baltimoresun.com

« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

October 31, 2010

Hurricane Tomas could move toward Haiti

As if they didn't have enough to contend with in Haiti, now Hurricane Tomas is forecast to become a major Cat. 3 storm and could make a turn toward that tortured island nation later this week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tomas, the 12th hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season, is about 350 miles south southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, moving toward the west NHC/NOAAnorthwest at 8 p.m. after pummeling the Windward Islands.

It is packing top sustained winds of 100 mph, making it just 11 mph short of a Cat. 3 storm. Some weakening is predicted as Tomas encounters shearing winds in the next few days. But conditions later this week are expected to enable a restrengthening.

High pressure to the north of the storm will keep it headed west for now. But a turn toward the north is possible perhaps four days from now, forecasters said, as the high breaks down.

There is no mention of Haiti in the morning forecast discussion. But, while confidence is low, the tentative forecast track does move Tomas ominously in that nation's direction by the end of the week. The forecasters say there is a 40 percent probability of tropical-storm force winds in Port au Prince within the next five days.

Here is the latest advisory on Hurricane Tomas. Here is the forecast track. And here is the view from space.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:14 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Hallowe'en recalls ancient Catholic, Celtic fests

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS: 

Hallowe'en ghoulToday is Hallowe’en, more properly expressed as All Hallows’ Eve. It’s the evening before All Saints (or Hallows) Day, designated by the Roman Catholic pope in A.D. 835 to honor all the saints.

Before that, this was a “cross-quarter day,” the mid-way point between the autumn equinox and winter solstice. It fell around the date of the Celtic observance of Samhain, or “summer’s end,” when cold and darkness were spreading, plants were dying and the wall between the living and the dead grew thin.

(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum 2008)  

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 30, 2010

Potted plants freeze yet? They will soon

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

geraniumBob Ercole, of Baltimore, marvels that his geraniums and impatiens are still flourishing: “We have not had a freeze yet, and it is almost the end of October. When was the latest we have recorded our first freeze in this area?”

If we didn’t get to 32 degrees this morning, we will soon. The average first freeze for Baltimore is Nov. 13, later than the rest of the state. The latest on record for the city was Dec. 11, 1939, according to Jared Klein, at the NWS in Sterling, Va. The earliest was Oct. 4, 1974.

(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum, 2003)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 29, 2010

Freeze Watch tonight west of I-95

After a week that saw two record-warm overnight lows, autumn will come rushing back to Baltimore tonight as clear skies and diminishing winds allow radiational cooling to drop temperatures into the 30s.

NOAA/NWSForecasters at the National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va. have posted Freeze Watches (dark blue areas on the map) for Maryland west of the I-95 corridor (and east of counties that have already seen a freeze this fall):

"A FREEZE WATCH MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE.
THESE CONDITIONS COULD KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION
."

UPDATE, 4 p.m.: The NWS has bumped the Freeze Watch to a Freeze Warning tonight (light blue) for Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland, with overnight lows expected to reach 30 to 32 degrees. Earlier post resumes below:)

The forecast low for BWI-Marshall Airport overnight is 35 degrees. Westminster could see 34 degrees and Hagerstown's forecast shows a low of 32. It could get colder in the usual rural locations and low spots, producing the first freezing temperatures since last spring. Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories may be issued for some locations later today.

The cooler weather is coming to us with high pressure that is drawing cold air out of the northwest on brisk winds. As the high moves to our south, winds will shift to the west and calm, allowing whatever solar heating we manage today to radiate back into space tonight. 

The weekend should continue sunny and seasonably cool with highs in the low 60s and overnight lows near 40 degrees.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:41 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Watches and warnings
        

Shary menaces Bermuda; new storm forming

That small storm in the Atlantic has become Tropical Storm Shary overnight, and while it appears to be a threat to Bermuda, is expected to swing north and east away from the U.S. mainland.

NOAA/NHCEast of the Windward Islands, meanwhile, a second region of stormy weather appears to be on the verge of becoming Tropical Storm Tomas (pronounced toe-MAS) later today.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: This storm has been upgraded to a tropical storm, and named Tomas. Only two more names remain on the primary list for 2010. Earlier post resumes below. 

The National Hurricane Center said Shary (no kin to the late Shari Lewis or Lamb Chop) was located 220 miles south southwest of Bermuda, moving to the northwest at 18 mph. It has top sustained winds of 40 mph. The forecast track would turn the storm and take it just east of the island late today before accelerating off to the northeast. It is not expected to reach hurricane strength.

Here's the latest advisory on Shary. Here's the view from space.

Off the coast of Venezuela, the next tropical system was getting better organized. Forecasters in Miami said the disturbance was 330 miles east southeast of the southern Windward Islands, moving to the west northwest at 15 to 20 mph. It is given an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by this weekend.

An Air Force Reserve unit was scheduled to to into the storm later today. If it reaches tropical storm strength, it will be named Tomas. Northern portions of Venezuela and the southern Windwards can expect heavy rain and gusty winds in the next few days as the storm approaches.

A third distrubance in the Atlantic is given only a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:17 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

October's coolest record high an oddity

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Cool OctoberJeff Brauner, in Baltimore, noticed that the record high for an Oct. 25 in Baltimore is just 77 degrees. “All other October dates are at least 5 degrees higher, well into the 80s … Could this be an error?” I doubt it. Set in 1931, it’s October’s coolest record high. But it’s likely just an outlier, occurring two weeks before daily record highs are routinely in the upper 70s. It happens. The March 11 record is 75 degrees, surrounded by upper 70s and 80s. And the Jan. 14-15 records are 78 and 79 degrees, surrounded by 60s and low 70s.   

(SUN PHOTO: Lloyd Fox, 2005)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 28, 2010

Nearly 10 months in, it's been a very warm year

October is nearly finished and temperatures out at BWI-Marshall Airport are running more than 2 degrees above the average for the month. And there's cooler weather ahead this weekend, so that number may not hold. But it is likely to wind up as the second-most-nearly-average month so far in 2010.

Take a look at these numbers (departures from the 30-year averages for each month) for a sense of how unusually warm it's been since we got past February's cold and snow:

JANUARY:  + 0.04 degreesHeat wave Baltimore

FEBRUARY:  - 4.6 degrees

MARCH:  +4.8 degrees

APRIL:  +3.9 degrees

MAY:  +4.4 degrees

JUNE:  +7.0 degrees

JULY:  +5.0 degrees

AUGUST:  +2.9 degrees

SEPTEMBER:  +3.6 degrees

OCTOBER (through Weds.):  +2.3 degrees

(SUN PHOTO: Kim Hairston June 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:56 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Tropics are stirring again

It looks like the 2010 hurricane season hasn't quite finished messing with our heads yet. The National Hurricane Center is tracking three disturbances in the Atlantic, at least one of which is given a good chance NHC/NOAAof becoming a tropical (or sub-tropical) cyclone by this weekend.

The nearest storm is centered about 700 miles south southeast of Bermuda, moving to the west northwest at at 15 mph. It hasn't changed much this morning, but forecasters say the conditions are improving for further development. They give it a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. If so, it will be named Shary.

Farther east, a region of showers and thunderstorms 1,200 miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands is producing gale-force winds, but does not appear to be getting better organized. Forecasters in Miami give it a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.

Finally, a tropical wave now about 1,000 miles southeast of the Windward Islands is boiling up lots of thunderstorms over the Atlantic. It's moving to the west northwest at 15 mph, and conditions are good for further development. But for now, forecasters give it only a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within 48 hours.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

BWI sees another record-warm low temperature

The low temperature at BWI-Marshall Airport on Wednesday was 67 degrees. That is the warmestPansey low for any Oct. 27 since record-keeping began for Baltimore in 1871, breaking the previous record of 66 degrees set 90 years ago, in 1920.

It was also the second day in a row of record-warm lows at the airport. On Tuesday, the low temperature was 62 degrees, tying the previous record set in 1908.

After another mild day today - the forecast high for the airport is 73 degrees, about 10 degrees above the average for this time of year - things will return to the norm. The forecast high for Friday is just 58 degrees, after an overnight low of 48. Friday night's low will sink into the 30s.

(SUN PHOTO: Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:14 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Space station back in our evening skies

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

NASASpace Cadets! The International Space Station is back in the evening sky and Baltimore is in line for two fine passes this week. Look tonight for the ISS to rise above the southwest horizon at 7:11 p.m. EDT, climbing high in the northwest by 7:14 before sliding off to the northeast and disappearing at 7:16 p.m. The track will be almost identical Saturday evening. If skies aren't too bright, look for the station a bit further west at 6:29 p.m., climbing into the northwestern sky by 6:31, before fading in the northeast at 6:35.  

(NASA Photo)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

October 27, 2010

2010 weather records update

The Baltimore weather records just keep falling this year. Here's an updated and re-organized version of the tally we ran last month:

1. Most snow: The official total (for the season, which includes December 2009) was 77 inches.February blizzard Baltimore That broke the previous record of 62.5 inches at BWI, set in the winter of 1995-96.

