Friday, November 13, 2009

Once Around the SKYWARN Block & 'Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dragon'

I have completed the on-line certification course to become a Severe Weather Spotter on my local SKYWARN website here in Pinellas County, Florida.

It was an interesting little slide show class that featured much of the information about severe weather that I already knew from having studied it enthusiastically for most of my life. Such facts as Florida's #1 weather-related killer being lightning (#2 is flash flooding-PLEASE don't drive through standing water during or after a heavy rain). I was a little disappointed that it did not contain information regarding highway overpasses as being a VERY UNSAFE place to take shelter during a tornado. I think more people need to get that message as there seems to be a great deal of misinformation out there.

The section on tornadogenesis and the figures showing the anatomy of supercell structures were nice but they were not very big, and they were bitmap images, so when I tried to make them bigger they just got all pixelated and ugly. Luckily, I was able to find similar graphics on the web by merely searching for information on supercells.

A BIG plus to the program is that there are downloadable PDF manuals to use to advance your knowledge of storms and what to report as a spotter. Nice information on hail but they tended to repeat themselves on the method of reporting it. Okay, I get it. Don't report hail as "marble sized." Dime/penny/nickel/quarter/half-dollar/golf ball/tennis ball/baseball. I'll be ready for the that question if it comes up on the test.

I'm not quite ready for the exam. I want to go through the lessons again and take notes. There are several sections pertaining to statistical data on the types of tornados and storms we get in Florida and how to report them. I want to jot down that stuff. I just know some of it will come up on the test.

Writing News:

I continue each day to get closer to the goal of completing my short fantasy/science fiction story "Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dragon." I reread some of the original research on magnetism and the tesla unit that is part of the story. What I have discovered is that there may be the makings of a novel or series in this alternate world where "wizards" war with each other using gengineered dragons and prehistory beasts. I have it tenatively titled in my head as "Mages of Morrow." We'll see where those thoughts take me, but the main thrust of my focus is to finish this story. I'm at about 4335 words right now and will probably add about 2500 more before it's done and ready for editing.

I'm still gathering research material for a short story that is in the conception stage right now titled "Queendom of the Harpies," in which a beleaguered office worker tries to find a way to get rid of the mythical bitches she works with.

I'm also working on a couple of new drabbles to submit to The Drabblecast, but for this weekend (snot-nosed and under the weather am I) my goals are to rest and work on "Tiny Dragon."

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