Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome To Our Brief Autumn Preview

This might not be what you want to
see right now, but today will feel
like fall, although much more
dreary than in this photo. 
Normally, in late July, high temperatures get to the low 80s.

It'll be as much as 20 degrees cooler than that. Today will be our reminder that, though there's plenty of summer left, it won't last forever.

Often in mid-winter, we get a January thaw, which gives us a break from the snow and cold. It's a real climatological thing: There does tend to be a slight warmup, on average, in the third week of January. Then we get back to mid winter conditions until a real uptick in temperatures starts in mid to late February.

The July fall preview is not a climatological thing. I so far haven't found concrete evidence that temperatures tend to slump a bit in late July before recovering.

However, I have noticed, anecdotally, that we often do get a cool spell sometime between mid-July and early August that gives a case of mid-summer chills.

This year's is more obvious than many others. It started in Maine yesterday. While temperatures here in Vermont weren't that far off from normal on Sunday, a remote corner of far northern Maine actually got below freezing Sumday morning.

Today, a huge slug of rain is moving across New York and New England. The warm, muggy air has been suppressed south. With no sun and plenty of precipitation, temperatures this afternoon will be more typical of mid to late September than July.

The high temperature for today in Burlington already happened early this morning at 69 degrees. We'll stay in the low 60s all day today. On Tuesday, most places will top out between 60 and 70 degrees.

There's going go be an awful lot of rain today and tonight, too, though flooding won't be widespread.

However, there is already a flash flood warning in a corner of northwestern New York and there may be a few other local trouble spots today, especially in New York where the rain is expected to be heaviest.

On the bright side for us, at least, the really heavy rain is hitting much further south. For instance, there was a lot of flash flooding problems in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey yesterday, including in the Philadelphia area.

Plus, it'll be back to summer soon. I still don't see any signs of a big heat wave coming in. Still,  temperatures will pop back up to near normal Wednesday, and stay that way at least into next weekened.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dramatic Videos Show The Weather Could Always Be Worse Where You Are

A five story building begins to topple into a
river in China during severe floods recently. Video
is below. 
It's a somewhat cloudy Sunday, and us Vermonters are destined to endure a very rainy, quite chilly Monday.  

As Trump would tweet: Sad!

To prove it could always be worse, what follows are some videos that show some pretty dramatic storms elsewhere in the world. T

hey will make you happy that your biggest weather problem is a dreary, wet and cold midsummer start to the workweek.

The bad weather has hit all corners of the world, as you'll see.

For starters, we've had a week of repeated severe storms stretching from South Dakota, through the Great Lakes and on into the Mid-Atlantic states. (There was even a rogue, isolated severe thunderstorm Saturday in southern Addison and Rutland counties in Vermont, but I don't think there was widespread damage.)

Not true elsewhere, though, as this video of a terrible hailstorm Tuesday in South Dakota. The hail, with wind, even managed to split a tree in this view of a back yard during the storm:




New Zealand has been hit this past week by a massive winter storm. (Southern Hemisphere, so it's winter there.)

Some areas received up to 10 inches of rain. One of the hard hit cities was Churchchrist, which has had a rough time in recent years. That city had a destructive, deadly earthquake in 2011.

Here's a video from New Zealand:



Farmers have to work in all kinds of weather, and Clinton Monchuk this past week was spraying fungicide on his malt barley fields near Lanigan, Saskachewan, Canada, and was accompanied on  his chores by a tornado:


In Cornwall, England, severe flash flooding hit this week and several people had to be rescued.

Here's a view that includes massive amounts  of flood water flowing into the sea:



Finally, this includes some of the most dramatic footage: Watch a truck and a building fall into rivers amid severe flooding in China in the past few days:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cooler, Wetter Weather Coming To Vermont, But Nice Weekend!

Flowers on my back deck in St. Albans, Vermont enjoy
some evening sunshine after a thundershower earlier
in the day this past Monday. It's gotten less wet in
Vermont for now, but a soaker is coming.
With some local exceptions, where isolated thunderstorms bullseyed some towns this week, Vermont has dried out from that super wet period we had in June and early July.

It's not exactly a drought out there, but I have found myself watering some recently transplanted garden additions quite a bit this past week at my hacienda in St. Albans, Vermont.

Bonus: The mud around the property has dried up, but of course mosquitoes remain a headachy hangover from our very wet June.

Showers and storms have generally detoured around the National Weather Service office in South Burlington, Vermont so far this month. July precipitation there is actually running about an inch below normal.

Still, I definitely don't have to worry too much about any kind of impending dry spell. It's going to turn very wet again.

A few days ago, I promised a sharp cool down by today.  Hasn't happened yet. It will be a bit cooler today and Sunday, but it turns out the real chilly air doesn't hit until Monday. Clouds and rain will contribute to that unseasonable coolness we expect.

There's dynamic but disorganized storminess that is gradually setting up shop over the eastern Great Lakes and the Northeast for a few days. Things are going to get very active in the northeastern quarter of the nation.

It's the type of mid-summer pattern that can lead to a nasty, rather widespread outbreak of severe thunderstorms and flash flooding in the Northeast.

That looks like it will happen over the next few days, but not so much here in Vermont. We'll be in the sweet spot in which we'll get a generous, soaking rain, and maybe some thunder, but nothing super extreme. The severe weather will be in the southern and eastern Great Lakes and in the mid-Atlantic states today through Monday.

As the wetter pattern sets up, a weak cold front is dropping through northern and central New England with very little fanfare today. That'll make it a few degrees cooler than yesterday but still nice.

Yesterday, Burlington, Vermont just missed reaching 90 degrees, topping out at 89. That means it's quite unlikely we will have any 90 degree days this July at all. It's been a number of years since we've had a July that lacked 90-degree weather.

(Still, even with the chilly days coming up Monday and Tuesday, temperatures for July look like they will come out somewhere close to normal. )

Sunday will be a bit cooler yet as sun fades behind increasing clouds, and the chances of rain really ramp up Sunday night and Monday in Vermont.

The rain might come down hard at times, and you might hear a rumble of thunder.

I doubt the rain will be enough to cause any flooding, but it's still worth watching in case the rain turns out even heavier than forecast.

NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has put Vermont in a marginal risk zone for flooding during this upcoming wet episode.

This is kind of a weird summer storm system, with a lot of moving parts. That means there's a good chance that adjustments will have to be made in the forecast over the next three day here in Vermont, and basically everywhere in the eastern third of the country.

When things start to dry out midweek, it'll warm back up to near normal temperatures, but we here in the North Country are still going to avoid getting into the real hot air that's been hanging over the middle of the country.

