Saturday, March 8, 2014

The MWN Lightning Round debuts!

Today marks the debut of a new feature of the MWN Blog we're calling "The MWN Lightning Round."  We hope to publish The Lightning Round a few times a week (that maybe optimistic, but hopefully at least a couple times), though it will not be on a set schedule.  The nature of The Lightning Round won't necessarily lend itself to a set schedule.

Nearly every day, we come across an item or two that we think you'd enjoy, but which we don't have a good way to share with you for whatever reason.  So in this feature, we'll touch briefly on a number of subjects, which could include quick forecast updates or commentary, vignettes, a cool pic, a weather-related article or story, a little Weather 101, a mythbuster, or just something we want you to know about.  Most will have a Memphis or Mid-South connection, but some will be just be cool weather-related stuff that we think you'll like!

The number of items in each lightning round will vary, but we'll aim for 3-4 to keep it from getting too long, while allowing you to explore deeper into each topic via links to other sources, if applicable.  The goal is to provide a little more information than we have been covering on the blog in the past, but are more than we would typically get into on Facebook or Twitter.  We'll still provide the usual blog fare - including forecast discussions leading up to weather events of significance separately, recaps of said events, in-depth commentary, climate recaps, etc., but this will hopefully keep your appetite for MWN content satiated between these other posts!

Since it's new, we want your feedback!  If you have an idea for a topic that would go well in The Lightning Round, send it to us on social media or leave a comment in any blog post.  If you hate the whole concept, let us know.  If you enjoy it, let us know that too!

Without further adieu, The FIRST MWN Lightning Round......

Spring forward!

Tonight at 2am CST, we spring forward and it magically becomes 3am CDT.  Most people set their clocks before going to bed, but some stay up until 2am just to see an hour pass by in a second (as if an hour doesn't seemingly pass by in that amount of time nearly every day at some point).  A few places in the U.S. (Arizona and Hawaii most notably) still don't change their clocks twice a year like we do, and I think they're onto something.  For me, year-round DST would be just fine.

The only major drawback for meteorologists (who use Greenwich Mean Time, aka Zulu time, aka military time, aka UTC time) is that the major computer models come in an hour later, as they are run on UTC time.  It's also easier in the Central timezone to convert UTC to Standard Time than Daylight Time, but I'll get over it to get an extra hour of daylight in the evenings.  Also remember that clock-changing time should also be battery-changing time for your smoke detectors and weather radios, both of which we highly recommend.  For more on the history of Daylight Saving (not Savings) Time, see this article.

Congrats to an MWN team member

Earlier this week, MWN Social Media Intern William Churchill was offered a graduate level teaching assistantship position for the 2014-2015 school year by the Atmospheric Sciences Department at Mississippi State University.  William has interned for MWN since last April and is finishing up his undergraduate studies in Professional Meteorology at MSU this May.  He will then pursue an M.S. degree in Meteorology starting this fall.  (Mississippi State University, for those who don't know, has become one of the leading meteorology programs in the region, especially noted for turning out well-prepared broadcast meteorologists, but also now boasts a full atmospheric sciences program, including doctoral studies.)

William hails from the Memphis area, having graduated from Arlington High School in 2009 and has been a fabulous addition to the MWN team the past year.  I know you appreciate his hard work on our social media channels, as well as frequent blog posts, as much as I do. Congrats William on this well-deserved appointment!

SKYWARN Storm Spotter Class next week

Next Thursday, March 13, from 6:00pm-8:00pm, and Mid-South Storm Chasers will jointly host one of two storm spotter classes scheduled for the Memphis area this spring.  The class, which is free and open to the public and does not require pre-registration, will be held at Bartlett United Methodist Church, 5676 Stage Road in Bartlett, west of Bartlett Blvd and in front of Bartlett High School.

Taught by the National Weather Service, the class will cover the basics of storm development and features of severe weather, how to spot and what to look for, common "look-alikes" to severe weather, and most importantly, how and what to report.  The class is for all ages, but especially for pre-teens and up.  At the end of the NWS-led class, yours truly will lead a short session on using Twitter and the #mSpotter hashtag to report severe weather via social media, with reports relayed immediately to the NWS.  The #mSpotter program has been very successful in the past couple of years with the rise of social media use and I'll provide details on how you can participate.  If you have an interest in weather or it has been a couple of years since your last spotter class, plan to join us Thursday night!  A list of other classes scheduled across the Mid-South can be found here.

That's it for this edition of The MWN Lightning Round!  Let us know what you think or if you have ideas for topics to explore by commenting below.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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