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Kirk Mellish's Blog

    Drying out today with some sun. The surface weather chart for mid-day Monday ABOVE.  AFTER today each day the rest of the week will have at least a chance of rain right into Sunday. Details on race weekend will have to wait. Some flooding will be possible by Wednesday and Thursday as soils are already soggy and creeks and streams are already flowing high, but there is NO imminent flooding.  But if you live near or have to drive near one of the creeks or rivers that floods frequently stay alert later this week. And check back for forecast updates. At least for now anyway, it still looks like the highest risk for SERIOUS FLOODING will be in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. The NW Georgia mountains should monitor future forecasts in case the threat grows:  ESTIMATED RAINFALL AMOUNTS TUESDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL TUESDAY NIGHT: TOTAL ACCUMULATED RAIN ESTIMATE OVER NEXT 3 & 1/2 DAYS (84 hours): Rain totals on average 0.5 to 2 inches South side, 2-4 inches North side over the next three days. Additional rain amounts Thursday-Sunday yet to be determined, but some of that could be heavy with thunder possible.  To check your flood plain risk click here.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • It won’t rain constantly today, nor probably any day of the next 5-10. But except for Monday afternoon and evening most days will have at least a chance of rain right into next Sunday. Over time, it will add up. Some flooding will be possible as the soils are already soggy and creeks and streams are already flowing high.  However, at least for now, it looks like the highest risk for SERIOUS FLOODING will be in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and FAR North Georgia: ESTIMATED RAINFALL NEXT 24 HOURS: ESTIMATED RAINFALL ACCUMULATED OVER THE NEXT 3.5 DAYS: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Showers tonight will average a quarter to half an inch but come to an end early Saturday with some fog. Most of Saturday will be dry. Then rain returns on Sunday with the heaviest and most widespread in the afternoon and evening.  Another relative lull in rain is expected Monday, before heavy rain comes in for Tuesday, that rain could include some thundershowers on Wednesday. On and off rain is expected the rest of next week into the following weekend.  FLOODING will become a concern next Tuesday into Thursday. ESTIMATED RAINFALL THE NEXT 24 HOURS: ESTIMATED RAINFALL TOTALS FROM FRIDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY/SUNDAY NIGHT COMBINED: SATURDAY MORNING RAIN: SUNDAY MORNING RAIN: SUNDAY AFTERNOON RAIN: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • History is chock-full of pivotal moments where weather played a key role in the outcome, from Julius Caesar to the election of Mayors in Chicago and New York.  As a big history buff and meteorologist I am aware of many of them, but this story I had never heard before. It’s about America’s very first satellite launch. In our Cold War space race with the Soviet Union the pressure was on to join the Russian enemy in space after they lunched Sputnik. The U.S. first attempt was an embarrassing failure. A young meteorologist (Lt. John Meisenheimer) did not want to contribute to another. That young meteorologist stood up to his superiors to prevent that from happening and made key forecasts for success.  Strong jet stream wind shear threatened to tear the rocket apart so the meteorologist said no. No-go on two consecutive days before the data showed a window within parameters.  My thanks to the Orlando Sentinel for permission to excerpt the story. It was crucial that the man on top had his back even if his immediate supervisor was pushing for immediate launch. For that man (Major General Yates) was the meteorologist who gave General Eisenhower the D-day Invasion forecast crucial to Allied success in the WW II invasion of Normandy. So he told Meisenheimer to forecast it as he saw it no matter how long it took. After another day, the FORECAST: GO.  The wind shear had in fact subsided and the Juno-1 Rocket lifted the Explorer 1 satellite into orbit on January 31, 1958. I know what you mean sir, I know what you mean! Read the complete story from Chabeli Herrera here. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Some dry spells in-between periods of rain today, the morning fog will thin out over time. NO widespread severe weather is expected as of no but heavy downpours and strong gusty winds are likely. The morning surface weather chart above.  The chance of a severe thunderstorm is not zero, but it’s too low to worry about. A marginally severe storm is possible this afternoon and it will be windy at times even without thunder, not everyone will see lightning or hear thunder. [DOWNLOAD the WSB Radio App for severe weather alerts] The main rain window is mid-day with the worst between rush drive times. Showers before and after will be more scattered in coverage.  Rain amounts a half to one inch on average. The sun returns behind the front tomorrow. MID-DAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART: EARLY EVENING SURFACE WEATHER CHART: 24-hour RAINFALL ESTIMATE: SEVERE WEATHER RISK AREA TODAY: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Polar air NW fights the sub tropical air over the Southeast and off the Southeast coast where the upper-level ridge keeps fighting back against attempts of cold air to penetrate into our corner of the country. This split-jet stream flow keeps two very active jet stream storm tracks going as highlighted with the black arrows in the two forecast 500mb maps above and below. This means above-average rainfall the next 15 days: It also means more back and forth up and down temperatures the next 15 days and likely beyond as seen in GFS and ECMWF Ensemble output: Yes the models show another colder surge and window of opportunity for snow or ice in the longer range by March or early March,  but since they’ve largely failed in past attempts South of I-40 I won’t get excited unless or until I actually see the right pattern taking shape. So I won’t waste anyones time showing those forecast maps. 
