Nick Bannin

Funnel cloud or not?

June 3rd, 2013 at 11:10 am by under Weather
Courtesy: April

Courtesy: April

Since the June 1st tornado and more recently since horrific devastation in Oklahoma…more and more of you are playing an active role in observing the weather around you and sending pictures or information into the 22News Team.Often your reports include pictures, video or descriptions of what you see. From time to time you might tell us you’ve spotted a funnel cloud, tornado or even sent us pictures like the ones here from the storms on June 2nd 2013.

Photos: Severe Thunderstorms in Western Mass. June 2, 2013



Courtesy: Ania

Courtesy: Ania

You might assume that based on the upsidedown shape that these pictures are of funnel clouds, but don’t be so sure. In order for a cloud to be considered a “funnel cloud” you need a rotating condensation funnel that is in contact with the cumulus clouds above (known in a thunderstorm as a wall cloud). Rotation is key…if a cloud is not rotating (even though it is moving), it may be considered a “scud” cloud or just a low hanging appendage of the main cloud above. To be clear, it’s almost impossible to tell based on cloud pictures alone whether these were funnel clouds or not without seeing rotation.

Once you’ve determined that there is tight rotation in that cloud then you have to figure out if that cloud is a funnel cloud or a tornado.

A tornado is clear when you have a condensation funnel cloud that is in contact with the ground OR a rotating condensation funnel causing debris or dust to spin up on the ground below it. Even if you don’t see the cloud touching the ground in some cases…if there’s debris flying just below it then it’s a tornado.

Tornado safety: Where to hide?

May 4th, 2013 at 10:56 am by under Weather

Since 2011, we all know that tornados are a real possibility here in western Massachusetts, and with severe weather season getting closer, it’s a good time to start thinking about  tornado safety.

Infographic: Tornado safety

So, if a tornado approaches, where is the best place to hide? The answer depends on where you are, but generally, if you are in a building, the lower you are and farther away from windows, the better. This means getting in a basement if you have one. Otherwise, an interior room, bathroom, or closet is best.

Ray Harris of Springfield used to live in Florida, and has had to deal with many tornado warnings.

“They gave you warnings, told you to stay in a safe place with no windows, boarded up or whatever you have to do, keep water, things like that,” Harris said.

Once you have found a safe location, you should crouch down on your knees and cover the back of your head with your hands and cover your body with a blanket or a mattress.

If you’re in a mobile home, in a car, or outside, head for sturdy shelter. If none is available, head for somewhere low, like a ditch.

Once a tornado passes, watch out for debris, glass, and other hazards, and remember the 22News storm team will keep you informed ahead of any severe weather.

Lightning Safety Tips

May 4th, 2013 at 10:53 am by under Weather

If you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning.

The  safest place to be in a thunderstorm is inside a sturdy building that is enclosed by walls and covered by a ceiling. Once inside during a thunderstorm, the  National Weather Service recommends avoiding contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, or any type of plumbing.

You are also best staying away from windows, doorways, and porches.

Being outside, particularly in an open space like a golf course, puts you at increased risk of a lightning strike during a storm. Tony Strycharz of Oak Ridge Golf Club in Feeding Hills told 22News that they have been fortunate not to have had a human lightning strike incident.

“We’ve been lucky that it’s never hit a person, but we have got some trees that have been hit with lightning and they’ve split down the middle, so we had to clean that up, which wasn’t fun,” Strycharz said.

At Oak Ridge, they sound a horn and check that all golfers are inside during a thunderstorm.

If you’re stuck outside with no place to shelter, you want to get low to the ground and avoid being near tall objects like trees, which are more likely to be struck.

When not in a building you are most likely safe from lightning in a enclosed car. Just don’t lean on the doors as the car’s metal, not the rubber tires, are what protects you from the electricity.

Watch vs. Warning. What’s the difference?

May 4th, 2013 at 10:52 am by under Weather

We get the majority of severe weather in western Massachusetts during the late spring and into the summer, so now is the perfect time to prepare, and understand the difference between a watch or warning that can be issued for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.

A “watch” is more of a caution that severe weather could potentially come within the next few hours.  A watch for tornadoes or severe thunderstorms means you should have a weather safety plan in mind should the weather get worse.

Keeping an eye on 22News on air, online, or on social media is a good way to be aware of bad weather. Anthony Gragowski of Springfield says that he keeps on top of the situation during severe weather.

“We do kind of have a family plan and we also rely on other family members as well. But I’m usually into social media, so I pay attention to all the warnings and alerts and watches as well,” Gragowski said.

