Ashley Baylor

More Wind Than Rain

October 29th, 2012 at 9:35 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

After a long week of watching and waiting, Hurricane Sandy’s effects are now being felt across the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states!  Today and tomorrow will be the worst days – very strong winds along bouts of heavy rain!

Here in western Massachusetts, we are not going to feel the full effect of Hurricane Sandy.  The storm will be much worse in other parts of the Northeast: cities along the coast will have to deal with 5-10′ storm surge, while parts of West Virginia will be contending with blizzard conditions!!  It’s not often you see hurricane and blizzard warnings in close proximity.

Nat’l Weather Service Watches/Warnings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we don’t have to think about storm surge or snow, here’s what we can expect over the next 48 hours:

Strong winds.  The strongest winds will be felt from this afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.  A high wind warning will be in effect for all of western Massachusetts through Tuesday morning as we are anticipating sustained winds between 20-30 MPH with gusts up to 60 MPH!  The higher gusts will likely be in the Hilltowns/Berkshires, but we will all be susceptible to high winds.  With tropical storm-force wind gusts, lies the possibility for downed trees and power lines which could lead to power outages.

Rain.  We will be tracking bands of moderate to heavy rain across southern New England.  Expect periods of rain from this afternoon through Tuesday.  With 2-4″ of rain in the forecast, flooding is possible.  Make sure you clear storm drains of leaves and debris!  If you leave near any rivers or places that are prone to flooding, keep a close eye on the water levels!  We are not anticipating as much rain as we saw with Tropical Storm Irene!

Sandy is expected to make landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey sometime late today or early Tuesday morning.  Once she makes landfall, she will continue to track inland towards Pennsylvania.  By Wednesday, the storm will make a sharp turn towards western New York.  By Friday and Saturday, the remnants of Sandy will still be loitering in northern New England.  Since this storm will get caught up in the Northeast, we can expect showers from Wednesday through Friday.

National Hurricane Center tracks Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By this weekend, El Sol will be back to dry up the mess.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor


Meteorologist in the City

October 27th, 2012 at 8:40 pm by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

I wasn’t going to let Sandy ruin my plans in New York City this weekend – so here I am!

Took a nice drive on the Merritt Parkway to get down here.  It seemed like more people were actually trying to get INTO the city, rather than trying to escape as Sandy continues along the coast.

Hurricane Sandy is forecasted to make landfall anywhere from New Jersey to Delmarva on Monday.  Here in New York City, coastal flood warnings have been issued along with high wind watches.  Places along the coast will be impacted the most not only because of the wind and rain, but storm surge as well.

There will be a full moon on Monday.  During a full moon, the water level during high tide is higher than normal.  Combine a lunar high tide with a hurricane, and that means places like New York City, Long Island, the Jersey shore, and the Delmarva Peninsula could see seas rise 4-8 feet higher than normal.  The National Weather Service predicts up to 20 foot waves south of Long Island, that’s why a mandatory evacuation was ordered for Fire Island.  So far, that is the only place in the greater New York area that has been ordered to evacuate.

New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, held a news conference earlier, letting the public know they have made preparations for Sandy’s arrival.  One thing that caught my attention – he asked all surfers to stay out of the water.  Obviously, the surfers will want to take advantage of the high waves, but even the most experienced surfer could put themselves in danger with this storm.

Here in New York, they can expect 2-4″ of rain along with sustained winds of 40-50 MPH with gusts up to 70 MPH!

I’ll be making the trip back to the Pioneer Valley tomorrow!  See you Monday morning!

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor


Lets Call it What it is

October 26th, 2012 at 9:05 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

The latest track on Sandy

Maybe you’ve read or heard the term “Frankenstorm” within the last 24 hours.

Here’s the thing – this is a potentially serious storm for the mid-Atlantic/Northeastern states, so I’m not going to call it something as parochial as “Frankenstorm”. I get that it’s a hybrid/Halloween reference, but still, lets call it what it is – a hurricane. It will likely downgrade to a post tropical storm or Nor’easter by the time it reaches cooler water.