  • Saturday is still the best the weekend has to offer. Sunday will not look or feel nice at all. Hat tip to the music group U2 for the headline pun. The good ole “wedge” or CAD is coming to town yet again this Sunday. When cold air near the surface “wedges” down the East side of the mountains while warm moist air rides up and over it aloft.  Mostly nuisance variety rain on Sunday and Monday, moderate to heavy possible Tuesday into Wednesday, warmer then colder as the roller coster ride continues next two weeks. But the wedge puts a real chill in the air for Sunday. Below are SUNDAY WEATHER and mid afternoon temperatures from NOAA/WPC and the various PivotalWeather graphic model images and F5 Weather. If you are new to following my blogs and don’t know a lot about the wedge, I’ve explained it a hundred times in the past and will go into more detail in the future. You can also google it.  NOTE: NOAA/NWS is more aggressive with freezing rain potential. I think, if any, it stays in NE Georgia mountains. I predict none for the Metro area.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • I’ve been forecasting record warmth for today since Sunday and we look good to go. Our yo-yo temperature pattern is, as expected, continuing the next 5 days and beyond. Today we started with a morning low that was about 10 degrees above the NORMAL HIGH of 55 for this time of year. The MAP ABOVE shows forecast record highs circled. For Atlanta we should be about 22 degrees above normal this afternoon easily breaking the 82 year old record of 72 set in 1937. But a strong cold front arrives tomorrow crashing temperatures, it will be warmest before sunrise tomorrow with falling temps thereafter bringing the weather back in line with the calendar. Temperatures late tomorrow afternoon will be around 31 degrees colder than this afternoon! A “wedge” (CAD) on Sunday re-enforces the winter chill: The jet stream roller coaster ride keeps the ups and downs coming: RAINFALL a little above-average as a result of the temperature back and forth next 15 days: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • As local weather is in taste of Spring mode, now is a good opportunity to look at snow forecasts elsewhere in the country that have gone wrong. People in Georgia may have the impression that snow and ice forecasts only go wrong here. The truth is even up North in the dead of winter, where cold air is not even in question, busted forecasts for snow/ice still occur with regularity. The reason? As covered in prior blog posts, to get snow conditions have to be perfect and the margin between yes and no is insanely small.  A snow forecast is relatively easy ONLY if you’re in the middle of a cold enough air mass, and in the bullseye or “heart of the path” of a winter storm. If you are near the edge of a system, or have only marginally cold air the forecast has high bust potential.  Areas near mountains or coastlines are more difficult than in the center of the country because both mountains and Oceans interfere, and can change temperature and moisture at the last minute in ways difficult for models to capture. EXAMPLES OF FORECAST VS REALITY FROM THIS MONTH: IN REALITY, Southern Wisconsin only ended up with a dusting to zero, and Chicago and Northern Illinois only ended up with around half an inch while the 1-3 fell South of expectation across Central Illinois: INDIANA FORECAST: Great job in the middle of the storm, but as is typically the case, near the edges accuracy drops way off in reality: Some places in North and NE Indiana got more than expected areas of South-Central and South Indiana ranged from more to less than expected. This is normal, unfortunately Atlanta is almost always on the edge of winter systems not smack in the middle. We get interference from the Gulf, the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.  Below is where snow fell in our region on January 29th with the cold front: FORECAST VS REALITY OHIO TO PA, WEST VA AND DELAWARE: The forecast was bad in Ohio and most of Pennsylvania and Delaware, it was good only in far South PA and the WVA mountains. Way too much was forecast in most areas which got only a coating or an inch, while Maryland and Delaware got 1-2 more than forecast.  A FORECAST LESSON FROM THE NORTHERN PLAINS: In any snow/ice forecast there is actually a range of possible outcomes which is known to forecasters while the public just thinks of one possible outcome, usually rooting for the highest number lol. Let me show you... Here is a snow amount forecast from up North just a couple days ago: 4-8 inches is forecast for the Northern reaches with 1-4” forecast for the Southern areas of the storm. But, but but but... There is actually a forecast range from the least amount (bust) to the (boom) or worst-case scenario shown below: So the range on the LOW end of REALISTIC EXPECTATION is 0-4 inches, while the HIGH end of realistic possibility is 6-10 inches.  