Harry Wappler Dies

April 21, 2010

Steve Pierce sent this to me just a few minutes ago.  Longtime KIRO-TV weathercaster Harry Wappler died last night.  Those of you in most of the Portland television market have probably never heard of him…but think of him as “Seattle’s Jim Bosley”.   And I think some of you in Clark and Cowlitz counties may receive KIRO’s signal via cable.  I spent the last 7 years of my life before Portland growing up in Chehalis, so I was able to watch all the Portland stations AND all the Seattle stations all through the 1980s.  He’s a legend up there, maybe not for being the ace weather geek, but for his comfortable, friendly delivery on television.  He was exactly the same in person.  My first introduction to the television weather world was at KIRO-TV in the winter of 1990-1991.  I did a 3 month internship there while attending the UW.  I worked with Larry Rice and Nick Walker (he was only the lowly weekend weatherguy then!).  It was an exciting time…a TV station with weather maps and cool weather graphics that you could create on a computer!!!  For my internship “final” I interviewed Harry and wrote a paper about it.  He was a very nice guy who was willing to sit down for 20 minutes and talk to a college kid he had never met.  I always interned on weekends and mornings; he worked evenings.  People like that always impress on me how important it is to slow down, take the time,  and help others out when you can.  And no matter what your position in life, how much money you make, or how much power you hold, you’re no different than everyone else.  Okay that’s a little deep, but I just got the feeling that’s how he operated up there.  Rest in peace Harry!

Here’s a link and some pictures on the KIRO website:  http://www.kirotv.com/station/23224361/detail.html


No Burns Tornado

April 21, 2010

The NWS in Boise put out this statement about an hour ago…looks like it was just straight-line wind from a downburst over Harney County yesterday afternoon.  I saw some incorrect media reports saying it WAS a tornado.  Could have been something, but damage reports don’t indicate that’s the case.  I changed the important text to blue:

…THUNDERSTORM WINDS AND DAMAGE IN THE BURNS AREA…

ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON BETWEEN 330PM AND 4PM PDT A THUNDERSTORM MOVED
FROM THE SOUTH TO THE NORTH JUST EAST OF BURNS OREGON CAUSING
CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE.

DAMAGE REPORTS FROM THE AREA INCLUDE…
52 POWER POLES BROKEN.
NUMEROUS HOUSES WITH SHINGLES BLOWN OFF THE ROOF.
A MOBILE HOME BLOWN 3 FEET OFF ITS FOUNDATION.
SEVERAL OUTBUILDINGS PARTIALLY DESTROYED INCLUDING SEVERAL WITH
THEIR ROOFS PARTIALLY TAKEN OFF.

ALL THE DAMAGE REPORTS INDICATE THE WINDS WERE BLOWING FROM THE
SOUTH TO THE NORTH AS THE STORM MOVED THROUGH
. THE DAMAGE WAS
REPORTED FROM HIGHWAY 78 WEST OF CRANE NORTH TO HIGHWAY 20 EAST OF
BURNS. ALL THE DAMAGE REPORTS WERE EAST OF BURNS.

BASED ON DAMAGE REPORTS…WINDS FROM THIS STORM WERE IN THE 70 TO 75
MPH RANGE.

SEVERAL REPORTS WERE RECEIVED OF A FUNNEL CLOUD ASSOCIATED WITH THIS
STORM. WHILE A TORNADO OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM IS A POSSIBILITY,
ALL THE DAMAGE REPORTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH STRAIGHT LINE WINDS
ASSOCIATED WITH A DOWNBURST FROM THE THUNDERSTORM.