2. Snowiest month/snowiest February: The total was 50 inches, beating the previous record of 40.5 inches, set in February 2003.

3. Most rain: The 6.02-inch deluge on Sept. 30 swamped the 1.6-inch record for Sept. 30, set in 1920. It also beat the 5.97-inch record rain total for any day in September, set on Sept. 24, 1912. The total is now the second-largest rainfall for any calendar date since record-keeping began for Baltimore in 1871, after the 7.62 inches that fell Aug. 23, 1933.

4. Most 90-degree days: The total stands at 59 days, and seems unlikely to change. That broke the previous record of 54 days, set in 1988.

5. Most 100-degree days: Seven days, actually a tie, matching the record total set in 1988.

6. Hottest summer: The average temperature at BWI-Marshall from June through August (the meteorological summer) was 79.3 degrees. That broke the previous record of 79.1 degrees, set in 1943.

7. Record-high daily temperatures were set or tied on 11 dates: April 5, (84 degrees); April 5, (90 degrees); June 23, (97 degrees); June 24, (100 degrees); June 27, (100 degrees); June 28, (99 degrees); July 6, (105 degrees); July 7, (101 degrees); July 24, (101 degrees); July 25, (100 degrees); Sept. 24, (95 degrees).

Cooling off Baltimore8. Record-high minimum daily temperatures: set May 3, (69 degrees); July 24, (82 degrees); tied Oct. 26, (62 degrees); Oct. 27, (67 degrees).

9. Record-low maximum daily temperature: Oct. 4, (54 degrees).

10. Warmest month/warmest July: Temperatures in July averaged 81.5 degrees. This matched the record for the warmest month and the warmest July, first set in 1949 and matched in 1995.

11. Hottest average daily high temperature: July's daily highs averaged 92.5 degrees. That beat the previous record of 91.9 degrees, set in 1988.

(SUN PHOTOS: Top, Amy Davis, February 2010; Bottom, Karl Merton Ferron, July 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:35 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Tornado Watch posted for Bay region

UPDATE: 5 P.M.: The Tornado Watch has been lifted for Howard and Montgomery Counties, Baltimore and Washington. It remains in effect until 8 p.m. south and east of the I-95 corridor. Tornado Warnings have been issued for portions of Virginia.

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: A waterspout was reported this afternoon in the tidal Potomac, about 2 miles south southeast of Rock Point, in southern Charles County. (If you have pictures, please send them to me at frank.roylance@baltsun.com)

UPDATE, 6 p.m.: The Tornado Watch is now lifted for Baltimore, Harford and Cecil counties.

An earlier post resumes below: 

The National Weather Service has posted a Tornado Watch for the Baltimore-Washington corridor, Southern Maryland, the Entire Eastern Shore and eastern Virginia, effective until 8 p.m. Tornado watchWednesday.

MARYLAND COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ANNE ARUNDEL         BALTIMORE           CALVERT
CAROLINE             CECIL               CHARLES
DORCHESTER           HARFORD             HOWARD
KENT                 MONTGOMERY          PRINCE GEORGES
QUEEN ANNE`S         SOMERSET            ST. MARYS
TALBOT               WICOMICO            WORCESTER

A Tornado Watch means that conditions are in place for tornado development. A Tornado Warning would be issued if forecasters see rotation in their radar echoes, or spotters report a funnel cloud. Also implied in the watch is the possibility for severe thunderstorms, with large hail and damaging winds.

The risk of severe weather comes as a cold front moves across the region today, the remnant of the front that caused historic storms and several tornadoes across the Midwest on Tuesday. Here's more on today's storms.

Here's more from the NWS:

EFFECTIVE THIS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1215 PM UNTIL
   800 PM EDT.
  
   TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS
   TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.
  
   THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 65 STATUTE
   MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 30 MILES WEST SOUTHWEST OF
   SOUTH HILL VIRGINIA TO 30 MILES NORTHWEST OF ATLANTIC CITY NEW
   JERSEY.  FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED
   WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU3).
  
   REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
   TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
   AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
   THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
   AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:17 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Tornadoes
        

Balmy overnight weather could break record

Got up just before 5 a.m. today to toss a blanket off the bed and open the window. It was raining pretty steadily, but we really needed the air. Temperatures overnight just never cooled off, and the house was stuffy.

The National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling, Va. says the low temperature at BWI-Rainy commuteMarshall this morning was 68 degrees, nearly 30 degrees warmer than the average low for this time of year in Baltimore.

If that remains the day's low until midnight, it would set a new record for the date. The current record high minimum temperature for Oct. 27 in Baltimore is 66 degrees, set in 1920.

On Tuesday, we tied the record for the warmest low temperature for Baltimore on an Oct. 26. The low at BWI was 62 degrees, matching the record set on that date more than a century ago, in 1908. 

The mild weather is a consequence of the powerful low-pressure system, centered north of the Great Lakes, which has been dragging a violent cold front across the Midwest and South. Warm, moist air ahead of that front is sweeping up from the south and southwest, keeping us warm, even overnight.

We recorded just under a half-inch of rain overnight here at The Sun. The airport saw a little over a half-inch. Parts of Montgomery County saw nearly an inch of rain. Here are some other reports from the CoCoRaHS Network.Great Lakes storm

The front is now parked pretty much on top of us. Until it gets moving again, we'll see scattered showers and thunderstorms and plenty of clouds. By late today, however, winds will diminish and skies will start to clear.

Forecasters say it will be another day before the cold, dry air that typically moves in behind a cold front  actually arrives. So Thursday should be sunny and mild again, with highs in the low 70s.

But temperatures will start to drop Thursday night into Friday, with a forecast high on Friday of just 57 degrees, and overnight lows into Saturday in the 30s. Frost advisories may be posted for the western suburbs.

The weekend, including Hallowe'en, should remain sunny and more seasonably cool, if the forecast holds up, with highs only in the 60s, sliding toward overnight lows in the 40s.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

October 26, 2010

Front raking Midwest due here tonight

The historic band of storms and tornadoes raking the Midwest today (Tuesday) mark a sharp cold front that will reach Baltimore overnight tonight. But forecasters say that by the time it reaches us, NOAA/NWSits power should be much diminished.

The storms, powered by low pressure equivalent to major hurricanes, are pounding parts of the Midwest with 70-mph-plus winds. Some are calling it the most severe storm system to strike the region in 70 years.

That same front is expected to reach western Maryland and Virginia after sunset tonight. By then it will have slowed, and weakened.

But forecasters at the National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling, Va. say we should still be prepared for gusty winds and showers overnight. Conditions could be severe in some locations in the path of thunderstorms, especially after 3 a.m.

Winds could gust to 33 mph, with new rainfall of up to a quarter-inch, with more possible in thunderstorms.

A Special Weather Statment issued by Sterling forecasters at 4:22 p.m. warned of "linear storms capable of damaging wind gusts and nocturnal tornadoes. The best chancees for severe weather development will be after 10 p.m."

It's a good night to turn your NOAA Weather Radio to "Alert," so it can wake you up if there's a warning issued for your location. A Tornado Watch has already been issued for Garrett County as the storm front moves east. 

The slow-moving front will still be crossing the region on Wednesday with a 90-percent chance of gusty showers and thunderstorms, and as much as a half-inch of rain.

By Thursday skies should have cleared out, with a forecast high of 70 degrees. Friday and Saturday will remain sunny, forecasters said, but highs behind the front will stall in the 50s, warming to the upper 60s by Sunday.

Behind this big storm today, winter was arriving in the Dakotas.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 25, 2010

Five weeks, four names left in hurricane season

Hurricane Richard has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and heads for the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters don't expect the storm will re-strengthen once it reaches open water again. Wind conditions in the region should cause Richard to Richarddegenerate into a "remnant low," they say.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin looks pretty quiet as the official season moves into its last five weeks. Forecasters are watching another area of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern tropical Atlantic. But they give it only a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.

The 2010 season is down to the last four names on the primary list of 21 names. They are Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter. If those are all used and more are needed, the National Hurricane Center will turn to the Greek alphabet for more: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on, until Dec. 31.

The last time that happened was in 2005, when the forecasters drew six names from the Greek alphabet list, finally closing the curtain on the season with Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed on Dec. 30, and finally expired on Jan. 6, 2006.

If any storms form in January, forecasters would go to the top of the 2011 Atlantic list, which begins with Arlene. 

Here is the latest advisory on Richard. Here is the view from orbit.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:54 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Showery, mild this week; sunny, cooler weekend

Lots of shower icons on the NWS forecast page this morning as a band of disturbed weather drifts our way ahead of a cold front.

praying mantisForecasters at the NWS forecast office in Sterling say the battle of clouds and sunshine we're seeing this morning will eventually be won by the clouds. Scattered showers are expected to move in after 3 p.m. No more than a few tenths of an inch are likely, except where thunderstorms pop up.

