Monday, September 26, 2011

Heavy Fall Rains

Rainfall totals continue to pile up with many areas around 2" or more in a 12 hour period since midnight.  Flood warnings posted for several counites in and around I-75.  Here are some radar estimates of rainfall as a 11 AM Monday.

Hancock County and Surrounding Areas:

Lucas/Wood and Surrounding Areas:

This puts the monthly rainfall well over 5" and will likely put us in line for reaching into one of the top 10 wettest months of September on record. 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tropics 2011: An Active Year

This Atlantic hurricane season yields a surprising statistic: 15 named storms in the Atlantic Basin for the 2011 Hurricane Season make this the 10th most active season of all time. Of all time!

Not only that, but only 14 seasons on record have had 15 or more named storms. Those years include:

  • 1887 -- 19 (Would-be) named storms -- They hadn't start naming storms yet back then -- 12 Hurricanes

  • 1933 -- 21 (Would-be) named storms -- 10 Hurricanes

  • 1936 -- 16 (Would-be) named storms -- 7 Hurricanes

  • 1969 -- 18 named storms -- 12 Hurricanes *Including Camille

  • 1995 -- 19 named storms -- 11 Hurricanes *Including Felix and Opal

  • 2000 -- 15 named storms -- 8 Hurricanes

  • 2001 -- 15 named storms -- 9 Hurricanes

  • 2003 -- 16 named storms -- 7 Hurricanes *Including Isabel

  • 2004 -- 15 named storms -- 9 Hurricanes *Including Charley, Frances and Ivan

  • 2005 -- 28! named storms -- 15! Hurricanes *Including Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma

  • 2007 -- 15 named storms -- 7 Hurricanes *Including Dean and Felix

  • 2008 -- 16 named storms -- 9 Hurricanes *Including Gustav and Ike

  • 2010 -- 19 named storms -- 12 Hurricanes

And now, 2011. Which includes 15 named storms and 3 Hurricanes, including Irene and Katia.

The most active season on the list is 2005 where from JUNE 8th all the way to JANUARY 7th, 28 named storms, 15 Hurricanes, and 4 Category 5 Hurricanes tore through the Atlantic.

Hurricane season typically comes to an end in November.

18th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This is such a great time of year! Breast Cancer Awareness month isn't until October, but people are already sporting their pink and supporting such a wonderful cause. As folks gear up for the Race this coming Sunday, eyes turn to us for a Race forecast. As of Saturday morning, this is how things look...

Obviously conditions were a bit less cloudy last year when this picture was taken, but sources tell me that morning temperatures were in the 40s! With over 20,000 racers in 2010, I'm sure all the body heat kept things nice and warm :) This year conditions will be mostly cloudy with just a slight chance of light scattered showers. While I am expecting the Race to stay dry, I doubt runners would mind a rogue shower anyways. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 50s, reaching 60° by 11pm when things will being wrapping up.

No matter what the forecast, this year's race is going to be amazing! I'll be at the starting line cheering everyone on with Jerry Anderson and several other WTOL folks. Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tropical Update: Ophelia/Hilary

After a rather inactive stretch in the tropics, new storms have begun to crop up.
Tropical Storm Ophelia is moving through the Atlantic, while Hurricane Hilary tracks near Mexico in the Eastern Pacific.

As of 5pm, Thursday evening, Ophelia has max sustained winds of 65mph, just shy of hurricane status (74+mph winds) and is moving west at 13mph. As you can see from the National Hurricane Center's projections, Ophelia is expected to move inward, then track east and back out to sea.

Hurricane Hilary currently has sustained winds of 105mph.

Currently a Category 2 hurricane, the storm is moving just along the coast, tracking westward at 10mph. While Hilary is likely to skim the coast with some rain and gusty winds, it's not expected to make landfall.

Summer 2011 in Review

At first recall, I think most folks would agree... When you look back on this past summer, one thing resonates. HOT. With today being the last official calendar day of summer, I thought it was appropriate to review the departing season and dissect what really took place. Above average temperatures are just one thing I noticed in my findings...

