All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted.

All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted. Permission required for commercial use or publishing.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

This just in North American Defense Command (NORAD) has begun tracking Santa Clause as he zooms around the world bringing Christmas Gifts to good little boys and girls. Here's a photo of Santa's reindeer taking on some extra magic flying fuel from a KC-135 tanker over Australia.

 You can track Santa's flight HERE!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dust Bowl gets great review!


By Ned Martel, Published: November 16

This past April, there was no Pulitzer for fiction. Judges and prize administrators struggled to find the right work for right now, and then they gave up. One aftermath assessment: Novels have gotten twee.

In televised nonfiction, on the other hand, Ken Burns has no problem with the big picture. His documentaries for PBS are never not epic. He knows how to make chapters of America’s past seem urgent, whether he’s obsessing over a sport (baseball) or a musical genre (jazz). He’s unafraid of going wider, too, having assembled sagas on World War II and, most famously, the Civil War.

Like good novelists, Burns finds quiet awakenings amid everyday travails, no matter the time period. There’s no real problem with doing this, except the PBS impresario tends to exhaust interest in an epoch as if he’s conducting an honors seminar in the history department. Halfway through, while we’re all furrowing in airless archives, a question often arises: Can this be taken pass-fail?

With “The Dust Bowl,” Burns keeps himself to four concise hours and ably sifts the story out of the dirt. As the filmmaker chronicles farmers in the southern Plains during the Depression years, he looks more carefully at fewer people and distills deeper meaning.

Over 10 years, farmers tore up grasslands to plant more and more wheat, which soon was worth less and less. Next, winds blew away good soil and then more winds brought bad soil to the surface. In towns called Follett and Enid, the filmmaker has found important things to discuss about ecosystems and economies and how they collapse.

More important, Burns also presents novel-worthy characters against an apocalyptic backdrop.

One Job-like figure in the desertified Oklahoma Panhandle is a farm wife who describes endless chores in her elegant magazine dispatches.

Caroline Henderson, a homesteader with a Mount Holyoke degree, is perhaps Burns’s most apt protagonist. She sounds like Laura Ingalls Wilder with an adult awareness; imagine her as the first mommy blogger.

The land changes under Henderson’s feet. Amber waves become arid dunes. Morning in America leads to darkness by noon. She keeps somber vigil as Manifest Destiny comes to a screeching halt.

Not every viewer will be in the mood for a glimpse of the moment when thousands of poor Americans confronted what looked like end times. It’s unsettling, in the season of the “fiscal cliff,” to delve into four hours recounting some previous battered economy, when recovery stretched from wait-till-next-year to wait-till-next-decade.

Somehow, Burns takes care of viewer and character alike. For sure, the pain of infanticidal winds addles the brains of both farm marms and PBS viewers. Hack coughs lead to “dust pneumonia,” which claimed one family’s youngest girl and eldest matriarch in the same week. On the day of their double funeral, a massive storm engulfed mourners, compounding the pain.

That Palm Sunday devastation, in 1935, blew Plains dust all the way to Franklin Roosevelt’s desktop in the Oval Office, and the viewer can practically feel some film of inescapable particles settling, even after the documentary’s gusts have waned. As narrator Peter Coyote pulls back to a wider world, the discussion takes a needed break, turning to Washington players such as Henry Wallace and Harold Ickes, New Deal Cabinet members who debated whether to plow anew or abandon for good, respectively.

As ever, the screen scans historic images — strong, clear, artful ones. Photographer Dorothea Lange trains her lens on wind-whipped faces. Burns knows by now how to pull emotion out of first-person documents and underscores the testimony with piano chords and violin whines. Woody Guthrie finds his voice. And one of many older survivors recalls her mama’s hymn that hoped for “higher ground.”

Obviously, there are American themes of endurance and pluck, but also hype and hubris. In on-camera testimonies, unsparing eco-historians such as Timothy Egan make sense of the sadness, with ample narrative skill. A viewer will understand arcana about soil conservation and grassland water retention, plus how the government came to pay farmers not to farm, a policy that endures.

Wheat prices soar and sink, and fields of dreams become nightmare landscapes. When survivors finally overcome starvation and disease, many pack up and head to California. There, real-life Tom Joads look as hearty and humble as Henry Ford but get mocked as unwashed and defeated Okies.

