In the Still of the Night, and as a Vacation Ends, a New Thread

September 3rd, 2013 at 12:25 am by under 4 Warn Weather

Just to get my weather brain in gear before showing up at work on Tuesday, I’ve been browsing through models, ensembles, & analytical discussions from various sources to establish the complex rhythm in my fallow mind which is important in operational meteorology.

You’ll note as you read this we’ve cooled down considerably from recent days. In fact, while I vacationed on Ocracoke Island NC, a beautiful but fairly steamy locale on the Outer Banks, it was generally steamier in WNY than it was there. In 7 years of visits, that’s the first time  that’s happened. Not a big sampling, true–but notable.

The cooler weather now establishing itself, with a reinforcement by Thursday, is not a sign summer has breathed its last. Warmer conditions will return for a portion of next week, with above average temperatures likely to resume for a portion of that period before some modest cooling returns for mid-September. Lake Erie has reached 74, which is 3 above average for September 2, and 1 above the average seasonal high of 73. Additional rainfall this week will be sparse in coverage and amounts, as seen in Monday night’s data.

The overall pattern change does not equate to a “sea change” into autumn, since some ensembles suggest a trough further to the west and weak ridging over the Great Lakes and NE, allowing those warmer temperatures to return next week. This year is only the 4th year since 1960 in which there has been no hurricane prior to September 1. The Madden-Julian Oscillation is expected a little this week and more so in week 2 to encourage more tropical activity in the Atlantic basin. This doesn’t mean landfalling hurricanes necessarily, but with expected reduced Saharan dust and SSTs becoming more favorable, September will see a pickup in the development of tropical cyclones. There have been other years in which activity seemed abnormally calm for most of the summer until September and October came along, and this year may fit that pattern.


Farewell to Jacquie Walker’s Newsroom Notebook

August 15th, 2013 at 4:05 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

This will be my final entry into Jacquie Walker’s Newsroom Notebook. WIVB.com is getting an update this week and this seems like a good time to say farewell. My first post more than five years ago on May 26, 2008, was a reflection on the passing of former Mayor Jimmy Griffin. Since then I have posted almost blog 200 entries and over a thousand personal photographs, aiming to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a busy, thriving newsroom.

These days Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, offer more accessible ways to provide you with that look behind the camera. I hope you will follow my continuing adventures in news at News 4 Buffalo WIVB Jacquie Walker on Facebook and @jacquiewalker4 on Twitter. As always, thank you for your support and your interest. It’s been a pleasure sharing stories with you. Now, the Notebook on WIVB.com is closed.

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Photo credit: Videographer Chris Broadbent

 


Almost Chilly Weather Arrives for a Few Days, but a Gradual Change Follows in the Pattern

August 12th, 2013 at 1:36 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Following passage of a sharp cold front, temperatures will be running fairly well below average midweek. But by week’s end, readings will be moderating and may actually climb a tad above average this weekend.The exit of showers with that cold front will also usher in a lengthy dry period which should last into early next week.

The Pacific NW trough/western ridge/eastern trough will dominate again most of this week. However, the extended range ensemble means are showing good agreement in establish a nearly zonal flow a few days later. The amplitude of the trough-ridge-trough will flatten out so that the flow will almost be W to E at our latitude–in the mean. There will still be some ups and downs not currently discernible in models during this 16 day time span from short waves. However, while this isn’t a true pattern shift with the rebuilding of a ridge near us, it will bring us generally comfortably Mild rather than oppressively hot & humid conditions. And this evolution will take the autumn tang out of the air by the weekend and beyond.


The 2013 Erie County Fair Under Very Fair Skies!

August 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

I can’t remember better weather for the Erie County Fair than we had today: blue skies, moderate temperatures, low humidity. These ideal conditions brought out fair-goers in droves on this sunny Saturday and it was a pleasure to chat with so many of our viewers at the Channel 4 gazebo where all proceeds from those one dollar spins of the prize wheel go to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

What fun meeting sisters Jackie and Grace who convinced me that they really do watch News 4 all the time!

What fun meeting sisters Jackie and Grace who convinced me that they really do watch News 4 all the time!

Wanda is a News 4 viewer who was having so much fun today that I wanted to tag along with her and her friend as they took in the Fair!