For the sake of this blog post, I'm taking into account the entire months of June, July, August, and the first half of September. I know that this is NOT the actual calendar equivalent of the summer season, but it illustrates the seasonal patterns better if done this way.

June. 30 days.

  1. 18 days with temps above average (60%)

  2. 10 days with temps below average (33.3%)

  3. 2 days with temps right at average (6.6%)

  4. 6 days with temps 90°+

July. 31 days.

  1. 28 days with temps above average (90.3%)

  2. 2 days with temps below average (6.45%)

  3. 1 day with temps right at average (3.23%)

  4. 20 days with temps 90°+

August. 31 days.

  1. 21 days with temps above average (67.74%)

  2. 5 days with temps below average (16.13%)

  3. 5 days with temps right at average (16.13%)

  4. 1 day with temps 90°+

September. 21 days. (excluding today -- data not yet released.)

  1. 7 days with temps above average (33.3%)

  2. 12 days with temps below average (57.14%)

  3. 2 days with temps right at average (9.52%)

  4. 3 days with temps 90°+

Right off the bat, you'll notice temperatures were above average more often than they were AT average, or below. Except for when we reached September. In the month of June, 60% of the days were above average while July brought temperatures above average 90% of the time! August was no exception with 67% above average. Then as September began to unfold, a new pattern started taking shape. Temperatures fell below average for extended periods of time, and days with temperatures below average have thus far outnumbered those with temperatures above average.

Another thing to notice this summer was monthly precip:

  • June + .51'' (-3.29 below avg.)

  • July + 3.34'' (+.54 above avg.)

  • August + 3.19'' (+.04 above avg.)

  • September (so far) + 3.84'' (already +1.86 above avg.)

While July was easily the hottest month of the summer, June was the driest. Bringing totals down more than 3'' below average, a serious lack of rain in the month of June left folks wondering when the seasonal rain would finally arrive. July provided the answer with rain totals slightly above average for the month, and August followed suit with rainfall amounts nearly dead-on.

Once again, a pattern change took place once calendar pages were flipped to September. Already this month, we've seen nearly 4 inches of rain -- leaving monthly totals nearly 2 inches above average. The patterns suggest something we've all known for a long time now: September is very much a transitional month, allowing summer to end as gracefully as possible and ushering in autumn. It will continue to do so as we finish out the month in just one short week, and say hello to October.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Different Take on the Same Story

I posted less than a week ago about freezing conditions and the expectations for specific locations around our area. To be a bit more visual, i thought i'd also add this national map, provided by The Weather Channel.

According to the map, our region should expect to start seeing frost on the ground by October 15th. The one thing not reflected on here that i think should still be noted is the influence of the warmer lake waters. By October 15th, the lake waters will have lost a lot of their warmth, but an isulation of sorts will still take place, keeping areas of Port Clinton, Huron, and even up north near Monroe, warmer longer.

From Brr to Ahh.

A brisk Canadian high pressure system ushered some very cool temperatures into our region this week.

With an average high of 76° for this time of year, yesterday's high of 60° was downright cold -- sixteen degrees below average! Not only that, but overnight cooling went to an extreme as well. Almost breaking the record low of 35° set back in 1966, Thursday night's low temperature dipped into the upper 30s for the first time since May 5th of this year. That's a fourteen degree deviation from the average low temperature for this time of year.

Now as we move through the day today, we look as temperatures slowly moving back towards average. With a low of 44° and a forecasted high of 68°, temperatures still have a clear depature from normal -- 9 and 8 degrees respectively -- but we are moving in the right direction, none the less.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cooler Temperatures Have Arrived

Don't forget your jacket this morning! Temperatures in the 40s this AM will feel unseasonably cool and, to some of you, downright unfamiliar. The last time we saw temperatures this cold was May 27th -- Nearly 4 months ago.

Brace yourselves.... This isn't the coolest it's going to get!