“The Dust Bowl” is worthwhile not merely as it documents past perseverance but also as it informs future struggles. Leave it to Burns, our mop-topped maestro of American fact, to find the heroine, Caroline Henderson, who can speak for herself and also bring it all home: “Behind the characteristic American nonchalance, one detects a growing anxiety, especially about the coming winter.”



The Dust Bowl

(two hours each night) Sunday and Monday
at 8 p.m. on PBSa

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In October - sometimes the wind doesn't blow....



-  and then the balloons go up.





















click to enlarge


(C) Steve Douglass

Friday, September 28, 2012

Moon over the mesa




(C) Steve Douglass

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Storms bring welcome rain - and a little damage to Amarillo area



AMARILLO.COM "Area thunderstorms graced the Texas Panhandle with much-needed moisture without too much reported damage Wednesday evening, National Weather Service Amarillo meteorologist Lance Goehring said.

 About 7 p.m., the weather service recorded 0.39 of an inch of rain at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, 0.47 of an inch northwest of Canyon, 0.09 of an inch six miles northwest of Fritch, 0.26 of an inch southeast of Pampa, 0.06 of an inch in Hereford and 0.44 of an inch in Bootleg, Goehring said. Residents reported wind damage at Southeast Park Complex at Southeast 46th Avenue and South Osage Street with at least one utility pole snapped and a tree uprooted, but no injuries were reported, Goehring said.



 Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves reported 800 houses lost power in the Borger and Fritch areas Wednesday evening, but crews restored power to those houses in about an hour. The weather service warned of high winds, hail and flooding Wednesday afternoon as severe thunderstorms hovered above Potter and Randall counties, meteorologist Andrew Moulton said. “We’ve gotten reports of what we believe to be at least quarter-sized hail near (the Tradewinds area),” Moulton said. “We’ve measured over 60 mph winds in multiple locations, especially east of the city.” Residents also reported flash flooding near Westgate Mall, he said.

 READ MORE AT AMARILLO.COM

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunset in an old barn






Photographed on the east side of Amarillo
Photo by Steve Douglass

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wall cloud capture from last night's storm in Amarillo


Video still from the storm that caused wind damage and flooding in Amarillo last night. This was shot just east of Bushland of an isolated cell that was ahead of the line that may have been briefly tornadic.

Photo by Steve Douglass

Link to VIDEO here!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I never tire of shooting windmills ...





July storm at sunset



A dying storm cradles the setting West Texas Sun one more time before it slips behind the far horizon.

Click to enlarge
Photo (C) Steve Douglass

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Popcorn storm July, 4th, 2012

Click to enlarge:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annular Solar Eclipse: Happy Texas









All photos (C) Steve Douglass

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Significant sever weather risk today - especially Tuila/Plainview area

..CENTRAL/SOUTHERN PLAINS... WIDESPREAD THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BEEN ONGOING OVERNIGHT ACROSS PARTS OF KS/OK/MO. THESE STORMS HAVE RESULTED IN A WELL-DEFINED OUTFLOW BOUNDARY THAT EXTENDS ROUGHLY FROM AMA-SPS-ADM-FSM. EASTERLY LOW LEVEL WINDS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE BOUNDARY WILL HELP TO TRANSPORT AMPLE MOISTURE WESTWARD INTO THE TX PANHANDLE. MOST MODEL SOLUTIONS AGREE ON STORMS FORMING ALONG THE DRYLINE/REMNANT OUTFLOW BOUNDARY BETWEEN 19-22Z...AS A WEAK SHORTWAVE TROUGH NOW NEAR THE 4-CORNERS AREA APPROACHES THE REGION. THE 12Z AMA RAOB ALSO SUPPORTS RATHER EARLY INITIATION WITH STEEP LAPSE RATES AND ONLY A MINIMAL CAP. STRONG DEEP LAYER EFFECTIVE SHEAR AND MEAN FLOW ORTHOGONAL TO DRYLINE WILL PROMOTE DISCRETE SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT WITH VERY LARGE HAIL POSSIBLE. THE TORNADO POTENTIAL WILL BE DEPENDENT ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE REMNANT OUTFLOW BOUNDARY...BUT THERE DOES APPEAR TO BE SOME RISK OF A FEW TORNADOES DURING THE EVENING FROM SOUTHWEST KS INTO THE TX PANHANDLE AND SOUTHWEST OK. DURING THE EVENING...STORMS MAY GROW UPSCALE AND SPREAD EASTWARD ACROSS PORTIONS OF WESTERN/CENTRAL OK WITH AN CONTINUED RISK OF HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Epic West Texas Thunderstorm





I had a nice chase with storm chaser Brady Kendrick yesterday. No tornadoes but we intercept this beautiful thunderstorm in NE of Panhandle last night.


