Monday, September 30, 2013

Morning Fog Makes Vermont Satellite Image Look Like Beautiful Black Marble

The photo is this post is a visible satellite shot of Vermont and surrounding states early Monday morning.

The spider web pattern makes the image of Vermont look like beautiful, expensive, black marble.

Those little fingers of whitish clouds against the dark background is the fog that forms so frequently in river valleys on calm mornings this time of year.

The fog is most noticeable in the Winooski River , White River and Passumpsic River valleys. I also like how the fog creeps up the valleys containing the tributaries of these rivers.

I've also noticed the fog pattern has been almost identical each of the past few mornings. And as we know, the fog always burns off by mid morning, and today, like the past few, will be gorgeous.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Reality Check For Those Of You Enjoying Beautiful Vermont Weather

The forecast continues to be perfect here in Vermont, with generally sunny skies and mild temperatures for the next several days.
A scene this week along a highway in Wyoming.  

It's enough to make you think winter will never come.

But here's a reality check. While there's no wintry weather in the forecast for Vermont,  check out the photo in this post.

It's Route 26 in Wind River Lake, Wyoming this week.  Yeah, winter's coming. It's in Wyoming and will get here eventually.

Late September snowfalls in the Rockies are normal. But remember this as you bask in Vermont's sunshine: Mountain snowfalls in October are not unusual in Vermont. Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vermont Weather (So Far) Good For Fall Foliage

With peak foliage getting close in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and some color popping elsewhere, we're in a good weather pattern to retain the foliage for all you leaf peepers out there.
This sugar maple next to my driveway in St. Albans, Vermont
is more vibrant than in past years, which is encouraging.
Last year, it turned a somewhat duller yellow.  

True, it's cloudy in much of Vermont today. I know leaf peepers like sun to light up the colors. You can't have everything, though,

But it's not raining, it's not particularly breezy, and the forecast for the next several days is very encouraging.

First of all, a windy, rainy storm system that some long range forecasts indicated might hit Vermont toward Monday isn't going to happen.

There will be a storm alright, but it will be way, way, way off the East Coast, so it won't be a problem for the Green (Multicolor?) Mountain State

The next cold front coming in from the west toward the beginning of next week is going to fall apart as it approaches the Northeast, so that won't be a factor.

Wind and rain are the worst for foliage, as such weather obviously rips the colorful leaves from the trees. But forecasts indicate high pressure systems will more often than not affect Vermont for at least the next week.

That's a good thing, since high pressure usually means generally fair weather and light winds.

The days will be warmish, in the 60s to around 70 over the next several days, but nights will cool into the upper 30s and 40s.  The humidity will stay low.

All of that is very good news.   Obviously, such temperatures are comfortable for all those weather-sensitive leaf peepers.

Additionally, the cool nights, combined with the fact humidity will stay low, is good for leaf color. Unusually humid weather with very warm nights in my experience tends to wash out the color. Bright sun and cool nights seems to encourage more vibrant reds and oranges.

I noticed driving around that the color is going to be spotty, which is also typical for Vermont. Some areas are a bit drab. It looks like the wet summer encouraged mold on some early coloring trees, which gives us some tans and browns.

But never fear. Judging from places where the color is farther along, the drab leaves drop early, and the green leaves left behind end up turning bright orange and red.

Here in the Champlain Valley, I see that starting to happen. Some of the white ashes have bare branches, because the leaves just shriveled up and fell. But the greens are starting to pop into reds.

Yes, I know I sound like a hopeless public relations cheerleader for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.  

But, the department's enthusiastic yelling and screaming about this year's foliage is so far truth in advertising. And no, the tourism department has not paid me a dime to say so.  (They can if they want, though!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will Global Warming Gives Us More Severe Thunderstorms?

Yes, I love loud thunderstorms.
A severe thunderstorm approaches St. Albans, Vermont
in July, 2013. New research indicates
global warming might cause more frequent
severe storms in much of the U.S., including Vermont.  

But most of us don't like the severe ones that wreck houses, cut the power for a week or flood whole neighborhoods.

But a Stanford-led study says we might be in for more storms like that.

According to the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, a warming climate will make severe thunderstorms and tornadoes more likely in the eastern two thirds of the nation over the coming decades.

When forecasters are considering the possibility of severe thunderstorms, they look at something called Convective Available Potential Energy, or CAPE. I won't bore you with the details, but CAPE refers to the amount of heat energy available in the atmosphere.

The more heat and humidity in the air, the higher the CAPE, and all other things being equal, the greater the chance of severe storms.

Forecasters also look at something called shear when looking at thunderstorms. Shear is just changing wind direction with increased elevation.  Shear helps thunderstorms spin, and a spinning thunderstorm tends to be stronger and lasts longer than your average garden variety storm.

If you have a big CAPE number and a lot of shear, you're likely to get destructive thunderstorms.

The Stanford study echoed previous research that said global warming would increase CAPE but reduce shear.  That's a mixed result that has had researchers not knowing whether global warming would increase storms.

The Stanford study says shear would decrease in general, but in situations where the CAPE number is high, shear would tend to stay high, too. Hence more frequent and more intense thunderstorms in much of the United States, including Vermont, by the way.

Of course, the Stanford study will be reviewed by other scientists, who might draw other conclusions.

Which leads me to a larger point: While scientists pretty much agree that man made global warming is occuring and bad stuff will result, there's still a lot of disagreement on exactly what kind of bad stuff will happen.

Yes, there's a general idea that the warming will cause bigger and more intense weather extremes, but what that means for a particular area is not always 100 percent certain. We only have educated guesses and general ideas, which of course makes planning for climate change that much more difficult.

And, just for "fun," I guess, here's video I shot of a severe thunderstorm in Burlington, Vermont in July, 2012.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OK, It's Not As Nice In Vermont This Week As I Told You It Would Be

Remember how I waxed poetic the other day about how gorgeous this week would be in Vermont? How a cold front would quickly move through Sunday and we'd be left with wall to wall sunshine through next weekend?
A heavy cloud Sunday evening over St. Albans, Vermont.
Clouds are hanging over Vermont this week more persistently
than first forecast.  

Well, I wish you wouldn't remember what I said.

The sun is breaking through the clouds a bit this Tuesday morning, but it's not exactly bright and blue.

Yesterday was cloudier and colder than forecasts indicated. And that prediction for sunshine Wednesday?


The blame? A pesky storm in the upper atmosphere just to our northeast that's rotating clouds from damp coastal Canada onto Vermont.

Very little, if any rain is coming out of those clouds, but they're certainly interfering with what was to have been our fine fall weather.

And those clouds are a sign of winter. It's part of the reason why November and December are so cloudy in Vermont.  Increasingly as we move through fall toward winter, old storm systems get caught in their own death spirals in the Canadian Maritimes, and send a constant stream of low, chilly clouds our way.

It's a battle between good and bad this time. We'll get some sun, some clouds through Thursday. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom will be the cloudiest, and the southern Champlain Valley will be the sunniest.

For most of us, we'll get glimpses of blue skies the next few days, and it might even get largely sunny at times. But the clouds will threaten, or cover the blue, and we'll get those somewhat chilly northwest breezes.

It's Vermont. This isn't the land of constant sunshine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Maybe The First Bit Of White on Mountain Summits?

As skies clear a bit today, take a gander at the highest mountain peaks in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Mount Washington Observatory posted
on its Facebook page this shot of this wintry
morning up therre on Mount Washington.  

There's a chance you might see a bit of white on the high tippy-tops of the tallest, northern mountains, like Mount Marcy, Whiteface, Mount Mansfield, Jay Peak and especially Mount Washington and the Presidential Range in New Hampshire.

As of early this morning, the temperature atop Mount Mansfield was 31 degrees and the summit was in the clouds.

That's a recipe for some rime ice to form way up near the top. It's not snow, of course, but maybe it's enough to see a little white on the summit when the cloud ceiling rises.

Mount Washington, New Hampshire reported just under an inch of new snow overnight and a good accumulation of rime ice this morning

Of course, a bit of white on New England and Adirondack mountain summits this time of year is not the least bit unusual. It happens most years in late September.

In fact, it's been know to snow a bit even in the valleys this time of year. The earliest snow flurries on record in Burlington, Vermont came on September 20 1956 and on the same date in 1991. The average date of the first flurry in Burlington is October 15, according to the National Weather Service.

It may seem chilly and damp and gray outside this morning, but don't worry. Unless you're on top of a mountain, you won't see any snow, and the rest of the week is going to be gorgeous in New England.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Day Of Fall Means People Now Begging For Winter Forecast

Astronomical fall, the autumn equinox arrives today. (Just as a cold front drops temperatures in Vermont to some of the coldest we've seen so far this season. Perfect!)
A wintry scene on Burlington, Vermont's Church Street
Marketplace last December.  There's no telling what
this winter will be like, despite the assurances
of all the almanacs and weather forecasters.  

The onset of fall means everybody wants to know what this winter is going to be like.

Every year all the almanacs, the National Weather Service,  all the private weather firms -- AccuIntelliWeatherChannel or whatever -- will give their grand forecast on where it will be cold, snowy, mild etc.

The forecasts are always wrong, of course. Nobody, no matter how good, can nail the weather pattern three or four months in advance. Don't let them ever tell you differently.

Oh sure, they might predict aspects of the weather pattern correctly, and be partly right about the winter, but they won't get it super correct.

So stop asking if this winter is going to be cold or not.

OK, I'll give you my forecast for the winter anyway, but only the parts that I know I'm going to be right about. I don't know whether it's going to be snowier than normal in Vermont or not, or if this winter will be frigid or balmy.

Here's what I can tell you for sure:

  • It will snow somewhere in Vermont in each of these months: November, December, January, February and March
  • Many more times than once, somebody will drive too fast and too recklessly, and be paying too much attention to texting, while driving on slushy, icy or snowy roads. This person will cause an accident and a bunch of people will be late for work as a result.
  • Somebody will complain that it is too cold, too warm, too snowy, not snowy enough, too dark, too cloudy, too icy, too icky. The chances are very high the person doing the complaining will be me.
  • If we do get a big dump of snow, a good portion of the Vermont population will come down with a dangeous, highly contagious illness called White Powder Syndrome. Those with WPS completely lose their  concentration and can't work. They only cure is a day on the snow skiing, riding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling. 
  • At least a few women and probably some men, will risk frostbite and other injuries because they will wear inadequate clothes outside, because looking fashionable is obviously more important than keeping warm. 
  • State highway crews will simultaneously use too much salt and not enough salt on the roads during a snowfall, at least in the eyes of many motorists. 
  • On a slow news day, some members of the news media will breathlessly report on how incredibly cold it is. The cold in question will not be extreme as reported, but be about normal for a Vermont winter. 
  • By late February, some Vermonters will be so sick of the gray and chill of winter that they will be drooling over seed catalogs, gardening magazines and the spring issue of Vermont Life with all the gusto of a pervert with his or her porn stash.
So there you have it, my Vermont winter forecast. Please feel free to add any of your other predictions of what the winter of 2013-14 will be like in the Green Mountain State. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gorgeous Weather Ending, But Returning Soon To Vermont

We can probably nominate this past week as the most gorgeous, weatherwise, of the year in Vermont, but next week is an even stronger contender for that title.
Leaves were starting to turn under beautiful
blue skies over my St. Albans property Friday.

But we've got to endure a break in the gorgeousness this weekend.

That's not to say today and tomorrow will be awful. Just not wonderful.

Today, Saturday, we in Vermont face the dawn with more generally clear skies, but that won't last long. Clouds are coming in from the west, and so is rain.

I think in Vermont, most of the rain will hold off until late in the afternoon in the Champlain Valley and tonight more to the east. Winds will get gusty from the south today, reaching 40 mph in the Champlain Valley.

It's already breezy out there and leaves are flying off some of the early coloring trees. It's that time of year.

At least the timing of the cold front approaching us is good. Most of the rain will fall tonight, and it will be a fairly good soaking, at least a half inch, maybe more.

Sunday will dawn cloudy and damp and probably rainy, but things will gradually start to improve during the afternoon. We'll even start to see some sun, especially the more west you go.

And that sets us up for another stretch of wonderful September weather. With a few exceptions, this has really been a beautiful month, even if rainfall is above normal.

The first half of the upcoming week will be cool and crisp and sunny, perfect for apple picking and such. Watch out for some nighttime frosts, but you get that a lot this time of year.

The second half of next week will turn a bit warmer, but stay sunny. By then, I'd suggest heading to the hills and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, because the fall colors will really be starting to hit nicely.

I've already noticed some color, and early signs point to a vibrant foliage season. I hope your cameras are ready for a heavy workout in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bad Weather At Sporting Events Suddenly Fascinates Americans

Two (sort of) weather related quirks this week have me scratching my head a bit at sporting events affected by storms.
Fans wait out bad weather at the 49ers-Seahawks

The first case is the notion that the nation's second most watched TV show last week was people waiting for rain and lightning to stop at an NFL game.

According to Deadspin, the  NFL lightning delay at a 49ers-Seahawks game outscored "60 Minutes" and "America's Got Talent."  (and even "Duck Dynasty"!) according to Neilson ratings.

Was it that fascinating watching fans and players wait for bad weather to improve? I guess that helps explain the ratings success of The Weather Channel. People will watch all kinds of things weather related, apparently. 

Of course, the designation of the NFL lightning delay as the second most watched show last week is a bit of a quirk.  I'm sure most of those viewers were just people who left their TVs on, so they could hear when the actual game started. 

NFL games are always played in bad weather, of course. But lightning is an exception. The 49ers-Seahawks game was delayed until after thunderstorms passed. 

The importance of delaying or cancelling sporting events due to lightning was driven home by a video of a football game half time performance in Florida that has gone viral.

The marching band was just finishing up when a lightning bolt hit a tree just off the field. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but the video demonstrates why most high schools and colleges stop games at the first rumble of thunder.

Supposedly, the bolt of lightning at the Florida high school game was the first indication a storm was brewing.  The game was eventually called at half time as the lightning danger lingered.

Here's the video of the close call:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Colorado Flood: Poignant Piano Solo After Flood Rips Through Home

Buzzfeed had two videos from the flood zone in Colorado that, when taken together, offer one of the most poignant takes on the huge disaster.
Mark Changaris plays "Mad World" on the piano
in his flood-destroyed Boulder, Colorado home.  

The two videos are in this post. The first video shows water and mud roaring through the home's interior during the height of the flood, basically destroying the structure.

The second video shows one of the people who lived in the house, Mark Changaris, playing a subdued version of "Mad World" by Tears For Fears on the piano amid the wreckage of his living room after the water receded.

"I guess in some sense I was saying goodbye. In another sense, it felt good to play, to just be in the moment and let the rest of the craziness drop off. It also helped make me feel more normal, that in the face of something so outwardly bizarre, something old and familiar could warm up the place," Changaris said, according to NPR.

For maximum effect, hit "Play" on both videos simultaneously. (Turn down the volume on the flood video and turn up the sound on the piano video) You'll get the flood, and the sad piano music accompanying the disaster.

Here are the videos:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vermont Irene, Colorado Floods Seem Like Carbon Copies Of Each Other

It's no surprise that Vermont officials are in Colorado, helping that state figure out how to dig out of the massive flooding from the past week.
A house devastated by Colorado flooding last week.  

We here in Vermont went through the same thing during Tropical Storm Irene in August, 2011, so unfortunately we know a thing or two about recovering from a massive flood disaster.

Much has been said of the similarities between the two disasters.

Both hit in mountainous areas, and masses of water swept down hillsides, destroying long stretches of roads, washing away homes until the completely disintegrated and leaving a trail of undermined homes and businesses buried in rocks, much and other debris.

I posted two videos to illustrate the similarities. The first, from the Associated Press, takes us into hard hit Rochester, Vermont after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The second is a tour of Glen Haven, Colorado.
A house destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene
flooding in Rochester, Vermont, August, 2011

If anything Glen Haven looks even worse than Rochester, but the videos are startlingly similar.

But, if Colorado needs a glimmer of hope, look at it this way. Rochester, and the rest of Vermont is back, and Colorado will be back, too.

Here are the videos. First, Rochester, Vermont, then Glen Haven, Colorado.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

After The Frost: Indian Summer?

Much of Vermont got a frost last night, as expected, but a few areas, especially near Lake Champlain  did not, again as expected.

The low temperature in Burlington, Vermont was 35 degrees, missing the record low for the date by just one degree.
Warm hazy fall days are regarded by many as
Indian Summer, but there is disagreement
on precise definitions. 

We know it's going to warm up for the rest of the week, but do you call the mild spell an Indian Summer?

It turns out the answer is complicated. For many people, any spell of warm, sunny weather after an autumn frost or freeze is an Indian Summer. 

So, if your garden is wilted and iced this morning, but you find yourself enjoying the warm sunshine tomorrow afternoon, congratulations, it's Indian Summer for you

Other definitions of Indian Summer are a lot more persnickety. The Old Farmer's Almanac is probably the biggest hardliner it in its definition.

To them, Indian Summer must be a spell of hazy, sunny weather with warm days and cool nights, and it has to come between November 11 and 20. As you can imagine, that means most years don't have an Indian Summer, at least in the world of the Old Farmer's Almanac.

But as I said the rest of the week in Vermont is going to be nice. Temperatures in the lows 60s today will get to 70 Wednesday and into the 70s Thursday and Friday. We'll have a decent amount of sun during that time, too.

So if you want to call that Indian Summer, go right ahead. But if you just want to call it nice, knock yourself out.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Fall Routine In Vermont: Cover Those Plants Again

The chilliest air of the young fall season is arriving in Vermont this Monday morning.
National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont
is predicting these low tempeatures tonight.
Click on the map to make it bigger
and more readable. 

In northern parts of the state, temperatures have slipped under 50 degrees, there's a nasty north wind, and it's drizzling and damp. Yuck! But you start to get that as we head off toward October, then winter.

The chilly day is setting the stage for frosts and freezes tonight. The sky will start to clear this afternoon, though temperatures in most towns in northern Vermont,  upstate New York and northern New Hampshire won't get out of the 50s.

As skies continue clearing tonight, temperatures will drop to their lowest levels yet this fall. (And yes, I know astronomical autumn hasn't started yet, but it's fall, really)

Most places in Vermont will get a frost or even a freeze tonight. The exception is areas close to Lake Champlain, where the relatively warm water will keep the air temperature up enough to avoid a frost.

So, cover up the plants that you want to survive beyond tonight, or bring them indoors.

A warming trend will set in at midweek, to give us a reprieve from the oncoming colder weather later this season.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Amazing Lake Michigan Water Spouts To Entertain Us During Vermont's Quiet Weather

The weather in Vermont will be pretty tame the next few days, with the only things of note being a little rain tonight and tomorrow morning and some scattered frost Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Waterspout on Lake Michigan off Kenosha, Wisconsin Wednesday.
Photo by Shanon Molina, via NWS/Milwaukee.  

Nothing particularly extreme for mid-September.

With that, we look for a little excitement, and get it with a beautiful video of big waterspouts on Lake Michigan on Thursday.

The National Weather Service office in Milwaukee has more information on the spouts, which were offshore from Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Just click on this hyperlink for more.

Here's the video:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

So Where The Hell Is the #&%$!! Nice Saturday We Promised?

I think over the past few days I had forecasted it would be, ahem, a very nice Saturday in Vermont today.
Overcast and drizzly over St. Albans Saturday.
Where did the expected sunshine go?  

If you consider overcast, chilly and occasionally drizzly conditions gorgeous, today is your day!

But I bet most of you were expecting something a little sunnier and pleasant.

The storm  that swept a cold front through the Northeast Thursday night ended up surprising us.

The system, instead of continuing on northeastward into Canada like a good little storm,  decided to linger closer to New England for a day or two.

At least whatever rain is falling is mostly light in Vermont. The exception is the far northeastern corner of the state, where the precipitation during Saturday morning was pretty drenching.

It was even worse in far northern New Hampshire, where rain poured down to the tune of three inches or more Friday night and Saturday morning, prompting some flash flood warnings around Dixville Notch.

I'm afraid we're stuck under the clouds. It's not going to get that much better the rest of the day in Vermont, although some sunny breaks might get going. Especially the more west you go.

Supposedly, and I'm sticking to this, Sunday will be a sunnier day. Maybe not 100 blue skies, but something pretty nice. It  had better happen, or I'll pull out what little hair I have left.

"Year Of The Flood" Continues. This Time, Colorado Suffers

I keep calling this the Year Of The Flood and that reputation keeps growing with all that news of the epic floods in Colorado this week.
Floodwaters rush through Estes Park, Colorado.  

The odd and worst things about the types of weather disasters that have happened this year is they are the result of "stuck" weather patterns.

Instead of weather patterns staying in place for a day or two and causing a moderate amount of trouble, they stay for sometimes weeks, creating havoc.

And you get what you got in Colorado. Moisture continually streamed north from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. The moisture rose as it moved up in elevation against the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

The rising moisture, encountering cooler air as it went up in elevation, condensed into torrential downpours that lasted for days. Up to 14 inches of rain fell in two or three days. It's no wonder there's been such destruction from the floods.

The confirmed death toll is four. One report Saturday morning said 172 people are unaccounted for, but  we can hope that that number exists because the 172 are alive, but just inaccessible due to washed out roads and failed power and Internet connections.

The amount of rain they've had in some spots about equals what they normally get in an entire year. And flooding was worse than in the epic Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976, which killed 143 people.

Forecasts call for a lot more rain in Colorado and New Mexico for the next week. And it's possible that moisture from newly formed Tropical Storm Ingrid in the Gulf of Mexico could make things worse by feeding moisture inland over the southern and central Rockies next week.

A lot of media attention has been put on the fact the United States hasn't had nearly as many tornadoes as usual this year and the Atlantic hurricane season has been slow. But the relative lack of those type of disasters has been more than made up by amazing floods this year, both at home and abroad.
A man is rescued from an overturned car
that plunged into a flooding creek.  

There's been a lot of really extreme flood disasters this year, including the deadly floods earlier this summer in India,  the huge floods around Calgary and Toronto, Canada in June, the spring flooding in the Midwest this year, and central European floods in late May and June. 

Here in Vermont, we, of course, got into our own "stuck" weather pattern in May, June and part of July with repeated downpours and seemingly daily floods that left parts of the state a federally declared disaster area.

Back to Colorado:

I think pretty much everyone has seen the dramatic video of the guy being rescued from the overturned car in the flooding river amid the Colorado flooding.

There's another equally dramatic video taken by a guy who rescued a woman and her daughter from a sinking car during a tremendous hail storm this week around Denver during the storms. The rain and hail overwhelmed drainage and there was so much hail it looked like a blizzard.

Here's the vid:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Now That Autumn's Back, Let's Guess How The Vermont Fall Foliage Will Look

While chasing storms across central Vermont Thursday, I could really notice the beginnings of fall color.
Wild turkeys enjoying the fall
foliage in Franklin County,
Vermont last October.  

Which meants its time to speculate on how the peak fall foliage will look.

The early colors I saw Thursday looked kind of blah, but of course the trees had been blasted by wind and rain and hail, so many of the few leaves that had already turned color had fallen.

Last year, the early colors were also blah, and we ended up with a beautiful, vibrant peak season. So hope springs eternal.

There's a lot of guessing, but no clear answers on what causes great fall color versus a "Meh!" season.

Scientists are studying the ins and outs of how leaves turn color and how weather influences the changes, but there's no clear answers yet.

Some experts say dry summer weather stresses trees, which in turn creates bright colors, but I've seen great foliage after a wet summer.

Other tree experts say a lot depends upon what the weather is like in September.  There's no firm conclusions, but some indications are cool, sunny, somewhat dry weather in September can lead to a brilliant October, but wet, warm weather could dampen colors.

For the past couple of days it's been extremely warm and very wet, but that hasn't lasted long. And the forecast calls for cool, dry weather for the next several days.

No matter what happens, I'm sure the color in Vermont will be brilliant as always. How brilliant compared to other years is anybody's guess, though.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

One More Day Of Rough Weather In Vermont Today

1 p.m. UPDATE:

Another round of severe thunderstorms is just getting going now in central New York, far southern Vermont, the southern half of New Hampshire and points south.

My guess is areas south of a Saratoga, N.Y.--Rutland, Vermont, and Littleton, N.H. line are most likely to be at risk for strong winds, large hail, and even a brief isolated tornado this afternoon.

Already, as of 1 p.m. strong storms have fired up in central New York, along the Massachusetts/Vermont border and in the southern half of New Hampshire. Those storms will continue to increase in size and intensity this afternoon. I'm sure a variety of watches and warnings will go up soon in those areas.

Points to the north of my risk line will continue to get rain. It will probably intensify in many locations, and thunderstorms could mix in. There is a chance some of the more northerly thunderstorms could get to borderline severe proportions, but I don't anticipate anything widespread in that regard.

However, in the northern half of Vermont, and in northern New York and New Hampshire, the rain could come down hard at times, and certain areas could get repeatedly bullseyed with downpours.

Within 25 miles of the Canadian border in Vermont, about two inches of rain fell last evening. If the heavy rain makes it that far north today, that region is probably more under the gun for possible flash flooding than anywhere else.

Radar trends now suggest far northwestern Vermont and the tip of New York could escape the heaviest rains, but that's by no means guaranteed.

Still, any thunderstorm anywhere in New England and New York could bring enough blinding rain to cause local flash floods. So stay tuned for possible alerts and warnings throughout the afternoon and evening.


Yesterday's storms played out about as expected. Some areas really got hammered by damaging storms, while others got away with almost nothing.
Trees and wires were down across a road in
Bristol, Vermont Wednesday after
a severe thunderstorm rolled through. 

Almost everybody in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire did get a great light show last night from lightning that sometimes seemed to fill the sky.

At first glance from damage reports, it seems the most destructive storms in Vermont yesterday were in the Northeast Kingdom, near and northeast of Lake Willoughby, in eastern Vermont near Bradford, and finally, in the evening, southern Rutland County and much of Windsor County.

We're not out of the woods. As you can tell, it's still very humid, meaning the cold front hasn't gone through. Until it does, we are at risk of strong storms and heavy rain.

Today, since the front is approaching, I think places east of the Green Mountains and south of about Rutland and White River Junction in Vermont are most at risk of severe thunderstorms today.

In those places, the sun will stay out longer, contributing to the instability needed to create strong storms. However, I wouldn't rule out damaging winds or hail in western Vermont or eastern New York, either, but it's less likely.

It was already raining in northwestern Vermont and northern New York. Clouds will hang tough there, and that will help prevent storms from really firing up.

Forecasters are still worried about the "training" thunderstorms we could get today, the situation where a series of torrential downpours goes over the same area, much like box cars on a moving freight train.

Training storms could set off some local flash floods today just about anywhere in eastern New York and New England

Some areas of Vermont, especially near the Canadian border and in some ares in the central parts of the state, got close to two inches of rain in yesterday's storms, which saturated the ground. Those areas might be a little more at risk for flooding.

As I've advertised all week, it's back to autumn tomorrow. Expect highs in the low 60s, which is chillier than the low temperature for the past couple of days. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Big, Severe Thunderstorms Likely In Parts Of Vermont This Afternoon, Evening


I'm more and more confident some severe thunderstorms will erupt this afternoon and evening in Vermont and surrounding states.

A severe thunderstorm watch has just been issued for all of Vermont and much of the rest of northern New England until 10 p.m. tonight.

Atmospheric conditions are such that it needs to get up to between 85 and 90 degrees this afternoon in Vermont and northern New York for updrafts to break through a layer of stable, warm air high above us.  Shortly after that happens the thunderstorms will begin in earnest

As of 2 p.m., it was 90 degrees in Burlington, Vermont and 93 in Plattsburgh, N.Y., so we're there.

From my perch in St. Albans, Vermont, I'm noticing thunderheads beginning to pile up in the distance, especially to my north and west.

The towering clouds are not rising straight up. They're tilted quite a bit toward the northeast. That, to me, indicates there are strong winds high above us, which will help severe thunderstorms develop. And some of those high winds will be brought down to the surface in the turbulence inside any thunderstorms that do form.

As I said this morning, not all of Vermont and surrounding states will get a severe thunderstorm this afternoon. It'll be hit and miss, with some towns getting blasted and others remaining relatively unscathed. It's hard to tell which town will get hit until the the thunderstorms form and we know which areas they're targeting.

A special weather statement just issued by the National Weather Service in Burlington says the most likely time for the strongest storms is between 5 p.m. today and midnight. I have no reason to dispute that assessment. It'll take a little time for the storms to get going.

Interestingly, there is still a slight chance of a brief, relatively weak tornado with this outbreak in northern New England. We associate tornadoes with flat, open areas, but the National Severe Storms Center says if any tornadoes do form, it is most likely in Vermont's hilly Northeast Kingdom and in the mountains of northern New Hampshire and western Maine.

Still, the threat of a twister is very low. Just a slight chance.

Stay tuned and keep an eye to the skies.


Contrary to predictions, no severe thunderstorms developed Tuesday in Vermont and surrounding states.
The forecasted big storms Tuesday didn't materialize.
There's still a risk of nasty storms today, like this
one in St. Albans back in July.  

As far as I can tell, at least two things gave us the breather:

A slow moving warm front didn't quite make it all the way through New York and New England until last night. That meant there was a layer of warm air over the top of cold air, and that prevents the big towering clouds of thunderstorms from forming.

An even bigger factor was the overcast. Sunshine heats the air right near the ground. The warm air, lighter than cooler air, rises. The rising air initiates the process in which thunderheads start to bubble upward. No sun Tuesday, so no rising air currents to speak of.

Today, Wednesday, is a different story. The warm front has passed, as anyone stepping outside can tell you. It's incredibly humid, even by mid-July standards, never mind September. The temperature is likely to hit 90 degrees in many spots in northern New England today.

Big thunderstorms thrive on heat and humidity, so there you go.

The sun is out, so we'll have those rising air currents. There's fast winds high above us, and the atmosphere is primed to host huge thunderstorms.

So there is the chance of severe thunderstorms today across the northern half of New York and the northern half of New England.

It seems like the closer you are to the Canadian border, the more likely a big storm will hit you. That's because there's a weather front in Quebec, and that could act as a trigger for storms that would then lumber across the border (Ignoring U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security in the process) and cause some problems in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

It was still unclear early Wednesday morning if there will be enough of a trigger to produce a lot of severe storms. Will the updrafts from the sunshine help cause storms? Is the front in Canada strong enough? Are there other hard-to-discern wind shifts that could get a storm going?

We think so, but it's not a sure bet.  My sense is there will be storms scattered around today. It'll be the typical hit and miss type of set up. A few towns get blasted by wind and hail and lightning, other towns go through the day without even a faint rumble of thunder.

So look to the skies. Some of us could easily get a storm with damaging winds and big time hail. My guess it won't start until 2 p.m. at the earliest, with the prime time for possible storms in the late afternoon and evening.

The National Severe Storms Center also has us in a risk for severe storms Thursday as a cold front comes and interacts with the humid air.
"Training thunderstorms", a line of storms going over
the same spot one after another, dumped enough rain
to wash out this Cambridge, Vermont road in May.  

There may well be some severe weather in the Northeast. But National Weather Service forecasters in Burlington are more worried about the rain Thursday's thunderstorms might bring.

Tomorrow's weather pattern favors "training thunderstorms" That's the dreaded situation where thunderstorms line up like box cars on a train track. Then the box cars, in this case thunderstorms, go over the same spot, one after another.

One thunderstorm with a downpour isn't a big deal. A whole bunch of downpours going over the same town, one after another like those box cars, can drop tremendous amounts of rain, and it becomes a really big deal. The situation can dump many inches of rain on a particular town,  causing a flash flood in the places unlucky enough to be hit by this type of "train"

You never can tell a day in advance where these trains will set up, if they do at all. So you'll need to pay attention to forecasts and possible flood alerts on Thursday.

After that, as promised, we return to our previously scheduled autumn in Vermont and surrounding states. It looks as if we'll get several days of somewhat chilly, largely sunny weather starting Saturday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Severe Weather Threat To Last Three Days In Vermont


I think the chances of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening have diminished somewhat. the National Severe Storms Center says so, as does the National Weather Service in South Burlington.

Their logic is too much warm air is moving in aloft, that would "cap" the development of storms. By that I mean it will be harder for the towering clouds of thunderstorms to form today than first thought.

Also there's quite a bit of cloudiness lingering behind this morning's rain. The clouds will block sunshine, which would otherwise heat the atmosphere and encourage thunderstorms to form.

Still, there might be a few pop up severe storms here and there across northern New York and New England today and this evening. I just don't think there will be a huge number of such storms.


I don't think I've ever seen anything like this: There's a chance of severe thunderstorms in Vermont for three days in a row, starting today.
A severe thunderstorm over St. Albans Bay, Vermont
in July. Similar scenes are quite possible in Vermont
and surrounding states today, Wednesday and Thursday.  

Severe weather is fairly rare in September. Three days in a row is pretty wild for this time of year.

Let's break it down: First, today: 

A cluster of showers and thunderstorms was moving through northern New York, Vermont and into New Hampshire Tuesday morning. While there are some downpours and lightning strikes with this, none of the weather is severe.

Once the cluster of storms goes by noon, you'll notice it abruptly turning humid. That will be one ingredient for possible severe storms later this afternoon.

The other ingredients are rising pockets of air, high upper level winds and something called shear. That's when winds change directions as you rise up through the atmosphere.

Those ingredients combined can set off lines of severe storms or supercells, the long lasting, giant thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes in some instances.

Working against the chances of severe storms today is this morning's rain. It tends to stabilize the atmosphere somewhat. Plus, a layer of warm air way up above us could put a "cap" on rising air currents, and that might discourage thunderstorms.

Still, I, and most other forecasters,  think some storms will get going in northern New York and northern New England today, and some of those might get severe, with strong winds, hail, and maybe even a brief, isolated tornado somwhere in this region.

Not everyone will get hit, but keep an eye to the skies later this afternoon and this evening. Things could get nasty.

Then we get into Wednesday.

On Wednesday it's going to be strangely hot and humid for mid-September. Temperatures could get up to 90 degrees in cities like Burlington, Vermont and Albany, New York. (The record high Wednesday in Burlington is 95 degrees. I don't think it will get that hot)

It'll be oppressively humid, on par with some of the most humid weather we've had all summer.

All that heat and humidity, along with an atmosphere that will continue to favor strong updrafts and changing wind directions, could set off more severe thunderstorms in a zone from northern New York through the northern half of Vermont,  northern New Hampshire, and into western Maine

The threat will be roughly the same as today: Not everyone will get hit, but some areas could get damaging winds, big hail, and maybe even a brief tornado. The risk of bad storms is greatest in the afternoon and evening.

One more day, Thursday.

We'll wake up Thursday morning to another oppressively humid morning. A cold front will be coming at us from the west.

The timing of the cold front will determine who has the biggest risk of severe storms. If it's a little fast, New York and Vermont could just get heavy rain with thunderstorms while the high winds, hail and slight tornado risk are more to the south and east.

If the front is slower, then New York and Vermont fall under the risk.

The front goes by later Thursday, and it's back to autumn and no severe storms by Friday.

This three day run of potentially hazardous weather in the Northeast is really odd for this time of year, as I've said. But severe weather isn't unheard of in the fall.

Way back in 1845, an incredibly large, long lasting tornado formed near Lake Ontario and traveled 200 miles across the Adirondacks, holding together despite the mountains, finally dissipating near South Burlington, Vermont.

In September, 1821, several damaging tornadoes hit Vermont and New Hampshire. 

More recently, a large tornado killed three people and caused major damage in 1979 around Windsor Locks, Connecticut. 

And last year, on September 8, all of Vermont was under a tornado watch, though no tornadoes are known to have developed in that outbreak of severe weather.  Here's a video of the storm I took last September 8 in Charlotte, Vermont. No tornado, but pretty stormy:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tornado? Vermont Could Get Severe Storms Tuesday, Wednesday

Severe thunderstorms? A slight chance of a  tornado? In Vermont? In September? When it's so cool out?
In this image from the Town of Washington Historical
Society, a hoop barn is damaged by a
tornado that hit the town in 2009. There's a very slight
chance of a twister in Vermont Tuesday.  

That's what ran through my head this morning when I looked at the update forecasts as I do every morning.

After all, I woke up to a typically cool, crisp September morning. Some sections of northern New England, including some mountain valleys in Vermont had some frost.

The humidity is low. Skies only have some wispy clouds. Nothing that would portend any exciting weather.

But as I noted yesterday, we're in for some big changes in the weather. A strong warm front will blow through the Northeast tomorrow morning, introducing some summerlike warmth and humidity.

Some of  us might be woken up early tomorrow morning by showers and thunderstorms as the warm front passes, but those storms won't be severe.

After the warm front goes by, areas of northern New York and western Vermont will be under some rare atmospheric conditions. Rare, at least, for our neck of the woods.

The air will have a lot of lift and spin in different layers as you go up. This can easily trigger severe thunderstorms. The weather conditions can also spawn supercells, which are powerful, long lasting and often rotating thunderstorms that sometimes, but not always,  produce tornadoes

Before you go off and panic about the weather for tomorrow,  here's some big caveats.  Something has to trigger the thunderstorms to begin with, and that trigger might not have a big enough presence to set off the storms on Tuesday.

If storms do form, chances are some will be strong to severe, but they might form into a line and not into discrete supercells. That could lessen the chances for any funnel clouds.

Even if supercells do form, there's only a very slight chance a brief tornado would form somewhere in northern New York or the Champlain Valley of Vermont. And if a tornado does somehow manage to develop, it will probably be relatively weak compared to Midwestern tornadoes and won't last long.

The only reason why I'm making a big deal out of tomorrow's forecast is that supercells and brief tornadoes are so rare in this part of the country, especially after the peak of the summer's heat has usually passed.

Even without tornadoes, it's worth keeping an eye out for storms Tuesday. Any afternoon storm could produce damaging winds, hail, dangerous lightning and torrential rains, and you don't want to be out in that.

Not everyone will get a severe storm, but a few spots might,  especially in Vermont's Champlain Valley and in parts of northern New York.

More severe thunderstorms are possible in parts of the Northeast Wednesday. The best chances of the strong storms Wednesday are well south of the Canadian border. Northern New England and New York might, just might miss out on Wednesday's active weather, but that's no guarantee. We'll wait and see on that one.

not be discreterom what is for our area a rare are the line of questioning I had

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another Frosty Night In Spots, Then Summer's Back!

Another cold front is just about finished rolling through the Northeast this Sunday morning, introducing another brief spell of autumnal weather.

I hope you like roller coasters, because it's going to be that kind of situation in the weather department for the next few days.

There's frost advisories up again for parts of northern New England and northern New York tonight. (Click on the image to get a better look at how the National Weather Service in South Burlington is forecasting overnight lows)

A rule of thumb: If you got a frost Friday morning, you'll probably get another one by Monday morning. If you escaped the frost Friday, you'll likely escape it again this time.

After a nice day Monday, we really get going on the roller coaster. On Monday night and Tuesday, you'll see the weather shift abruptly from cool and comfortable to warm and humid. You might be chilly on the way to work Tuesday morning and sweating it out in the humidity as you head home that evening.

Believe it or not, there's a chance a few spots could touch 90 degrees with continued high humidity on Wednesday. Summer's last hurrah?

Then another big cold front hits Thursday with showers and thunderstorms, and it'll be fall-like and cool again by Friday.

I hope you're not prone to motion sickness, because as you can see the weather is going to be all over the place for the next week in Vermont and surrounding areas.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Windy Weather Another Sign Of Fall And Winter

It's a bit breezy outside my house in St. Albans, Vermont this morning. Tomorrow, after another cold front goes through, winds are forecast to gust to 30 mph or a little more.
A kite surfer on Lake Champlain in the autumn
of 2011. The end of summer means more wind.  

This breeziness is another sign that summer is over, in case you needed it. In the summer, weather systems tend to be weak and slow moving. So you don't get a lot of wind. 

The exception is when you get a severe thunderstorm, when the wind really, really blows. But that never lasts more than a half hour.

When the seasons turn toward winter, the overall weather systems get bigger and stronger. That means more windy days. 

That approaching cold front, and the storm in Canada it's attached to, are somewhat stronger than a system you'd get in the summer, so of course it will be rather breezy in the Northeastern United States tomorrow. 

Hang on to your hat. Between now and the spring, expect plenty of days when the winds gust over 30 mph. I can already feel the winter wind chill with this. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Morning In The Northeast About As Cold As Expected

The forecast for scattered frost this Friday morning seems to have been right on target. Most places in northern New England and northern New York got down into the mid and upper 30s, with low 40s in the warmer Champlain Valley.
A Friday morning Web cam shot from the National Weather Service office
in South Burlington, Vermont shows the
mostly clear skies that led to the chilly dawn. You can
also see valley fog below Mt. Mansfied, commn this
time of year.  

The coldest spot I could find was 28 degrees in Saranac Lake, New York, which is usually a particularly chilly town on clear, calm mornings.

It was 32 degrees in at least four Vermont communities, Canaan, Gallup Mills, Walden and Wheelock. Those towns are in the normally chilly Northeast Kingdom, so I'm not surprised there.

I'm not aware of any record lows being set this morning so far. The record low in Burlington was 37 degrees, and at last check, the coldest it got in the Queen City was 42. The record low in Montpelier is 34 degrees, and at last check the Capitol City had reached 37 degrees.

It'll warm up some today, there will be no frost tonight, and it'll be mild Saturday. Another cold front comes in Saturday night with a batch of showers. The cold front will bring a blustery day Sunday, and another chance of scattered frost to the coldest mountain valleys Sunday night.

Then, of all things, it looks like we'll get a spell of somewhat summery warm, humid weather during the middle of next week. Go figure.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Frosts Tonight In Vermont, Northern New England Mountains On Schedule

Frost advisories are up tonight for parts of northern New York, north central and northeastern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northern Maine as cold high pressure settles in from Canada for a quick stay.
National Weather Service in South Burlington,
 Vermont put out this map of expected low
temperatures tonight. Click on it to make it
big enough to read. 

In the New York Adirondacks, it's a more dire freeze warning.

Here's the difference between the two advisories. Frost can form even when the measured air temperature is a bit above freezing. National Weather Service standards have people taking air temperatures five feet off the ground.

But especially on clear, calm, chilly nights, like we're expecting tonight, it can be a few degrees colder right on the ground, where your plants are than it is a few feet higher, where your face is.

So yes, your garden plants can get damaged by frost if the temperature never officially goes below freezing.

Temperatures in most areas in the frost advisory areas are expected to drop to between 32 and 36 degrees tonight, at five feet off the ground, so frost could happen, even if it doesn't freeze. Hence the frost advisory.

In the Adirondacks, it'll probably go below freezing in many valleys, so it's a freeze warning there.

This cold spell is coming right on schedule, really.

The first freeze of the season, when the temperature gets to 32 degrees five feet off the ground, is September 8 in the cold valley of West Burke, Vermont, for instance, according to the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont.

 I'm guessing West Burke, and other mountain valleys in the Northeast will touch 32 degrees tonight.

Other areas of northern Vermont that are under a frost advisory on average have their first fall freeze in late September.

In Vermont's Champlain Valley, which is under neither a frost nor freeze advisory tonight, usually has its first 32 degrees in the autumn around the peak of foliage season, maybe around Oct 8. It comes even later on the shores of Lake Champlain. South Hero, Vermont normally doesn't see a freeze until mid-October.

Tonight's chill could challenge record lows for Friday morning. The record low tomorrow in Burlington, Vermont is 37. In Montpelier, it's 34, and in St. Johnsbury, 33. Morning readings could come close to those figures, so we'll see.

It'll warm up some after Friday morning, and there's no chance of frost again until perhaps Sunday night, and even that won't be as widespread as tonight.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So, So Easy To Find Today's Cold Front

Talk about easy!
Hmm, now just where is that cold front?
Yep, right there.  

Any bozo could figure out where the cold front was today, the one that promised to bring a crisp fall day to the Northeast on Thursday and frost to some of the colder mountain valleys Thursday night.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont released a satellite image of the Northeast, takem this afternoon.

You can click on the image to make it bigger and even more easy to read.

Finding the cold front is no difficult, Where's Waldo task, is it?

Often, in the summer, it's hard to find weak little fronts and disturbances that would influence our weather, unless you know how and where to look.  Since these summer weather features are so hard to discern sometimes, you get an inaccurate forecast every once in awhile.

As we transition to fall, weather systems tend to become more obvious.  And easier to track, too.  As we get more toward winter, the weather systems remain obvious, but grow bigger and more complex. So cold season forecasts aren't always easy, either.

No wonder forecasters pretty much nailed the timing and strength of today's cold front. It was practically shouting out its position.

It's All Relative: "Record Warm" Month at South Pole: 64 Below

Here in the northeastern United States, a cold front is knocking at our door, promising a spell of cool autumnal weather. No record high temperatures for us for awhile.
Amumdsen-Scott South Pole Station
sweated through its hottest August on record,
at 64 below zero  

I'm sure the researchers at the South Pole sometimes pine for the warmth of our "cool" spells, even when they are experiencing record heat.

Climate historian Christopher Burt says the South Pole experienced their "hottest" August, with an average temperature of 63.9 below zero. That's right, below zero.  Still, that was more than 11 degrees above normal, and good enough for a record balmy August.

Of course, August is winter down there, so you can't expect it to get too warm.

Still, I doubt the people at the South Pole got their beachwear out on August 6, the warmest day of the month down there when the temperture soared to 37 below.

It all makes me feel like I shouldn't complain in the winter when the temperature sinks to 20 below, no?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Japan Tornado Trashes Tokyo Suburb: Watch The Video

Today's "weather porn," a video or image of some extreme weather to get you excited, takes to the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, where a tornado trashed a neighborhood.
Damage from tornado near Tokyo this week. 

Reportedly, one person died and several were injured. And as you can see from the video, there was a lot of damage.

Japan averages about 20 tornadoes a year, so this twister isn't unheard of.

When a tornado hits Japan, there's a greater chance of damage or injuries there than in the United States. Japan is densely populated, so if a tornado forms, it will probably hit somebody's house or building.

Many tornadoes in the United States spin harmlessly across open country, which we still have a lot of.  Those tornadoes are the ones we don't hear about, because who cares if a twister  causes no damage?

Here's the video of this week's Japan tornado: Interesting how the building doesn't seem to be badly damaged until you see the blown out windows with the debris shooting out of them.

Playing Pick Up Sticks After Last Night's Storm

Well, that was a fun batch of thunderstorms that swept across pretty much all of Vermont, along with most of upstate New York last evening.
 "Damage" in St. Albans from Monday's thunderstorm.
A twig landed on my deck.  

In Vermont, at least, the storms were dramatic enough but not terribly damaging. There were no reports this morning of trees down, structural damage, etc., although there were a few branches down, and maybe a few fallen trees that went unreported. But nothing huge, though.

It was the perfect storm: Fun to watch, but not destructive.

I'll be picking up quite a few small branches and twigs from my lawn in St. Albans, Vermont today, but my trees are intact, despite some pretty good wind gusts during the storm. I'd guess the peak wind was maybe 40 to 45 mph.

We're done with the thunderstorms for quite a while. Although there's always a chance we might get one or two more substantial thunderstorm outbreaks this year, we're really getting past the point where thunder and lightning is common in Vermont.

The storms thrive on very warm, very humid weather, and the chances of that are down big time.

You can feel that change his morning. That spell of oppressive weather in the Northeast has been flushed out by a Canadian cold front. The air is much more refreshing.

Temperatures are down to about normal, for now. A second cold front due Wednesday night will give us our first truely fall-like air of the season late in the week. Yes, I know I've been advertisting this for days now, but at least the forecast is consistent, right?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Evening Storm Update, Vermont and Northeast

I've been watching an interesting little thunderstorm for the past two hours that kept redeveloping south of Plattsburgh, then moving northeast toward St. Albans and falling apart, only to reform near Plattsburgh and repeat the process over and over.
A narrow, slow moving, but torrential thunderstorm
is seen looking southwest from St. Albans as
the storm stalled moved slowly just south and east
of Plattsburgh late this afternoon. 

I'm sure there are some small areas under the heaviest part of that storm that have received upwards of an inch of rain. Meanwhile, just sprinkles in St. Albans.  That stalled storm has finally fallen apart

It's been that kind of day, as expected. Some areas got blitzed by heavy rain, others got practically nothing. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so in this morning's update.

The action's not over. The cold front approaching us has triggered a line of strong to severe storms in northern New York as of a little before six p.m.

There's a severe thunderstorm watch for the northern portion of the Empire State all the way east to Lake Champlain until 10 a.m.

I wouldn't be surprised if that line of storms causes isolated areas of severe storms in northwestern Vermont later this evening, too.

It's still wicked humid out there, so any storms this evening still can drop a tremendous amount of rain in a short period of time.  I'm guessing some towns in northern New York and northern New England could see some street flooding, rapid rises along creeks, washed out driveways and some big puddles.

The flood threat in northwestern New England isn't as high as it is at points south and east. Parts of southern New England have had more than six inches of rain since Saturday, and more rain will cause problems there this evening. There's already some flash flood warnings up for that part of the country.

The long-advertised cooler, drier air won't come blasting in tomorrow as strongly as first thought, but it will be notably more comfortable out there Tuesday, amid the risk of a few lingering pretty light showers.

They've also backed off a bit on the strength of the cool spell toward the end of this week, with fewer places expected frost Thursday night that earlier thought. But it will still feel like fall later this week into the first part of next week.

More On That Scary Taiwanese Boulder That Almost Squashed Motorists Like Bugs

All the news stations have been playing a snippet of that video from Taiwan of a landslide smacking into a car on a hilly road, followed immediately by an enormous, almost house-sized boulder that stopped just short of crushing the car, and its occupants like a bodybuilding brute smushing an empty can of Bud Light.
The now-famous Taiwanese boulder just
missing a car the other day  . 

Heavy rains from a typhoon triggered the landslide.

Here, I have a somewhat longer version of the video, which I like much better because it tells the whole story. You see in the video the landslide appearing on the left side of the video. Then all hell breaks loose, like you've seen on the news.

Then, comfortingly, you see the people getting out of the car that was hit by the boulder.

I only have two questions: How the heck did the eventually get the boulder off the road. And why is there a McDonald's right nearby. Gawd, there's one everywhere, huh?

Here's the wild video:

Labor Day Rumbles and Grumbles

Jackson the Cocker Spaniel and I heard grumbles and rumbles of thunder early this morning when we went outside after a good night's sleep in St. Albans, Vermont.
A thundestorm over Addison County, Vermont
in July, 2011. Similar scenes are likely across
the Northeast today.  

We ended up getting very little rain out of the band of showers and storms that went through.

Meanwhile, there were flash flood warnings in parts of far southern Vermont and in central New Hampshire.

That state of affairs highlights the hit and miss nature of the weather we've had for the past three days. Some places in New England have been hammered by heavy, and sometimes repeated downpours that have raised some flood fears.

The flash food warning for far southeastern Vermont that was in effect early this morning has expired, and I haven't heard of any major high water there. But the southernmost part of Vermont is still under a flash flood watch, as is much of New Hampshire. More rain could trigger more problems.

Other areas, like where I live in St. Albans,  have had almost no rain for the past week, and we could stand some rain. The garden is a bit dry.

This pattern will continue today, Labor Day, and into tonight. There's a very good chance of showers and storms, some with heavy rain, but not everyone will get nailed.

The early morning bouts of showers and storms that hit northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are moving away for the most part, and there's a lull in the action for the rest of the morning.

There might be a few pop up showers and storms before lunchtime, but nothing wild.

Forecasters are still expected another bloom of showers and storms this afternoon that will develop in northern and western New York and head east into New England.

I suspect things will be as hit and miss as they have been the past few days. Almost everyone in northern New York and New England will get some rain.

Some spots-- it's hard to say who-- will get nailed with torrential downpours. Other places won't get much at all.   I'm just hoping the places that already got a lot of rain lately miss out this afternoon and places that could use some wetting get a downpour or two.

But you can't order the weather you want the way you can order Chinese takeout, can you?

The rain will diminish late tonight as the cold front comes through and the long awaited return to cooler, drier air will arrive Tuesday.

There's still a threat of a few showers Tuesday and maybe a few Wednesday as a second cold front comes through. Thursday will really be the unofficial first day of fall. By that I mean it will really feel like autumn for the first time this year, with some hill towns not getting out of the 50s during the afternoon and most of us staying in the 60s here in northern New England.

Look for some frost in the colder mountain valleys Thursday night. Yep. it's that time of year, folks.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Random Squirrel In The Sky?

For no other reason other than it's goofy and it's a holiday weekend, I present you with a photo of a cloud that looks like a squirrel in the sky. (Click on the pic to make it bigger and easier to see.)

Photo from the offbeat blog "Nothing To Do With Arbroath," which didn't say where the photo of the sky squirrel was taken.

What are some of the odd shapes you've seen when staring up at the clouds. Let us know!

Wet Summer In Vermont, Yes, But Not the Wettest

Yep, it was indeed a wet summer in much of Vermont, but it wasn't the wettest.

A relatively dry August helped keep the water from completely driving us nuts

In Burlington, 17.42 inches of rain fell between June 1 and August 31, the period for climatology purposes is considered summer.

That's 5.66 inches above normal and good enough for the summer of 2013 becoming the sixth wettest summer on record.

As you might remember, we had repeated big flash floods amid endless downpours in June and the first part of July.

Things definitely settled down after that. Just over three inches of rain fell on Burlington in August, which is meant it was 0.87 inches on the dry side.

As you can see on the the map in this post the National Weather Service in South Burlington, rainfall was highly variable in Vermont during the summer, which is often the case.  (Click on the image so you can make it bigger and easier to read)

In the northern Green Mountains, some places got a whopping 22 inches or more of rain in the summer. Soggy, indeed!