World's Largest Weather Instrument

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:05 PM GMT op 05 augustus 2005

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If you've driving the stretch of I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and get off at the Baker exit near Death Valley, you have the opportunity to see the ultimate tacky weather object--the world's tallest thermometer. Rising a full 134 feet above the dusty streets of Baker (population: 700),
the working thermometer is the brainchild of Baker resident Willis Herron, who spent $700,000 erecting the huge instrument. In an article in the June 2005 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Willis says: "Awww, I know it's tacky. But I also know people won't be able to pass it more than four or five times without saying, 'What is that?'". And hopefully pull off the expressway to take a look--and buy a burger at the Mad Greek restaurant or a slice of strawberry pie at the original Bun Boy restaurant, now owned by Steve Carter, whom Herron sold the thermometer to in 2000.

The thermometer weighs 76,812 pounds, sports 4900 light bulbs, and is held together by 125 cubic yards of concrete--much of this added after 70-mph winds snapped the thermometer in half shortly after it was built in 1991. The 134 foot height is symbolic of the 134 degree maximum temperature recorded in Death Valley in 1913--the all-time record for North America.

Dr. Jeff Masters

The world's tallest thermomerter! (robsters)
Located in Baker, California, 109 degrees
The world's tallest thermomerter!

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1650. SEFL
10:37 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
So now the recon reports are a joke? I guess Stormtop's highly secret equipment trumps what we thought was a well equiped hurricane hunter. Just unbelievable
1649. Raysfan70
9:25 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
before you go i thought that I read on one of the sites or maybe here that it has to stay on that movement for 6 hrs. is that true?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1648. STORMTOP
9:21 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
ray you will find in time everything i have said will happen..it slowed to 10mph now and yes its been moving on a west heading for about 3 hours now..i dont know why the recon plane has it on a nw movement..that ias a joke...ill be back at midnight ray to give you some new info...just keep your eye on the storm and how fast its going that will be your key ray when it stalls out completely that im right..
1647. Raysfan70
9:14 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
due west I am sorry about that? Trying to do 3 things at one time>.
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1646. Raysfan70
9:04 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
news station in tampa are saying that it is looking to them that the storm is moving due East are you watching Jedkins?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1645. SEFL
9:01 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
For an additional point of reference, here is what NHC is predicting

Link
1644. Raysfan70
8:58 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
could florida beout of it? maybe?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1643. STORMTOP
8:57 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
well lets see the storm was moving yesterday at 17 this morning 15 at 11am 13 now 5pm adv 10mph..seems a major slow down to me and i think by 11pm you are looking at 6 mph...the storm is also strengthing and i said it would reach hurricane force by 11pm tonight..im still sticking to my original forecast and a cat 3 hurricane stalled along the east coast sat and sunday...ill be back at midnight when i receive more new data...i want to repeat again FLORIDA IS NOT OUT THE WOODS...
1642. Jedkins
8:50 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
The northeast U.S. is very unlikely mainly because the conditions raley allow storms to make landfall there.
1641. WSI
8:49 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Stormtop, I would like to know what computer model is predicting Irene to go over Bermuda please. I mean, I thought I had all of the computer models linked on my weather page. You must have one I don't? I can't find one going over Bermuda. Seriously. I am not being mean, I just would like to know what you are seeing that I am not. Thanks.

1640. Raysfan70
8:49 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Jedkins what is your thought should still in thoughts as of earlier today?I know that you were going sith Storm earlier today.
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1639. Jedkins
8:48 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Oh and y'all already know what my prediction is and I am not changing it yet,if I continued to teel the same thing that would be spam or needless posts so stop tryin to git under my skin.
1638. Jedkins
8:46 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
By the way the recon plane found I think was a CLOSED 30 mile wide eye.
1637. STORMTOP
8:44 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
lol ok mr self....i was not disagreeing with you..im not trying to be defensive ichanged my mind according to my posts which you are more and welcome to go back and read a total of 2 times..my first and only prediction i made was out to sea...the next one was the east coast of the us from daytona beack to s carolina n carolina border..my prediction was a landfall at myrtle beach and charleston sc if the high did not strengthen..im not tryin to hidae anything mr self im just trying to give you the facts as i perceive them without arguing...i hope you understand what im trying to say..now as for florida im still worried about them ..if this storm stalls lie i think it is it can go anywhere mr self..all bets are off it could hir miami to n york if this happens..thats why you need to pay attention to irene before she sneaks up on you as a cat 3...i hope i cleared things up mr self..
1636. SEFL
8:32 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Stormtop, I am not arguing with you and I resent your subtle innuendo. Of course the models change over time. Have you changes your mind about this storm? How many times have you made modifications to your predictions? I seem to recall a comment disparaging everyone here for worrying about that wuss Irene. I guess you changed your mind since you are now telling the people of Florida to keep a close eye on this one.

