Monday, November 30, 2009

Temps Crash by Late-Week

Monday featured a high around 40°, but temps will moderate a bit today and Wednesday.

A major storm system will approach from the south Wednesday, bringing some rain in the afternoon and steadier rain by evening.  As the storm exits Thursday, precip may mix with or change to some wet snow for a few hours.  We should not see any accumulation.

A much colder air mass will take residence by late-week.  Highs will struggle to break freezing Friday and Saturday, and some overnight lows will dip into the teens.  This will be the coldest air since March 12th.

Normal high is now 41°, and normal low is 28°.

December Almanac

Normal High & Low:

Dec 1          41° / 28°

Dec 31       32° / 18°

Records:  70° in 1998, -19° in 1989

Normal precipitation:  2.64"

Normal snowfall:  8.3"

The winter solstice occurs at 12:47 pm on December 21.

November in Review

November was a mild month, finishing about 4.5 degrees above normal, making it the 10th warmest November on record.   Temps ranged from 24° on the 6th to 71° on the 8th.

Precipitation was only 0.67", which was 2.11" below normal, making it the 5th driest November on record.  Precipitation occurred on ten days, and there were a few snowflakes.

Hurricane Season Ends

Although some tropical weather can occur in December, the traditional hurricane season ended November 30.

The National Hurricane Center has released a summary of this year's lackluster season, which can be found here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

December Outlook

The National Weather Service has released its December outlook for temperatures & precipitation.  For our area, it translates to above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.  [Clicking on the links will show maps of the outlooks]

This does not mean it will not be cold.  (In fact, current computer models suggest that December will open up on a chilly note.)  It just means when the month is totalled up and averaged, the result will be above our climatological normal.  We will still have some cold days, but some milder days will outnumber them.  Normal precip for December is 2.64" (rain and melted down frozen precip), and the normal snowfall is 8.3"

This does line up with a previous post about the winter ahead.  During El Nino winters (and this is one of them), the winter usually averages out to have above normal temps and near or slightly below normal precip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Travel Weather

There will be some scattered showers throughout parts of today through Friday morning.  It will be cold enough late Thursday evening into Friday morning for a few wet snowflakes to mix in.  We should not see any problems locally for travel, other than some wet roads.  Extreme NW Pennsylvania may get a light snow accumulation Friday morning.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Big Change For Next Week

It  looks like a change in the jet stream will allow a storm to dip south from Canada and affect us during the middle of next week.

We will see some rainfall Tuesday into Wednesday.  Colder air will filter into the area, and highs will struggle to get out of the lower 40s for the end of next week.

The biggest concern with holiday travel at this point would just be some rain (and wet roads) Wednesday.   Ground and road temps are still quite mild, so there is no threat any icing or anything like that Wednesday.


Natural Gas Prices Drop

  The latest news from Columbia Gas of Ohio:

Columbia Gas of Ohio filed its Gas Cost Recovery (GCR) adjustment for December with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). The GCR of 49 cents per 100 cubic feet (Ccf) of natural gas will be 70 cents, or 59 percent, lower than December 2008, when it was $1.19.

The typical residential customer using 114 Ccf of natural gas would see a December bill of $92.43, according to company estimates. That bill is down $77.80 compared to December 2008, when it was $170.23.

Next month’s GCR is the second-lowest heating-season gas cost charge in the last eight years. It was 48 cents in the November 2001 through January 2002 quarter.

December is the fourth-highest gas usage month of the year for Columbia’s residential heating customers, and is typically one of the months when bills are highest.

Natural gas costs make up about 60 percent of the typical residential customer’s bill.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leonids Meteor Showers

This year's Leonids meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of meteors over North America followed by a more intense outburst over Asia. The phase of the moon will be new -- setting the stage for what could be one of the best Leonid showers in years.

"We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," says Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. "Our forecast is in good accord with independent theoretical work by other astronomers."

Leonids are bits of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years the comet visits the inner solar system and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its wake. Many of these streams have drifted across the November portion of Earth's orbit. Whenever our planet hits one, meteors appear to be flying out of the constellation Leo.

"We can predict when Earth will cross a debris stream with pretty good accuracy," says Cooke. "The intensity of the display is less certain, though, because we don't know how much debris is in each stream."

Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy, so viewing potential may be greatly limited in our area.

To see an animation of the meteor exploding, click here.

Source:  NASA


LIVE CHAT:  A scientist from NASA will host a live web chat from 4 to 5 pm this evening (Monday Nov 16).  He will answer questions about the Leonids meteor showers.  To participate, check out  There will be a section to click on to join the chat.


