Wannstedt’s role should be intriguing

January 21st, 2011 at 8:05 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

There’s a lot to like about the Bills move to hire Dave Wannstedt, as Assistant Head Coach/Inside LBs Coach.  It shows a team that’s ready to take the next step, after one terribly difficult 2010 season.

It also demonstrates that Head Coach Chan Gailey recognizes that he needs help on the defensive side of the ball-an overseer.

The Bills shoddy defense last season was mostly the product of their serious talent deficiencies.  But they could also use an experienced, practiced eye on the defensive side of the ball.    Gailey obviously recognizes that if he’s going to continue to play the major role that he does with the offense, he needs to let somebody else micro-manage the defense.

Ryan Fitzpatrick told me a few weeks ago that the best thing about Chan Gailey as a coach, is that he’s in every meeting with the quarterbacks.  That’s how much Gailey tends to his offense during the course of the practice week.

On game day, Gailey is the Bills offensive play caller, which in and of itself is an amazing feat.  But imagine how tough it must have been last season for Gailey to call the plays, then evaluate what went right and what went wrong when the offense came off the field.  While other Offensive Coordinators and play callers were busy looking at still pictures of formations and trading ideas with the quarterback, Gailey’s attention had to be pulled towards his players on the field–the defense.

Now, with Wannstedt in the fold, Gailey will no doubt feel much more comfortable making offensive adjustments on the sidelines, knowing that he has another set of eyes watching how the Bills defense performs.

It’s a step forward and a good sign for the Bills.  Hopefully it’s just one step in a productive offseason for the team.


NYS Ins. Dept. Complaint Hotline

January 20th, 2011 at 6:02 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Customers say they paid their monthly insurance premiums, but a local broker is nowhere to be found.

You pay your monthly insurance premium on time, then almost a month later, you get a notice in the mail that your insurance is canceled. That’s what is happening with some clients of a Williamsville insurance broker who has disappeared, and a growing crowd would like to know where he is.

The door is locked, and the lights are out at the Lorigo Insurance Group in Williamsville. Nearby businesses say they haven’t seen the owner, Kevin Lorigo, for about two weeks, which is a shocker for customer Lea Fish.

Despite the shutdown, the Lorigo Agency is still licensed, and the State Insurance Department is investigating. If you were affected by Lorigo’s sudden closure, state insurance officials want to hear from you. Their Consumer Hotline is 1-800-342-3736. You can also file a complaint online.


An overused phrase, but something of a ‘Bitter Blast’ enroute, with Blowing Snow and some Lake Snow.

January 20th, 2011 at 3:19 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

After a fully manageable synoptic/widespread snow develops overnight and into early Friday, some Lake Effect Snow will develop during Friday from eastern Niagara County into Orleans County. And, even with considerable ice cover on Lk Erie, there is still some open water in the eastern half, which will be sufficient for Lake Snow to develop on a strengthening westerly flow across Ski Country and the srn tier. With winds increasing to 15-25+ during Friday, Blowing Snow will become a problem–especially on north-south roads–and a Bitter Wind Chill result, dropping into the subzero range. Outside of the Lake Effect Snow, Snow Shwrs will bring another 1-2″ across the rest of WNY Friday, on top of tonight’s 1-4″ amounts (from north to south). A Very Cold weekend follows, with night time clouds probably keeping too many locations from dropping below zero. Winds will not be as gusty as during Friday, fortunately. Ski conditions should be excellent and snow mobile trails will be getting into good shape, too.


Where exactly do the current temperatures and conditions come from?

January 20th, 2011 at 11:25 am by under 4 Warn Weather

Automated Surface Observing System, or ASOS

The current conditions are a crucial part to every forecast.  Temperature, sky cover, wind direction, etc. are reported by trained weather spotters, the public, and automated systems (typically located at an airport).  In fact, our graphics system takes in automated readings from local airports across New York, Pennsylvania, and Canada and generates many of our graphics using them.

Automated Surface Observing Systems, or ASOS, are the most common automated weather systems.  Across the United States there are around 1000 federally funded systems that observe temperature, dew point temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, cloud height, horizontal and vertical visibility, weather, and accumulated precipitation.  Generally updated once an hour, the systems can take up to twelve reports per hour depending on the severity of the weather.

ASOS only reports what is directly overhead.  So, unlike Doppler Radar, is doesn’t detect approaching storms.  It also can’t measure snowfall depth.  Therefore, a person (typically National Weather Service employee) must take this measurement and adjust any other bad data.  ASOS is helpful in determining if precipitation indicated on Doppler Radar is actually hitting the ground or not (known as Virga).  It also helps provide a general idea of the weather over a rather large area.

Radiosondes, buoys, and satellites also take information about what is currently happening in the atmosphere; at the surface and aloft.  All of this information is important because current conditions are combined with various algorithms to predict what will happen in the future.  So good information in gets you good information out.  Bad information in gets bad information out and a forecast that isn’t as reliable.

Click here to see New York’s ASOS network.


Help for domestic violence victims

January 18th, 2011 at 4:56 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Recent cases of domestic violence in western New York are raising concerns for women who feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

The time of the breakup can be the most dangerous time. That’s why the Family Justice Center has a dozen agencies under one roof to help people make a safety plan for those critical hours and days for those who try to break free from a controlling relationship.

You can reach the Family Justice Center by calling 558-SAFE. You can also find more information by following this link.


Still Another Colder than Average Week–except for One Day.

