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Update On Tropical Depression Nine (AL09) 8-29-2016, 10:30 pm EST

Compare this to the previous posting which was 24 hours earlier and you will see some change in the tracking model forecasts – which is to be expected.

I have greatest confidence in the TVCA run which is a consensus of 5 other models which have been good performers over the last few years.  Generally, the TVCA model is very close to the National Hurricane Center’s “official” track that is the basis for the “uncertainty” cones released to the public.  If you are one to pay attention to which models get mentioned or shown in weather reports you have surely heard of the “European model” which is labeled ECMWF.  You won’t find it on these spaghetti illustrations; Data from this model is restricted from being redistributed according to international agreement.   However, the National Weather Service official track runs very close to being the same as the ECMWF.  The BAMM and related models are still useful for long term runs but in this case I think you can pretty much ignore them (the ones that run off toward the west). 

Suppose you lived along the Nature Coast of Florida, (e.g. Citrus County) then you might feel that you have nothing to be concerned about because the tracks seem to be shifting northward.  But please remember, these tracks are merely forecasting the storm’s center.  In most cases the strongest winds are at the right hand, leading quadrant of such storms, which, in this case might cause Citrus County some concerns. 

Please be sure to click on the graphic for enlargement.


2016-8-30 L 0000z

Weather/Climate Seminar Upcoming for the Senior Learning Institute

First Posted January 30, 2012 – revised July 18, 2012
Filed under: Anticyclonic Circulation, Central Florida Weather, Climatology, College of Central Florida Senior Learning Institute, Coriolis Effect, Cyclonic Circulatiion, Extratropical cyclones, Florida Weather, Florida’s Rainy Season, Humidity in Florida, Hurricanes, Learning Opportunities in Central Florida, Meteorology lesson/tutorial, New Weather Seminar in Ocala, Ocala Educational Opportunities, Senior Learning Institute, T. Ansel Toney, Tonie A. Toney, Tonie Ansel Toney, Tonie Toney, Tropical Weather, Weather (other than of tropical origin), Weather Physics | Tags: , , , , , , | Edit

In the illustration above you are actually looking at the same weather system in the two images above.  It is hurricane Ike early in the morning of September 9, 2008.  On the left you see the circulation at the top of the storm and on the right you see the circulation at lower levels.  The faint gray arrows show the direction of the pressure gradient force which is the direction the air would flow if there were no Coriolis effect (caused by the earth’s rotation on its axis).  The Coriolis effect will be explained graphically in class and demonstrations will be shown on the classroom projection screen.

January 30, 2012 (revised March 3, 2012).

A new 8 hour course for Senior Learning Institute participants at the College of Central Florida is being offered in August  in four two-hour sessions. 

Meetings are scheduled for August 21, 23, 28, 30 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) from 10 AM until noon.


Here is the course title, description, brief instructor profile and at the end you will find a link to the 6 page guide which will be distributed in print on the first day of class.   Additionally, here is a link to the Senior Learning Institute web page:

Lower Atmospheric Winds That Influence Weather and Climate.”


No science background is necessary to have a gratifying learning experience in this new 8 hour course. It is structured differently than any of the 11 earth science seminars I taught for Senior Learning Institute participants from July 2006 through May 2009; 6 were on meteorological subjects and this most resembles the 12 hour course “Becoming Weatherwise” taught once in Oct./Nov. of 2006.

Wind is responsible for most weather changes (and has a great influence upon climate). I will capitalize on what I learned about SLI participants’ learning styles and preferences during my earlier teaching activity. The course will begin with basic fundamentals concerning the cause of wind and will proceed to a discussions of lower atmospheric motion which has the most profound effect upon our weather. Emphasis will be upon cause and effect, interactions and interrelationships. Upward and downward air motions will also be discussed. Whenever I am able, I will use every day analogies for clarity and will show on-line, real-time examples.

During class meetings I enjoy questions, contributions, and observations from participants. But with much to discuss in 8 hours those which are too detailed for the scope of the course may be addressed after class. I am also happy to communicate via e-mail. For those who have never studied weather, this course will make media weather reports and other weather observations more meaningful. For those who have had occasion to study weather, this will be a nice refresher which could very well enhance your understanding.