Epic skies in NorthWest Texas!
Click to enlarge photos.

(C) Steve Douglass

Friday, April 13, 2012

Major tornado outbreak forecast tomorrow!





..SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS...
AN IMPRESSIVE UPPER-LEVEL LOW WILL MOVE EWD ACROSS FOUR CORNERS
REGION SATURDAY AS A POWERFUL 90 TO 110 KT MID-LEVEL JET EJECTS NEWD
INTO THE SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS. AHEAD OF THE SYSTEM...A CORRIDOR OF
MODERATE TO STRONG INSTABILITY IS FORECAST ACROSS ECNTRL KS...CNTRL
OK INTO NW TX. THIS COMBINED WITH STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES AND
STRONG LOW-LEVEL SHEAR WILL BE VERY FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE STORMS AND
A TORNADO OUTBREAK WILL BE LIKELY ACROSS THE SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS
FROM LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON LASTING THROUGH THE EVENING AND INTO
THE OVERNIGHT PERIOD.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Severe weather forecast for Aril, 09, 2012


..THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT
FOR WRN OK AND NW TX...

...WRN OK/NW TX AREA THROUGH TONIGHT...
A DIFFUSE FRONT EXTENDS FROM NRN OK INTO SW KS...WITH BOUNDARY LAYER
DEWPOINTS OF 56-60 F REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TX/OK WARM SECTOR N OF
I-10. ALOFT...THE LARGE SCALE RIDGE EXTENDS FROM FAR W TX NNWWD TO
THE NRN ROCKIES...THOUGH AN EMBEDDED/SUBTLE SPEED MAX IS EXPECTED TO
CREST THE RIDGE IN CO TODAY AND MOVE SEWD OVER OK TONIGHT. DAYTIME
HEATING/MIXING WILL HELP CONSOLIDATE A DRYLINE ACROSS THE
CENTRAL/ERN TX PANHANDLE THIS AFTERNOON. THE PRIMARY FOCUS FOR
THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT WILL BE THE DRYLINE/FRONT IN ADVANCE OF THE
SUBTLE SPEED MAX THIS AFTERNOON...WITH STORMS EXPECTED TO SPREAD
SEWD ACROSS WRN/CENTRAL OK AND NW TX OVERNIGHT.

MODIFIED FORECAST AND OBSERVED SOUNDINGS SUPPORT AFTERNOON MLCAPE
VALUES NEAR 1500 J/KG AS A RESULT OF THE MODEST LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE
BENEATH MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES OF 8.5 C/KM. MEANWHILE...VERTICAL
SHEAR PROFILES ARE FORECAST TO BE FAVORABLE FOR SSEWD-MOVING
SUPERCELLS WITH NWLY EFFECTIVE-BULK SHEAR OF 35-45 KT. LOW-LEVEL
SHEAR WILL BE STRONGEST INVOF THE SURFACE FRONT ACROSS NW OK THIS
AFTERNOON...WHERE EFFECTIVE SRH COULD APPROACH 200 M2/S2.

THE GENERAL SCENARIO IS FOR STORMS TO FORM AROUND 21Z NEAR THE
DRYLINE/FRONT INTERSECTION AND THEN SPREAD SEWD THROUGH THE EVENING.
DISCRETE SUPERCELLS WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THE INITIAL
DEVELOPMENT...WITH AN ATTENDANT RISK FOR VERY LARGE HAIL AND A
COUPLE OF TORNADOES. LATER THIS EVENING INTO TONIGHT...CONVECTION
WILL TEND TO GROW UPSCALE INTO A CLUSTER OR TWO...AIDED BY A 30 KT
SSWLY LLJ AND ASSOCIATED WARM ADVECTION. THE RISK FOR AT LEAST
ISOLATED LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL PERSIST WELL INTO
TONIGHT.