Once again, we will be in the sweet spot: Not too hot, not too cold.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tornadoes Strike Near Buffalo, New York Of All Places

Debris and a picnic table on a roof after
a tornado in Hamburg, New York Thursday.
Image from WKBW.
Quite a huge supercell thunderstorm managed to get going near Buffalo, New York Thursday, sending two tornadoes charging through the city's suburbs.

The area around Hamburg, New York - much more famous for epic lake effect snowstorms than tornadoes - was hardest hit.  (Hamburg famously got up to seven feet of snow in a 2014 storm.)

An EF2 tornado with winds of up to 105 mph blew through the town, especially trashing the Hamburg Fairgrounds, reports television station WKBW.

There, dozens of cars had their windows blown out and lots of structures, including the grandstand, were badly damaged.

A second tornado struck the nearby town of Holland, New York. It was an EF1 with 95 mph winds.

One video that you might have already seen bears showing in this post.  Look at the bottom of this post for it.

The storms then moved toward the southeast, causing a swath of straight line wind damage through western and southern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania.

At the same time, more locally, a smaller severe thunderstorm, mostly in southern Quebec, clipped extreme northeastern New York and the northwestern tip of Vermont. Trees ane a barn were damaged in Champlain, New York shortly after noon and a tractor trailer blew over.

Tornadoes are not unheard of in western New York, or anywhere in New York for that matter.

WKBW says the last tornado to hit the region near Buffalo before Thursday was on November 14, 2011.

Here's the home security video that shows a quick tornado lifting an SUV off the ground even as the house itself appears undamaged:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Globally, This Year On Pace To Be Second Hottest Year On Record, Surprising Scientists

Most of the world was much warmer than normal,
again, in June. 
The first half of 2017 proved to be the second hottest on record for the globe as a whole, which has surprised a number of scientists.

This news comes after, according to NOAA,  the world had its third warmest June on record, which also is a bit stunning.

I say this because the world was supposed to temporarily cool a bit after a very strong El Nino helped boost worldwide temperatures to record high levels in 2015 and 2016.

El Nino tends to make worldwide temperatures hotter. Combined with global warming, a strong El Nino caused those record high temperatures.

El Nino is long gone, but global warming continues on. The consensus was this year would cool off. This year would still be very warm compared to historical averages, but not really that close to record territory.

So much for that idea.

Think Progress quoted noted climatologist Michael Mann thusly:

"As if it wasn't shocking enough to see three consecutive record-breaking years, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, for the first time on record..... we're now seeing near-record temperatures even in the absence of the El Nino 'assist' that previous record year benefitted from."

Mann said this latest NOAA report "is a reminder that climate change has not, despite the insistence of climate contrarians, 'paused' or even slowed down."

I guess Donald Trump got it wrong, then. Climate change is not a hoax perpetrated by China to demolish the U.S economy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nope, Hurricane Center Was Not Trolling President With Tropical Storm Don

Tropical Storm Don fizzled, but that's not a slam
against Donald Trump.
Some people make a lot of connections that aren't there.

Take the late, not so great Tropical Storm Don.  

As noted here, it formed Monday. Yesterday, the National Hurricane Center accurately described Tropical Storm Don as "small" and "not particularly well organized."

Which to many people meant that the National Hurricane Center intentionally named a wimpy storm Don to troll the president and then poke fun at him when the storm did not turn into a big monster.

Tropical Storm Don, by the way, has fizzled out as expected. 

The tweet storms involving the tropical storm and the president will probably continue full force for God knows how long.

Here are the facts: The World Meteorological Organization has committees that come up with the names of tropical systems all over the world, including in the Atlantic basin.

The same tropical storm and hurricane names rotate through, so you get the same names every five years. They come in alphabetical order. Don's first letter starts with "D, " the fourth letter in the alphabet.  It was the fourth tropical storm in the Atlantic this year.

Even though you normally get the same hurricane name every five years, the names of particularly destructive and memorable hurricanes are retired and replaced with new names. That's why you'll never see a Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy again.

Here's how Don got on the list: In 2005, Hurricane Dennis trashed the Florida panhandle. Dennis was then retired as a name. According to the Associated Press, because Dennis was an English male name, the World Meteorological Society allowed the United States to replace Dennis with another English male name.

Don was chosen. Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center, said nobody had anybody particular in mind when Don was chosen.

By the way, there have been other presidential hurricanes. In 1997, when Bill Clinton was president, there was a Hurricane Bill, which didn't amount to much and stayed far out to sea.

By the way, if the list of tropical storms gets up to the letter "H" in the eastern Pacific, it would become Tropical Storm or Hurricane Hilary.

So we would have been screwed on Twitter no matter who got elected president last November.

Some of the jokes on Twitter about this whole situation were kind of funny, though.

One tweet informed us: "Tropical Storm Don as formed in the Atlantic Ocean and we're predicting it will be spending some time at a NJ golf club by the weekend."

"Tropical Storm Don will tell you how much damage it will do and then fizzle out and blame Hurricane Hillary," said another tweet.

The bottom line is, some people might think President Trump is small and not well organized, but the fact that Tropical Storm Don had those characteristics was coincidental.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chile Is Chilly: Snow In Santiago A Contrast To Our Humidity

A street in Santiago, Chile after a rare snowstorm
hit the city last Saturday.
If you're no fan of the typical summer warmth and humidity we're getting this week in Vermont, I've got a small piece of good news.

Plus some news out of Chile that will hit you like your favorite summer creemee.

First locally: It appears we could get the strongest cold front in weeks toward the end of the week. It could really be on the cool side this weekend.

It's still unclear how strong this push of cool air might be, but it will probably be refreshing. Even, if expected, it won't last long. Although I still don't see any big heat waves on the horizon, either.

If this new isn't good enough for you, take a mental trip to Santiago, Chile.

It's winter down there, and over the weekend, the biggest snowstorm in at least a decade hit that city.

Granted, it wasn't a huge snowstorm - just on the order of one to three inches - but there' not that used to snow in Santiago. (Normal high temperatures in a Santiago mid-winter, i.e. now, are in the upper 50s with lows in the upper 30s. Kind of like a Vermont April.)

Although Santiagoans loved the rare chance to have snowball fights, it wasn't all fun and games.

The wet snow broke many branches and power lines, leaving more than 330,000 residents temporarily without electricity. One person died after he was injured while clearing ice, and two people were injured by fallen power lines.

Here's video of Saturday's scenes in Santiago.

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Surprise! Tropical Storm Don Forms Out Over The Atlantic

This mess of clouds in the Atlantic Ocean east of the
Windward Islands is Tropical Storm Don
which formed Monday. Don't expect big things from this one.
Things named Don lately tend to be full of bluster and ineffective.