(Besides, by next week, I’LL be the scariest thing out there… not Sandy!)

When I read the word ”Frankenstorm” yesterday, I made an eye roll felt ’round the world.

So, now we’re down to two Sandy scenarios… the 3rd one about Sandy heading out to sea is very unlikely. What’s the story morning glory? We are anticipating a big block near Greenland which will shift the jetstream in a south to north
direction – only a west to east jetstream would push this storm out to sea.

Scenario #1:
This seems to be the most likely scenario. Most of the computer models keep Sandy a category 1 hurricane as she tracks along the Florida and Carolina coastline. By early Monday morning, Sandy will be sitting just offshore of North Carolina. By Tuesday morning, the track makes a dog-leg left bringing Sandy onshore near the Delmarva peninsula. With this track, she will continue to move farther inland into Pennsylvania by Wednesday. This would be the best scenario for us in western Massachusetts – less rain, less wind.

Scenario #2:
The worst-case scenario for southern New England – a direct hit. The GFS model turns Sandy into southern New England Tuesday afternoon. If this happens, we will have contend with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain, which could lead to coastal and inland flooding.

According to this computer model, the storm will get blocked in the Northeast for a few days – that means rain and wind through Thursday!

With either scenario, our primary concern will be the rain. If you remember Tropical Storm Irene, the wind didn’t do the most damage, it was the flooding rain!

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

Photos: Hurricane Sandy


Now the Horse is Catching Up With the Cart

October 25th, 2012 at 9:09 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

How close will Sandy get?

We are all deer in the headlights today - eyes wide open….waiting for something to happen….

That something is Sandy.

Is she going to run us over with her wind and rain, or are we going dodge this one?

I guess it would’ve been more appropriate to title this “Deer Catching Up With the Cart”, but who ever heard of a deer pulling a cart?!  (Ok, reindeer and sleigh aside..)

Every meteorologist is anxiously awaiting the next computer model run to see if Sandy will continue to track west, or push farther east.  Not the kind of babysitting job we want, but it is what it is.

I’m up to 3 Sandy scenarios now.  Unfortunately for us (in southern New England), 2 out of the 3 scenarios are not in our favor.

European model tracks Sandy

Scenario #1:
The European model wins.  I will say, the European model tends to do very well with long-range forecasts.  This model will basically keep Sandy parallel to the Florida and Carolina coastline, then arc it back into the Virginia/Delmarva area. 

Once the storm makes landfall, it will push farther inland into Pennsylvania by Tuesday night.  This scenario would mean rain and wind for us in southern New England from Monday to Wednesday.

 

 

 

Courtesy: National Hurricane Center

 Scenario #2:
This would be the worst-case scenario for New England.  Similar to the European model, the track would keep Sandy parallel to the Florida and Carolina coastline through Sunday.  By Monday, the storm will initially push east off the coast of the Carolinas, then dog leg left into New England.  This scenario would give us the heaviest rain and the strongest winds – we are talking several inches of rain along with sustained 50-60 MPH winds!  *IF* this happens, showers would start as early as Monday, then the heavy rain would take over for Tuesday and Wednesday.  There will be concern over tree and structural damage, inland and coastal flooding, beach erosion, and power outages. 

Keep in mind: this storm is at least 5 days away and things can change, so don’t board up the house and stock up on tuna fish just yet!!

 

Computer models track Sandy

Scenario #3:
The jetstream shifts to a west to east direction and kicks Sandy out to sea.  As of this morning, it’s becoming more and more unlikely that this will be the case, but hey, it’s still possible.

We’ll continue to track every computer model run as Sandy approaches.  In the meantime, this deer is going to take her tail and go munch on some grass.  I’ll catch up with my fellow deer tomorrow!

