Friday, November 27, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 8:16 AM
It's that time; but weather notwithstanding, most will sit it out. (STEPHANIE AARONSON / Staff Photographer )

Early-bird voters were treated to a glorious sunrise Tuesday morning, the light animating the golden and crimson leaves, millions of which remain at their peak in the Philadelphia region.

We don’t know how many folks actually bothered to go the polls on their way to work or while dropping off the kids at schools, nor how many will brave the sunshine to vote by closing time.

We do know that the forecast for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey is about as good as it gets from Lake Erie to the Delaware River to the Atlantic.

POSTED: Thursday, October 29, 2015, 11:46 AM
Leaves are coming down; light is coming in. (iStock)

Driving around Wednesday night on the leaf-rutted roads reminded us of the dune-buggy effect one gets driving on certain South Philly streets after a snowstorm.

Just to add to the special effects, the power went off in our neighborhood. But in the dark we still could see silvery evidence of the brilliantly colored foliage.

And when the waning but still almost-full moon briefly escaped the clouds, we observed that a hefty percentage of the leaves were hanging tough.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 11:18 AM
Patricia: Big and bad, but biggest and baddest ever? (Scott Kelly/NASA via Getty Images)

Meteorologists often remind us that the capricious, three-dimensional fluid we call the atmosphere is imperfectly observed, and that is why we shouldn’t get our hopes up for perfect forecasts.

That said, the quality of monitoring and observation has improved immeasurably in recent years, and we are seeing things we never saw before.

That, of course, is a big reason why tornado sightings are off the charts, and why it isn’t possible to compare the numbers for the last 10 years with those, say, of the 1950s.

POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2015, 11:34 AM
Lucky Hill Road near West Chester last fall; encore underway. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)

We can say with about 100 percent confidence that if you live anywhere near trees, you can expect a significant midweek leaf storm.

But for foliage connoisseurs, the next few days should be magnificent, and even with leaf-removing winds and rain due Wednesday and Wednesday night, the show should persist through the weekend.

As a bonus, the moon will be full Tuesday night, and few things exploit that silvery light more beautifully than the colored leaves.

POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2015, 11:28 AM
Patricia bearing down on Mexico; peak wind gusts almost unimaginable. (AP)

At 5 p.m., Hurricane Patricia was spinning off the west coast of Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 190 m.p.h., just a few hours from landfall, according ot the Naitonal Hurricane Center.

Earlier, Patricia had earned the title of the most-powerful storm ever observed in the Western Hemishere in terms of sustained winds, 200 m.p.h., and central pressure, of 26.49 inches.

By contrast, when Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, its central pressure was 26.49.

POSTED: Thursday, October 22, 2015, 12:57 PM
Hurricane Joaquin at sea; it stayed there, and again U.S. spared landfall. (Reuters/NOAA)

In any other year, Hurricane Wilma would have been considered a mega-event, making landfall as a major hurricane on the southwest Florida coast almost exactly a decade ago.

Wilma, however, was destined to live in the shadow of the horrific tragedy of Katrina in a season of such devastation that it moved some experts to warn that the future of hurricanes on a warming planet had arrived.

In 2005, no one could have predicted the number of Atlantic Basin major hurricanes that would make landfall on U.S. shores during the next 10 seasons.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 2:17 PM
A dry ditch in foreground of citrus trees in parched California; last month wasquite warm worldwide. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Even by 21st Century standards, September and the first nine months of 2015 were in rarefied territory for warmth, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

With record temperatures in parts of the Pacific, where a mega El Niño has been brewing, the globally averaged temperature for the month was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average.

The climate center said that constituted the biggest monthly anomaly on record. However, four other months, including three in 2015, were close behind at 1.60; the margin of error is 0.18 of a degree.

POSTED: Monday, October 19, 2015, 10:17 AM
Emily Dickinson: Frost, her "blond assassin" was widespread Monday morning. (Library of Congress)

Hundreds of thousands of the region’s motorists went bobbing for the ice-scrapers this morning after overnight temperatures fell to the wintry mid- and upper-20s.

Ghostly layers of frost -- Emily Dickinson's "blond assassin" -- covered lawns and fields.

However, the official thermometer at Philadelphia International Airport exercised its powers of freeze immunity, with a big assist from human beings.

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

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