Dec 26, 2015

Odds and Ends

In Albany, NY today, 26 December, no measurable snow fell. This is the 271 consecutive day between the last measurable snow and the first measurable snow of this winter.  We are now in sole possession on 2nd place for this snow-less streak.
(Top 5 Longest stretches of no snow for Albany, NY.)

December 2015 for many locations across the Northeast including Albany, Buffalo and Glens Falls will likely have their all-time warmest December on record, shattering previous all-time record warmest Decembers. These 3 mentioned locations are all averaging 12° to 13.5° ABOVE normal monthly December temperatures.  

Location  Dec. 2015
Monthly Temp.  
Glens Falls
(Dec. 2015 Average Monthly Temps and Departures through 12/25/15)

This upcoming week will feature a threat for our first measurable snow of the 2015-2016 winter season. This will happen on late Monday 28 Dec into Tuesday morning the 29th. Right now, the snow looks like it will transition to sleet, a bit of freezing rain then rain for all. Expect a messy morning drive next Tuesday. Also expect some measurable snow, too. How much? Its too early to say. Much will depend on how quickly the snow transitions to rain. This changeover will occur from south to north across Eastern NY State so areas to the north of I-90 (The NY Thruway and Mass. Pike) stand to get the "greater" accumulations but as of right now amounts don't look to be too heavy.

Dec 22, 2015

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Past

Here is a quick climatological summary of weather for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for both  Glens Falls and Albany, New York.

In the case of the records for both locations for December 24th, it still looks likely that daily record highs will be set this year. If we get any sunshine on the 24th, Albany may also take a run at the all-time warmest high temperature for the month of December, which is 71° set on Dec 29th in 1984, I estimate the probability of this to happen to be about 15%. Again, it seems very likely that both locations will set daily record high temperatures this coming Christmas Eve.

Comparison of Warmest & Coldest Christmas Eves and Christmas Days for Glens Falls,NY
Comparison of Warmest & Coldest Christmas Eves and Christmas Days for Albany,NY

Dec 20, 2015

December Sizzle

After a record warm month of November for both Glens Falls and Albany, December is definitely trying to out do last month's record average monthly temperatures. The graphs below show the top 10 warmest Decembers for Albany on the left and Glens Falls on the right, Along with the average monthly temperature for each location.

In the table below the average monthly temperatures and their departures from normal for December 2015 are given (through the 18th of December). As of this date (the 18th)  for both locations, December 2015 ranks as the WARMEST December on record.

Temperature Data       Albany           Glens Falls     
     Normal December Temperature     
 28.5 °
25.9 °
Monthly Avg for  December 2015
   42.5 ° 
38.9 °
Departure from Normal
+ 11.8 °
+ 11.5 °

As for the expected temperatures this upcoming Christmas week they look to be way above normal. As a matter of fact this Christmas Eve looks to be a record warm one. The forecast highs and records for the 24th are as follows: Albany forecast high 62° / record high 57° set in 1941 and for Glens Falls forecast high of 60° with the record being a mere 49° set in 1957.

Christmas Day looks to be cooler but still mild with temps in the 40s for both locations.

Dec 13, 2015

A statistical relationship between fall temperatures and winter snowfall

Warmer than normal average temperatures were recorded across Upstate New York during October and November 2015.  The month of November for Glens Falls was the 2nd warmest November on record and for Albany it was the 5th warmest November.

The NWS Albany, NY shows a comparison of monthly average temperatures over the past five years.

The Case Study for GFL

Onto the study: The study was modeled after one done for Boston by R.J. Panuto a former NWS meteorologist, I used the temperature and snowfall data for Glens Falls (GFL), NY The point of the study is to see if there is any correlation between the departure of average monthly temperatures for the month's of October and November and the upcoming winter's (December-April) snowfall departure. The hypothesis is: Warmer than normal fall temperatures lead to below normal snowfall. Colder than normal fall temperatures lead to above normal snowfall.

First the average monthly temperature for October (47.8°)  and November (37.5°) for GFL was computed. Next the average snowfall for December through April was computed. (Note that since October and November temperature data was used in this study the average monthly snowfall for these month's were removed from the total snowfall data for the winter season. These amounts were minimal and would not have any impact on the goal of the study). The average December through April snowfall for GFL is 64.6". (Note that the standard deviation for GFL's snowfall is around 18").

The graphs below are the average October and November temperatures and December through April for GFL for the period of record ( which is 1949-2015 for temperature data and 1949-2001 for snowfall. [Snowfall measurements ceased at the airport with the implementation of Automated Surface Observation Systems or ASOS].

