Wind Chill Science

Posted: January 6, 2017, 6:01 am by nsharr

Ever wondered why it feels so much colder when the wind blows? At some point during the winter, most people will hear meteorologists talk about the “Wind Chill Factor”. This factor is determined though a formula using air temperature and wind speed. Basically, the stronger the wind speed, the colder it will feel. But why does it feel colder when the actual air temperature hasn't changed? First off, your body is surrounded by a thin layer of warm air from your own heat. The wind strips this warm layer of air away from your body, making it feel colder.

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Winter Precipitation Types

Posted: December 21, 2016, 8:57 am by nsharr
Freezing rain downs a large branch in Downingtown, PA.


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What Happened to Hermine?

Posted: September 6, 2016, 3:48 pm by nsharr

The impacts of Hurricane Hermine were certainly less than expected, which is undoubtedly a good thing, especially for people who live along the coastline. However, many people are left wondering, “What went wrong with the forecast?” The strong winds and flooding rainfall were replaced by mostly sunny skies and comfortable temperatures. Even at the shore, the storm surge flooding was several feet less than anticipated, and only reached minor levels for most locations.

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Noticing the Lack of Rain?

Posted: June 30, 2016, 4:28 pm by nsharr

As we head into the middle of July, many are noticing the grass turning brown across much of the Northeastern US. Even though we have had rainfall from scattered thunderstorms, the lack of significant, widespread rainfall has triggered abnormally dry conditions, with even patches of moderate to severe drought developing across northern NJ, CT, MA, and NH. While the drought is nothing overly concerning right now, long range specialist Brian Marmo’s summer forecast calls for a drier than normal July and August.

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Cool and Wet July 2015

Posted: August 5, 2015, 11:38 am by nsharr

July proved to be wet and cool for much of the Ohio Valley and Midwest. Temperatures generally ranged from 1 to 3 degrees below average, with the coolest anomalies located across northern Illinois and Indiana. In addition to cooler temperatures, the month was also extremely active. Above normal precipitation was found across a large area of the Midwest, with record setting rainfall occurring across the Indianapolis area. The severe weather story of the month occurred on July 12-13th, when a long lived squall line moved from central Wisconsin all the way to South Carolina.

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Can Volcanic Activity Change Our Climate?

Posted: April 30, 2015, 12:29 pm by nsharr

With the recent, rather large eruption of the Chilean volcano, Calbuco, it is important to understand the impact of volcanic eruptions on climate. Despite common belief, the greatest impact of an erupting volcano comes from ash fallout, not the lava flow. Explosions from volcanic eruptions can throw ash and debris miles into the atmosphere. This ash can even be picked up by the jet stream and carried across several continents.

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Spring Flooding Outlook

Posted: March 10, 2015, 4:15 pm by nsharr

After a record cold and snowy winter, spring-like weather is a welcome sight to many! However, the warmer and wetter weather could bring another problem to the Northeast…Flooding. Current snow depths are running well above average, especially over northern NJ, northeastern PA, southeastern NY, CT, and MA (see below). The snowpack contains an average of 2 – 5” of liquid equivalent that will eventually find its way to local streams and rivers over the coming weeks.

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October 2014 Goes Out With a Bang

Posted: November 3, 2014, 5:20 pm by nsharr

The month of October is known for major temperature swings, strong low pressure systems, and sometimes the first snowflakes of the year. October of 2014 did not disappoint! The Midwest and Ohio Valley saw a bit of everything this month, including a late month low pressure system that brought the first snowfall of the winter season.

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September Roller Coaster Ride

Posted: October 5, 2014, 3:16 pm by nsharr

Rainfall map above is from the September 9 - 10th event, courtesy of the NWS. 

While the first of September is officially the start to meteorological fall, it did not feel like it across the Mid-West and Ohio Valley. The first week of the month felt like mid-July, with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. However, that would quickly change! Much cooler air ushered down from northern Canada during the second week, plummeting temperatures well below normal. In fact, some locations struggled to get out of the 50s!

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Cool and Wet Summer of 2014

Posted: September 7, 2014, 4:23 pm by nsharr

Although the summer of 2014 ended with a brief heat wave, it will likely be remembered for the cool and wet conditions that prevailed over the Mid-West and Ohio Valley. The persistent cool and wet pattern was caused by a series of upper level troughs that dove into the region from northern Canada. These upper level troughs prevented the heat and humidity over the western US from moving eastward. However, most people were not complaining. A “cool” summer equates to comfortable temperatures and lower electric bills due to less air conditioning being needed.

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