and thunder to determine how far away it is?
May 302006

I’ve always heard the wives tell that you count the seconds between seeing a lightening flash and the sound of the thunder to figure out how far away it is. Living here in Florida, we get lots of both. So is it true or an old wives tale?

Thunder is the sound of rapidly heated air expanding and vibrating, and shock waves. Light travels faster than sound, so we see the lightning before we hear the resulting thunder. Using the speeds of light and sound as well as the atmospheric conditions, you could calculate exactly how far away the storm is.

Chances are you’re not going to have a calculator handy during a storm. However you can approximate the storm’s distance in miles by counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder and dividing by five. It takes about five seconds for the sonic boom to travel one mile, so if you see the sky illuminated by a streak of lightning and count 10 seconds until you hear the low rumble of the thunder, the storm is about two miles away.

Of course, lightning is dangerous, so it’s always a good idea to seek shelter before you stop to count seconds. Otherwise, it might be your final countdown.

Small Room-Small Man

 General, Politics, Presidency, Weather  Comments Off on Small Room-Small Man
Mar 022006

It turns out that George Bush wasn’t being completely honest explaining the federal government’s response to Katrina. I know this will come as a big shock to many of you, but when W said that no one thought it would be as bad as it was, and no one could have anticipated the levee breach, he wasn’t telling the whole truth.

The Associated Press seems to have the video tape of a video conference briefing in which FEMA Director, Mike “Brownie” Brown is seen saying, this is going to be the big one. To his credit,?Brownie even raises concerns about the use of the Super Dome as a shelter. The Director of NOAA’s Hurricane Center said that no one could say the levee’s wouldn’t be breached. All the while Bush is sitting in a tiny conference room saying nothing, asking nothing, and finally simply making the statement to the local officials that the federal government will deploy whatever resources it has available. With everyone saying this is as powerful as Andrew, but not like Andrew because Katrina is much bigger, yet Bush doesn’t have a single question.

It appeared that W was viewing this as little more than a distraction to his vacation and something that should be handled by his minions. Then he lies, gets caught, and goes on his merry way with the free pass from our illustrious fourth estate, the main stream media.

It Takes A Village Idiot

 Religion, Right Wingnuts, Weather  Comments Off on It Takes A Village Idiot
Nov 082005

Did Pat Robertson really say on Sunday that the tornado in Indiana and Kentucky was God’s way of expressing His anger at the actor Warren Beatty and his wife, Annette Bening, for trying to disrput a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger?

I am told, on ‘The 700 Club’ show on 11/6, Pat said: ‘By choosing to disrupt this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at a town on the opposite side of the country?’

Ok. Beatty, Bening, Arnold–all Hollywood elite. They have a minor incident in San Diego. So God throws thunderbolts at…..two Red States?

Wilma Update — Saturday

 General, Tampa, Weather  Comments Off on Wilma Update — Saturday
Oct 222005

I obviously have not been posting a lot lately. I was traveling for work some this week, and had a very interesting trip I’ll write more about later. I may have plenty of time tomorrow to do some updates to the blog.

In the meantime, I thought I would provide an update on Hurricane Wilma based on the most recent NOAA information. How much impact there is on Tampa remains a bit uncertain. Not unusually, with about two days to go before landfall, the “cone of uncertainty” is still a bit large.

The storm has drifted pretty erratically and slowly for quite some time. Yesterday it moved across Cozumel and then onto the Yucatan Peninsula. The slow movement helped weaken the storm, which is good for us, but very bad for those parts of Mexico. It has now settled into a slow northward drift, and is about to emerge into the Gulf. It will have a chance to re-strengthen then, and a low pressure trough dipping down will bring us some cooler weather later in the week, and pick up Wilma and start accelerating her toward Florida. This will also create shear that will hopefully weaken the storm as it approaches.

Right now, the forecast track brings the storm onshore somewhere in South Florida sometime on Monday. According to the NOAA discussion, the computer models have come into some disagreement, and the track has been moved slightly north. North is not good for us, but it still keeps the center of the storm well to our south. Earlier, the models had the storm coming onshore as a Category 1 or 2. Apparently, less shearing is expected, so now the forecast says a Category 2 or 3 when it comes onshore.

It is also projected that, as the shearing occurs, the wind field of the storm will expand, so we will pretty much be getting tropical storm force winds here in Tampa on Monday. That’s assuming the storm stays pretty much on the current forecast track. We will certainly get rain, but that won’t be bad, as we need some rain. I’m guessing this will probably start sometime tomorrow afternoon. It’s been cloudy most of today, but no rain so far.