January 17th, 2011 at 2:50 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Temperatures will run below normal this week, except for Tuesday. The long advertised Brief Warmup will be here on Tuesday, accompanied by very limited moisture. There is only a chance of a little bit of sleet and freezing rain before dawn tomorrow and into the early part of the day (a somewhat better chance for the southern tier valleys). What little precip falls tomorrow may turn to just a little rain, and then back to a little snow tomorrow night and Wednesday–which probably won’t quite make it to “shovelable.” Thursday will be cold enough, but a reinforcing shot of arctic air will arrive for Friday and the weekend. By Thursday evening, a weak disturbance–but with good jetstream dynamics aloft–could bring a coating of snow into early Friday.

In the meantime, Lake Erie is now approaching 2/3 ice coverage, and will be icing rapidly this week. Nearly all of the still decent sized area of open water is in the eastern half.


Coldest Morning of the Season

January 17th, 2011 at 9:02 am by under 4 Warn Weather

Stubborn clouds across the Southern Tier and Northern Tier of PA elevated temperatures a bit in those areas overnight, but with those clouds clearing early this morning, even those spots have experienced more of a temperature drop.  The coldest readings were recorded across the Niagara Frontier where it was clear for much of the night.  The official overnight low tempearture at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport was one degree below zero.  The record low temperature for the date is -16 set in 1982.  Other overnight low temperatures from airport sites and weather spotters include: -9 Clarence Center, -8 Wales, -3 Williamsville, -8 Pavilion, -7 North Tonawanda, -6 Niagara Falls International Airport, and -2 at Dunkirk.  Keep in mind that temperatures will vary even within a few miles depending on elevation and cloud over this morning.  If you think it was cold in our region, it was much colder on the eastern side of the state with lows dipping to -30 at Barnes Corners and -24 at Watertown.  Expect some moderation in advance of a weak storm system overnight into Tuesday, but along with that a messy mix of precipitation is possible.


What exactly are those lines on MicroCast?

January 15th, 2011 at 8:46 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Hello WeatherWatch4 Blog world! I am going to try posts that differ from a forecast discussion and model analyzing.  I figured that you can check out the forecast on the weather site and if you have a question (about that or any weather topic) feel free to ask!

Super MicroCast and Future Watch are great visualization tools we show on-air.  They put the worded forecast into a picture.  But, have you ever noticed the white lines on the map?  Sometimes they are very close and other times far apart.  What are they?

In meteorology, these are called isobars or lines of equal pressure.   The word comes from isopleth, which in general is a line of equal value.  Think of a topographical map, elevation contours are used to depict 3D data in 2D.   Well in meteorology, isopleths are used to more plainly see weather patterns.

Certain weather maps depict different isopleths.  There are many different types of isopleths.   There are maps that show isotherms, lines of equal temperature, which help to show fronts, or patterns of warmer or colder air.  Maps can show isodrosotherms, lines of equal dew points, which depict the amount of water vapor in the air or “humidity comfort factor”. Among others, there are isobars, what you see on Super MicroCast or Future Watch!  Tighter isobars generally indicate windier conditions and a change in the weather, such as an area of low pressure moving in.

Isopleths are drawn at constant intervals and there are very strict rules for isoplething!  Isobars are analyzed in millibars based on sea-level pressure (removes effect of elevation on pressure), starting at 1000mb.  Isobars are then drawn in 4mb increments around that first line.  At the lowest amount, you generally have an area of low pressure and an area of high pressure in the highest closed millibar isopleth.  Attached is an example.  The solid lines represent isobars.  This is the forecasted surface map and thickness at 1PM on Saturday afternoon.  So, the next time you see Super MicroCast or Future Watch you’ll know exactly what the lines represent!


Buffalo Sabres Foundation

January 15th, 2011 at 5:23 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Bidding is underway for jerseys worn by players during Buffalo Sabres games.

The “game worn” jerseys are from the first 40 games of the season, home and away, and include a certificate of authenticity.

The auction runs through a week from Sunday.

Proceeds will benefit the Buffalo Sabres foundation.


Why the Bills Should Consider Cam Newton

January 14th, 2011 at 5:58 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Cam Newton (AP Photo)

Cam Newton made it official Thursday night.  He’s now in the NFL Draft, which makes him a possibility for the Bills to pick at #3.  There will be differing opinions on whether the Heisman Trophy winner is a legit NFL prospect and a legit top five pick. 

The Bills are likely to consider a quarterback at #3, based on such a high pick and the importance of the position.  We don’t know yet whether they feel like Newton is worthy.  News 4 Sports Director John Murphy reported a few weeks ago that his team sources say the Bills do like Newton and his skills.  Remember, Chan Gailey has had success with running, athletic quarterbacks (Kordell Stewart, Tyler Thigpen).

But here’s another reason why I think the Bills need to think very hard about taking a QB at #3, whether its Newton or Blaine Gabbert or whoever.

Look at the teams playing in the divisional round.  Of the eight, six are starting a quarterback drafted in the first round.  Tom Brady and Matt Hasselbeck are the only ones who were not top picks.  That’s not a coincidence.  To be successful, you almost have to have a premier signal caller.  Those usually only come in the first round.  Throw in the teams that played in the wild card round, and eight of the twelve teams started a first round pick at quarterback.

The NY Times Fifth Down Blog  first got me thinking about this connection with an item earlier in the season.  Yes, there will always be the Tom Brady’s of the world.  Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick (a #7 pick) is a solid starter.  But to be an elite team, you need an elite quarterback.  Those mostly come in the first round.

So whether its Cam Newton or Gabbert or Ryan Mallett, I expect Buddy Nix to seriously consider taking a quarterback.  He hopes he’s only picking this high once.  But  he knows you must get a premier player, and nothing’s more premier than a quartetback.