I'm talking about Tropical Storm Don.

Don formed today, somewhat unexpectedly, east of the Windward Islands in the central Atlantic Ocean.

I say somewhat unexpectedly because some forecasters never thought it would amount to anything.

Other forecasts, and several computer forecasting models, did predict a weak tropical storm in the past couple of days.

Don't expect really big things from Tropical Storm Don. It was tiny, and barely strong enough to be a tropical storm as of 5 p.m. Monday.

It might strengthen a little tonight and Tuesday, but strong upper level winds are likely to rip Don to shreds once it gets into the eastern Caribbean Sea.

It's pretty damn early to already have had four tropical storms in the Atlantic by mid-July. However, including what we expect to happen with Don, three of these storms were very weak and short-lived, and caused little harm.

Things might change starting in August, when we start getting into the heart of hurricane season.

Storm Threat Vermont, Rest Of Northeast Today

Stormy weather over Lake Champlain
last month. Similar scenes are
possible today, and I'd postpone the
boating excursion because of the
threat of strong storms and
lightning today. 
Just a head's up that it could turn noisy and bumpy in the weather department here in Vermont and much of the rest of the Northeast today.

Relatively humid weather is in place and a disturbance in the eastern Great Lakes will set up a lot of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.

A few of them were already roaming around as of early this morning. I noticed a severe thunderstorm warning at around 6 a.m on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario, for instance.

This is going to be another one of those hit and miss deals, typical of summer. Almost all of us will get rain today. Most of us will hear thunder. Some locations will get a decent big noisy thunderstorm.

And a few - definitely not many - unlucky folks in Vermont and surrounding regions will be on the receiving end of severe weather, which includes the possibility of damaging winds, fairly big hail and local flash flooding.

Actually, I think the biggest threat from today's storms is flash flooding. Again, only a few places, if any, will have high water problems. But the ground is still fairly wet. The storms will be kind of slow moving and some will contain heavy downpours.

A few storms might dump up to two inches of rain in an hour or two, which is at the threshhold at which flash flooding can start.

So, it's the usual summer drill. Keep an eye to the sky, listen for any local weather warnings from a trusted meteorlogical source, and by all means, don't drive onto flooded roads. Just turn around and take a detour for gawd's sake.

Things will taper off tonight. Tuesday, there will only be a few isolated afternoon showers and storms around so it won't be that big a deal.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Why Do People Leave Kids In Hot Cars And What's To Be Done About It?

Most people who leave children in pets in hot cars are not
evil, science suggests. But the brain tricks them into doing
this. There's also prevention ideas out there. 
It's the peak of summer the most dangerous time of year for children and pets left alone in hot cars.

A few people who leave children and pets to die in cars under a hot sun are just evil people.  (I'll get to one of them in a minute.)  

Most of the people who leave kids and Fido in the car, though, are not awful at all, research shows.  Their brains actually conspire to cause trouble.

According to NBC News, if you fall into a routine, and something happens to disrupt that routine, you can forget something that's extremely important to you. Like your child.

It's just the way our brain is structured, Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida told NBC News.

Two competing parts of our brains come into play. There's the basal ganglia, the part that operates on a subconscious level, which allows us to store abilities like ride a bicycle or just generally go on autopilot as we complete routine activities.

Then there's the hippocampus, which is the part of our brain in which we learn new information and complete plans we've made.

Here's how this all relates to leaving kids in hot cars, says Diamond and NBC News:

"'When you drive home and don't normally take a child to daycare, when you have a habit and you are normally driving home from work - and in those subsets or maybe none at all take a child home - well, what happens in all those cases, the parent goes into autopilot mode, which is typically home to work. It's in that subset of cases of basal ganglia is taking you on a route that does not include a child.

In these cases, the child is quiet and out of sight, which causes the parent to lose awareness of the task they're out to do."

In other words, these parents are so used to a routine that when a child changes the routine and needs to be left off at daycare, your autopilot subconscious makes you forget the kid.  The brain has created a false memory in the parent of leaving the child at daycare. When actually the kid is still in the hot car. With tragic results.

To combat this, create another routine that you do on autopilot that forces you to check the whole car before you leave.

Always drop your shoe, briefcase or something important in the back seat so you're forced to check the back seat. Or create a routine to make your subconscious happy in which no matter when you leave the car, you open the back doors to look inside.

Congress is looking into legislation that would create mandatory visual or audio cues to make you check the back seat for kids, pets or anything else that's important.

One great idea came from a ten year old kid.

According to the Huffington Post, Bishop Curry, 10 heard about a neighbor's six month old infant dying in an overheated car, so he is creating a device that would prevent incidents like that.

Curry's device, called the Oasis, would respond to rising temperatures by emitting cool air and would use an antenna to alert parents and/or the authorities.

Curry only has a 3-D model of the Oasis now, but he and his parents are seeking investors to produce the actual device. Good idea!

Of course, studies, useful inventions, regulations and preparedness won't help in those cases where people are just evil or stupid. Or both.

Here's one awful example. The Weather Channel reported on a Florida woman who intentionally left her five year old son in a hot car while she went shopping.

Temperatures in the car reached 110 degrees, but fortunately a passerby noticed the kid and got the police involved in time.

The woman was arrested and as she was being transported in a police cruiser, she complained that it was too hot inside the squad car and demanded police turn up the air conditioning.

Police were not amused. The mom is charged with child neglect and the boy, now recovered, has been placed in the custody of his father.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Odd Summer Temperature Contrast Causing Havoc-Strewn Weather Wisconsin To New England

Lightning strikes the tarmac of O'Hare airport in Chicago
as that region shared in the severe weather along a stalled
weather front from Wisconsin to New England. 
Almost always in mid-summer, there's not much of a temperature constrast on either side of a cold or warm front.

Unlike in the winter, there's no grand pushes of cold air from Canada to feed these dramatic contrasts. So in the summer, when a cold front goes through, the temperature might drop just a few degrees. Or not at all.  

Not this time.

An unusual push of very cold air for this time of year pushed southwestward from Greenland, where there was some big time almost record breaking snows.

The front has pushed down through Quebec, where snow fell last night in the northeastern part of the vast province.

The front has settled down into the Great Lakes through southern New England, where it is stalling out and doing battle with the usual intense heat and humidity of summer across most of the rest of the nation.

The result is some very bad weather that's been going on for the past couple of days in numerous spots. This bad weather will continue for a few more days -- though here in Vermont we seem to be escaping almost all of it.

Here in New England, the chill north of the front is being enhanced by east and northeast winds that are bringing even cooler, more damp air in from the North Atlantic.