Viewing the shuttle and Int'l Space Station

Here is a link that will show -- by state and city -- when the International Space Station and the shuttle Atlantis are visible.

Here is a link detailing how to view the ISS and shuttle.

Atlantis on the way to the International Space Station

The spare parts delivered to the International Space Station by Atlantis during the STS-129 mission will mean spare years on the station’s life once the space shuttle fleet is retired.

With only one U.S. module left to deliver, the Space Shuttle Program is turning its attention to helping the space station build up a store of replacement parts. There are only half a dozen flights left in the shuttle’s manifest before they stop flying, and as the only vehicle large enough to carry many of the big pieces of equipment into space, several of the flights are devoted to the task. This is the first, however, and as the first this mission is dedicated to taking up the spares of the highest priority.

NASA isn’t nearly done investing in the station, however, and the agenda of Atlantis’ crew makes that clear. In addition to the complex robotics work required to get the spares into place, there are three spacewalks scheduled to go on outside and a complicated rewiring project planned for the crew inside.

However, even with the shuttle crew at the station, resources aren’t unlimited.  But unlike the other space shuttles, Atlantis wasn’t outfitted with the system that allows shuttles to draw power from the space station. That means that where recent station assembly missions have lasted up to 17 days, Atlantis has only 11 to get to the station and back.

Source:  NASA

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Updated Precip Stats

0.02"    November precip so far  (1.30" below normal)

0.00"    Snowfall  (1" below normal) this point in November, climatologically, we should have had a little snow by now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Major Rock Slide In TN -- Caught On Camera

A major rock slide occurred in extreme southeast Tennessee yesterday.   It was the second rock slide of the day, and will take about one week to clean up.  The debris is covering Highway 64, which  is now closed.

Here is a link to a news report and some video.

Mild Trend

Our normal high for this point of November is around 50°, but temps look like they will stay above normal into much of next week.

As mentioned in a blog post below, a mild November is quite common following a very cool October.

Monday, November 9, 2009

November Hurricane

Ida formed last week near Nicaragua and Honduras, and tracked into the Gulf Of Mexico over the weekend.  It will continue tracking towards the eastern gulf coast, and make landfall tonight near the Florida/Alabama border.

Hurricane warnings have been posted from the coastal areas from eastern Mississippi to the Florida panhandle.

Get the latest information with our Hurricane Tracker.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Warm Weekend

Saturday's High:   68°   (Record 73°)

Sunday's High:  71°  (Record 73°)

Normal high is 51°.

Last time we had a 60-degree temp followed by some 70s was in late September.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The last cold temps for awhile

As we mentioned during the week, the weekend warm-up was going to follow a cold morning.    These lows were the coldest since March 21, and were about 10° below the normal high of 35°.

25°  Toledo Express, Monroe, Adrian

26°  Metcalf Field

27°  Lima, Defiance

28°  Hillsdale, Findlay

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Milder Month?

An analysis of midwestern weather records shows that following a cool & wet October, we typically see an about-face in November.  (Although some chilly temps will occur, the overall monthly average will come out above normal.)

One factor that supports this is the effect from El Nino.  In periods with strong El Ninos (like the one currently in the Pacific), autumns tend to start cold and then modify a bit...leading to a winter with above normal temps and below normal precipitation.  This does not mean the winter will be warm.  In fact, big cold spells do occur like a normal winter.  However, there tends to be less frequency and duration of them.

El Nino modifies the position and movement of the normal winter jet stream patterns.  This allows for the variations between cold and not-so-cold periods, plus less frequent storms (leading to below normal precip).  We still see snow, just not as much as a normal winter.

In the short term forecast, after a cold start Friday morning, temperatures will modify nicely over the weekend.  Some slightly cooler weather should move in Tuesday of next week, but temps will warm back up a bit later next week.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Almanac

A typical November produces:

Normal High & Low:

Nov 1           55° / 37°

Nov 30       42° / 28°

Records:  80° / 2°

Precip:      2.78"

Snow:        2.6"


Sunrise & Sunset:

Nov 1       7:08 am / 5:30 pm

Nov 30    7:42 am / 5:06 pm

58 Minutes of daylight lost

October In Review

During the month of October, 61% of the days were below normal.

Temps were below normal the first 18 days of the month, and above normal 11 of the final 13 days of the month.

The coldest temp was 27° on October 18, and the warmest was 75° last Friday (October 30).

Rainfall totalled 3.94", which was 1.59" above normal.