Friday, February 5, 2016

POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 4:29 PM
U.S. Coast Guard Heavy icebreaker in Antarctica, where ice extent is about normal. (REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Handout)

With the annual ice-retreat period all but over, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Tuesday that the Arctic ice extent for 2015 ranked as the fourth-lowest in records dating to 1979.

As of Sept. 11, it stood at 1.7 million square miles. That’s down from 2014’s 1.94 million square miles, but above the 2012 record of 1.31 million.

The 30-year average for the 1981-2000 period was 2.4 million, but in the last 10 years the average has been 1.8 million.

POSTED: Friday, September 11, 2015, 5:22 PM
Irene-related flooding along the Brandywine in 2011; major flooding has been scarce in last few years. (RON CORTES/Staff Photographer)

Flooding closed I-295 southbound between Exits 14 and 11 in Logan Township, Gloucester County, on Thursday night.

Numerous roads were closed in Greenwich Township and Woodbury, according to National Weather Service storm reports.

But beyond Gloucester County, reports of serious flooding were sparse – hard to believe on a night when almost a month’s worth of rain poured into Philadelphia’s official rain gauge.

POSTED: Friday, September 11, 2015, 12:17 PM
Rain washes out Phillies-Cubs game Thursday; and it got only wetter. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Philadelphia has one of the nation’s longest official, quality-controlled precipitation records, spanning 52,812 days to April 1, 1872.

Among all those days, officially Sept. 10, 2015, was the seventh-wettest calendar day, with totals flirting with 5 inches at Philadelphia International Airport.

Officially, it surpassed even Sept. 16, 1999, the day that Floyd inundated the region with a foot or more in places but only 6.63 inches at the airport.

POSTED: Friday, September 11, 2015, 5:43 AM

Just between  8 and 11 p.m. Thursday, 3.30 inches of rain, 1.44 of that between 10 and 11, was measured at Philadelphia International Airport -- that's close to a month's worth.

In all, the daily total was 4.76 inches, and the far and away a Sept. 10 record. The old standard was 1.59 inches, set in 1909.

It also is more than had fallen in the entire previous 72-day period.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 5:32 PM
A December coastal storm in Ocean City; this could be a busy year for nor'easters. (TOM GRALISH/Staff Photographer)

For coastal flooding, at the Shore this has been an amazingly benign period.

Not a single coastal-flood “warning” has been issued for the last several months, according to veteran observer Jim Eberwine, former marine forecaster at the Mount Holly National Weather Service office.

While no one keeps such records, Eberwine, who has been kicking around this stuff for over 40 years, said on Wednesday that he couldn’t recall a similar stretch.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 10:59 AM
Satellite image of Hurricane Fred; its successor, Grace, also has fizzled. (Reuters)

On Saturday afternoon Grace became the seventh named tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin this season, and the seventh one with just about zero chance of making the hurricane hall of fame.

In a pattern common during El Niño events, in which waters over a vast expanse of the tropical Pacific become unusually warm, Grace is losing a battle against strong winds from the west.

During El Niño, the interaction of the warm waters and overlying air generate strong upper-air westerly winds that can shear off incipient tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Gulf and Caribbean Sea.

POSTED: Friday, September 4, 2015, 11:03 AM
Sun is setting on a warm, but generally benign summer. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

Overall the summer of 2015 that is about to reach it’s unofficial end with the Labor Day weekend has been a gentle one.

The heat waves haven’t been extreme, the temperature hasn’t got above 95, and the heat index has made it to triple figures only twice, according to Lance Franck, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly.

That said, it has been consistently warm, a trend that has lapped into September.

POSTED: Thursday, September 3, 2015, 1:49 PM
Fred, in better times, when it was a hurricane on Monday. (Reuters)

All the outlooks suggested that this would be generally gentle Atlantic hurricane season, and with the annual peak period approaching, the forecasts are holding serve.

Fred, which began the workweek as a hurricane, is barely hanging on to its name.

At 11 a.m., the National Hurricane Center reported that its peak winds were down to 40 m.p.h. – that would be exactly 1 m.p.h. higher than the minimum threshold for a named tropical storm.

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.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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