Say you are forecasting for or live in or near Watertown, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Norfolk, or Minneapolis. Here is your forecast snow amount with this storm, 2 inches for Watertown nothing for those other cities: HOWEVER, here is the known forecast RANGE OF POSSIBLE OUTCOMES from low to high: So Watertown in reality of the forecasters known data could get not a flake or 4 inches, Minneapolis zero OR 1 inch, Sioux Falls/Sioux City and Norfolk zero OR 1-2 inches. Remember in the FIRST map of the three above, the forecasters did not give a range but just put out a forecast of their BEST ESTIMATE, even though they know the range includes much less and much more. Meteorologists know this, it’s time the public did, too. Now you do. If you’re a long time reader of my blogs you knew this decades ago. Spread the word.  Here’s what mother nature decided to do in the case above: Watertown got an inch or so while the other cities we talked about got nothing on the ground but saw snow flurries, the 4-8 inch amounts stayed well to the North and West of where we looked. Remember, this was the forecast: A good forecast for the Northern most areas which were in the bullseye or “heart of the storm path” like North Dakota and most of Northern Minnesota. Too much was forecast further South as well as in NE MN, Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan! The real world of weather is so much more complicated and complex than the models on our computer or the visions in our heads.  Unless the forecast is perfect for “my backyard” the only thing that can be counted on is:

News

  • A day after a Commerce Department report was submitted to President Donald Trump on the possibility of a national security declaration involving tariffs on imported automobiles, lawmakers in Congress joined automobile manufacturers and free trade groups in urging the White House not to embrace new tariffs amid renewed fears of growing trade tensions involving the U.S. “President Trump is right to seek a level playing field for American businesses and workers, but the best way to do that is with a scalpel, not an axe,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who led almost 150 lawmakers last summer in warning against new tariffs on imported autos and auto parts. “Broad-based auto tariffs would lead to retaliatory measures by our trading partners,” Walorski added, warning against action by the President on what’s known as a Section 232 national security investigation related to auto imports. “Beyond just the absurdity of labeling the car in your driveway a national security threat, taxing autos through tariffs would have clear economic consequences,” said the group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, as a variety of trade groups weighed in against new duties. “Auto #tariffs are a tax on American workers and consumers. A tariff will raise the price of cars and motor vehicle parts, strain family budgets and reduce car sales & vehicle repairs.” Our statement on the conclusion of the Section 232 auto investigation: https://t.co/03rNww4369 — DrivingAmericanJobs (@DrivingUSAJobs) February 18, 2019 During his time in office, President Trump has made clear he’s more than ready to levy new tariffs on imported goods from China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. “Well, you know, you’re talking to the wrong person, because I happen to like tariffs, okay?” the President said to reporters when asked Friday about possible new tariffs on China, as he defended tariffs placed on imported steel. With the submission of this latest Section 232 report on autos, President Trump now has 90 days to determine whether to levy new tariffs, which experts believe would hurt European automakers the most – Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and others. “New tariffs/taxes would be devastating for our auto jobs and American consumers,” said Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), whose state sports auto production plants for Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. “Not only are tariffs a tax but experts agree: cars are not a national security threat,” Jones added in a tweet about the new Commerce 232 report. The European Union on Monday vowed ‘swift’ retaliation if the President slaps tariffs on imported autos and auto parts – what some fear would create a quickly escalating trade war. The administration of President @realDonaldTrump has resumed threats to put additional tariffs on European automakers, thus exacerbating the trade wars. #Tradewar #TradeWars #SP500 #DJIA #NASDAQ #Indices #Stocks #tariffs #autotariffs #Nafta #USMCA #NationalSecurity pic.twitter.com/AMCfl9oVi5 — AvaTrade (@AvaTrade) February 18, 2019 The President has already used his ‘national emergency’ authority under Section 232 to levy 25 percent tariffs on imported steel, and 10 percent on imported aluminum. “You know, you can do without certain industries. Our country cannot do without steel,” Mr. Trump said Friday, as he made clear he would press for additional tariffs on China, using those duties as leverage for trade talks. “I love tariffs, but I also love them to negotiate,” the President added. “I urge the president and his administration not to take any action that would threaten our nation’s economic momentum,” Rep. Walorski warned on Monday. Many lawmakers and auto groups wonder if the same thing my happen in their part of the economy soon as well.
