Tuesday, April 5, 2005

SO MUCH FOR THE
"HIGH SUN ANGLE" THEORY

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The abundant sunshine on Monday was a welcome celebration of Spring's return after a woefully poor week and weekend of weather. For those who had time off during the Easter holiday, most activities were confined to indoors as much of the vacation period resembled more of a mid-winter break than a "Spring Break." I was especially amazed at the frequency at which the Eastern U.S. was pummeled by two very strong storm systems over a 6 day period. The grand finale of course being that monster storm that swirled around from Friday to Sunday, bringing to the Northeast the heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning. I would like to share the story of our weekend as we ended up bisecting the best and worst the storm had to offer.


My wife, the baby and I were enjoying a nice trip to Northwest Pennsylvania, where we had wonderful sunshine last Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday. As you saw from the picture in the previous post, we visited my wife and brother-in-law's original farm where they grew up. It was easily 60 F and pleasant as we walked around the property.

Farm

That's Lee (my brother in law) on the left, and Dana (my wife) on the right. The building behind them is their original home on the "Orange Bucket" Farm. As you can see, the weather is beautiful, there is no indication of what is coming later.

Saturday morning we left to head south, and the rain of Friday night had changed to a wet mix of sleet and snow. We heard on the Weather Channel, "2-4 inches of snow Friday night" followed by "3-5 inches on Saturday." Pshaw! I told Lee, my brother-in-law and his wife Jenn. The ground was way too warm, the sun angle alone would negate most of the snow in the upper atmosphere, the most we'd see was some wet snow and less than an inch overall.

As we headed towards State College Saturday, little did we know that during the day, the rain we left behind DID change over to snow in force, when all was done, 12 to 20 INCHES lay ON THE GROUND in exactly the places we all had walked around in t-shirts on Friday! Read about it in the Meadville Tribune. Since it would be a 7 hour drive to Baltimore, we stop at my in-laws overnight Saturday. Sunday morning we awake to a fresh coating of snow even there... 3 hours southeast. That's the picture at top of our daughter reveling in the snow once again, and since you enjoy pictures of her so much, I thought I'd post one more. Below, it is Sunday, APRIL 3 and I am cleaning snow off the car, something I have not done I think EVER in the month of April.

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While at breakfast that morning, as it is still lightly snowing outside the restaurant in State College, PA, we are talking to Lee on the cell phone and I ask "so how much of that 3-5 inches did you get, har de har har." He deadpans back, "4 inches." I gasp and gulp.

Meadville Snow 1

This was Lee cleaning off his Pontiac outside the hotel in Meadville Sunday morning. It later turns out the snow was so bad, and road conditions so poor that he had to take quite the circuitous route home....to Altoona via PITTSBURGH! That must have taken them 6 hours perhaps. Ugh, what a long drive. Here's their account in the email we received yesterday.

"Keep in mind those pictures of the Farm, which were taken on Friday (April 1). It was almost 70 F then. This picture was taken this morning (April 3), after 4 inches of snow fell on Meadville. The temperature is 33 F. That's Northwestern PA weather for you. To escape the snow, we went back to Altoona through Pittsburgh. Although Pittsburgh was only moderately snowy, we hit the absolute worst weather on the way home. Chestnut Ridge, Laurel Ridge, and worst of all, Cresson Mountain were at near white out conditions. According to WJAC-TV, 9 inches of snow fell on Cresson today. Tomorrow, it will be nearly 60 F. That's Pennsylvania in the spring for you.


So much for the High Sun Angle theory. Maybe I'll just stick to East COAST weather next time, instead of trying to be a slick city slicker forecaster in the country.


NOW BACK TO THE WEATHER: As you can tell from your local forecast, we in the Northeast have finally hit a stretch of improving conditions to last to the weekend. It appears the best days of the week will be today, tomorrow and most of Thursday, with many locations south of NYC pushing 70 and south of the PA/MD line pushing 75 F. That'll put some grass on your yard! For Spring Sports, fields are plenty dry and will stay that way through the week. The polar vortex has been vanquished, the NAO is back to normal, and our recent storms have done what I felt was necessary to clear out the atmosphere's imbalances and set things right again. Hallelujah!

2 comments:

Lee said...

Nice piece, Mr. Foot. I like the pictures!

Andy, Southern York County PA said...

Mr. Foot,

Come November bring some of that snow here to Southern PA. We finally got our very cold air and big storms! But they came so late that the sun angle modified the air so that we had temps in the upper 30's and low 40's with cold rain. 4 weeks earlier that would have been our Kahuna! The winter pattern got its act together just in time to cancel early Spring, but too late to produce a snow storm here. I STILL WILL PLACE MY EGGS IN THE JAN 06 BASKET FOR A 1-2 FOOT STORM! (AS ALWAYS: PUN INTENDED! :) ) HAPPY SPRING, I AM A MAN OF ALL SEASONS!