Now a statistical analysis was done to see if there was a correlation between a warmer or colder than normal October or a warmer or colder than normal November and whether or not the following December through April snowfall was above or below normal. A third analysis was done comparing BOTH October and November temperature departures and the upcoming winter snowfall.

The image below shows the number of occurrences of BELOW or ABOVE normal temperatures for October and above or below normal snowfall.

The correlation for October is rather poor at best. Now let's move onto November's temperature departures and snowfall as shown in the next image:

As the graph above shows when temperatures are ABOVE normal for November there were a greater number of cases of BELOW normal snow (histogram on the left side) and when temperatures are BELOW observed snowfall seasons was ABOVE normal in a greater number of cases..

Lastly a comparison between BOTH months having the SAME temperature departure compared to the snowfall departure:

Once again a strong correlation shows up when BOTH months are ABOVE normal then snowfall is BELOW norma l(histograms on the left side of above image) . A similar inverse relationship exists for BELOW normal temperatures for both months and having ABOVE normal snowfall (histogram on the right side of above). However, this last analysis should be used with caution due to the small sample size.

Even though both the two months temperature departure compared to snowfall departure is with a limited number of cases, as well as the November temperature departure used by itself, there is strong significance of a correlation.

All in all the analysis I performed is similar to the results of the Panuto's work and I think that the correlation would probably hold true for other locations in Eastern NY State and New England as well. Also note that this study just gives a simple yes/no "forecast" as to whether or not snowfall will be above or below normal. It doesn't give a quantitative snowfall amount.

This years expected snowfall for Glens Falls (and Albany)?

Based on a very warm November 2015 and my study I would tend to go with BELOW normal snowfall for Glens Falls (and Albany) for the Dec 2015-Apr 2016 period.  Sorry snow lovers but then again there were some seasons that had above normal snowfall with a warmer than normal October, November, and both months together (not many though!)

Sep 10, 2015

What I did,normally don't do, have done and will be doing!

Last semester one of my college classes was on learning the nuances of MS Excel. We had to do a final project for the class using the various analytical, mathematical, and chart/graphing tools that Excel has. I chose a project that used Excels statistical functions, "Boolean operator tools"  (GOOGLE Boolean operators to find out what they are), and graphing tools, to see if there was any correlation between fall temperatures and the upcoming winter's snowfall. The study was done for Glens Falls, NY. This study was modelled after one that was done for Boston, MA.

The study was done to see if there was any correlation between fall temperatures departures from normal (for the months of October and November) and the upcoming winter snowfall.

In any sort of a forecast that I make, using statistical analysis of  weather data is part of my mix. With any sort of a long-range "outlook" statistics can prove extremely useful.

Now I normally don't make winter weather outlooks. Heck forecasting the next 5 to 7 days of weather is enough of a challenge for me let alone trying to forecast for a whole 3 month season that is still a quarter of a year away from starting! Yet, quite a few folks are asking me what this winter will be like. especially since some folks are already coming out with their forecast and  the Farmer's Almanac is also out, too.

So here is what I will do. I'll hold off on my not very specific winter weather outlook until November is almost done and in my next blog post I'll have more detailed information including nice charts and statistical data from my class project from last semester to see what if any correlation does exist between fall temperatures and the upcoming winter snowfall.

May 8, 2015

May Day...May Day!

From wikipedia: Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications.

Some wild May Day weather across the country today through the weekend.

The National forecast map from WPC shows it all: A nasty spring storm out west with a variety of hazardous weather and Subtropical Storm ANA off the SEUS coast acquiring tropical features.

The storm over the Panhandle region is expected to cause a significant severe weather out break across the Central and Southern Plains this evening through Saturday perhaps even into Sunday.
A MODERATE severe weather threat is expected through tonight across Oklahoma. This threat includes possible damaging long track tornadoes.

There are already Tornado Watches posted for parts of the Plains States

To the northwest of the low winter weather including a very heavy wet snow fall is expected; perhaps even near-blizzard conditions for parts of Wyoming and western South Dakota. Some of the potentially "wildest" weather will be across Colorado where tornadoes are possible around Denver and point east by south of there, to heavy snow across the Foothills to the west of Denver!

Meanwhile off the coast of North and South Carolina Subtropical Storm ANA is slowly acquiring tropical features. Here is the 5PM EDT 8 May 2015 advisory:

Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* South Santee River South Carolina to Cape Lookout

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South of South Santee River

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, in this case within 24-36 hours.

