At Midweek, Friday looks like a Nail Biter

February 23rd, 2011 at 2:41 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

There is still a “wide spread” among models and ensemble members as to the path of Friday’s storm system.  But there does seem to be more of a tendency to either snow or mixed precipitation  turning to snow, with fewer indicators today of rain. The European model brings the 850 mb zero isotherm close enough to introduce the possibility of sleet mixing in during the morning, while the GFS is colder with less total precip (but what there is would be all snow). The NAM is more gung ho for mainly snow and stronger NE winds.

The majority of winter storms have a fair to large amount of uncertainty attached to them, and this storm is no exception. The Monday storm looks more likely to be entirely rain for the bulk of it s heavier precipitation with a changeover to snow following a cold frontal passage. The GFS depiction would even put us in a favorable setup for some convection in the warm sector ahead of the cold front, with a favorable jet structure and placement for thunder. This storm will be followed by a sharp but brief cooldown for the start of March.

Weather Settles Down for a Few Days before Things Get Unsettled (Again)

February 21st, 2011 at 1:15 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

After a storm which left stripes of heavy, moderate, and light snow (from south to north), wintry cold has returned for a couple of days. Temperatures will moderate more noticeably by Thursday, but not get so warm as late last week. Once again, considerable uncertainty exists as of this posting on a storm system which may impact us Thursday night into Friday. There is too much spread among models and ensembles to have much confidence on precipitation type or amounts with that system. Another storm system may bring us additional snow by Sunday. There is higher confidence that early March will get off to a Cold start, with temperatures running below average. The storm track looks to be active again by week’s end and into next week.

Deadline Decisions

February 20th, 2011 at 10:56 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Darcy Regier (AP Photo)

Tuesday, Terry Pegula will officially become Darcy Regier’s boss.  It won’t take long for the two to establish a relationship, and for Pegula to put some kind of stamp on the team.  The NHL trade deadline is next Monday, February 28th.  What the Sabres do will give us some insight into how Pegula will run the team, and what Regier does will give Pegula some insight into whether he stays as general manager.

Now, I don’t believe that there will be noticable changes this quickly.  Pegula needs time to assess the organization and find his way as an owner.  But we may be able to pull some hints based on how active the Sabres are next Monday.  Do they dump some vets with expiring contracts, like Connolly, Montador or Regier?  That would signify a more conservative approach of building from within.  Do they acquire any new players with existing contracts?  That would be a good sign of agressiveness and loosened budgets.  Do that acquire players in expiring contracts, despite comments from Regier to the contrary.  That would indicate a loss of power for the GM. 
     I don’t have a problem not playing the free agent to be game.  That hasn’t worked here, and barely anywhere.  I would like the team to be agressive and bring in a player who can help them now and next year.  Even if he costs some cash.  That will bring on a new attitude, and tell us that Pegula means business.  Anybody who wants Connolly or Rivet can have them.  That’s just smart use of useless parts.  Montador? A nice, but aging player.  I don’t know that I want to build around him, but he’s worth keeping at the right price. 
      Ultimately, I think Pegula’s impact will be seen in how much the Sabres move to re-sign existing players like Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers.  We learned the hard lesson about letting good players walk. I want my owner to never let that happen again.
     So don’t make any conclusions based on next Monday.  But it will start to paint the picture of the new owner/fan/savior of the Sabres.

Report cards issued for schools in NYS

February 17th, 2011 at 3:59 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

How is your school educating its students, and at what cost?

The State Education Department has issued its annual school report cards. They cover three key areas: educational accountability, test results for proficiency exams, and fiscal accountability.

You can look up the report cards here.

Pillow fight invades San Fran

February 15th, 2011 at 8:07 am by under 4 Warn Weather

The annual “Feathers of Fury” pillow fight invaded San Francisco’s waterfront over the weekend.

Hundreds gathered to pelt and smack their closest bedfellows with the weapon of choice, pillows!

The pillow party is an underground movement that can be followed online.