Wanda is a News 4 viewer who was having so much fun today that I wanted to tag along with her and her friend as they took in the Fair!

Former WBEN News Director (and former News 4 producer) Steve Cichon is now the voice of the Erie County Fair. Of course he was wearing his celebrated bow-tie -- he just didn't have it tied when I saw him at the News 4 gazebo.

Former WBEN News Director (and former News 4 producer) Steve Cichon is now the voice of the Erie County Fair. Of course he was wearing his celebrated bow-tie — he just didn’t have it tied when I saw him at the News 4 gazebo.

My Fair tradition is always to enjoy a slice of spinach and ricotta pizza from Louie's Pizza.  You're looking at my dinner!

My Fair tradition is always to enjoy a slice of spinach and ricotta pizza from Louie’s Pizza. You’re looking at my dinner!

Sandy -- who owns Louie's Pizza - lives in Florida during the winter months.  She created this little slice of Florida next to her pizza stand -- complete with a lighthouse that glows at night -- to remind her of her days beachside in Fort Lauderdale!

Sandy — who owns Louie’s Pizza – lives in Florida during the winter months. She created this little slice of Florida next to her pizza stand — complete with a lighthouse that glows at night — to remind her of her days beachside in Fort Lauderdale!

You may recall that donut burgers were all the rage at the Fair a couple of years ago.  It looks like they have now settled in as regulars on the 'fair food' menu.

You may recall that donut burgers were all the rage at the Fair a couple of years ago. It looks like they have now settled in as regulars on the ‘fair food’ menu.

You can't beat fried dough at the Fair -- and my choice is always cinnamon and sugar. Powdered sugar is way too messy!

You can’t beat fried dough at the Fair — and my choice is always cinnamon and sugar. Powdered sugar is way too messy!

This line for Ribbon Fries caught my eye.  I've never had them, but they must be good!

This line for Ribbon Fries caught my eye. I’ve never had them, but they must be good!

 Here's why people were lined up for Ribbon Fries -- they look so tempting.  These two little munchkins were just about to dive in!

Here’s why people were lined up for Ribbon Fries — they look so tempting. These two little munchkins were just about to dive in!

Remember the news stories we did last year when Chiavetta's got word that they were going to lose their building?  Here's what replaced it -- a sleek white tented concession area at the same location -- with lots of people inside.

Remember the news stories we did last year when Chiavetta’s got word that they were going to lose their building? Here’s what replaced it — a sleek white tented concession area at the same location — with lots of people inside.

The Fair has made some major improvements to the grounds, including this grassy park with fountains and seating right outside the Firefighters' Building.

The Fair has made some major improvements to the grounds, including this grassy park with fountains and seating right outside the Firefighters’ Building.

No trip to the Fair is complete without visiting the barns and looking over the animal exhibits.  There is always something new to learn and appreciate.

No trip to the Fair is complete without visiting the barns and looking over the animal exhibits. There is always something new to learn and appreciate.

Always fun to see the youngest animals born DURING the Fair!

Always fun to see the youngest animals born DURING the Fair!

Just 24 hours old, Rosie was the 'newest' newborn at the Erie County Fair, born August 9th.

Just 24 hours old, Rosie was the ‘newest’ newborn at the Erie County Fair, born August 9th.

The Grandstand was packed for the free 'Three Dog Night' concert.

The Grandstand was packed for the free ‘Three Dog Night’ concert.

Ed Hogle of Atlas Steel in Buffalo has made it a personal mission to display his 9-11 memorial -- which is inscribed with all the victims' names. He says he has watched a wide range of emotional responses as people gather to view it.

Ed Hogle of Atlas Steel in Buffalo has made it a personal mission to display his 9-11 memorial — which is inscribed with all the victims’ names. He says he has watched a wide range of emotional responses as people gather to view it.

Farewell to the Fair for another year!

Farewell to the Fair for another year!


