Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Cold, but not quite, in Philly

Records fell in Atlantic City and Wilmington; so why not in Philadelphia?

Cold, but not quite, in Philly

As reported, with a low of 2 late Monday night, Atlantic City set a low-temperature record for the date, and for any day in March.

Less than 15 minutes earlier, Wilmington reported a low of 8, also a record for a March 3.

Both those stations have been keeping score since the 19th Century.

Philadelphia, by contrast, didn’t come close setting any temperature record either late last night or this morning.

The official low, 16, at 11:59 p.m., was a full 6 degrees above the record set in 1886.

Why on earth would a reading in Philadelphia, but a 14 degrees higher than Atlantic City’s and 8 better than Wilmington’s.

The thermometers at all three stations were beneath decent, fresh snow covers, and skies were fair.

All things, however, weren’t quite equal, and evidently some micro-climate factors must have been at work.

In Atlantic City, after the thermometer bottomed at 2, it shot up to 10 at 1 a.m.; in Wilmington, it nosed up to 12 at 2 a.m.

The issue in Philadelphia was wind.

When the temperature hit bottom in both Wilmington and Atlantic City, the reported winds were about 5 m.p.h.

In Philadelphia, the winds around the same time were closer to 10 m.p.h.

The lighter the winds, the better conditions for the remnants of the day’s heat to escape from the surface, a phenomenon known as “radiational” cooling. Winds tend to inhibit that cooling.

No records were reported this morning, and no new challengers are in sight; not that it’s going to get real warm.

The 8-14 outlook posted today by the Climate Prediction Center continues to show the blues covering the entire eastern half of the nation.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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.

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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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