Instructor: Tonie Ansel Toney first became interested in the weather as a part-time Hoosier “farm boy” and that interest played a role in his enlisting in the U.S. Air Force at an early age, where his appetite for learning about weather was whetted. He is a retired college/university earth sciences professor with 37 years of full time experience bracketed by 4 years of part-time experience. He taught physical geology, meteorology, macro-climatology, physical oceanography, and environmental sciences. He developed a reputation for having the ability to teach science effectively to non-science majors – increasing the probability of it being “fun” in the process – and earned many teaching excellence awards. He is the most widely quoted faculty member in the 1985 book, Access and Excellence (Roueche & Baker of the University of Texas). He and his family had first-hand experience with 1992’s hurricane Andrew which “totaled” their former Homestead, Florida dwelling. They now reside in Citrus County.

OUTLINE – 6 page guide

(here is a link to the 6 page handout to be distributed

at the beginning of the first class meeting – just click on for this PDF file):

6 page guide winds

Debby Does the Gulf

– two left clicks will fully enlarge –

For the last few days, weak tropical storm Debbie has been slowly working her way northward keeping residents of the Gulf coastal states on alert.  A huge volume of warm, moist air, some originating all the way from the eastern Pacific (see image above), has been racing northeastward and northward into the storm’s core generating numerous alarming situations conducive to tornadic development.  The environment around her has made it very difficult for forecasters to interpret the numerous computer tracking models because there has been little agreement.

At this moment, (6-25-2012) about 2 pm Eastern time, it looks as though she will extend her stay over the Gulf well into the week and eventually work her way eastward to cross Florida and then enter the Atlantic.  Where I live in Citrus County, Florida that means we could experience the right-hand leading quadrant of the system.  It is that particular quadrant of northern hemisphere tropical systems that usually has the highest wind velocities and the greatest probability for tornadoes and significant sea surges upon the shore.  However, I am optimistic that upwelling of cooler water in the Gulf below the storm will further diminish the strength of the storm.  Typically, when strong winds skim over warm water and push it aside, that which takes its place is cooler water that “wells up” from below.

There are many factors that can cause a tropical system such as Debby to strengthen and/or weaken – the sea surface temperature changes being but one.  However, it is my hope that she does provide us more much-needed rain in a slow and steady manner so that it infiltrates into our groundwater zone instead of  traveling as surface runoff.   I hope she does decide to take that trip across Florida and that she will be sufficiently mild-mannered to be a great benefit to the region.

Enjoy the satellite view above which shows the extent of Debby’s influence this morning (6-25-2012).


The 2011 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race coming soon should be very exciting for those who would like to see a lady cross the finish line first.  The race, which will be televised live on ABC this coming Sunday, May 29, will have four ladies driving.  The average qualifying speeds for the four (based upon their four-lap averages over a total of 10 miles) was 224,267.  By contrast the pole winner, Alex Tagliani, qualified at 227.472.  However, if you were to average his speed with those of the other 29 male drivers, the numbers would be measurably closer.

This is really not a serious gender competition for me but I freely admit that I would be delighted to see the ladies do well and a win would be fantastic.  Perhaps my being the father of 3 “girls” and just one “boy” is a factor here.  Ladies I’ve known, particularly my mother and my mother-in-law, have caused me to have a great respect for their gender and the obstacles they’ve faced through history.   The bottom-line hope is that it’s a clean race and that no one gets hurt.  This kind of racing is truly a team sport and strategy can also make a world of difference.  I believe that luck is a key factor also.   Of the ladies, Pippa Mann is my favorite even though this will be her first race in an IndyCar.  If she can stay out of trouble early in the helter-skelter of the start and first 20 laps or so – I think she has a chance to do well.  She has never done a pit stop in a race before so this could be a factor also.  My emotional favorites among the men are number 43, John Andretti (a real gentleman), number 23, Paul Tracy (temperamental, unyielding), and number 67, Ed Carpenter (Sarah Fisher’s driver).

ABC broadcasting begins at 11 am.  The driver introduction is scheduled to occur at 11:30 and I expect the checkered flag to drop at noon – weather permitting.

Here are the ladies – a left click on the image should enlarge it for you:

The Ladies of the 2011 Indy-500


When the current generation of Honda Accords came out I was so very disappointed. I’m beginning to think that I should have know better. I had seen the concept versions displayed at various auto shows and was naively expecting the end product to look nearly the same. It wasn’t even close in my opinion. Insult was added to injury when my local Honda dealership had a picture of the concept version on the wall of their showroom. It seems that even the sales representatives were thinking the real version was going to be close to the same.