The sunshine and southwesterly breezes will keep temperatures mild, with highs Monday afternoon in the mid-70s in the I-95 corridor. The average highs for Baltimore at this time of year are in the mid-60s, so we're running 10 degrees above the norm.

The same will hold true tonight. You may be opening a window and throwing off the blankets you hauled out Friday night. After a low of 35 degrees Saturday morning, we're looking at lows in the low- to mid-60s tonight and tomorrow night. Those will be close to the normal HIGHS for the dates.

Still praying for rain? More showers are likely after midnight Tuesday and into Wednesday as the cold front nears. Thunderstorms will again be a possibility, and temperatures could approach 80 degrees in some spots.

Once the front blows by, high pressure will build back in, skies will clear on Thursday, and stay that way through the weekend, if the forecast holds up. But the temperatures will drop Thursday into Friday, with a forecast high of just 60 degrees on Friday, and 59 on Saturday.

By Friday night you'll need those blankets again, as lows drop to the more seasonably cool upper 30s and low 40s.

(SUN PHOTO: Praying for rain on the WeatherDeck, 10/23/10. Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:10 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 24, 2010

Richard slogs into Belize, Yucatan

Tropical Storm Richard grew to Cat. 1 hurricane proportions earlier today, and is now headed ashore in Honduras, Belize and the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.

The 10th hurricane of the season was moving ashore near Belize city in what was once British NHC/NOAAHonduras - now Belize. It was packing top sustained winds of 90 mph, with hurricane-force winds extending 15 miles from the center of this small stor. Tropical storm-force winds were being felt more than 100 miles from the center.

But wind is not the most dangerous part of this storm. Richard is also sending a 3- to 5-foot storm surge ashore near and north of the storm's center, with battering waves. Rain totals of 3 to 5 inches will be common, with some locations seeing as much as 10 inches. Landslides and flash floods could claim lives and property.

The storm is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression by the time it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. Wind shear there is expected to prevent the storm from re-intensifying over the warm Gulf waters.  

Here is the latest advisory on Richard. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from orbit.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Giant Jupiter still gleaming in the SE

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS"

JupiterJane Buxton Brown, of Baltimore, is one of many who’ve asked me: “Tonight, outside the Hopkins Club, 12 adults wondered what the bright object on the right side of the moon was. Venus, or a star that none of us could name?”

The moon has moved on, but giant Jupiter continues to gleam, high in the southeast each evening this fall. A month past opposition, it’s making its best appearance of the year. Aim your binoculars at it and count its Galilean moons, lined up on either side.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 23, 2010

Rain eases drought in parts of state

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Rainfall at the end of September erased much of the accumulated effects of drought over theRain summer. The Drought Monitor map for Maryland shows the portion of the state still in official drought declined from 33 percent to just 15 percent this month.

The Lower Eastern Shore and the three westernmost counties remain in moderate drought, with “severe” conditions lingering along the Potomac in Washington and Allegany counties. Baltimore’s reservoirs stand at 88 percent of capacity.

(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 22, 2010

Frost advisories tonight for northern, western suburbs

The National Weather Service has posted Frost Advisories for Maryland communities north and west of the urban corridor, and west to Cumberland. The advisories, effective between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday, include Howard, Montgomery, northern Baltimore counties.

The advisories mean that frost is possible tonight, and sensitive plants may be killed if left uncovered.

Colder temperartures are expected in mountainous counties in northern and western Virginia, where Freeze Warnings have been issued. 

The overnight forecast for Baltimore calls for lows near 38 at BWI-Marshall, and 35 degrees in Westminster.

UPDATE, 8 a.m. Saturday: We caved. The heat is on. It was 64 in the house when we finally got in Friday night. So we flipped the switch. Now it's 33 degrees out on the WeatherDeck, and there is frost on the pumpkin - literally. But it's toasty inside. Thanks, BGE. We owe you.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Watches and warnings
        

Astronomers see most distant galaxy yet

Speaking of objects in space that are too faint to see with the naked eye, astronomers using a telescope in Chile report in the journal Nature that they've identified the most distant light source NASAever detected.

It's a primitive galaxy, seen as it appeared 13.1 billion years ago, no more than 600 million year after the Big Bang that scientists believe marked the birth of the universe.

Detection of the galaxy - barely a smudge on an image from the Hubble Space Telescope that contains a zoo of odd-looking early galaxies - pushes back scientists' view of the early universe, and enhances their understanding of the conditions that dominated at the time, and the timing, location and nature of the changes that were taking place as the first stars and galaxies formed.

Here's the New York Times' take on the findings. Here's a link to Nature.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

Mercury touches 30s overnight

The official thermometer out at BWI-Marshall Airport dipped to 39 degrees overnight, the first time we've seen that territory since May 11. 

It wasn't a record. The coldest reading for an Oct. 21 in Baltimore is 26 degrees, set in 1952. The coldest Oct. 22 was also in 1952, when the mercury reached 31 degrees.

But it was a signal that colder weather, and winter, are on the way. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its Winter Outlook on Thursday. They see no strong trends either way for winter precipitation or temperatures in the mid-Atlantic states.

A strengthening La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean is expected to produce a cold, snowy winter across the northern tier of states, and a mild and very dry winter across the southern tier. But for us, they can't see more than equal chances for above- or below-average numbers for the coming winter.

Of course, a middling winter would be just fine with many Marylanders after last winter's snow Wintry mixcircus. Three blizzards and a flurry of lesser storms dropped an official 77 inches on BWI-Marshall. Western Maryland saw totals well into the triple digits. Common sense is enough to suggest we couldn't see that kind of weather again soon. 

I spoke with Ken Reeves, at AccuWeather.com for today's story on the winter forecasts. His shop believes we'll see near- or below-average temperatures in November and December, which could give us an early taste of winter. By January, they expect the theme will be mostly mixed-precipitation events. Those would seem more typical of Baltimore than last year's performance, which put places like Buffalo and Erie to shame. And it would still be enough to send lots of Marylanders into winter-weather panics.

I think most of us would agree icy storms are scarier than big snows. Yes?

When I pressed him for a snow-total prediction for BWI, he hesitated, but finally offered 20 to 25 inches. That would top the long-term average for the city, which stands now at 18 inches. But he cautioned that he was more likely to be too high than too low with that forecast. I told him it was the same estimate I got last year from AccuWeather's Joe Bastardi when I asked him the same question. Obviously, Joe erred on the low side.

So, let the winter games begin!

The more immediate forecast calls for a warming trend this weekend. After our dip into the 30s this morning, we'll look for Friday's high to struggle for 60 degrees. There may also be some patchy frost in the area north and west of the urban centers tonight as temperatures again drop NWS/NOAAinto the upper 30s. There are freeze watches in some mountainous areas of Virginia and West Virginia.

But as this high-pressure system (map, left) moves off the coast, we should begin to get some return flow from the west and southwest. And that will bring the weekend highs into the 70s by Sunday, where they will stick for most of the coming week.

Indoors at the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville, temperatures have sunk to 67 degrees, and the indoor humidity has climbed to 51 percent. The thermostat was very tempting last night, but we stuck with sweaters and the electric blanket. With milder weather just ahead, we have high hopes of making it to Nov. 1 before we turn to BGE for heat.

(SUN PHOTO: Kim Hairston, Dec. 2009)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:45 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Hunter's Moon rises over B'more tonight

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

There will be a full moon over Baltimore tonight, reaching precise “fullness” at 9:37 p.m.Hunters Maryland EDT. Moonrise in the city will be at  6:19 p.m. EDT. If you’re still out on the beaches, look for it to pop up over the ocean at 6:15 p.m.

The second full moon after the fall equinox, this one’s known variously as the Hunter’s Moon (lighting the woods for hunters), the Frost Moon (around the time of first frost), or the Beaver Moon (um, lighting the pond for nocturnal rodents building winter lodges?). 

(SUN PHOTO: David Hobby 2004)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

October 21, 2010

NOAA: More dry weather ahead for S. Md., Delmarva

CPC/NOAANOAA's Climate Predicition Center has issued its three-month precipitation outlook for the nation, and it shows continuing dry weather for Southern Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula (brown and tan on the map at left). Both regions were hit hard by drought this summer.

Western Maryland is still suffering from moderate to severe drought. The three-month outlook suggest more nearly average rainfall ahead for that part of the state. Some improvement in drought conditions is expected in parts of the region, but it will persist in others, forecasters said. 

By far the most striking thing on the new precipitation map for November, December and January is a broad swath of below-average precipitation expected from southern Louisiana, across northernCPC/NOAA Florida, southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina. Its part of an even wider region of dry weather forecast for the Southeastern United States that reaches into southern Maryland.

The Drought Outlook map (right)shows persisting or developing drought across most of the Deep South through January.

