Adam Strzempko

Sandy Track And Name Eerily Similar To 1997 Drill

November 3rd, 2012 at 7:47 pm by under Weather

There have been a number of comparisons made between  Hurricane Sandy and the  Hurricane of 1938, but a drill conducted over a decade ago is eerily similar to what the Northeast just experienced.

Back in October of 1997 the American Radio Relay League conducted a simulated Emergency Test for Westchester County, New York.

The images were produced at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida and used data from the Hurricane of 1938.

The path of the storm was just about identical to the one Hurricane Sandy took, but what is even more haunting is the name they came up with for the storm, “Sandy”.

The name used for the storm simulation was that of the Westchester County Communications Officer Sandy Fried, who was nine years old during the Hurricane of 1938.


Sandy Is No Ordinary Hurricane

October 28th, 2012 at 10:26 pm by under Weather

As we continue to track Sandy it’s very interesting to see how she is not like most of the hurricanes that we’ve seen move into the Northeast.

Her track itself is highly unusual, to have a hurricane that initally looked like it would go out to sea but now is projected to make a hard left turn is something that is very rare.

Tropical Tracker

You may remember Hurricanes Gloria, Bob, of course Irene and Tropical Storm Floyd. They brought us mainly rain and some wind.  With those storms we were on the left side of the storm, that usually means we see the heavierst rain. The strongest winds are on the right side. We’ll be on the right side of  Sandy which will mean we’ll see the strong gusty winds and less rain.

Sandy is classified as a category 1 hurricane but has an extremely low central pressure. That combined with a large high pressure system to the north, the one that is basically turning her into the coast, will help to strengthen her winds. That’s why we’re expecting the winds to be more of a problem than they normally would be with a weaking category 1 hurricane.

Also, when Sandy makes landfall she won’t be classified as a hurricane even though she will likely still have winds around 75MPH. This is because she will be losing her tropical characterstics and taking on more of the characteristics of a winter storm. She’ll be classified as a post-tropical cyclone.

That is why it does look like now our main concern will be for strong, gusty winds that will likely lead to power outages. The strongest winds will be Monday night. I still don’t expect the kind of power outages we saw during the October snowstorm.


Sandy And Western Massachusetts

October 27th, 2012 at 6:55 pm by under Weather

As Sandy continues on a track that will have an effect on us here in western Massachusetts it’s important to be prepared but we should not panic.

Last year we went through three of the worst storms that we’ve seen in our history. The devastating June 1st Tornado, the major flooding from Tropical Storm Irene and the unprecedented and devastating October snowstorm.

The likelihood of us seeing the same kind of devastation that we saw with those storms here in westernMassachusetts is not very likely.

Now that is not to say we won’t have flooding and power outages because it is pretty likely that we will have some. There are now Flood Watches and High Wind Watches in effect for all of western Massachusetts.

What we don’t expect is the same kind of damage and destruction we had last year. The damage from the October snowstorm was caused by very heavy, wet snow on trees with leaves. We are not forecasting any snow with this storm here.

The main thing right now that is trending in our favor is the path of the storm and the intensity. It would be nice if Sandywould go out to sea but that isn’t going to happen.

The models are in good agreement now that the storm will make landfall to our south, somewhere between Maryland and Long Island Sound with the best likelihood of it happening over New Jersey. This better for us then if it took the same track as Irene and moved right up the Connecticut Valley.

The storm would then track into Pennsylvania and New York. We will see the effects of it with strong winds and heavy rain. We are also prone to flooding from Tropical Storms that move inland so that will be a concern for us next week.

What we won’t have to worry about, but what places along the coast do have to worry about is coastal flooding, beach erosion and storm surge which could be devastating along the coast because the storm will be affecting the Northeast during a full moon and a high tide.

So yes be prepared, but right now here in western Massachusetts we don’t need to panic.

Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Early Sunday Morning

October 20th, 2012 at 9:33 pm by under Weather

With mostly clear skies tonight it should be ideal for getting out and viewing the Orionid Meteor Shower which will peak early Sunday morning.

The best time to view it is about 1 to 2 hours before sunrise and it may be possible to see around 25 meteors per hour.

The meteor shower is visible due to the earth passing through debris from Halley’s Comet.

The meteors will appear to emerge from the constellation Orion, hence where it gets its name. Enjoy the show!

A Big Temperature Swing

October 13th, 2012 at 8:33 pm by under Weather

No question about it, it felt like winter Saturday morning with temperatures in the lower 20′s in some spots. At Barnes Airport in Westfield it got down to 23 degrees and at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee it got down to 22 degrees, breaking the old record of 25 set back in 1963. Highs on Saturday were only in the low to mid 50′s, that’s about 10 degrees cooler than normal.

If you’re not quite ready for winter you’re in luck, temperatures will be warming up. On Sunday we’ll be back up in the low to mid 60′s. Then we go from 10 degrees below normal to potentially 10 degrees above normal with highs on Monday forecasted to be in the lower 70′s.

The temperatures over the next couple of days will make it a bit challenging to decide what to wear, however you’ll probably want to have the rain gear handy because there looks to be at least a few  showers around.

Fall Is In The Air And Right Around The Corner

September 16th, 2012 at 8:48 pm by under Weather

After what ended up being one of the warmest summers on record temperatures are finally starting to feel more seasonable.