But – slow learner that I am, I have allowed myself to get excited over what I’ve seen in the upcoming 2012 Civic Coupe. Images have shown a car essentially the same size and shape of the current generation but with a much sharper swage line (character line) and much improved front and rear appearance. The three images below show:

Top – A current 2011 Honda Civic Coupe

Middle – What I’ve been seeing and have grown to expect for the 2011

Bottom – the new 2011 coming out this spring, as shown in Honda’s official site.

Please take a look and then continue. I have some questions and observations.

Left Clicks Will Probably Enlarge Image for You

Is it me, (or is it merely the lighting differences between the two photos), but doesn’t it appear that the swage is decidedly sharper in the middle photo compared to the official version? I see other differences too – subtle perhaps – but they just don’t look like the same cars to me. If they are not, my question is why? Does the tooling and die making take that much more to give the nicely defined lines as in that middle photo? What am I missing? Maybe it is the lighting – but I don’t think so.

Now – look at the rear views of the two below. The top version is what I was expecting, a classy symmetrical look a lot more sensible, I think than the cosmetic duel exhausts that we have been seeing in so many cars today, particularly the 6 cylinder versions. I wonder why Honda chose not to follow through with that nifty design suggested in the versions they have been showing?

Left Clicks Will Probably Enlarge

I’m likely to be buying a new car this year since my 2003 Saturn Vue is a very high mileage car these days. I’ve narrowed it down to the Civic Coupe, the Chevy Cruze, or the Hyundai Elantra sedan. I’m now leaning toward the latter, built in Alabama, with it’s estimated 40 mph highway mileage. I’d definitely go for the Cruze if only GM would allow those of us who have helped to “rescue” the company have access to their full line of products. You see, I really like hatchbacks. But the Chevy Cruze hatchback (pictured below), though available to some, is NOT available in the U.S.A. Go figure!

Left Click Will Probably Enlarge

98L – SPAGHETTI CHART – 10-10-2010


Two left clicks enlarge to the fullest


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For Luanne

Nature's beauty for Luanne - two left clicks will fully enlarge

In this photo image you see the entire “12-mile plus” longer limb of the J-shaped Black Mountain Range.  The south end is on the left and the north end on the right.  Mt. Mitchell, (the highest mountain in the eastern half of North America) is to the right of center and it’s summit is darkly shrouded in the base of a beautiful cumulus congestus cloud.  State park employees and the many visitors were, at the moment this image was recorded, immersed in a dense fog that obscured all but the nearest objects, natural or otherwise.  Yet – as you can see, the “way” is quite clear at almost all other locations within the range of the photograph.

From near Blue Ridge Parkway mile marker 355 North Carolina Highway 128 heads northward for 6 miles – ending at a parking lot near the summit of Mt. Mitchell.

About 30 minutes after I took this picture we were out of our van near the top.  By then the cloud base had lifted and my wife, Terrie and I were treated to some of the clearest views we’d ever seen from that part of the Blue Ridge – typically hazy, smoky, or completely immersed in closely spaced cloud droplets (which is the same as fog). On the average, that mountain top is bathed in cloud matter about 80% of the year’s days.

Here is a link to Mt. Mitchell’s current conditions as well as access to a webcam view from near the top:

There are many dark places in this photograph – the multitude of densely wooded places and at the summit zone of Mt. Mitchell itself.  But the whole picture conveys to me a certain bright beauty – heavenly in quality.  Such thoughts prevailed in my head as I snapped the picture on that lovely afternoon.  Here is why:

A sister of one of my wife’s dearest friends was very much on our mind that day – as she is now. For the past several days she has been in a most serious position teetering on that thin edge between this life and the next dimension. When the cloud around her either lifts or erodes – the view before her will open up and quickly become magnificent – in either case. If she manages to journey back to this reality, the road may be rugged but the experience could well be beautiful in its totality. If, on the other hand, her body finds this existence to be too uncomfortable or unrealistic, she will embark upon a trip that no mortal’s words could possibly describe – for no human can fathom such ecstasy much less put it into words.

If you follow this web-log you are probably a caring person. If you know me – you probably know that I believe strongly in the power of prayer and that I pray to the “Great Guy In the Sky.” If a spiritual dimension is integral in your life and if you are so inclined – please pray for Luanne in your own way. Terrie and I pray for her and those who love her. Which ever way it goes – I wish her Godspeed.

UPDATE: 8-26-2010 – With loving assistance Luanne was removed from artificial life support yesterday.  She has taken that most merciful trip to her heaven where bountiful peace and love replaces all struggles.


My press pot with hot water & coffee ready to plunge.

