Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Repeat of Hurricane Sandy?

DON'T PANIC YET! Before everyone freaks out, just remember this is one run of one computer model. Is there a possibility that it would happen...yes. Is that possibility high, not at all!!! 

I found the Canadian model's forecast for current Tropical Storm Erika very interesting. As you can see in the GIF above, tweeted out by Eric Holthaus of Slate, the weather model from our neighbors to the north, takes Erika right up the coast, then a hard left into New Jersey. This is the exact path Hurricane Sandy took in 2012. Its amazing that a path like that would show up on a computer model again. 

Is it possible? Yes. Likely? Not really. Sure the pattern supports blocking to the north, preventing a storm from going out to sea like most do but will Tropical Storm Erika live through the wind shear in the Caribbean or the high mountains of Hispaniola? We'll have to wait to find out. Most models have the storm emerging into the Bahamas by the end of the weekend and giving Florida a close encounter or even a hit (Florida hasn't been hit by a hurricane in 10 years!!!) 

Right now the storm will hopefully give Puerto Rico some beneficial, drought busting rain. For everyone else, its a good time to keep an eye on it but that's it. No panicking just yet! 

Below are images from the Canadian computer model, showing Erika off the coast of North Carolina with a 932 millibar low! That would be an extremely dangerous storm. Below is also an image from the model, showing the storm off the coast of New Jersey by September 4th.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Summer Under the Stars - Katharine Hepburn on TCM! AKA 1938 Hurricane Survivor!

Summer Under the Stars is an awesome program that Turner Classic Movies channel runs in August every year. Each day they feature a 24 hour movie marathon for a different actor or actress from the past. Every year they show films of great actors and actresses like Bogart, Carey Grant, Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. However, my favorite day is always Katharine Hepburn day, which falls on August 7th this year (2015). 

Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. I also like her because she is a Connecticut native, born in Hartford but raised at her family's summer retreat in Old Saybrook, CT where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound. I find her hilarious in her films Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, as well as all films she starred in with Spencer Tracey, who she had a long term affair with! 

So you might be wondering why I'm talking about Katharine Hepburn, classic movies and Summer Under the Stars on a weather blog...Well, one of the other reasons I love Katharine Hepburn so much is that she survived the same hurricane that my grandmother lived through. She was in Old Saybrook on the day of the infamous Great New England Hurricane of 1938, aka The Long Island express. She had even gone swimming in Long Island Sound that very morning. Her waterfront home was destroyed by the storm and she barely got out alive but a hurricane was no match for a strong woman like Katharine Hepburn! Although her house was destroyed, she showed up the next day to start cleaning up the destruction and even posed for a few publicity photos. Check them out on my hub

Check out the rest of the photos and the story at my article on Hubpages titled: "Katharine Hepburn, the Hollywood Legend and Hurricane Survivor"

Drought Continues for Coastal Connecticut

The latest U.S Drought Monitor map came out yesterday and coastal Connecticut is still in a D-1 Moderate Drought. The coastal areas have been in this drought for a couple months now. Even with the occasional rainy day, we have not been able to make up for the rainfall deficit. On top of having a rainfall deficit, this summer has had unusually low dew points. When you have dry heat, it sucks the moisture right out of the ground and plants. I've had to be vigilant when it comes to watering my vegetable garden this year. At least I have had to worry about any molds or mildews on the vegetable plants this year! 

Hopefully as we move into fall, we will move away from a weather pattern of scattered thunderstorms and move into one that favors more substantial all day rains. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Beautiful Beach Day at Silver Sands State Park in Milford, CT

Nothing in summer is better than a beach day. The cool breeze off the water cools your skin, while your other senses are pleasantly overwhelmed by the crashing surf, ocean smell and hot sand. For me, the beach is a place of relaxation and exploration. The beach is a natural transition zone between the marine ecosystem and the land ecosystem. So naturally, this area is filled with interesting plants, animals and environmental formations. 

Below are photos I took at Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Connecticut. From shells, to interesting rocks and a beautiful sunset, I was able to capture some cool aspects of what makes the beach awesome and interesting. 

