The Northeast Weather Blog...

PA summer outlook recap...

By: Blizzard92, 12:06 AM GMT on August 30, 2008

Summer Outlook (2008)...


(2007 Summer thunderstorm damage to my next-door neighbors)

First Thoughts...
Well it is hard to believe that summer is almost here. The winter seemed to fly by, and now already it is mid April with 80degree temperatures. Buds on trees are appearing, with tulips already at full bloom here in the southern half of Pennsylvania. Grass is green around the area even though the recent lack of rain. Vegetables gardens have all cool season crops in the ground. Mountains reappearing with color instead of the dull, brown which coats the mountains all winter. Already oriental trees have peaked and starting to bud back to normal leaves that stay all summer. And also already the first taste of severe weather has hit parts of Pennsylvania with some small hail and some minor wind damage. Thunderstorms have been pretty common across the state with many areas having already seen 3-5 thunderstorms. Local parks are busy during dusk with baseball games and other sports. It sure is looking like Spring. But already almost a month into Spring, Summer is right around the corner coupled with severe weather and extreme heat. With global warming activists causing all the stir about rising temperatures, many people fear another dangerously hot summer is looming. But in my outlook I do not really see another sweltering summer this year.

Revisiting typical summer time weather threats...
Well just a quick review on some of the dangers of weather that people face in the summer. The three main ones are heat, severe weather, and hurricanes. Now here in Pennsylvania we really do not see any direct hits from hurricanes, just the remnants. But severe weather and heat waves can be big threats here in Pennsylvania. First about heat... When high temperatures combined with high humidity dangerous heat indexes can be reached. In the winter it is wind chill and in the summer it is heat index. The heat index is not the actual temperature but it what an animal and human feel on the skin. When the heat index reaches certain standards then advisories may be posted. Below are the thresholds for the advisories.

(Courtesy of NOAA)
Below are the official definitions from NOAA of common advisories found when severe weather strikes in the summer time...
-SEVERE THUNDERSTORM or TORNADO WATCH Severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds, and/or tornadoes are possible, but the exact time and location of storm development is still uncertain. A watch means be prepared for storms.
-SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING A severe thunderstorm is imminent or occurring; it is either detected by weather radar or reported by storm spotters. A severe thunderstorm is one that produces winds 58 mph or stronger and/or hail 3/4 inch in diameter or larger. A warning means to take shelter.
-TORNADO WARNING A tornado is imminent or occurring; it is either detected by weather radar or reported by storm spotters. A warning means to take shelter.
-FLOOD WATCH Conditions are favorable for flash flooding. A watch means to get prepared for possible flooding.
-FLASH FLOOD WARNING Life-threatening flooding is imminent or occurring; it is either detected by weather radar, indicated by stream gauges, or reported by storm spotters. A flash flood is a flood that occurs very quickly; it is caused by heavy rainfall over a short period of time or from a dam break. A warning means to leave low-lying or flood prone areas.

Discussion for outlook for Summer 2008...
The major key player in the summer forecasts is the La Nina. Here is an update on the La Nina. The La Nina has weakened from strong to moderate intensity. Here are the latest SST anomalies in the central Pacific...

(Courtesy of NOAA)
These anomalies have warmed significantly and now only a small area has anomalies 1degree below normal. The cooler waters of the central Pacific are what leads to La Nina patterns. In El Nino situations it is the opposite effect in which the central Pacific is warmer than normal. Based on the latest trends the La Nina is supposed to weaken, but still continue for the next three months. Here are the latest model forecasts for three-month periods...

Typical La Nina patterns have a great effect on wintertime climate in Pennsylvania. But they do also affect the weather in the summer time. Some climatologists indicate possible trends to a weak El Nina come next fall, which may indicate a colder and snowier winter. But lets first get a hold on the summer forecast. Here are the average effects of a moderate La Nina in the June, July, and August time period...

(Courtesy of NOAA)

(Courtesy of NOAA)
The only difference I believe we will see is we will have a weak La Nina and this will bring normal to cooler than normal temperatures with average precipitation. And I know many people are concerned about more drought conditions developing in Pennsylvania during the summer, but I do not think we need to be too concerned, expect for the northwest, which will see below normal precipitation. Here is the latest drought outlook...

(Courtesy of NOAA)
Here are the official outlooks from the Climate Prediction center; they indicate a pretty average summer here in Pennsylvania.

(Courtesy of NOAA)

(Courtesy of NOAA)

My forecasts for the 2008 Summer...
Temperature- As for temperatures I believe conditions will be slightly below normal in the northwest with normal conditions across the central third of Pennsylvania. In the far southeast I believe it will be warmer than normal, mostly thanks to the urban heat island affect the Philadelphia has.

The sun is also showing signs of going into a slower sun spot cycle, which leads to cooler conditions. Now I am not saying there will not be extreme heat. Because I do believe there will be one or two heat waves (3 days of 90degree temperatures). But I do not expect any 100degree temperature weather.

Precipitation- Now I know many people are concerned about drought conditions developing again this summer. As last summer most of Pennsylvania was under a drought watch. Last summer was an unusual year because not one tropical storms' remnants moved into the area. When the remnants move into a region typically a widespread soaking rain occurs. As for this year, precipitation will be normal to slightly below normal. With the only above normal precipitation in the Laural Highlands. This is due to the busy pulse thunderstorm season in the middle of the summer.

Overall though I do not expect any widespread dry conditions anywhere across the state of Pennsylvania.

Severe Weather- As for severe weather, I do expect another busy season. The jet stream appears it may be favorable for a west of the state storm track, putting us in the warm sector creating large outbreaks of severe weather. Tornadoes may also be common too this summer. As for tropical systems, leading hurricane experts believe it may be an active year for an east coast storm track. If storms do hit the east coast they typically affect the state of Pennsylvania is some way. So be aware of this come late summer into fall.

Final thoughts...
This is an experimental outlook, and by no means going to be a fully accurate account of what the summer will bring. I do specialize in long-term forecasts for seasonal outlooks, but I decided to look at some factors and come upon an outlook. This is more of a learning experience. Come the end of Summer I will reopen this blog and take a look at what went correct, and what went wrong. This will be a reflection and help me learn to make better outlooks for the future to come. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe summer!

Summer Forecast

Updated: 12:04 AM GMT on September 01, 2008

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Cool weather pattern continues...

By: Blizzard92, 3:33 PM GMT on August 20, 2008

"Afternoon Thoughts" (Updated 8/20)
Good mid August morning!!! Yes popular to contrary belief it is still August. I wrote a very similar opening to my afternoon thoughts section back in May as temperatures were also well below normal for May standards. So we had a cold entrance to warm weather and a cold entrance to the end of warm weather. Morning lows this morning were right on forecast with lows getting down into the mid 30s in the northern Pennsylvania Mountains. So far the coldest temperature I have seen out of an official reporting weather station is 37 at Bradford. But I am sure some mountaintops in that region got into the mid 30s with probably patchy frost. Also there were lots of reports of dense fog in the river valleys up north as the temperature contrast between water and ground was so significant. Elsewhere most areas got into the low 50s and 40s. I got as low as 47degrees, which broke the record of 50degrees set for the date. So where has August gone? I have no idea. It seems like August never even began. I have only seen one 90degree day and that was on August 1. Philadelphia has only seen two 90degree days and they average 7.5 in a typical August. Temperatures are ranging from 2degrees below normal in the east to up to 6degrees below normal in the Laural Highlands. Some of the higher elevations have failed to hit 85degrees and above all August. Typically when I think of August, I think of blistering and scorching heat with high humidity. But not this year. I have seen unusual things in the past couple of days including Canadian Geese flying south already in their large triangle flocks. I have also seen some of the smaller maple trees begin to turn red. Last year was a very unusual fall in which the leaves peak color did not occur until November. But I think this year will be a much earlier year. Now the early color of the leaves can be blamed on the recent lack of rain for the most part and the cooler temperatures. But as for the lack of strong sunrays changing the leaves color, that does not occur until late September and October. As many know I am very much looking forward to the start of fall. There always seems to be a renewed sense of happiness and spirit in people as the temperatures slowly become slightly crisper and the beautiful colors in the leaves begin to show. But then the depression sets in for lots of people, as the long and cold winter is ahead right after the holidays. I always consider winter my favorite season, but it just may be a tie with Autumn. I love all of the pumpkin festivals to walk around in and see the fall decorations at the local flower nurseries. So what will the season of Fall bring… My early thoughts are a pretty cool fall with temperatures; along with possible early snows in November along with early frosts in September. I do not think any periods of very warm weather look likely probably until next Spring. Now that doesn’t mean we will not be in the mid 80s sometimes, but I am starting to doubt whether we get to 90degrees again in most areas, excluding Philadelphia. Anyways, enjoy this weather as another cold night is ahead. Have a great day!!!