All of this is expected as a consequence of a strengthening La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean. So are predictions of above-average precipitation for the northwestern states, and the Ohio Valley. The rest of the country shows no strong trends on precipitation either way.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Drought
        

Tropical Storm Richard forms in Caribbean

The National Hurricane Center says the stormy region that's been drifting in the Caribbean in recent days has finally gained enough strength and organization to become Tropical Storm NOAA/NHCRichard, the 17th named storm of the 2010 Atlantic season.

It's not entirely clear yet what the future holds for Richard, but there are some models that move it into the Gulf of Mexico, where it could strengthen to a major, Cat. 3 storm.

For now, it is a minimal tropical storm, with top sustained winds of 40 mph. It is located 220 miles south southeast of the Cyaman Islands, moving to the southeast at 6 mph. That movement is forecast to turn to the west, and then west northwest by this weekend, putting Mexico's Yuicatan Peninsula in its path.

Here is the latest advisory on Richard. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from space.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Sun website links to airport weather data archive

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

sailing Chesapeake bayRichard Rosenbaum, of Arnold, says high wind damaged his boat on the Magothy in June. But his insurance company “denies any significant weather event… Can you suggest any way to access weather archives to determine wind speed?”

The National Climatic Data Center has the official numbers. But you can see unofficial hourly data for BWI back to 1948 at http://weblogs.marylandweather.com/. Scroll down to “Resources and Sun coverage,” and click on “Baltimore weather archive.”  

(SUN PHOTO: Kim Hairston, 2007) 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers
        

October 20, 2010

Hot weather contest winner sees two big snows

The WeatherBlog reader who correctly predicted the record 59 days of 90-degree-plus weather we saw this summer at BWI-Marshall is looking ahead to this winter's weather.

Ginger of the North"For the upcoming winter," said Angel Hernandez, of Easton, "I predict it to be less eventful than last year, with two notable storms of 6 inches and up. I hope I'm wrong for both my dog's and my inner child's sake."

The dog, Ginger, and the inner child, both want more snow than that. "Ginger loved the huge snows," Angel said. "See the attached 2 photos for reference." Here's one of them (left). Nice doggie.

Angel's prediction of 59 days of 90-degree weather over the summer was dead-on. The guesses from 16 other readers ranged from 38 days to 66 days. The average was 52 days, just below the previous record of 54 days, set in 1988.

"When I read your blog post," Angel said, "I figured we had already endured a record winter, so it would only make sense to be bold and choose a number that would blow away the previous record. Sixty days seemed too uniform; 58 was too even, too predictable. Fifty-nine had that edge; it said risktaker, but not outlandish." Very meteorological.

The long, hot summer came with its advantages, he said. "I usually hate Maryland summers andSun blizzard shirt the humidity they bring, but I can say that, thankfully, I embraced those string of 90+ temp days. I must've lost at least 15 pounds walking in the thick of it."

Thanks to Angel for participating. He will receive a fabulous Baltimore Sun "I Survived the Blizzards of 2010" T-shirt (photo, held by my editor, Kim Walker), originally available only to Sun staffers who helped keep the newspaper publishing (if not always physically delivered) during the blizzards of December 2009 and February 2010.

On the reverse, it features the Feb. 11 "Snow More" front page, with my byline among the many, and Jed Kirschbaum's terrific photo of wind-whipped snow on Park Avenue in Baltimore.

Runners-up get only glory. They are "Mark" (nucker1) with a guess of 60 days, and "Jack" and "Amer," with guesses of 61 each. "David" gets an honorable mention with his close-but-too-few guess of 55 days.

Watch this space on Dec. 1 for the opening of the Winter Snows Contest. You can submit your predictions then for the seasonal snow total at BWI-Marshall. AccuWeather.com and NOAA will be issuing their winter forecasts tomorrow, but we'll give our readers another few weeks to run their models and do their calculations.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:08 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 19, 2010

Moon and Jupiter grace the evening

Moon JupiterThe clouds cleared away nicely late this afternoon, leaving the sky to the waxing moon and, just below, the planet Jupiter.

If you haven't been outside for a look, you're missing a fine evening under the stars. Here's how it looked after work today, looking southeast from the roof of The Sun garage on North Calvert Street.

Jupiter is a month or so past conjunction, its closest approach to Earth this year, and biggest and brightest appearance in the night sky.

If you've never tried looking at Jupiter with binoculars, give it a shot. If you steady the glasses on something solid, you should be able to pick out up to four of Jupiter's Galilean moons, strung out on either side of the planet's disk. Tonight, left to right, they're Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto.

The moon will be full Friday night - the Hunter's Moon.

(SUN PHOTO: Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 9:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Cool pictures
        

Frost Advisory posted for Western Maryland

Frost MarylandHere we go. Cold weather is upon us. With skies clearing, radiational cooling will sink temperatures in the northern and western counties tonight, while dew points fall into the mid-30s.  

So the National Weather Service has posted Frost Advisories for Maryland from Garrett County east as far as Frederick County, effective between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday morning. A low of 38 is forecast for Deep Creek Lake tonight. The frost advisory may expand eastward into portions of Carroll, Howard and Montgomery counties.

"A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT FROST IS POSSIBLE. SENSITIVE OUTDOOR
PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED."

Do you know where your potted palms are? Your windshield scraper?

(SUN PHOTO: Kim Hairston, 2005)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Watches and warnings
        

Galactic beauty in the Big Dipper

On clear, dry nights - the kind we often see at this time of year in Maryland - it's nice to look upBig Dipper and see familiar constellations. One of the most familiar, of course, is the Big Dipper. The big rectanglular bowl and long, curved handle are easy to pick out in the northern sky at any time of year.

The Big Dipper constellation is also known as Ursa Major, the "Big Bear." The Greeks saw a bear in the pattern, and so did some native North American tribes. The Dipper also has much to offer backyard stargazers.

Galaxy NGC 3982For example, the star at the bend of the dipper's handle - Mizar - is actually a double star. Its companion is Alcor. They're sometimes used as a test of visual acuity. People with the sharpest eyesight may be able to see two stars there without magnification. For the rest of us, binoculars can easily separate the pair. 

The two stars on the side of the bowl farthest from the handle point to the North Star - Polaris - which stands five dipper-heights from the top of the bowl.

You can also use the dipper's handle to find the bright star Arcturus. As the old memory aid says, just "follow the arc [of the handle outward] to Arcturus." Let your eyes trace the handle's arc, continuing beyond the end to the first bright star you come to. That's Arcturus, the third-brightest star in the night sky.

But there's lots we can't see. And there's a striking new image out from astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to prove the point. It's a photo of a beautiful spiral galaxy, called NGC 3982. The galaxy is in Ursa Major, 68 million light-years from Earth. 

About a third the size of our own Milky Way galaxy, NGC 3982  is 30,000 light-years across, which means it takes 30,000 Earth years for light to travel from one side of the spiral to the other. NGC 3982 is located in a cluster of galaxies, called the M109 Group, located on the lefthand corner of the dipper base.

Here's more on the new Hubble image.

(PHOTOS: Top: NASA. Bottom: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:37 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

October 18, 2010

A pause for rain tonight

Looks like we're going to interrupt this fabulous autumn weather for a bit of rain over the next day or two. A bit like last week, we are looking at a period of rain early in the workweek - overnight Monday into Tuesday. But unlike last week's nor'easter, this weather will come to us from the north and west, with a lot NOAA/NWSless moisture.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va., are giving us a 50 to 60 percent chance for rain between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday, with only a few tenths of an inch in the prospect. The culprit this time is a stationary front (blue line on the map) draped from west to east, hanging just to our south, and a series of disturbances (red "L"s) that will be sliding along the front.

Once that front drops farther south on Wednesday, high pressure will build back in from the north and west. That will bring back the sunshine for Central Maryland, although some chance for lingering showers may persist in Southern Maryland.

The rest of the week, and the weekend, will feel like a repeat of last week, with sunny skies, daytime highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Some of the normally cooler spots north and west of the urban corridor may dip into the 30s for the first time this fall.

Those of us trying to keep our fingers off the furnace "on" switch got a chance over the weekend to build up some solar heat in the house. The high at BWI-Marshall touched 76 degrees Sunday afternoon. We managed 74 degrees on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville, and our indoor temperature climbed from 68 degrees to 70. But the low outside this morning was 41.

ThermostatWe did put the electric blanket on the bed Saturday morning. We hooked it all up, but so far have not had to throw that switch either.

I was thinking this morning that, instead of setting a calendar date as our target for turning on the furnace (ours is Nov. 1), we should, instead, go by the indoor temperatures. At 68 degrees, it felt cool, but not yet uncomfortable. Maybe 65 degrees would be a better threshhold, at which we could justifiably fire the burners.

Then I started to think that indoor humidity ought to be figured into the calculation, too. Without the furnace or AC on, the humidity can rise to cave-like levels, making the place feel dank. We're up to 49 percent this morning.

If you're grappling with hard times, this is surely serious business. Utility costs are no joke. But if you still have a job, and can afford the juice, and the gas (we use both), maybe the whole thing is silly. Why not use it, be thankful and enjoy the comforts of home? Is this a pointless mind game we're playing with ourselves? What do you think?

