Wednesday, May 27, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 6:01 PM
A Long Beach Island house washed off foundation by Sandy in October 2012. ((Clem Murray / Staff Photographer) )

In its most recent update, the Federal Emergency Management said it has directed $10.6 billion in disaster assistance to Sandy-related damage.

In terms of outright disaster dollars, that made Sandy the second-most expensive “hurricane,” after Katrina.

We put “hurricane” in “quotes” because officially Sandy became a “post-tropical cyclone” right before making landfall in October 2012 near Atlantic City.

Tony Wood @ 6:01 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2015, 11:41 AM
In dry times, the sprinkler is having its day. (Reuters photo)

Through yesterday, Philadelphia’s official rain total for May was 0.59 inches, and in records dating to 1872, that represented the 14th driest first three weeks of May.

It hasn’t been this dry since the drought year of 1986, when 0.35 was measured at Philadelphia International Airport through May 21.

The U.S. Drought Monitor now has Bucks, Montgomery, and just about all of Chester Counties in the “abnormally dry” zone, with pieces of Delco and Philly thrown in.

Tony Wood @ 11:41 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2015, 4:37 PM
April was warm globally.

Earth’s temperature for the Jan. 1 through April 30 period was the highest for the first four months of  any year in recordkeeping dating to 1880, according to the U.S. government.

The combined land-and-sea temperatures were 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average, with a margin of error of 0.16 degrees, beating out the 1.30 of 2007.

The report was released Thursday by the newly named National Centers for Environmental Information, the erstwhile National Climate Data Center. That will take some getting used to.

Tony Wood @ 4:37 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 8:25 PM
Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney walks the streets on a great day for voting. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/Staff Photographer)

Much to the disappointment of backyard gardeners tree-pollen sufferers, Tuesday’s thunderstorm threat has turned into a dud.

Instead, after a morning fog, primary day turned out to be quite pleasant and mostly dry; in short, a nearly perfect day for voting across the state.

Nevertheless, based on our reporting and what official observers are telling us, the turnout figures are likely to be bad, even for an off-year primary.

Tony Wood @ 8:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 11:02 AM
Drought-dried vegetation near a California golf course; we're not there yet. (ap)

Officially, a mere 0.03 inches of rain have been measured officially in Philadelphia in the last three weeks. in fact, May has logged only one cloudy day so far.

Such dry runs aren’t all that unusual: We found at least 25 rain-less three-week periods in records dating to 1872, in some cases two in the same year.

But the dryness is gaining some attention among the region’s drought specialists. A drought "watch" is in effect for 27 Pennsylvania counties as nearby as Berks.

Tony Wood @ 11:02 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 12:00 AM
N.C. surf stirred up by Ana, but forecasters say early storm isn't a portend. (Matt Born/The Star-News via AP)

For a record ninth straight year, no major hurricane hit the United States last year, and none of any strength invaded the borders of Florida.

Such luck is unlikely to continue, but based on the early outlooks, a 10th year of good fortune isn’t out of the question, the early start notwithstanding.

In its outlook issued Wednesday morning, AccuWeather called for another season of below-average named tropical storms – those with winds of 39 m.p.h. or better – and hurricanes, peak winds of at least 74 m.p.h.

Tony Wood @ 12:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:36 PM
A paddle in a dried-up reservoir in California; by contrast our region has been fortunate in recent years.

Ten years have passed since the region experienced a drought emergency, and that is the longest stretch between such emergencies in Pennsylvania’s somewhat limited period of record, dating to 1980.

In fact, recent years have been short on drought advisories of any kind around here.

So it’s natural that the recent dry spell has some folks concerned. Officially, no rain has been measured at Philadelphia International Airport since April 21.

Tony Wood @ 6:36 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 1:04 PM
May has been beautiful -- if you don't have tree allergies.

We noticed this morning that our gray car had turned a subtle shade of green, and were it not for the torment we could have appreciated what our online editor Joe Gambardello describes as “a free Maaco paint job.”

Once again, the tree-pollen count was at the “extreme” level Wednesday morning, according to the official counter at the Asthma Center in Center City.

We don’t have the actual number for Wednesday yet, but “extreme” means counts of 1,000 or better, and based on the way we feel, we would assume that today’s is in the ballpark with those of the last several days.

Tony Wood @ 1:04 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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