The first photograph is a close up image of shells on the beach. 

Shells at Silver Sands State Park

The next photograph is of Charles Island. Its a very small island that is located just off the coast of Milford and is a part of the Silver Sands State Park. What makes this island unique is its tombolo (essentially a sandbar) that forms during low tide, connecting the beach to the island. You can even walk out there but you have to be careful not to get stuck when the tide begins to rise! Also, the island is off limits from May - October to protect endangered birds nesting grounds. 

Charles Island in Milford, CT and the tombolo connecting the island to Silver Sands State Park. 

The next image is of a cool feature I discovered at low tide. It must be something man made that hasn't been moved in a while. Now it' is part of the seascape, creating an artificial tidal pool at low tide. Its pretty neat! 
Man-made tidal pool at low tide in the afternoon sun. 

Here's a close up photograph of the little tidal pool. So cool! 

Tidal pool at Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Connecticut. 
Long Island Sound is one of those places in the world that has a huge difference in tide levels from low tide to high tide. This area of Silver Sands has a very shallow and flat area off shore that allows for a lot of sand to be uncovered during low tide. As the tide goes out, it forms these little ridges in the sand, which just happen to glisten in the afternoon sun too! 

Low Tide at Silver Sands State Park
A piece of concrete is exposed during low tide. It's past use is hard to determine but I'm sure it currently provides a lovely home for fish and hermit crabs! 

Concrete at the beach

Clams, oysters and muscles were once abundant in the waters off Milford, Connecticut. Over time however,  over fishing and pollution diminished their presence. They're not completely gone. Muscles are a lot more abundant and easier to find than oysters or clams. Below is a muscle shell on the beach. 

Muscle shell on the beach
Beautiful piece of red seaweed on the beach during low tide. 

Seaweed at Silver Sands State Park
Birds love the beach for its abundant sources of food. They also enjoy walking in the sand and leaving their footprints behind! 

Bird prints in the sand at Silver Sands State Park
Finally, what would a day at the beach be like without a beautiful sunset to end the day! 

Sunset at Silver Sands State Park 

Monday, July 13, 2015

When is Your Warmest Day of the Year?

We're coming up on the "dog days of summer" and the heat is on for most of the country. This cool map below shows you the average days when a specific area sees their warmest day of the year. It varies throughout the country from early June through September. 

My area of southern Connecticut, typically sees the warmest day of the year in the time period of July 15 - 20.  Parts of Arizona and New Mexico peak in the latter days of June, While the immediate west coast peaks as late as the end of September!  

This is another awesome map from NOAA! Check out their Tornado Warning Map

Saturday, July 11, 2015

U.S. Lightning Fatalities Graphic

Here's a great graphic out of NOAA showing United States Lightning Fatalities from 2006 - 2015. So far the deadliest year has been 2006 with 48 deaths. The graphic also shows which gender the fatality was, which is interesting because it's almost 80% male!! 

Lightning is a very dangerous aspect of any thunderstorm, even non-severe storms! Remember, if you can hear thunder then you're close enough to be struck by lightning! Also, many people believe thunder and lightning are separate events but lighting is the action that causes thunder to occur! 

When a storm is headed your way, please seek shelter immediately, stay away from windows and don't use your plumbing (sink, shower). If a house is directly struck by lightning, the energy can flow through utilities like plumbing and strike you while you're inside your home! 

If you can't find shelter during a storm, stay away from tall objects like trees, a car is safer to stay in than a field, just don't touch the metal frame of your car. If you are stranded outside, kneel down as low as you can be, while also limiting the amount of your body touching the ground, don't stand in water. 

A great way to stay alert to storms in your area is by downloading various apps. A free app with lightning detector built into it is the WeatherBug app. It will tell you how far away the closest lightning strike is. You can even change settings to allow the app to alert you when lightning is close by.  

With technology today, lightning strikes should truly be freak accidents! 

Want to watch a cool 3D visualization of how lightning forms? Check out the cool video 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cool Tornado Warning Map!

