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Baldwin’s Thundering Thursday Wx Blog for May 28

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Launch Week continues!

Strong storms are possible today

A cold front will bring sunshine, drier wx, and lower humidity by this weekend

Main threats

The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area in the marginal risk for severe storms for today and this evening. The primary threat is a damaging wind gust from a stronger storm. We seen this same threat with any storm this week, but today’s risk is just a bit higher.

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Baldwin’s Severe Wx Concern

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The passage of a cold front will bring a much more stable air mass to the region. That will drop our severe weather threat to about as low as it can get this time of year!

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Daily Forecast

Today: Showers and thunderstorms are likely. Some of the storms could be strong or severe.

Friday: Showers and thunderstorms are once again likely.

Saturday: Skies becoming partly cloudy. A nice day a the beginning of a very pleasant stretch of days!

Sunday – Tuesday: Mostly sunny skies. Lower humidity levels will make for pleasant afternoons and cool, crisp nights.

Wednesday: A few more clouds, otherwise warmer and continued pleasant.

Hay Weather Forecast

Like I said in Sunday’s video update, the first week of June is looking good! I’ll have another video update available soon.


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Yesterday’s National High and Low Temperature

High: 118 at Death Valley, California

Low: 24 at Angel Fire, New Mexico

Difference of: 94 degrees


Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Heavy rainfall will threaten portions of the Midwest and the Carolina Coast. Severe storms threaten parts of the Deep South and southern Texas.



Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Severe storms threaten the Northeast.



Wx Hazards Across the Nation

No significant hazardous weather is expected.



The remnants of Bertha are now a tropical depression centered over West Virginia. The system is moving northward.

No other threats are apparent at this time.


On this day in 1959 the United States launches and recovers two monkeys, Able and Baker, after launch in Jupiter nosecone during a suborbital flight. The flight is successful, testing the capability to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and to recover spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, but Able later died.

On this day in 1964 the United States placed the first Apollo Command Module (CM) in orbit. This Apollo capsule was launched during an automated test flight atop a Saturn I in preparation of the lunar landing program.

Weather Trivia 

Q: What weather element led to the Challenger disaster?

a. rain   b. temperature   c. clouds     d. wind   e. humidity

(Answer at the end of the blog!)

Long Range Outlook 

Warm and dry weather dominates the extended outlook for the first week of June.





7-Day Projected Precip Totals



So, yesterday’s launch was scrubbed, which is what many of us were concerned would happen. But, you’ll hear few complaints from any of us familiar with NASA history. I can deal with a delay a heck of a lot better than I can a memorial.

It’s always better to be on the launch pad and wishing you were in space, rather than being in space and wishing you were still on the launch pad. There’s little room for error and any error can send you straight to the grave…and that exit might not be pleasant.

Space history is not without disaster. I’ll talk briefly about five here, beginning with Apollo 1. In that disaster, three American astronauts died during a simulation flight inside their spacecraft. One problem after another led to a fire in the cockpit and that cockpit was full of pure oxygen. There was nothing anyone could do. That was January 27, 1967. Keep in mind this was Apollo 1, the first of the Apollo flights. We wouldn’t go to the Moon until Apollo 11. Can you imagine everyone’s reservations after the Apollo 1 disaster?

“From the ashes of the Apollo 1 fire came the hard lessons NASA had to learn in order to have successful flights to the moon and for further exploration of space,” Sheryl Chaffee.

The next one comes just three months later. The Russians, eager to be first to the moon, sent cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov into space in a very ill-equipped vehicle. He was plagued with problems from the start. As he started to return, he realized his parachutes weren’t working. He crashed into the earth at full speed. Komarov became the first fatality in space flight.

Anxious to be the first to have an occupied space station in space, the Russians then sent three cosmonauts to the Soyuz-11 space station. The cosmonauts spent three weeks onboard the station. As they returned to earth, their cabin decompressed and suffocated the three men. Autopsies showed the men died no less than 30 minutes after being rescued back here on earth. As a result of their deaths, all astronauts are required to wear their spacesuits during re-entry, when decompression is possible.

On January 28, 1986 the Challenger was lost just 73 seconds after lift-off. Extremely cold temperatures for the Space Coast compromised the O-rings on one of the side rocket boosters. The failure of that ring led to a catastrophic failure of the craft. Autopsies showed that the astronauts likely died due to asphyxiation and impact of falling. Initially it was believed (and hoped) that the explosion was powerful enough to kill the astronauts instantly. That turned out to be false. Certain switches had been flipped and certain actions were made for several seconds (and maybe longer) after that explosion.

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God,” President Reagan, while addressing the nation on the loss of the Challenger.

On February 1, 2003 we would lose the Columbia space shuttle upon re-entry. As the space shuttle lifted off days earlier, a heat tile on the belly of the shuttle had been damaged. This was enough to allow heat from re-entry to cause a catastrophic failure of the shuttle. There is no evidence that has ever indicated that the astronauts ever realized anything was wrong. One second they’re gliding through the atmosphere, and the next second they were gone.

“To leave behind Earth and air and gravity is an ancient dream of humanity. For these seven, it was a dream fulfilled. Each of these astronauts had the daring and discipline required of their calling. Each of them knew that great endeavors are inseparable from great risks. And each of them accepted those risks willingly, even joyfully, in the cause of discovery,” President George W. Bush, at the memorial ceremony for the Columbia crew.

Interestingly, all three of our worst American disasters happened only days apart on the calendar. January 27 (Apollo 1), January 28 (Challenger) and Feb 1 (Columbia).

Yes, we’ll take a delay. We’ll take a delay, any day.

“These men and women laid down their lives in the most noble of goals: the pursuit of truth and understanding. To expand our knowledge of the cosmos is to pursue a better life on Earth for our children, and future generations to come. Although their quest for knowledge was peaceful, fate ripped them from us, never to be returned. We mourn their tragic loss, and we pledge to recommit ourselves to the cause for which they gave their lives,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

A wreath is placed at the memorial for lost astronauts at Kennedy Space Center.


Baldwin’s View-of-the-Day

The last space shuttle launch in 2011, as seen from 1,000 feet from the launch pad through the lens of a camera. The footage is slowed by a factor of five, giving it a super cool effect. That means that what took one second in real time, shows in five seconds on this video.

What strikes me most is the sound. I haven’t ever found video that captures that sound so well! Oh….that sound!

Answer to Trivia Question

A: (b) The bitter cold temperatures that morning caused the O rings on the side rocket booster to weaken. This led to a catastrophic failure that ultimately led to the demise of the crew and craft. The temperature at lift-off that morning on the Space Coast was an unseasonably cold 36 degrees, which was 15 degrees colder than any previous launch. NASA had been warned of the dangers of launching in cold temperatures, but such concerns were dismissed. Had it not been for the planned talk with President Reagan later that evening during his State of the Union address, the pressure to launch would have been much lower. Plus, the shuttle had already been delayed several times. The pressure to launch was very high.

You all have a great day!

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