January, 2012

Go MASS!!!

January 30th, 2012 at 8:37 pm by under Sports

Am I the only one who noticed the UMass men’s basketball team debuted this week in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology as a 14 seed?   That’s exciting!!!

A (barely) Snowy Start Tuesday

January 30th, 2012 at 8:32 pm by under Weather

We’re tracking some light snow arriving late tonight.  Some light snow will arrive after 11pm (possibly after midnight).  We don’t expect much snow, just a coating to an inch in most places.    There ‘s a good chance that it will still be snowing as late as 7am in some spots.  While it won’t amount to much, it does not take much snow to cause spinouts, fender benders and other minor traffic trouble.  So give yourself extra time to get where you need to go tomorrow. 

The beauty of having a newscast that starts at 4:30AM is that 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Ashley Baylor will give you the weather  information you need with plenty of time to spare before you head out the door.  We’ll be running Fast Track Cancellations and delays, if need be.  

Tuesday’s 7am temperatures will be in the 20s.  Any lingering light snow will be gone by 9am.  Some sun will break out by noon.  I expect partial sun & melting snow on Tuesday, with a high in the mid to upper 40s.

What is an Alberta Clipper?

January 29th, 2012 at 10:09 pm by under News, Weather

Over the next couple of days we have the chance to see a little snow all thanks to what we call Alberta Clippers.

Alberta Clippers are areas of low pressure that usually form over Alberta, Canada and just east of the Rocky Mountains. These systems move rather quickly and get the name “clipper” from colonial times when small ships called clippers were used to outrun larger battleships. 

Because they don’t have the Atlantic Ocean as a moisture source like Nor’easters do, Alberta Clippers usually only produce light amounts of precipitation.  On average we usually see about 1-3 inches of snow in Western Massachusetts from Alberta Clippers. In some cases it’s even less than.

That can change though if the Clipper intensifies as it moves off the East Coast. In that case a coastal storm could develop bringing us a more significant snowfall.

Alberta Clippers are also known for bringing in a shot of cold air after they pass through.

“The Grey”

January 29th, 2012 at 10:50 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
1 hour 55 minutes

Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts

If anyone can stare down a pack of snarling wolves in the wilderness, it has to be Liam Neeson in “The Grey”. Neeson and his oil rigging buddies survive a plane crash, only to be menaced by the hungry predators in the frozen wasteland. Don’t expect to be spared any of the riveting intensity from their seemingly hopeless predicament.

You soon realize their chances of survival are as slim as you not feeling the icy chill. Who needs 3-D for realism? The wolves are relentless as they stalk their human prey.

It’s not just man against the forces of nature, but it’s also the strength of each man’s resolve to survive in a very perilous situation. If anything, “The Grey” becomes too gripping for its own good.

“The Grey” really gets to you with its brutally realistic atmosphere. Forget the symbolism and enjoy “The Grey” If you can, as a rugged adventure. The wolves will feast on nothing less than 3 stars. It’s safe to say, you’ll be swept up by the suspense of this struggle for survival.


January 28th, 2012 at 11:03 am by under A Look at the Movies

1 hour 50 minutes

Michael Fassbender
Carey Mulligan

Have you noticed how movies about guys with an insatiable sexual appetite, and who shy away from making commitments are usually frivolous comedies? But there’s nothing funny about Shame. From its NC-17 rating to Michael Fassbender’s tortured performance as a depressing character stumbling aimlessly through life without purpose or compassion. He can’t even keep his secret obsession much of a secret.

Fassbender gives a truly daring performance in this deeply troubling but masterfully directed study of a man who gets no pleasure out of his perverse lifestyle.

He wanders through New York in search of others who might share his twisted lifestyle. One night stands are all he can handle; He considers long term relationships toxic.

In a small role, Carey Mulligan gives an agonizingly realistic performance as Fassbender’s overly needy sister. He can’t possibly meet her exaggerated expectations, but in his own limited way at least he tries.

For my money Shame is a powerful commentary about sickness in our society. For such a controversial film, I reserve 3 stars. Shame makes your skin crawl to know there are such characters walking the streets or sitting next to you at work.