Normally high temperatures this time of year are in the lower 70′s and normal low temperatures are right around 50 degrees.

This past weekend we had high temperatures in the lower 70′s but our low temperatures were below normal, in the lower 40′s and upper 30′s.
Fall officially arrives next weekend on Saturday, September 22nd at 10:49 a.m. 

Some signs that fall is closing in, the sun is now setting before 7 p.m. and you can also now see some of the leaves starting to change color, especially on some of the maple trees.

Remembering Hurricane Bob 21 years ago

August 19th, 2012 at 10:05 pm by under Weather

It was 21 years ago today that Hurricane Bob made landfall over southern New England.

Hurricane Bob developed in the central Bahamas on August 16th, 1991 and reached hurricane strength on August 17th. Bob continued to strengthen and accelerated north-northeastward, moving up along the East Coast.

On August 19th the eye of  Hurricane Bob passed over Block Island, Rhode Island at around 1:30 p.m.  then Bob made landfall over Newport, Rhode Island shortly before 2 p.m.

Extensive beach erosion occurred along the shore from Westerly, Rhode Island eastward. Some south facing beach locations on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island lost up to 50 feet of beach to erosion.

The heaviest rainfall of over 7 inches fell in western Rhode Island and extreme eastern Connecticut.

Bob was responsible for six deaths in Connecticut and caused around $680 million dollars in damage in southern New England.

I remember Bob very well because it hit just days before I was to start college up in Vermont at Lyndon State . I also remember watching several birch trees fall in my back yard from all the heavy rain and wind it brought.

Beachgoers Struck By Lightning

August 2nd, 2012 at 7:46 am by under Weather

Many people like to enjoy a day at the beach. But it’s important to keep an eye on the sky. 

On Wednesday, August 1st, four people were struck by lightning on a beach in New Jersey. One of them was a pregnant woman. They went to the hospital for minor injuries. 

Apparently, these people were taking shelter from a thunderstorm under a beach umbrella. Lightning either struck the umbrella or near the umbrella, but didn’t strike the people directly. 

Both direct and indirect lightning strikes can kill someone, so these people were very fortunate to only suffer minor injuries. 

But even so, this could have been prevented. It is not safe to be under a beach umbrella if there is a thunderstorm around. In fact, it is not safe to be outdoors in thunderstorm. The safest places are either in a building or in a car. In the case of a beach umbrella (or tree- as many people are injured or killed by lightning when taking shelter under trees) lightning strikes the object and then can branch off to anything or anyone nearby. These people were close enough to walk to their beach home, since two of them did after the strike before going to the hospital. It would have been a safer decision for them to just walk home rather than take shelter under their beach umbrella.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. If skies begin to look threatening, seek shelter inside. If you are at the beach, you can either go home or seek shelter in your car. It may be inconvenient to pack up your stuff and leave, but it is a safer decision than being outside or taking shelter under a beach umbrella or tree, and it could save your life. You can always return to the beach after the storm passes.

Written by 22News Storm Team Intern Eileen Carmody

An Increase In Red Seaweed

July 26th, 2012 at 7:46 am by under Weather

When you go to the beach, you expect to see some seaweed. But over the past few years, there has been an increase of a non-native (also known as invasive) species of red seaweed named Heterosiphonia japonica. 

When it decays, this seaweed smells like rotten eggs. 

The seaweed looks like red strings or hairs, and has spread quickly. Warmer ocean waters this year are believed to be helping this seaweed grow and spread.

 The thing is this seaweed is usually seen near Japan. So how did it get all the way over here??? 

It found its way to Europe in the 1980s, and is believed to have traveled here recently on cargo ships. It was first noticed in the U.S. in Rhode Island in 2009. 

There are a few problems: this seaweed could kill off creatures native to our ocean waters. It also clogs lobster traps and the smell discourages tourists, which hurts both the fishing industry and the economy. 

Whenever a non-native species, such as this seaweed, moves in, it can thrive and quickly get out of control. That’s because there are either no predators (or not enough) to eat it, and at the same time it takes nutrients from the water, killing off native plants and animals. This is why if you go to another country, they may be very strict about plants or animals going in or out. But as we can see, sometimes a non-native species still gets here. In this case, it was probably unintentional, but it can have lasting consequences. Here, sea urchins eat the seaweed, but there aren’t enough of them to eat it before it spreads. 

Another issue is what to do with it. Officials aren’t allowed to push the seaweed out to sea. Some have tried towing it away in dump trucks, but the seaweed spreads so quickly that it makes no difference- it just keeps growing. 

Hopefully scientists can find a solution soon.

Written by 22News Storm Team intern Eileen Carmody

Western Mass. Now Experiencing Moderate Drought Conditions

July 21st, 2012 at 9:22 pm by under Weather

All you have to do is look out your window and you can see how brown your lawn is getting. The lack of rainfall that most of the country has been experiencing is affecting us here in western Massachusetts too.

This month we’ve picked up around .60 inches of rain, normally for the month of July we should receive almost 4 inches of rain.

Because of the dry conditions, NOAA has put western Massachusetts in the Moderate Drought category.

Some farmers are already having to irrigate. The river levels are running low and if we don’t get some beneficial rain soon we will likely see cities and towns putting water bans into effect. With the dry conditions brush fires could also start to be a problem as well. 

It does look like we will see some showers and thunderstorms around next week but it may not be quite enough to really help us out.