Items tagged with 'weather'

The probability of a white Christmas

NRCC Northeast probability white Christmas

This is a NRCC graph of white Christmas probabilities for Northeast cities. We've modified it highlight Albany. (Here's a larger version.)

Weather nerding (holiday edition): On average, Albany has snow on the ground for every third Christmas.

That's from a Northeast Regional Climate Center analysis of records for the past 50 years. It looked at a bunch of cities around the nation and the Northeast to see how many Christmases in each place had at least one inch snow on the ground. In Albany case's it was 34 percent of the time.

As you might expect, some of the Upstate cities to the west have much higher probabilities. Syracuse is 2/3 (surprised it wasn't higher), Buffalo is 6/10, and Watertown is 8/10.

Last year Albany got 5.5 inches of snow on Christmas.

+ Here's when the seasons really start and end in the Albany area*
+ Albany winters have been getting warmer

Albany winters have been getting warmer

A lot of people seemed to enjoy last week's post about when it's "actually" winter here -- that is, the part of the year here that tends to have the coldest temperatures rather than the standard definitions of the season. We looked at it two ways, and the best way (in our opinion) pegged winter in the Albany area as being from December 1 to March 20.

So here's the B side to that track: On average, winters in the Albany area have been getting warmer over the last century (plus). And not by a little -- the average December-March temperature here has been trending up by .4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.*

That graph above was generated by an interactive tool on the website for NOAA, the federal agency. It shows the trend for average December-March temperatures in Albany between 1896 and 2018.

Here are a few more bits.

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Here's when the seasons really start and end in the Albany area*

Albany statistical seasons by quarter and temperature

* On average. And by these definitions, which are just one or two ways of looking at this topic. Really, it's winter whenever you decide to switch to the big coat and put the shovel in the car. | Also: Here's a larger, easier-to-read version of this graph.

Winter starts December 21 -- by the astronomical definition. And it starts December 1 by -- the meteorological definition.

But when does it really start in Albany?

Inspired by a chart and discussion on Twitter today attempting to mark the start of seasons in various places around the country based on normal temperatures, we figured it'd be interesting to look at the daily temperatures in Albany in order to define what you might call the "statistical" seasons. That is, when the seasons start based on what the temperatures actually are and not what the calendar says.

Of course, you can interpret numbers all sorts of ways. And in this case we ended up doing it two ways:

+ Breaking the year up into (roughly) four quarters according to normal temperatures. Winter's the coldest 25 percent of the days each year, summer's the warmest 25 percent, and spring and fall are what's in between. Looking at it this way, winter starts December 5 and lasts until March 10.

+ Looking at the distribution of temperatures here throughout the year and defining winter and summer as the days when temperatures are either in the bottom or top 25 percent of the distribution. Spring and fall are everything in between. Looking at it this way, winter starts December 1 and lasts until March 20.

And: See resulting chartage above. Don't worry, we've included a larger version here, along with a bonus graph.

Here's a bit more explanation and weather nerding...

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-11-15

Updated Thursday afternoon. The forecast for snow totals continues to climb. And there's now a winter storm warning in effect.

Don't call it a comeback. Winter's been here for years.

It's mid November and we're pulling the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter out of the barn for the start of the season. Let's go.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Wednesday night: Unseasonably cold. Lows around 15.
Thursday: Cloudy, with snow starting late in the afternoon. Around 32.
Thursday night: Snow and sleet. Maybe 5-9 inches. Lows in the upper 20s.
Friday: A shift to snow and rain, maybe freezing rain, and then rain. Highs in the upper 30s.

The updated forecasts for this particular apocalypse keep increasing the predicted snowfall. And the totals are now looking like winter's going to do some work. The National Weather Service Albany probabilistic snowfall forecast has Albany pegged for about 9 inches of snow. And the various probabilities for snowfall ranges point to a ceiling below 12 inches..

The Friday morning commute looks it won't be fun. There's still the issue of potential sleet and freezing rain. And it sounds like this will be wet, heavy snow (which is the worst kind of snow -- take it slow when shoveling).

So we're upgrading this icy, snowy apocalypse to "proper winter" level.

Shovels at the ready -- you are all hardy Upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Early season. Remember to stretch. It's been a while.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier: Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

Those odd clouds, and a handful of rainbow pics

Tuesday's late afternoon thunderstorm created some fantastic rainbows around the area. And while you were gawking at the prismatic display, you might have also noticed some odd-looking clouds -- a sort of formation we don't see very often around here.