It is absurd to think that weather predictions will not be modified over time. I read your predictions, but I have more faith in the NHC. You get this one right and I'll subscribe to your forecasting service.
1635. WSI
8:28 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Stormtop, quit getting defensive. I had a very simple question. You said some of the computers were predicting Irene to go over Bermuda. None of the computer models I see today, or have seen in the past few days have said that. I am just curious what computer models you are referring to. So, I ask again, what models are you looking at that are predicting this? Where is the link where the rest of us can view this data? Thank you for your quick response to this question.
1634. STORMTOP
8:22 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
look wsi ans self i dont want to get into and arguement with you guys or girls whatever the casr may be..im just giving you my analysis of irene as it stands right now..what i see on the satellite oic and the water vapor loops i dont like ..everything from irene is building back towards the s and sw ..im talking about the convection in case you are confused..another thing is a sure west movement you would have to be blind if you think irene is moving towards the nw..you have your opinion and i have mind...if you dont like mind i understand but this is serious we could be dealing with a cat 3 by sunday morning stalled somewhere off the east coast of the us..i am just trying to tell people in florida who have really had it bad to keep a close watch on this one...irene is the sleeper of 2005 and can pose major problems to someone on the east coast..i can assure you of this it is not going to go out to sea..it will hit the us mainland...now you can argue with me till the cows come home and i will stick to what i just said..the computers do not have a good grasp on this storm they never did...i went back over the records and since irene became a tropical storm you so called faithful computers have changed there minds 11 times from shifting left then shifting right then back to left again until now they all are out to sea well i say there out to lunch...thats all i have to say about that...
1633. SEFL
8:16 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Cornflake, of course the NHC didn't predict Ivan's path at the start but the constantly updated that and all predictions. I wasn't surprized by Jeanne, I had plenty of notice from the NHC to put up the shutters and prepare for the hurricane. That's what their predictions are about. Its not taking the predicted path when Irene was made a tropical depression and seeing how good a job they did with that.
1632. WSI
8:11 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Quote from Stormtop...

"..IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE THE POSSIBILITIES SOME OF THESE COMPUTERS ARE FORCASTING"


What computers are showing this Stormtop? I have yet to see a model that is predicting this. What link did you get this from? What model is it?
1631. STORMTOP
8:05 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
this is what the nhc thinking is right now for all of you are wondering....the high pressure system that i said is a 600mb high has split up into 2 highs leaving and alley way for the storm to take to the north and move out to sea...i cant see this happening because none of the convection right now is in the north or ne quadrant...i think this scenario will not materialize...but thats why they have the cone like they do ...just for everyones understands there thinking....
1630. cornflake826
8:04 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
No, I'm not saying I am not doubting the NHC forecast, what I am saying is nobody can give a perfect forecast, things change in weather without any notice. Its the nature of the beast. Just like how everybody put faith in Jeanne last year of pulling out into the big blue ocean, sometimes its hit or miss. Nobody should put their guard down. Look at Ivan came through the panhandle exited off VA/NC looped back down to FL as a wave and emerged as TS in the Gulf again days later. Do you think NHC predicted that to happen!
1629. SEFL
8:02 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Also the NHC forecast is not simply taking the models at face value. The models are part of the forecast. The discussion even comments on their thoughts about the models and why they make the forecast they do. They are not operating in a vacuum and they aren't idiots.
1628. SEFL
7:57 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
It looks like 5 of the 6 are "stacked up" Do you not think the nhc knows about the placement of the high. They have said all along the high would have an impact. You can choose to believe stormtop and I will choose to place more credence in the NHC. We all have opinions, and shouting them out doesn't make one better than another.

The NHC discussions have been on target all week. Stormtop has modified his all week....just put the turn west off til later. I think the NHC record is better, thats all.
1627. Raysfan70
7:53 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
so you are saying that hthe High is getting stronger faster then what the NHC thinks?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1626. SEFL
7:53 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Stormtop, please don't shout.
1625. cornflake826
7:52 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
sefl, we all know that these models cant predict the highs all the time, I think Stormtop might be right that this high is building stronger then thought and forecasted. Also throughout the development of Irene, these models haven't really been doing a good job. I only believe models when they all are stacked up on each other not so spread out and frequent changes in their tracks
1624. STORMTOP
7:50 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
OK RIGHT NOW THE CONVECTION DEVELOPING IN THE STORM IS TO THE BACK...THIS IS CRUCIAL THERE IS A REASON WHY THE CONVECTION IS NOT DEVELOPING TO THE NORTH OF THE STORM LIKE IT SHOULD BE...THE REASON IS THE HIGH PRESSURE IS TO STRONG FOR CONVECTION TO FORM IN THER NORTH OR NE QUADRANT OF THE STORM..YOU NEED TO LOOK AT ALL OF THE PUZZLE..THIS STORM IS STRENGTHING AND IS BECOMING BETTER ORGANIZED..SATELLITE PICS SHOW A DEFINITE WNW MOVEMENT AND A SLOWER SPEED IN THE LAST HOUR...THIS STORM IS SLOWING DOWN AND YOU WILL SEE THAT IN THE NEXT ADVISORY WITH THE WINDS UP PRETTY CLOSE TO HURRICANE FORCE..A PRESSURE OF 29.34 INCHES USUALLY MEANS 75 -80 MPH WINDS..IRENES PRESSURE IS CONTINUING TO FALL AND I WOULDNT BE SURPRISED IF IRENE REACHES HURRICANE STRENGTH BY 11PM...
1623. Raysfan70
7:49 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
I think that after last year Everyone should have learned to always be on Guard with these things.
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1622. SEFL
7:47 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Some additional forecast tracks