"Regional Radar"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Regional Satellite"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)

"Regional Advisories"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Short Term Forecast" (Updated 8/24) (Monday through Tuesday night)
More of the same weather pattern is in store for the short term forecast. A strong cold front will be moving across the state for Monday. Unusually dry and cold air will follow the front as another steep upper level trough moves in the region. Evidence of this is shown as frost advisories and freezing warnings are out for the upper Midwest. Models generally print out less than .1inch of rain with the frontal passage. Moisture is limited and instability is quite marginal with CAPE values less than 1000 j/kg. A few showers and thunderstorms could occur with an isolated storm possibly being on the strong side. But overall activity should be isolated at best with maybe one area seeing .75inches of rain with the strongest of thunderstorm core. Highs for Monday will be in the low to mid 80s maybe hitting 90degrees near Philadelphia. PWATs will remain near normal deviation before dropped 3 deviations below normal by Monday night. By monday night the front will move out to sea. Dewpoints will drop in the upper 40s and winds will calm. Skies will be partly cloudy. Radiational cooling will take into effect for Monday night with lows dropping into the upper 40s in the north and mid 50s in the far south. Some morning river valley fog could occur Tuesday morning as the temperature contrast between water and air will be quite extreme. Tuesday looks to be a beautiful day with clear skies and a nice northwest breeze. Temperatures Tuesday will not even make it up into the 80s for most areas. Winds will calm and skies will clear Tuesday night making for quite a cold night. Temperatures could drop into the 40s as far south as the turnpike with possible upper 30s across the far northern tier. I cannot rule out a patch frost also in the deep valleys. Again more river valley and ground fog forming late Tuesday night.

"Current Surface Map and Weekly History of Jet Stream Position"

(Courtesy of Weather Underground)

"Long Term Forecast" (Updated 8/24)
The long term pattern is continuing to look very quiet weatherwise with drier than normal conditions and cooler than normal temperatures. The computer models continue to push several troughs through the region and then by early September it appears as if temperatures will become near normal as conditions become zonal as the PNA and NAO both become negative. No real sign of any major rainfall coming. Maybe some of the remnants of Fay. Areas in northcentral Pennsylvania have now been put as dry conditions on the CPC drought monitor. Here is a quick recap of the coming week. Wednesday through Wednesday night look to be very nice days with well below normal temperatures. Clouds will begin to move in from west to east early Thursday morning thanks to the remnants of Fay. Thursday through Friday the weather looks unsettled as rain showers overspread the region. There still is high uncertainty on whether or not Fay actually affects the region, so this will need to be monitored. By next weekend another deep trough moves over the region as indicated by both the EURO and GFS. The EURO shows signs of a cut-off low forming in southern Canada during this time which would keep temperatures below normal, but keep the weather unsettled with daily chances of diurnal showers and weak thunderstorms. Thunderstorms will probably contain hail if this threat does in fact occur. Looking way into the long term GFS by the second week of August it looks like more troughs continue to dive down out of Canada keeping temperatures back below normal. GFS keeps precipitation chances pretty low for the extended term.

"Wildfire Outlook" (Updated 8/20)
Well as we begin to enter the season of Autumn, the Pennsylvania forest fire season begins. Dry leaves covering the ground along with dry humidity and gusty northwest winds are the perfect variables for wildfire development. I did hear just last week that a small forest fire occurred in eastern Pennsylvania. I am not sure where, but I did hear it was caused by careless campers. Please remember to act responsibly when out camping in the woods to prevent careless fires from forming. Looking ahead at the end of this week through the weekend, conditions remain dry along. But winds will remain light and dewpoints will be on the rise. It does not appear as if any natural fire formation should occur. Still though take precautions when out in the woods. Looking across the United States the highest fire threat is over the state of Wyoming as conditions are ripe for development. So overall another quiet wildfire outlook. Here again are the fire criteria for development in Pennsylvania... Link.

Criteria for rapid initiation and spread of wildfires in PA:

1. Winds must be sustained at 15 mph (13 knots) for two hours or more, and

2. Minimum Relative Humidities (which usually occur in the afternoon) must be 30 percent or less, and

3. 10-hour Fuel Moistures must be 15 percent or less (and expected to remain there for two or more days).

"Fire Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Gardening Outlook" (Updated 8/20)
For the gardening outlook, conditions remain very dry over Pennsylvania. Well below normal precipitation has been recorded this month across much of Pennsylvania. Some areas have seen less than a half-inch of rain. You can see my rain statistics below. It appears as if watering will be necessary for the next couple of days as northwest winds and dewpoints in the 40s really dry the ground out. As for warm weather crops, conditions will stay cool along with cool nights so they will not fair well. I have already begun to dump some of my pots of Petunias. As for my vegetable garden here is an update… Well I changed some of my chicken wire fence around to help protect against the groundhog and it seems to be working very well. I took my weak stakes out of the ground holding the fence up and took the trunks of small trees I chopped up last year and sawed down wooden spikes at the bottom of the trunk. Then I used the trunks and branches to put around the chicken wire fence surrounding my garden. This is much more sturdy then before. Then I took a staple gun and stapled around the fence to my wooden raised bed gardens. Talk about making use of your resources. On to my plants… My lettuce is growing wonderfully in this cool weather and it definitely going to make for a great harvest throughout the fall. I planted butter crunch seeds. My spinach is slowly dying and I am not sure why. It never really grew and now it is turning brown. I may buy some more spinach seeds and replant. My tomatoes are finishing up their crop. I have just picked about all of the romas except for maybe a dozen. My pepper plants are continuing to grow, but the actual peppers seem stunted in growth thanks to the cold weather we have been having. My cabbage and cauliflower plants are still recovering from the groundhog damage. I may have to replant new cabbage this week. The cucumber plant has really taken off, I cannot figure out why. There are at least a dozen cucumbers growing on it. As for the zucchini, I only have one out of six left and it is still producing very slowly. But the actual zucchini growth has stopped because of the cold weather. My blueberry bushes are still looking healthy. I did dig up my carrots, about 100 of them the other day and I am hoping to plant a late season harvest of radishes in their place. My herbs are doing great. I have so much parsley and basil; I do not know what to do with it. My garlic chives taste great, but they sure do grow slowly. And lastly my scallions are growing wonderfully and much faster than they did in the Spring.

"Soil Moisture Anomalies and 5-day Precipitation Amounts from Hydro Prediction Center"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Severe Weather Outlook" (Updated 8/20)
Severe weather chances remain very dim over the next couple of days. We are in a very quiet weather pattern controlled by an abnormally strong high pressure to the north keeping all weather systems out of the Northeast. The best chance I see of thunderstorms is with the next frontal passage for Sunday and Monday as a strong trough moves through. I really have not looked into any severe weather chances with this front, but shear looks to be marginal along with marginal thermodynamics. But it is still early on, so things could change. As of right now Fay does not look like it will have much of an impact on our weather as it continues to do loops in the southeast for the next seven days. Overall this severe weather season as a whole has been pretty quiet across Pennsylvania. The only thing unusual has been the abnormal amounts of hail. Some areas have seen so much hail that they had to shovel it. I guess that is part in thanks to the continuous cold pocket aloft. Severe weather season is quickly coming to a close, as soon thermodynamics do not become as extreme. But still I have seen some nasty severe weather outbreaks during the fall months. And we all remember the severe weather of December 1, 2006. So still severe weather can occur during the next couple of months, but it is definitely not as likely.

"Severe Weather Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Monthly Outlook" (August)
Here is my experimental monthly outlook for the month of August. July has already come to an end and here is a little recap. Overall the month came out about normal for temperatures along with varying areas of precipitation anomalies. Some areas saw normal, below normal, or above normal precipitation. Overall my forecast turned out very well with my call for normal temperatures and normal precipitation. I am very pleased with how everything turned out. Now we look ahead to the last of the meteorological summer months. August is known for its complexes of thunderstorms and scorching heat. So what can be expected... Will it be hot and dry? Will it be cool and wet? Well below is my look for what I believe will be the August weather for this year...

Temperature- Looking at temperatures as we enter the month heat will be across much of Pennsylvania with temperatures above normal and in the 90s. But then a trough moves back into the region, and by next week the models really bring in a deep trough over the eastern sections of the nation. Looking at the NAO it looks to be staying negative through the entire month of August, which is indicative of eastern trough development. Now on the other side of the nation in the west the PNA will be moving towards a positive state, which correlates to a ridge over the west and trough over the east. So looking at the first part of the month will be warmer than normal temperatures followed by cooler than normal temperatures the last two thirds of the month. So overall temperatures should average about normal when it is all said and done and the warm air balances with the cool air.