In northern New England, including northern Vermont, high temperatures won't get out of the 60s today. The same is probably true for Friday.  Normally, afternoon temperatures are in the low 80s this time of year.

Near the coast, the shift is even more dramatic. At mid-afternoon today, the temperature in Boston should only be around 60 degrees with a raw east wind.

Justt 50 miles or so south of Boston, on the other side of the front, Providence, Rhode Island is forecast to be at 88 degrees at the same time. Quite a difference.

Such a sharp temperature contrast is a recipe for strong storms and heavy rain near and just south of the frontal boundary, and that's what's been happening.
Torrential thunderstorms caused flash flooding in
Belmont, Massachusetts Wednesday. 

The front yesterday and today extended to the western Great Lakes. The nearly stationery front, and heavy storms along it, caused terrible flooding Wednesday in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Severe thunderstorms struck parts of southern New England on Wednesday, too.

Today, flash flood watches are up for a broad area from Indiana to western New York.

A particularly heavy batch of rain was over the western third of New York as of mid-morning, and flash flood warnings were up for a big area that included Buffalo and Rochester.

The weather boundary won't be going too far any time soon. It will become more diffuse, becoming more like a summertime weather front with not so big temperature contrasts.

Still it will remain a focus for rounds of showers and thunderstorms through next week as weak disturbances ride along the boundary, making it waver back and forth, north and south.

Here in Vermont, that means an almost daily chance of showers through next Tuesday. It's hard to pick out exactly when it will rain and how hard during this period. At this point, I don't see anything extreme coming for the Green Mountain State, but it's something to watch.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

That's Odd: Tornado In Vienna, Austria

Large tornado near the Vienna, Austria International
Airport on Monday. 
Tornadoes this week have been spinning through typical locations for this time of year: In the northern Plains, especially in North Dakota; the southern Plains of Canada and Vienna, Austria.

Wait, what?!?! Vienna, Austria?

Yep.

Two days ago a large, dramatic, and yes rare for Austria touched down near Vienna International Airport.

The actual tornado did not strike the airport, but as you can imagine there were flight delays. The twister also argely avoided buildings and houses.

However, the parent supercell thunderstorm caused about $17 million in wind and hail damage around Vienna, says Yahoo News

There's a couple videos of the Vienna storm at the bottom of this post.

Tornadoes do strike Europe from time to time. It seems Italy, Germany, Poland and parts of Russia are particularly susceptible to the occasional twister.

Here's a video of  the Vienna tornado taken from an plane on the airport tarmac:



As noted above, the tornado did not strike Vienna proper, but huge hailstones and wind did, causing lots of damage. Here's a video of one neighborhood:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Those Severe Vermont T-Storms Today? Never Mind

Today's Vermont weather forecast is
brought to you by Emily "Never Mind" Litella.
Emily Litella is giving today's Vermont weather forecast.

Litella is the Gilda Radner character from 1970s-era Saturday Night Live whos infamous words are "Never mind" because she always got things wrong.

And that's the theme of today's Vermont weather forecast.

As Emily and me thought a few days ago, it looked like the ingredients were coming together for an outbreak of severe thunderstorms this afternoon. A cold front approaching,  strong upper level winds veering with height, a lot of lift in the atmosphere and plenty of moisure in the air seemed likely.

That's a recipe for big storms. But now the recipe is out the window.

Today is here and it looks like we're lucking out. The ingredients are NOT here for any significant severe thunderstorms.

There's an area of sinking air moving in, which inhibits thunderstorms. The cold front that's approaching is weakening. There's not a lot of instability that could create thunderstorms.

So, relax and chill.

Of course, there probably be a few scattered shower and storms around. Maybe one or two could have a brief downpour or a sub-severe wind gust. But don't count on it.

That doesn't mean it's going to be all sunshine and pleasantness for the rest of the month. We're still in an active weather pattern here in Vermont. After a pleasantly cool, rather sunny day on Wednesday, there's a daily chance of showers after that through at least next Monday.

But at least Emily Litella gave us a break today.

Never Mind.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Canada Is Burning, Againg

Last year, in one of Canada's worst disasters, a wildfire overtook the city of Fort McMurray, displacing 88,000 people and burning hundreds of homes in that city.

Now, amid a long stretch of hot, dry weather, the forests of the vast western Canadian province of British Columbia are ablaze, and there's no sign things will settle down anytime soon.

At last check, no fewer than 220 wildfires were burning in British Columbia, which is under a state of emergency.

According to Reuters, things really took a turn for the worse Friday, when dry thunderstorms packing gusty winds and lots of lightning but little or no rain set off dozens of new, fast-spreading wildfires.

Dave Phillips, an Environment Canada climatologist, told CTV that a dome of high pressure is keeping any wet weather systems away from British Columbia.  It's been about a month since any rain fell in interior British Columbia, and before that, rainfall was scant.

There are no signs this high pressure will give way in the coming weeks.

"This will be the summer of fire," Phillips said.

Meanwhile, wildfires are also burning in the western United States, including in Alaska, Washington, Nevada, California and Arizona.

It's staying hot and dry in those states, too. The summer of fire, as usual, seems to be extending into the United States.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rain And Storms. So What Else Is New?

Radar images of a severe thunderstorm
that caused damage in central
Vermont Saturday afternoon.
We just can't seem to shake the stormy weather, can we?

For the second Saturday in a row, severe thunderstorms rumbled through New York and New England.

This Saturday's outbreak was not as bad as last week's and unlike the five tornadoes in Maine last Saturday, there are so far no reports of twisters this Saturday. (But a couple spots of storm damage in Barre, Vermont and east of Augusta, Maine might bear investigation.)

We're getting a break in the weather today, with just scattered showers and maybe a couple rumbles of thunder, but more rough weather is due Tuesday and again maybe at the end of the week.

First, a continued recap of yesterday's storms. This cold front overperformed, too. It started on Friday, when some slow moving thunderstorms popped up. Some flash flooding occured in north central Vermont as the downpours landed on saturated soil.

Another area of downpours caused flash flooding Friday in New Jersey, Connecticut and especiall on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Several lines of storms came through New York and New England Saturday, starting at dawn and ending after dark.

One group of early morning storms caused damage in northern New York.

Another series of storms cut power in Burlington, Vermont, and caused damage in central Vermont. Especially around Barre, where there is a report of three buildings with significant damage, including one roof destroyed.

I have no further details yet on the Barre storm, but I hope the National Weather Service office in South Burlington investigates this. I'm guessing a microburst and not a tornado, based on the radar signatures I saw, but it's still worth a look.

