Tuesday Morning Rain Totals

August 28th, 2012 at 8:42 pm by under Weather

Here are some town by town totals from Tuesday’s flooding rain.

Tuesday Morning Rainfall Reports:

*West Springfield, Mass: 1.17″
*East Longmeadow, Mass: 1.88″
*Palmer, Mass: 1.49″
*Chicopee/Springfield: 1.09″
*Westfield: 1.28″
*Northampton: 0.75″
*Greenfield: 0.43″
*Pittsfield: 0.55″
*North Adams: 0.39″
*Alford: 0.75″

Thanks to you for sending us your reports via  and to our own Nick Bannin for assembling the data!

Your rain gauge will have cobwebs in it by the end of the week.  We don’t have any rain in our 22News Storm Team Forecast through Sunday!

Millstone In Hot Water

August 23rd, 2012 at 12:39 am by under Weather

We covered this story on 22News last week, but I think it’s worth mentioning again.  Last week, the water in a portion of Long Island sound that the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut uses for cooling, warmed to over 75 degrees.  That temperature is too high ( according to it’s licensing regulations) to cool one of Millstone’s nuclear reactors.  So, the reactor shut down.  Another article from the Hartford Courant on this story reports that the average temperature of the  waters around the power plant have risen .67 degrees per decade since 1976.  That’s pretty significnat.   Another article from National Geographic reports on how drought and warm water are affecting the operations of other power stations across the country. 

All of this is concerning because it’s an example of how our changing climate can have a direct impact on our infrastructure and economy.  Less water for cooling could eventually mean less power for all of us.  This is a trend worth tracking.

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.

Wednesday Night Space Station Spotting

August 8th, 2012 at 5:59 pm by under News, Weather

You’ve got another chance to see the International Space Station tonight (Wednesday night) .  At 9:45pm, look to the west/southwest.   The station will be visible for 6 minutes as it crosses the sky to the northeast.   At 11:23pm, the station will be visible for 2 minutes in the northwest sky.  For other viewing times this week, click here!

See The Space Station Tonight

August 7th, 2012 at 7:24 pm by under Community, News, Weather

The International Space Station will be visible tonight.

At 9:02, look to the southwest. The station will cross from the southwest to the east-northeast. The ISS will be visible for 6 minutes.

At 10:39, the ISS will enter our view from the west and move to the northeast.  It will be visible for 4 minutes. 

The station is visible to the naked eye.  You’ll see a steadily (and fairly quickly) moving light in the sky.  You’ll know it when you see it!

I expect we will be clear enough for most of us to see the ISS.  Click here for more ISS tracking information!

How much rain are we missing?

August 7th, 2012 at 9:48 am by under Weather

Western Massachusetts is currently experiencing a moderate drought. But what does this mean?

A drought, by definition, is “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area” according to the American Meteorological Society. In plain English, this means that there is drier than normal weather for a place during a long time. This is the case in Western MA along with much of the US.

Drought conditions are measured in stages. A moderate drought is considered relatively mild, one step above “abnormally dry”- the first stage of a drought (D0). Moderate droughts are in the D1 category, followed by severe (D2), extreme (D3) and exceptional drought (D4). 

In July, Chicopee, MA received 1.92 inches of rainfall. Normal rainfall for July is 3.82 inches, which means that this July was 1.90 inches below normal! So far, we have seen only 1.06 inches of rain this August. The normal for the month of August is 3.64 inches, so by the 7th we should be at 0.82 inches. This means we’re starting off with slightly above normal rainfall for August, and if it continues it will help us ease some of this drought. However, we only received that 1.06 inches in one day- August 5th- and the rest of the month has been dry, so far. July and August combined as of August 7th should have been 4.46 inches- instead, we’re only at 2.98. This means we really need the rainfall.

-Weather Intern Eileen Carmody

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

Red Cross Free Hurricane App

August 1st, 2012 at 10:14 pm by under Weather

With hurricane season well underway, it’s always good to be prepared and have a hurricane disaster plan.   As we know from last year’s run-in with Irene, western Massachusetts can certainly be impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms.

With that in mind, the Red Cross has a free hurricane app for smart phones, available starting August 1.  

According to The Red Cross, the App’s features include:

  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks
  • Remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps  even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

Download the app at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.  This  app is one of things that you may never have to use.  BUT, if you have to use it, you’ll be thankful you have it!  Don’t forget to use on line and on the go for updated 22News Storm Team forecasts.

Few tornadoes in July, for some…

August 1st, 2012 at 10:45 am by under Weather

After starting out with a fairly active and early tornado season, it looks like mother nature has slowed down in tornado production, at least for the month of July. As of July 30th, there were only 24 tornado reports for the entire United States compared an average July which sees around 122 confirmed tornadoes. The lowest tornado count record for the month of July was 23 set in the early 1950s and we were close to that record low this year!

That said, July is not only unusual for its below average tornado count for the country as a whole, but the Northeast has seen an abnormally high number of tornadoes. Yes, this seems to contradict itself, but on July 26th there were 3 tornadoes in Pennsylvania and 3 in the southern Tier of NY State. New York has an average of 3 tornadoes in July and Pennsylvania has an average of 4- for the whole month. But on July 26th, these averages for the month were approached in a day!

July was also unusual in another way- on July 28th the 2nd highest tornado recorded was near Mount Evans in Colorado. It is rare to have a tornado so high- at 11,900 feet- but it is possible. The only tornado on record that occurred at a higher elevation was at Sequoia National Park in California in 2004. This tornado was at an elevation of 12,000 feet.

Clearly the 2012 tornado season has been a very interesting one!

-Eileen Carmody (Weather intern)

July Review, August Preview

July 31st, 2012 at 8:43 am by under Weather

This July we saw a very warm and mostly dry month. Temperatures in Chicopee were well above average this month- the average high in July is normally around 83 degrees with an average low around 61 degrees. Highs were often in the mid to upper 80s or above 90. We had two heat waves this month, which is when the temperature is 90 or above for 3 consecutive days. Our first July heat wave was the 12th through the 14th and the second was from the 16th through the 18th. The hottest temperature this July (and new record for the day) was when we hit 98 degrees on July 17th. This breaks the old record of 97 set in 1953. We didn’t have any record lows, but lows were below normal for about half the month and above normal for the other half. Our lowest temperature for the month (though not a record) was 51 degrees on July 21st. We received 1.92 inches of rain in July- that’s 1.90 inches below an average month! Normal July rainfall is around 3.82 inches.

So what do we expect for August?

August normally has highs of around 81 degrees with average lows around 59. The average rainfall for August is 3.64 inches.

The Climate Prediction Center’s monthly outlook points to a slightly warmer than average month for western Massachusetts with close to average rainfall.

We are currently in a moderate drought, which is expected to continue, but there may be some improvement over the next few months.

-Eileen Carmody (Weather Intern)