Precipitation- Precipitation should be above normal for much of the state for August 2008. An active jet looks to be stationed over the region with first large MCSs moving along the northern perimeter of the ridge associated with warm air advection. This will bring heavy rain with these thunderstorm complexes. Then with the sudden pattern change from ridge to trough a large cold front should bring in some heavy thunderstorms. By the time the trough moves in many short waves will rotate in on the northwest flow. The driest area will probably be in eastern Pennsylvania with the wettest in northwestern Pennsylvania. But overall most areas should be above normal. This will be good for our lawns and gardens. Looking at drought conditions across the state all areas are not in any threat of a drought in the future.

"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Tropical Update" (Updated 8/28)
Tropics are surely heating up fast. The African wave train is in high gear and the Caribbean is fastly threatened by approaching tropical systems. There is a lot of details that involve these tropical systems, but this section will just be an overall summary of the tropics. First off I want to start off with the latest on Gustav, which is currently located over the island of Jamaica moving west slowly at 5mph. Pressure though has been steadily declining to near 985mb and sustained winds are near 70mph with gusts over hurricane force. Currently models continue show rapid development as the island moves between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba. Water temperatures are above normal across the southern parts of the Gulf of Mexico and shear values are low below 5knots. All factors favor continued development. Water temperatures though are slightly lower than previous years along the southeast coastline. As high pressure remains over Florida and a trough digs down from the Midwest lifting Gustav northward. I expect Gustav to become a major hurricane as it moves northward. Currently I am looking at a landfall across western areas of Louisiana and eastern Texas. Shear levels slightly increase later in the period, so if the storm slows towards land, then it will gradually weaken. I still expect Gustav to possibly be a major hurricane upon landfall and all interests across the southeast coastline will need to be monitored for a possible Tuesday landfall. Now onto our next tropical storm, Hanna which is churning across areas north of the Antilles continuing on a west-northwest track with sustained winds of 40mph. Hanna is suffering from some pretty significant shear values and dry air. An upper level low to the north is also impacting Hanna. One thing Hanna does have is a definite low level circulation with a strong swirl. Convection remains to the east of the center, but shows signs of moving over the center. I think Hanna will have a slow time strengthening as it meanders to the west. A blocking high to the north will keep Hanna moving irradically and at a slow pace. I still am not quite sure on a track, but the Florida coastline, Bahamas, southeast coast, Bermuda, and even Gulf of Mexico coastlines need to be alert. Another area of concern is a new Invest, 96L which is sitting off in the Bay of Campeche. This system could be a quick-hitting system as it develops and shortly moves westward into the coastline of Mexico. I would not be surprised if this became a marginal tropical storm right before landfall with the main threat being heavy rain. It will be interesting to see if this area of unsettled weather will have any impact on the track of Gustav. Lastly, the African wave train has started with a strong wave moving off the coastline which could develop in a few days. An area of unsettled weather in the middle of the Atlantic has some showers and thunderstorms, but shows little signs of developing under some high shear. So right now we have five areas of concern. Hold on, it could be a bumpy ride. Preparation is the key, and stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center. Anways have a great evening!!!

"Latest Tropical Systems including Sea Surface Temperatures"


"Regional Forecasts" (Updated 8/28) (Friday)
1. Eastern- (Allentown, Southern Poconos)-
Mostly cloudy to cloudy conditions. Occasional light rain. Drizzle throughout the morning. Very cool with well below normal temperatures. High 73-76.

2. South Central (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster)(my home)-
Overcast skies with occasional rain showers. An isolated thunderstorm cannot be ruled out. Very cool with below normal temperatures. Up to .1inches of rain is possible. High 72-75.

3. Southern- (Philadelphia)-
Mostly cloudy with an isolated afternoon thunderstorm or rain shower. Cool conditions. High 79-82.

4. Central- (State College)-
Overcast skies with some light rain showers. .1inches of rain is possible. Cool temperatures making for well below normal high temperatures. High 72-74.

5. Northern- (Erie, Bradford, Williamsport)-
Overcast skies with some light rain showers throughout much of the day. .1inches of rain is possible. Cool weather. Possible low cloud ceilings (1000ft). High 70-73.

6. Western- (Pittsburgh)-
Overcast skies with light to moderate rain showers. .1inches of rain is possible. Areas of morning fog (3-5miles vis.). Cool temperatures. High 71-74.

7. Johnstown, Altoona-
Cloudy with occasional rain showers. Up to .25inches of rain is possible. Cool temperatures with well below normal temperatures. Possible low cloud ceilings (800ft). Areas of morning fog (1-3mile vis.). High 70-73.

***Note on regional map, the number equals which region in Pennsylvania. I chose regions with similar climates, geography, and elevation to make my overall forecast for the region.


"Here north of Harrisburg 2008 statistics"
(Severe Weather Stats...)
Severe Thunderstorm Watches- 8
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings- 4
Tornado Watches- 1
Tornado Warnings- 0
Total Thunderstorms- 29

(Precipitation Stats...)
Flood Watches- 4
Flood Warnings- 5
Monthly Precipitation- 1.36inches
Yearly Precipitation- 29.21inches

(Temperature Stats...)
Heat Advisories- 4
Excessive Heat Warnings- 0
90degree days- 12

Weekly Forecast

Updated: 9:39 PM GMT on December 27, 2011

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My Accuweather Building Tour...

By: Blizzard92, 3:04 PM GMT on August 15, 2008

My Accuweather Building Tour from Wednesday, August 13, 2008...

Well I was thinking... Since I did a special Mt. Washington Blog I thought I would do a blog on my tour of the Accuweather Building. By the time this blog is posted for several days, it will be time for a special new blog potentially on a hurricane threat maybe impacting the east coast.

So on the drive up Rt. 322 I was anxiously getting excited for an hour-long term sponsored by the Accuweather Corporation. The drive up is a beautiful drive along scenic mountains and farming valleys. State College is located in Centre County, Pennsylvania, which is the exact central point of the state. State College is known around the United States for famous things such as Penn State football and in the meteorological community for the regional NWS stationed there, the Accuweather Building, and the wonderful meteorological program by Penn State University including WeatherWorld. When you think about it, it is odd that there are some many wonderful weather corporations located in the rural ridge and valley region of central Pennsylvania. There are no big cities nearby, just small towns with plenty of mountains and farms. Just recently I had been up in the region to see Penns Cave, which I wrote about in another blog. There are many things to see and do up in the region, especially in winter when the ski resorts open up. So anyway upon arrival, the building was pretty east to find. It was right off of Science Park Road located behind a few trees and another office building. When first looking at the main building it is quite a sight. The entire building is wind/glass paned with large letters at the top spelling of course, AccuWeather. Large satellite dishes were located in the front yard along with their Davis Vantage Pro2 located in the grassy pasture nearby.



My tour was scheduled for 11am, and off course as I always do I arrive early. So I snapped a few pictures of the outside building and then proceeded inside the building. The lobby is very interesting to say the least. At first it sort of has a retro feel to it with unusual architecture. But then I later found out the lobby is modeled after different weather features such as rain on the doors shown by a metal door with metal rain drops. And the unusual roof was actually sculpted to look like clouds (which it did look like clouds upon second glance). So I met up with Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell who is the Accuweather community director and also the tour guide. Mr. Ferrell has a great, laid back personality who really knows his company's history. The building is three floors and up we went first to the third floor. Up there were several head offices for the pro. meteorologists including Dr. Joel N. Myers who is the founder of Accuweather (I must say he has quite an office). Then as we walked through the rest of the cubic offices we went down to the main floor (2nd floor).

The second floor is amazing. This is where the main area looks like a NASA control center in Houston, Texas. Computer screens everywhere with over 100 meteorologists scurrying about the floor looking at computer models, satellites, radars, designing graphics, and updating Accuweather.com. I found some things quite funny which included that the meteorologists were looking off the exact GFS we blog users look off of on the NCEP website. Off course I new meteorologists look off models that we use, but it is just funny to see it in person. So I snapped a few pictures and we proceeded to see the TV studio and the broadcast booths. I met with a few meteorologists and then we moved on. Lastly we went down to the third floor.



The third floor is where the server room is along with the sales/advertising headquarters is. The server room is amazing with all of these computer consoles and wires everywhere. Busy technicians were running about making sure all was running smoothly. There was also a computer screen with statistics of how many visited the site the day before, and in the case it was over six million viewers. So shortly my tour came to an end after I learned many things about the Accuweather Corporation and other meteorological information. I definitely recommend this tour as it really opens you eyes to see the real meteorologists in action.

