All of a sudden it’s that time of year again. Hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. And now it’s time for the cold-weather season.
There’s been plenty of talk about La Nina coming back, but that’s just one of several factors that goes into our Wintercast. This year’s hurricane season, current snowcover to our north and much more all factor in to the final forecast. The forecast is pretty much done, but it won’t air until November 7. But we can talk about some of the early highlights…
It looks as though we should have another period of back and forth weather for the middle and latter part of this month, with warm days and some really chilly ones. November will likely feature more of the same ups and downs, most likely until mid-month. After that, we may go straight into winter.
When you see a title like that, instantly we think of the weather. And the weather IS going to change this week. But that’s not the change I’m talking about.
WJAC is launching a brand new website shortly. It’s much more user-friendly and is also a good bit faster. Plus it looks pretty darn good, too!
Also changing is this blog and the way our weather spotters report their information. There will be a new web address for the blog, and the new site will also be the home for your spotter reports.
Keep checking back in over the next several days for updates on when the new site will be up and running, and also on how to send in your weather spotter data!
A quick note about our cold, miserable weather we’ve had recently…it’s going to change soon! Sunshine is set to return for the middle of the week and continue into the weekend. Temperatures will also start to warm up…hitting the 70s by the weekend!
I’ll post again later this week about the new site!
By Tony Martin on September 30th, 2011 at 10:29 PM
As we turn the page to October tomorrow, we’re going to see some big changes in our weather. One thing that won’t change, however, is more rain.
Another upper level low is expected to move overhead this weekend, and strength as time goes on. A surface low will also form along the Atlantic coast, helping to pump moisture in from the east. Most areas will see all rain this weekend, and plenty of it. The southern half of the state should end up with about 1 inch by Sunday evening.
In the Laurel Highlands, mainly above 2,200′, some wet snow will mix with the rain Saturday morning and in a more widespread fashion Saturday night and Sunday. In fact, we’re going to be very close to changing to all wet snow for a time Saturday night above 2,500′.
The situation will need to be monitored closely tomorrow night, especially in Cambria and Somerset counties. A changeover to wet snow could potentially cling to trees and power lines, creating the potential for some power outages. Again, this is primarily for areas above 2,500′.
The good news…. we’re going to warm up and dry out next week!
Synopsis:La Niña conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12.
La Niña conditions returned in August 2011 due to the strengthening of negative sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. With the exception of the far westernmost Niño-4 region, all of the latest weekly Niño index values were –0.5oC or less. Also supporting the return of La Niña conditions was the strengthening of the below-average subsurface oceanic heat content anomaly (average temperature anomalies in the upper 300m of the ocean, in response to increased upwelling and further shoaling of the thermocline across the eastern Pacific Ocean. The atmospheric circulation over the tropical Pacific continued to exhibit La Niña characteristics, but remained weaker and less canonical than the wintertime atmospheric patterns. For example, convection continued to be suppressed near the Date Line, but remained south of the equator, while convection was only weakly enhanced near Papua New Guinea. In addition, anomalous low-level easterly and upper-level westerly winds persisted over the central tropical Pacific. Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect the return of La Niña conditions.
Over the last several months many models have predicted increasingly negative SST anomalies in the Nino-3.4 region during the upcoming Northern Hemisphere fall and winter. However, the majority of models continue to predict ENSO-neutral conditions for this period. The NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) has performed quite well over the past several months capturing the recent decrease in SST anomalies. The better model performance, combined with the historical tendency for significant La Niña episodes (as in 2010-11) to be followed by relatively weaker La Niña episodes, leads to increased confidence that La Niña will persist into the winter. While it is not yet clear what the ultimate strength of this La Niña will be, La Niña conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12.
Across the contiguous United States, temperature and precipitation impacts associated with La Niña are expected to remain weak during the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere summer and early fall, and to generally strengthen during the late fall and winter. During September-November 2011, there is evidence that La Niña favors an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the mid-section of the country, and an increased chance of above-average precipitation across the Pacific Northwest.