Here's a cool piece of information that combines my love of weather and my love of geography. This map below shows the days since the last tornado warning by National Weather Service office regions. The map was made on June 30th, so i'm sure it has changed over the last week but for some areas (like where I live it has not).  The dark grey areas are the office regions that have recently issued a tornado warning in the last 30 days. However the red areas are office regions that haven't issued a tornado warning in over a year! 

Interesting enough, one of those regions is the New York City NWS office, which forecasts for NYC, Long Island, parts of the Hudson Valley and southern Connecticut.  According to this map, the last time the NYC region NWS office issued a tornado warning was 728 days ago (Now that it's July 9th, that makes it 737 days!) 

The only office region that has a long streak of no tornado warnings is southern Oregon, where they haven't issued a tornado warning in 3599 days (or 3608 days as of July 9, 2015). That's almost a decade!  

*This map doesn't illustrate the last time an area was hit by a tornado, just the last time a tornado warning was issued by the office. Tornadoes unfortunately do occur without any official warnings. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mammatus Clouds in Connecticut!

There was a severe weather event in Connecticut yesterday, June 23rd 2015. The worst of the weather was just inland from coastal Connecticut (most likely due to a seabreeze!) where towns of Wallingford and North Haven Connecticut were hit by multiple microbursts as confirmed by the National Weather Service. In those towns, winds reached upwards of 95 mph as air sank from the thunderstorms to the ground and spread out, toppling trees and damaging property. 

Where I live, we just saw some cool clouds, a few gusts of wind and a couple lightning bolts. Nothing too impressive, at least until sunset. As the storms began to move past us and the sun began to set, I was treated to an AMAZING display of nature's beauty. 

It all began as a strange yellow glow coming through the windows. As I stepped outside and looked around, I almost couldn't believe what was right outside my front porch...Mammatus Clouds! 

Mammatus clouds are a type of cloud that forms following a severe weather event, like tornadoes. These clouds look like little bubbles underneath the clouds and are formed as the thunderstorms weaken. As the storms weaken, downdrafts and updrafts mix together to form the udder (yes, like a cow udder) like structure to the base of the clouds. They are often seen in midwestern states but aren't as common here in the north east. 

Check out the photos I took below of the Mammatus clouds in Connecticut. I also took some great photos of the amazing sky at sunset too! 

All photos were taken by me in Milford, CT. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued 6/23/15

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for all of Connecticut untill 4 pm est. It looks like the chance of storms is increasing since the sun is staying out longer than expected, allowing temps to rise into the 80's already with dewpoints up into the 70's! It's definitely muggy enough for a severe thunderstorm!

Tornado Risk in Connecticut! 6/23/15

An enhanced risk of severe weather as well as a 5% chance of tornadoes has been issued by the National Weather Service for Connecicut today ( June 23, 2015). This type of severe weather setup usually only happens a handful of times a year in out area of New England.

Connecticut does typically see a few tornadoes a year, normally in June and July. 

Below is the tornado risk map issued by the NWS. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Napatree Point on Memorial Day Weekend 2015

It's a few weeks past Memorial Day but I figured I would post these pictures now that the unofficial start to summer is in full swing and it's actually warming up! On Memorial Day weekend, I went to one of my favorite beaches in New England, Napatree Point in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. It's a 1.5 mile long spit of sand that juts out west from the historic district of Watch Hill. From Napatree, you can see Rhode Island, Connecticut and even Fisher's Island, New York! 

The beautiful stretch of sand is currently a nature preserve but it once was government land with a fort in the first decade of the 1900's. The remains of the fort still exist at the western point of the beach, slightly hidden by the growing brush and sand dunes. The fort, Fort Mansfield, was built in 1901 and then removed from the list of active posts in 1909. In the late 1920's the United States government sold the land to a private developer who built homes on the sandy stretch of beach. These homes would only last a decade as well. In 1938, the Great New England Hurricane devastated the area and Napatree Point, destroying all the homes built on the peninsula, leaving nothing but the foundation of Fort Mansfield.  There hasn't been any development on the stretch of land since and now it's a nature preserve where people can enjoy the beautiful beach and endangered birds, like the pipping plover, can nest! 