Weather Summary for the Upcoming Days...

Well quite a busy weather pattern setting up with threats ranging from the tropics to severe weather. This is just a quick summary of what to possibily expect for this coming week. A shortwave is moving across the region today in advance of another weak trough. Showers and thunderstorms will develop as marginal instability develops from the cold pocket aloft combined with diurnal heating with temperatures reaching highs of the upper 70s to mid 80s. Kinematics remain weak and with little jet dynamics. PWATs also and normal to a few deviations below normal. But with little to no wind aloft showers and thunderstorms will move very slowly posing the threat of flash flooding. Shear levels remain below 30knots with winds only a slight threat. Freezing levels remain low so today's main threat will be hail. An isolated weak tornado also cannot be ruled out today, but that threat is very doubtful. As the shortwave moves across the region tonight skies will clear along with weakening showers and thunderstorms. Fog and low stratus will form in areas that receive rainfall. Lows will be in the 50s generally across the region. For Saturday a few showers and thunderstorms cannot be ruled out across the east, but generally it should be a nice day with highs well below normal in the 70s to low 80s. Sunday through Monday look to be fair weather days with highs near seasonal values, nothing too extreme. Nights should remain cool under max radational cooling. Then late in the week showers and thunderstorms roll back into the region. But a tropical threat could also surface along the east coast as 92L tries to further develop. At this point land interaction may hinder some development, but still as this feature moves over warm water it could develop and threaten the east coast. Many people are hyping this storm, but at this point I am taking a more cautious stance and believing that this feature may not even develop. Recon flights are entering the circulation today, so we may find out more information later today. In any case this will need to be monitored and could pose a threat to the east coast next week. Stay tuned for more updates. Anyways have a wonderful Friday!!!

Update as of 4:45pm...
Tropical Storm Fay has now formed currently moving west over the Dominican Republic at 14mph with sustained winds of 40mph. The National Hurricane Center believes this will move over Cuba up through the southern Florida straight up through the state. If this track does not change I would only expect a very weak storm as it would be mainly over land. But as we have seen with this Invest things can change quickly. Have a great evening!!!

Off Topic Blog

Updated: 10:26 AM GMT on August 17, 2008

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Thursday regional forecast...

By: Blizzard92, 4:31 PM GMT on August 12, 2008

"Afternoon Thoughts" (Updated 8/12)
What a wonderful trip I had up to Oswego, New York. What was most surprising was the extreme weather I ran into along my trip. Driving along Rt. 81 North we ran into some very impressive thunderstorms that were just to the east of Syracuse. That thunderstorm to the east had one of the most impressive anvil clouds I have ever seen. And as typical with supercell thunderstorms, mammatus clouds formed on the underside of the anvil. The storm appeared to be very organized with a clear-cut structured core of the storm. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the storm at the time. Later that evening after arriving in Oswego, a few thunderstorms formed to the west of the city tracking eastward. While eating dinner along the marina I heard some of the captains from incoming boats about the waterspouts reported nearby. Most all of the boats were rushing into dock all telling the same story. Unfortunately I was not able to see the waterspout over water, but fortunately it made no damage to any land mass area or boats over water. Then later that evening the cell finally moved into the area with loud thunder and very heavy rain. Then shortly after the heaviest of the rain the sun came out, but before the storm ended hail began to fall almost covering the streets and sidewalks of downtown Oswego. Hail was the size of dime-sized to penny sized. Some reports out of the area reported that hail fell to the depth of 3inches in surrounding suburbs. I have never seen such a vicious storm occur during when the sun was out for the majority of the storm. The last time I saw hail in Harrisburg was back in June of 2006, so it had been a while since I have seen hail. As the storm ended some mammatus clouds moved over the region then giving way to a brilliant sunset which I did get pictures of as the thunderstorm departed. The next morning around 5:15am we boarded the fishing boat and headed out. Meanwhile it was raining moderately with an occasional lightning strike. It was very eerie heading out while it was dark with occasional lightning; also we were the only boat out there that early in the morning. But by later in the morning the rain cleared to give way to mostly cloudy skies with some lake-effect rain showers in the area. Our boat caught a total of 3 brown trout and 1 salmon all of which were keep able. On the drive home more unusual weather occurred with occasional rain showers along with cool temperature of 57degrees just outside of Hazleton around 6:30pm. There were areas of dense fog on the ridges along with a brilliant rainbow in the distance. All in all the fishing was just as successful as the interesting weather that occurred during the two-day trip. Who would have thought I would have to travel to Oswego, New York to see some impressive thunderstorms. In any case enjoy the sunset pictures below!

"Regional Radar"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Regional Satellite"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)

"Regional Advisories"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Short Term Forecast" (Updated 8/12) (Wednesday through Thursday night)
Wednesday a weak front moves in from the west with very limited moisture. The front may squeeze out some showers and thunderstorms across the state continuing into Thursday. A little morning ground fog may be possible across the southern mountain valleys as some slightly higher dewpoints move in for Tuesday night creating some fog for Wednesday as skies remain clear and winds remain calm. Highs for Wednesday will be near seasonal values with dewpoints in the 60s. Wednesday night skies remain variable for some nocturnal showers and thunderstorms. A slight CAP remains over the region as an area of subsidence moves over the region limiting thunderstorms to very low tops with little threat of severe weather. PWATs are not overly impressive by any means. Pretty impressive low pressure begins to churn up the east coast as it moves northeast out to sea. For Thursday some showers and thunderstorms will occur thanks to the cold pocket aloft and the sunshine. CAPE values will be marginal near 1500 j/kg. The low pressure will continue to spin northeast of the region for Friday. Tracks differ as far as the global models go with the latest 12z GFS coming more in line with the NAM. The EURO is farthest west with high winds and heavy rain scraping New England. Meanwhile the NAM and GFS keep heavy precipitation confined only to the Cape Cod and Nantucket region. At this point I think the farthest east solution is best, as a trough will push the low out to sea. The only impacts I see is a few rain showers along with some high waves and coastal tides along the Atlantic seaboard. Highs for Thursday will be seasonable to slightly below normal. Thursday night skies will clear from west to east as lows drop in the upper 50s to low 60s across the state. A few showers could occur early on for Thursday evening.

"Current Surface Map and Weekly History of Jet Stream Position"

(Courtesy of Weather Underground)

"Long Term Forecast" (Updated 8/12)
First I will talk about the weather for the rest of the week. Then I will update a forecast through the end of the month. Friday looks to be a unsettled day with showers and thunderstorms over most of the region as a weak front moves through. Saturday though things clear out for a nice weekend. Saturday night through Sunday night look to be nice days. But a front approaches for next week with scattered chances of convection. Looking ahead towards the rest of the month, the GFS continues a very similar pattern as right now with troughs continuing to progress over the region. But the 0z EURO develops a bubble of high pressure over the Midwest with more heat across the nation. At this point I think a solution in between is likely with periods of troughs and zonal patterns with temperatures on either side of slightly above or below normal temperatures. Nothing too extreme looks likely at this point. The NAO is headed back towards slightly positive with the PNA right about zero. The AO is headed and staying negative for the most part. The Climate Prediction Center believes temperatures will be slightly above normal with above normal precipitation for the end of the month. My August outlook seems that it will play out pretty good for the rest of the month.

"Wildfire Outlook" (Updated 8/12)
Wildfire chances remain extremely low for the next coming week. Conditions will remain plentiful with rain along with cooler temperatures and dewpoints in the 50s and 60s. Winds will remain breezy throughout the week under a northwest flow. Cloud cover will also be pretty widespread over the region for the upcoming week. Looking across the nation there is really not any widespread threat areas for forest fires, but none the less the West looks to have some possible threats this coming week as temperatures are somewhat high along with dewpoints in the teens. Any accidental fires or dry thunderstorms could develop forest fires and make them become pretty widespread. Please take necessary precautions when camping outside. Here again are the fire criteria for development in Pennsylvania... Link.

Criteria for rapid initiation and spread of wildfires in PA:

1. Winds must be sustained at 15 mph (13 knots) for two hours or more, and

2. Minimum Relative Humidities (which usually occur in the afternoon) must be 30 percent or less, and

3. 10-hour Fuel Moistures must be 15 percent or less (and expected to remain there for two or more days).