Stay out of the road!
-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor


Not Putting the Cart Before the Horse

October 24th, 2012 at 8:01 am by under Weather

Let me start this blog by saying:

1. I’ve tried to hold off talking about the Sandy scenarios, but thanks to social media, there’s been a lot of chatter and the questions are coming in.

2. Every meteorologist looks at computer models differently.  A meteorologist may like one computer model more than another – that’s why there can be discrepancies from one meteorologist to another.

3. When it comes to Tropical Storm Sandy, the models are about as organized as the $5 DVD bin at Walmart.

Okay then..

I’m sure most of you have heard about the possibility of a storm early next week.  Even though you haven’t really heard the 22 News Storm Team mention it, trust me, it’s had our attention!  As meteorologists, we look for trends and consistency.

We didn’t want to put the cart before the horse.

Here’s what we know:

1. Tropical Storm Sandy will cross over Jamaica today, then move on to Cuba and the Bahamas within the next 48 hours.

2. Most of the computer models put Sandy between the mainland and Bermuda by Sunday night/Monday morning.

3. After that, the track becomes very uncertain – it seems like most models want to push Sandy out to sea, but there are *others* that draw her into the mid-Atlantic/Northeastern states.  As of this morning, there is a 775-mile difference between the American and European model(s) by Tuesday morning!

4. **IF** Sandy does approach the Northeast, it’s unlikely she will maintain tropical storm strength.  Keep in mind – it’s November – water temperatures are very cool.  Cool water causes tropical cyclones to lose energy/strength.

5. **IF** Sandy hits the Northeast, it will be on or near the anniversary of the October snowstorm (10/29/2011) AND the Perfect Storm (10/30/1991).  Don’t look at this as anything more than a coincidence.

Scenario #1:
The jetstream will push Sandy through the mainland and Bermuda, then out to sea.  Most computer models, including the National Hurricane Center, are favoring this track.  Even if the storm moves out to sea, we could still see some moisture wrap into New England, hence the rain chances for Monday and Tuesday next week!

Courtesy: National Hurricane Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computer models track Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenario #2:
The European model wins out.  The jetstream will stay north, Sandy will run up the East Coast, transition into a Nor’easter, and curve into the mid-Atlantic states.  If this happens, we can expect heavy rain along with 50-60 MPH winds!  The European model even suggests some serious snow in Pennsylvania!  This would be the worst-case scenario.

European model tracks Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: the key player is the jetstream.  Wherever the jetstream sets up is where Sandy will go.

This is a very tough storm to track – too many players on the field – too many “ifs” and “buts”.

I’m going to quote a line from one of my fellow meteorologists, Pete Bouchard: “You don’t buy a ticket to the playoffs until your team has won the division.”  Meaning – Sandy has our attention, but lets not clean out the grocery store just yet.  Lets just watch this closely over the next few days!

For everyone’s sanity, I’m hoping this turns out to be a fish storm.  I can handle grumpy groupers….a second year of angry trick-or-treaters?  Noooo.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor


Weather & the Battle of Gettysburg

July 4th, 2012 at 11:49 am by under Weather

Historical battles – we often think of the events that happened and the people involved.  But, how often do we think about the weather?

149 years ago, July 3,1863, the Battle of Gettysburg ended.  It was one of the largest battles ever fought in America.  In total, there were over 51,000 casualties.  Even though you may not think about it, the weather affected those who fought.

Rev. Dr. Michael Jacobs, who taught at Pennsylvania College as a Professor of Mathematics and Science, recorded temperatures and sky conditions during the Battle of Gettysburg.  He recorded conditions at 7 AM, 2 PM, and 9 PM.

On July 1st, (the first day of the battle) Jacobs recorded temperatures in the mid-70s at 2 PM.  He recorded that it was cloudy most of the day – with cumulostratus, cirrostratus clouds, and a light warm breeze.  He said the entire sky was covered by clouds, but since cumulostratus and cirrostratus clouds tend to be thin, we can assume there might have been some sunshine peaking through the overcast sky.