Interests elsewhere in eastern North Carolina should monitor the
progress of Ana.

Indeed some distressing May Day weather for parts of the Nation.

May 7, 2015

Subtropical Storm Ana

The NHC has issued its first advisory on the season's first subtropical storm - ANA.


1100 PM EDT THU MAY 07 2015

LOCATION...31.5N 77.6W


ANA is expected to intensify a bit before making landfall  over the coast of the  over the weekend and it could acquire tropical features as it moves slowly over the warm waters of the Gulfstream current.  
Radius of maximum winds and Tropical Storm Watch area
Strongest winds are displaced well away from the center but in time are expected to draw closer to the center of circulation.

Radar and track of Ana thus far
 Some of the heavier showers are flirting with the coast of North and South Carolina.
TC guidance tracks

Cyclone track guidance is in very good agreement for Ana to turn NW and make landfall on the South Carolina coast and then turn northeastward  late in the weekend through early next week. The system could prove to be a beneficial rain producer for parts  of the Easter U.S. including NY States
Below is the forecast track from the NHC. Once Ana makes landfll it is expected to weaken considerably. 
Official NHC forecast track for Ana

Hurricane Reconnaissance Ongoing

An Air Force hurricane recon aircraft is currently flying in and around the area of low pressure off the Southeast U.S. coast. So far based on the observations the strongest winds are almost 30 mph and the lowest observed pressure is around 1007 millibars, at best its intensity is that of a weak (sub)tropical depression. (NOTE: As of around 245 PM EDT to the north and northeast of the low (over the Atlantic) winds of 40-45 mph have been recorded by the aircraft)

Above is a bar chart of the wind (red bars) and pressure data (blue bars) plotted versus  the time along the bottom horizontal (x -axis).

The satellite presentation is also a bit better this afternoon as evidenced by a more circular appearance to the cloud features with respect to the surface low's location approximately 200 miles to the SSE of the SC/NC border.

Some of the rain associated with the low is already affecting parts of the Southeast coast and more rain is expected to fall over the next few days.

The low is expected to continue to slowly develop with  The NHC now giving a HIGH 80% probability for the low to become a subtropical depression or storm.

It is forecast to move toward the N-NW through the weekend and will likely cause moderately strong winds and spread heavy rain, rough surf and higher than normal tides to the coasts of North and South Carolina south to Georgia and the Florida east coast, too.

If the system attains winds of 40 mph or more, whether its subtropical or tropical it will be named  Ana.

May 6, 2015

A Quick Update on the Low developing off the SE U.S. Coast

The system hasn't really developed much. Strong wind  shear aloft is causing the showers and storms to be displaced from the actually surface low center. This asymmetric structure to the clouds and showers being "removed"  from the actual is typical for subtropical systems.

This asymmetric structure to the clouds and showers being "removed"from the actual is typical for subtropical systems. (Where as a tropical system exhibits  more symmetry - clouds/showers are  concentric with respect to the low pressure center as is the wind field, too.) The guidance data is varying from one forecast cycle to another.

The latest tropical cyclone guidance is now leaning more toward a motion initially toward the north followed by a gradual turn northwest toward the SC/NC coastline. (map below)
TC Guidance
The ensemble data for the tropical models as well as from the GFS ensemble suite are also leaning toward a north track then bending back towards the SEUS coast.
TC Guidance Ensembles

GFS Ensembles (GEFS) for low off the SEUS Coast

Even more different is the actual GFS operational (OP) run that takes the low north then nearly due west to a landfall on the Georgia coast over the weekend. The movie loop below is the GFS "OP" run :

In general folks along the SEUS coast should continue to keep tabs on this system through the weekend. The system will bring gusty winds, heavy ran and rough surf with rip currents to the Carolina coasts south the Georgia and Florida, too over the next 3-4 days. And the system could strengthen into a weak subtropical or tropical storm with winds of perhaps 40-50 mph. 

May 5, 2015

Forecast Quiet Hurricane Season Could Start Early

Satellite imagery is showing a sprawling area of clouds off the East Coast of Florida. At the surface a trough of low pressure extends from north of Cuba through the Bahamas.  This area is expected to gradually organize into a low pressure area over the next few days.