"Fire Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Gardening Outlook" (Updated 8/12)
It is a sad day in the vegetable garden of mine. Some terror has wreaked havoc in parts of my garden. It all started the day before I left for my fishing trip. That morning I saw the groundhog slowly moving across the yard headed towards the carrots in my garden. Keep in mind I do have a large chicken wire fence surrounding my entire garden. So I scared the groundhog away and there he went back under the shed. Well later that day near evening I went outside to water, and I stood there shocked. It looked like a vicious storm had just went through. Three zucchini were eaten off the plant, a part of a cucumber was eaten, a bite out of a tomato, miniature lettuce heads were gone, carrot tops were bare, and the new cabbage plants were slightly eaten. So out of frustration I put rocks around the fence and more stakes to hopefully prevent the “thing” from eating any more of my plants. Honestly I really am not sure what got in the garden. Then this morning I go out to check my garden after I arrived home last night and to my astonishment there were two tomatoes eaten, the actual zucchini plant leaves were eaten, and all of the cabbage plant leaves were eaten. Sadly I stared at my once beautiful garden. Now the garden is in a state of healing which will only slowly delay my hopefully bountiful harvest in the late Fall. I saw no sign of how anything possibly could have gotten in the garden. But in any case I will keep my eyes wide open in the coming days. If anything else happens I will have to take some type of action. I know people have warned me about this with the groundhog theory and I was reluctant to take any precautions. But now this is getting more serious. In any case here is a quick update on the plants that survived the attack. My spring onions are looking wonderfully growing twice as fast as they did in the very early Spring. My pepper plants have a few peppers with one green pepper extremely large soon ready for picking I hope. My spinach plant growth seems stunted and does not want to seem to grow. My cauliflower plants are growing great and look much more healthier than when I bought them. Lastly my herbs are doing wonderfully, almost growing too large. Looking ahead this week after the recent rains across the state soil moisture anomalies are near normal to above normal. With more rains expected this week and cool weather plants should do great with watering only necessary between rains.

"Soil Moisture Anomalies and 5-day Precipitation Amounts from Hydro Prediction Center"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Severe Weather Outlook" (Updated 8/12)
Organized severe weather chances look dim for the upcoming days. Times of convection are forecast, but severe weather should not accompany the storms. For Wednesday and Thursday thunderstorms are a threat across the state, but low instability and meager kinematics will be responsible for little severe weather other than maybe a few pea sized hail reports thanks to the cold mid and upper levels. Enough instability should develop across parts of southern Pennsylvania for a few hail storms that will be marginally severe. The cold pool aloft is responsible for the instability of the pulse severe thunderstorms. This severe threat will occur for Thursday and Friday. As another trough departs the flow may turn more southerly returning some more mild air and humid air as another front approaches the region for next week. Showers and thunderstorms are possible late Saturday through Monday as a warm front lifts northward and a cold front approaches from the west. I have yet to investigate whether the severe weather variable will accompany the frontal passage. So overall severe weather chances remain pretty low with the coming week. The section will not be updated unless it become necessary due to changes in the forecast for severe weather for the upcoming week.

"Severe Weather Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Monthly Outlook" (August)
Here is my experimental monthly outlook for the month of August. July has already come to an end and here is a little recap. Overall the month came out about normal for temperatures along with varying areas of precipitation anomalies. Some areas saw normal, below normal, or above normal precipitation. Overall my forecast turned out very well with my call for normal temperatures and normal precipitation. I am very pleased with how everything turned out. Now we look ahead to the last of the meteorological summer months. August is known for its complexes of thunderstorms and scorching heat. So what can be expected... Will it be hot and dry? Will it be cool and wet? Well below is my look for what I believe will be the August weather for this year...

Temperature- Looking at temperatures as we enter the month heat will be across much of Pennsylvania with temperatures above normal and in the 90s. But then a trough moves back into the region, and by next week the models really bring in a deep trough over the eastern sections of the nation. Looking at the NAO it looks to be staying negative through the entire month of August, which is indicative of eastern trough development. Now on the other side of the nation in the west the PNA will be moving towards a positive state, which correlates to a ridge over the west and trough over the east. So looking at the first part of the month will be warmer than normal temperatures followed by cooler than normal temperatures the last two thirds of the month. So overall temperatures should average about normal when it is all said and done and the warm air balances with the cool air.

Precipitation- Precipitation should be above normal for much of the state for August 2008. An active jet looks to be stationed over the region with first large MCSs moving along the northern perimeter of the ridge associated with warm air advection. This will bring heavy rain with these thunderstorm complexes. Then with the sudden pattern change from ridge to trough a large cold front should bring in some heavy thunderstorms. By the time the trough moves in many short waves will rotate in on the northwest flow. The driest area will probably be in eastern Pennsylvania with the wettest in northwestern Pennsylvania. But overall most areas should be above normal. This will be good for our lawns and gardens. Looking at drought conditions across the state all areas are not in any threat of a drought in the future.

"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Tropical Update" (Updated 8/12)
Tropics are becoming really active now as we enter mid August. We have several areas of concern across the Greater Atlantic in the coming days. Let me start off with the first major tropical wave. The tropical wave has officially been named Invest 92L by the National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center gives 93L a greater than 50% chance of further developing. Thunderstorms have flared up around the wave, but there has yet to an exact pinpoint area to where the low-level center of circulation is, and whether or not it is under convection. Shear levels remain high, which is inhibiting strong deepening of the system. Shear levels will be around 10knots for the next couple of days as the system chugs along to the west-northwest at 10mph. I do expect tropical depression status to be reached shortly possibly becoming our next tropical storm within the next couple of days. Model trends continue the track to the northwest eventually impacting the Bahamas. After that there is some large variability to where the storm goes. So at this point I will just say that the east coast should monitor this storm’s progression. The next wave is now named Invest 93L which I believe has a better chance to become a stronger storm despite the National Hurricane Center only giving it a 25%-50% chance of further developing. Wind shear is below 5knots and water temperatures are in the 27-29C vicinity. Some dry air may affect this storm, but I find most tropical systems are able to overcome dry air for the most part. This system will continue on a westerly track in the coming days and may eventually impact the Lee Ward Islands. Another much weaker wave is moving into Central America with a few showers and thunderstorms. No development is expected. Looking ahead in the future short term wise a coastal low will form off the Carolina coastline and track northeastward. This system does not look to be classified as tropical nature. As the only impacts to any land mass would be some rain showers and high waves along the East Coast. Long term outlook suggests further strong tropical waves will progress off of the coastline of Africa with possible development as they move westward. This tropical outlook section will be updated when necessary throughout the next couple of days. Interests along the United States coastline should be monitored during the next upcoming week.

"Latest Tropical Systems including Sea Surface Temperatures"


"Regional Forecasts" (Updated 8/14) (Thursday)
1. Eastern- (Allentown, Southern Poconos)-
Scattered showers and thunderstorms thoughout the day under partly cloudy skies. A few storms may be strong to severe capable of small hail, gusty winds, and frequent lightning. Warm. High 80-82.

2. South Central (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster)(my home)-
Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. Some showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. A few storms may be strong to severe capable of gusty winds, small hail, and frequent lightning. Seasonal temperatures. High 80-83.

3. Southern- (Philadelphia)-
Partly cloudy. Some showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Warm. High 83-85.

4. Central- (State College)-
Mostly cloudy with afternoon showers and thunderstorms. High 78-80.

5. Northern- (Erie, Bradford, Williamsport)-
Mostly cloudy with afternoon showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Cool. High 70-73.

6. Western- (Pittsburgh)-
Mostly cloudy with some showers and thunderstorms. Cool. High 75-78.

7. Johnstown, Altoona-
Mostly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms. Some storms may produce heavy rain. Cool. High 75-77.

***Note on regional map, the number equals which region in Pennsylvania. I chose regions with similar climates, geography, and elevation to make my overall forecast for the region.


"Here north of Harrisburg 2008 statistics"
(Severe Weather Stats...)
Severe Thunderstorm Watches- 8
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings- 4
Tornado Watches- 1
Tornado Warnings- 0
Total Thunderstorms- 29

(Precipitation Stats...)
Flood Watches- 4
Flood Warnings- 5
Monthly Precipitation- 0.86inches
Yearly Precipitation- 28.71inches

(Temperature Stats...)
Heat Advisories- 4
Excessive Heat Warnings- 0
90degree days- 12

Weekly Forecast

Updated: 9:40 PM GMT on December 27, 2011

Permalink

Observation Blog August 10-11...

By: Blizzard92, 12:31 AM GMT on August 10, 2008

I will be away from August 10-11 in Oswego, NY on a Lake Ontario fishing trip. When I return, a new weekly formatted blog can be expected. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

"Current Temperature"


"Current Dewpoint"


"Current Surface Map and Weekly History of Jet Stream Position"


"Regional Radar"


"Regional Satellite"


"Regional Advisories"


"Soil Moisture Anomalies and 5-day Precipitation Amounts from Hydro Prediction Center"


"Severe Weather Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"


"12hr Estimated Precipitation"


"Forecast Max Temperatures"


"Forecast Min Temperature"


"Forecast Weather at 2pm"


"Current Storm Reports"


"Fire Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(All maps courtesy of NOAA and Penn State Meteo.)

