Archive: September, 2011
Since Aug. 1 officially an unreal 26.37 inches of rain have been measured at Philadelphia International Airport.
That's in just 51 days. In 1922, 29.51 inches of rain fell during the entire year. The 49.17 inches since Jan. 1 would place 2011 at No. 15 on the all-time list, dating to 1872, if not another drop of rain falls before Jan. 1.
As you might suspect, we've already set an August-September record for precipitation - by plenty.
Like baseball, weather is a prodigious generator of numbers, some elegant, some wonderfully useless, some arcane.
In the latter category, we would have to place "degree days." We think of baseball because our old colleague Steve Lopez once likened the "degree day" to the game-winning RBI of the 1980s, a statistic deemed so confounding that baseball eventually dropped it.
Although it is not our favorite measure of anything, and the term is almost as baffling as "normal," we here at Weather or Not would like to come to the defense of the degree day.
If you had trouble getting out of bed this morning, and woke up foraging for muffins and doughnuts, you're probably human. The hibernation season is here.
It got down to 50 at Philadelphia International Airport overnight, the lowest reading since May 11. Naturally, it was chillier out of town, with a 43 recorded in Pottstown, and a 45 in Mount Holly.
It won't get out of the 60s today, meaning that we'll tally our first "heating degree days" of the season.
At 5 p.m., winds were gusting over 30 m.p.h. at Philadelphia International Airport, announcing the arrival of our first autumn-like air mass.
Those winds were howling almost from the due north, and that should continue when the Phillies take on the Marlins in the second game of the doubleheader -- unquestionably a sweather situation.
Not that Cliff Lee necessarily need the help, but the wind will be blowing right in from centerfield. Don't expect any home-run payoffs. Kyle Kendrick probably got help from the northwest winds this afternnon.
Salaries and the economy may be down, but this has been a boom year for disasters.
With the presidential disaster declaration for Pennsylvania on Tuesday for the weekend flooding, the 2011 total now stands at 81, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
That ties the record -- set just last year -- for federally declared disasters in any calendar year, and this one has 3 1/2 months and about half the hurricane season to go.
With the birth of Nate yesterday, 14 named tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin this year. That's three more than the average for an entire season.
With several weeks to go, that number is almost certain to increase, and the hurricane season in the Atlantic -- which includes the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico -- may be getting a boost from the Pacific.
This afternoon the government's Climate Prediction Center posted a La Nina advisory as sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific have cooled.
This week Philadelphia so far has added 5 inches to its prodigious rain totals.
That puts the total since Jan. 1 at nearly 47 inches, or 5-plus inches above the average for an entire year!
As of this morning, if the rain shuts off the rest of the year, 2011 still would finish at No. 28 on the all-time list for calendar-year rainfall in the 138 years of recordkeeping. And we still have almost a third of the year left.
So far Philadelphia officially has measured close to 3 inches of rain since yesterday, and that has put a charge into the region's rivers and streams.
For the record, the 2011 precipitation total now stands at 44.82 inches, with more coming.
That's about 13 months' worth in 8.25 months.