Other storms caused lots of tree damage, especially in southern New Hampshire, northeastern Massachusetts and western Maine. One cell was seen rotating east of Augusta, Maine, though so far I see no reports of any tornado touchdowns, as noted.

So far, the endless series of damaging storms in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast aren't quite as bad as the flood-prone, stormy disaster-ridden summers of say, 1976, 1998, 2011 and 2013.

Still, things are piling up. After the damaging flash floods last weekend, Vermont state officials are asking towns for help compiling damage reports, to see if we can get federal help.

The weather forecast isn't necessarily encouraging, either. More showers and isolated storms, some with downpours, are likely to pop up Monday afternoon.

It also appears conditions are coming together for more weather trouble Tuesday. It's too soon to tell for sure, but it's gettiing more probable that some storms on Tuesday will become severe, and there is the risk of local flash floods as well.

Another weather front might stall across central or northern New England late in the week, which could drop enough rain to create more flooding.

It's kind of never ending stormy summer, isn't it?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Possible New World Record High Temperature Set

A hazy sun sets over Lake Champlain during a hot spell
last year. Although it hasn't been too hot in Vermont
so far this summer, other area of the world
have had crushing heat. 
Here in Vermont, so far it's been a wet, occasionally humid, but not particularly hot summer.

That ain't true in some parts of the world, where the heat this year has been crushing.

A city in Iran in June week reached 129 degrees, which is the hottest temperature on record for that country.

It could also be a world's record for heat, but nobody knows for sure.

Although the 129 degree reading in Ahvaz, Iran was reliably measured, other standard bearers for record worldwide heat, um, let's just say not so much.

Many people take the reported temperature of 134 degrees in Death Valley, California on July 10, 1913.

However, weather historian Christopher Burt has said that the 134 degrees was not possible from a meteorological perspective and therefore unreliable.

Another purported world heat record of 136 degrees in Libya has been debunked.

The 129 degrees in Ahvaz, Iran felt even worse than it was. The heat index was reported at 142 degrees.

Earlier in June, the world saw a record hottest overnight low temperature. The temperature bottomed out at 111.6 in Khasab, Oman on June 17. Talk about an impossible night for sleeping!

Even worse, there was a reported dew point temperature of 91 degrees.

Dew point is a measure of atmospheric moisture. It's the temperature at which the temperature would have to fall for moisture in the air to condense into cloud

On the other extreme, on June 20 another Iranian city reached 116 degrees with a dewpoint of -28 degrees. In other words, the teperature would have to plunge by 143 degrees for moisture to condense out and form ground level clouds, said Dr. Jeff Masters at the Category 6 weather blog. 

The relative humidity that day was 0.36 percent. For comparisons sake, a dew point in the low 50s with a relative humidity in the 30s would represent a refreshingly pleasant non-muggy summer day in Vermont.

Meanwhile, in the western United States, the heat continues to grind on as well. The extreme heat of late June has waned a bit, down from readings that were as high as 127 degrees in Death Valley.

However, temperatures remain above normal out there. As of today, heat advisories and wild fire alerts are up in quite a few locations from Washington to Arizona.

Down in Las Vegas, the temperature reached 114 degrees Thursday, just one degree shy of the record for the date. Las Vegas residents must be sick of the heat. Yesterday was the 22nd day in a row in which the temperature reached at least 105 degrees.

That's the longest stretch of such weather on record in Las Vegas.

Record heat is forecast for southern  California and parts of Nevada through the weekend.

Here in Vermont, I see few if any signs of hot weather coming this way anytime soon. Temperatures will be near to slightly below normal for the next week. And yes, we have an almost daily chance of showers and thundershowers for at least the next five days.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

They're Still Skiing In The Mountains of California

In this image from the Sacramento Bee, patriotic skiers
enjoy the slopes at Squaw Valley,  California on July 4.
It's the middle of summer, and some enthusiastic fellow Vermonters are probably already comparison shopping for season ski passes for 2017-18.

In California, the 2016-17 ski season still hasn't entirely ended.

At Squaw Valley, a Sierra Nevada ski areas, people hit the slopes on a sunny July 4th holiday wearing shorts and bathing suits. And enjoying snow that was still pretty deep in spots.

Squaw Valley received 60 feet of snow over the winter, which was among the snowiest on record.

Despite some big heat waves, the snow hasn't entirely disappeared.   The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in California and Mount Bachelor in Oregon were also open for skiing on July 4.

There's no word on when any of these ski areas will close for the (brief) summer. I'm sure a few dreamers would like the resorts to stay open until the snow starts falling again in the fall, and then continue on through next winter.

That's not realistic, as the snow is melting fast and there's plenty of summer left to go.

But still: Skiing on the Fourth of July must have really been a trip. Watch the video below for a taste

of it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

More Rain, But Don't Worry About That Tropical System. At Least For Now

Rising water in Williamstown, Vermont last Saturday.
More rains are forecast Friday and Saturday, but at
this point I'm not expecting the kind of trouble
we had last weekend. 
Enjoy one more day of dry, sunny weather, because more rain is on the way toward Vermont and the rest of the Northeast starting tomorrow, but especially on Friday.

The next rain storm won't be as wet or dangerous as the one we had last weekend, but it could still pose some trouble.  Maybe.

One reason is the ground remains saturated despite the sun we've gotten the past few days. Another reason is the rain Friday could be locally heavy.

The weather system coming in Friday doesn't look like it will have as much moisture to work with as the one last weekend, so the downpours probably won't be as intense.

However, there is the chance we could get another "training" episode, where a series of  storms go over the same area like boxcars along train tracks.

As is always the case, if trouble develops Friday or Saturday - and that's a big if -- only a few places will have problems. Most of us would be just fine.

Next, I'm giving you a hype alert: There's a possible new tropical storm that might want to develop in the central Atlantic Ocean.  

A few weather geeks are highlighting a handful of forecast models that eventually bring that tropical system into the Northeast, which of course would spell huge trouble on waterlogged New England if that were to happen.

All I've got to say is please don't panic and take everything specific you hear about the wannabe tropical system with a Peterbilt-sized grain of salt.  Especially if somebody says it's on its way here. I'm not concerned, that's for sure.

First of all, the thing hasn't formed yet. And might not. Even if it does, nobody knows where it will go. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. If this wannabe tropical storm does form, it could go anywhere in the Atlantic.

If it ends up threatening us - which I sincerely doubt - I'll let you know. Until then, fuhgettaboutit.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Watch Tree In Flooding Mad River Pierce Waitsfield Covered Bridge

I told you the other day how one bit of damage from last weekend's flash flooding in northern New England involved a large tree floating down the swollen Mad River and piercing a covered bridge.

