Friday, October 28, 2011

October 29: 1-2 Feet of Snow For Northeast Corridor Today

Warmest October for Minnesota since 1963. Source: Dr. Mark Seeley.

* Irene is no longer a tropical storm or depression, but a weakening area of low pressure near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Balmy October. Here's a blurb from Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk: "On a statewide basis this has been a very warm October, warmest since 1963 and probably 4th warmest in history. Observers report a mean monthly temperature that is 5 to 7 degrees F warmer than average. Extremes for the month ranged from 90 degrees F at Browns Valley on the 6th to just 13 degrees F at Embarrass on the 21st."

Earliest Foot Of Snow For Many Northeastern Cities? We're still compiling the climate data, but I suspect that today's snow storm will wind up dumping the earliest foot or more of snow on record for many northeastern cities from Harrisburg and Philadelphia to Scranton, Albany, Hartford and Worcester, MA. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for much of the northeast - meaning heavy snow is imminent. Click here to see the latest watches and warnings from NOAA.

"Plowable to Crippling". The Poconos of Pennsylvania and the Catskills of New York could pick up as much as 20-24" of snow from today's fast-moving coastal storm. A foot or more of snow is expected from northern Virginia to coastal Maine.

Predicted Snowfall Amounts (using Cobb Method):

Washington D.C. 2"
New York City: 4.6"
Philadelphia: 9"
Lancaster, PA: 26"

Tens of Millions Impacted By Snow? Early in the day Friday NOAA calculated that nearly 26 million Americans were under either a Winter Storm Watch or Winter Storm Warning.

Satellite To Help Forecast Tornadoes, Hurricanes And Other Extreme Weather To Launch. The International Business Times has a story about NASA's latest Earth-observing satellite: "Finally, after a five-year delay, the $1.5 billion NASA Earth-observing satellite will be launched Oct. 28 from California. The satellite is aimed to test new technologies to improve weather forecasts and monitor climate change. About the size of a small school bus, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project - NPP for short, carries five different types of instruments to collect environmental data, including four that never before have flown into space. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologists plan to feed the data into their weather models to better anticipate and track hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme weather."

Instruments on the NPP:
  • Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)

    22-channel passive microwave radiometer, to create global models of temperature and moisture profiles that meteorologists will enter into weather forecasting models.
  • Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)

    Michelson interferometer, will monitor characteristics of the atmosphere, such as moisture and pressure that will be used to produce improvements in both short-and-long term weather forecasting.
  • Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)

    OMPS, built by Ball Aerospace, incorporates an advanced nadir-viewing sensor and a highly innovative limb-viewing sensor. OMPS instrument continues Ball’s history of building ozone-measuring instruments and will continue the long-term continuous data record of ozone measurements from space.
  • Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)

    VIIRS, developed by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, has a 22-band radiometer similar to the MODIS instrument. It will collect visible and infrared views of Earth’s dynamic surface processes, such as wildfires, land changes, and ice movement. VIIRS will also measure atmospheric and oceanic properties, including clouds and sea surface temperature.
  • Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES)

    3-channel radiometer measuring reflected solar radiation, emitted terrestrial radiation, and total radiation, will monitor the natural and anthropogenic effects on the Earth’s total thermal radiation budget.

Obama Has Declared Record 89 Disasters So Far In 2011. ABC News has the story: "From Hurricane Irene, which soaked the entire East Coast in August, to the Midwest tornadoes, which wrought havoc from Wisconsin to Texas, 2011 has seen more billion-dollar natural disasters than any year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. And as America’s hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires set records this year, so too has President Obama in his response to them. During the first 10 months of this year President Obama declared 89 major disasters, more than the record 81 declarations that he made in all of 2010. And Obama has declared more disasters — 229 — in the first three years of his presidency than almost any other president signed in their full four-year terms. Only President George W. Bush declared more, having signed 238 disaster declarations in his second term, from 2005 to 2009."

Remembering April's Fury - One Man's Story. Here's a remarkable tale of survival from WSFA-TV: "LAKE MARTIN, AL (WSFA) – On the six month anniversary of the April 27th Tornado Super Outbreak, some memories are just as fresh as they were on that dreadful night.  David Woodall lost his mother and aunt when an EF-4 tornado reshaped the landscape of Lake Martin, forever changing his life. The EF-4 tornado ripped through parts of Elmore and Tallapoosa Counties on that Wednesday evening, taking the lives of two of David's closest family members who were taking shelter in a cabin.  This tornado claimed five additional lives and caused over two dozen more to be injured. Investigators believe winds in this tornado reached 170 mph along a 44 mile path.  The twister spared little in its path...sweeping up everything from trees to full size vehicles.  The damage was nothing less than extensive. Earlier in the day, David Woodall was chasing other tornadoes in north-central Alabama.  Monitoring radar, he made the call to his wife and daughter in Wetumpka to let them know a tornado was passing far enough to the north of their home.  He knew the tornado was now aiming for his family's cabin at the lake, where his mother and aunt were sitting out the storms all day."

BYD's All-Electric E6 Hits Market - 87 MPH And A Range Of 180 Miles. It turns out the Chinese are pushing the envelope when it comes to all-electric vehicles, as reported by "One of the stars of the Chinese automotive industry is Shenzen-based BYD, which although only sixth largest of the Chinese manufacturers, had the country's top selling individual vehicle last year in the form of the BYD F3 (a Toyota Corolla E120 clone).Now, after substantive testing of its e6 all-electric model in taxi and company fleets, the five-seater 75 kW, 87 mph crossover has gone on sale to the Chinese public, with a (claimed) range of 300 km (186 miles), which would give it the longest range of any EV in the world at present."

Climate Stories....

In A Position Shift Romney Says The Cause Of Climate Change Is Unknown. Well, this is a disappointing development. The atmosphere is warming, weather is becoming more extreme, but let's not consider the 95 million tons of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere every DAY. No, it couldn't possibly be that, could it? The story from The Hill: "Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney is trying to cement his status as a skeptic of man-made global warming after coming under fire from conservatives for saying that humans contribute to climate change. During a fundraising event in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Romney cast doubt on climate science, bringing his position on global warming closer to that of his rivals for the GOP nomination. “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” Romney said during a speech, a clip of which was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

Research Unveils Extensive U.S. Geothermal Resources. The story from "As a green energy source, geothermal heat is tough to beat, but until recently, it was believed to be economically feasible only in areas with shallow tectonic (volcanic) activity. Now, with a generous grant from, the search engine giant's philanthropic arm, two scientists from Southern Methodist University (SMU) have pooled together the results from more than 35,000 data sites to paint a very different, almost rosy, energy picture for the United States and, indeed, the world....Currently, more than 2700 MW of electricity are generated geothermally in the U.S. each year- roughly equivalent to 60 million barrels of oil - and sufficient to power 3.5 million homes, all while eliminating 22 million tons of carbon dioxide, 200,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 80,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 110,000 tons of particulate matter. Clean, indeed."