June, 2012

Heat Wave

June 29th, 2012 at 11:47 am by under 4 Warn Weather

With a huge portion of the country experiencing major heat our weather intern Brittanny takes a closer look;

“A major heat wave will continue to impact the central US all the way to the Eastern Seaboard through next week. Many heat alerts have been issued from the National Weather Service including excessive heat warnings for Northeastern Kansas, Northwestern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Southeastern Missouri, Western Kentucky, and Central North Carolina. The heat wave will spread east throughout the weekend.  Cities such as Pittsburgh, PA can expect a high temperature of 95 today, and Cincinnati OH will see a high temperature of 102 degrees.

So far, 1,011 records have been broken according to the Associated Press. Firefighters battling forest fires in the Rockies will see temperatures above 100 degrees in Denver today. As the heat wave continues to move slightly towards the east, the national weather service says that the ridge shows no sign of breaking down significantly next week, and most of the country can still expect excessive heat.

The Colorado forest fire is only 5% contained. More than 30,000 people have evacuated the area. Colorado Springs will continue to have scorching temperatures, but areas in the hills will be slightly cooler. Red flag warnings have been dropped due to light winds coming from the northwest. But with humidity being low and having thunderstorms in the forecast people need to take caution to the threat of lightning-induced fires.”


Some Heat Will Build, but Rainfall Potential Looking Spotty and Sparse

June 26th, 2012 at 1:28 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

With a deep area of low pressure to our east slowly moving out, a building ridge of warm high pressure will bulge eastward and bring above average temperatures back into WNY. Readings will move up sharply on Thursday, with some increase in humidity. There are some differences between models on the passage of weak short waves and the extent of the heating, but nothing extreme is likely. Some minimal cooling (still leaving us warm) will probably occur during the weekend, with the possibility of some spotty showers for a minority of Sunday. As has been mentioned in the previous thread, dry soil–especially north of the City–will allow temperatures to rise a little higher than modeled. There is no widespread precipitation potential currently in sight over the next 5-7 days. Of course, that could change in future model runs.

Tropical Storm Debby is likely to move a little more rapidly to the east than earlier models and ensembles had suggested, weakening to a depression over the FL peninsula and restrengthening to a tropical storm as it heads to the E and eventually NE over the Atlantic. As of Tuesday, Debby is sheared and showing slight weakening as it moves toward FL.

Earliest hints on the 4th; warm temperatures and too early to tell about precipitation.


12 Things I Learned While Covering Nik Wallenda’s Walk Over Niagara Falls

June 17th, 2012 at 7:52 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

 


 

12. As this country struggles to interest young people in science and engineering -- what better lesson could there be than watching the planning and execution of this one-time event? Use it as a case study in schools. Engineers and scientists had to get their calculations right on digging, rigging, stringing, weighting, and balancing this wire -- with no chance to 'do it over.' Science and engineering (and practice and courage!) made Wallenda the "King of the High Wire."

 

11. Border communities CAN work together for common good. Just as Wallenda's cable across the gorge united the two cities for a brief period of time, there is a way to stand united in attracting business and tourism on an ongoing basis.    Photo: Jim Diavastes

 

10. 120-thousand people CAN share the same space without general mayhem, mischief, violence, or trouble. It was stunning to turn away from Wallenda on the wire and see tens of thousands of people stretched all the way to the Rainbow Bridge gripped by anticipation, hopefulness and joy.    Photo: Dan Holland

 

9. NYS government CAN find a way to do get things done in a hurry. Somehow the politicians who normally talk things to death, got the mountain of paperwork approved and signed to get this unusual, one-time event off the ground. Literally.    Photo: Jim Diavastes

 

8. There IS a way to capitalize on the millions of tourists who just pass through Niagara Falls each year. I've never seen Old Falls Street teeming with life as it was Friday night -- nor have the vendors!    Photo: Scott Swenson

 

7. It helps to cheer on a 'daredevil' when he seems like one of us -- down to earth, approachable, a working family man with faith in a higher power.    Photo: Jim Diavastes

 

6. Politicians need to find a better way to match the parting gifts with the occasion. Before the Mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, presented Nik Wallenda with the key to the city at the post-walk news conference -- he gave him a clever T-shirt. But I kept thinking that Wallenda MUST be thinking --" I just crossed Niagara Falls on a high wire and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!"