The good news is that once the water receded, the branch was removed. Inspectors determined the bridge remained safe and the hole in the side was patched, said WCAX-TV

Mad River TV caught the event on video. It's below, and the action starts at about 1:40 into the video.

Monday, July 3, 2017

More Random Notes From Weekend's Wild New England Weather

Map shows all the tornado warnings issued by the
National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine Saturday.
As we enjoy a gorgeous stretch of weather today through Wednesday - quite a bit of sun, cool temperatures, low humidity - some of us are still cleaning up from the wild weather we had in northern New York and northern New England.

Here's a few random items:

The National Weather Service in Gray, Maine issued seven different tornado warnings on Saturday. Before this, the most tornado warnings that NWS office had ever issued in an entire year was six.

At least three tornadoes were confirmed in Maine.

In Campton, New Hampshire, campers did not heed flood warnings and had to be rescued, says the Manchester Union Leader. Fifty or so campers were rescued, and two people and a dog were stranded atop a picnic table until 2 a.m.  Sunday,

In New York state, severe flooding struck Utica and Hoosic Falls, and a tornado was confirmed Friday in Broadalbin, New York.

In Vermont, several businesses around Hartford were damaged by flooding and mudslides, and an 800 foot section of railroad track shifted as saturated ground slid downhill. Amtrak passengers are being bussed around the area for now.

About a half dozen Vermont state highways were damaged, and towns are being asked to assess damage to see if the state can qualify for federal funding to help recover from the flooding.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wild Saturday Hits New England With Floods, Tornadoes; Much Quieter Today

Large waterspout on Sebago Lake, Maine Saturday. 
As expected, it was quite the wild day across northern New England with lots of flash flooding, thunderstorm wind damage and even a couple of tornadoes.

At least two tornadoes, possibly more, struck western Maine. There were dramatic photos and videos of Sebago Lake, Maine, where a large waterspout moved through.

There was other damage in western Maine due to possible tornadoes.

Here in Vermont, there was some thunderstorm wind damage in the southern third of the state.

Radar indicated strong rotation with a severe storm over Danby, Vermont, and a filmmaker caught rotating clouds over Wilder, Vermont, but there were no reports of any tornado touchdowns in the Green Mountain State.

But the main story was the flash flooding across the central part of Vermont.

A large tree floating down the swollen Mad River in Waitsfield pierced the side of an historic covered bridge in the middle of town, and so that's closed until they can figure out how bad the damage is and when they can repair it.

Several roads closed in Vermont due to flooding, especially in and around Barre and in Addison County. Most - but not all - had reopened by 8 a.m. Sunday.

Far northern Vermont, which had looked to be under the gun for flash flooding on Saturday, escaped trouble with only mostly light rain reported there.

Things are finally calming down region wide.
Mad River running very high in Warren, Vermont
late Saturday afternoon 

There's still a flood warning on the lower Winooski River from around Waterbury to Lake Champlain today as the runoff from rains makes its way downstream.

We're about to enter a very welcome period of quite calm weather.

The only weather system of note will come through probably on Thursday, but at this point that one doesn't look like it will be that big a deal.

It will be on the cool side for July for at least a week. After near seasonable temperatures today - near 80 degrees, it will be in the 70s daily for the rest of the week. There will also be a fair amount of sunshine to dry us out as well.

Which I'm sure we'll all enjoy.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Today, Vermont's Flash Flood Risk Peaks. Severe Weather, Too

The swollen Winooski River raged through Essex Junction
Vermont on Friday. With rivers running high and soil
saturated, as little as an inch of rain today could set off
flash flooding in Vermont. 
NOON UPDATE:

Things in the weather department aren't progressing as planned as of noon in Vermont, and that could be both a good or a bad thing.

Or both.

As of noon, a large area of rain is moving out of New York into the northern two thirds of Vermont.

I'll give you the potentially good news about this first.

The big area of clouds and rain is stabilizing the atmosphere, which could well end up reducing the threat of severe storms.

The threat is still definitely from southern Vermont and points south, but things are more iffy in the north.

Atmospheric conditions are still potentially conducive to severe storms, and if we get a burst of sun after this rain goes by, we could still have some severe weather. It's just less certain now.

Interestingly, the Storm Prediction Center has the best chances of severe storms and tornadoes across eastern New York near Albany, central and southern Vermont and western New Hampshire

And here's the bad news, or at least worse than the news above:

This big area of rain has pockets of heavier precipitation within it, and a lot of it is moving into the Champlain Valley and northern and central Vermont.

These are the areas most prone to flash flooding today, because those are the areas that got totally dumped on with rain Thursday night and Friday morning.

Some storms in Rutland and Windsor counties already dropped over an inch of rain in places this morning. However, those storms hit an area that got less rain the other night, so so far, no flooding to speak of.

As of noon, I was especially worried about the southern end of this big area of rain moving in. This southern end has the heaviest rain, and a band of it extends well into New York State. This area of heavy rain looks to be now entering Vermont around Addison County, and will move northeastward to say, Montpelier.

If this area of heavier rain holds together as it makes its way into north central Vermont, there could be some real flash flood issues in places like eastern Chittenden County, Washington, Orange, Caledonia and Lamoille counties perhaps.

We'll keep an eye on it.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION

Well, if you like active weather in Vermont, today might be your day.

All kinds of potential hazards are in play for the Green Mountain State today. The first and foremost being the flash flood risk.

We might also get some severe thunderstorms, very damaging winds, perhaps a supercell or two, and there's even a very, very, very slight chance of a tornado. Could happen, though.

Of course, as we've been watching for days, the flash flooding is the biggest issue today.

Rainfall on Friday wasn't all that heavy across northern Vermont. The heavy stuff went south. (There ewas actually a tornado in central New York west of Utica yesterday. And there was one severe thunderstorm report in Vermont, as trees fell during a storm in Salisbury, in Addison County.)

That the heavy weather largely missed Vermont yesterday doesn't matter, though.

The soil is still saturated, rivers are still running high, and all it would take is perhaps an inch of rain in an hour to set off local flash floods. Any of the thunderstorms today could do that and more.

NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has northeastern New York, Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine in a moderate risk zone for excessive rain. Moderate risk from this outfit is pretty high, which means they have a fair amount of confidence in the risk of too much rain too fast.

Needless to say, a flash flood watch is still in effect for northern New York, the northern half of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine into this evening.

Meanwhile, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has us in the slight risk zone for severe thunderstorms. Damaging downburst wind gusts are the biggest threat today, but as I said, we can't rule out a couple rotating supercell thunderstorms, which, if perfect conditions are met, could spin up a brief tornado in eastern New York or Vermont.

