Every week is a full one, but next week will overflow!
In addition to everything I do during a normal week, I’ll be back at Spring Hill College for another semester teaching one course in Multimedia Journalism. My classroom is a hot-tech dream, complete with a touch-screen that controls the DVD, video projector and other electronics. I’ve been returning to SHC, more or less every year since 1986. Over the years, at least 13 former students have graduated and become co-workers at FOX 10!
No semester is ever the same as the last. There is always something new to teach, whether it’s adjusting to the transition from tape to disk or watching local radio news slowly fade away while web news becomes more important. As always, the bedrock is writing.
As always, I’m trying to become the first adjunct instructor to get tenure. Then take a sabbatical
I’ll also be leading some in-house training here at FOX10 on writing for the web, which certainly isn’t like writing for print or even TV.
It’s still active in the tropics, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll get any action from the named systems… BUT an unnamed system tracking across Florida will be increasing our rain chances the next few days, so that’s where we’ll start with the tropical update….
Really just a trough of low pressure at this point, but it is carrying a lot of tropical moisture across the state. This moisture will be running into a front that will be working it’s way into the deep south on Monday. So, you take tropical moisture, you lift it with a front and you’re likely to get quite a few showers and storms. After just a few showers over the weekend, rain chances go up to 60% for Monday and Tuesday as we deal with that tropical moisture.
TROPICAL STORM FLORENCE
Still way out in the Atlantic, this storm continues to be poorly organized and struggling to survive. Dry air is wrapping into the system disrupting it’s circulation. This storm won’t effect us and it likley won’t effect anyone else ether as most of the models call for it dissipate in a few days.
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO
The forecast for Ernesto has improved for our area. Ernesto has weakened because it simply won’t slow down. The storm is moving west at 23 mph which is hampering the circulation and creating it’s own wind shear. The forward movement is expected to slow down the next few days, but it’s unlikely the storm will become a hurricane as it will be too close to Central America to intensify. Since Ernesto is weak, it’s also less likely to be picked by a trough over the Gulf of Mexico and carried north. So the most likely scenario is that Ernesto will move over Belize and into Mexico and then dissipate. There is still time for that to change but the chances are low.
So much activity in the tropics! We have four areas were tracking, two of which are named systems at this point…
GULF OF MEXICO AND BAHAMA’S DISTURBANCE
First let’s start in the Gulf. There is an Upper-Level Low spinning and creating a lot of rain and storminess off the Louisiana coast. Tropical systems don’t like upper-level lows because they create too much shear, but these systems can create a lot of rain when they have tropical moisture to deal with and that’s what this one will do just to the west of us.
In the Bahamas, is disturbance 91L. This is a weak, poorly organized system that is spreading rain into East Florida. Since this system is so disorganized the models can’t get a handle on what it’s going to do. Some take it north along Florida’s East Coast. Some carry it across Florida into the Northern Gulf. Whichever way it goes, this storm is unlikely to grow into anything significant, but could bring us more rain early next week if it tracks towards us.
Tropical Storm Florence developed quickly from a tropical wave off the African coast and is now moving due west in the far Atlantic. Further development will be slow due to dry air wrapping into the storm and strong wind shear in the upper levels. The forecast is for this storm to eventually make a move more to the northwest. It’s unlikely this one will make it into the Gulf, but folks on the East Coast will have to monitor it going into next weekend.
AND THEN THERE WAS ERNESTO…
Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to look more ferocious than it is as it tracks through the Eastern Caribbean. Although shear is low and water temperatures are warm, dry air has been wrapping into this system limiting it’s strengthening. Because of this, the models have very little grip on the forecast strength of this storm and this is very important for where it will ultimately go. Check out the model tracks. They are pretty consistent on taking Ernesto to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico early Wednesday morning… It’s after that the uncertainty comes into play. Essentially, if Ernesto is weak it will likely strike the southern Yucatan and fizzle out, but if Ernesto grows into a hurricane it’s more likely the steering flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere will cause it to strike the northern Yucatan and then hold together into the southern Gulf where it could possibly threaten our area by late in the week. Regardless of what happens we have time here to watch, track, and possibly prepare for this system. Stay tuned and we will keep bringing you the latest information.