The National Center in Miami is issuing a medium (40%-60% ) chance for this system to organize into a potential subtropical cyclone over the next 48 to 96 hours.
The system is expected to bring some beneficial rains to South Florida and also produce some rough surf along its east coast northward to the Georgia and Carolina's shoreline as well as dangerous rip currents.
I mentioned in the title of this post it is expected to be a rather quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic this year.  Colorado State University has come out with its first outlook for the season.

The reason for an inactive season a moderate to strong El Nino is expected and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures are averaging colder than normal. Just a note of caution - this outlook doesn't mean that storms won't affect the U.S. Mainland. So due diligence is still needed for residents along the U.S. coast from Texas to Maine.

Mar 1, 2015

March 1st - Meteorological Spring is Here

Today marks the start of meteorological Spring! Good riddance to February, too. Thank goodness this year wasn't a leap year!!

Anyway here is a quick summary of February 2015 for the area in the table below
Avg. Temperature
For February
From Normal
Rank for
Coldest February
Rank for Coldest
All Months
Minimum Temps
 at or Below
- 13.2°
Tied for 4th
Glens Falls
- 14.0°
- 13.0°
- 14.7°
- 12.6°
Region wide this past February was one of the coldest months since January of 1994. In some places it was one of the coldest Februaries ever and one of the Top 10 coldest months observed.

In addition to the record cold, the monthly snowfall total of 30.6 inches for Albany made it the 5th snowiest February on record.

The snowfall records for Albany go back to 1885 while temperature records go back to 1820.

The period of  records for Glens Falls goes back to 1945 with some months of data missing in 1945 and 1947.

Poughkeepsie's records go back to 1949 with data missing from January 1993 through July 2000.

I'll have a recap of the winter weather for the area later today along with a preview of meteorological Spring.

National Climate Data Center Asheville, NC
NWS Albany, NY
Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) Cornell College

Feb 24, 2015

More on our record setting February Cold

Once again another arctic blast has moved over the area. Glens Falls, NY had two record low temperatures over the past two days. Last night (Feb 23), just before midnight the temperature fell to -20° setting a record low for the date; this morning the airport bottomed out at -26° another record for today.

Through February 23, the average monthly temperature at Glens Falls is 7.6° or 13.1° BELOW normal. Digging through the climate data base from the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University, I came up with the following temperature information for Glens Falls, NY (temperature and precipitation records go back to 1945 for the Glens Falls airport; also note that some data is missing including the MONTHS of January through April inclusive in 1947): For this location this will be the COLDEST February on Record. No February at Glens Falls has ever had an average temperature in the single numbers!

Below is a table of the Top 10 Coldest Months at Glens Falls. 
Average Temperature
It is interesting to note that the month of February appears in the TOP 10 ALL time coldest months only once (#9). It also appears that this February will shatter the coldest February temperature and likely be the 4th or 5th coldest month ever in Glens Falls, well ever since 1945!

Feb 19, 2015

A quick update on our cold Weather

No real let-up in our way below normal cold is in site. Yes, we may see temperatures, warm again to near or slightly above freezing for a brief time on Sunday (along with another winter storm threat, too! What else is new. After all, it is another weekend in February!)

Through Wednesday 18 February the following average monthly temperatures thus far have been noted across the region:

Average Monthly Temperatures and Departures from normal through Feb. 18, 2015
So far for this month, the average temperature of 12.7 ° in Albany would place it in the Top 10 ranking for a coldest February (currently it would be the second coldest).

Top 10 Coldest Februaries for Albany, NY

It would also rank (tied) as the 4th coldest month on record. Temperature records for Albany go back to 1820.

Feb 12, 2015

Harsh Winter Weather Heading Our Way this Weekend

As I mentioned in my most recent blog post very cold air will plunge down across the Northeast States during Sunday and last into Monday. Prior to the arrival of the arctic blast a strong "Clipper" system will move to New York State, spreading snow our way. This system is expected to redevelop off the Delaware/South Jersey Coast. This new low is forecast to intensify at a very rapid pace. This coastal storm will cause additional snow to fall over Eastern NY State into Central and Southern New England during Saturday through Saturday night. Snow accumulations are likely and they could be on the heavy side across the region, especially over New England.

As a matter of Fact BLIZZARD conditions are possible for Southern and Eastern New England and perhaps across Long Island during Saturday

I'll have more on this system later today after new data comes in. Please stay tuned to all the latest forecasts.

Feb 11, 2015

More on the February Shiver & Shovel

Today was relatively mild across the area many valley locations warmed into the mid to upper 20s. Thursday will start off mild(ish) but bitter cold air will once again return by Thursday night and stick around into Friday.