Yesterday, a batch of rain moving in the morning and early afternoon helped squash most of the torrential rains and thunderstorms that would have wanted to get going later in the afternoon and evening across northern Vermont.

Today, a similar batch of rain was moving in as of 7:30 a.m. That could tamp down things a little, but don't count on it. The dynamics in the atmosphere, the upper level winds and such are different than yesterday, and more conducive toward strong thunderstorms and torrential downpours.

Plus a lot of that steady rain this morning was moving northeastward into Quebec and not as much into New England.

As of 7:30 a.m. strong thunderstorms had already developed in central and western New York and this stuff was moving northeast, roughly toward Vermont. I noticed there was already a severe thunderstorm warning up for an area just east of Utica, New York as of 7:30 a.m.

The thinking is the activity that was in central New York this morning will continue to strengthen along a weak trough line ahead of a cold front. The trough line is sort of a pre-cold front cold front.

All these things do is focus thunderstorms and provide lift to make them stronger.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington is thinking the thunderstorms with this trough will make it to the eastern Adirondacks by late morning, then swing into Vermont during the early and middle parts of the afternoon.

That's when the crap hits the fan, so to speak. That's when we're at the biggest risk of severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and of course those flash floods.

As the actual cold front approaches this evening, we could get into another round of heavy showers and thunderstorms. This second batch would probably be not as bad as what comes through earlier in the afternoon but the evening stuff could still contain a few strong thunderstorms and torrential downpours

By the way, Sunday is looking way better, with quite a bit of sun, a very slight chance of an afternoon shower or thunderstorms, definitely somewhat lower humidity and temperatures near 80 degrees.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Vermont, New York Get Surprise Downpours, Flood Threat Dramatically Worsens

Chaos in Barre, Vermont after a May, 2011 flash flood.
There's some risk we could see scenes like this again this weekend.
Much more rain fell across northern New York and the northern half of Vermont overnight, and this sets the stage for a real flood threat.

The threat is even higher than I had been expecting earlier this week.

Last night's torrential rains, amounted to two to three inches, locally even a little more from the St. Lawrence Valley of New York, across Lake Champlain and the northern half of Vermont.

Burlington got 2.16 inches of rain and Colchester piled up 2.71 inches.

By the way, June rainfall in Burlington has so far amounted to 6.79 inches. If we don't get a drop of rain today, it'll still be the seventh wettest June on record.

Flood warnings were issued across a stripe of northern Vermont, along and roughly 30 miles either side of a line from Burlington to a little south of St. Johnsbury.

There's been no major flooding in that zone, but there is high water, washouts and that kind of thing.

Mainstem rivers are already getting into the act, too. There's a flood warning for the Winooski River at Waterbury. Today's flooding won't be as bad as during Tropical Storm Irene, when the Winooski flooded most of downtown Waterbury.

But low spots, and low roads are going to go underwater. Flooding will cover fields and damage crops downstream to Richmond, and possibly all the way down to the famed vegetable farms in Burlington's Intervale.

The rain was temporarily waning early this morning and the flood warnings will have probably been dropped, at least for awhile across northern Vermont by the time you read this. With the exception of the Winooski River flood warning, which will probably remain in effect most of the day, even if we don't get much more rain.

However, this flood event is only just beginning.

A flash flood watch is up across northern New York, the northern half of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine through Saturday night.

The warm front that caused the torrential rains last night is lifting toward Quebec and we'll get firmly entrenched in the warm, very humid air today.

Disturbances riding along a front to our west will fire up plenty of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, and some will of course have torrential rain.  Even as I write this at 7 a.m. Friday, heavy downpours were lurking in western New York, heading east.

Here's how high the risk is: It would only take about an inch of rain in an hour to cause a flash flood. Some of the thunderstorms today and even more numerous ones Saturday and Saturday night could easily drop two inches of rain in an hour.
Flash flooding in Richmond,  Vermont in June, 2013. This
kind of thing could easily happen again today, and
especially Saturday in Vermont. 

And some locations that are unlucky enough to get repeated storms could get three to five inches of rain between now and Saturday night.

We get flash flood watches fairly often, but this to me is the most precarious situation since the big spring and summer floods of 2011.

Some of today's storms could also be severe, with strong gusty winds. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has Vermont in part of a broad zone of a slight severe storm risk today.

The storms will subside tonight, but there's still a chance of locally heavy downpours overnight.

For what it's worth, one weather model has a band of heavy rain lingering for several hours across northern Vermont this evening. That might or might not actually happen, but it's something to watch.

Saturday afternoon and night is looking even more dangerous. The cold front to our west will be closer, and the thunderstorms will be much more numerous Saturday than they will be today.

Even worse, the air will be even more humid than today, providing the fuel for even more torrential rains. And some of those storms could be severe, with gusty winds.

Not only is flash flooding a threat, but some of the bigger rivers in the North Country could flood. We already mentioned today's flood warning on the Winooski.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Winooski flooded again by Saturday, along with other rivers like the Ausable in New York, and Vermont's Lamoille, Mississquoi and Mad rivers. This all depends, of course, on how widespread and heavy the rain is.

So heads up. It's going to be a rough weekend. The threat of flooding is pretty damn high. We could get lucky and not get so many storms, but I'm not holding my breath. This could be one for the record books.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Still Worried About Possible Flash Floods This Weekend

Stormy skies over St. Albans, Vermont earlier this week.
More storms, and possible flash floods, could hit
parts of the Green Mountain State over the weekend.
As of mid-morning, a band of rain was right on our doorstep moving in from the west and northwest ahead of a warm front.  

It'll be cool here in Vermont today, since the warm front won't actually move through until tomorrow, and the rain will keep the air chilled.

This afternoon and evening is really going to be a soaker, with drenching rain a sure bet.

The overall forecast hasn't changed much since I talked about this yesterday, and we're still at risk for local flash flooding over the weekend in the Green Mountain State.

There shouldn't be any substantial flooding at all today and tonight, but the rain, falling on already soggy soil, will turn the ground into wet mush and raise water levels in streams and rivers, which were already running a bit high before today's rain.

After the warm front moves through Friday morning,  we'll be in humid, warm air. Scattered thunderstorms are inevitable in such an airmass, and the moisture in the atmosphere will be increasing all day.

The Friday thunderstorms will be hit and miss, and most of them won't be big enough, or slow moving enough to cause flash floods. Still, torrential downpours falling on the soggy soil could trigger a few local bouts with high water and washouts.

A few of Friday's storms could be strong, too, with gusty winds and lots of lightning joining up with the torrential downpours. Not everybody will get at thunderstorm Friday, but those who do will sure notice it.

