Friday, April 15, 2005

A HAPPY FRIDAY TO START
ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND

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Another view of those wonderful Peach tree blossoms in Dundalk, MD for you to enjoy on this gorgeous and stunning Tax Day Friday. These trees are right across my street and they are just delightful to see this time of year. If you've spent any time outdoors in this recent string of sunny days, you know that the April burn can be worse then the September sizzle. The high sun angle, low humidity combined with refreshing breezes mask the burn you receive from the Spring sunshine. Walk back inside after a couple hours of gardening, yard work or sports practice and you will discover a bright pink shade to uncovered skin!


Speaking of pretty Spring colors, you should see the local NWS map for PA and MD. It is lit up with all kinds of nice pastels and deep primary hues. There's a Royal-Fushcia blue for a FREEZE WATCH in the I-95 corridor. There's a Pinto Red Geranium for a RED FLAG WARNING in south central Pennsylvania (that's for wildfire potential), and other nice colors like your ever-popular Beige Special Weather Statement. Don't forget Forest Green for a Coastal Flood Statement. But seriously I do like the colors and it shows that someone in the government is trying to make it look interesting if not pleasant.


On a colder note, temperatures east of the Blue Ridge and through central PA will drop into the low 30's and upper 20's tonight, west of the Chesapeake Bay at least. So get out there and COVER THOSE PLANTS. Even folks in Chester and Lancaster counties had better be concerned about a hard freeze on their arboretums and nurseries. A large high pressure system parked in Quebec combined with a strong low pressure off the coast is funneling cold air into the Northeast. When the winds slacken tonight, under clear skies temps will plummet and you'll probably see frost on your cars tomorrow early morning. Should make for some nice pictures if you can get up early enough to see it.


After the freeze passes, Saturday through who knows when look to be absolutely mahvelous! Sunshine and blue skies to rule the days, which I adore but the allergy sufferers despise, so stock up on the Alleve and get outside to enjoy this showerless April so far.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

AHHH...NOW THIS IS THE LIFE.


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That's the picture we've been waiting for...gorgeous sunshine, light breezes and cherry blossoms. What a wonderful weekend it has been, a nice reward for the tough times of late. There will be a cool down over the next few days, with some splatterings of rain here and there. The good news is that as the temperature stays a bit below normal, this lowers the likelihood of severe weather as day and night contrasts are not as great. So unless you are an allergy sufferer, in which case the worse days are coming up, get out there and enjoy it! I hope the flowers are blooming where you are too.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

RAIN & THUNDERSTORMS NOW MORE LIKELY
TO DISRUPT SPORTING EVENTS THU-FRI

A quick look at the satellite and water vapor imagery shows that the atmosphere is getting primted for a round of thunderstorms in the DC-Baltimore region later today and Philly-NYC tonight. This will not help areas that are still drying out from last weekend's monsoon. South winds are advancing ocean moisture ahead of an vigorous low and cold front coming out of the Tennessee Valley. If there is any sun peeking through ahead of this front, the solar radiation will enhance heating and evaporation, triggering rapid development of the moisture into "popcorn" variety thunderstorms from 4pm to 8pm. This poses a threat to afternoon practice and games, which may be able to START but may get cut short due to rain or thunder or lightning or all of the above.

Check your latest radar for the best indicator of when the storms will arrive. When you see little green and yellow blobs and starting to litter the radar field just to your west, that is a clear sign thunderstorms are developing independently of the front and will arrive sooner than expected. I have found that Mid-Atlantic Radar / Northeast Radar from intellicast are the most reliable. Click the "animate" feature for a loop.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

FINALLY WE GET A PIECE OF SPRING SO EASTERN PA
AND NJ CAN PIECE THEIR LIVES BACK TOGETHER

Flood

Think you had bad weather in Maryland last weekend? The worst flooding in 50 years occured in some locations along the Delaware River in Eastern PA and Western NJ. Three to five inches of rain fell across the region in just 24 hours, sending water into basements and lives into chaos. Some of the people you see above were not finished cleaning up from the surprise floods wrought by Tropical Depression Ivan in September.


Nothing like that is on the schedule for this week, thankfully. We will finally get a nice piece of Spring today and Thursday, though thunderstorms are not far behind. The real issue is will the storms hold off until after sports practice is over on Thursday? The skies will look ominous by the afternoon, and this is a fairly vigorous system that will push through in the evening and overnight. It is going to be a close call for games and practice, but given the dryness of the atmosphere, I believe the storms will take longer to move into the Baltimore region than anticipated. A game may have to be cut short due to thunder, but I think most teams will be able to get their regularly scheduled events in on that day.

Clearing and tranquil for the weekend. (Long sigh...) At last a sunny weekend for a change.

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!

Friday, April 1, 2005

"THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD..."
- The Beatles

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This is my daughter contemplating a long and dusty, winding road in Northwest Pennsylvania on Friday, April 1. We are visiting friends and the original homestead of my wife and brother-in-law, located in a very rural area of Crawford County, PA...namely the towns of Lincolnville and Meadville. We are just one county shy of Erie, to give you a sense of how "Northwest PA" we really are. We awoke to wonderful sunshine this morning, which was a surprise as many forecasts had been calling for clouds and possibly even rain. So we snagged the opportunity to visit "The Farm" in the morning while the weather was still nice.

The Long and Winding Road is that it seems real Spring weather is taking it's sweet old time getting established. It may be a long road before many of us in the Northeast see solid daytime temps in the 70's. In fact, we may be dodging snowflakes up here on Saturday, and now I see the Weather Channel calls for 2-4 inches of accumulation tomorrow and into Sunday! Hogwash!

The first full week of April does promise some improvements for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Temperatures will finally rebound to the 60's, with overnight lows in the 40's. Looks like we're back to the regular Spring pattern of rain every two-three days, which is a good sign that warmth is not far behind. A more thorough update on next week's weather later tonight.

Hold on to your hats I-95, the rain is heading your way with a vengeance and by the time you read this, it should be heavy and torrential at times from DC to NYC. You know what they say about April showers. I just hope we don't have a month of it.