5. Niagara Falls is just an incredible, breathtaking spectacle that we take for granted in WNY. We need to go there more often! Photo: Anthony Congi

 

4.There IS a way to staff and open up those bridges for smooth and quick passage across the border. We had equipment to pack up after the broadcast -- but by two hours after Wallenda stepped off the wire, we sailed through a nearly empty Rainbow Bridge! That's amazing that the huge crowd cleared out that quickly.

 

3. We need to get TV ratings books in the hands of people across the border, who, by the way, spend money in the USA. The ratings service doesn't let us include them, but I was stunned by the number of Canadians who wanted to pose for photos because they watch Ch.4 all the time.    Photo: Jim Diavastes

 

2. Nik Wallenda was right....completing this stunt will change his life forever. As one small example, this is the line for a 'meet and greet' at Fashion Outlets on Sunday morning after the Friday night triumph. How many people would have been in this line before the stunt? Big risk = big reward. From now on, he can name his price.    Photo: Josh Roy

 

1. It's pretty darned cool to say: "I was there. I watched one of the greatest stunts of our time, at one of the natural wonders of the world." Congratulations, Nik Wallenda!    Photo: Jim Diavastes


Father’s Day weather

June 15th, 2012 at 11:57 am by under 4 Warn Weather

By: Brittanny Snyder weather intern

Overall, it is going to be a beautiful weekend for any Father’s Day activities you have planned. Sunday we will have mostly sunny skies for the morning with increasing clouds into the afternoon.  There is a slight chance for a PM Shower/Storm but a good portion, if not all, of the day will be dry. Expect a high around 85, with a low of 65.

Previously, the highest temperature ever recorded on Father’s Day was back on June 21, 1953 at 93 degrees. The lowest temperature was 40 degrees on June 18, 1950. The average temperature on Father’s Day falls around 75 degrees with a low near 60. In the past 95 Fathers Days, only 11 have experienced greater than a 50% chance for precipitation. To see more climatological history for previous Fathers Days, visit http://www.erh.noaa.gov/buf/holidays/fathersday.htm.


All lightning produces thunder

June 14th, 2012 at 12:49 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

With summer beginning at 7:09PM this coming Wednesday it’s hard not to think about the epitome of summer weather, a thunderstorm.

By: Ryan Farrell, weather intern

“Heat lightning” is a commonly misunderstood weather phenomenon that occurs in nature.  All lightning produces sound waves, given the name thunder, but often that thunder cannot be heard beyond about 15 miles.  This limitation is contributed to the dampening effect that the atmosphere has on the waves in addition to absorption by topography, vegetation, low-level clouds, and buildings.  This is comparable to seeing a person shouting from far away, but not being able to hear them.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t making a sound, it just means that the sound waves dissipated before reaching your ear.  What is thought to be heat lightning is just lightning that is seen from a distant storm, with the thunder’s sound waves not reaching the observer.

Do you want to know an easy way of estimating the distance a lightning strike occurs from you?  Since light waves travel much faster than sound waves, a “flash-to-bang” ratio was developed for an approximated distance.  First, count the number of seconds from when you see the lightning flash to when you initially hear the thunder.  Since 750 mph is approximately equivalent to one mile in every five seconds, five seconds of time is equal to one mile in distance.  As an example, if you hear thunder 15 seconds after you had seen the flash, you are approximately 3 miles from the lightning strike.  It may be difficult though during storms in which multiple lightning/thunder pairs occur immediately following one another.


Enter an Extended Dry Period, with a Slow Warmup

June 12th, 2012 at 10:49 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Now that Tuesday’s convection has passed, a cooler and much drier airmass will take hold midweek. A ridge of high pressure at the 500 mb surface will begin to rebuild gradually over the next few days. This will assure a gradual return to more summerlike conditions during the weekend and, especially, early next week. With the ‘axis’ of this ridge slated to be over us, its connection at lower levels to the Gulf will stay west of us for some time, keeping the humidity from coming back up to uncomfortable levels during the weekend. Some increase in humidity may become more noticeable early next week. Most ensemble means and members are suggesting a trough returning to the Great Lakes by later next week, bringing somewhat cooler temperatures back for several days.

In the meantime, UV levels will be high, and soil moisture will begin to evaporate gradually later this week as temps slowly warm and humidity stays comparatively low. Gardeners and farmers will have to return to irrigation and watering within a few days. Heaviest rainfall amounts on Tuesday were mostly to the east and south of the metro area, which resulted in some limited flash flooding not far from Hinsdale and in a few parts of southern Allegany County. Of course, pollen counts will be heading back up as well.