Ok… so that’s a national view of what’s expected over the next few months. With La Nina coming back, does that mean we’ll see another winter with plenty of snow and cold like last year? Absolutely not! La Nina is just one of several factors that goes into a winter forecast. I’m putting a few things together right now, and I hope to have a “First Look” at what’s coming our way by the end of the month or the beginning of October.
Our official WinterCast will be out in November. Stay tuned!
“This was a triumph. I’m making a note here… huge success. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.”
The line above is from the video game ‘Portal’ and I used it in the e-mail I sent to my coworkers. I really feel it applies here, as well. I owe so much of my success from my six years at WJAC to you, the viewers. I came to WJAC in 2005 and had a really hard time in the beginning because I didn’t have a lot of interaction. I quickly found a way to combat that… social media.
It started with the Severe Weather Team Blog and quickly grew to Twitter and Facebook and even live web streams via Ustream.tv. This is when I really started to feel a special connection with all of you. Not only did you welcome me into your living room every night, but you talked with me as if I was a member of the family. Some people questioned my reliance on social media to connect with you, but I truly believe that it is what made this the ‘huge success’ as I quoted above. Not only did you get your watches, warnings, and forecasts, but you got to see a personal side of me and I got to see a personal side of you… so much so that some of you shared your most upsetting, personal moments. It’s these connections that build your trust in me as a meteorologist. (Read More)
Temperatures this afternoon soared into the 80s and 90s, plus the humidity is very high for September. Take a look at the late afternoon heat index temps:
Autumn will make itself known next week, however, with several days in the 60s and some rain. Right now, flooding doesn’t look to be a concern….but several inches of rain is possible from Sunday night through Thursday. I’ll post some ideas about that on Labor Day.
Short post tonight, everybody. I just saw this on someone else’s site and wanted to share it with you. This is what the National Weather Service in New Orleans, LA put out as a special weather statement a day before Katrina hit. It’s chilling.
URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
…DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED…
.HURRICANE KATRINA…A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH…RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY…A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE
WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE…OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE…ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.
ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET…DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!
Today was the first day for my intern, Corey, and we were thinking of a weather trivia question for the 6 PM news. We wanted to do something with hurricanes and he came up with the idea of asking something about hurricane name retirement. I liked it.
We looked up a website with retired hurricane names and started thinking of a trivia question. We thought Irene would end up being retired so we started looking at which letter has been retired the most. (It’s ‘C’ by the way.) I then started looking at the I-named storms and found something interesting. In the last 10 years, 6 out of those 10 I-named storms were retired. Those were Iris, Isidore, Isabel, Ivan, Ike, and Igor. Add this year, and that’s 7 of 11!
Here’s a couple more stats I found from the website (which I’ll link to at the end of this post)… (Read More)
We talk from time to time about hurricane categories. Do you know the scale? If you do, nice job by you. It’s not something I use all the time, so I have to look up the categories and what they mean whenever I mention them.
Here’s a rundown of the different categories and their wind speeds.
Hey gang! Irene sure has been making a mess along the Atlantic seaboard over the last 24 hours. The good news for us, locally, is that there isn’t much expected from Irene during the course of the storm.
The latest track is similar to what we’ve been saying the last 24 hours or so. Take a look at the track below.
Current Track Of Irene
As of the 7 PM update on Saturday, the storm is a category 1 hurricane with winds of 81 MPH and the eye is located near Virginia Beach. (Read More)
The trend over the last two days has been for an eastern shift in the track of Irene, which is good news for all! That would imply less wind and rain for the coast, but it will still be a major storm for them. Take a look:
As of 9 pm, the storm is a Category 3 with winds of 120 mph. The consensus track is in the middle of the blue cone, where all of the “spaghetti” is. Those are the individual model runs that we use. The white dot is us. So for the most part, at least right now, it looks like we’ll just get brushed by the western part of the storm on Sunday morning. Scattered clouds and perhaps a light shower is all that I’m expecting, and most of the rain will be east of I-99.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of the OBX. Hope all goes well down there…
We haven’t had to really concern ourselves much about the tropics over the last few years, but this weekend could be a time to really pay attention.
