Baldwin’s Launch Week Friday Wx Blog for May 29

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Headlines

Launch Week continues! Tomorrow may be the BIG day!

A cold front is moving through tonight

A very pleasant forecast coming in the days ahead

Main threats

Some of the storms today could produce heavy rainfall that could result in localized flash flooding. Be aware of this if you’re out driving and encounter one of these downpours.

Baldwin’s Severe Wx Concern

Storms may become a bit strong this afternoon and evening, but severe weather chances are quite low.

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Once this cold front clears our area tonight, our severe storm chances drop significantly for several days.

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Daily Forecast

Today: Showers and storms likely. Heavy downpours could lead to localized flash flooding.

Saturday: Becoming partly cloudy. A nice day, especially in the afternoon.

Sunday – Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny skies and quite pleasant! Warm afternoons will be followed by cool, crisp nights. Humidity levels will be very low.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy skies and warmer.

Thursday: Partly cloudy with a chance for an afternoon/evening shower or storm.

Hay Weather Forecast

That hay weather forecast is still looking good! Drying conditions begin Saturday and should last through Wednesday. I’ll have a video update in tomorrow morning’s blog!

Almanac

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Yesterday’s National High and Low Temperature

High: 120 at Death Valley, California

Low: 25 at Peter Sinks, Utah

Difference of: 95 degrees

Today’s 

Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Severe storms threaten the Northeast, while heavy rainfall threatens portions of the Southeast coastline.

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Tomorrow’s 

Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Severe storms threaten portions of the Pacific Northwest. Some of those storms may even produce tornadoes, which is a bit odd for that area! Higher elevations of that area will see snow. A wild weather day for them tomorrow!

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Sunday’s 

Wx Hazards Across the Nation

No significant hazardous weather for the country.

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Tropics

We are already watching another system! Remember, hurricane season doesn’t begin until June 1 and we’ve already had our first two storms (Arthur and Bertha). It’s now looking like we will have our first three storms by June 1. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 50% chance of becoming a named tropical storm within the next few days. It should stay out to sea. If named, this system would be Tropical Storm Cristobal.

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Records

On this date in 1965 the satellite Explorer (pictured below) was launched to study space physics. It was powered by chemical batteries and solar panels. It remained fully functional for two years and was considered a success. The satellite re-entered earth’s atmosphere on July 4, 1968 and burned up.

Explorer

Weather Trivia 

Q: Does the wind blow on the moon?

a. It sure does!   b. Nope, not a bit!

(Answer at the end of the blog!)

Long Range Outlook 

An overall warmer and drier period is still looking likely for the first days of June.

Temperature

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Precipitation 

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7-Day Projected Precip Totals

FridayQPF

LAUNCH WEEK!

We are now just a day away from the big launch! We’ll try it again tomorrow at 2:22 CDT. Unfortunately, there is a 60% of weather being a problem again.

Today’s topic is a bit two-fold, as I’ll talk a bit about both the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the countdown clock.

The VAB is one of the most iconic structures on NASA’s campus. In fact, it probably is the most iconic structure. It’s not a small building, that’s for sure, and the first time you go in it you can’t help but strain your neck looking all around.

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It is the largest buildings in the world and, if I’m not mistaken, the largest single story building in the world. Believe me when I say this….it’s HUGE! How huge is it, you ask? Well, it would hold nearly four Empire State Buildings! It is more than 200 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. Get my drift? It’s HUGE! (ha)

The building was constructed for the housing of the Apollo missions but was then modified for the space shuttle program. A space shuttle can fit into this building. It’s big, I tell ya!

It’s so big that clouds sometimes form near the ceiling on humid days, causing this building to have one of the largest air conditioning units in the world. I just blew your mind, didn’t I? You should have seen my face when they told me this for the first time (haha).

The building covers 8 acres and is 525 feet tall. Construction required the use of over 95,000 tons of steel (this building ain’t going anywhere!) and 65,000 cubic yards of concrete. There are 71 cranes housed here for use of heavy lifting.

The doors to the VAB are over 450 feet tall and require hours to open and close. This place is impressive, to say the least. I never get tired of going there!

The American Flag on the side is nearly 210 x 110 feet! The stripes are nine feet wide! The stars on the flag are six feet across.

The building also houses the reconstructed Columbia space shuttle. It was reconstructed from the debris found after the shuttle was lost during re-entry. The public is not allowed in that part but family members and friends of the astronauts lost on that mission are allowed there. In addition, every engineer who works for NASA is required to visit that room. It is to remind them of the consequences of mistakes.

I have actually been on the roof of that building! I was there covering the launch with a press pass on behalf of weatherTAP and was selected from all the reporters to be one of only a handful allowed to watch it from the top.

Most. Amazing. View. Of. A. Rocket. Launch.Ever. And…..that was my first rocket launch! I was there to see the GOES-S satellite sent into space.

It was surprisingly windy up there! I was actually very, very surprised at that. Cameras kept blowing over, we could hardly hear ourselves talk from time to time. On the ground, there had been hardly a breeze! It was all unforgettable, for sure.

The Clock

Now, the countdown clock is just down the road from the VAB. It is just as iconic as the VAB building, come to think of it. It has been said that it is only second in popularity to London’s Big Ben clock! The clock was built the same year as the Moon landing (not coincidental) and always begins 43 hours before a scheduled launch, with many holds along the way. There’s no such thing as a countdown without some time delays of some sort on the countdown clock.

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The clock is 26 by 3 feet and six feet tall. There are humidifiers inside to try to protect the inside of the clock from Florida’s unforgiving humidity. Each number is four feet tall and two feet wide. It uses 56 40-watt bulbs.

There is a flag pole just 34 feet away and the press box is just across the street from the clock. In 2001 the clock, flag pole, and press site were listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

It’s so very cool to stand next to that clock, and I have been honored to be able to do that several times. I’ve even stood there as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and astronaut Bob Cabanna spoke to my group about NASA. I was awestruck.

Baldwin’s View-of-the-Day

The top is Apollo, the middle pic is from the shuttles, and the bottom pic is from DEMO-2. I think we’ve come a long way, don’t you? There are manual back-ups to those touch screens, thank goodness!

history

Weather News

Should the launch not go off tomorrow, I will stick with just placing NASA info in the morning blog updates. Fingers crossed for a successful launch sometime this weekend!

Answer to Trivia Question

A: (b) There isn’t one bit of wind on the moon. The presence of wind requires at least some atmosphere and pressure differences. Without an atmosphere, wind is impossible on the Moon.

But the flag Armstrong placed on the moon appears to be waving in the wind. That’s because a “normal” flag would have just slumped on the pole with moon’s weak gravity and absence of wind. That wouldn’t have made a very appealing picture! So, engineers place a horizontal rod across the top of the flag, kinda like a curtain. The problem was that the astronauts, especially with their big “glove” hands, had trouble spreading out the flag. In the end, it looked really cool, though!

That is one dang cool picture, right? Man…..

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You all have a great day!

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