Great Plains Severe Weather and Tornadoes: May 20, 2019

A storm system moving into the Great Plains this past Monday resulted in an outbreak of severe weather, including flooding and some tornadoes, across portions of Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Thankfully, none of the reported tornadoes did extensive damage or caused widespread injuries. This was thanks in part to the fact that the tornadic storms did not hit major metropolitan areas, but also largely due to excellent communication of risk and appropriate preparedness actions by the National Weather Service. Let’s take a closer look at how this event unfolded…

Courtesy: KWTV-KOTV.
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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…weather balloon?

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed the the Albany National Weather Service made regional headlines last week. Why? Because a weather balloon which was launched from the office here in upstate New York made its final descent onto a driveway in Rhode Island! Thus, we thought it would be a good time to go over what exactly IS a weather balloon (and what you should do if you find one in your driveway!).

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Wild Weather Extremes: April 2019 Snow and Severe Weather

When meteorologist educators teach students of all levels, one of the first things we do is to distinguish the difference between weather and climate. Technically speaking, weather is the day-to-day conditions that describe the state of the atmosphere, while climate is an average of weather conditions at a particular place, generally averaged over a 30 year time period. In my classes, I always say that the best way to remember this distinction is that ‘weather impacts your daily life’. Many disruptions to people’s lives were caused as a result of a very dynamic spring weather pattern which has been present over the continental United States for the last few weeks.

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The Pollen Count: How Weather Conditions Affect Seasonal Allergies

As I sit here writing this week’s blog post, I continue to hope that *writing* about springtime will mean that actual springlike weather conditions will occur outside my (deceptively) sunny window. Now that it is April, seasonal allergies are in full swing for many, even up into the northern parts of the United States where full leaf-out is still a few weeks away (see our blog post on phenology for more information on that). Although most of us allergy sufferers are fully aware that there is a seasonal pattern to allergies, it is less commonly known why some seasons are just terrible, while others aren’t as bad.

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Spring Equinox and the National Phenology Network

Spring officially began at 5:58 PM EDT yesterday, and for many of us across the country, it can’t come soon enough. Although the weather may not yet feel like spring (portions of the Northeast US may see accumulating snow within the next few days!), we can definitely notice a difference in the sun. Did you know that the sun angle we see now is the same sun angle we see in mid-October? We are also seeing the days lengthen by about 3 minutes per day in upstate New York (the exact time differs slightly from place to place).

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Severe Weather/Tornado Recap and Preparedness Weeks

This past weekend, the United States experienced its most deadly tornado outbreak since May of 2013, when a large tornado killed 24 people in the town of Moore, Oklahoma. On March 3, 2019, a series of tornadoes tracked across the U.S. Gulf Coast, impacting Alabama, Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and western South Carolina.

Courtesy: CNN.com
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Spring Thaws and Maple Syrup

Fall foliage in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

When most people think of maple trees in the Northeast, the image above comes to mind: a beautiful array of striking colors at their peak in September and October. But for some people, maple trees conjure up another image- the muddy, springtime season of maple sugaring. Maple sugaring season begins in the early spring, just as the trees are beginning to wake up from a long, cold winter.

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Arctic Blast and Snow Squalls: January 30, 2019

As I sit writing this post today, it is currently 52 degrees with bright, sunny skies at the Albany International Airport. Temperatures in central New York and Pennsylvania are in the low 60s, and the frigid arctic air that was making national headlines just a few days ago seem like a distant memory (at least until one remembers that it is early February and winter is far from over in the Northeast!). While the coldest of the cold air impacted the Midwest and northern Plains, those of us here in the northeast U.S. got a quick blast of the frigid air between January 30 and February 1. Continue reading “Arctic Blast and Snow Squalls: January 30, 2019”

Northeast Winter Storm January 19-20, 2019

At the time of this writing, the northeast United States is in the grip of a frigid air mass in the wake of a winter storm which brought widespread snowfall, along with a variety of mixed precipitation, to the Eastern Seaboard. While today’s winds and associated below-zero wind chill factors are a topic for a future blog post, today we focus on the physical mechanisms which are responsible for creating various types of frozen precipitation. Continue reading “Northeast Winter Storm January 19-20, 2019”