  • California authorities said an Uber driver was asked to deliver a box of sneakers that also contained fentanyl, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  >> Read more trending news  On Feb. 9, the Uber driver received a notification that a female passenger wanted to be driven from San Francisco to Tiburon, the newspaper reported. When the driver arrived at the San Francisco location, he was instead greeted by a man who asked him to the deliver the shoebox to the woman, who was already in Tiburon, KRON reported. The driver hesitated before agreeing to deliver the shoebox, the television station reported. The driver told authorities he became concerned about the box’s contents after the ride request was canceled, the Chronicle reported. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the driver spotted some deputies and asked for help, Marin County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brenton Schneider told KPIX. Deputies examined the box and found sneakers with fentanyl in the right shoe, the Chronicle reported. No arrests have been made. Authorities are looking for the man and woman who requested the ride and the delivery, the newspaper reported.
  • A Louisiana man was arrested Friday for calling police on other officers who pulled over his car, authorities say. According to the Thibodaux Police Department, a traffic stop occurred in Thibodaux, Louisiana, around 1 a.m. WGNO reported that officers saw the vehicle’s driver commit a moving violation.  >> Read more trending news  Bryce Quanstrom, 22, was seen running shirtless toward the stop, saying he was the owner of the vehicle. Authorities said he was not in the vehicle and it was not clear where he came from. Officers told Quanstrom to stay back, and he began threatening to call 911 on the officers and shouting expletives at them. Police advised him not to do so, warning him of the consequences if he did, according to the department.  Quanstrom called 911 anyway, telling the dispatcher he needed officers to come to his location.  Authorities said Quanstrom continued shouting profanities when he was arrested. WDSU reported he was arrested for unlawful use of the 911 system. “Chief (Bryan) Zeringue would like to remind all citizens that the use of the 9-1-1 system and using it correctly is very important,” the department said. “Also, please refrain from approaching officers while they are conducting business in the scope of their duties and/or actively investigating a traffic stop. Be sure to obey officer’s commands. Chief Zeringue takes the safety of our officers and citizens very seriously and any violator will suffer ramifications.” Officials said posted bond after being taken to Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex.
  • A marriage proposal in a room filled with swine may not seem ideal, but a Texas man was perfectly willing to hog the attention away from the pigs Sunday morning. >> Read more trending news  Will Hussey made his “pig-posal” to Kate Jimerson at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, KSAT reported. Hussey’s marriage proposal came four years after they met at the show’s swine barn, the television station reported. Jimerson thought her family was at the Stock Show to watch her younger sister compete in the barrow show, but Hussey surprised her. 'He got down on one knee and said, 'This is where I met you four years ago. I knew then I wanted to marry you.'” Jimerson told KSAT. “So then he asked me and I started crying.” 'The Stock Show already holds a special place for both of us, so why not make it something we can tell our kids about someday,' Hussey told the television station. The couple has not set a wedding date, but they already have next year’s Stock Show on their calendar, KSAT reported.
  • When he made the announcement he was declaring a national emergency, President Donald Trump said he expected to be sued over the move. So far, a handful of activists and even state attorneys general have said they are looking at taking the president to court or have filed a lawsuit already.  Take a look at the lawsuits that are currently pending or will soon be filed. Public Citizen Public Citizen is an advocacy group that filed a suit Friday after the president’s Rose Garden announcement. The group is filing on behalf of three Texas landowners and an environmental group to block the emergency decree. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Can Congress repeal the national emergency declaration? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington hasn’t filed suit directly on Trump but instead is suing the Justice Department, claiming documents were not provided, including legal opinions and communications, related to Trump’s decision, USA Today reported. The group is using a Freedom of Information Act request submitted concerning the proposed border barrier. Center for Biological Diversity Center for Biological Diversity is an environmental group. It claims the president did not identify a legal authority to declare the emergency. The group said the wall will block wildlife from its natural habitat “and could result in the extirpation of jaguars, ocelots and other endangered species within the United States,” according to the Post. >>Read: Trump signs funding bill to avoid government shutdown, declares emergency to build border wall American Civil Liberties Union The ACLU has not yet filed but is preparing a suit that says that Trump can’t redirect the money paid by taxpayers unless it is for construction that directly supports the military, the Post reported. ACLU officials said the suit will be filed early this week, saying, “There is no emergency. Members of Congress from both parties, security experts, and Americans who live at the border have all said so. What the president is doing is yet another illegal and dangerous power grab in the service of his anti-immigrant agenda.” The group called the declaration an “abuse of power” and says it “violates the constitutional checks and balances that protect us.” >>Read the latest from our Washington Insider Jamie Dupree The ACLU is using the president’s own words against him from when he said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” >> Read more trending news  California attorney general Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, will be joined by New Mexico, Oregon, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut in trying to stop the emergency declaration from proceeding. >>Read: National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports “We’re confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm. And once we are all clear, all the different states are clear, what pots of money that taxpayers sent to D.C. he’s going to raid, which Congress dedicated to different types of services -- whether it’s emergency response services or whether it’s fires or mudslides in California or maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country or whether it’s our military men and women and their families who live on military installations that might -- that might have money taken away from them, or whether it’s money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans, will be harmed. And we’re all going to be prepared,” Becerra said on ABC News’ “This Week.”  >>Read: Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? A spokesperson for the attorney general of Colorado, Phil Weiser, said his state will also be joining the suit, KDVR reported. The spokesperson said Weiser decided that the state will be hurt if money is transferred from military installations to the wall, according to KDVR.