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:11 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 17, 2010

New monthly snow record for W. Va.

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Okay, so this isn’t about Maryland weather. But it’s pretty close to home. Marylanders are still talking about last winter’s snowfall, which piled up 50 inches of snow in February at BWI-Marshall, the snowiest month on record for Baltimore. Well, this month the State Climate Extremes Committee declared a new monthly snowfall record for West Virginia. The 158.2 inches that buried Bayard last February shattered the previous record of 104.0 inches, set at Terra Alta in January 1977.

(SUN PHOTO: Lloyd Fox, Feb. 4, 2010)

Snow February 2010

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 16, 2010

Cool-weather record tied

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Cold wind OctoberWe tied a cool-weather record earlier this month, and after a summer of watching hot-weather records fall one after the other, this one got by me. The high temperature at BWI-Marshall Airport on Oct. 4 was a chilly 54 degrees. That tied the record-low maximum temperature for the date, set in 1998. The low reading that day was 50 degrees as we endured a cool rain and northeast winds. So the day averaged 52 degrees, 8 below the norm and the coldest day this month until Thursday averaged 50.

(SUN PHOTO: John Makely, October, 2001)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 15, 2010

Hold onto your hairpiece, Harry

The nor'easter that contributed to our stormy weather Thursday has moved to a position south of Cape Cod this morning. The storm shows up as the comma-shaped cloud in this infrared satellite image.

That has cleared our skies and turned the winds to the west. But as the storm intensifies, the steep pressure gradient between that low and high pressure building into the NOAA/GOESregion this weekend means we're going to see the winds pick up later Friday and Saturday.

The National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va. is calling for west winds between 16 and 20 mph today, shifting to the northwest Saturday, between 15 and 21 mph - all with higher gusts.

Temperatures will reach the mid-60s today, dropping to the 40s overnight. Not good news for those of us trying to keep our hands off the furnace switch until Nov. 1. Anyone cave in to the chill yet?

Our place was hovering at 68 degrees this morning. We had to don the flannels last night. And the forecast calls for temperatures to slide next week, barely making it to 60 degrees during the daytime by mid-week. We're hoping that opening the SE window shades to the sunshine today will help us gain some solar heat.

Anyway, with all this wind, the NWS has posted small craft advisories for Maryland's portion of theNWS Chesapeake for today, tonight and Saturday. Gale warnings may be needed if winds keep in increasing. More SCAs may be needed for Sunday. Boaters take heed. You can also expect very low "blowout tides" this weekend as the northwest winds shove water down the bay.

NWS SnowMeanwhile, the coastal storm, as predicted, is battering New England and sending snow into the higher altitudes of northern New England.

At the summit of Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, the observatory is reporting temperatures in the upper 20s, with winds near hurricane force, gusting to 80 mph in snow.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:46 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Forecasts
        

Up early Saturday? See the Int'l Space Station

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

ISS/NASASpace Cadets! Sure, it’s hard to get up early on a Saturday. But if the dog or the kids get you up before dawn, and skies are clear, step outside for five minutes with your tax dollars and the International Space Station.

 The ISS will appear like a bright star, climbing above the northwest horizon at 6:57 a.m. as it crosses over Lake Michigan. By 6:59 the station will be high in the southwestern sky before moving off the Virginia Capes and out over the Atlantic, disappearing at 7:02 a.m. 

(NASA PHOTO)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 14, 2010

Anyone on Bay spot a waterspout?

Waterspout, Jacksonville, Fla.The National Weather Service posted a Special Marine Warning at 3:09 this afternoon advising mariners to watch for a possible waterspout.

If you're on the Chesapeake Bay, or on the nearby shores, and you spotted this thing, leave a comment and describe what you saw. Better still, if you got a photo, send it along.

"THIS WATERSPOUT WILL BE NEAR
  LOWER HOOPER ISLAND...
  HONGA RIVER...
  FISHING BAY...
  NANTICOKE RIVER MOUTH..."

(AP PHOTO: Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey, Jacksonville, 2009)

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:20 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Notes to readers
        

Nor'easter brings rain, wind to Md., flakes to N.E.

We've already recorded nearly a quarter-inch of rain outside at the Baltimore Sun's weather station this morning, as low pressure to our west begins to trigger moderate to heavy showers in Central AccuWeather.comMaryland. But the real weather today and tomorrow will be driven by a secondary low that's developing into a Nor'easter off the mid-Atlantic coast.

That coastal low is forecast to intensify over the next day or so, driving heavy rain ashore, and maybe even triggering snow this weekend at high altitudes in northern New York, New England and Canada.

Here's AccuWeather.com's take on the storm.

For Marylanders, the storms will bring plenty of rain today. Forecasters at the National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va. say we could see up to an inch before it's all over.

But just as the offshore low intensifies, the whole package will move north into New England, and we will fall under the northwest return flow on the west side of the storm's counter-clockwise circulation. And that will mean drying and clearing overnight, and blustery winds Friday and Saturday.

If you're okay with the wind, the rest of the forecast looks great, with sunny skies and highs in the upper 60s from Friday well into next week.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:07 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

Paula to dampen the Dry Tortugas

Hurricane Paula, a very small and now minimal Cat. 1 hurricane, is moving north of western Cuba and threatening extreme South Florida with heavy rain. A Tropical Storm Watch is posted now for the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas islands. Showers and thunderstorms are expected in Key West.

NOAA/NHCBut the storm is expected to curve east and then southeast, staying mainly over the island of Cuba. A Hurricane Warning is up for portions of western Cuba, and a Tropical Storm Warning is posted for Havana.

Forecasters say Paula is moving to the northeast at 7 mph, with top sustained winds of 75 mph. As it interacts with the island and encounters more unfavorable winds, it is expected to weaken, becoming a tropical storm later Thursday, and a tropical depression by the weekend.

UPDATE, 11:00 AM: Paula has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Paula is an unusually small hurricane, with hurricane force winds extending barely 10 miles from its center. Tropical storm winds are measurable only 50 miles out. But it is still a soaker, with 3 to 6 inches of rain forecast for portions of Cuba, and some locations told to expect as much as 10 inches, bringing the danger of flash floods and mudslides. A storm surge is expected to push high tides 2 to 4 feet above normal, with large waves.

Here is the latest advisory for Paula. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from orbit.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:19 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

October can be very dry ... but not today

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

rainy October BaltimorePlenty of rain due today. Baltimore’s driest month is February, with only 3.02 inches on average, compared with October’s 3.16 inches. But our fair city has seen more Octobers with less than a quarter-inch of rain than any other month. October 1963 remains the driest month on record for Baltimore, with only a trace of rain. Runners-up include Oct. 1924 (0.05”); Oct. 2000 (0.08”); Sept. 1884 (0.09”); June 1954 (0.15”); Oct. 1874 (0.16”); and Oct. 1920 (0.17”). Don’t forget your umbrella.  

(SUN PHOTO: Amy Davis, October 2002)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 13, 2010

Enjoy today; rain due Thursday

Another perfect autumn day for Marylanders on Wednesday, with seasonable highs in the 60s and Sunny October in Baltimore crystal clear blue skies. So enjoy it, because we're in for a pretty good dose of rain late tonight and all day Thursday, the weather service says.

The rain chances are just "slight" overnight tonight. But they pick up to 100 percent by Thursday afternoon. The temperature will hold in the chilly 50s. Predictions call for as much as an inch of rain on Thursday in the I-95 corridor, with another quarter-inch possible overnight into Friday.

The good news is that the sunshine returns on Friday, along with some stiff breezes. Kite weather. And the outlook from there is for sunny, pleasant weather right through the weekend and well into next week.

The rain comes to us courtesy of a low-pressure system cranking up now in the Tennessee Valley.  After dropping a dose of rain on us, it will accelerate off to the northeast, shoved along by a windy cold front by Friday, making way for more cool, dry air out of the northwest.

(SUN PHOTO: Amy Davis, October 1998)

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 12, 2010

Hurricane Paula may linger in NW caribbean

Tropical Storm Paula strengthened to minimal hurricane status overnight. The storm continues to spin in the northwest Caribbean, and could linger there for several days, forecasters say. Top sustained winds are estimated at 75 mph.

NOAA/NHC/PaulaWhat happens after that is less than clear, however. If the storm continues to strengthen in the region's warm waters, it could be picked up by prevailing west-southwesterly winds and accelerated off toward South Florida and northeastward into the Atlantic.

But forecasters expect the storm to be weakened by wind shear in a few days. If so, that could keep it stuck in the same region, throwing wind and rain toward the Yucatan and western Cuba for days.

The official forecast track (map)keeps the storm pretty much where it is for the next five days, although forecasters concede they don't have much confidence in the last few days of that prediction.

