There once was a boy who was terrified of thunderstorms...

...So his wise and neurotic mother led him to the library, where he found dozens of outdated books filled with haunting, iconic tornado imagery, and calming proclamations like, "a tornado can  hurl cars hundreds of feet through the air, and turn towns into graveyards within seconds."  The boy, talkative and earnest from an early age, often gave badly-informed and scaremongering tornado lectures during show-and-tell.

The boy's name was Kenny Blumenfeld.  You can see him here, sporting a handsome, home-rendered Playmobil-style bowlcut.  

Kenny's fear of storms drove him to learn about them, and the more he learned, the more he wanted to share, with little regard for whether anyone cared or listened.  In grade school, he began making forecasts for his classes, for his own sporting events, and for family outings.  Pictured below, you can see Kenny's family, looking sharp at one such outing.

Kenny's friends and parents were generally supportive of him, though not at all interested in the weather themselves.  When the weather would turn nasty, Kenny would start talking about Watch-this, and Warning-that, naming counties and pointing at maps, and most everyone had a well-crafted coping mechanism for the 30 or 40 times per year this would happen.   His big brother actually hated the weather, and picked dozens of anti-weather fistfights with Kenny during childhood.  It didn't matter though.  Kenny was on a mission.

Quite predictably, Kenny went to college to study meteorology.  Also somewhat predictably to those who knew him, he found himself  totally unprepared for a) homework, b) math, c) math homework, and d) the responsibility of going to class.  The picture below shows Kenny not going to class, during an exam.

Some time later, having sold Elvis plates, towels with kitten appliques, and other novelties for a predatory catalog retailer, and then having won a bagel-baking award for a quasi-fast-food bagel-making establishment, Kenny was reflecting upon his tremendous successes and thought, "now that I have reached the top of the top, what should I do next?"

He had never stopped loving the weather, and certainly had not grown quieter about it.  He thought perhaps he would return to school, and give it a more honest try this time.

So, he learned how to study, and even how to study math, and then began taking classes in geography, meteorology, geology, American Indian studies, and philosophy.  He took a job as a research technician on a field project related to blowing snow, and began conducting his own research on snowstorm frequencies that would eventually lead to his senior project.

Kenny then studied extreme rainfall, urban severe weather, and climate change in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a Master's and Ph.D. in geography, emphasizing climatology.  He also taught courses in meteorology, and noticed that, whereas he was used to talking about the weather to people who were thinking about ice cream cones and sports statistics, he now had a paying audience whose success depended on how well they listened to and retained what he taught them.  Perfect!

These days, Kenny does hazardous weather research for emergency managers, where one of his main research and outreach interests deals with urban severe weather probabilities and vulnerable populations, especially within major cities.  He also teaches the occasional meteorology or physical geography course, is working on a documentary about winter in Minnesota, likes to book bars and theaters for weather-related storytelling, and has an unrelated, full-time private-sector research job that keeps him from being too self-indulgent. 

Outside of weather and career-y stuff, Kenny  has two boys he may or may not exploit here, and a dog he most certainly will.   He also loves biking, cooking foods that taste better than they look, understanding people and relationships, being social, thinking, and spending time with important people in his life.  This blog is about about the weather, and those other things.

Though Kenny hopes you find this site riveting, entertaining, informative, and life-changing (okay, probably not that), he expects that many of you are really just here while avoiding doing something else.  Whatever the reason, enjoy!