Feeling Lucky

Second up day of my time in Houston as a mission scientist. Early storms were not as strong but this is a good thing as it really allowed the energy and moisture the big clouds we are studying to grow. After two days traveling all around Houston today was a day to stay closer to my home base in Kemah. An interesting little tourist area with a boardwalk and funpark I chose Kemah because it is very walkable. In an area like Kemah I can get out and roam and observe the clouds we are so interested in.

Panorama of morning showers from the Kemah boardwalk.

This morning I walked out to the boardwalk as some early storms were forming and moving into the area. The bay affords a great view back. The forecast from Bobby and team yesterday was spot on and storms formed on a later forming Gulf breeze (a type of wind generated by the differences in temperature between the waters in the Gulf and the land). Too successful in fact as one of the storm systems hit Liz’s drone site! But exciting to see how those big clouds impact profiles of temperatures.

A hotel TV makes a great tool for zoom calls!

Very lucky to have a nice coffee shop in Kemah. After a hot walk I eschewed my usual choice of a latte and got an iced coffee. After seeing to some tasks back in Chicago (being a department head means it is hard to leave my duties back in the Midwest..) I hopped on the forecast and operations call for ARM TRACER. We are very lucky to have a range of very talented forecasters from professors to VERY capable students and even NWS staff. After two very lucky days things are drying out in the TRACER region (~100km around La Porte) although some storms are possible to our north. Good news is storms are firing away today so we did not have to abort enhanced operations at the ARM site and we have collected another very nice case study to understand the impact of tiny particles on big clouds. However, as mission scientist I called a “down” day tomorrow.

Feeling lucky indeed!

Of course normal ARM operations still means unprecedented frequency and fidelity of observations Right when the forecast call ended the whole Kemah area experienced a power outage. A quick pack and I went mobile again finding a local pub with blazing fast internet. There I took another ARM call, this one on the use of AI on camera systems. It was actually (lucky!) I went mobile as on the way back from League City I was treated to a show of a developing big cloud that go so big it hit the top of the atmosphere and formed what we call an anvil for that classical thunderstorm shape. I was so happy that we were launching soundings and our friends from TAMU, OU, TTU, Stonybrook and other collaborators were out there with mobile radars and other platforms measuring that storm right over Houston! Lucky indeed.

How it started, and how it went!

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