My family and friends have often heard me proclaim that coffee is my “drug of choice.”  It ‘s true.  I feel so very lucky in that regard.  To my knowledge, no one has ever been pulled over and charged for driving under the influence of coffee!

Last Autumn I had a delightful experience in a terrific restaurant in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. My wife and I were “double-dating” with friends who had  recommended the place.  Though the food was wonderful and I highly recommend the spot, it was the coffee that I’ll definitely not forget. This is because I had never had coffee prepared in a French press. Not only that, I had never heard of the device. I guess it’s fair to say that in-so-far as varied dining is concerned – this 70 (and a half)-year-old man hasn’t really gotten out and about much.

So, it was coffee from a French press along with the company of our friends that were my memorable experiences at the Knife and Fork on the “lower street” in downtown Spruce Pine. The waitress instructed me skillfully on how to use it and offered her advice for a “first-timer.” The French press is known by many names, including: press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger and сafetière à piston. They come in many sizes. An on-line search using the term, “French press,” will score many “hits.”  A You Tube search will show you probably more examples than you’d care to endure on how to use a French press.  I do not go to great pains like thermometers and grinders as shown in some of those You Tube demonstrations.  I use the K.I.S.S. guideline (keep it simple, stupid).  I don’t find that gourmet coffee is necessary and I don’t make a big performance out of the process.  I often use store-bought ground decaf coffee.

Therefore, it should be clear that I am not a coffee connoisseur. In fact, I am about as far-removed from that category as one can be. But I am a daily coffee drinker. Though I don’t prefer it – I even enjoy instant coffee. I regularly go so far as to drink “left-over” coffee brewed the previous day. I’ll store it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it in the microwave in the morning. I suspect this is simply because I deplore waste. I realize that this admission ruins any credibility I might have when it comes to making recommendations about coffee.  I do enjoy Cuban coffee – that’s a whole different dimension.  I like “cowboy coffee” too and recommend that you try it also, if for no other reason – just for fun. But the bottom line is this:  The best coffee I’ve ever had, at home and away from home, has been brewed in a French press. I won’t bother to try to offer advice on how to prepare French press coffee because there are too many variables – e.g.  your personality, the size of your press, your preferences regarding strength.

Mine (pictured at the beginning of this entry in front of the old coffee grinder) makes about a cup and a half of coffee and it’s just right for me. It was a gift from my youngest daughter, Lauren; she had heard me rave about the coffee I experienced at the Knife and Fork. It was a wonderful gift and I suggest that you consider one for yourself if you drink coffee.  Even if you don’t – it’s a wonderful way to serve coffee to guests.  Multi-cup French presses are available and easy to use.  To be sure it is a unique gift idea for any coffee drinker and bound to be most appreciated.  While you’re at it – if you happen to be anywhere near Spruce Pine – give the Knife and Fork a try.  I think you’ll be delighted.

The Hurricane Season of 2009 Has Begun!

6-1-09 HurricaneBegin


This image shows no tropical activity 15 minutes into our 2009 season (not surprisingly) but you can clearly see the clouds development with a stationary front cutting diagonally across the image.

The Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean hurricane season “officially” begins on June 1.  The fact that Tropical Depression 1 formed about 4 days before the official season’s beginning is not an indication of an active hurricane season this year.  There seems to be no relationship between early activity and the “busyness” of that season.  In fact, there is a real possibility that an El Niño event will be strong during what we consider the peak activity period of our season (the approximate middle of the 6 month long period).  Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures have been rising steadily for the last several months pointing to the El Niño possibility.  That means is that our 2009 season might be less active than usual if the ENSO comes to fruition.  ENSO = El Niño Southern Oscillation.  BUT, even if a strong El Niño develops it is no time to let down one’s guard if living in “hurricane country.”  1992 was an El Niño year and that was when Andrew occurred.  My house in Homestead was a total loss.

I was extremely well prepared back then (August 24, 1992) but hurricane Andrew slammed in as a category 5.  However, we did have a plan and it worked to the degree that no one in my family was physically hurt.  Only one window had a small crack but – the roof failed and the damage was almost beyond belief for us.  Since Andrew was a relatively dry storm our windows holding firm did make it so that we were able to salvage some valuable items afterwards because the wind did not gut the house.

We stayed in the community and helped rebuild.  We had great insurance and our house was reconstructed in one year to a higher standard.  During that time we four lived in a 25’ travel trailer that I purchased for that purpose but kept for several years afterwards to use for recreational and educational travel.