Looking Long Range

January 26th, 2012 at 9:15 pm by under Weather

We keep telling you that eventually some consistent winter weather will arrive in western Massachusetts.  Today some evidence arrived to the contrary.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Service issued their latest 6-12 and 8-14 day outlooks. OUCH!  They look hot, very hot!   Basically the reports say that given some large scale patterns in the atmosphere, cold air is going to be tough to find over the next couple of weeks. This is not only true for New England, but for everywhere in the contiguous United States.  Crazy! 

While this doesn’t mean that we’ll be snow free in February, there are strong indications that our winter of warm air punctuated by very short cold spells isn’t going to reverse soon.

GOP Presidential contest sizzles in Florida

January 26th, 2012 at 2:01 pm by under Politics


It isn’t just the Miami heat that is sizzling, so is the intensity of the GOP Presidential contest between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Florida. The race really heated up this week after Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina.

Before South Carolina, Romney according to polls had a comfortable lead in Florida. But with the Florida primary next week polls say Romney and Gingrich are neck-in-neck in the Sunshine State.

Many, just a few weeks ago thought Romney would win South Carolina, and ride that momentum into Florida. The thought was that if he clinched two back-to-back primaries, he would effectively have clinched the GOP nomination. But voters said, not so fast! After his win in South Carolina, Gingrich picked up steam in Florida.

We’re seeing some of the most intense moments of the primary process in the fight for Florida. Voters there will have their say on Tuesday, January 31st.


Can We Pick a Season Please??

January 26th, 2012 at 11:09 am by under Weather

I’ve heard this gripe a time or two..

We certainly remember last January – back to back to back snowstorms leading to the snowiest January on record for western Massachusetts.  This January has been relatively quiet..

One of two things tends to happen in January:
1. Old Man Winter blasts parts of the country with monster snowstorms and frigid conditions.
2. Old Man Winter takes a quick siesta and severe weather takes over.

Here’s some of the crazy weather we’ve had in past Januarys:

1/5/1835 – A record cold morning in the Northeast!  The mercury bottomed out at -40 in the Berkshire Hills of Connecticut.  -23 was the low on the Yale campus in New Haven, CT.

1/6/1909 – The “Icebox of the Nation”, International Falls set a record low temperature of 55 degrees BELOW zero!!

1/10/1911 – In Rapid City, South Dakota, the fastest temperature drop on record: the mercury dropped 47 degrees within 15 mintues!!

1/22/1943 – In Spearfish, South Dakota, the fastest temperature rise on record: the mercury jumped 49 degrees in 2 minutes!!

1/10/1949 – Who says nothing happens (weather-wise) in southern California??  Snow was reported in San Diego for the first and only time!  Snow was also reported on some beaches in parts of Los Angeles.  Burbank recieved 4.7″ of snow that day..Laguna Beach and Long Beach both picked up an inch!

1/3/1961 – An icestorm, that lasted 3 days, covered northern Idaho in -wait for it – 8 INCHES of ice!!  That’s a U.S. record!!

1/30/1966 – Northern Mississippi and northern Alabama were buried in almost 6″ of snow.  The snowpack coupled with a bitterly cold airmass, set record lows in those states: -19 degrees in Corinth, MS..-27 in New Market, AL.

1/26/1967 – The “Chicago Blizzard of 1967″ would become the ‘worst blizzard in Chicago history’!  This storm pounded northern Illinois and northern Indiana, leaving the windy city buried under 23″ of snow!  By the way, 2 days prior, the high temperature was an unseasonable 65 degrees!!

1/10/1975 – The “Storm of the Century” hit Minnesota.  A severe blizzard dumped up to two feet of snow in the land of 10,000 lakes!  Strong winds drove wind chill readings to -80!!

1/9/1976 – Lake-effect snow squalls buried the town of Adams, New York under 68″ of snow!!

1/21/1985 – 3 days of snow squalls in Buffalo, New York finally came to an end!  These snow squalls produced 34″ of snow at the International Airport in Buffalo..47″ was reported in the suburbs!!  Also on this day, former President Reagan was sworn in for a second term on the coldest Inauguration Ceremony on record – wind chill readings were as frigid as 30 degrees below zero!!