http://www.boatus.com/hurricanes/hurricane_spaghetti2.aspLink
1621. TipOfIsland
7:47 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
The FSU Superensemble is right a great percentage of the time. How can we know what it is predicting?
1620. punkasshans
7:46 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
cornflake,

I agree, it is good to be on guard. However, I too dont think its going to Florida. But I wont get to watch it much over the weekend, as I dont have internet when I am at home.
1619. punkasshans
7:45 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
I think we need to watch that wave for one to two days before we can really make a strong prediction on that wave turning into a depression, let alone Jose. It does not look strong on satellite at the moment (or at least when I last looked).
1618. cornflake826
7:44 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
based on the past, Jeanne and Andrew were supposed to do the famous curve out to see, with a possibility of a nc landfall, last minute changes happen and people could only get 1-2 days notice of being threatened by a storm. Its best to be on guard then shrug it off and say its not hitting someplace.
1617. Raysfan70
7:40 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
what about the wave going towards the Caribbean what do you see going on with that one? Jose?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1616. Raysfan70
7:39 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
thank you storm will you have ab update with the 5:00 or are yoiu going to wait till the 11:00?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1615. STORMTOP
7:37 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
RAY I THINK YOU WILL GET A GOOD READ ON THE HIGH PRESSURE WHICH I HAVE AT OVER 600MB RIGHT NOW BY TOMORROW MORNING...THE WAY YOU CAN TELL RAY IS WATCH THE STORMS FORWARD MOVEMENT ..IT WAS MOVING AT THIS TIME YESTERDAY AT 17MPH..RIGHT NOW ITS MOVING AT 13 MORE LIKE 10 IN MY ESTIMATION...AS TIME GOES BY THE SLOWER IT WILL GO RAY AND THEN WHEN IT TRIES TO BUCK THE HIGH WHICH IT IS DOING NOW IT WILL BE STOPPED BY THE HIGH PRESSURE...NOT TO MENTION THE COLD FRONT THATS GOING TO BE ALONG THE EAST COAST ON SUNDAY...THERE IS LOTS GOING ON RIGHT NOW RAY LOTS OF POSSIBILITIES...THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS YES SURE IT COUILD STALL AND MOVE BACK TOWARDS FLORIDA..WHEN A HURRICANE IS STALLED ALL BETS ARE OFF RAY...KEEP AND EYE ON THIS ONE..I WILL NOT CALL FLA OUT THE WOODS UNTIL SUNDAY IF THEN..
1614. SEFL
7:34 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
This storm will continue wnw, nw and perhaps meander a little after three days. Then the steering currents related to the cold front will most likely push it out to sea. This storm will not impact Florida. you need to back off and look at the big picture , where she been and where looks to be going instead of just eye balling the the storm.