July 2nd, Jacobs recorded temperatures in the low-80s at 2 PM.  He recorded light winds, with cumulostratus clouds at 8 AM.  At 2 PM, he said the sky was 3/10 clear, then at 9 PM, there were cirrus clouds.

On the final day, July 3rd, Jacobs reported temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s at 2 PM, with cumulostratus clouds covering the sky.  That afternoon, Jacobs said the sky was 4/10 covered by clouds.  Jacobs said there were cumulus clouds, or as he put it, “the thunderclouds of summer”.  He goes on to say that the sky was 7/10 covered with cumulus clouds by 9 PM.  He also noted that there was a “thunderstorm in neighborhood at 6 PM”.  He said the thunder “seemed tame, after the artillery firing of the afternoon.”

According to Major B.F. Eshleman, who was the Chief of Artillery in the First Corps, the march to Gettysburg was “a severe one” because of “excessive heat, dry weather, and dust.”  Despite the arid weather, he said the soldiers arrived at Gettysburg “in good fighting condition”.

July 3rd would’ve been the most uncomfortable day weather-wise.  It was warm and likely humid, since a thunderstorm was reported in the vicinity.  Confederate uniforms were made of cotton, which may have been slightly more comfortable than the Union uniforms, which were made of wool.

On July 3rd, when Pickett’s Charge took place, it was humid and the temperature was about 87-degrees.  The Confederates had to walk about a mile for the Charge.

Even though the weather didn’t have a large impact on the battle, you can imagine what it must have been like for the people who were affected by it.  Weather has played a role in the lives of the people of the past, it plays a huge role in the present, and will continue to affect the lives of the people in the future.

-Eileen Carmody, 22 News weather intern


Cold Air Funnels

June 27th, 2012 at 12:40 pm by under Weather

Courtesy: WHDH

It’sNew England- We know the weather can be temperamental, it can change from hour to hour, and sometimes it can be downright bizarre!  Case in point – Chatham, Massachusetts.  It was a rather cloudy and cool afternoon, but sure enough, some people spotted funnel clouds!!

..But not the same kind of funnel clouds you might see on a stormy summer afternoon..

These were cold air funnels!

Unlike typical funnel clouds/tornadoes that form within a super cell thunderstorm, cold air funnels develop in cool air masses, usually behind a cold front.  Cold air funnels don’t need thunderstorms to form – they form as a result of wind shear, which is when the wind blows in different directions through the atmosphere.  Cool air at the surface, moving in one direction, mixes with the air above moving in different direction, causing rotation.  This rotation spins up a funnel!  Water droplets in the atmosphere allow us to see the funnel!

It is difficult to predict and detect cold air funnels.  They don’t show up well on radar because of their weak rotation.  These funnels may look threatening, but they rarely touch down.  Can they touchdown?  Sure..so why take your chances??

- Eileen Carmody, 22 News weather intern


Snow on the Red Planet

June 26th, 2012 at 12:17 pm by under Weather

The weather on Earth can be a little crazy, a little unexpected.. 

..sometimes that’s nothing compared to the weather on other planets! 

Recently, scientists discovered evidence of snowflakes on the Red Planet!  These snowflakes, unlike OUR snowflakes, are made of carbon dioxide, or dry ice.

But, there are other differences..

A Martian snowflake is about the size of a human red blood cell.  Just so you know – human red blood cells are about 6 to 8 micrometers in diameter (that’s 0.0006 to 0.0008 centimeters!).  These Martian snowflakes ranged from 4 to 22 micrometers (0.0004 to 0.0022 cm).  Snowflakes on Earth can range from 0.1 cm to 10 cm –  MUCH larger than Martian snowflakes!  If a person were to stand on Mars while it was snowing, it would probably look more like fog!

So how do these teeny Martian snowflakes form?  Carbon dioxide clings to dust in Mars’ atmosphere, eventually causing it to fall to the surface.  This is similar to how snowflakes on Earth form – tiny water droplets cling to particles of dust or pollen in the atmosphere, eventually becoming heavy enough to fall to the ground.