Here's the latest advisory on Paula. And here's the view from orbit. Elsewhere, no sign of the next possible disturbance.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:03 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

October 11, 2010

New storm brewing in the Caribbean

UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Tropical Storm Paula has formed today in the western Caribbean southeast of Cozumel, where hurricane warnings were posted today. Paula has top sustained winds of 60 mph. It was forecast to become a hurricane on Tuesday, and to linger for several days this week off the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and its resorts.

An earlier post follows:  

The National Hurricane Center has sent a hurricane hunter aircraft into a stormy region that appears to be gaining strength Monday in the western Caribbean. Forecasters are giving this disturbance an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. If it reaches tropical storm strength, it will become Tropical Storm Paula.

October storm tracksFor now, the storm is located off the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, moving west northwest at 10 mph. If it becomes a tropical storm, forecasters said:

"... TROPICAL STORM WATCHES AND/OR WARNINGS WOULD BE
REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE COAST OF HONDURAS...BELIZE...AND THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...HEAVY
RAINFALL IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF NICARAGUA...HONDURAS...THE
CAYMAN ISLANDS...BELIZE...AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS."

This would be the 18th tropical depression of the season, and the 16th named storm. Here is the view from orbit. Here is the latest advisory. And here is the forecast storm track.

The Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are the most likely places for late-season storms to form. They can threaten Florida and the American Southeast (map).

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Heat today, gone tomorrow

This may be our last breath of summer weather as a Bermuda High to our southeast and low pressure to our southwest combine to draw warm air into the region from the south and west.

The forecast high for Monday at BWI-Marshall is 86 degrees. That's not too far from the record high for this date - 89 degrees, set in 1919 and matched during a very warm spell in 1954. And given Sterling's habit of undershooting the highs at BWI, this may be a close call.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Looks like BWI has topped out at 85 degrees. No record today.

The NWS is already predicting a new record high today at Dulles International Airport in Northern Autumn beeVirginia. The period of record there only goes back to 1963, so it's easier to break records than for Baltimore, where records began in 1871. The record high for Oct. 11 at Dulles is just 78 degrees, set in 1980 and matched in 1995 and 2001. The forecast high there today is 87 degrees.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Looks like the high at Dulles today was 86 degrees.

On top of the hot weather, today could also bring some thunderstorms, especially to communities from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Baltimore area, forecasters said. The chance for showers and storms will continue through Tuesday, but the highs will hold in the 70s as winds shift to the northwest and clouds keep solar heating at bay.

A cold front passage will clear the skies again for Wednesday, keeping the daytime highs in the 60s, but forecasters say the rain returns Thursday.

A low forming over the Carolinas will become a coastal low, drawing cool air and moisture off the Atlantic and setting us up for rainy days on Thursday and Friday. But the weekend looks better, with sunny skies and highs in the 60s. Cooler air and clear skies could mean some frost or patchy freezing temperatures in the western mountains late in the week, forecasters said.

I think I'll take whatever Nature cares to send us this week. After the gorgeous weekend just past, we have no right to complain.

(SUN PHOTO: Frank Roylance Oct. 9, 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:36 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 10, 2010

Yes, it CAN snow in October

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Dusting of snowBaltimore’s snow season is officially open. Okay, it’s not official, just my say-so. But Saturday marked the date of the earliest snowfall on record for Baltimore – a trace that fell Oct. 9, 1903.

Plenty of Marylanders remember the earliest measurable snow on record. It was the 0.3-inch mess that fell on Oct. 10, 1979, postponing Game 1 of the World Series at Memorial Stadium, between the Orioles and the Pirates.

The deepest October snow was 2.5 inches, on Oct. 30, 1925. 

(SUN PHOTO: Lloyd Fox, 1996)  

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Winter weather
        

October 9, 2010

1922 deluge ended drought, flooded Jones Falls

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS

Jones Falls flood 2004Eighty-eight years ago this evening it began raining in Baltimore. Twelve hours later, 5.18 inches had fallen, erasing the two-foot shortage left at Loch Raven Reservoir by a late summer drought. But an overflowing Jones Falls flooded the Folly Theater cellar, soaking performers’ trunks, The Sun reported. Sewers backed up into basements. Rain gushed through a hole in the roof at Hecht Bros. store on So. Broadway. And a cave-in on E. Biddle flooded a cellar filled with broom straw.

The overnight rain set a 12-hour record for the city. The midnight-to-midnight total of 4.38 inches for Oct. 10 remains a record for the date, and for any date in October.

(SUN PHOTO: by Chris Detrick, Jones Falls flood, July 2004.)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 8, 2010

Otto becomes 8th hurricane of the season

Tropical Storm Otto has graduated. It is now Hurricane Otto, the 8th of the 2010 Atlantic season. But it continues to move off to the northeast, of no concern to the U.S. mainland. It could become a NOAA/GOESproblem for the Azores early next week.

The National Hurricane Center said Otto is more than 400 miles south of Bermuda, moving east northeast at 17 mph, with top sustained winds of 75 mph. Forecasters say the storm will strengthen some before beginning to weaken again late Saturday as it accelerates into the northeast.

Even so, the NHC indicates Otto is leaving its calling card in the islands of the northeast Caribbean Sea:

"RAINFALL...ADDITIONAL HEAVY RAINFALL IS POSSIBLE IN THE NORTHERN
LEEWARD ISLANDS...THE VIRGIN ISLANDS...PUERTO RICO...AND THE EASTERN
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TODAY.  THESE RAINS COULD PRODUCE LIFE-
THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES."

Here is the latest advisory on Otto. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from space.

Elsewhere in the tropics, forecasters are watching a stormy region in the southwestern Caribbean. It is expected to get better organized in the next few days, but is given only a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. If it does become the next tropical storm, it would be named Paula.

So, how are the prognosticators doing so far this season, with a little more than 7 weeks to go? They predicted an active season compared with the long-term averages, and that has certainly held true.

AVERAGE (1966-2009): Named: 11.3   Hurricanes: 6.2  Major (Cat. 3 or higher): 2.3

ACTUAL 2010 TO DATE: Named: 15 Hurricanes:  8  Major:  5

SPRING FORECASTS:

Colorado State Univ.:  Named:  15  Hurricanes:  8  Major:  4

AccuWeather:  Named: 17  Hurricanes:  10  Major:  4

NOAA:  Named:  14-23  Hurricanes:  8-14  Major:  3-7

Fortunately, nine of the 15 named storms have blown themselves out at sea (although a few have sent dangerous surf ashore). Only one - TS Bonnie made landfall in the U.S., a brush with South Florida. Nicole sent loads of rain our way, and Hermine caused serious flooding in Texas after a landfall in Mexico.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:38 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Why not an evening out in Dundalk?

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Dundalk Observatory CCBCIt looks like skies will be clear and dry tonight. Why not make it an evening of stargazing? The observatory on the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County is holding another public observing session from 8 to 10 p.m.

They have a 14-inch Celestron telescope. That’s plenty big enough to bring out the cloud bands and moons of Jupiter. They may even be able to find Comet 103B/Hartley 2 for you.

Call 410 282-3092 after 7:30 for a weather check. 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 7, 2010

Why inspect for possible tornado damage?

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

La Plata 2002Bob Anbinder, in Pikesville, asks why the weather service rushes to inspect possible tornado damage in Maryland: “There wouldn’t seem to be much to be learned whether there was or wasn’t a tornado … [A]nything we might experience is pretty paltry” compared with Tornado Alley. Ask La Plata or College Park about “paltry” Maryland tornado damage. It’s the NWS’s mission to document Maryland weather. It enhances understanding of the threats we face and improves forecasting.

(SUN PHOTO: Karl Merton Ferron, La Plata, 2002)

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 6, 2010

Hang on ... sunshine is on the way

Sick of the cool, damp air and gray skies yet?  Well, hang on. The cut-off low that's been spinning over the region for days now, dragging chilly air and Atlantic moisture into the region, is about to drift off toward New England. Here's AccuWeather.com's take on it.

AccuWeather.comThat should begin to clear our skies late today, forecasters promise. And the sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar. That's when drier air will move in, starting with the southeastern portions of the forecast area.

The sunshine will begin to raise daytime temperatures out of the dank 50s, climbing into the low 70s on Thursday, about average for this time of year in Baltimore. The rest of the week and the weekend should bring clear skies, sunny days in the low 70s, and starry nights around 50 degrees. NO heater, no AC necessary. Perfect October weather.

Clouds may begin to increase early next week as the next dose of low pressure moves this way out of the Ohio Valley. That may come with showers by Tuesday or Wednesday, if the forecast holds up.

One other note. If you look at the satellite water vapor loop in the first link above, you can see that the river of tropical moisture that gave us such a soaking late last week continues to flow north, just off the coast and just east of our pesky low. The gusher is currently aimed at New England, which is grappling with heavy rain and flooding today.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

New sub-tropical depression no threat to mainland

There's a new depression in the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico, the 17th of the season. It appears to be gathering strength, according to the National Hurricane Center. But forecasters, for now, are calling it a SUB-tropical depression because it does not yet seem to have the warm core TD 17/NOAAcharacteristics of a true tropical cyclone.