After we reach a mild 63° for today's high, tonight's temperatures will feel more like mother nature left the freezer door open. Overnight temperatures are going to dip low, low, low into the upper 30s for the first time this year since May 5th. Cinco de Mayo!

A low of 38 degrees is just a touch too warm to see any frost on the ground, but in rural areas, under the right conditions, it just may happen.

Time to Freeze?

I can't take credit for this information (Chris Vickers spent the morning compiling some data for us), but I will say these numbers suprised me just a smidge.

Growing up in Buffalo, I remember spending Halloweens in my snowsuit (with my glittery costume stretched over it's puffiness) and freezing my fingers and toes off on my way to the school bus early in the year, but here in the Greater Toledo Area, on the other end of the lake, I had assumed things would be a bit different.

Beginning with our friends in Williams County, climatologically speaking, the historical average for the first day we should expect to see frost would be October 6th -- still over 3 weeks away from today.

Moving South, Lima folks are usually under that first blanket of frost by October 10th, while Bowling Green residents are only a few days behind on October 13th -- still nearly a month away!

True to my originl beliefs, the lake does play a big role in freezing conditions -- Sandusky and Put-In-Bay don't experience an official freeze until nearly the beginning of November... BUT contrary to all the facts, it looks like we're about to get some frost inducing temperatures and freeze worthy weather.









Record Heat

Everything is bigger in Texas...apparently it's hotter too.   On Tuesday, September 13th Dallas, Texas recorded a record high of 107°.


What's even more amazing about this is the number 70, as in the number of times Dallas has reached 100° or warmer this year.  This sets the record for the most 100° degree days ever recorded in a year for the city surpassing 1980 (69 days)

How would that compare to Toledo?  We recorded 100° only once -- thankfully so -- this year.  That was on July 21st when the mercury soared to 102°.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Night Funnel Clouds

While we continue to track the chance of showers and thunderstorms around the region, a light at the end of the tunnel is now within view. Showers beginning over 4 days ago have now begun to taper off and slow down, but isolated thunderstorms now being sparked are causing a bit of commotion in areas around Findlay tonight.

A really interesting Special Weather Statement has been issued by the National Weather Service regarding local funnel clouds being spotted due to these storms.

It says: 


If you remember, a little less than a month ago (Aug 14th) waterspouts formed under the same conditions and were spotted up in Port Clinton.

It's incidents like these that really make me marvel at mother nature :) Something so destructive in one sittuation can just be something fascinating in another.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

After yesterday's models were split as to whether or not the track of Tropical Storm Nate would bring it up into the Gulf Coast, or NW into Mexico, a unanimous decision seems to have been made.

Notice the similarities in model projections for Nate, which have the Tropical Storm moving into the Mexican coast by early Monday morning. Right now, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the coastal region from Chilitepec to Celestun. Nate's winds are near 65mph with a relatively stationary motion

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Impressive Rain

While areas of Texas continue to carry on with a serious rain defecit (Dallas-Fort Worth is at -8'' for the year so far), others are begging mother nature to cease and desist before this rain makes cities and towns unrecognizable under a layer of water. Take a look at these pictures from York, PA where nearly a foot of rain has all but buried the city.

These remnants of what had been Tropical Storm Lee, including flash floods, tornadoes and non-stop rain have authorities reacting with a real sense of urgency. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that at least 7 people have lost their lives due to flooding related incidents and over 100,000 residents of PA, NY, MD have been evacuated. Families staying in shelters and away from their permanent residences are expected to stay away from their homes until Sunday at the earliest.

While showers still brew up and down the affected region, authorities say it will be a while before they can really survey the damage done that included a partial bridge collapse in northern Pennsylvania, vehicles and other property swept away, and failed sewage treatment plants.

The mayor of Binghamton, N.Y., said the severe Susquehanna River flooding was the worst in more than 60 years.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Active 2011 Season

As discussed by Ryan, several areas of concern have now developed into noteable Tropical Storms set to make landfall.