1/15/1996 - A twister on the Oregon coast!  Early morning severe thunderstorms spawned a tornado in Lincoln City, OR.  Get this – a number of fish were found in a parking lot, implying they had been lifted up by the tornado and dropped!

1/6/1988 – Poor chickens.  As heavy snow fell across Arkansas, 16″ of snow piled up in Herber Springs killing 3.5 MILLION chickens!  Snow and ice claimed the lives of 1.75 MILLION chickens in north central Texas!

1/1/1999 – Nothing like ringing in the new year with a crippling snowstorm!  A major blizzard slammed portions of the Midwest January 1st-3rd.  22″ fell in Chicago!  The National Weather Serivce rated this storm as the ’2nd worst blizzard of the 20th century’..2nd to the “Chicago Blizzard of 1967″!

1/22/2005 – The “Blizzard of 2005″, blanketed southern New England with over a foot of snow!  Some places in the Bay State picked up over two feet!

1/7/2008 – It was an unusually warm day in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a high of 63 degrees.  (I was actually there for this one..)  During the afternoon, 2 tornadoes, an EF-3 and an EF-1, touched down in Kenosha county.  The same supercell thunderstorm produced another EF-3 tornado in northern Illinois.

1/20/2008 – My Miller Lite froze!!  (For those unaware, the Miller brewery is in Milwaukee, WI.)  The temperature at the start of NFC championship at Lambeau Field in Green Bay was -1 with a wind chill of 23 below!

1/29/2008 – A potent cold front caused a widespread ~50-degree temperature drop in southern Wisconsin.  (I was there for this one too..)  In the city of La Crosse, the temperature was 43 degrees at 2 AM, it dropped to -10 by midnight.

1/12/2011 – Won’t forget this one.  A monster snowstorm dumped 1-2 FEET of snow across western Massachusetts!  19″ fell in Chicopee, almost 40″ was reported in Savoy.  It became the snowiest January on record (in western Mass.) with a total of 40.5″.

1/21-25/2012 – Several days of severe weather across the deep south:
21st – 3 tornadoes confirmed in central Georgia.
22nd – 34 tornadoes were reported across Tenneesee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.  2 people were killed in 2 separate tornadoes in Alabama.
23rd – 4 tornado reports in central Alabama.
24th – 2 tornado reports in central Texas.
25th – 7 tornado reports across Texas and Louisiana.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

Keep An Eye Out For The Aurora Borealis!

January 24th, 2012 at 7:05 pm by under News, Weather

I’m not a space weather expert.  We pretty much have our hands full with the weather in the troposphere!  BUT, big solar storms are sending energy to the earth, enough to bring Aurora Borealis (northern lights) to western Massachusetts tonight (Tuesday night).  I expect clouds to obscure our view most of the time, but there will be pockets of clearing where you may be able to see this fascinating phenomenon!  Here’s a great story from 22News Reporter Anaridis Rodriguez on the solar storms.  MSNBC also has some good information on the effects of the solar storm.   Keep your eyes to the sky, you may just see an aurora!

Mass. State Police: Tips for driving when there is freezing rain

January 22nd, 2012 at 10:00 pm by under News, Weather

In case of inclement weather, including freezing rain, motorists are reminded that the posted speed limits are too fast. Safe speeds depend on weather conditions, and icy or slick roads require drivers to stay significantly below the posted limits as a safety precaution.


The Massachusetts State Police also urge motorists to leave extra space between themselves and the vehicles ahead of them. A rule of thumb is one car length for every 10 mph of speed, but that ratio should be further increased in times of inclement weather.


Additionally, State Police remind motorists to wear seatbelts at all times, avoid distractions while driving, and to leave extra time to get to their destinations. Drivers should also be aware that on some highways, water pools in the lefthand lane; on all highways, drivers should obey the law requiring them to keep to the right for sustained travel and use the left lane as it is intended–for safe, legal passing within speed limits.


Motorists should dial 911 on their cell phones for any roadside emergencies.