In any event, it is expected to strengthen, and if it gets its act together, TD 17 could become Tropical Storm (or SUB-tropical Storm) Otto sometime later today.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: TD 17 is now Subtropical Storm Otto. Forecasters say it could become a hurricane by late Thursday or Friday.

The good news is that even if it does reach storm strength - either tropical or sub-tropical - this thing is forecast to make a sharp right turn over the weekend and accelerate off to the northeast, bound for the Azores. It will not become a problem for the U.S. mainland.

So, this busy 2010 Atlantic hurricane season continues to generate lots of storms, and plenty of strong ones. But we remain mostly in a protective bubble. Dangerous surf, a whole lot of rain and flooding have been the worst of it for the mainland so far this year. No direct landfalls that I can recall.

Here is the latest advisory on TD 17. Here is the latest forecast track. And here is the view from orbit.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:56 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

October 4, 2010

Fly with NASA drone as it probes Hurricane Karl

This Atlantic hurricane season has seen NASA deploy a Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to probe the depths of the storms and study how they develop and intensify. It's being flown in coordination with more conventional manned DC8 and WB-57 scientific aircraft, sending back a wealth of additional data for scientists.

Now you can fly along through Hurricane Karl, on Sept. 16-17, from taxi and takeoff to landing. No airsickness, and the 25-hour flight has been speeded up and edited down to make it all a comfortable armchair experience of less than 4 minutes.

 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:39 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Last week's storm, seen from St. Leonard's Creek

Rainfall map 

The Baltimore Sun's environmental writer, Tim Wheeler, has passed along this delightful essay, written late last week by Kent Mountford, former senior senior scientist with the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program office, and still an environmental historian and estuarine ecologist.

He's semi-retired, writing for the Bay Journal. He lives on St. Leonard's Creek, in Calvert County, where he measured Kent Mountford photomore than 14 inches of rain in last week's rainstorm. That's his yard in the photo, taken during the storm. The rainfall map shows the storm totals in one-inch increments, from 3 or less (darkest blue), upward to 13 or more (red). Enjoy.

"I don’t get fresh brewed coffee very often, and never at home, but this morning, I made a pot to get myself going.

"This storm was an amazing experience. I’ve kept rainfall records at Osborn Cove since 1974 and this storm exceeds anything encountered in that three-and-a-half decade period. I can say with confidence that this rainfall, at our location in Maryland, vastly exceeded disastrous Tropical Storm “Agnes” in 1972 (which was about 150 mm or 6 inches). 

"It has, at the very least been a four decade event.  Since “Agnes” was called a Millennium Storm, the return interval for what we experienced is much longer than 4 decades. I hope my science colleagues mark this and monitor the Chesapeake appropriately:  “Agnes” after all shook this ecosystem to its foundations, and the Bay, if anything is in a more delicate state than in 1972."

(PHOTO by Kent Mountford. Used with permission.)

"NOAA Weather Radio was going off every hour (through the night as well!) warning of pending tornados, a waterspout crossing the Patuxent and flash floods all over damnation. Mill Bridge Road was flooded impassable all yesterday. Still roaring thru the culverts, it had fallen 3-4 feet by this morning. 

"I was afraid to turn the annoying radio off for fear of a real tornado approach, and twice had the cats barricaded in the plant room ready to dive into the masonry cellar should “Catchall” lift off her 105 year old foundations. Two friends were good enough to call and warn when St Leonard Creek was in the sights of one or another prospective event.

"If we include the “arm” of this storm which came through September  28 (34.1mm) with a few hours sun and sailing wind in between –George Tornell and I took “Catalan II” out on a glorious Bay and played tag with the 150 foot, 400 ton Barquentine “Peacemaker” under sail off James Island--,  Add this with the larger rain mass 29 Sept. (195.6 mm), 30 Sept. (140.4mm)  , total precipitation was 371.6 mm or 14.55 inches in 72 hours.

"This storm quickly turned the Cove to mocha coffee and Secchi disk visibility fell from 1.0 meters during the height of the storm to 0.23 meters this morning, a 76% decline. The tide rose both from onshore winds and the incredible rain influx to a height of 16.7 on my tide staff (about 3.2 feet above normal. Waves just lapped the bottom of the dock planks.  Salinity, which in the drought, had risen to 15.5 o/oo –about half ocean saltiness—had this morning plummeted to 1.3 o/oo, drinkably fresh if you could handle the mud in it!

"Rain literally filled my skiff “Telson” twice, almost sinking her (but for bailing during the height of Wednesday’s rain), which I figure represented 250 gallons of rain (and about 100 pails of water taken out). “Nimble” was dry inside but about 2.5 gallons of water seeped into the bilge through the engine hatch, which I pumped out. Her decks, from millions of pounding raindrops, were as clean as we’ve ever scoured them by hand!

"Four large soil slumps came down the cliff, taking with them many tons of saturated soil, but on my land  the work  caretaker Charles Weems and I have done over the years paid off. All the grass waterways were intact, the Dutch Drains were clear of sediment and into Middle Valley Pond, while years of plant growth were swept down by the current to bare rock riprap, water in the detention basin was clear of sediment. A Very good feeling.

"There were some limbs down, apparently from sheer weight of water since there was relatively little wind here on the creek, but they are already cut up and will warm “Catchall” a couple days in this winter’s woodstove work. 

"Then came the wind, however, gusting 32 knots ( almost 37 MPH) with saturated ground, and the huge leverage of still full-foliage, applying torque to loosened root-balls. What more might we lose?  Not much it developed, but the storm surge is driven out the Patuxent and down Bay by these forces and since last night the tide has fallen back a yard.

"First sun breaks through the overcast at 1135 Friday morning 1 October, and with the boats bailed, cats asleep, and my caffeine high still going, I brew up a big double batch of split pea soup (managing to nip off the tip of a finger chopping onions). Now, is that my finger in there or a piece of the ham?… A little more salt and you’ll never know the difference.

"My Cove data taken as routine monitoring 2 October found that, already salinity has rebounded to 12.1 o/oo , with that thin, rain layer being mixed in and driven out by the wind. Bottom salinity, still reflecting the ended drought is 15.6 o/oo and oxygen at 2.5 meters depth is still lower at 5.8 ppm, compared to the surface which was 6.6 to 7.0 ppm. 
 
"Another coastal storm 3-4 October brings still more bands of rain, 1.57 inches ( 40.0 mm) by noon today, bringing the unprecedented  total precipitation in just  5 days to  16.14 inches. It is cooler too, and at 51 F., the first woodstove fires of the season are lit and the cats welcome the warmth."

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:41 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Events
        

Rain, showers a threat through Wednesday

Average high temperatures at this time of year in Baltimore are in the low 70s, and we're running in the low 50s so far today, with little hope for getting much warmer.

Add to that a pretty healthy dose of rain overnight and into Monday morning, and you get a soggy and dreary day in Charm City. BWI-Marshall Airport has reported more than three-quarters of an Rainy Mondayinch of rain since it began Sunday evening. We have 0.62 inch on the gauge here at The Sun.

(The data didn't make it to the WeatherUnderground website because somebody turned off my computer early Sunday morning, thank you very much, even though THERE IS A SIGN OVER THE BUTTON THAT SAYS "DO NOT TURN OFF!") There. I feel better now...

The moderate rainfall we saw early today should be easing up from here on, with lighter rain and drizzle expected across the region into the afternoon. Drier air could also creep in from the south and west, providing a few breaks in the clouds.

The crummy weather is the result of several factors. There's a coastal low spinning just off Delmarva, and an upper-level low spinning over the Ohio Valley. Neither has much pushing it to move along. So, they remain parked pretty much where they are, dragging cold air and moisture off the Atlantic and swinging it our way out of the north, and making us cold and wet.

So, the risk of rain will remain in the forecast for a another two days, until high pressure arrives to shove the whole mess off to the northeast, if the forecast holds up. That would be Thursday, when forecasters out in Sterling say mostly sunny skies will return for the weekend, and daytime temperatures should climb back to 70 and higher - pretty much where they should be in early October.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts
        

October 3, 2010

Comet Hartley 2 makes an appearance in October

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Amateur astronomerSpace Cadets! Get your binoculars and telescopes ready. Amateur astronomers are gearing up for a look at a new green comet. It’s called 103P/Hartley 2, and it’s already visible, with magnification, as a fuzzy smudge high in the northern sky, in the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. By Oct. 20, Hartley 2 will be just 11 million miles from Earth, and should be dimly visible to the naked eye. We’ll have more on the Weather Blog, later in the month.

(SUN PHOTO: Larry C. Price, 1998)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 2, 2010

NWS report on Thursday's tornado in Arundel

Here's the full statement from the National Weather Service on Thursday morning's EF-0 tornado in northern Anne Arundel County:

"...TORNADO CONFIRMED EAST OF PASADENA MARYLAND...

