Winter Weather Preparedness

This week has been designated as Winter Weather Awareness Week in New York, and several other states across the country. Some states, such as Colorado, have already had their campaign for winter weather, while other states – such as Alabama, have a few weeks to go before their campaign kicks off. However, this is a great refresher for anyone to prepare for the upcoming season!

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Daylight Savings Time: Why do we have it, and should we keep it?

If you live in a state which implements Daylight Savings Time between March and early November, you are no doubt looking forward to sleeping in one extra hour this coming Sunday morning (unless you have small children, whose body clocks do not care whether the world is in standard or daylight time!!!). There is much discussion every six months, especially in the spring when we lose an hour of sleep, about why we even have Daylight Savings Time, whether we should get rid of it, or even just keep it in Daylight time all the year long. Let’s look at the history of Daylight Savings Time, as well as some little known facts and trivia:

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Dallas Fort Worth October 2019 Tornado

While spring and summer are undoubtedly the most active times for severe thunderstorms across the United States, autumn also brings an increased risk of severe weather outbreaks. Dr. Gregory Forbes, a recognized severe weather expert, identified the second half of October and “especially November” as a notable time period for strong storm systems to develop. “In many ways, this is the counterpart to spring, when strong fronts and upper-air systems march across the United States. When enough warm, moist air accompanies these weather systems, the unstable conditions yield severe thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes,” Forbes said. His statement came after he examined storm statistics and found six of the largest 55 known tornado outbreaks on record had occurred in the fall. Over 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States each year, and more occur in Texas than any other state.

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Trick or Treat: Halloween Weather around the Nation

Here in upstate New York it is a blustery fall day. The peak foliage and sunny days we have been enjoying came to an abrupt end yesterday as heavy rainfall and strong winds resulted in many trees dropping their leaves (time to do some raking!!). Suddenly it feels like mid- to late-fall, and many children are busy thinking about what they will be for Halloween. We thought it might be fun to take a look around the country to see what the trick-or-treaters can sometimes face in their quest for candy around the neighborhoods.

Peebles Island State Park, October 14, 2019.
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A Look Back at Hurricane Michael

Three hundred and sixty-five days have passed since Hurricane Michael crashed into the Florida Panhandle, causing utter devastation. Michael made history as the first Category 5 hurricane (the highest category of the Saffir-Simpson scale with winds over 157 miles per hour) to make landfall in the Unites States since Andrew in 1992. It was also the first Category 5 hurricane on record to impact the Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael beginning to make landall on October 10, 2018. Courtesy NASA
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Wild Early Fall Weather

The autumnal equinox was just over a week ago, and already it seems as though winter is knocking at the door in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, other parts of the United States are enduring record-breaking heat. Let’s take a look at some of the recent headline-making weather events around the nation.

Glacier National Park after an early season snowstorm, September 2019. Courtesy NPS.
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Turn Around, Don’t Drown

This is it. We are in the peak of hurricane season. So far, we have had 12 named storms. We all know to prepare for and be wary of strong hurricanes, but even “weak” tropical systems can wreak just as much havoc. It’s important to remember that a tropical system’s strength is categorized solely by wind speed, but that flooding associated with a system (regardless of winds) can cause catastrophic impacts as well.

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Fall Weather Safety

At the time of this writing, I am enjoying a beautiful train ride along the Hudson River between New York City and Albany. Although the sun is shining and temperatures are in the 70s, some early hints of fall color are showing up on the Catskills to the west. Fall typically is not a time when most of us have ‘hazardous weather’ on our minds, especially here in the northeast U.S. where fall can be one of the most idyllic times of year. However, weather hazards can present themselves in any season, and fall is no exception.

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What is NOAA, and what is its mission?

Many of us turn to the National Weather Service for weather warnings and forecasts, but did you know that the National Weather Service is only one part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA? Our tax dollars help to fund this agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, so let’s look deeper at the mission of this very important organization and its offices.

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Hurricane Dorian: A study in hurricane impacts

At the time of this writing on Tuesday, September 2, Hurricane Dorian is currently bringing heavy rain, winds and storm surge to the Bahamas as it makes its slow trek towards the eastern U.S. coastline. This storm has proven to be very difficult to forecast, in part because of its rapid intensification and slow speed. Let’s look back and see how this dangerous situation evolved and where the forecast impacts are expected in the next 3-5 days.

Satellite imagery of Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas, September 1, 2019.
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