Firstly, if you have vacation plans for this weekend on the Outer Banks or perhaps South Carolina, you may end up having your plans altered unfortunately. And second, this system could actually bring parts of Pennsylvania some heavy rain. Take a look at this:
Hurricane Irene - Possible Paths
By Saturday afternoon, we could have a land-falling hurricane with about 100 mph winds into coastal South Carolina. Going further out into time… some computer models bring the storm inland just east of I-95, while an offshore track also remains possible. Inland would bring most of the state some hefty rainfall totals on Sunday, with a track along or just offshore would have little-if-any impact locally.
I’ll post updates every night with new details on this developing storm system.
If you’ve got some free time over the next hour or so, take a walk outside and look south-southeast. It’s not heat lightning, but lightning from storms pretty far away. As of 9:45pm, a thunderstorm is over I-81 near Chambersburg. The lightning from that cell is visible back to our studios here in Johnstown. Pretty impressive!
Looking ahead…we’ll see a few thundershowers locally tomorrow, but it won’t be a washout. We could still use the rain, actually, as most of us are still under a drought watch. We need to keep with this pattern of “rain every few days” to get back to where we need to be.
The weekend should be mostly dry for your outdoor activities, but again a few scattered storms are possible on Sunday.
NBC has a new show hosted by Cedric the Entertainer called “It’s Worth What?” where the contestants guess which objects are more expensive than others. In the weather department, we do that with weather disasters. Let’s play:
Which has cost more?
Hurricane Ivan (2004)
Hurricane Ike (2008)
What about this?
Blizzard of ’93 (1993)
And how about this?
All of the weather disaster of 2005
All of the weather disasters of 2008
It’s kinda shocking how the numbers can add up so quickly.
Looking through the questions above, the answers areHurricane Ike, the Blizzard of ’93, and the events of 2005 (which includes Hurricane Katrina).
I found a site that lists all of the billion-dollar disasters since 1980 along with the number of deaths and a description of the event. It also includes what states were impacted.
The data comes from Asheville, North Carolina from the National Climatic Data Center. Here’s a little about what they do in their own words:
The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the “Nation’s Scorekeeper” in terms of addressing severe weather events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of “monitoring and assessing the climate,” NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCDC is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and US temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective.
Essentially, they keep track of the major disasters and put something like this together. It makes for very interesting reading. I’m going to pick a few things that stand out to me and highlight them below. If you want to see all the information on the page, I’ll link to it at the end of this post.
Of the 99 billion-dollar disasters between 1980 and 2010, 30 were valued at more than $5 B.
So far in 2011, we’ve had 9 billion-dollar disasters totaling over $30 B. The only other year with the same number of disasters was 2008.
Only 4 years had no billion-dollar disasters. Those years were 1981, 1982, 1984, and 1987.
Pennsylvania has had between 16 and 20 billion-dollar events since 1980.
The states with the most (31-35) events are Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
The states with the fewest are Hawaii (1), and Alaska (2).
Over 50% of all of the damage comes from hurricanes and tropical storms while around 25% comes from heat waves and droughts.
I found this information interesting and one of the reasons is because it was in a graphical format. If you want to see more stats and see the charts for yourself, check out the NCDC: Billion Dollar Weather Disasters page.
My job has some perks. One of those perks is the ability to go to Rock Run Recreation in Patton for the annual Fisher’s ATV World Reunion. This is the 3rd year for the event in Patton and the 4th year overall. Each year, ATV enthusiasts from across the country come out to take part in the event that features a weekend of quad, dirtbike, and side-by-side riding, numerous competitions, a midway of vendors, and a concert. This year’s musical guest (yes, I know that sounds a bit like a late-show term) is Lee Brice.
