Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 1:50 PM
Dog-sledding near Mount Washington; feds say it might be mild up that way this winter.

Our best guess is that not many folks in the Philadelphia region will be building their winter plans around the Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal outlook.

As usual, it is spare in detail, compared with those posted by private forecasters, showing probabilities in three categories – “above normal,” “below normal,” and “equal chances” (EC)  – over extensive areas of the country.

It has more to say about drought-stricken California (things should get a little better) and northern New England (a mild winter might be in the offing).

POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 11:35 AM

In at least three National Weather Service offices that had lost staff -- including the Philadelphia region’s -- overall forecast accuracy declined during the last three years, according to data supplied by the meteorologists’ union.

In addition, the data show that the numbers of “false alarms” – severe-weather warnings issued for threats that didn’t pan out – increased, says the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

Weather service officials have declined to comment.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 4:19 PM
Scene from February 2010; a snowy winter that didn't fit September pattern. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Following up on Tuesday’s post about the prodigious snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere last month – the third-largest for a September on record -- we found some data to warm the hopes of snow-lovers.

The 45 years of available records suggest a  correlation between hemispheric September snow and winter snowfall in Philadelphia – albeit with some dramatic exceptions.

A few cautionary notes:

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 11:38 AM

AccuWeather is on record as calling for a snowy winter in the Northeast, with above-normal snowfall around here.

Other outlooks soon will follow, with the government due to release its forecast on Thursday. That one, issued by the Climate Prediction Center, typically is the least-specific.

The temperature and precipitation maps won’t tell you much, but in the view of government meteorologists that’s about as much as can be said in all honesty.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 4:45 PM
Coming soon to a woods near you: Peak foliage.

Parts of Wayne, Monroe, and Pike Counties and across about half of Pennsylvania, autumn color has reached its peak, according to the update posted Tuesday by the state Bureau of Forestry.

The color line, meanwhile, continues to press southeastward, and areas around the Leigh Valley are at 75 percent, the bureau reports.

As for the immediate Philadelphia area, the show is just getting serious.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 2:38 PM
A February snow pile in Roxborough: some 2014-15 winter outlooks are due this week. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

For September snow cover across North America reached its largest areal extent in the period of satellite observations, dating to 1966, according to the Rutgers University snow laboratory.

For the entire Northern Hemisphere, it was No. 3 on the list.

Whether that means anything for the winter of 2014-15 in Philadelphia or anywhere else is a matter of conjecture.

POSTED: Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:11 PM
Snow covers Green Street at 21st Street on Monday, March 17, 2014 after a few inches of snow fell on the city. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)

In the history of Philadelphia snowfall, this date remains in a class by itself.

It was on Oct. 10, 1979, that 2.1 inches of snow was recorded officially at Philadelphia International Airport.

No other season has come close for a first snowfall.

POSTED: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 10:59 AM

Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias … Those would be the next names in an Atlantic tropical-storm season still stuck on Edouard.

The Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean have been dead quiet since Edouard had its 15 minutes as a major hurricane in the open Atlantic and then spun into obscurity last month.

Based on climatology, the sun is setting on the season. On average, only one hurricane, a storm with peak winds of at least 74 m.p.h., forms after Oct. 7, according to the National Hurricane Center.

About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

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