Friday, September 27, 2013

Race for the Cure, Komen NW Ohio: A History of Race Weather

As this year's inaugural Findlay Race for the Cure and the 20th Annual Toledo Race for the Cure approach this weekend, all eyes are on the sky. 

Will the weather hold out?
Will the rain arrive too soon?
Will racers need hand warmers or portable fans? 

Before answering those questions, lets take a look back at the past 5 years of race weather. 

September 28, 2008: 15th Annual Race for the Cure, Toledo
Conditions: Dry
Race Temp: 55°-60°
Daily High: 78°
Winds: N ~5mph

September 27, 2009: 16th Annual Race for the Cure, Toledo
Conditions: Dry
Race Temp: 57°-62°
Daily High: 72°
Winds: SW ~8mph

September 26, 2010: 17th Annual Race for the Cure, Toledo
Conditions: Dry
Race Temp: 54°-59°
Daily High: 66°
Winds: N ~7mph
**Temps were in the 90s just 2-3 days prior to the race**

September 25, 2011: 18th Annual Race for the Cure, Toledo
Conditions: Light Rain, 0.04''
Race Temp: 48°-53°
Daily High: 76°
Winds: S ~4mph

September 30, 2012: 15th Annual Race for the Cure, Toledo
Conditions: Dry
Race Temp: 44°-49°
Daily High: 65°
Winds: NE ~4mph

2012 was the coldest race in the past 5 years. Temps started off in the middle 40s, and barely grazed 50° by the time the final 5K runners were finishing. But, into the afternoon, a nice dry and sunny day unfolded. 

There is also only ONE year on record in the past 5 that yielded any rain. 2011 brought less than on tenth of an inch of rain, and as I recall, the skies opened up just before the race, and the sun came out. It was so symbolic.

Now, as we prepare for two races this year, we need not only one perfect weather day, but two! Back-to-back.

Conditions: Dry, Sunny
Race Temp: 49°-54°
Daily High: 79°
Winds: SE 5-10mph

A cool start for runners, survivors and supporters. Temps will warm into the low/middle 50s through the course of the race. The sun will come out to meet racers early, and keep conditions comfortable. 

Conditions: Partly to Mostly Cloudy, PM Light Rain
Race Temp: 56°-61°
Daily High: 71°
Winds: WSW 5-15mph

A bit more of a breeze picking up as a cold front approaches the race site Sunday morning. The starting line will be dry, but the finish line may have a few sprinkles into the late morning hours. Otherwise, mild, with temps rising into the low 60s by the time the racers cross the finish line. 

Weekend Forecast, 9/28-9/29/13

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Color Outlook

It is a chemical process that begins to trickle to a halt as Autumn begins...shorter daylight and cool and crisp nights begin to halt the production of chlorophyll within the leaves of trees.  The lack of chlorophyll is directly due to less sunlight from the now distant long summer days.  The process of HOW the leaves change colors is science that happens every year, but there are many meteorological (weather) factors that influence just how vibrant the fall colors will be during the season. 

Here is what I expect this fall season of colors to look like. Many of the conditions for the fall color season have already been determined based directly on the recent summer weather.  Summer was ideal, with cooler than normal weather and above average precipitation.  Here are the results:

June: 69.1° (-0.4)
July: 72.2° (-1.3°)
August: 70.1° (-1.4°)

Average Temp: -1.03° Below Normal

June: 6.35" (2.78")
July: 3.94" (0.71")
August: 2.00" (-1.15")

Precipitation: +2.34"

Overall, summer was COOLER than normal and WETTER than normal, although most of the surplus of rain came through early June and July with a dry end to the summer during August.  Despite that adequate precipitation overall and the lack of extreme summer heat put the trees in great health for the change of colors.  This is in stark contrast to last summer where record heat, a searing drought and scorching temperatures put significant "stress" on the trees throughout the entire summer.  This lead to a relative dull and lackluster appearance of the fall colors in 2012. 

We are in great shape now entering into fall, but going forward conditions must remain right for the fall colors to flourish.  Ideal conditions would include lots of sunny days, with regular intervals of rain (once or twice a week) and clear cool nights.  It is ideal to keep sufficient deep sub soil moisture with regular rain.  The clear cool nights help to gradually slow the earlier mentioned chloroplyll production which produces the "green" color of the leaves during the summer.  Without the chlorophyll, the true pigments and colors (yellow, orange, red, brown, etc) show through brightly.  It is also necessary to avoid an early season deep freeze.  A deep freeze before the peak of the fall color season could quickly damage leaves resulting in an abrupt transition to more dull brown colors.


