Springtime in Texas often brings storms and since Texas is in “Tornado Alley”, we often have storms that develop into tornadoes. The J. Ardis Bell Library at TCC NE Campus will feature a May display on meteorology including instruments used to gather weather information and books on all types of weather conditions — just in time for possible May stormy weather. A digital display showing weather tips and highlighting the Jarrell, TX, F-5 tornado event from May 27, 1997 will also be shown this month.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, NE geology and geography instructor, has put together an interesting display for anyone wanting to know more about the weather and the science of predicting it. Dr. Barrett, who teaches GEOL 1447 (Meteorology), not only has an academic background in the field (B.A. & M.A. in Earth Science from Baylor U. & PhD in Environmental Geography from Texas State U.), but he also worked as a T.V. Weather Reporter for 13 years. He was working at a television station in Waco when the powerful F-5 tornado devastated the small town of Jarrell, TX, on May 27, 1997. Some statistics about Texas tornadoes and other storms are included below. Also included below are links to two of Dr. Barrett’s publications.
Dr. Barrett would love to see more students take GEOL 1447 at TCC and then go on to major in meteorology or atmospheric science at the U. of Oklahoma, Texas A & M, or Texas Tech University. After all, the United States experiences more tornadoes than any other country of the world. Here is some information about careers in meteorology from Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Quick Facts: Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists
2012 Median Pay: $89,260 per year, $42.91 per hour
Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
On-the-job Training: None
Number of Jobs, 2012: 11,100
Job Outlook, 2012-22: 10% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2012-22: 1,100
Texas Weather Statistics (from Texas Almanac):
• More tornadoes have been recorded in Texas than in any other state.
• 132 tornadoes on average touch Texas soil each year.
• In the period 1951-2010, nearly 62.7 percent of all Texas tornadoes occurred within the three-month period of April, May, and June, with almost one-third of the total tornadoes occurring in May.
• May 5, 1995: Thunderstorm Hail, Dallas-Fort Worth. A thunderstorm moved across the area with 70 mph wind gusts and rainfall rates of almost 3 inches in 30 minutes; 20 people killed; 109 injured by large hail, many at Fort Worth’s outdoor Mayfest near the Trinity River. With more than $2 billion in damage, NOAA dubbed it the costliest thunderstorm event in history.
• May 27, 1997: Tornado in Jarrell, TX. A half-mile-wide F-5 tornado struck Jarrell, leveling the Double Creek subdivision, claiming 27 lives, injuring 12 others, and causing more than $40 million in damage.
• Since 1950, there have been six tornadoes in Texas of the F-5 category, that is, with winds between 261-318 mph.
From That Terrible Texas Weather: “The tired old saying in Texas goes that if you don’t like the weather, stick around a few minutes; it’s bound to change.” So this May, come by the library to view the exhibits, the digital displays, check out some books, be alert, and keep your eyes on the skies!
Sources Used and links to Dr. Barrett’s publications:
Alvarez, E. C. (Ed.) (2014). Texas is tornado capital. In Texas Almanac. (pp. 145-146). Denton, TX: Texas State Historical Association. NE library call number: REF AY 311.D3T5 2014-2015)
Barrett, K., & Dixon, R. (2012). NDVI analysis of hail swaths associated with the 5 May 1995 Parker County and Tarrant County, Texas, hailstorm. National Weather Digest, 36(1), 43-52. Retrieved from http://www.nwas.org/digest/papers/2012/Vol36No1/Pg43-Barrett-Dixon.pdf
Barrett, K.M., & Dixon, R.W. (2010). Weekly variations in severe thunderstorm warnings and severe thunderstorm reports. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 33, 280-289. Retrieved from http://applied.geog.kent.edu/AGCPapers/2010/P280-289/index%20-%201.html
Boggs, J.D. (2000). That terrible Texas weather. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press. (NE library call number: QC943.5.U6864 2000)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2014). Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/atmospheric-scientists-including-meteorologists.htm
Luscombe, B., & Hylton, H. (1997). Nowhere to run. Time, 149(23), 34. Retrieved from http://ezp.tccd.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9706056945&site=ehost-live&scope=site
In NE Library, Science & Technology, TCC