"Forecast Model Links"
-NAM model 12z...Link
-GFS model 12z...Link
-NMM model 12z...Link
-SREF model 9z...Link

"Severe Weather Links"
-Atmospheric Soundings Skewt T charts...Link
-SPC Mesoscale Analysis Pages...Link
-Public Spotter Reports for State College NWS...Link
-Severe Weather Model Forecast indices...Link
-Severe Weather Parameter Definitions...Link

"Flooding Links"
-Automated Pennsylvania Rainfall Recording Stations...Link
-Flash Flooding Guidance...Link
-HPC Forecasts for Excessive Rainfall...Link
-Hydrology Predictions for Lakes, Rivers, and Streams...Link

I will be away from August 10-11. This is an observation blog where there are automatically updating maps. Feel free to leave comments below and daily observations are welcomed. Back to regular blogging a few days after I return. Have a wonderful Sunday and Monday!!!

Observation Blogs

Updated: 9:40 PM GMT on December 27, 2011

Permalink

Saturday regional forecast...

By: Blizzard92, 5:12 PM GMT on August 06, 2008

"Afternoon Thoughts" (Updated 8/6)
Good Wednesday!!! Hard to believe it is August already and the end of the meteorological summer is less than a month away. I have been pretty busy lately gathering data to prepare a winter forecast, as my goal is to get the prediction out by early September. An early taste of Autumn will be upon us this weekend as temperatures struggle to reach the 80s in the south and struggle to reach the 70s in the north. We will be under that typical northwest flow with thick clouds and sprinkles every so often. Even a few weak thunderstorms could form with small hail. But before I talk about the weather there are some other points I want to make. First off I have noticed already the environmental changes as we prepare for Fall. Flowers and plants are beginning to lose the beauty as the summer heat has taken its toll. Even I have noticed a few maples turning red; I cannot figure out why this is as really it has not been too terribly dry here to turn the trees red. Animals have been pretty busy lately scurrying around gathering food, especially the chipmunks and squirrels. I always saw you could tell tomorrow’s weather with just a watch of the animals in the early evening hours. Weather folklore has come a long way. My elder relatives grew up as children on a farm in a time where there was no “Weather Channel.” Their parents who operated the farm have to use weather folklore to try to predict the weather to prepare to a good or bad harvest. Now they all have some wild stories on the farm from the weather. The stories can keep me entertained for hours on end. One of my favorites is how a tornado went over the farm and carried the chicken coup along with the chickens in it and placed everything safely down about a half a mile away down in the cornfield. A lot of their weather folklore they used though we found out to be not the best. Such as the famous heat lightning… Early thoughts were that after a brutally hot and humid day lightning would develop across the clear night sky. Thanks to the age of technology we now know that heat lightning is only a distant thunderstorm upon the horizon. It is amazing to think how far we have come just in the last decade in terms of weather forecasting. Just not too long ago local weatherman used magnetic boards to place a sun or a rain cloud on a map. Now we have radars that can zoom to street levels, and now we can slice a thunderstorm super cell on radar and look into the core of the storm. Technology has its pros and cons. But all in all it is for the better. I was also thinking about the Internet. Remember when Weatherunderground was offline for about a day for some members. Some people were having withdrawal symptoms because they could not check their favorite website. But years ago there was no major Wunderground.com website. Just the morning newspaper look at the weather and the local town weatherman who sometimes got mean phone calls from citizens who might have had to shovel that “partly cloudy” off their driveway during January. In any case the meteorological frenzy has taken off in the last 5 years due to the wealth of new technology. Will we ever be able to predict where and when exactly a tornado will hit? Just maybe. Anyway just wanted to get some of those thoughts down this afternoon. Have a wonderful Wednesday!!!

"Regional Radar"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Regional Satellite"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)

"Regional Advisories"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Short Term Forecast" (Updated 8/6) (Thursday through Friday night)
Well the highly mentioned deep trough is entering the region very shortly. It will take several days for the cooler air to moves across the middle atlantic, but by Friday the core should enter the region. For Thursday some morning radiational ground fog could form in the valley locations and river valley locations. Morning lows will be in the low 50s to low 60s across the state with the warmer readings towards Philadelphia. Clear skies will be across the region before clouds work their way in ahead of a weak front that will move through the region on Thursday. Some cold pocket instability rain showers and thunderstorms may form later in the day across the state. Also there is a slight chance of small hail with any stronger storm, but overall instability remains low. Cloud cover will be variable throughout the entire day. The highest chance of rain will be in the northern mountains where orographic lift will aid in rain shower development. Highs will be normal to below normal in western Pennsylvania varying from low 70s at elevations above 2000ft to mid 80s in the Philadelphia metropolitan. For Thursday night rain showers will be across the east with cloudy skies. Showers will die out by midnight due to the loss of daytime heating. The rain showers and thunderstorms will be highly diurnally driven. Lows will be cool in the upper 40s in the north to lower 60s in the south. For Friday a northwest flow develops will very dry air aloft, as PWATs are several deviations below normal. But a sort of lake effect rain flow will form and drive some light rain showers or weak thunderstorms across the region. Only the strongest of the storms will be capable of small hail. Highs will generally be from the mid 60s in the mountains to the upper 70s in the south. Friday night rain showers die out and skies clear out for what could be a very chilly night with lows in the upper 40s to upper 50s. Looking ahead things remain very chilly. See section below for more detail.

"Current Surface Map and Weekly History of Jet Stream Position"

(Courtesy of Weather Underground)

"Long Term Forecast" (Updated 8/6)
The long-term pattern is pretty quiet, as the trough remains parked over the region. Dry air aloft will prevent any rain showers from forming this weekend. Sunshine will be across the east under downsloping winds. But cool air will keep highs well below normal as cool as highs in the mid 70s as far south as the Raystown Lake-Harrisburg-Reading-Easton line. Cool nights will also be ahead and they may go into the upper 40s to mid 50s in many areas. Some lake effect rain showers can be ruled out across the north. For next week, highs slowly go back to near normal values with dry conditions. I see no sign of any heat in the next two weeks. Enjoy the early taste of fall!!!

"Wildfire Outlook" (Updated 8/6)
Forest fire conditions will be again non-threatening towards Pennsylvania for the upcoming week. Though the risk is slightly higher than it has been. Basically our pattern for the next seven days will be relatively dry and breezy. But temperatures will be cooler than normal and cloud cover will keep sunrays down to a minimum. Forests most at danger will be the dry trees that were stripped of their leaves by the pesky gypsy moths. Looking across the nation the forest fire threat remains highest over the inner-mountain west especially in states such as California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The SPC has placed them in a fire risk area for at least the next couple of days. Also temperatures will be quite mild and warm out that way with breezy southwesterly flow as a ridge builds in and the trough remains over the east. We are entering forest fire season here in Pennsylvania in just about a month. And based on now what looks like a dry period in August, that could enhance forest fires when the leaves begin to fall. I wonder if this year will be a late Fall for leaves to turn colors like last year. I guess we have to wait and see. Here again are the fire criteria for development in Pennsylvania... Link.

Criteria for rapid initiation and spread of wildfires in PA:

1. Winds must be sustained at 15 mph (13 knots) for two hours or more, and

2. Minimum Relative Humidities (which usually occur in the afternoon) must be 30 percent or less, and

3. 10-hour Fuel Moistures must be 15 percent or less (and expected to remain there for two or more days).