Saturday is the trouble day. Again, I can't guarantee any flash flooding, but thunderstorms will be very widespread, especially during the afternoon and evening. The atmosphere will be really juiced up with water, so the rainfall with these storms will be unbelievable in spots.

I'm guessing the National Weather Service in South Burlington will soon issue a flash flood watch for at parts of our area for Saturday. Stay tuned on this one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Break Today, Then More Storms. Floods, Too?

A storm over Lake Champlain Tuesday afternoon, as
seen from Overlook Park in South Burlington, Vermont
Just a quick update before I go outside and enjoy and (mostly) rain-free day.

As expected a lot more showers and storms swept across Vermont and most of the rest of the Northeast on Tuesday.  

Some storms did end up dropping quite a bit of hail, again as expected.

The worst problem, going forward, is that the storms on Tuesday added yet more moisture to the ground. And a lot more rain is looming. We could be looking at another flood potential over the weekend.

What looks to be a very wet warm front - probably similar to the one that brought us a soaking last Friday, looks to hit us on Thursday, especially in the afternoon and evening.

There won't be a lot of thunderstorms with it, but it looks like another soaker - possibly an inch of rain that will really turn the ground to a swampy soup.

Thursday's rains don't look like they'll be enough to cause any significant flooding, but they could prime the pump for the weekend.

We'll get back into the warm, very humid air Friday and Saturday, and that sets the stage for yet another flash flood threat in Vermont and the rest of the North Country.

At this point, it sort of looks like the storms Friday will be scattered - probably not enough to trigger flash flooding, though a local torrential downpour has the potential to cause trouble then.

The trouble - if any - looks like it would come on Saturday, especially the afternoon and night. By then, it will be ridiculously humid again, with dewpoints near the awful 70 degrees.

A slow moving cold front will be approaching from the west Saturday. It looks like we could get into "training" thunderstorms again, as the air flow will be parallel to the front. That means repeated thunderstorms could keep going over the same spot again and again.

That would trigger the flash floods. Especially since the ground is so sopping wet.

This scenario for Saturday is not set in stone. A lot can happen to the weather patterns between now and then. Maybe the heaviest rain will orient itself somewhere else, like to our west, north or south.

Or, atmospheric conditions might not be ripe enough to trigger lots of torrential thunderstorms. Maybe we'll get away with just scattered stuff.

The only reason for this post, then, is to give you a heads up that there could be flash flood trouble on Saturday. Watch for future posts and updates,  and whether any flash flood watches or alerts are issued.

Also pay attention as the weekend approaches to the National Weather Service and/or trusted weather forecasting sources.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Threshold For Heat Warnings Lowered In New England

Heat,  near 120 in the shade, melted this plastic Phoenix
mailbox last week. Though things never get this bad in Vermont,
heat can still be dangerous in the summer. 
Chances are you'll hear more heat advisories and heat warnings this summer if you're in New England.

No, I'm not expecting this summer to be record hot. Instead, they're lowering the temperature at which they start issuing heat advisories.

According to Vermont Public Radio, they used to issue heat advisories if the temperature was expected  to reach 100 or more for at least two hours.

Now, they'll issue advisories if there is a forecast of two consecutive days when readings are likely to reach 95 or more.

"In Vermont, where our hot days are so infrequent, it can be really tough for our bodies to adjust to those hotter temperatures and change your activities to work around the hot weather.... And often Vermonters, myself included, don't have air conditioning, so it's hard to find relief during those hot days," Jared Ulmer, the climate and health coordinator at the Vermont Health Department, told VPR.

Emergency room visits for heat related illnesses begin to rise in Vermont when the temperature reaches about 87 degrees, so you know a couple 90 degree days can be a bit much for some people.

For today, at least, no worries about the heat. The expected high temperature in Burlington, Vermont today is 71.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Bright Sun And Storms: Skies Perfect For A Weather Geek

A photo I took last summer in Fairfield,
on a day with beautiful atmospheric
conditions similar to Sunday's
in Vermont.
Sunday featured what I consider perfect weather here in Vermont, though I know most people would disagree with me.

Oh sure, people must have thought it was nice enough, at times. There were bouts of briliant blue skies and bright sunshine. But those were frequently interrupted by billowing clouds, lightning, and quick downpours accompanied by chilly wind gusts.

But those skies! Big cloud towers lit up white by the sun against a deep blue sky backdrop, free of haze. Closer to the storms, evening sun cut underneath roiling storm clouds, giving the atmosphere an  otherworldly feel.

This kind of thing happens at least once a year, sometimes several times of year, especially in June and the first half of July.

These beautiful sunny and stormy days are created when a pocket of cold air sits high overhead. The sun is as strong as it gets this time of year and quickly heats the ground. Warm air starts to rise, and rises especially quickly when it's cold up above.

These rising air pockets condense into billowy clouds, and eventually, the types of showers and thunderstorms we saw on Sunday. This is especially true when a weak weather front, again like we had Sunday, adds more lift to the air.

You might think this is odd, but the weather conditions remind me of my favorite play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." by Edward Albee.

In that play, protagonists George and Martha are in constant conflict, but seem to have an emotional need to constantly engage in that conflict.

Sunday's weather was a classic conflict between warmth and cold, and the two temperature extremes needed each other to create the beautiful turmoil overhead.

The kind of storms we had Sunday come on days when the air isn't particularly humid. Which means there's no haze obscuring the beautiful cloud structures the way it usually does when we have thunderstorms. After all, we associate thunderstorms with hot, humid weather and not  during refreshingly cool days. But of course it does happen.  
Dramatic skies over St. Albans, Vermont Sunday evening
as the setting sun lit up the base of a thunderstorm
passing by just to my north. 

Sometimes, these cooler weather storms can get strong or even severe. Since there's plenty of cold air aloft, it's easier to get hail out of the type of storm we got Sunday, so that's one drawback. We love the sky we had yesterday, until the hail shreds the hostas.

Also, these storms are relatively brief, and will collapse suddenly, bringing a gush of potentially strong to damaging winds to a few local areas.

This all happened up toward St. Johnsbury, where one storm Sunday produced golf ball sized hail and knocked down some trees and power lines.

Today, there will be some cool weather showers and isolated thunderstorms around, but the dynamics of the atmosphere don't lend themselves to the skies we had Sunday.

However, tomorrow, Tuesday, we have another weather disturbance and a new pocket of cold air aloft  coming in, so there's the potential for things to look as beautiful as they did Sunday.

So make sure you look up and enjoy the spectacle of an active Vermont summer skh. Let's just keep the hail out of the gardens, OK?