For those attending the Wallenda Walk, every sign points to a dry and comfortably mild evening, with only a light wind–probably from the SE or S. Conditions on the cable itself are quite difficult to forecast, since a thorough microscale forecast without a previous database (say, a Calspan-type study) doesn’t exist. We’d need to know such variables as mist patterns derived from various wind vectors at various velocities, the amount of mist being produced at various water levels past the power intakes, the interaction between different wind speeds and directions and nearby structures and trees. In short, it’s a predictive problem which can’t be solved in this time frame.


How hurricanes got their names

June 6th, 2012 at 10:47 am by under 4 Warn Weather

By Ryan Farrell, weather intern

Hurricane season officially started on June 1st, even though we have already had two tropical storms affect the US (Alberto and Beryl).  It is common sense that each hurricane gets its own name, but have you ever wondered why or how the names are picked?  To start off; the reason that tropical storms were named was to provide better communication between forecasters and the public.  Since there can be multiple storms in the same area at the same time, names can reduce the confusion about which storm is being talked about.  The first hurricanes that were named came about in the early 1900’s by an Australian forecaster.  He originally named them after political people whom he disliked, due to the fact that he could publicly describe their name as causing harm and distress to the public.  Beginning in World War II tropical storms were given women’s names, after the wives/girlfriends of meteorologists in the military.  The Northwest Pacific basin tropical cyclones were officially given women’s names in 1945.  This followed by men’s names being included beginning in 1979.  These names though, were taken out of the phonetic alphabet such as Able, Baker and Charlie.  The storms are named alphabetically in chronological order, so the first storm of the year begins with an “A” and the second storm will begin with a “B” and so on.  Recently starting in 2000, tropical storms in the Pacific basin have been given names from a much different list.  The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) now gives names to tropical storms, instead of the National Hurricane Center which had since 1953.  The WMO uses a fixed list of names for each year, which are arranged alphabetically omitting the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z.  NOAA is predicting a normal hurricane season this year with 9-15 tropical storms being named which 4-8 of them becoming hurricanes, 1-3 of them being major hurricanes.


An Unsettled Start to the Week, but a Pattern Change arrives by the Weekend

June 4th, 2012 at 2:20 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

A stubborn area of low pressure near New England and the Maritimes will keep some influence over our region for most days this week, but the strength of that influence will gradually be waning. The signs of a pattern change which were apparent in last week’s ensemble means have actually strengthened. A building ridge of high pressure will raise heights considerably as we reach Sunday into early next week, likely spiking our temperatures to Much Above Average for a few days, before settling down to Above Average.

In the meantime, sky conditions for the Transit of Venus don’t look promising, though some breaks in the overcast are not out of the question. On Wednesday, still cool temps aloft with some surface heating may allow a few spotty tshowers to pop up.

The weekend, in addition to being warmer, should be mostly–if not completely–dry. But there is always the cliche “never trust a warm front” mets use, and the proximity of a warm front at the start of the weekend MIGHT develop some elevated convection near us. MIGHT.


Full Strawberry Moon

June 4th, 2012 at 12:24 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

By Ryan Farrell:

Weather Intern studying meteorology at SUNY Oswego

Have you ever heard of a strawberry moon?  Ever wonder where it got its name from?  According to Native American mythology, the name came about because of the short strawberry harvesting season that occurs in June.  Any full moon that develops in June is referred to as a strawberry moon, hot moon or rose moon.  If you get a chance tonight, take a look up into the sky at this spectacular sight.  Clouds should break a bit later on tonight so there is a good chance you’ll be able to get at least a glimpse! 

As an interesting side note, a partial eclipse of the strawberry moon occurred this morning and was visible in eastern Asia, Australia and western parts of the Americas.  This happens when the moon passes behind the dark side of the Earth, so the moon is partially shaded from the sun.


Juvenile Diabetes Doesn’t Stop in the Rain!

June 3rd, 2012 at 8:29 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

The 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes started and ended in the rain Sunday. Still, 2,000+ walkers turned out at Martin’s Fantasy Island to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Juvenile Diabetes requires life-long injections of insulin.

It's always good to see how much MacKenzie Duffy has grown. Now 11, Mackenzie has lived with Juvenile Diabetes for seven years now -- and I've seen her and her mother, Janeen, at the Walk almost every year since her diagnosis.

See my full Facebook photo album from the JDRF Walk here!

See Bryan Shaw’s News 4 report on the JDRF Walk here.