If you live in “hurricane country” then you have choices.  Some of us have more choices than others but you should at least have a plan that is clearly articulated to and understood by each member of your household.  Shall you be well prepared or do you choose to become a potential victim who is dependent upon others almost immediately after a storm?

I urge you to follow to the best of your ability those preparation suggestions made by your local and federal agencies.  Some of us are more fortunate than others in what we are able to do to protect our dwellings – that is, those of us who are lucky enough to have a place we call home.

In my new post-retirement community and in neighboring communities (Citrus and neighboring counties)  I see what I consider to be real paradoxes or, at the very least, some irony.  I’m reminded (but to a somewhat lesser degree) of one of my Homestead neighbors who drove a Mercedes while his wife drove a BMW; they owned a very large boat moored at a dock in nearby Biscayne Bay, an ultra-light aircraft and a twin Cessna – yet they had no window protection of any sort for their home.  I speculate that it was not a matter of the cost of such protection but more a matter of priorities and life style with perhaps a little measure of denial thrown in.

Some people in my part of Florida feel that by being inland they have some sort of immunity to the ravages of hurricanes.  Yes – it is an advantage being inland, especially if on high ground but it does not offer any guarantees.  Most deaths in hurricanes (on the average) are due to high water and being away from the storm surge zones and areas prone to flooding from the storm’s downpours makes for a safer situation – generally speaking.  But, high winds can play havoc particularly when items become projectiles in the wind.  It is a fact that if the wind velocity doubles, the force it exerts upon a surface it is striking at right angles quadruples!  People in my part of Florida experienced a lot of activity if they were here in 2004 but the wind velocities were luckily relatively low.  Only modestly higher wind velocities would have produced exponentially greater force and far greater damage.  Furthermore, tornadoes and microbursts occur within hurricane bands and neither have a preference for locations near the coast.

Come early August we will have been in our new home for four years.  Our first major purchase when moving in was window and door storm protection.  We had tended to that “need” before we were even set up with a cable connection for our televisions and computers.  For the first two years that we were here I participated in a number of hurricane expos as the “hurricane resource person” on site.  There were expo participants who were in the business of selling, fabricating, and installing storm protection to homes and businesses.  Most visitors were there to learn about hurricane safety and hurricane protection.  But one particular type of visitor seemed to come to these expos in order to exercise their debate skills on the pros and cons of storm protection for windows and doors.  I was amazed at times by the level of denial and warped rationalization that I witnessed.  Some argued that they refused to concern themselves with such matters and would just let their insurance take care of it for them.  There was little if any consideration for how they would deal with losses of personal items, safety issues if they were not to evacuate, safety issues if they were to evacuate, where they would go if they did evacuate in time, and how they would handle matters when they returned if things were torn all to hell!  I am convinced that some of the men I talked to felt that it was a manly thing to face a storm raw without preparation – even though in some case it meant leaving their house mates far more vulnerable than necessary.  To my mind, they had it backwards  – a real man takes care of his own and is available to help others as well.

I can testify, by experience, that the trauma of a storm itself often does not compare to the trauma of the immediate aftermath and rebuilding.  Looting, for example and other forms of predatory behavior can occur.  In heavily damaged areas the majority of those who come to help are good people with good intentions but there is one whole class of “helpers” who are there to take victims for a ride they will never forget.  In South Dade County, where Andrew first struck the U.S.A. the divorce rate just about doubled for the next few years.  Stress and anxiety were on a very high level.

So – please think in terms of the big picture when a hurricane visits – not simply the weather event itself.  Think in terms of what you’ll do if you lose electricity for several days and how you will fare food-wise if you need to go for a week or more without provisions and how you’ll communicate.  Cell phones go out of commission when the transmission and relay towers are damaged.  Then there are the special needs people who absolutely must make arrangements for care in the event of a serious storm.

Please be prepared to the best of your ability.  If you later consider all of that planning and work to be for naught because no hurricane occurs in your region – there will be more seasons to follow for which you will again be ready and if, near the end of the season, you have a box full of “emergency food” there are surely some places near where you live to donate it to the needy.  After all, the end of the official hurricane season (November 30) and Thanksgiving (November 26) are pretty darned close to each other.

Here is this season’s list of names; tropical cyclonic systems will receive names in order from this list once they reach tropical storm intensity; tropical storm sustained winds fall in the range of 39 mph to 73 mph; of course they retain their names if they become hurricanes (74 mph or more):


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The image loop below is from Camaquey, Cuba

radar covering from 6:45 to 7:45 PM EST 11-8-2008.

Please left click on the image for 15 minute interval animation.