You’ll Need a Scorecard to Follow the Temperatures

February 14th, 2011 at 10:29 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

around here for the next couple of weeks, that is. While the blocking pattern near Greenland has drifted far off, the flow of milder Pacific air across the lower 48 will be interrupted at irregular intervals by a train of vigorous waves in the mid-level flow and low pressure/storm systems at the surface. Each time one of these waves approaches, temperatures will get pumped up on a brisk southerly or SWly flow, and then dragged down behind each wave, following the passage of a cold front. In other words, ups and downs. The downs will bring quick hits of seasonably cold temperatures, but nothing with the persistence we experienced for nearly all of December, January, and the first week and a half of February. At this point, the average storm track for these vigorous waves will not be bringing any heavier precip this week. But it’s possible we’ll see increased precipitation next week.

Bottom line: with all the ups and downs I’ve mentioned, when all is said and done temperatures averaged out over the next 16 day period will be milder than they were during the last 16 day period. Not exactly an early spring (sorry, ground hog), but a far cry from what we’ve been through.

Gronk Nation at the 2011 Auto Show

February 11th, 2011 at 7:42 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

Rob Ray along with Dan, Rob, and Chris Gronkowski at the Buffalo Auto Show

It was like standing in the land of giants Thursday night at the Buffalo Auto Show. I ran into Dan, Rob and Chris Gronkowski just after they had taped a segment of “The Enforcers,” hosted by Rob Ray and Reuben Brown. Reuben was not there when we snapped this photo, but that was one less giant in the picture! Dan, Rob, and Chris, of East Amherst, made some history this season as three brothers playing for three different NFL teams.

The cars are the stars drawing crowds at the Buffalo Auto Show

There was a noticeable increase in the number of people we spotted at the Buffalo Convention Center this year. That always begs the question, are folks buying or just looking? Paul Stasiak, President of the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association, tells me the dealers are re-energized this year. He says: “I think people have older cars, credit is a little easier to get, the rates are very, very attractive, and the stock market is coming back. So, there’s a little bit more optimism.”

C’mon Down! To the Powder Keg Festival, that is….

February 10th, 2011 at 7:01 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Between the Pond Hockey Tournament, the Powder Keg Festival, and great ski conditions, this should be an active weekend for WNYers who want to hit the outdoors. While temperatures will moderate  some, especially on Sunday, the bigger warmup will hold off until around Wednesday. That should preserve nature’s setting for all these events and activities. At the Powder Keg Festival, the INTERNATIONAL WEATHER EXPERIENCE CENTER will have a real presence this weekend, inside the Kids Pavilion/Family Tent with a fine display and Board staff members to meet the public, and explain our vision for this fantastic waterfront project. In fact, we’ll be looking for volunteers to aid us in accelerating our progress in many facets of this complex project.

I’ll be there, at our display, Saturday afternoon from 1:30 until 5 to chat with folks, so I hope some of you come down.

Here is the link to the expanded Powder Keg Festival, locations, programs, etc:

A Super Win for WNY

February 7th, 2011 at 9:24 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

James Starks (AP Photo)

No, the Bills didn’t win the Super Bowl.  That would really send WNY into an endless celebration.  But area football fans should feel a sense of pride, after watching James Starks and the Packers win the Lombardi Trophy.  It’s the kind of feel-good football story that we’ve lacked around here.

I have to believe that a lot of WNYers were rooting for the Packers, just because of #44.   I know I was.  James is a true representative of us all.  He grew up in Niagara Falls, played college football at UB and still calls this area home.  Unlike other area natives who played college football elsewhere, James never left WNY and WNY never left him.  All during the runup to the game, he talked about how proud he was of the Falls and what it meant to bring some of the spotlight to the people of his hometown.

It also helps that James is one of the nicest, most pleasant, most sincere athletes I’ve ever known.  That’s not just my opinion. Ask anyone who knows him.  For all of his athletic talents and achievements, he never shows an ego, never big-times anyone and never forgets where he came from.  He was like that when helping NFHS win a state basketball championship, like that when helping UB win a MAC Championship, and like that when helping the Packers win an NFL championship.  That sentence is not a coincidence.  Its a tribute to what James brings to every team he’s ever been on.

So hold your heads high, football fans.  While you’re team didn’t win the Super Bowl, one of your own did.  It couldn’t have happend to a better person, and a better town.

Free CO detector giveaway

February 7th, 2011 at 9:19 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Members of the Amanda Hansen Foundation will be distributing free carbon monoxide detectors on Saturday, February 19th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Roy’s Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. The facility is located at 140 Cooper Avenue in Tonawanda.