  • From a court watcher’s perspective it’s apparent to most that the upcoming trial of Ryan Duke, charged with the 2005 murder of South Georgia high school teacher Tara Grinstead is sure to be nothing short of a spectacle of epic proportions. We got a preview of things to come during - of all things - a bond hearing where Duke asked, for the first time in two years, to be released on bond. It wasn’t the denial of bond, nor the fact that Duke asked for bond that is particularly noteworthy. It’s what the bond hearing devolved into that raised eyebrows. Despite losing the motion, the defense unexpectedly was able to depose the lead GBI investigator on a wide range of topics in a dress rehearsal for what promises to be a most controversial trial.  To start, let’s have a look at what a bond hearing is supposed to be.  It’s uncommon for bond to be set in murder cases but it’s not unheard of. Courts are supposed to consider the following factors in making bond decisions and the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he:  Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;  Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;  Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and  Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.  Probable cause is not an issue and of course neither is guilt or innocence. A bond hearing is not a trial.  The Duke bond hearing started out as most bond hearings do. The defense called Duke’s brother to testify regarding each of the factors set out above. But then it started a downward spiral into the surreal when the prosecutor called the lead GBI case agent as a witness - presumably as a rebuttal to the defense. A state’s witness, such as an investigator, can occasionally testify - to a point - about “what happened” because that’s relevant - to a point - for the court to determine whether the person poses a danger to the community. But in this case, the testimony was literally all over the place and went into minute detail about many things that have never been heard before. The “bond hearing” was effectively transformed into a deposition - a legal luxury not normally available to a criminal defendant in Georgia.  So just what did we learn from this “bond” hearing? We learned that DNA from the bodily fluid of a police officer was mixed with the victim’s blood on some bedding and that “touch DNA” from Grinstead and Duke (along with DNA from at least two other people) was on a latex glove found outside her residence. “Touch DNA” has its own share of problems in terms of reliability and we can safely expect the defense to explore those problems at trial. Some of that other unidentified DNA from the glove could have come from Bo Dukes - the person accused of helping cover up the murder - and who the defense claims is the actual killer.  We learned there were many investigative steps that could have been taken to verify statements made by both Duke and Dukes. The defense will argue that these follow up steps point to a biased investigation. This could have a huge impact in a trial where the defense will claim that the defendants confession was a false confession.  We learned the GBI, in a breach of protocol and constitutional law, interviewed / talked with Duke twice after he had a lawyer. These interviews were undocumented in the GBI case file. They were not recorded. The DA apparently was unaware at the time that this tactic was being employed by the GBI until the defense raised it with them. The agent didn’t even sign in at the jail. We can only speculate as to why not.  On top of all this, an abundance of otherwise inadmissible evidence consisting of hearsay and innuendo managed to come out publicly at a bond hearing. Most of this wouldn’t have seen the light of day at a trial. As the prosecution correctly pointed out “hearsay” may be admissible at a bond hearing, but it still has to be reliable evidence - not a regurgitation of all the salacious rumors from 2005. And it must be relevant to the issue of bond. It may turn out that the DA made a great tactical mistake by calling their lead case agent to testify and turn this bond hearing into an evidentiary free-for-all with no apparent boundaries. At a minimum it was surely heartbreaking for friends and family of the victim to have to re-live all the pain of the last 13 years by having old wounds reopened in such painful detail.  I’ve previously written about why the venue for this trial really needs to be changed. Now more than ever the jury pool is really tainted - as if it weren’t already. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.