After reaching Category 4 status earlier this week, Hurricane Katia is no longer being categorized as a Major Hurricane. As of 5am Thursday morning, Katia had sustained winds of 90mph (the storm would need 110+ for it to be considered a Major Hurricane) and is tracking Northward at 14mph. Early tracks planned for Katia to have some sort of impact on the East Coast, but as things are constantly changing in the Gulf, Katia's path has taken a turn, so to speak, for the better.

A rare, but reassuring occurance... ALL models agree that Katia will now TURN back out towards the Atlantic Ocean, leaving the United States unscathed by its fury.

Alternately, it looks as though TS Maria as well as TS Nate will have coastal impacts, but not initially on the US.

Moving West at a quick pace of 23mph, Tropical Storm Maria is packing sustained winds of 50mph. Projections for the storm have Maria reaching the eastern Caribbean islands within the next 48 hours. As of 5am Thursday, forecasters say Maria has a rather disorganized formation, and may not band together in time to make a large impact.

Finally, a trapped and slow moving TS Nate is projected to make landfall in Mexico between Monday and Tuesday of next week. With sustained winds of 45mph, Tropical Storm Nate is only moving at 1mph to the East, so it still has a lot of time and resources to tap into (being centered over the Gulf of Mexico) to organize and gain a bit of power.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tropics Train

In a year that has already seen 12 named storms, the Atlantic basin looks to be just now reaching its stride. Yesterday, Hurricane Katia reached Category 4 status with sustained winds of 135 mph. Making it the strongest storm so far in the 2011 year.

[caption id="attachment_2242" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Hurricane Katia forecasted path"][/caption]

In additon to Katia, the National Hurricane Center is investigating at least 3 more areas for possible development in the next 48 hours.

[caption id="attachment_2243" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Red Circle will likely become the next tropical storm by WED"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2244" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Investigation area, near the Cape Verde Islands"][/caption]

As a testiment to just how far long-range tropical forecasts are coming, take a look at the official National Hurricane Center forecasts from earlier this year:

The conditions expected this year have historically produced some active Atlantic hurricane seasons. Therefore, the 2011 season could see activity comparable to a number of active seasons since 1995. We estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2011:

  • 12-18 Named Storms,

  • 6-10 Hurricanes

  • 3-6 Major Hurricanes

  • An ACE range of 105%-200% of the 1981-2010 median.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hurricane Katia-A Close Call

Enough model uncertainty still exists so it remains a "close call" but all indications point toward a sharp turn in Hurricane Katia by Thursday morning.  This should steer the then major hurricane back out to the Atlantic Ocean avoiding any significant impact on the US coastline.

Current Satellite Imagery:

Latest forecast path:

Check back for the latest updates through the week!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tropical Update: TS Lee/Hurricane Katia (Again)

Is it just me or does Katia seem to have a hard time making up her mind?

From Tropical Storm to Hurricane BACK to Tropical Storm, and as of 7am Sunday morning, Katia is now a Hurricane once again. I guess that's the problem when sustained winds linger right around 70-75mph (the cutoff for a hurricane strength storm is 74+). Even so, as the storm progresses at 12mph to the NW, questions are being raised as to when and IF Katia will affect the US.

Current projections for the storm's path have Katia moving just south of Bremuda Wednesday and towards the East Coast next weekend.

In the Gulf of Mexico, TS Lee is proving that being a Tropical Storm doesn't mean you can't cause major damage. The relentless storm has been hovering over the Gulf coast for days now, dropping inches upon inches of rain and requiring a certain amount of alertness from local authorities. Since Friday, over 90 Tornado Warnings have been issued because of Lee and its components.

Because TS Lee is only moving NE at 3mph, damages caused by the storm have yet to be surveyed because areas under its direct impact are still feeling the wrath of the storm. For now, tens of thousands of residents are without power, coastal regions are experiencing massive flooding and at least ten confirmed tornadoes have touched down.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tropical Update: Developing Hurricane Katia, TS Lee

After being downgraded to a Tropical Storm yesterday, Katia has regained hurricane strength over the Atlantic with sustained winds of 75mph.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression #13 has been named and upgraded to Tropical Storm Lee. As of 4pm Lee had 45 mph sustained winds and was moving at a painstakingly slow pace, going north at 2 miles per hour.