"Fire Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Gardening Outlook" (Updated 8/6)
Well I am preparing my garden for cool season crops. I planted spring onion bulbs about two weeks ago and they are coming up wonderfully. They are actually growing much faster than they did in the spring. So I will have to wait and see if they will produce just as wonderfully as they did in spring. I planted some butter crunch lettuce seeds and they are really growing fast also. The leaves of the lettuce are really developing fast. I am hoping for a decent crop come September. The carrots are recovering 100% better than I ever thought they would. Earlier in the summer the groundhog ate all of the tops of the carrot leaves, but now all of the leaves have returned. Blueberry bushes lost all of their berries due to birds, but a few very small berries have grown again. Nothing really productive though out of them. Next year I will prepare better for the birds by getting a net. Also I am thinking about planting strawberry plants next to the blueberry plants. Strawberries are my favorite fruit. I was also thinking again to next year for planting the herbs in a large pot instead of in the middle of the vegetable garden. My chives, basil, and parsley are taking over the garden and becoming way too large. Hopefully in a pot this will keep their size down a little bit, but still maintain a healthy plant. Well I have been picking a lot of tomatoes lately, though the groundhog seems like he wants his own tomatoes also. I found one eaten in half this morning. My pepper plants are finally growing much larger with one of the plants having a quite large pepper. I do not eat great peppers, but red peppers are ok. My cucumber plant I am very disappointed with. I only have had 3 cucumbers off of the two plants. Now today I did notice another small cucumber forming. But overall very disappointed. Next year I will plant another variety of cucumber species. Well I dug out 5zucchini plants and only have 1 left. Now the last zucchini plant is very healthy and still producing quite often. I have received what seems like dozens of zucchini the summer. My spinach is extremely slow to grow, but now it is finally getting some larger leaves. Next year I do not think I will plant spinach. I also just planted 4 cabbage plants, which I hope will be ready before November. Also I planted 3 cauliflower plants in the spots where the zucchini plants previously were. I still am eating peas and beans from my plants, thanks to quite a large harvest. I am also hoping to get in some radish seeds in the next week or so. Overall other week I am very pleased with the latest results of my garden. Looking ahead it appears as if we are entering quite a dry period along with cooler temperatures. I really do not see much of any decent rain chances in out future. The Climate Prediction Center also predicts well below normal precipitation out to 14days. Hopefully I will be able to get my rain barrel filled by a chance of thunderstorms this Friday before the dry spell sets in. Well anyway that is the latest update on my garden. How is everyone’s garden? Happy planting fall season crops!!!

"Soil Moisture Anomalies and 5-day Precipitation Amounts from Hydro Prediction Center"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Severe Weather Outlook" (Updated 8/6)
Severe weather chances are looking pretty slim in the upcoming days. As the cold poor aloft moves over the region with a northwest flow, some showers and thunderstorms will form. Any thunderstorm has the potential to bring some small hailstones as it taps into the low freezing levels. Looking ahead into the future organized chances of severe weather remains low. I will provide an update to this section if need be. For now I will talk a little about the severe weather season so far this year. Last year severe weather was quite widespread across the region. Usually I find the region with the most severe weather reports to be in the Lower Susquehanna Valley particularly in Lancaster, York, Franklin, and Adams counties. They are relatively flat counties that are located just to the east of the mountains. They also are some of the southern most counties in the state and their close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay draws up higher moisture levels at times. The mountains also seem to add a natural spin to the thunderstorms making this region the tornado alley of Pennsylvania. But this year severe weather has been focused across western Pennsylvania with primarily wind damage being the threat. For tornadoes this year we have had the Venango County tornado, Warren County tornado, Butler County tornado, Mercer County tornado, and Lebanon County tornado. If I missing any please let me know. That is about normal for tornadoes as Pennsylvania averages about 9 every year. Also this year I have noticed an abnormal amount of large hail reports. Overall this year’s severe weather season has been pretty calm compared to other parts of the northeast. We still have a little bit of ways to go before our severe weather season ends, so it will be interesting to wait and see what happens.

"Severe Weather Outlooks from Storm Prediction Center Days 1, 2, and 3"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Monthly Outlook" (August)
Here is my experimental monthly outlook for the month of August. July has already come to an end and here is a little recap. Overall the month came out about normal for temperatures along with varying areas of precipitation anomalies. Some areas saw normal, below normal, or above normal precipitation. Overall my forecast turned out very well with my call for normal temperatures and normal precipitation. I am very pleased with how everything turned out. Now we look ahead to the last of the meteorological summer months. August is known for its complexes of thunderstorms and scorching heat. So what can be expected... Will it be hot and dry? Will it be cool and wet? Well below is my look for what I believe will be the August weather for this year...

Temperature- Looking at temperatures as we enter the month heat will be across much of Pennsylvania with temperatures above normal and in the 90s. But then a trough moves back into the region, and by next week the models really bring in a deep trough over the eastern sections of the nation. Looking at the NAO it looks to be staying negative through the entire month of August, which is indicative of eastern trough development. Now on the other side of the nation in the west the PNA will be moving towards a positive state, which correlates to a ridge over the west and trough over the east. So looking at the first part of the month will be warmer than normal temperatures followed by cooler than normal temperatures the last two thirds of the month. So overall temperatures should average about normal when it is all said and done and the warm air balances with the cool air.

Precipitation- Precipitation should be above normal for much of the state for August 2008. An active jet looks to be stationed over the region with first large MCSs moving along the northern perimeter of the ridge associated with warm air advection. This will bring heavy rain with these thunderstorm complexes. Then with the sudden pattern change from ridge to trough a large cold front should bring in some heavy thunderstorms. By the time the trough moves in many short waves will rotate in on the northwest flow. The driest area will probably be in eastern Pennsylvania with the wettest in northwestern Pennsylvania. But overall most areas should be above normal. This will be good for our lawns and gardens. Looking at drought conditions across the state all areas are not in any threat of a drought in the future.

"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Tropical Update" (Updated 8/6)
Well Tropical Storm Edouard made landfall in Texas as a tropical storm with winds sustained at 65mph. The storm did not cause any major damage in any areas, just some minor problems such as power outages and urban flooding. In fact the storms in Chicago caused more damage than Edouard did. The storm is continuing to move at a quick pace off through central Texas preventing any serious rainfall from coming. The highest rainfall total I saw was about 6.5inches of rain, which really is quite manageable in the tropics region. This also helped put a dent in the drought in southern Texas, which is great news also. So all-in-all the storm had more advantages than disadvantages. Now as we enter closer to the heart of the tropical season in September, things are pretty quiet right now. Closer to home there is a tropical disturbance located off the North Carolina coastline. That disturbance could become our next invest or possibly depression. Based on satellite it definitely has developed some convection around the center. It also has a small swirl. Sea surface temperatures are adequate enough for development, but shear levels are a little higher than adequate. But none the less even if development occurs, an upper level trough over the east will push what remains of the wave out to sea in the open Atlantic affecting only shipping lanes. I also am watching an area of showers and thunderstorms near the Bahamas, which are the remnants of 99L. I am not really expecting any development with this feature, but none-the-less it needs monitoring as it crosses Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. High shear though remains over 99L and it has very little convection with it. Elsewhere it looks pretty quiet. A little area north of South America has some disturbed weather with showers and thunderstorms. This area may move into the Caribbean. At this point development is not expected in the short term. Also now is the time to watch the Cape Verde wave train, but it does not appear any strong waves are making it off the coast in the short term. This tropical section will not be updated unless it is necessary due to unexpected tropical development.

"Latest Tropical Systems including Sea Surface Temperatures"


"Regional Forecasts" (Updated 8/9) (Saturday)
1. Eastern- (Allentown, Southern Poconos)-
Mostly sunny skies. Cool. High 78-80.

2. South Central (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster)(my home)-
Mostly sunny. Remaining cool. High 78-81.

3. Southern- (Philadelphia)-
Clear skies. Remaining cool. High 80-83.

4. Central- (State College)-
Partly cloudy. Cool. Breezy (NORTHWEST). High 74-78.

5. Northern- (Erie, Bradford, Williamsport)-
Mostly cloudy throughout the day with showers and thunderstorms. Some storms may be severe capable of damaging winds, large hail, and frequent lightning. Cool. High 70-74.

6. Western- (Pittsburgh)-
Partly cloudy. Cool. Slight chance of thunderstorms especially later in the day. Storms may produce heavy rain and frequent lightning. High 73-75.

7. Johnstown, Altoona-
Partly cloudy. Very cool with thunderstorms possible by nightfall. Some storms may produce heavy rain and frequent lightning. High 75-77.

***Note on regional map, the number equals which region in Pennsylvania. I chose regions with similar climates, geography, and elevation to make my overall forecast for the region.


"Here north of Harrisburg 2008 statistics"
(Severe Weather Stats...)
Severe Thunderstorm Watches- 6
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings- 4
Tornado Watches- 1
Tornado Warnings- 0
Total Thunderstorms- 26

(Precipitation Stats...)
Flood Watches- 4
Flood Warnings- 5
Monthly Precipitation- 0.45inches
Yearly Precipitation- 28.30inches

(Temperature Stats...)
Heat Advisories- 4
Excessive Heat Warnings- 0
90degree days- 12

Weekly Forecast

Updated: 9:40 PM GMT on December 27, 2011

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Severe Weather for August 5...

