Monday, April 16, 2007

April Snowstorm, Part 4

Overnight, the temperatures barely touched the freezing mark as my ice cube was about 60% melted by 9:00 am. As of this writing, it's about 35 degrees and snowing (and has been all morning), though the snow simply is not sticking much. There's a light coating of wet, partially white slush on some parts of the ground and cars. The roads are wet and not really a problem for drivers. It's simply not cold enough for the snow to accumulate. As soon as it hits a surface, it's pretty much melting.

While the local weather forecasters were scaring the bejesus out of the locals, the real storm is wreaking havoc to the east. Syracuse is reporting about a foot of snow, and the coastal cites, especially New York and parts of Long Island, are flooding because the storm there is all rain, heavy rain, and it's been falling for a day now. The East coast is a real mess.

It's noon here, so time for the forecasters to update live. I just checked on the back porch ice cube and it's about 85% melted.

OK, Lynette Adams reported for Channel 10 (WHEC) from Charlotte, that waves on the Lake reached 8 feet, though their footage - both live and recorded - showed waves as high as maybe 4 feet at most. It's still a little windy near the lake, though it's not bad here on Ridge Road (about 4 miles inland). The trees are barely moving, but the effect of the light wind (8-20 mph), above-freezing temperatures and steady light snow/rain mix is keeping anything from accumulating on tree limbs.

John Stehlin (best voice on local TV) on Channel 8 (WROC) is reporting a wedge of warm air moving in, and saying "maybe" quite a bit concerning any snow accumulation. The other stations are pretty much admitting defeat, calling for at most an inch or two of accumulation in the metro area, though spots South and West are getting anywhere from 4 inches to a foot on the ground.

Whatever precipitation we get here is supposed to trail off by late afternoon, so this "event" will be pretty much over by the time people are getting out of work.

So much for what some of the TV forecasters had been calling a potentially "historic" weather event. As usual, the media has to scare us into paying attention, and, again, they've delivered poorly. It's a complaint you'll hear from me often. Sure, sensationalism sell papers and gets big ratings, but it's not responsible journalism.

I'll leave an ice cube out on the back porch for Josh Nichols. He can use it to backbuild.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

April Snowstorm, Part 3

It's calm and mildly chilly outside right now - as it has been all day and night - though you might not be sure of that if you'd been watching the 11:00 local weathercasts.

The "historic" storm that was supposed to dump 6-12 inches of snow on the Rochester area seems to be more mythical than historical. All three of the local stations downgraded their forecasts at this hour, though Josh Nichols - whom I usually trust - seems to be holding out hope that there will be some devastating weather to contend with on Monday morning. I actually got the feeling that Nichols was more defending his reputation than trying to provide an accurate forecast.

Nichols (WHEC, channel 10) downgraded the forecast to 2-4 inches after 6:00 am on Monday and kept using the word "backbuilding" of the threatening snow, which is somehow to supposed to magically grow in intensity and descend upon us while the temperatures are in the mid-30s.

I found his report to be more than just suspect, but on the verge of being non-credible. One of his cohorts said the Lake Ontario shoreline would be buffeted by 9-11 foot waves. I've never seen waves higher than 6 feet on the lake all my life, so I may just head down there tomorrow with a camera.

Channel 8 (WROC) downgraded their forecast to 1-4 inches by morning and an additional 3-5 inches during the day Monday.

Channel 13 (WHAM) dropped their forecast total to 1-3 inches, with 3-7 in higher elevations. All three stations predicted overnight lows around 32 degrees and Monday highs of 35-38.

My empirical observations are light, almost non-existent winds, temperature just above freezing. I checked the ice cube I put out in the open air on the back porch at almost 11:00 pm, and there was almost nothing left of it. I'm putting another ice cube out there to see if the temperatures actually fall below freezing overnight.

Overall, the weather forecasters totally misled the public on this one. The threat of heavy snow in Rochester was at best a 50/50 shot and they never should have predicted anything more than 4-6 inches. According to my pedestrian overview of online weather maps it now looks as though the general Rochester area will see no more than an inch or two, if that, though we are getting a healthy Spring rain.

April Snowstorm, Part 2

I've just finished watching the local weather forecasts on 8, 10 and 13, and they're all on the same page, pretty much. Channel 13 (WHAM) had what I considered to be the most measured predictions, looking for only 3-6 inches of snow in the Rochester metro area. Channel 10 (WHEC) is calling for 7-11 inches, while Channel 8 (WROC) says we'll see 6-12.

Personally, I don't buy it. I've been watching the storm off and on all day and haven't seen a lick of snow. Josh Nichols on WHEC
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was showing some webcam views, and said there was snow falling in downtown Rochester, but it was really difficult to see any. I think Mr. Nichols is trying really hard to look good, but he's stretching it a bit, asking us to see things that aren't there.

I'm about 2 miles north of downtown and there's not much evidence of snow yet. I'm seeing some mix now, but temperatures are only going to drop to maybe 30 degrees, so I don't expect this to measure up to much. The TV weathermen are calling for a sloppy drive Monday morning, and maybe they're right, but they're going to need a big hand from Mother Nature.

The weather forecasters have been warning about this storm for nearly a week and now that it's finally.... almost... nearly here, it looks like a paper tiger for Rochester.

I'm putting an ice cube out on the open back porch. That's usually a pretty good indication of how cold it really is. (For those who forgot their 3rd grade science lessons: water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.)

New Normal Redux: April Snowstorm

It's early AM and it's raining. Weather forecasters are calling for something like 6-12 inches of snow. Being that this is April 15 - usually the day I submit my tax returns - it's somehow fitting that instead of rushing to the the post office (tax day has been moved ahead to April 17) Rochestarians will instead be treated to an ugly dose of wet, sticky snow.

I'm watching the water hang on the tips of tree branches outside as the wind picks up and shakes the cold droplets off. Freezing rain with a layer of snow on top could pull down limbs throughout the area and there's little doubt of that occurrence taking place at some point somewhere in the region.

Most of the heaviest snow is supposed to fall in the Catskills through
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central and Eastern New York later tonight when (as the weather pundits are saying) the storm re-develops.

I got a peek at the local radar off TV just a minute ago and the storm seems to have slipped by Buffalo and Rochester for now. Checking the maps at the radar shows a huge green blob over the entire East coast.

This is a huge storm; it's the cold air and snow that's perked up the antennae of the "global weirding" crowd - people who see climate changes beyond the usual suspected "global warming" scenarios. Global "weirders" have bought into the theory of unintended consequences - that there may be more perverse aspects than what scientists or other experts suggest, like snow in Spring.

Well, I'm off to start a local newspaper. More on that later.

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