Tropical Depression Number Five was upgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto this afternoon. A Hurricane Hunter Aircraft found evidence of winds at 50 mph sustained. Upper winds are only marginally conducive for strengthening over the next two days. Ernesto should continue on a westward course as it’s steered by the mid/upper ridge over the western Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ernesto could eventually become a hurricane by the weekend or early next week. The long range forecast has the system near the Yucatan by Thursday of next week.
Tropical Depression #5 has formed 850 miles east of the Windward Islands. This system will head generally west-northwest over the next 3-5 days. An upper low to the north of the depression should limit strengthening this week. The system could get stronger over the weekend, depending on the upper level environment in the Caribbean. If it holds together, the system should be near Cuba or the Yucatan by the middle of next week.
I traveled to London with a reporter, photographer, and an editor to cover the 2012 Farnborough International Air Show.
In other words, I went by myself.
My iPhone 4 and iPad 2 loaded with iMovie flew with me from Mobile, Alabama to London following the announcement that Airbus would build a $600 million dollar aircraft assembly plant in Mobile. Suddenly, the Air Show outside London had become a local story. Thanks to the extraordinary assistance of contacts within the business community, I was able to secure the invitations needed to attend receptions which gave me access to the most powerful figures in the aviation industry.
Not too many years ago, the equipment needed to produce TV stories was so large and so heavy, it would have taken at least two of us, as it did when I produced a documentary from Rome in 1988. At that time, getting video back to the U.S. would have involved either a satellite feed or a trip to the airport to ship tape back home. Either way, it would have been very expensive.
For this event, sending video back home involved dropping a file in Dropbox. Cost? Zero. Skype was also a possibility for live shots, but the video wasn’t close to broadcast quality.
I had ordered a small, flexible tripod designed for use with iPhones but it failed to arrive in time. That meant anything I shot was going to be handheld. Not the best choice, but the only option.
To supplement the video, and provide visuals where iPhone video was impractical, I brought along my 8 megapixel still camera with a 10x optical lens. It gave me a chance to zoom into subjects which my fixed focal length iPhone couldn’t see. Thanks to iMovie and its “Ken Burns effect”, I was able to add the slightest bit of movement to still images, to fill in the gaps where I had good copy but poor or non-existent video.
For recording natural sound, the iPhone was fine. Recording interviews required me to get as close as I could to my subject to make sure he or she could be heard. It wasn’t always easy to deal with wind and traffic, but the results were usable. Because of the proximity to my subjects and the need to make sure they were in frame, it was hard to avoid the “deer in the headlights” look, but I gave it my best shot.
My hotel room was my audio booth, and the internal microphone on the iPad worked well. Editing with iMovie was easy and as with most Apple products, intuitive. Once the story was saved at the highest resolution possible and sent to Dropbox, it was available halfway around the world instantly. Can’t beat the speed or the price.
If I only had longer arms, I could have framed my stand ups a little better. I blame my photographer for that.
Mobile rolled out the royal carpet Tuesday night at Spencer House, the ancestral home of the late, Princess Diana’s family.
The private palace is adjacent to Green Park and around the corner from the Ritz Hotel, if that gives you an idea about the neighborhood.
City, county and business leaders sponsored a posh reception at Spencer House to provide an elegant meet and greet that included Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier, EADS chairman Tom Enders as well as officials from ST Aerospace, who met privately with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.
Rep. Jo Bonner addressed the gathering with the first half of President John F. Kennedy’s quote, “Success has many fathers…” (the rest of the quote, “…but failure is an orphan”, didn’t apply here) praising the many people in the room who worked together to bring the $600 million dollar Airbus deal to Mobile.
It has been a great time here in London and Farnborough, with plenty of walking and something else you might not imagine here. Clean air.
My wife and I first came to London for our honeymoon just a few years ago , and back then, the first thing that struck you was the overwhelming presence of diesel exhaust. It smelled like you were enveloped in a grey cloud that stuck to your skin and clothes. It was, in a word, nasty.
But no more. I went for a walk near my hotel last night and couldn’t get over the fact that the air had no smell at all. There’s been an ongoing campaign for clean energy here, and it’s working. Many of the red, double-decker bus are in fact, green. Some of buses feature hybrid electric engines and no longer leave behind a blast of thick black smoke when they start moving.
Getting ready for a reception tonight at Spencer House, near Buckingham Palace, then it’s back home.