A Muggy Period, and then Back to Seasonably Cool

August 6th, 2013 at 11:36 am by under 4 Warn Weather

As temperatures and dewpoints begin climbing for a few days, we’ll be reminded it’s still summer. However, we’re not going back to the oppressive heat and humidity of mid July…just routine mugginess. Scattered showers & tstorms will become more likely on Wednesday and Wednesday night (and we’ll have to monitor those tstorms for intensity, although the Severe threat appears rather low). After a weak cold front goes by, any showers will be winding down early on Thursday on the Niagara Frontier, but they may linger longer closer to PA. In any case, this weak cold frontal passage will not usher in noticeably drier air. It will remain on the muggy side into Friday evening. A wave of low pressure riding that front will send more showers & tshowers into at least the southern half of our viewing area into Friday evening, with maybe some activity reaching up to the Niagara Frontier…the farther north, the lower the chances of showers. During Saturday, cooler & drier air will return with skies becoming partly to mostly sunny.

Overall, the northern branch of the jetstream will again dip over the Great Lakes, while the warm ridge of high pressure will remain planted over the interior of the western US. This pattern will prevent any return of truly oppressive heat & humidity over the next 16 days or so. At times, temperatures will run below average, and at other times closer to average. But true “heat wave” conditions are out of the picture well into the month.


Summer…”REAL” Summer…has Taken a Summer Holiday

July 29th, 2013 at 10:34 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

A persistent pattern of a ridge over the interior of the west (Warm) and a trough over the Great Lakes and the east (Cool) has developed, and appears likely to stay in place for at least a few weeks to come. There will be minor variations within the persistent pattern. However, without a strong eastern or midwestern ridge, or a Bermuda high to pump up warm, humid air, an extended period of hot & humid weather will be near impossible in the Great Lakes into mid-August. In fact, the scope of this pattern will keep temperatures running average to below average from north of Wichita to central Canada, across the midwest, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, mid-south, and much of the NE and middle Atlantic states. The coolest part of this vast region will tend to be over the Great Lakes and the interior of the NE. This does not mean a ridge won’t rebuild after the 13th or 14th of August. It just means we won’t see such a ridge until that time at the earliest. This is a high confidence outlook, in that there is good agreement in all the ensemble means.

Of course, this is a vastly different pattern than that of 2 weeks ago, when we endured a week of heat and high humidity. At that time, there was an unusually strong and hot ridge of high pressure near us, blocking any advance of Canadian airmasses. Now we’re in a pattern during which one cold front after another will be crossing the region every few days. It may get cool enough again by Friday night for some lake effect showers to reappear, with chilly air aloft over the warm lakes. Speaking of the lakes, Lake Erie had reached 78 degrees 2 weeks ago, 6 degrees above average for that date. It has since slipped to 73, which is normal for July 29th, and is the normal highest temperature reached during the summer months over a period going back to 1927.


No Temperature Extremes for A While

July 22nd, 2013 at 9:52 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

After the drip, drip, drip of perspiration last week (which became a legitimate public health threat for elderly, asthmatics, and infants in non-airconditioned housing), the minor league mugginess at the start of this week will be very easy to take. Even that mugginess will not stick around long. Another fairly strong cold front will cross the region Tuesday night, followed by much cooler and less humid conditions on Wednesday, and only modest warming by the weekend. Another cold front will likely cross our region by Sunday, with cooler than average temps returning as early as Sunday into early next week.

In the overall scheme of patterns, all the major ensemble means (500mb) show no rebuilding of a strong ridge near the Great Lakes or the NE. This will allow occasional brief warmups, but only to “seasonable” warmth, a little above average. These will be followed by cooler periods, but not so cool (or wet) as to cause many disruptions in outdoor activities. We’ll probably see some scattered showers & tshowers or tstorms on Saturday in advance of that next cold front, in addition to those which occur on Tuesday (this week) in advance of the closer cold front.

None of this is to suggest “we’ve peaked”, since there have been hot spells (some of our hottest) in late summer quite a number of times. The recent extraordinary, brutal 600 DM ridge built itself up, after all, following a period of troughiness/coolness in the Great Lakes, NE & Ohio Valley. It IS to suggest, though, that my confidence is high we’ll see no “heat waves” in the next 16 days (date of this post is July 22).


Hot, Humid, and Fun for the 31st Annual Canal Fest Parade!

July 17th, 2013 at 9:48 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

The News 4 team always looks forward to the warm welcome we receive in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda during the Canal Fest Parade, but the WARMTH this year was off the charts! That made it especially interesting to ride in a car with our Chief Meteorologist Don Paul during the parade and hear all the comments from the crowd about the hot weather! Still, everyone was friendly and welcoming, and we thank folks in the Tonawandas for their hospitality!

Meteorologist Don Paul and I enjoyed the ride in this '65 GTO provided by Johnny Robbins who teaches at Burgard High School.

Meteorologist Don Paul and I enjoyed the ride in this ’65 GTO provided by Johnny Robbins who teaches at Burgard High School.

Here's my view of the crowd and the parade ahead of me with Steve Vesey and Don Postles riding in a beautiful 1947 Buick.

Here’s my view of the crowd and the parade ahead of me with Steve Vesey and Don Postles riding in a beautiful 1947 Buick.

We always see friendly News 4 families along the parade route.

We always see friendly News 4 families along the parade route.

Meteorologist Don Paul was having a great time chatting with the crowd about the heat as we rode together in the back of a convertible. — with Don Paul.

Meteorologist Don Paul was having a great time chatting with the crowd about the heat as we rode together in the back of a convertible. — with Don Paul.

This kind member of the Salem Church of Christ, John Sherman, never forgets to bring us dessert as the parade passes his church!

This kind member of the Salem Church of Christ, John Sherman, never forgets to bring us dessert as the parade passes his church!

There is also a boisterous crew in front of the Allstate office along the parade route. They make it a party here every year!

There is also a boisterous crew in front of the Allstate office along the parade route. They make it a party here every year!

The friendly folks at Wally's pizza at the end of the parade route in North Tonawanda were kind enough to bring two pizzas to the car for the News 4 team!

The friendly folks at Wally’s pizza at the end of the parade route in North Tonawanda were kind enough to bring two pizzas to the car for the News 4 team!

The sunlight was harsh this photo -- but here we are at the end of the parade grateful for a smooth ride and very nice people!

The sunlight was harsh this photo — but here we are at the end of the parade grateful for a smooth ride and very nice people!


It’s 30 and Counting for Taste of Buffalo!

July 14th, 2013 at 7:17 am by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

Volunteers for the 30th Annual Taste of Buffalo couldn’t have ordered better weather for the first day of this huge 2-day food fest — especially with the up and down summer we’ve had so far.  The warm temperatures and sunny skies brought a throng of hungry visitors to Delaware Avenue in the heart of downtown Buffalo.  The slogan has been appropriate for 30 years: it’s fun by the forkful!

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You know it’s going to be a big day when you see people lined up to buy food tickets like this before the Taste officially opened at 11 A.M.

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How lucky am I? I was honored to be selected as a Food Judge again this year!

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Our longtime friend and former colleague Lorey Schultz now works with Mayor Byron Brown and used her interviewing skills for Buffalo’s access channel. The Mayor was also a food judge and told me his favorite item of the day was the lemon ice served by Anderson’s.

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Each food judge is given 5 restaurants to evaluate — and you must sample each item the restaurants are selling. These are the items offered at the Taste this year by Manhattan’s Restaurant of Lockport. Each item was excellent — but you can’t beat the Pistachio Encrusted Chicken on a Stick!

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Bob Robinson owns Manhattan’s Restaurant of Lockport and had to be very happy when his restaurant was singled out for an award.

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By late Saturday afternoon — the folks at Manhattan’s Restaurant of Lockport learned they had won the New York Award (as selected by State Senator Mark Grisanti) for their Pistachio Encrusted Chicken on a Stick!

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For the first time this year, several popular food trucks were parked among the food vendors on Delaware. In previous years they had been confined to one area.

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I was assigned to judge the food this year at the Saigon Cafe from Buffalo’s Elmwood Avenue.

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These were the items I sampled at the Saigon Cafe. Each one was terrific. I especially enjoyed the Vietnamese Spring Roll, but the Healthy Choice option of the Vietnamese Fresh Summer Roll was also very good.

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The food from Alex’s Place in Batavia was on my list to judge this year.

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I LOVED every item offered by Alex’s Place. They are known for their ribs, but how can you go wrong with Memphis Mac and Cheese!

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Enjoy the historic and dramatic architecture of Buffalo as you enjoy your food.

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Just Pizza knows what serving pizza to Buffalo is all about.

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A fun photo opp offered to all visitors during Taste of Buffalo’s 30th Anniversary. How often do you get to look like you are jumping out of a cake?!!

As part of Taste’s 30th anniversary celebration, Tops presented a cake made out of colorful cupcakes!

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How long can cupcakes last on a hot July day? They didn’t need to last long before the crowd closed in.

Visitors had been patient, but now it was time to taste the free cupcakes!

The crew at Landies Candies knows everything is better covered in chocolate!

Landies Candies was one of the 5 food vendors I was asked to judge and I saved it for last!

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As part of the News Four report that aired on Saturday — I showed the chocolate dipped strawberries from Landies Candies…and I wasn’t the only one who liked them. They were judged the Best Overall Item at this year’s Taste of Buffalo!!

A variety of entertaining activities popped up among the food vendors.

In the middle of all the food today was a very popular Popsicle giveaway.

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A crowd was lined up to purchase the refreshing Mango Smoothie offered again this year by the Clarence Center Cafe.

We were happy to see so many visitors at the Channel 4 tent on Niagara Square.

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If you look closely at this picture, you can see that Steve Vesey’s wife, Tiffany, is showing their 3 children where Daddy’s picture is on the prize wheel. Visitors paid a dollar a spin, with all money going to support Child and Family Services.

Just having fun at the Channel 4 tent!

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Steve Vesey and his beautiful family!

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We heard shouts of joy from the Carmine’s Restaurant tent when they were presented with this award for serving the Best Seafood Item at the 2013 Taste of Buffalo!

Just one look at this crowd shows you why Buffalo is boasting it has the biggest 2-day food festival in the nation: Taste of Buffalo!


After a Cold Front, some Temporary Relief from the Humidity…and some Dry Weather

July 9th, 2013 at 2:06 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

A few spotty showers during this humid afternoon may become a bit more numerous later today, especially if some sunny breaks develop–at which point some rumbles of thunder may develop. Humidity has actually crept up a bit higher today, making for some discomfort even with ordinary temperatures in the 70s. A few shwrs/tshwrs with sparse coverage may still be around occasionally overnight, with continued uncomfortable humidity. The metro area morning low will be around 72.

On Wednesday, the approach of the 1st of 2 cold fronts will help trigger a couple of rounds of SCT Shwrs & TStorms. SPC continues to have our viewing area at Slight Risk for Severe Tstorms, where the primary threat (if any become severe) would be damaging straight line winds. If we keep overcast skies, the reduced heating would make the Severe risk strictly marginal. With some sunshine, the threat would increase somewhat, especially to the S & E of a developing brisk Lake Erie breeze. That breeze may “shadow” the metro area and a large part of the Niagara Frontier with less chance for tstorms due to the cooling stability from the Lake. The Shwrs & Tstorms will gradually diminish from NW to SE Wednesday evening. Thursday will be somewhat less humid, but a secondary cold front may trigger a few minor showers in the afternoon. Behind that front will be still less humid air, which will stay with us into Saturday. During the weekend, temperatures will begin warming. Saturday will be the more comfortable day to stroll The Taste, with moderate (not high) humidity beginning to build on Sunday, along with a high of 84 or 85. The mugginess will be more noticeable by Monday. However, excepting those few possible lighter showers Thursday afternoon, we should be rainfree into next Tuesday once we get by these cold fronts and their temporary relief from the humidity.

As a warm ridge of high pressure rebuilds during the weekend, temperatures will run above average beginning Sunday for most days through next week. There are no signs of  a “heat wave” or anything extreme, but the temporary cooling troughiness over the Great Lakes will not be sticking around for long as 500 mb heights go back above average over much of the country, including our part of it. Initially, this next stretch of mugginess next week looks more stable and less likely to deliver large convective outbreaks into WNY. However, there is some suggestion the flow aloft may again veer from SW to WNW later next week, which would allow short waves to return some rounds of showers & tshowers to the Great Lakes. As you’d guess, there is the usual uncertainty with guesstimating precipitation  8-10 days out. But at least I’m not seeing signs of a return to that trough-to-the-west and Bermuda High to the east, pumping up huge amounts of Gulf water vapor.