The beach is absolutely beautiful and pretty clean. Memorial Day was a little early this year and although the sun was out, the wind was off the still frigid waters, by the afternoon beach goers were wrapped up in their hoodies and beach blankets. 

 If you walk down far enough, you feel as if you are on a deserted island. It's the perfect location for a quite beach day! 

The above photo was taken from the top of one of the sand dunes, looking east towards Watch Hill. Notice the long stretch of beautiful beach! 

The colors of the white sand, green dune grass, blue water and blue sky make for a perfect paradise on Napatree Point! 

Another view of Napatree, looking east towards Watch Hill. 

An artsy photo of some branches on a sand dune, looking out over Block Island Sound. Branches, debris and grass will build up the sand dune, protecting the strip of land from eroding into the surf! 

Could you ask for a more perfect beach spot? 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nevada Tornado Takes a Stroll Down the Street (Video)

This was a pretty cool video that appeared on YouTube this week. An EF-0 tornado almost appears out of no where and moves down the side of the street as this person films from his car. The tornado hit Hawthorne, Nevada on June 5th 2015. Hawthorne is in northern Nevada and only has a population of just over 3,200 people!

Obviously, filming severe weather from your car is not the greatest place to be but luckily this storm wasn't strong enough to impact him. However, it was still strong enough to throw small trees in the air and rip apart the sign. The most interesting part of the video is in the beginning few secs but the rest of the video shows some of the damage from around town. 

It's So Hot It's Melting! Summer Heat Memes

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were in record cold and sharing these funny winter memes. Now we're at the other end of the extreme as hot weather grips the country for the first time in 2015. As many places reach 90 degrees for the first time this season, lets take a look at what we get to look forward to in the coming summer months! Check out these funny hot weather memes as the world melts from summer heat! 

I don't think this fan is going help you cool off! 

It certainly will be the dog days of summer. 

Just think, it could always be worse. It could be as hot as Texas and the ice cream truck can be melted! 

Poor pup, he needs some air conditioning! 

Quick before he melts! 

Who left the cat by the window? 

Fans are suppose to cool you off...yeah, if they don't melt! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Historic Connecticut Flood of June 4-7, 1982

It's the 33rd anniversary of a historic flood in Connecticut. Between the days of June 4 - 7, 1982, a low pressure stalled off the New England coast, drenching coastal Connecticut with rains up to 16 inches! It still stands as the wettest storm in southern Connecticut's recorded history. 

The National Weather Service released this graphic below with stats from the storm. The most rain fell on June 5th, when nearly 10 inches flooded the area. The floods cost upwards of 230 million dollars! 

Below the graphic is a video with a series of news reports from the New Haven, Connecticut area during and after the storm. 

Although I wasn't alive, I do remember my dad talking about a storm around this time, flooding City Hall in Milford, Connecticut. City Hall is right on the Wepawaug river. My dad, who was a police officer at the time, said that old paper records kept in the basement of town hall were ironically floating down River Street. Below is a photo of Milford's city hall along the Wepawaug river. 

photo source

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Severe Thunderstorm Watch!

It's the first Severe Thunderstorm Watch for southern Connecticut in a while, if not since last fall or summer! 

It's another sign that summer is getting closer! Remember any weather watch just means that the conditions are favorable for the weather (in this case thunderstorms) to occur. A warning means the storm is active and moving into your area. 

So we'll see if the conditions unfold to give us some thunderstorms this afternoon! Although, the damp and cloudy morning so far has me thinking that the air along the coast will be more stable and less conducive to severe storms. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Awesome 3D Weather with Jim Cantore!

It's a new way of explaining weather and it's pretty AWESOME! The Weather Channel has introduced a new 3D visualization to explain how a tornado forms and how lightning forms. Of course this futuristic lesson in science is given by the one and only Jim Cantore! 

Some people have varying opinions on The Weather Channel and their influence on the weather community and science but you have to admit, this is pretty cool! This 3D visualization sure beats the boring photographs printed in textbooks across the country. Could this be the next step in the evolution of science education???

Check out the full videos below