Those periodic wobbles are just that, not a change in direction. The recon confirmed the direction. Stormtop is certainly tenacious and I appreciate his concern about Florida, but he is getting lost in the trees.
1613. Raysfan70
7:25 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
hi stormtp when do you think they will get a good fix on the high pressure that could block this thing from going North? DO you think there could be the possibility that it could turn and go to East Central FLorida?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1612. STORMTOP
7:20 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
ok another fly in the ointment the nhc is not talking about is a cold front that is moving towards the east coast as we speak...this is another reason why i think irene will slow down to a crawl and this baby will start to move erratcally saturday and sunday...recon is finally getting the NW MOTION OUT THE WAY AND SAYS ITS MOVING WNW WHICH I KIND OF AGREE WITH RIGHT NOW BUT THAT WILL CHANGE AS TIMES GOES BY...IRENES NEW PRESSURE 29.44INCHES MEASURED BY AIR RECON..THIS STORM WILL PLAY BALL WITHT HE NHC AND WILL KEEP THEM ON THERE TOES ALL WEEKEND...I STRESS ONCE AGAIN UNTIL SUNDAY PEOPLE IN FLORIDA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF IRENE AND BE READY FOR THIS THING TO STALL OUT AND START TO MEANDERING IN AND ERRATIC FASHION...IM JUST BEING CAUTIOUS I DONT WANT FLA TO BE CAUGHT OFF GUARD..THE LATESET CONE BY THE NHC IS A JOKE..THERE IS NO LANDFALL CURRENTLY IN THE CONE...THE NHC THEORY IS ITS GOING OUT TO SEA AND NOT AFFECTING ANYONE .....I DONT BUY THAT WHAT IM SEEING FROM THE VAPOR AND SATELLITE PICS AND ALSO THE DATA I HAVE SEEN FROM THIS HIGH PRESSRE SYSTEM REINFORCING THE BERMUDA HIGH...I AM NOT READ Y TO MAKE A PREDICTION YET BECAUSE I FEEL WE WILL BE DEALING WITH IRENE UNTIL AT LEAST WEDNESDAY...IM NOT TRYING TO BE PROBLEMATIC BUT TRYING TO BE REAL ABOUT THIS..THIS IS NO JOKE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE IN THE LINE OF FIRE..IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE THE POSSIBILITIES SOME OF THESE COMPUTERS ARE FORCASTING...ONE HAS IT GOING OVER BERMUDA..I DONT SEE HOW THAT CAN HAPPEN BEING ITS ALREADY SSE OF BERMUDA IT WOULD HAVE TO DO A BACKWARD FLIP..IM OPEN FOR QUESTIONS RIGHT NOW WHILE I REVIEW THE LATEST DATA FROM THE RECON...
1611. SEFL
7:15 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
RECON FIX 28,5N / 67.1W 997mb, max wind 60Kts. Here is position as fixed by the recon flight. Still nw.
1610. evolution
6:38 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Also, for anyone interested.

HurricaneKing has established the 'weather chat room blog'.
He asks anyone who wishes to discuss weather, and whatever else to visit his blog.

Hopefully with the establishment of these two new sub-blogs we can alleviate the intense volume of posts occuring on the main blogs. They need to remain open for Jeff and Steve to realistically answer questions and add comments and discuss important data when appropriate.
1609. punkasshans
6:36 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
miamihurricane,

the NHC never say it is definately going to hit a location. they give a window. . punta gorda was inside that window. The storm moved and it hit them. I remember many times, hours before it made landfall, the weather channel, the NHC and others saying that it was moving south of the previous projected landfall. the people of punta gorda should have been prepared and have evacuated. the NHC just suggests what people should do, if no evacuation order was given, thats the local administrations fault, not the NHC. If you are in the cone, you are in danger!

This year they have forecasted the storms VERY well. Emily was perfect and so was Dennis along with the tropical storms. Dont come out and say they know nothing. Just wait for the storm to follow their excact path. I still think it will.
1608. HurricaneKing
6:35 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
I have made a tropical weather chat room. Thanks evolution for giving me the idea.
Member Since: 6 juli 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2449
1607. evolution
6:28 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Hey everyone.

Due to the extremely heavy posting occuring on Jeff and Steve's Blog's, it was requested yesterday by many, including Steve that a sub-blog for tropical discussion be created.

Just passing knowledge, here that the evolution blog has been established for this sole purpose. Thanks for using it and alleviating much of the comment congestion on the main blog's.

1606. Raysfan70
6:27 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
I know I live in Tampa and got ready for it to hit but they did say that Punta Gorda way in that cone of uncertainty that people should always can percautions. I would like to know what the FSU Model is saying right now.
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1605. miamihurricane12
6:21 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
they were also off with charley last year, ppl were expecting this storm to hit tampa as a cat 2 and it hit punta gorda/port charlotte as a strong cat 4. People died b/c they were so off but that storm did give credibility to the fsu model b/c it had that storm right on the money the whole time.
1604. Raysfan70
6:06 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
You know they were way off with Jeanne last year, nobody is right people are wrong and computers are wrong. SO lets not dog anybody.
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1603. miamihurricane12
6:03 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
when do u think that the nhc will finnally come out and say that they have been wrong the past few days and that the models are screwed up. If this storm stalls this storm could go anywhere from south florida to bermuda, anything could happen!!!
1602. Raysfan70
5:55 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Thank YOu Storm top but do you see more of a west movement to this storm as it appears in the Satellite?
Member Since: 28 juli 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
1601. whirlwind
5:54 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
whats up Stormtop..glad to c u.

yeah the models r all screwed up, they ALL say the storm will go out to sea.. LOL

Im really anxious to see what the high will do!!!!!
1600. Hawkeyewx
5:52 PM GMT op 12 augustus 2005
Everyone should try the following satellite link. It has a high quality zoom and the images today are being updated every 5 to 10 minutes... once you turn up the speed you can really get a good idea of the core's organization and the exact center of circulation.

Link
Member Since: 5 juli 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1923

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.