In case you’re not familiar with the place, Rock Run is located in Patton in northern Cambria County and is about an hour from Johnstown.
From their website, Rock Run is about having fun. Here’s a little more about the place taken directly from rockrunrecreation.com:
Rock Run started out with 50 miles of trails for ATVs, UTVs, and dirtbikes. With the help of the Yamaha Trails Initiative Program, we were able to add an additional 20 miles of trails. Rock Run now provides over 70 miles of trails that you can enjoy on whatever type of machine you like.
I had the opportunity to interview Brian Fisher, host and executive producer of Fisher’s ATV World on The Outdoor Channel, on Friday night when I was there. He stressed the fact that they choose Rock Run because it’s a big area and a great area to ride. He also dropped some hints about the 5th annual event. Check out the video below for his interview. I’ll also include a couple videos of people having some fun at Rock Run after the interview. (Read More)
We have some interesting nights coming our way, beginning tonight!
Perseid Meteors will cross the sky from time to time tonight, and under clear skies viewing conditions are great. The only negative factor will be the bright moon, but it will still be a good show. It gets even better tomorrow night and early Saturday morning when the peak of the showers will occur. Right now, sky conditions look to be mostly clear to partly cloudy tomorrow night, so it should be another good night for viewing.
Thrown into the mix – the International Space Station! It’s visible late tonight (early tomorrow) around 3:50 am and 5:30 am, looking north then northwest. Tomorrow night/early Saturday, 10:06 pm to the southwest and 4:35 am to the northwest. It will be very bright, and moving along at a pretty good clip.
Enjoy! Post any pictures you get on our Facebook page or send them to email@example.com.
People constantly ask me what the value of Twitter is. Twitter is important because you learn things. Just today, I learned that the Earth may have, at one time, had two moons!
This came as a huge surprise to me, as well, but I thought it was interesting enough to share with all of you here.
According to an article on nature.com, millions of years ago, the moon was not alone. It was accompanied by a smaller moon that eventually ended up colliding with the current moon in a slow-motion collision that resulted in a now almost-bipolar satellite.
For a long time, it’s been a mystery why the ‘dark side’ of the moon had a different landscape than the near side of the moon. According to the article:
The Moon’s visible side is dominated by low-lying lava plains, whereas its farside is composed of highlands. But the contrast is more than skin deep. The crust on the farside is 50 kilometres thicker than that on the nearside. The nearside is also richer in potassium (K), rare-earth elements (REE) and phosphorus (P) — components collectively known as KREEP. Crust-forming models show that these would have been concentrated in the last remnants of subsurface magma to crystallize as the Moon cooled.
Scientists decided that a landscape like this may have been created by a collision. For more on how this happened, check out the article by clicking here.
First Pluto isn’t a planet now we may have had two moons! Are we sure about anything anymore?
It’s been a couple of weeks since the last summer fun web update but this one is a big one! Today, I had the chance to visit Seven Springs and take a trip on the Screaming Hawk Zip Lines!
These are brand new to Seven Springs and actually aren’t even open yet to the public. That happens this weekend (July 29, 2011) in coordination with the Rib and Wing Festival.
Here’s how it works…
You get suited up with a lot of different safety equipment including a harness, cables, and a trolley that attaches to the overhead line, allowing you to zip from one platform to the other.
In all, there are 6 platforms. The first two platforms are 350 feet apart. The same goes for platform two to three. The next zip is a little longer, spanning 425 feet. Then, you cross ‘Black Bear Bridge’ to the fifth tower. From there, it’s a 777 foot swing from ‘Venom Tower’ to the final platform where you take a leap of faith off to finish the adventure.
Overall, the trip took a little more than two hours from start to finish.
Here are the stats to get to Seven Springs and take flight on the Screaming Hawk… (Read More)