By: Blizzard92, 12:33 PM GMT on August 05, 2008

"Thoughts on Severe Weather Outbreak of August 5"
Good Tuesday morning!!! Well some of us are waking up to sunshine while others are socked in the clouds and rain. A very strong complex of thunderstorms hit Chicago last night in the form of a derecho. The derecho created several outflow boundaries over the Ohio Valley later sparking nocturnal thunderstorm complexes. Lots of debris clouds are scattered about the region along with leftover rain showers and thunderstorms. And sun breaks through the clouds aheading of the next trough showers and thunderstorms should again break out this afternoon and evening. The computer models have been consistently bringing a MCS across Pennsylvania for Tuesday night. As the low level jet becomes focused over the region with strong winds aloft severe weather may be a threat. This outbreak has been highly advertised as long as 7days ago. But as we got closer to the event it looks less and less impressive. And now this morning it does not appear it will be too large or dangerous of an outbreak in Pennsylvania. I though decided to issue a severe weather formatted blog due to the threat of today's severe weather and that the other blog was getting old. Below the sections will highlight each seperate detail of the event. Please stay tuned throughout the day for the latest updates from the NWS. Also I cannot rule out quite a strong bow echo to move across the state of Pennsylvania. The GFS does show some type of complex moving across the state. But really instibility ingredients are not quite high enough for a widespread damaging derecho like was forecast a week ago.

"Current Weather Setup"
Pretty complex scenerio unfolding for Pennsylvania. A cold front is approaching the region, but out ahead of the cold front is the warm front located in the southern Pennsylvania region vicinity. Dying thunderstorm complexes are all over the Ohio valley leaving areas of substidence and debris clouds. The dying complexes are moving south into the northern parts of the Tennessee Valley. As for Pennsylvania sunshine is out across the eastern half of the state with clouds in the western part. But already evident by satellite is cloud breaks which will create areas of isolation later this afternoon. A nose of extremely high PWATs possibly in excess of 2inches will move into Pennsylvania. Looking at this morning's water vapor loop the high moisture aloft is very evident by shortwaves located along the warm front over the Indiana and Ohio vicinity moving east. Dewpoints have been on the rise this morning and will potentially reach values near 70degrees later today. If enough breaks in the clouds occur temperatures could possibly reach near 90degrees in the far southeast. Elsewhere temperatures will be in the 80s. As moisture from the Gulf rides up along the warm front thunderstorms should break out later today. The max wind shear values are over southwestern Pennsylvania up to 50knots, elsewhere around 40knots. Instibility will develop in the areas of isolation with CAPEs rising over 2000 j/kg. This type of forecast is a very difficult one as energy could be stolen to our south by those stronger complexes. But still the computer models develop a MCS over central Pennsylvania. But as time goes on I am doubting this scenerios more and more. Today will sort of be a wait and see day. Dynamics are available for severe storms, but morning substidence could really prevent strong convection from forming.

"Current Advisories"


"Current Satellite"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteorology.)

"Current Surface Map and Weekly History of Jet Stream Position"


"Radar for Western Pennsylvania"

"Radar for Central Pennsylvania"

"Radar for Eastern Pennsylvania"


"Forecasts from Storm Prediction Center"
DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0743 AM CDT TUE AUG 05 2008

...MID MS AND OH VALLEYS/CENTRAL APPALACHIANS...
NUMEROUS CLUSTERS OF STRONG CONVECTION HAVE BEEN OCCURRING OVERNIGHT
FROM IA INTO OH/WV. THESE STORMS HAVE ESTABLISHED AN OUTFLOW
BOUNDARY FROM NORTHERN MO INTO CENTRAL IL...THEN ACROSS SOUTHERN IND
AND NORTHEAST KY INTO WV. THIS BOUNDARY MAY PUSH A LITTLE FARTHER
SOUTH THIS MORNING BEFORE STALLING. EXTREME INSTABILITY WILL BE
POSSIBLE ONCE AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON ALONG AND SOUTH OF THE
BOUNDARY...PROMOTING VIGOROUS THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT FROM MO TO
KY/WV. SUFFICIENT DEEP LAYER SHEAR AND CONVERGENCE ALONG THE
BOUNDARY WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF LARGE HAIL WITH INITIAL
STORMS...WITH DAMAGING WIND THREAT INCREASING THROUGH THE EVENING AS
CLUSTERS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED AND TRACK SOUTHEASTWARD INTO THE
CENTRAL APPALACHIANS.

"Tornado Risks"

"Hail Risks"

"Wind Risks"


"Model Analysis"
As it seems to be the case this entire summer is that the models are suffering from convective feedback errors. The morning runs do not seem to have a good hold on the convective complexes in the Ohio Valley. The GFS and now the NAM bring a MCS over western Pennsylvania through central Pennsylvania. The NMM model seems to develop it over eastern Ohio and then dies it out over the Laural Highlands. The HIRES WRF this morning future radar does also show much of Pennsylvania seeing some rainfall. But what I am worried about it is that the energy to our southwest over the Ohio Valley will steal the energy from developing a MCS further north. This scenerio I am watching very closely this morning. As far as thermodynamics... CAPE values look to be highest over western Pennsylvania with values as high as 2500 j/kg. Over central and eastern Pennsylvania they are generally near 1000 l/kg. LI indices near -4 across much of the state. I think the SREF model has a pretty good hold on CAPE values for today. The NAM model develops some impressive SWEAT values over central Pennsylvania. The GFS develops also impressives helicity over 200 across central Pennsylvania with the core of the highest helicity tracking over the state. As far as EHI values they look to be highest over western Pennsylvania near 2 over the southwestern corner. Kinematics are pretty impressive with a nose of 35-45knots diving over the Ohio valley into western Pennsylvania. The low level jet is also impressive with winds near 25knots. So overall thermodynamics and kinematics are there, but will there be enough energy to develop MCSs farther north across Pennsylvania?

"3z SREF Model Forecast Max Cape Index"

(Tuesday evening)

"12z NAM Model Forecast SWEAT, Helicity, and CAPE indices"

(Tuesday evening)

"0z GFS Model Forecast Helicity Values"

(Tuesday evening)

"0z GFS Model Forecast Wind Shear Values"

(Tuesday evening)

"My Forecast for Severe Weather"
Well today is a slightly low confident forecast. But anyway I am thinking convection should form along the warm front today under the high dewpoints and somewhat moderate instibility. Jet dynamics should support this progression of thunderstorms across the state. I am slowly leaning from the MCS solution to the forecast. But still there is a possibility of a MCS type thunderstorm across western and central Pennsylvania. Freezing levels today are near 14,000ft and I am not really expecting to much of hail threat. Winds today will be the main threat with any organized thunderstorm. Also isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled, but there is slight undirectional shear over western Pennsylvania which doesn't exactly support tornadic development. Heavy rain today is also a major threat as PWATs rise to several deviations above normal. Training thunderstorms also cannot be ruled out. Anyways below is my severe weather map made this morning. The highest risk of severe weather today is over southwestern Pennsylvania due to the close proximaty to the jet. But everywhere today and tonight there is a threat of scattered convection. Stay tuned to updates throughout the day.

"My Severe Weather Risk Map"

(Tuesday)

"Conclusions on Severe Weather Outbreak"
This section will highlight the forecast for the rest of the week. As the trough moves in for Wednesday clouds will be across much of the region probably as low stratus over the mountains with ceilings as low as 1,000ft. Then skies will slowly clear from west to east. Moisture aloft will dwindle to way below normal PWATs. No precipitation is expected for Wednesday. Highs will be a few degrees below normal. As the trough really settles in temperatures will be below normal thanks to the cold poor aloft. Daily showers and thunderstorms are possible late in the week, especially over the higher terrain. Small hail will also be a threat with any of the stronger thunderstorms as freezing levels will be quite low. The coolest day looks to be either Saturday or Sunday with highs below 80degrees for the most part across the state. Lows will be chilly in the 50s and even a few 40s in some areas. Northwest flow instibility clouds will be common, so the afternoons will not contain clear skies. By the beginning of next week the trough begins to depart with little to no threat of precipitation. Sunshine returns along with closer to normal temperatures. Looking ahead towards the far future it appears as if no heatwave is in sight. A near normal to slightly cooler than normal pattern remain with active troughs. I would not be surprised if most areas do not see another heat wave. Very interesting summer so far.

"Storm Reports"


"Here north of Harrisburg 2008 statistics"
(Severe Weather Stats...)
Severe Thunderstorm Watches- 6
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings- 3
Tornado Watches- 1
Tornado Warnings- 0
Total Thunderstorms- 25

(Precipitation Stats...)
Flood Watches- 4
Flood Warnings- 5
Monthly Precipitation- 0.00inches
Yearly Precipitation- 27.85inches

(Temperature Stats...)
Heat Advisories- 4
Excessive Heat Warnings- 0
90degree days- 12

Severe Weather Outbreak Blog

Updated: 5:01 PM GMT on August 05, 2008

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Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)

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