LOCATION...2 MILES EAST OF LAKE SHORE IN ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY MARYLAND
DATE...SEPTEMBER 30 2010
ESTIMATED TIME...9:46 AM TO 9:49 AM
MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF-0
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...80 MPH
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...200 YARDS
PATH LENGTH...1 MILE
BEGINNING LAT/LON...39.1007N/76.4474W
ENDING LAT/LON...39.1134N/76.4492W
* FATALITIES...NONE
* INJURIES...NONE"

 

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
  CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN
  NWS STORM DATA.

...SUMMARY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY OF DAMAGE
THAT OCCURRED TO NORTHEAST ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY JUST NORTH OF
GIBSON ISLAND AND EAST OF LAKE SHORE IN THE COMMUNITY OF MILBURN.

AFTER INSPECTING THE DAMAGE ON THE GROUND...SPEAKING WITH SEVERAL
MILBURN RESIDENTS...SIFTING THROUGH NWS AND FAA RADAR DATA...AND
LOOKING THROUGH LOCAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS...IT WAS DETERMINED
THAT A EF-0 TORNADO WITH MAXIMUM ESTIMATED WINDS OF 80 MPH MOVED
THROUGH THE AREA...AND PASSED WITHIN A HALF MILE OF A SCHOOL
COMPLEX THAT INCLUDES CHESAPEAKE HIGH... CHESAPEAKE BAY MIDDLE...
AND BODKIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.

AT 9:46 AM ON THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH AN EF-0 TORNADO FORMED OVER
CORNFIELD CREEK AND KNOCKED A SAILBOAT ON ITS SIDE. THE TORNADO
MOVED ACROSS THE CREEK AND INTO THE COMMUNITY OF MILBURN ON THE
SOUTHEAST SIDE OF MILBURN CIRCLE. SEVERAL TREES AND LARGE
BRANCHES WERE SNAPPED DOWN AND UPROOTED...MAINLY FROM SOUTHEAST TO
NORTHWEST. THERE WERE A FEW SMALLER BRANCHES THAT INDICATED A MUCH
WEAKER WIND IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. A BOAT HOUSE SUSTAINED SOME
SHINGLE DAMAGE ON ITS LEADING EDGE. A PIECE OF POOL FURNITURE
IMPACTED A DECORATIVE STONE WALL AND TOPPLED IT.

THE TORNADO MAXIMIZED ITS STRENGTH WITH WINDS ESTIMATED TO BE 80
MPH AS IT WENT ACROSS THE CIRCLE AND OVER HOUSES 49 THROUGH 55 ON
MILBURN CIRCLE. IN THAT AREA ABOUT TEN LARGE TREES WERE UPROOTED
OR SNAPPED OFF...SEVERAL OF THEM MAPLE TREES. A TREE FELL ON A
TRUCK. ANOTHER TREE CRUSHED A WORK SHED AND FELL INTO A POOL. A
FEW HOMES SUSTAINED MINOR SIDING AND SHINGLE DAMAGE. POWER WAS
KNOCKED OUT TO THE COMMUNITY. NEARLY ALL OF THE DAMAGE IN THIS
AREA WAS FROM SOUTHEAST TO NORTHWEST.

THE TORNADO LIFTED AND WEAKENED AS IT WENT INTO THE WOODS ON THE
NORTH SIDE OF THE COMMUNITY BEHIND THE MILBURN CIRCLE AREA.
HOWEVER IT CONTINUED TO TOUCHDOWN OCCASIONALLY AS IT PROCEEDED
ALMOST DUE NORTH. AFTER CROSSING A LARGE FIELD BEHIND THE
FOREST...THE TORNADO SNAPPED DOWN 4 TREES ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF
MOUNTAIN ROAD AND SNAPPED A LARGE BRANCH OFF A TREE ON THE NORTH
SIDE. THE TORNADO LIFTED FOR THE FINAL TIME AFTER SNAPPING SEVERAL
LARGE BRANCHES OFF A TREE AT 8321 DOCK ROAD AT 9:49 AM.

MOST RESIDENTS SPOKEN WITH NOTED THEY HAD HEARD ABOUT THE TORNADO
WARNING THROUGH LOCAL MEDIA OR THROUGH NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS WHO
RELAYED THE WARNING. RESIDENT REPORTS INDICATED THE WINDS CAME UP
QUICKLY DURING A LESSENING OF THE RAINFALL. FIRST FROM SOUTHEAST
TO NORTHWEST... THEN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. ANOTHER SAW WHAT
LOOKED LIKE A WATERSPOUT COMING OFF THE CREEK INTO THE COMMUNITY.
THE COMMUNITY WAS FORTUNATE IN THAT OTHER THAN THE TRUCK AND THE
SHED...ALL OF THE LARGE TREES FELL TO THE GROUND AND NOT ON THE
HOMES THEY SURROUNDED.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Tornadoes
        

September ends warm and very wet

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Nicole flooding AnnapolisWarm and, in the end, very wet pretty much sums up our weather in September. Rainfall was running more than an inch behind the averages until the 6-inch deluge on the last day of the month. It was the wettest Sept. 30 and the wettest September day on record for Baltimore. Temperatures averaged 71 degrees. That’s 3.6 degrees above average, making it the fourth-warmest September in 30 years. Readings ranged from 47 on the 21st, to 95 three days later.

(SUN PHOTO: Kim Hairston)  

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        

October 1, 2010

Sun weather station recovers from deluge

I have no idea why the outdoor temperature and humidity instruments on our Davis Vantage Pro 2 wireless weather station conked out during Thursday morning's downpour. Maybe it just got too Sun Weather Stationwet, although that doesn't seem like a feature you'd want in a weather station.

On the other hand, even the National Weather Service instruments that track conditions in downtown Los Angeles crapped out the other day, just as temperatures reached an all-time record 113 degrees. And they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their gear. We don't.

Whatever it was, our thermometer and hygrometer stopped sending a signal around 8:20 a.m. Thursday, and all I had on the indoor console was dashes. And the online report showed lows of minus 99 degrees every 10 minutes. The anemometer was still working, and transmitting to the indoor console. So was the rain gauge - a good thing in an historic, record rainstorm. And all the indoor readings were fine.

That lasted until 8 a.m. today. And then, as inexplicably as it began, the problem vanished. It healed itself, like my old VW bug. And the weather conditions at Centre and North Calvert streets are once again available for all the world to track via the Internet.

To the Weather Gods, my thanks.

(SUN PHOTO: Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:28 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Notes to readers
        

Region sees months of rain in two days

Looks like the rain has finally stopped. But the high water will be running off for some time, and the records set in the past two days will last a long, long time.

The official total at BWI-Marshall Airport topped 6 inches for the 29th and 30th. Additional rain after midnight Friday will likely push the total to about 6.4 inches when the official number is tallied.

Thursday's BWI total of 6.03 inches obliterated the record for the date - 1.60 inches, set in 1920. It also established a new record for a single day in September, breaking the old mark of 5.97 inches, set nearly a century ago, in 1912.

The September total of 8.26 inches makes it the 8th wettest September on record for Baltimore.Clouds Baltimore

1934:  12.41 inches 

1999:  11.50 inches

1876:  10.52 inches

1882:  9.38 inches

1912:  8.75 inches

1975:  8.62 inches

1966:  8.50 inches

2010:  8.26 inches

As impressive as that is, other locations around Baltimore, and especially in Southern Maryland recorded far more rain than that. Some spots took in a couple of months of normal rainfall in a couple of days. Here is a sampling of two-day totals, from the CoCoRaHS Network:Rainy commute

Hollywood, St. Mary's Co.:  11.79 inches

Leonardtown, St. Mary's Co.:  9.92 inches

White Marsh, Baltimore Co.:  9.50 inches

Deale, Anne Arundel Co.:  9.39 inches

Havre de Grace, Harford Co.:  8.43 inches

Severna Park, Anne Arundel Co.:  7.77 inches

Park Hall, St. Mary's Co.:  7.22 inches

Annapolis, Anne Arundel Co.:  6.93 inches

Frederick, Frederick Co.:  3.64 inches

Cumberland, Allegany Co.:  2.41 inches

Salisbury, Wicomico Co.:  2.21 inches

(SUN PHOTO: Frank Roylance)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:31 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Jones Falls flooding familiar to Baltimoreans

FROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Jones Falls flooding 2004The Jones Falls has long been a worry for Baltimoreans in heavy rain. The earliest recorded flood was in 1786, with results the local paper described as “awful.”

Another flood in 1817 put large parts of the city under water. “In every direction, desolation is visible.”

An 1837 flood inundated the first floor of City Hall, and an 1858 deluge put Holliday Street under eight feet of water.

Hurricane Agnes, in June 1972, delivered the worst Jones Falls flooding in modern times.

 

(SUN PHOTO: Chris Detrick, Meadow Mills, July 2004)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition
        
Keep reading
Recent entries
Archives
Categories
About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts
SKY NOTES WEATHER

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center


Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers

• NASA TV:
Watch NASA TV

• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected