Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cold Start To Winter, But Will It Stay That Way?

There's no doubt winter is off to a cold start here in the Great White North, in the upper reaches of New York and New England.
Saturday morning dawned clear and frigid in
St. Albans, Vermont, with a temperature of 5 degrees.  

This morning, temperatures hovered a few degrees either side of zero, with lows bottoming out at 13 below in Saranac Lake, N.Y., one of the Northeast's most serious ice boxes.

There was a record low of 4 above in Montpelier Friday, and it was 2 below in the Capitol City this morning, which wasn't quite a record.

November overall is running about 2.5 degrees below normal in Burlington, where it was 7 degrees above zero this morning.

So, have we started a trend? Is the whole winter going to be frigid?

Not necessarily. Weather patterns often switch in the winter. You might get a cold month, followed by a mild one, followed by wet, then dry.

November this year reminds me of 1989. That year, a massive storm caused a big tornado outbreak in the nation at midmonth, just like this year. That was followed by a persistent cold spell that latest through December.

December, 1989 was the coldest on record in Burlington, Vermont. By New Year's Eve, pretty much everyone was sick of winter.

Then the reversal hit. January, 1990 turned out to be the second warmest on record in Burlington. The snow melted and many days felt like spring.

That's not to say things will turn out that way this year.  The first half of December this year looks like it will be cold, but not as bad as 1989. There's no telling what will happen after that.

Those long range winter forecasts everybody puts out? Take those with an enormous grain of salt.  The long range forecasts aren't much better than a flip of a coin.

Already, some of the forecasts are partially wrong. The Weather Channel said we'd have a relatively warm November. Oh well.

For the record, The Weather Channel says our winter will be kind of mild, but trending cold toward the end of the season. Accuweather's forecast is about the same. The National Weather Service says winter will be on the mild side in the Northeast, while the Old Farmer's Almanac calls for temperatures not out of the ordinary, but quite a bit of snow in New England.

Again, I don't vouch for any of these forecasts.

If you want to know what the winter weather of 2013-14 will be like, talk to me in March. I can give you a very, very accurate rundown then.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tornadoes Continue To Amaze In Incredible Ways

It's been almost two weeks since a big outbreak of tornadoes smashed the nation's Midwest, and I'm still fascinated by the weird power of tornadoes, both in that outbreak and in general.
Curtrains trapped between the top of a wall and
the roof after November tornadoes in the Midwest.  

In the photo in this post, click on it to make it bigger and look closely.  The Washington, Illinois tornado smashed out a window, making curtains fly outside the house.

The the tornadic winds lifted the roof somewhat, allowing the curtains to fly up over the top of the wall. Then the roof slammed down, trapping the curtains between the top of the wall and the roof. Amazing.

And a video surfaced last week that documents one family's   experience with the tornado. The video strips away the entertainment value, if you will, of watching tornadoes and reveals what the trauma is like when people actually experience one.

In it, you see the tornado approaching and you hear Marc Wells, who is filming,   increasingly alarmed. The daughter, Josie, is already in the basement and Marc  joins her. (The notes on the video say the rest of the family was thankfully out of town)

The screen goes black and you hear them wondering if whatever they're using to protect themselves will save their lives.

Then you hear the tornado ripping apart the house as Josie screams. The tornado only takes a few seconds to do its awful work. Then you see them emerge, and the Josie is obviously completed traumatized as she sees her house is gone.

You get a glimpse of the living room. It had been a home, full of furnishings, decorations and such. Now you see walls missing, and all the contents of the room gone except for a battered ceiling fan and debris,

The man, still filming, is obviously shocked, and can't say anything to comfort Josie.  I mean, what can you say? He urges her to get out of what's left of the house, because it might collapse, and he pans to the rest of the neighborhood, also destroyed.

He's got to see if the neighbors survived. It's a heartrending video. And it shows, more than any tornado video I've seen, how these storms can be so emotionally as well as physically destructive.

 Here it is:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Evening Storm Update: Round 2 Now Beginning

If you had to travel in and near Vermont for Thanksgiving, I hope you had a chance to do it this afternoon.
Precipitation turned to drizzle and dense fog
for a time today in St. Albans, making for a gloomy day, but
with better roads. Ice and snow returned as darkness fell.  

There was a break of sorts in the storm, which was expected. Things tapered down to scattered drizzle and fog, and the roads were OK.

If you missed that opportunity, it's too late now, as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The next round of precipitation has moved into Vermont, eastern New York and New Hampshire.

Precipitation has changed to snow as far east as Vermont's Champlain Valley, and the rain will go over to snow by 5 p.m. in central Vermont, 6 p.m. in the east, and probably 7 p.m. in northern New Hampshire

As temperatures drop below freezing, the water on the roads will ice up, as they are just starting to do outside my house in St. Albans, Vermont as of 4:30 p.m. Those icy roads will quickly spread eastward.

If you don't have to drive tonight, don't.  Have some hot chocolate, or make a pie for Thanksgiving dessert tomorrow. It'll be better that way. Trust me.

Those looking for a huge dump of snow are out of luck unless they are along the spine of the Green Mountains and their western slopes in northern Vermont, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, the Adirondacks and New Hampshire's White Mountains

In most valley locations, expect one to three inches of snow, with only a dusting in valleys in southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and New York's Hudson Valley.

The National Weather Service is calling for 3 to 7 inches in those places I noted will get the heavier snow, but I still think there might be isolated amounts up to a foot around Jay Peak, Smuggler's Notch and Mount Mansfield.

This storm produced one to two inches of rain today across much of northern New England. Flood watches are still in effect for southern and eastern Vermont, but I think those watches will be dropped soon. There have been no reports of flooding.

Snowflakes will still be flying across northern and central Vermont mountains Thanksgiving morning but those will taper off. It still looks like it will be a frigid, windy day.  I guess it's a bad year to have a Thanksgiving feast outdoors.

There is the possibility of another coastal storm around Tuesday, but that's not a sure bet at all. Even if a storm does get going, it's too soon to tell if we'll get rain, snow, or some other combination out of that one. So stay tuned.

And Happy Thanksgiving.

Messy Storm Ongoing, Will Continue Well Into The Night

As of early Wednesday morning, we've entered the warmest part of the big, wet messy storm affecting Vermont and the rest of the Northeast.

Latest snowfall forecasts from the NWS/Burlington.
Click on the image to make it bigger so you can
read it  
Snow and mixed precipitation has mostly changed to rain, except for some pockets in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Snow accumulations have been generally a trace to three inches of slush, with more than that falling in parts of the Adirondacks and St. Lawrence Valley of New York.

There are still some icy and slushy patches on the roads out there, so be careful driving this morning.

There might be somewhat of a lull in the precipitation in and around Vermont for part of this morning but generally, it'll keep raining a lot for much of the day. Flood watches in Vermont have been extended northward into Rutland and Windsor Counties and in the entire eastern third of the state.

There won't be any severe, Irene-style flooding, but low lying roads could get covered by water in some spots, brooks and streams will come up fast, a few basements might flood, that sort of thing. Just don't drive over any flooded roads and most of us should be fine in that regard.

As we get into the afternoon, colder air will start bleeding in from the west and north. In areas of northern New York, which are still under a winter storm warning for six to 12 inches of wet snow, the precipitation in many areas has briefly changed to a cold rain or a mix, but the snow will return later this morning or this afternoon.

That snow or mix will also start to creep into the Champlain Valley of Vermont this afternoon, too. Careful driving along Interstate 89 and other nearby roads north of Burlington during the mid and later afternoon. Toward evening, the changeover to snow will start to move more quickly across Vermont.

It still looks like temperatures will fall quickly tonight, so water will freeze and the snow falling is definitely still expected to cause some rough travel.

Snow showers now look like they will continue into Thanksgiving morning across northern Vermont especially, so even if you delay your trip to Grandmother's house, you'll still have to be careful on the roads.

Snow accumulation tonight and early Thursday still looks like it will be in the two to five inch range across the northern half of Vermont, but maybe quite a bit more than that along the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

I'm still sticking to my forecast of up to a foot around Jay Peak, and maybe close to that at places like Smuggler's Notch and Mount Mansfield.

Bring your winter gear with you on Thanksgiving Day. It's going to be mighty cold and windy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Starting To Snow In Vermont As Big Storm Arrives

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, a little light snow was falling in Vermont, and some roadways were getting a bit slick, the opening salvo of that messy storm we've been advertising for a few days now.
A snowplow clear roads near Alburquerque, New
Mexico the other day. That area was hit by the
same storm that is now approaching the Northeast
Photo by Jim Thompson, Alburquerque Journal.

I looked at the late afternoon forecast updates and the forecasted scenario hasn't changed much from previous predictions.

That mess of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain still likes a good bet in most of Vermont overnight, though the warmer valleys of southern Vermont could see mostly rain.

Northern New York, away from the Champlain Valley, still looks to be under the gun with heavy, wet snow and some mixed precipitation.

Wednesday's weather will be all over the place. High temperatures across northern New York and northern New England will range from the low 30s to upper 50s.

Let me explain that one. It's a strong storm, and will move right up the Connecticut River Valley. The cold west side of the storm, in New York State, will continue to see the mostly wet snow.

These strong storms tend to gather a lot of warmth on their eastern flanks, so temperatures will rise to the low 50s in southeastern Vermont and well into the 50s to low 60s in New Hampshire and southeastern New England.

Vermont is in the middle and we're still looking at a cold, nasty, drenching rain for most of Wednesday.   But in the afternoon, precipitation will start to transition to ice and snow in the far northern Champlain Valley.

As the storm passes, temperatures will quickly drop and that snow and ice  up by Swanton and Alburgh, Vermont will race south and east across the rest of Vermont and into New Hampshire and Maine.

The western slopes of the Green Mountains still look like they'll take the brunt of the snow Wednesday night. I'm predicting more than six inches for those areas.

The northern Champlain Valley, from St. Albans north, could get several inches of snow, too. A bit more to the south, Burlington and the southern Champlain Valley are in for just a couple, maybe three inches of snow.

Unless of course the storm does something unexpected, which is possible.  Keep checking forecasts, things could change.

In places where it rains Wednesday, I'm still thinking it will come down hard, especially under and just east of the storm track. There's a flood watch in far southern Vermont for possible heavy rain.

And as much as 3.5 inches of rain is possible in parts of New Hampshire, which could lead to flooding.

The bottom line: Travel will be iffy tonight, and get better in all areas of New England except for maybe far northwestern Vermont during Wednesday. Northern New York is in for icy, snow covered roads during Wednesday, too.

The worst driving conditions will come after 5 p.m. Wednesday, when temperatures are probably going to fall rapidly and snow will pile up. The "flash freeze" plus the snow are guaranteed to make the roads really, really horrible Wednesday night.

So maybe try to time your holiday travel for the daylight hours on Wednesday.

Early Thanksgiving morning, the roads will still be largely ice covered, snowy and hazardous, but get better as the snow showers taper off and the sun comes out at times.

It'll be bitterly cold on Thanksgiving though. If you enjoyed the mid-winter chill and strong winds on Sunday, you'll like the Thanksgiving frigid weather too.

If you're flying Wednesday, prepare for a frustrating day. Most northern New England airports, like Burlington, Vermont and Manchester, N.H., tend not to close in storms. But a lot of flights throughout the eastern half of the nation will be delayed or cancelled because of the storm that is affecting a huge chunk of the U.S., not just us.

The weather will stay cold and wintry, but warm up a bit toward normal levels (upper 30s) by the beginning of next week.

Tues Morning Update: Upcoming Storm's Timing Not So Good

As I look at the forecast updates Tuesday morning, not much has changed in the thinking of how this big oncoming storm is going to behave.
Here's an early NWS/Burlington forecast of how much
snow will accumulate in northern Vermont
and New York from this storm. Click on
the image so it's bigger and easier to read.  

Some details seem to be emerging, though.

Before I go on, I have to repeat some of the caveats you probably have already seen: The forecast could still change, and we could still get some surprises.

And the weather will probably be very different over short distances in Vermont and surrounding areas. One spot might be just getting rain, while it's freezing rain just up the road, and wet snow a few miles beyond that.

Now, the particulars. A winter weather advisory is up for Vermont and a winter storm warning is in effect for northern New York away from Lake Champlain.

The scenario, as forecasters see it is this: Snow or mixed precipitation comes in early tonight. It'll be a gloppy mess of wet snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain that will continue on into the morning commute in most of the region.

Expect a thin layer of slush in the warmest spots, maybe the southern Champlain Valley, to between and inch and four inches of crud with the consistency of wet cement in much of Vermont and the northern half of New Hampshire.

In northern New York, the precipitation will stay mostly wet snow, with some mixing, through most of Wednesday. Expect 6 to 12 inches of wet snow there, which could really be a problem. Wet snow can bring down trees and power lines.

Since there will be slush and ice around in the morning, build in extra time for  your trip if you have to drive to work Wednesday morning.

As the storm moves northeastward through New Hampshire, enough warm air will probably come along to change much of the precipitation to a cold rain across Vermont for much of Wednesday. Some areas, especially across the northern mountains and perhaps the Champlain Valley way up north above St. Albans, could hang on to some mixed precipitation.

This continues to look like a very wet storm, so it could rain pretty hard at times. Wednesday by any measure will be a yucky day.

Although no watches or warnings are in effect, it might rain hard enough in parts of New Hampshire and Maine to cause some flooding. Some computer forecasting models predict more than four inches of liquid precipitation in western Maine.

Late Wednesday afternoon, we run into more problems for commuters or holiday travelers. Actually worse problems than on Wednesday morning. Cold air will quickly wrap around the back side of the storm, temperatures will crash and precipitation will change to snow.

This is bad as wet roads will freeze and snow will accumulate on top. That's the worst possible mix for scary, hazardous road conditions.

It'll snow kind of hard at times Wednesday night, especially in some parts of the Champlain Valley and definitely along the western slopes of the Green Mountains in Vermont. The Adirondacks and New Hampshire's White Mountains could also get a pretty good dump out of this.

The best guess from the National Weather Service is Wednesday night's round of snow will bring an accumulation of two to six inches. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the western slopes and the northern Vermont ski areas pick up more than six inches.  The Jay Peak cloud could dump up to a foot of powder.

If you have to travel Thursday morning, the snow will have tapered off to flurries, but the roads will still be bad. It will be another frigid day as winter has settled in for an early arrival. Many places won't make it above 20 degrees.

It'll stay cold until a slight, not dramatic warm up comes in around Sunday.

Safe travels, my friends!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Storm Update: More Wet Than White In Vermont

As of Monday evening, we're still watching that big storm that's been raising havoc across much of the nation and is heading our way here in northern New England.

The computer models have trended just a bit warmer with this storm as it takes an inland track. It will probably score a direct hit on Vermont as it travels northeastward.

If it does go right over the Green Mountain State, enough warm air would probably come along to change the mixed precipitation that will fall Tuesday night into a drenching rain on Wednesday. Over in the Adirondacks, it will probably stay cold enough so that they get mostly snow, and a lot of it . Up to a foot, maybe.

This is a really, really wet storm. Parts of Vermont could see more than 2 inches of rain from this, and there could be some flooding in southern and eastern Vermont, all the way up to the Passumpsic River in the Northeast Kingdom.

Wednesday night, as the storm starts heading away, temperatures will crash, rain will go over to snow and that water left over from the downpours will freeze. Expect difficult travel Wednesday night, that's for sure.

Thanksgiving still looks windy and very cold with some lingering snow showers around.

It's too early to say how much snow will fall in Vermont from the tail end of this storm, but I'd expect several inches along the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

As always, the expected path of this storm could change, so the forecast could change to a more snowy, or less snowy one. I'll give you an update Tuesday morning.

Yep. Still A Very Messy Pre-Thanksgiving Storm Coming

Winter storm watches are now hoisted in most of Vermont and northeastern New York Tuesday night through Wednesday night for rain, freezing rain and snow.
Unfortunately, your pre-Thanksgiving travels
in Vermont could end up looking like this.
A winter storm watch is in effect. 

Over the hill and through the woods to Grandmother's house could well involve sliding into a ditch or having a too-close encounter with a telephone pole.

Those computer forecasting models, which until yesterday had no idea what to make of the storm's path, has pretty much settled on bringing a strong, wet storm northeastward through eastern New England Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's become pretty apparent a lot of precipitation will fall on Vermont and surrounding areas, but the question remains: What kind of precipitation?

Even if those computer models are spot on with the expected track of the storm, temperatures both near the surface, where we live and several thousand feet overhead will be so close to 32 degrees that things could go either way.

Here's how I understand the best guess from the National Weather Service in South Burlington.  A mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain will arrive later Tuesday and continue Tuesday night.

Enough warm air looks like it might wrap itself from the Atlantic Ocean into Vermont to promote just a cold rain in central and southern Vermont valleys, and in the Champlain Valley. Freezing rain might continue in northeastern Vermont valleys, and the upper elevations could continue to get a mix.

Wednesday night, as the storm starts to move out of New England, a blast of cold air will change the rain to snow and it could come down hard then, especially along the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

Thanksgiving itself looks frigid, with a lot of snow showers around, especially along those western slopes where the snow will probably continue to pile up.

Here's my Important Winter Storm Caveat: This forecast sounds nice and detailed and good to go, but it might be a huge bust.

When the temperature is so close to the freezing mark, just a tiny shift in the wind, or the strength or path of the storm could really upend the forecast and give us something totally different than I just described.

If a tiny bit more cold air wraps in, we could get a lot of snow. If more cold air gets trapped near the earth's surface, but it warms up aloft, we could get a LOT of freezing rain, which a few computer models are suggesting.

The freezing rain is the worst case scenario, of course. Because if that happens, not only will travel become almost impossible, we'd also start to have power outages. Which doesn't make things easy if you're trying to put together a Thanksgiving feast.

There's also the possibility enough warm air will leach that the storm could turn out to be mostly just a gloomy rain maker.

So what's a person to do if they're planning on traveling this week?  Expect a mess, to be on the safe side, and pay attention to the forecasts. You'll hear meteorologists making changes and adjustments to the forecast as the storm draws closer and it starts to become clearer what kind of precipitation we'll get.

And expect the unexpected with this one.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bitter Cold And HUGE Questions About Pre-Thanksgiving Storm

The easy part of the forecast came true. As expected, it is bitter, bitter, bitter cold in the northeastern United States.
A web cam image taken at around 9:45 a.m. Sunday
shows iffy road conditons amid snow showers
along Interstate 89 in Bolton, Vermont.  

Here in Vermont, temperatures at 9 a.m. Sunday stood in the upper single numbers to upper teens in most places, and wind chills were near zero.

It's not going to get any better today, folks. I'm just going to hibernate through the day and write off venturing outdoors. I'm just not used to this yet.

On top of that, there are still snow showers around, especially near the Green Mountains. The strong winds are also blowing snow around, so many roads remain slippery.

Let's not start the winter off by sliding into a ditch today, OK kiddies?

There's a wind advisory for all of Vermont except the Champlain Valley as winds could gust to 50 mph today. It'll be calmer in the Champlain Valley were gusts will "only" reach 40 mph.

Let's hope no power lines snap. Nobody needs a cold house on a day like this.

Temperatures tonight will be in near record territory, with lows of 5 below to 10 above. You'd think it was January or something.

A warm front of sorts will come through Monday, giving us a dusting to an inch of snow Monday afternoon and evening and temperatures that will still be cold, but nothing extreme.

Now an update on that much talked about storm for Tuesday and Wednesday. The computer weather forecasting models are even more confused about this storm as they were yesterday.

On Saturday some models gave interior New England, including Vermont a big snowstorm while other models mostly took the storm out to sea.

Now, models are offering us each of those scenarios, and have additionally thrown in a third one:
Maybe the storm will go inland, giving Vermont a storm that starts out as snow, changes to a cold, soaking rain, and ends in a period of snow.

Your guess as to what's going to happen is as good as mine.

To be on the safe side, anticipate lousy travel conditions Tuesday night and Wednesday, and I hope by Monday the computer models will get a more solid handle on this storm and we'll have a better idea what to expect.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Winter About To Hit With A Vengeance

It looks like it's going to be one of those years when winter hits early, fast and hard.
Will the drive to Grandmother's
house the day before Thanksgiving
look like this? Maybe.  

It's cold out this Saturday morning in Vermont, and kind of gloomy, and there is a snow flurry or two around.

But you haven't seen ANYTHING yet.

A big, bad cold front straight from the Arctic is going to come through this afternoon. Get ready for some snow showers, and maybe some snow squalls, that, for the first time this season in many areas, will turn the roads into those proverbial winter skating rinks.

The winds will howl and the temperatures will plunge tonight well into the teens as wind chills fall to near zero.

Sunday, by any measure, will be a horrible, nasty day. Even by January standards, it will be bitterly cold out there. Temperatures won't get out of the teens, wind gusts to 40 mph will keep wind chills below zero, and that bit of snow we get later today will blow around some.

Just ugly.

The winter weather is going to stick around through next week, so if you didn't get your fall yard chores done yet,  it might not happen.

You've probably heard about a possible nor'easter Tuesday night and Wednesday. That's possible, actually. There is a big storm spreading wind, snow, ice, and other havoc from California through Texas and on into the southeastern United States.

That storm will turn into a nor'easter, but the question is, how far off the coast will it venture? If it swings pretty far to the east, as some computer models suggest, we up here in Vermont will get little if any snow.

If it hugs the coast, as other computer models are saying (including the usually reliable European model) then we here in Vermont get a big dump of snow on Wednesday.

So right now, my prediction is we'll get zero to 18 inches of snow on Wednesday. Forecasts in the next couple of days will refine the expected amount of snow we'll get.

Whatever happens, it will stay wintry cold through Black Friday

In any event, I hope you have your snow tires on, your warm boots and winter parkas ready. You're so going to need them.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wild Storm Videos Keep Cropping Up, Here And Abroad

Media attention over the past few weeks has focused on weather disasters like Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the huge tornado outbreak last Sunday in the American Midwest, and the record flooding in Sardinia.

Here's one more in a series of dramatic tornado videos coming out of the Midwest.

In this one, a gas station security camera is aimed at the the house across the street. Notice the details: The car on the road very, very quickly turning around right before the tornado hits, the fact that the gas station in the foreground seems to sustain little damage, but watch what happens to the house across the street, and how quickly it happens.

There have been other storms lately, too. For those of you who like "weather porn" those videos and images of dramatic storms that get us weather geeks all excited,  I have a few gifts for you.

First, we take you to Australia. I found a couple videos of a huge hailstorm that struck parts of the country last week. There was widespread damage from hail that in some places was at least the size of baseballs.

Here's what it looked like from an upper floor balcony as enormous hailstones crashed landed into a river below:

Here's another view of the Australian hail. If you can't wait for the drama to start, things start to get interesting at the four minute mark and get really exciting starting at about 5:50:

Finally, videographer Dan Robinson put together an awesome, awesome compilation of big thunderstorms around Charleston, West Virginia over the years. The video features shelf clouds, whih form along the leading edge of thunderstorms. If you see a shelf cloud, chances are very high you are about to get hit by a really bad thunderstorms.

Check out a lot more of Robinson's excellent work at

Here's Robinson's shelf cloud video:

Dreaming Of A White Thanksgiving?

This Thursday morning dawned very cold across the Northeast with temperatures in the single digits in the cold mountain hollows and the teens elsewhere across northern New York and northern New England.
Bundle up! It's going to
get really cold this weekend.  

Get used to it. An Arctic blast is on the way.

The weather will be pretty close to average for late November across Vermont and surrounding states until Saturday, when an Arctic front goes through. It's part of a massive cold snap that is expected to hit the eastern two thirds of the nation

By Sunday, temperatures will be pretty normal for mid-January, with highs somewhere between 18 and 28 and lows Sunday night possibly getting to near zero in some of the colder hollows.

Most of us will have lows somewhere between 5 and 15 above

Is it too soon to be sick of winter?

This cold wave, at least the early stages of it, won't come with a lot of snow, but I'm sure the ground will be whitened in most areas of Vermont by Sunday.

There is a question mark for Wednesday and Thanksgiving, which could affect your travel plans. It'll stay cold and some computer models are suggesting a nor'easter.

At this point, early indications are the storm could stay weak and far enough offshore to not give Vermont much snow or wintry precipitation.

However, some computer models give us a big dump of snow or mixed precipitation next Wednesday. The jury is still out on this one, that's for sure.

As they always say, stay tuned for later forecasts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Thoughts On Sunday's Deadly, Odd Tornado Outbreak

Some random, some weird notes on Sunday's tornado outbreak in the Midwest.

  • The outbreak was remarkably well forecast.  The map in this post (click on it to make it bigger) shows in pink and orange, the areas that meteorologists thought 12 to 24 hours before the bad weather began where they thought the worst of it would be. The red dots, indicating where tornados hit, and the blue dots, where there were reports of other wind damage, lined up almost perfectly with the forecast.
  • Warnings went out quickly. Eight people died in the storms, but it would have been a lot worse without timely warnings that went out. The National Weather Service also used social media and smart phone alerts to tell people of the danger. In a Washington, Illinois church, a whole bunch of cell phones beeped on with warnings during Sunday services, giving people a chance to take cover. 
    A powerful tornado left these
    swirl marks in farm fields near
    Washington, Illinois.  
  • Tornado outbreaks usually occur in the spring and early summer. May and June are usually the biggest month for tornadoes. The nation's three biggest tornado outbreaks this year were in January, October, and no, November.
  • We are still running way behind normal in the number of tornadoes the nation has seen this year. However, many of the tornado swarms turned out to be unusually destructive. According to severe weather expert Dr. Jeff Masters, five of the seven disasters so far this year that caused at least $1 billion in damage were from outbreaks of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

As always with these things, more dramatic videos are coming out. They're fascinating to watch, but people were clearly putting themselves in danger to get the shot.

Here's a video made from a guy who probably shouldn't have been taking videos of a tornado approaching and beginning to destroy his house before he finally takes cover at the last second.

And here's another video, taken from inside a car pulled over on an Indiana highway. The video demonstrates how surprising tornadoes can be, especially when they become nearly invisible in the cloak of a heavy downpour.

It just looks like heavy rain, until.....

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tornado Outbreak Over; Stormy Weather In Vermont To End Soon

Many people in Vermont probably heard a gusty downpour bluster through before dawn this Monday morning.
Washington, Illinois after Sunday's deadly tornadoes. 

That was the remnants of that terrible tornado outbreak in the Midwest Sunday.

The Vermont storms, such as they were, caused minor power failures and knocked down a few tree limbs. Not a big deal, especially if you compare that to the Midwest.

At last report, at least six people are known to have died in the tornado outbreak, one of the worst November tornado swarms on record.  Preliminary reports suggest there might have been as many as 80 tornadoes.

To put this in perspective, the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore said he found this statistic: Since 1986, the National Weather Service has issued 194 tornado warnings in November within the state of Illinois. 101 of those warnings, or more than half of them, were issued on Sunday.

Things are settling down in the Midwest, with no new bad storms expected.

Here in Vermont, we'll have a windy day, but showers will taper off. Temperatures will slowly fall, and it looks like we're in for a chilly week.

But no more disasters in the nation are forecast this week, thank Gawd.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Evening Update: Massive Tornado Outbreak (Weather To Worsen In Vermont)

As expected, a huge tornado outbreak has hit the Midwest, so far especially in Illinois and Indiana.
Aerial view of severe
tornado damage Sunday
 in Washinton, Ill.  

At least four people have died so far in the twisters, and there's widespread property damage. As of 6:30 p.m. EST, there have been at least 77 reports of tornadoes, according to the National Severe Storms Prediction Center.

The tornado outbreak was still ongoing as of 6:30 p.m.. I fear the death toll and damage will rise. That's especially true because the forward speed of the tornadoes, 70 mph, doesn't give anyone much time to take shelter. And night has fallen, so you can't see them coming until they're right on top of of you.

This is likely to one of the biggest November tornado outbreaks in U.S. history, and it appears to be the furthest north of any major November tornado outbreak. (If you're going to get a tornado outbreak in November, it's usually along the Gulf Coast and in the southeastern United States.)

The wild weather continues to trundle toward the east.  I still expect we'll get in on the action here in Vermont and in surrounding states later tonight.

The Storm Prediction Center has moved the slight risk zone for severe storms eastward, and it now covers at least the western half of Vermont tonight.

Don't worry, we won't get any tornadoes. In fact, there probably won't be that much thunder and lightning. The main threat will be a period of strong, gusty, maybe damaging winds as a squall line surges west to east across New York, Vermont and New Hampshire later tonight and before dawn Monday.

So you might expect to see some power failures and fallen trees. (Don't be surprised if your alarm clock doens't go off Monday morning when it's supposed to.)

It'll all clear out during the day on Monday, though winds will remain gusty. Look for a return to winter, too, with some occasional spells of snow showers starting Tuesday and going right into next weekend.

Hell, I'll take snow showers over the terrible tragedies going on in the Midwest today.

Here's a video of one of Sunday's tornadoes. This one is a particularly destructive twister in Washington Illinois.

Rare, Strong November Tornado Outbreak Likely Today

Unfortunately, you're likely to see news of destructive tornados and storms later today as a strong November storm is likely to cause a rare late season tornado outbreak in the upper Ohio Valley and parts of the Great Lakes states today.
This enormous double tornado hit
Indiana in 1965, killing 14 people.
Similar destructive tornados are possible
in Indiana and surrounding states today.  

This storminess is also going to affect Vermont and the rest of the Northeast tonight, but luckily, we'll get no tornados are anything extreme like that.

The National Storm Prediction Center has put an area centered around Indiana under a high risk of severe storms today.

That's unusual. They put any given region in the United States  under a high risk alert only a handful of times a year, and not often in November.

Big tornado outbreaks, like the one that might happen today, are usually creatures of the spring and early summer, but there is normally a smaller, secondary peak in tornado activity in November.

That's especially true in the past couple of decades for some reason. The November peak in tornados seems to have gotten a little bigger.

Today's expected tornado outbreak is also more north than you'd normally expect in November.

The culprit is a storm that's very strong and getting stronger as it heads into the Midwest.  The storm has something called a negative tilt.

What that means is the dip in the jet stream that supports the storm has a northwest to southeast orientation, instead of the usual direct north to south arrangement.

When a storm has a negative tilt, it can cause a lot of extra instability and a lot of wind that changes direction as you go upward in the atmosphere.

Such an arrangement can make thunderstorms spin, and create tornados. That's what's expected to go on today.  Even in places in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast that don't get any tornados, a strong squall line will cause damaging thunderstorm winds.

I did say the storm will also affect the Northeast. The storm will move up into Canada and swing a cold front through tonight.

Up here in Vermont and surrounding states, you'll notice the wind really start to pick up later today and tonight from the south, gusting as high as 50 mph.  It'll be a rainy, stormy night. And when the cold front comes through, before dawn in Vermont, you're likely to hear a particularly gusty downpour, possibly with a rumble or two of thunder.

After the front goes by, it'll be another gusty day Monday with temperatures falling in the afternoon. By Tuesday, we'll be in another early season chilly spell, with highs not getting out of the 30s.

But that won't be a problem, compared to the havoc that might hit the Midwest today. Let's hope any big tornados that do form stay in open country, away from any towns or cities.

Friday, November 15, 2013

More Videos On Typhoon Haiyan's Power

More videos are emerging out of the Philippines that show the power of Super-Typhoon Haiyan.
Haiyan's extreme wind and rain in the

One of the most striking things about the storm was the sudden onset of extreme conditions as the Haiyan's central eyewall moved over a particular area.

(The eyewall, immediately surrounding the center of the storm, or eye) is the most intense part of a typhoon or hurricane)

Conditions were bad before the eyewall moved over a particular area. But when the eyewall began to move in, winds suddenly became catastrophic as opposed to gradually increasing, and the storm surge abruptly crashed ashore instead of building over a matter of a couple hours as they usually do.

That's a reflection of how intense the storm was. The bigger the contrast between the low pressure of the center of any storm and the pressure zone outside the storm the worse the winds and rain.

Haiyan was extremely strong among the strongest on record. And it was the strongest typhoon to ever hit land.

Here are the dramatic, scary videos:

This one shows the dramatic onset of the storm surge. Much like a tsunami.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rare "Roll Cloud" Wows Texas, And Then The Rest Of Us

A rare "roll cloud" rolled right over the community of Timbercreek Canyon Texas this week, and it's getting a lot of attention because it was so dramatic.
The dramatic, rare, scary but harmless and beautiful
roll cloud over Texas this week.  

Bonnie Mack took what is becoming a viral video of the roll cloud as it passed over her Timbercreek Canyon home, not far from Amarillo.

You can see the video at the bottom of this post. The cloud stretches as far as the eye can see.

Roll clouds look freaky and scary and otherworldly, and something like a horizontal tornado but they're never dangerous.

They often form some distance from a thunderstorm, when a cool air downdraft blowing out of the storm hits the ground, kind of rises again and puts a horizontal spin in the air. That horizontal spin sometimes forms into what are known as roll clouds.

The air needs precisely the right amount of spin and moisture to make a roll cloud. Almost always, a cool downdraft doesn't form a roll cloud. In rare instances, it does.

You don't necessarily need a thunderstorm to make a roll cloud. But as rare as roll clouds are, they are even more infrequent when there's no thunderstorms around.

You do need an influx of cold air and that's what you see in Bonnie Mack's video. There were no nearby thunderstorms as she filmed.

A cold front apparently came in and displaced some warmer air, and the atmospheric conditions were just right to produce the horizontal spin the air that became the roll cloud.

Mack reported that a gust of cool air blew through her property as the roll cloud passed overhead, which is to be expected near such a phenomenon.

After all the weather disasters the world has seen lately, it is refreshing to see a dramatic weather phenomenon caught on tape that did no harm to anybody, and is not a sign of anything ominous to come.

Here's the roll cloud video:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Firefighter's Magic (Tin) Carpet Ride In Croatia

For something different, here's a fun video  of a bad storm in Croatia.

The storm had ripped the tin roof off a building in the coastal city of Rijeka, Croatia. A firefighters was on the tin debris when another gust of wind lifted it up. You have to watch the video closely, but it is worth it. And fun.

Unfortunately, there's bad news with this story. Although the firefighter wasn't hurt, one person died and 22 were injured in the storm that brought winds as high as 136 mph to Croatia this week. Damage was widespread.

In any event, here's the video:

Monday, November 11, 2013

First Arctic Blast Of The Season Coming Our Way

Ready for winter?
A NWS/Burlington Web cam image from
Jericho, Vermont Monday morning shows a
dusting of new, fresh snow. A bit more is on the
way, along with very cold weather.  

If not, too bad, because the first real taste of winter is coming to Vermont, and the rest of the Northeast for that matter, later today.

A cold front is on our doorstep and will sweep through later today. This evening, any rain showers will change to snow showers and it could get a bit dicey on the roads.

Valleys could get a dusting of snow, which will turn to glare ice on some highways as temperatures rapidly crash below freezing. So let's be careful out there.

Early season skiers are probably in a good mood though, because it's been snowing a little almost daily in the mountains since late last week and resorts are making snow like crazy. That trend will continue for the next couple of days. This evening, the mountains could get anywhere between one and four inches of fresh powder.

Deer hunters aren't complaining, either, as this gives them some tracking snow.

On Tuesday, temperatures across most of Vermont probably won't even get above freezing and a chilly northwest wind will make it feel worse. Plus, we're not used to such cold days yet, so it'll be a bit of a shock, I imagine.

After a frigid Tuesday night with temperatures well down into the teens, it won't get much warmer Wednesday, with temperatures probably staying at or below freezing all day.

For those of you not ready for winter, cheer up. It looks like a warming trend will set in by the weekend, as temperatures rebound well into the 40s to perhaps near 50.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Typhoon Update: Philippines Reeling

I was afraid this would happen.
Destruction in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan  

In the immediate hours after Typhoon Haiyan smashed through the Philippines, initial reports indicated the death toll wasn't that bad.

But as people are finally able to get in and survey damage from one of the strongest typhoons in world history, the news has gotten really, really bad.

Estimates are up to 10,000 people died in the storm, and images coming from the disaster zone show unclaimed bodies lying in the street.

The same thing kind of happened with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The initial reports were New Orleans had largely been spared, but of course within hours we knew it was a cataclysm.

The same has pretty much happened with Typhoon Haiyan.

To give you an idea of how bad things got, here's a video tour, below,  of the hardest hit larger city in Philippines, Tacloban City, which is pretty much flattened.

Notice the city looks like it's been hit  by a strong tornado, kind of like looking like Joplin, Missouri after their mega-tornado in 2011, with gutted buildings and shattered, leafless trees.

Taclonan City also looks like it was hit, along with the "tornado," the huge Japanese tsunami of 2011.

Here's the sad video:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Is Incredible On Many Levels

You'll see on the news today reports about incredible Super Typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philippines, causing mass destruction.
A visible satellite closeup of the eye
of Typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philippines.
Those striations in the clouds surounding
the eye indicate extremely powerful winds.  

Early reports suggest three people have died so far, but unfortunately the death toll will go way up from there, considering the strength of the storm and the extent of the damage.

The area it hit also had a bad earthquake recently, so landslides are probably more likely than they otherwise would be.

Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, is one of the strongest typhoons on record for the entire earth. (Typhoon is the east Asian word for hurricane)

It also might be the typhoon with the strongest winds to affect land areas, according to hurricane expert Dr. Jeff Masters. All other typhoons that are among the strongest on record reached their peak strength away from land. Haiyan had sustained winds possibly as high as 190 mph, with gusts to 230 at the time it hit land.

Picture how terrifying this must have been for the people who live in the typhoon zone. We're familiar with news reports of shaken survivors of strong tornados in the United States describing what it was like hiding in their disintegrating houses as the 150 to 200 mph winds of a tornado passed overhead.

But tornados only affect one particular place for five or ten minutes at most. Imagine enduring several hours of tornado strength winds.

Combine that with huge storm surges coming in from the sea and a couple feet of rain and you can imagine how serious this is.

Writing at Quartz, Meteorologist Eric Holthaus said Haiyan is the first tropical system he is aware of that went off the scale that measures hurricane or typhoon strength.  Meteorologist use something called the  Dvorak scale to gauge and compare the strengths of hurricanes. The scale goes up to 8.0. Haiyan went above that.

The typhoon will soon leave the Philippines and head toward Vietnam. It won't be quite as strong when it hits land in Vietnam, but it will still be an enormous, powerful, dangerous storm.

This one, sadly, is one for the record books, and not in a good way.

Here's a video of how bad it was in the Philippines:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Winter Slowly Tightening Its Grip In Vermont, Elsewhere

We woke up to a raw, nasty morning in Vermont, with some pretty heavy showers and gusty winds.
Get used to it. We could see
scenes like this within days
in Vermont and the
rest of northern New England.  

At least it's warm-ish, in the low 50s in many areas, but don't get used to it.

It'll be chilly for the next several days, and by Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll have what I consider the first winter days of the year.

There's a big difference in the Great White North between the first day of winter and the first winter day.

The official first day of winter on the calendar is of course on December 21. But in the northern tier of the United States, the first winter day comes way before that.

What somebody considers the quote, unquote first winter day is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think it's the first subfreezing night of the year. Others say it's the first snow flurry, the first good snowfall, or maybe the day fall chores are completed.

For me, the first winter day is the one where the temperature fails to rise above freezing all day. That might happen Tuesday or Wednesday in parts of northern New England in the wake of a strong cold front due Monday.

High temperatures then are expected to be somewhere between 30 and 38 degrees.

You might also want to get your snow tires on your car or truck this weekend. The cold weather late this weekend and early next week will probably yield some snow. It won't amount to much, but with temperatures plunging well below freezing, even a dusting of snow can really ice up the pavement.

That's an even bigger problem than usual this time of year. Often, with a cold front, some wet snow falls on pavement that's still relatively warm. You get water and slush, that then freezes solid as the temperature drops. Your highway is now a skating rink.

Plus, nobody is used to driving on the ice and there's a lot of idiots out there.

Better safe than sorry. Get yer snow tires now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Report: Climate Change To Bring More Worldwide Havoc

According to a recently leaked report from the International Panel on Climate Change, poverty,  starvation, disease and economic disruptions will increase worldwide as a result of a warming world.
Will drought and other disasters made stronger
by global warming contribute to war, disease and
economy suffering?  

Oh joy!

Interestingly, the leaked report turned up on a climate skeptic's website. The report wasn't supposed to come out until March.

According to the Associated Press, the report has what it calls the following "key risks"
  • People dying from warming and sea-rise related flooding, especially in big cities (Lower Manhattan during Superstorm Sandy, anyone?_
  • Famine because of temperature and rain chanes, especially in poorer nations. 
  • Farmers going broke for lack of water.
  • Infrastructure failures due to extreme weather
  • Increasingly dangerous and deadly heat waves
  • Some failing land and marine ecosystems.   
Here's the problem for everyone with these issues: Clearly, policymakers, people in charge, basically, need to figure out how to deal with all these potential crises.

But the risks are broad brush. We don't have specifics. How bad will they get? Where? Can they be prevented? 

And then if you do manage to come up with a plan, you've got to sell the blueprint to everybody.

People naturally react when the problem is clear and you know how to respond.  If you're unaware a bus is about to run you over, and somebody warns you, it's pretty clear what the problem is, the person warning you is (hopefully) easy to understand, and it's very obvious what you need to do to avert disaster.

Climate change, by contrast,  is still something of an abstraction, even if we have experienced hotter weather or more extreme storms.

That's because it's hard for anyone, including climate scientists, to tease apart how much of a particular weather disaster would have happened anyway, and how much of it was worsened by climate change.

Let's take relatively safe Vermont, where I live as a small example.

Here in Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene struck in August, 2011 and the resulting flood was one of the worst disasters in the state's history.

Vermont has always had tropical storms and destructive floods, so the fact we had another disaster wasn't that surprising. But was Tropical Storm Irene wetter than a "normal" storm because a warmer atmosphere holds more water?

And there was a summer's worth of very unusually heavy rain that preceded Irene, that soaked the soil and primed the state for big time flooding from the tropical storm. Was part of that heavy rain due to climate change? How much of it? And how much of all this was just bad luck?

What of the high frequency of wind storms and floods that maybe weren't as bad as Irene, but still destructive, that have hit Vermont repeatedly since 2011?  How much of that was influenced by climate change, and how much of it was just bad luck?

Clearly something odd is going on. The weather and climate in Vermont surely is different than it was decades ago. So you know you have to adapt.  But again, how much of this weird weather is just a fluke, and how much is climate change? The balance influences how you react.

As you can see, the nature of the risk is not nearly as plain and obvious as that speeding bus bearing down on you.

Now look at your utility bill. It's gone up some. Part of the reason might be because electric utilities like Green Mountain Power are constantly fixing storm-damaged transmission lines.  That costs money.

GMP and other utilities are looking for ways to make their systems more resilient. In the long run, adapting to climate change like that is cheaper than constantly going out and fixing storm damage. But the adaption still costs money. Which will no doubt show up in your electric bill.

That's what the leaked IPCC report is getting at. Climate change will affect us one way or another. Probably through sticker shock.

In more vulnerable parts of the world, the consequences are a lot more dire than trying to figure out how to pay your electric bill.

If disruptions such as crop failures, giant heat waves, droughts and massive storms hit areas of the globe already teetering on the edge, that's where you get the wars, diseases, economic  chaos and death the IPCC is warning about.

We have examples. The terrible civil war in Syria has a variety of causes and plenty of bad players doing ugly things. But there's tantilizing evidence an unprecedented drought in Syria between 2006 and 2011 caused many farms to fail, and those farmers to participate in a mass migration to cities to find ways to earn a living.

That caused some social instability. Even if the drought was caused by climate change, the drought wasn't the cause of the civil war, but it set up conditions that made the war that much more possible, 

Again, you can see how complicated this is. There is no obvious, straight line cause and effect here. All we have is indications, and it's hard to make policy decisions based on murky cause and effect.

In addition to making it harder to make decisions on how to respond to climate change, the iffiness of the whole issue makes things easier for people who don't think climate change is real or a threat, to convince us to not do anything.

After all, why respond to something so shadowy and full of questions. You know there are going to be effects from climate change, but pinning down exactly what those effects are is tricky.

So, with every weather disaster, every war, every economic calamity in the near future anyway, we'll always wonder. How much, if any of this, was due to climate change? And how do we respond?

I'm sure we'll get more recommendations from the experts, but the leaked report shows that we, meaning all of us on earth, might have a pretty rough road ahead of us

Monday, November 4, 2013

Roller Coaster Vermont Weather Brings Record Lows, Highs

As of 7 a.m. this Monday morning, it was 20 degrees in Burlington, Vermont, breaking the old record low for the date of 21, set in 1964.
These flowers in St. Albans, Vermont finally
bit the dust as we've now had two spells'
of very chilly weather in the past 10 days.  

The record isn't all that impressive because the 20 degrees this morning is still the "warmest" daily record low in the month of November. Most record lows this time of year are in the teens.

Still it's damn cold out. I noticed it was a mid-winter like 7 degrees in Saranac Lake, N.Y. this morning.

Montpelier, Vermont was at 16 degrees as of 7 a.m., breaking their record low for the date. It was 19 degrees on Nov. 4, 2002 in Montpelier.

Burlington's record low on Monday comes just three days after a record high of 71 degrees was tied.

And the roller coaster is set to continue. It'll stay cold Monday and Tuesday, but warm way up to near 60 degrees Thursday amid rain showers. A storm will be going by to our west by then, bringing in warm air.

Then a cold front comes through, and we'll get another day on Friday or Saturday with highs only in the chilly 30s.

I wonder if this bipolar pattern is one we'll endure for the entire winter.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Couple Of Spooky Weather Incidents From Halloween Week

Halloween is passed, of course, but a couple of videos surfaced of some spooky weather during the week of the holiday.

First we go to Hartford, Connecticut, where it appeared a police officer's personal car was vandalized. Someone, or something, ripped off the the rear view mirror on the driver's side door.

Police, being the investigators that they are, went to the surveillance tape, where they caught a ghostly image damaging the car:

As you can see from the video, the thing that damaged the car was a dust devil. The sun shines down causes an updraft, combines with a breeze and spins up into a whirlwind.

In the above video, the dust devil looks particularly ghostly, so it really did fit the season well.

Next we go to a suburb of Montreal. The Montreal metro area had the same wind storm Vermont had on Friday. Winds gusted to 60 mph up there, and like in northern New York and Vermont, there was some damage in the form of downed trees and power lines.

In this video, a tree or something had fallen onto a power line, and this loud, ghostly, cracking scary thing marched along the power lines on what had been a quiet suburban street:


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: Vermont's Wicked Nov. 1 Windstorm, And A Very Warm October

Now that Vermont's late autumn, November weather has reverted back to its dismal normal (overcast, damp, cold, blah),  let's wrap up yesterday's pretty wild windstorm and take a look back at what was a beautiful October.
Trees, lit up by a golden setting sun, bend in wind
gusts that reached about 50 mph in my
St. Albans, Vermont yard on Friday.  

First the storm. As windstorms go, this wasn't exactly the worst nature can throw at Vermont, but it was still pretty intense. We had gusts of up to 73 mph in Stowe, and 52 mph in Johnson. Many places gusted close to 50 mph.

At my house, I don't have a good wind gauge, but I'm on an exposed hill facing southwest, the direction from which the wind was coming.

I'd say the highest gusts were in the 50 to 55 mph range.  Most places in Vermont are a bit more protected from southwest winds, so the 45-50 mph gusts elsewhere make sense.

The storm caused a fair amount of minor damage in Vermont, mostly in the form of downed branches, a few toppled trees and some occasional power outages.

The storm brought a quick shot of warm air. Burlington on Friday tied the record high for the date of 71 degrees, first set in 1950.

Of course, anyone who has stepped outside this Saturday knows it's already back to reality. And this note: Many areas of northern Vermont will probably get a slight dusting of snow tonight. Nothing that odd for early November, but I'm just sayin'

That potential snow tonight is probably a bit shocking because it comes after one of the most pleasant Octobers I can remember in the 51 years I've lived in Vermont.

The average temperature in Burlington, Vermont during October was 51.7 degrees, or 3.6 degrees warmer than normal.

For the first three weeks of the month, we had been on pace to see an October that was among the five warmest on record. But the final week of the month was colder than normal, so we only managed a warm October, not one that reaches the Top 10 list of warmest.

Precipitation came to 2.59 inches in Burlington, about an inch below normal. That's OK, because we certainly weren't suffering from a drought, we did manage to get some rain, and the lack of storminess meant quite a few sunny, pleasant days to enjoy the foliage.

Yeah, the foliage that you might have been trying to rake up today, while getting colder and colder, wetter and wetter in the process.

I offer no promises or threats as to what the weather in November, or the upcoming winter will be like. Most of the those long range predictions are wrong anyway.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Forecast For A Windy Friday Stays The Same

It was windy, warm and wet early this morning in the Champlain Valley as a strong storm continues to move across the Great Lakes into Canada.
Wind bends trees in St. Albans Thursday afternoon.
It'll be even windier in Vermont today.  

Pre-dawn temperatures of near 60 degrees were close to normal for July, not the first of November.

That warmth is the first clue it's going to be an odd, busy day in the weather department.

Winds in north-south oriented valleys, like along Lake Champlain, were gusting to near 40 mph in the early morning, and those will increase later today.

It might seem odd to some, but the strongest winds today will come this afternoon, when the rain tapers off and the sun breaks through the clouds at times. Then, winds in Vermont will gust to 50 mph and up to 60 mph in northern New York.

Those bits of sun will come after the storm's cold front comes through. Just ahead of the front, for the rest of this morning and maybe into the early afternoon in eastern Vermont, the showers will continue. A gusty downpour might come through just ahead of the cold front, and don't be surprised if you hear a rumble of thunder.

After the front goes through, even stronger winds from several thousand feet above the surface will occasionally be able to dip down to the earth's surface, where we live, which explains why forecasters think the strongest winds will come this afternoon.

Be ready for scattered power failures and some downed branches and trees. My lawn in St Albans, Vermont  is already littered with small branches because winds here have been gusting to at least 40 mph at times since yesterday afternoon.

Usually, it turns colder after a cold front (A cold front being the front part of a big batch of cold air, duh!) but in this case, the chill is lagging quite a ways behind the front.

So we'll wait awhile for the chill to arriv and we'll have a warm Friday. It could make it to 70 degrees in some areas, especially maybe the Champlain Valley and lower Connecticut River valley.

The record high temperature for today's date in Burlington is 71 degrees set in 1950, and there is a chance we could break that record.

The cold air will come in, of course, and it will start to turn cooler tonight. Saturday will be a transition day, with steady or slowly falling temperatures during the day, with scattered rain showers changing to snow showers and flurries Saturday night.

On Sunday, you'll know its November, as daytime temperatures won't even make it out of the 30s, for highs, there will be a lot of clouds around, and a chilly north breeze will add to the frostiness.