...FAR W TX/SE NM THIS AFTERNOON/EVENING...
BOUNDARY LAYER DEWPOINTS IN THE 40S TO NEAR 50 HAVE SPREAD WWD INTO
FAR W TX/SE NM. THE 12Z EL PASO SOUNDING SUPPORTS THE POTENTIAL FOR
HIGH-BASED STORM DEVELOPMENT THIS AFTERNOON NEAR AND JUST E OF THE
HIGHER TERRAIN. MLCAPE APPROACHING 1000 J/KG AND EFFECTIVE BULK
SHEAR NEAR 25 KT SUGGEST SOME RISK FOR ISOLATED HAIL/STRONG WIND
GUSTS.

..THOMPSON/ROGERS.. 04/09/2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Multi-vortex tornado Arlington - best footage.

High based dryline storms forecast today.


TX CAPROCK THIS EVENING...
A DRYLINE WILL BECOME BETTER DEFINED THIS AFTERNOON AS MIXING AND
THE LEE TROUGH CONSOLIDATE THE MOISTURE GRADIENT NEAR THE CAPROCK.
THOUGH THERE IS NO CLEAR LARGE SCALE SUPPORT FOR THUNDERSTORM
DEVELOPMENT...L0W-LEVEL ASCENT ALONG THE DRYLINE MAY SUPPORT THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGH-BASED STORM OR TWO THIS EVENING. VERTICAL
SHEAR IS FORECAST TO BE SUFFICIENT FOR SUPERCELLS IN AN ENVIRONMENT
WITH MLCAPE OF 750-1000 J/KG...AND ISOLATED LARGE HAIL AND/OR STRONG
GUSTS WILL BE POSSIBLE. STILL...SPARSE STORM COVERAGE SUPPORTS ONLY
LOW HAIL/WIND PROBABILITIES.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tornadoes ravage Arlington/Dallas Ft Worth


Tornado-wrecked Dallas begins assessing damage
By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press –



ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The tornado hurtled toward the nursing home. Physical therapist Patti Gilroy said she saw the swirling mass barreling down through the back door, after she herded patients into the hallway in the order trained: walkers, wheelchairs, then beds.
"It wasn't like a freight train like everybody says it is," said Gilroy, who rounded up dozens to safety at Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. "It sounded like a bomb hit. And we hit the floor, and everybody was praying. It was shocking."

The National Weather Service said as many as a dozen twisters touched down in a wrecking-ball swath of violent weather that stretched across Dallas and Fort Worth. The destructive reminder of a young tornado season Tuesday left thousands without power and hundreds of homes pummeled or worse.

As the sun rose Wednesday over the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster, one of the hardest hit areas, it was clear that twisters had bounced in and out of neighborhoods, destroying homes at random. Vehicles were tossed like toys, coming to rest in living rooms and bedrooms.

At one house, a tornado had seemingly dipped into the building like an immersion blender, spinning directly down through an upstairs bedroom and wreaking havoc in the family room below before lifting straight back up and away. A grandfather clock leaned slightly but otherwise stood pristine against a wall at the back of the downstairs room that was filled with smashed furniture and fallen support beams.

Despite the intensity of the slow-moving storms, only a handful of people were hurt, a couple of them seriously, and no fatalities were reported as of late Tuesday.
The Red Cross estimated that 650 homes were damaged. Around 150 Lancaster residents stayed in a shelter Tuesday night.

"I guess 'shock' is probably a good word," Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight said.
The exact number of tornadoes won't be known until surveyors have fanned across North Texas, looking for clues among the debris that blanketed yards and rooftops peeled off slats.
April is typically the worst month in a tornado season that stretches from March to June, but Tuesday's outburst suggests that "we're on pace to be above normal," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop.

An entire wing at the Green Oaks nursing home in Arlington crumbled. Stunning video from Dallas showed big-rig trailers tossed into the air and spiraling like footballs. At the Cedar Valley Christian Center church in Lancaster, Pastor Glenn Young said he cowered in a windowless room with 30 children from a daycare program, some of them newborns.

Ten people in Lancaster were injured, two of them severely, said Lancaster police officer Paul Beck. Three people were injured in Arlington, including two Green Oaks residents taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Arlington Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said.

Gilroy said the blast of wind through Green Oaks lasted about 10 seconds. She described one of her co-workers being nearly "sucked out" while trying to get a patient out of the room at the moment the facility was hit.

Joy Johnston was also there, visiting her 79-year-old sister.
"Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a wheelchair to get her out of the room," she said.
In one industrial section of Dallas, rows of empty tractor-trailers crumpled like soda cans littered a parking lot.

"The officers were watching the tornadoes form and drop," Kennedale police Chief Tommy Williams said. "It was pretty active for a while."