Fig.1 Surface Map 10 PM for 11 FEB 2015

The surface map above (Fig. 1) shows two cold fronts will pass across the region during Thursday. The second front back over the Central Great Lakes region is the one that separates the polar air from the arctic air. The two fronts will be responsible for producing some light snow or snow showers. Accumulations will be slight around an inch or less across the Hudson Valley and 2"-3" over the higher terrain (especially the west facing slopes) of Eastern NY State and Western New England. As the low moves across NY tomorrow it will redevelop off the East Coast into a moderately strong system but this new coastal low is expected to have no impact on our weather. However this low could throw some moderate snow back towards Cape Cod, the offshore Islands of Massachusetts, southeastern Rhode Island and perhaps the Twin Forks of Long Island Thursday night. For Boston it could bring a light snow accumulation. However this coastal low will also cause the winds to freshen up over the Northeast later tomorrow into Friday so not only will it be cold but wind chills will make feel even colder; wind chill advisories or warnings could be issued Thursday and Friday for parts of our area, especially for the higher terrain to the west through northwest of Albany. After Thursday's light snow Friday will be snow free but very cold.
As we head into the weekend, yep you guessed it, another snow threat. Yet another even stronger Clipper will approach from the northwest spreading some snow over us. Like many of the past several clippers this one too will redevelop off the coast. This new low development is likely to be of the explosive variety thanks to extremely cold arctic air being involved. The question regarding the weekend snow threat will hinge upon three critical factors relating to the coastal low -1) WHERE will it form 2) HOW quickly will it rapidly intensify and 3) Of course the precise track that it takes. Of course I'll continue to watch this one VERY closely. As of right now the Eastern half of New England could be looking at another crippling storm. With this storms passage away from the coast during Sunday some of the COLDEST air that we have seen in many years will pour down across the area and stick around into Sunday combine this tundra-like air with very strong winds and the potential for EXTREMELY low wind chills, perhaps in the -30° to -40° range are possible on Sunday and probably into Monday. As for the actual air temperatures highs on Sunday will be falling through the digits, dip below zero in most areas on Sunday night and be hard pressed to warm into the lower digits on Monday. (They'll probably stay below during the day on Monday over the higher terrain, especially for folks in the Adirondacks.


In Albany so far this month's average monthly temperature is 14.9° which is 11° BELOW normal. If the month were to end today this would be the 3rd coldest February on record. Temperature records in Albany go back to 1820.

So far the monthly average temperature is just outside of a TOP 10 coldest month ever BUT after this weekends arctic outbreak it could move in to a TOP 10 spot. Temperatures on Sunday and Monday will average at least 20° BELOW normal in most places and we could even be looking at departures from normal as low as 30°! Here is a chart of the Top 10 Coldest Months of all-time for Albany.

Feb 8, 2015

Update on Feb 8th thru 10th snowstorm

Fig. 1
It still looks like a long duration snowfall that will lead to a heavy snow accumulation for everyone. It won't be a textbook "storm" a la a Nor'easter or even a strong area of low pressure. Instead a combination of features surface and aloft will come together in both time (tonight through late Monday night) and place (over us!) to produce a heavy snow accumulation, even though the snowfall rates will only be briefly moderate to heavy at times in places during this snowfall. It is the expected duration of the snow that will cause it to pile up! The map in  (Fig. 1) is the surface map from 11 AM Sunday morning, 8 February 2015. To our north over Canada another arctic high pressure area and to our south a stalled front with "waves" of low pressure rippling along the front from west to east.

The front will remain stalled through Monday morning (Fig. 2) with an area of low pressure moving east along the front across the northern Mid-Atlantic States; extending north from the low will be an inverted trough (the dashed orange line) up across NY State. This trough will produce lift and result in a steady MOSTLY light snow to persist through much of Monday. Forecast data indicates that the temperatures from the surface to above the ground will be cold enough for ALL snow for everyone on Monday and once again with the temperature profile being VERY cold the snow should be powdery in nature.


By 7 AM Tuesday February 10th (Fig.3 ) both the front and lows will have nudged off the East Coast and the cold arctic high will prevail with gusty North or Northwest winds and more below normal temperatures.

With the snow ending late Monday night or very early Tuesday morning here is what I expect (Fig.4) to have fallen across the region. (Keep in mind this is NEW snowfall on top of what YOU may have received during  the snow that fell during Saturday night through this Sunday morning).

Fig. 4