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Thomas A. Green Jr., Carl J. Schreck III, Nathan S. Johnson, and Sonya Stevens Heath

Abstract

In the early days of television, most weathercasters lacked formal training in meteorology and instead relied on forecasts from other sources. Over the decades, degreed meteorologists became more common. A third category has recently emerged: people with certificates in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University (MSU). This certification and the related broadcast meteorology degrees from MSU provide weathercasters with an understanding of meteorology without advanced calculus or differential equations. This study makes no judgment on how a weathercaster’s education background might affect their on-air presentations but notes these courses are required by most guidelines for meteorological degrees, as well as the American Meteorological Society's Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program.

This study conducts a unique survey of television meteorologists using the education history listed on their station's website or LinkedIn. The backgrounds of 421 meteorologists were examined with the equivalent of a 94% response rate. Overall, 21% had a broadcast meteorology degree or certification from MSU, 64% had a traditional meteorology degree from MSU or another institution, 2% minored in meteorology or had military training, and 12% listed no or a partial education background in the field. Another way of viewing the data is that the MSU broadcast program alone has nearly as many graduates as the four largest traditional programs combined in our sample. These results were further broken down for various subsets of weathercasters, resulting in statistically significant variations by market size, region, ownership group, and gender.

Open access
Scott E. Stevens, Carl J. Schreck III, Shubhayu Saha, Jesse E. Bell, and Kenneth E. Kunkel

Abstract

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and weather is frequently cited as a contributing factor in fatal crashes. Previous studies have investigated the link between these crashes and precipitation typically using station-based observations that, while providing a good estimate of the prevailing conditions on a given day or hour, often fail to capture the conditions present at the actual time and location of a crash. Using a multiyear, high-resolution radar reanalysis and information on 125,012 fatal crashes spanning the entire continental United States over a 6-yr period, we find that the overall risk of a fatal crash increases by approximately 34% during active precipitation. The risk is significant in all regions of the continental United States, and it is highest during the morning rush hour and during the winter months.

Open access
Stephanie C. Herring, Nikolaos Christidis, Andrew Hoell, James P. Kossin, Carl J. Schreck III, and Peter A. Stott

Editors note: For easy download the posted pdf of the Explaining Extreme Events of 2016 is a very low-resolution file. A high-resolution copy of the report is available by clicking here. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes for the high-resolution file to download.

Open access
Stephanie C. Herring, Nikolaos Christidis, Andrew Hoell, James P. Kossin, Carl J. Schreck III, and Peter A. Stott
Open access
Peter A. StotT, Nikos Christidis, Stephanie C. Herring, Andrew Hoell, James P. Kossin, and Carl J. Schreck III
Open access
Stephanie C. Herring, Andrew Hoell, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Carl J. Schreck III, and Peter A. Stott

Editors note: For easy download the posted pdf of the Explaining Extreme Events of 2015 is a very low-resolution file. A high-resolution copy of the report is available by clicking here. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes for the high-resolution file to download.

Full access
Stephanie C. Herring, Andrew Hoell, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Carl J. Schreck III, and Peter A. Stott
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Philip J. Klotzbach, Michael M. Bell, Steven G. Bowen, Ethan J. Gibney, Kenneth R. Knapp, and Carl J. Schreck III

Abstract

Atlantic hurricane seasons have a long history of causing significant financial impacts, with Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and Michael combining to incur more than 345 billion USD in direct economic damage during 2017–2018. While Michael’s damage was primarily wind and storm surge-driven, Florence’s and Harvey’s damage was predominantly rainfall and inland flood-driven. Several revised scales have been proposed to replace the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS), which currently only categorizes the hurricane wind threat, while not explicitly handling the totality of storm impacts including storm surge and rainfall. However, most of these newly-proposed scales are not easily calculated in real-time, nor can they be reliably calculated historically. In particular, they depend on storm wind radii, which remain very uncertain. Herein, we analyze the relationship between normalized historical damage caused by continental United States (CONUS) landfalling hurricanes from 1900–2018 with both maximum sustained wind speed (V max) and minimum sea level pressure (MSLP). We show that MSLP is a more skillful predictor of normalized damage than V max, with a significantly higher rank correlation between normalized damage and MSLP (r rank = 0.77) than between normalized damage and V max (r rank = 0.66) for all CONUS landfalling hurricanes. MSLP has served as a much better predictor of hurricane damage in recent years than V max, with large hurricanes such as Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012) causing much more damage than anticipated from their SSHWS ranking. MSLP is also a more accurately-measured quantity than is V max, making it an ideal quantity for evaluating a hurricane’s potential damage.

Free access
Stephanie C. Herring, Andrew Hoell, Martin P. Hoerling, James P. Kossin, Carl J. Schreck III, and Peter A. Stott
Full access
Philip J. Klotzbach, Carl J. Schreck III, Gilbert P. Compo, Steven G. Bowen, Ethan J. Gibney, Eric C. J. Oliver, and Michael M. Bell

Abstract

The 1933 Atlantic hurricane season was extremely active, with 20 named storms and 11 hurricanes including 6 major (category 3+; 1-min maximum sustained winds ≥96 kt) hurricanes occurring. The 1933 hurricane season also generated the most accumulated cyclone energy (an integrated metric that accounts for frequency, intensity, and duration) of any Atlantic hurricane season on record. A total of 8 hurricanes tracked through the Caribbean in 1933—the most on record. In addition, two category 3 hurricanes made landfall in the United States just 23 h apart: the Treasure Coast hurricane in southeast Florida followed by the Cuba–Brownsville hurricane in south Texas. This manuscript examines large-scale atmospheric and oceanic conditions that likely led to such an active hurricane season. Extremely weak vertical wind shear was prevalent over both the Caribbean and the tropical Atlantic throughout the peak months of the hurricane season, likely in part due to a weak-to-moderate La Niña event. These favorable dynamic conditions, combined with above-normal tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures, created a very conducive environment for hurricane formation and intensification. The Madden–Julian oscillation was relatively active during the summer and fall of 1933, providing subseasonal conditions that were quite favorable for tropical cyclogenesis during mid- to late August and late September to early October. The current early June and August statistical models used by Colorado State University would have predicted a very active 1933 hurricane season. A better understanding of these extremely active historical Atlantic hurricane seasons may aid in anticipation of future hyperactive seasons.

Full access