Most of Dallas was spared the full wrath of the storm. Yet in Lancaster, television helicopters panned over exposed homes without roofs and flattened buildings. Residents could be seen walking down the street with firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after the storm passed.

Hundreds of flights into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field were canceled or diverted elsewhere Tuesday. About 500 flights remained grounded Wednesday, airport officials said.

The storms knocked out power for thousands. Utility Oncor said nearly 14,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the Arlington area, still had no electricity early Wednesday.
Meteorologists said the storms were the result of a slow-moving storm system centered over northern New Mexico.

Dixon reported from Lancaster. Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Terry Wallace and David Koenig in Dallas, Betsy Blaney in Lubbock, Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth and Robert Ray in Lancaster contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 2, 2012

East Texas Panhandle/ Western Oklahoma - Tornado Watch pending


A TORNADO WATCH WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED FOR PORTIONS OF NWRN TX...THE
ERN OK/TX PANHANDLES...SWRN KS AND WRN OK THIS AFTERNOON AND
EVENING.

MID-AFTERNOON MESOANALYSIS SHOWS A COLD FRONT WAS LOCATED FROM SWRN
KS INTO ERN NM...WHICH IS BEGINNING TO STALL IN RESPONSE TO PRESSURE
FALLS AHEAD OF A POTENT NEGATIVELY TILT MIDLEVEL SHORTWAVE TROUGH. A
DRYLINE ACCOMPANIED BY DEEPENING CUMULUS EXTENDED SWD FROM THE KS
PORTION OF THE COLD FRONT...WHILE A PACIFIC FRONT WAS BEGINNING TO
ENTER W TX. SURFACE TEMPERATURES ALONG THE DRYLINE HAVE WARMED INTO
THE MID 80S...AND DEWPOINTS E OF THE BOUNDARY RESIDE IN THE UPR 50S
TO MID 60S. THE WARM/MOIST AIRMASS LOCATED ACROSS THE WARM SECTOR
COMBINED WITH STEEP MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES /IN EXCESS OF 8 C PER KM IN
THE 700-500 MB LAYER/ ARE CONTRIBUTING TO A VERY UNSTABLE
ENVIRONMENT...WITH MLCAPE VALUES NEAR 3000 J/KG.

AS THE UPPER DISTURBANCE LIFTS NWD ACROSS THE SRN HIGH PLAINS THIS
AFTERNOON AND EVENING...SHORT-TERM MODEL GUIDANCE INDICATES SURFACE
CYCLOGENESIS WILL RAPIDLY TAKE PLACE OVER NERN NM AND THE TX
PANHANDLE. STRONG LOW-LEVEL SWLY WINDS OVER W TX...POSSIBLY
ACCOMPANYING AN EWD SURGE OF THE PACIFIC FRONT...WILL QUICKLY SPREAD
EWD TOWARD THE DRYLINE...RESULTING IN STRENGTHENING LOW-LEVEL
CONVERGENCE. AS THIS TAKES PLACE...SCATTERED THUNDERSTORM ARE
FORECAST TO DEVELOP FROM THE KS TRIPLE POINT SWD ALONG THE DRYLINE
BY 22-00Z.

DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF THIS CONVECTIVE EPISODE
TEMPERATURE-DEWPOINT SPREADS WILL BE NEAR 20F OVER THE WARM
SECTOR...AND MIDLEVEL FLOW/DEEP LAYER SHEAR WILL BE MARGINAL FOR
SUPERCELLS...WHICH MAY NEGATIVELY INFLUENCE THE POTENTIAL FOR
TORNADOES DUE TO EXCESSIVE OUTFLOW. HOWEVER...IF STORMS CAN REMAIN
QUASI-DISCRETE INTO THE EVENING...THEN A COOLER/MORE HUMID BOUNDARY
LAYER COUPLED WITH BACKING/STRENGTHENING 0-1 KM FLOW MAY LEAD TO A
MORE SUBSTANTIAL THREAT OF TORNADOES. OTHERWISE...STORMS WILL POSE A
THREAT FOR VERY LARGE HAIL GIVEN THE PRESENCE OF LARGE BUOYANCY AND
VERY STEEP LAPSE RATES...IN ADDITION TO LOCALLY DAMAGING WIND GUSTS.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Skyway Highway


(C) Steve Douglass

Click to enlarge!

Please click on each image to enlarge them and see them in their proper color and contrast.