Rain forms the same way – the difference between rain and snow involves atmospheric and surface temperatures.  Many raindrops actually start out as ice crystals, but melt as they fall to the ground.

Scientists hope to use what they learn from these Martian snowflakes to learn about dust in Mars’ atmosphere.

Clearly, our solar system is still full of surprises!

-Eileen Carmody, weather intern


Ohhh The Frozen Irony

June 21st, 2012 at 8:23 am by under Weather

With temperatures surging into the 90s and heat indices in the 100s, many look forward to a tasty frozen treat to cool down.  But how ironic!  Some of our favorite ice creams flavors haven’t been available…partial thanks goes to the hot weather! 

When it’s hot, people will find anyway to cool off – they venture into air-conditioned buildings, hit the pool, and eat cold foods.  For those who sell ice cream, the warm weather is good for sales, but sometimes it’s a little too good!  Companies, like Good Humor, are experiencing an ice cream shortage!  It may be especially hard to find popular flavors like, toasted almond, chocolate eclair, cookies and cream, and candy center crunch.

 ..as long as there is no shortage of mint chocolate chip!!

 So what’s the scoop?

Obviously, the heat played a huge role here.  Then there is supply and demand – the flavors mentioned above are favorites in the Northeast.  But there is another reason for this shortage – Good Humor is in the process of shutting down one of its factories located in Maryland.  This combination of warm weather, increased demand, and company consolidation means that Good Humor customers will have to wait longer for their favorite frozen treats. Other ice cream companies are not affected by the shutdown, but they still have to make sure they are prepared for the hot weather and customers.

-Eileen Carmody, 22 News weather intern


Uncovering the Undead

June 12th, 2012 at 11:12 am by under News, Weather

From Dracula to Dark Shadows to Twilight, we hear about vampires all the time in pop culture, books, TV shows, and movies.

Pop culture is where they never die – or so we thought…

In early June, archeologists discovered 700-year old skeletons in Sozopol, Bulgaria.  Not just your ordinary skeletons…these skeletons were uncovered with iron rods through their chests!  A theory?  To keep them from turning into vampires!

Over 100 “vampire” skeletons were found, believed to have been alive between the 12th and 14th centuries.  Back the,, people who were considered “bad”, were believed to be at risk for becoming vampires when they died, so they were buried with rods through their chests to prevent them from leaving their graves at Midnight.  Perhaps this is where the myth about killing a vampire by stabbing it through the heart came from??  Another way they thought to stop a vampire was to bury them with a brick or another inedible object in their mouth.

But who was considered “bad”??  Mostly aristocrats, but also, criminals, alcoholics, and other “outsiders”.

It is unclear when beliefs in vampires started, but it seems they were associated with plagues in the Middle Ages.  Although it seems strange to us, it makes sense from their point of view – since most people didn’t understand germs back then, they must have been searching for an explanation.  Another possibility has to do with the decomposition of the dead.  People would find bloated bodies with blood oozing from their mouths.  To the “living”, it seemed like the body had come back from the dead and was drinking the blood of its victims, when in reality it was just decaying.  Vampires were also blamed for sleep paralysis – a sleeping condition where people feel as though they can’t move or are being weighed down by something.  It was believed that vampires sat on their victims.  This theory is consistent with folklore beliefs about sleep paralysis from around the world – it has often been believed to be caused by an evil spirit sitting on someone.

Belief in vampires went into the 20th century.  Around 1930, a Grecian man, who was believed to be dead, but was really in a coma, awoke at his own funeral!  Everyone was so freaked out, fearing he was a vampire, they stoned him to death!

Bulgaria is planning on using this recent discovery to boost tourism.  They intend to move one of the found skeletons to a history museum.  There has also been interest in vampire tours.

It appears this legend of the undead will remain that way – undead.

-Eileen Carmody, weather intern