Both Katia and Lee have sparked discussions regarding the potential track and strength of each, especially when (and in Katia's case, IF) they hit the coast.

Preparations continue through the Gulf Coast region and similar to Hurricane Irene, massive flooding is a number one concern for these residents. Mississippi's governor, Haley Barbour, has declared a state of emergency in seven counties on or near the coast, saying the storm is expected to cause tremendous flooding over the holiday weekend.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tropical Update: Katia/TS (to be) Lee

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 11am, hurricane Katia has max sustained winds of 75 mph. It maintains its Category 1 hurricane status as it continues to move westerly at 18mph.

Projections for the storm have Katia continuing to move west with winds increasing to 115mph with gusts of nearly 140 mph by 8am sunday.

Interestingly enough, if the name 'Katrina' hadn't been retired back in 2006 after the massive 2005 hurricane rocked New Orleans, Katia would be Katrina -- the name Katia replaced Katrina on the 6-year rotating list of names maintained and updated by WMO.

Meanwhile, activity continues to spark the formation of Tropical Storm (to be) Lee in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the storm hasn't gained enough wind speed or organization to be categorized as a tropical storm yet, forecasters say it's likely to happen within the next 24 to 48 hours.

To officially be classified as a Tropical Depression, the organized system of clouds and thunderstorms must have a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less. Once the winds surpass that level, the storm is upgraded to a Tropical Storm (39-73mph), and finally a hurricane once winds are above 73 mph.

And in addition to all of that, there is a 50% chance of Tropical Cyclone development just north of Bremuda! What an active week. We'll keep you posted :)

Hurricane Hall of Fame

Okay, so maybe it shouldn't be referred to as the 'Hall of Fame', but this list does consist of some very well known storms.
Not even a week after Irene slid up the East Coast, authorities are now talking about retiring the hurricane's name so another 'Irene' may never exist.

Since the World Meteorological Organization began retiring hurricane names in 1954, 75 names have been permanently removed from the rotating lists of names for Atlantic Ocean hurricanes.

As expected, some of these names are truly historical. Who could forget Katrina? Andrew? Camile? These three names, among several others are no longer part of the alphabetical lists of storm names that rotate every six years for the Atlantic Ocean region because of the destruction they caused.

In the case of Irene, WMO officials say it's too early to say whether or not the name 'Irene' will be retired. A decision will be made in an annual meeting next March to review the year's previous hurricane season (which runs from June 1-Nov 30).

The decision to retire a name is made based on whether or not the hurricane in question resulted in numerous deaths or costly damage so much so that using the name to label a future storm would be considered insensitive to those greatly affected by the previous one.

Irene, for example, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane and caused at least 41 deaths (the count may still rise as missing persons are accounted for) and billions of dollars in damage.

Whether the name is retired or not, i think everyone was happy to say "Good Night, Irene" once the storm finally took itself out of commission.

See ya later, Alligator!

August is now behind us for one more year as we usher in the month of September.

A brief look at how August unfolded both pleased and surprised me! Only ONE day out of the entire month had a temperature recorded in the 90s! That day was the first of the month, and was followed by a subsequent string of 80s with a few 70s sprinkled in. The average high for the month was 82.8 degrees (right on par!) and the average low was 60.6 degrees.

A quick look at the month's rainfall reveals a rather steady pattern, aside from our major thunderstorm event on the 24th which dropped nearly 2 inches of rain on us! (In addition to the showers we received August 18th, but the Toledo Express Airport didn't record much rainfall even though some areas saw upwards of 2-4 inches!).

A total of 3.19 inches of rainfall for the month only deviates from the normal value by .04 inches.

I'd say, overall, August was a great and seasonable month! Now as we move into September, a season change may result in a few wonky days like the ones we have in this upcoming week (96 and 49 in the same 7-day forecast?!).