If a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning is issued for your area, then conditions are much more serious. A “ warning” means dangerous weather is imminent or already occurring, and you should head inside, away from windows immediately.

For a thunderstorm to be severe, it must contain either hail of at least one inch in diameter or wind gusts over 58 mph.

Of course this spring and summer, the  22News Storm Team will keep you safe and let you know of any watches or warnings.

Midwest Severe Weather Possible Wednesday

April 16th, 2013 at 10:02 pm by under Weather

It’s that time of year when we watch for severe thunderstorms…not necessarily here in Western Massachusetts just yet…but the Midwest is usually on high alert for bad weather during these warming spring months.On Wednesday we anticipate the potential for some very damaging storms with hail, winds and even tornadoes in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas where they are under a “moderate” or strong risk for severe weather for Wednesday. (as of Tuesday night)

While we don’t anticipate severe weather here in western Massachusetts in the near future, it’s worth keeping an eye to the Midwest to follow the potentially dangerous storms they could see there.SPC: Severe Risk for Wednesday April 17th, 2013

SPC: Severe Risk for Wednesday April 17th, 2013


That’s all folks…

February 9th, 2013 at 12:46 pm by under Weather

Well our February Nor’Easter is done and dusted and I’ve even had some reports of some hints of sunshine out there!

The storm is done and flurries are all but over. Overnight snowfall accumulations ranged from 1-2 feet with high snow drifts to top it off. Here’s a link to our snowfall totals.

We’ll be tracking some chances for sunshine this afternoon, but be ready for tonight. One of the coldest nights of the past few weeks is on the way.

For all of you who have helped complete our coverage by sending in pictures, video, snowfall reports, tweets, facebook posts and e-mails. We thank you. We continue to try and improve our coverage from storm to storm and we hope we did you justice with our coverage this time.

If you have anything you’d like to see us incorporate for the next storm send an e-mail to

Thanks for the whole team!


Oh what a night…and morning

February 9th, 2013 at 5:29 am by under Weather

Snow will slowly be tapering today, but that won’t help you get out of your home this morning.

For the first time in almost 3 years I walked to work this morning and it’s incredible how much snow fell overnight. Majority of the snowfall totals range between 1-2 feet with some higher amounts.

Snow drifts range from 2-5 feet and I’ve heard stories from our very dedicated crew here at 22news (most of which slept the night here) that even snow plows were getting stuck.

Please send snowfall reports to

Here are some pictures I took this morning.




Snowfall reports through early evening…

February 8th, 2013 at 6:24 pm by under Weather

Snowfall accumulations are finally adding up after a light snow through the morning.

Here’s a list of snowfall accumulations that we’ve put together from many viewer reports from you.

Send snowfall reports to

  • Westfield: 4.5
  • Hadley: 4.5
  • Feeding Hills: 4.5
  • Monson: 5”
  • Southampton: 4”
  • Holyoke: 3”
  • E. longmeadow: 3”
  • Ludlow: 3”
  • Blandford: 5”
  • Tolland: 5”
  • Southwick: 5”
  • Easthampton: 3.5”
  • Southwick: 5.5”
  • Worthington: 4.5”

Heaving snow closing in

February 8th, 2013 at 5:36 pm by under Weather

The heaviest snow of the day is not far away.

After a day that has featured steady, but light snow…some of the heaviest snow bands that we’ve seen move through should push into the lower Pioneer valley after 6pm. From then on out snow will get heavier into the night.

Here’s a look at Meteorologist Brian Lapis updating the graphics.


Snowfall through mid-afternoon

February 8th, 2013 at 2:42 pm by under Weather

2″ in Springfield. Photo taken by Michael Niemiec 3 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013

We continue to update snowfall accumulation amounts from across western Massachusetts.

While the snow is certainly causing issues on the roads, accumulations so far have not been very high. We continue to expect that to change as we go later into the afternoon and overnight. Just because this storm isn’t bad yet doesn’t mean it won’t get worse.

Please e-mail all snowfall reports to

Here’s some recent snowfall accumulation amounts:

  • Westfield: 1.5″
  • Granby: 1.5″
  • Lowell: 1.5″
  • Greenfield: 0.5″
  • Southwick: 1.0″
  • Holyoke: 2.0″
  • West Springfield: 2.0″
  • Westfield: 2.5″
  • Agawam: 1.5″
  • Ware: 0.5″
  • Granville: 2.5″
  • Chicopee: 2.0″
  • Wales: 1.5″
  • Heath: 1.0″
  • East Longmeadow: 1.0″
  • Belchertown: 0.5″
  • South Hadley: 0.5″