The typical peak of fall colors in this area is the middle of October.  I expect vibrant colors this fall season.  Possibly the best in several years, if we can maintain regular rainfall.  It is slightly less than ideal that September is below average for precipitation so far at 1.67" (-0.67") if this continues it may somewhat limit the peak colors.  I do expect fall colors to peak the week of October 13th through the 20th.  It would likely be on the earlier side of that timeframe across southern Michigan and toward the end of that week (October 17th -20th) in Ohio.  Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and thank the great summer weather we had for the great fall colors ahead!   

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Orion & A Spectacular Sunrise

Check out the constellation Orion this morning followed by a great early fall sunrise in Put-In-Bay!

For more information about Orion, one of the most recognizable constellations, take a look at this:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Full Harvest Moon -- Hello Fall!

It is the tell tale sign that the warm, sultry summer days are numbered and the crisp smell of Autumn is back -- The Full Harvest Moon. 

Tonight is the full moon -- the nicknamed is based on folklore and rich history of the Native Americans and the timing of their corn harvest.  The benefit of the large, bright full moon allowed harvesting to last into the after dark hours simply by the bright light of the moon.  Tonight may be hit or miss on viewing the moon as clouds increase ahead of the next chance of rain pushing into the area for the end of the work week.  Officially, the Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the Autumnal Equinox which is this Sunday, September 22nd at 4:44 PM.  Bye bye Summer, Hello Fall!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nearly Record Setting Hurricane Humberto

After a quiet 2013 Hurricane season (so far), Hurricane Humberto has entered the scene. Nearly breaking Hurricane Gustav's record (in 2002), Humberto is the second latest FIRST hurricane of the season on record. 

Typically a hurricane forms well before the second week of September, making Humberto remarkable for two reasons:

1. It is a late forming hurricane
2. It is the first official hurricane to form in the Atlantic for the 2013 season.

Humberto became a hurricane officially at 5am, 9/11/13, with sustained winds at 80mph and gusts up to 98mph. It has Category 1 status as of 11am Wednesday.

Humberto's projected path is going to take it for a spin around the Atlantic, making a left hand turn before falling apart, and being downgraded-- likely Thursday or Friday.

While Humberto poses no threat to land (or the US for that matter), it could be the start of a very active pattern in the Atlantic. After Hurricane Gustav formed late in the season in 2002, 3 additional hurricanes formed that year, two of which reached major status. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 Hurricane Season So Far

Due to the warmer water temperatures towards the end of summer, hurricane season typically hits its peak right around the end of August and into the beginning of September. Storms are provided with ample energy, and development is encouraged by the moist air and favorable wind patterns.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30.

Up until September 5th
, only a half dozen Tropical Storms have been named, none of which have reached hurricane criteria for the 2013 season. According to the National Hurricane Center, the season is still on track, and with a little less than three months to go, plenty could still happen. 

Tropical Depression (as of 11am Thursday, Sept 5) Gabrielle, is the seventh named storm of the season. 

As a Tropical Storm, with sustained winds at 40mph, Gabrielle is expected to weaken and make a right-hand turn back into the Atlantic. (NHC)
While Gabrielle has not (and will not) affected the US coast, areas of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are expected to receive an estimated 3-6'' of rain from the storm. TD Gabrielle formed about 70 miles south of Puerto Rico on September 4th, and was briefly upgraded to a Tropical Storm before being downgraded once again, back to a Tropical Depression.

As a Tropical Depression, Gabrielle has sustained winds of 35mph. (NHC)
Gabrielle suffered from too-dry air and an unfavorable wind pattern, so the storm was unable to maintain Tropical Storm force winds (39+mph) and failed to organize.

NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured an image of Gabrielle at 7:32 a.m. EDT on Sept. 5, 2013. The storm had Tropical Storm force winds at the time.
NASA GOES Project)

The 2013 season began in early June with Andrea, the first (and only storm) to make landfall on the United States coastline. Here is the rest of this year's list:
 Even without a major storm so far this season, the most important fact to remember, is that hurricanes can be devastating, no matter what time of the season they form... (See HURRICANE SANDY: Oct 22-31, 2012)