It caused local weather nerds to have a moment. See this thread over on the National Weather Service Albany Facebook page in which people shared all sorts of photos.

Here's a quick overview of what exactly those were, and a bunch of bonus rainbow pics...

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It's looking like it could be a relatively warm winter. Probably.

NOAA winter outlook 2018-2019 temperature

The map represents three ranges of outcomes: cooler than normal (blue), normal (white), and warmer than normal (orange). / image: NOAA

The federal government's Climate Prediction Center released its outlook for the upcoming winter in the United States today and it's pointing to a relatively warmer winter in this part of the country. Overview blurbage:

A mild winter could be in store for much of the United States this winter according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
Additionally, El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing. "We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North."

The outlook pegs Upstate in the "equal chance" category for a drier or wetter winter.

Here's a quick video that walks through the outlook and includes an explanation for the prediction maps.

Noted: "[T]he outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur." As you well know, all it takes is for a few Nor'easters to track toward the coast and we can end up with feet of snow.

Last winter
The Climate Prediction Center outlook for the previous winter pegged the odds being in favor of a warmer than normal winter for this part of the country. And that's how it ended up: The average temperature for the last meteorological winter -- December, January, February -- was 1.3 degrees warmer than the normal (31.4 degrees).

By the way: Four of the warmest winters on record for Albany -- that is, since 1820 -- have occurred since 2000. And 2015-16 is the warmest on record.

Yep, this summer was unusually hot

melted ice cream in a cup

This summer also had a high melted-ice cream index.

Summer ends this weekend.* And it's been hot -- unusually so, by a few measures.

One of those is 90+ degree days. The Albany area has logged 20 90+ degree days this year (so far) between May and September.** And while that's not close to the record, it is a high enough number to be tied for 10th all time.

Those numbers are from the National Weather Service Albany and the records go back to 1874.

Because we can't help ourselves, here's a graph and a few more bits...

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Rain in the ground

A map + weather nerding = sold.

The NYS Mesonet is a network of more than 120 weather stations around the state that's based at UAlbany. One of its goals is provide better info for weather predictions.

2.45 inches of rain

flash flood Manning and Myrtle 2018-07-05

The thunderstorm that tracked over the western portion of city of Albany dropped 2.45 inches of rain in less than an hour, according to a report received by the National Weather Service Albany. (Update: NWS Albany said another backyard rain gauge recorded 4.9 inches.)

And that led to a bunch of flash flooding scenes like the one above at Manning Boulevard and Myrtle. See also: Western Ave and Colvin Ave (Olivers Brew Crew looked like an indoor wading pool). [@jamesbelflower] [@CBS6Heather] [Olivers Brew Crew Facebook]

We were curious how often a rainfall like this occurs. NWS Albany responded via Twitter that it's a few-times-a-decade occurrence in the city of Albany.

(Thanks for the pic, G.)

Earlier: Adapting for a more extreme future

The recipe for a thunderstorm

Washington Park Moses storm clouds

By Jason Gough

You no doubt know Jason from his many years as a meteorologist on TV here in the Capital Region. He's helping us nerd out on some local weather stuff. Got a question about how local weather works? Send it along!

I was an on-air meteorologist for 17+ years and during that time I visited over 200 schools to give weather talks. The most frequently asked question was: "Why/how did you get in to meteorology?"

The answer is simple: thunderstorms.

Damn things used to freak me out, especially at night. You're like six years old, the whole room lights up and then, BOOM. No, thank you. Didn't want any part of that mess.

But one day my father took me down to the main branch of the Albany Public Library to learn about thunderstorms, and that's exactly what I did. I quickly found out how simply amazing thunderstorms are. And by the way, so is the rest of our weather.

I was hooked, and always will be.

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Here's how much it snowed in various places all around New York State this winter

new york state snow totals 2017-2018

There's a clickable map, too. (Because of course there is.)

May starts this week, so that probably means we're finished with snow for the season. Though April apparently decided to get a few more flakes in before exiting.

So to bid a final farewell to this past winter, here's a clickable map of snow totals from around New York State for the season. Some of them are bonkers.

By the way: Wednesday and Thursday this week both have forecasted highs in the 80s.

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So, let's talk about the weather this spring

tulips pushing through dirt Washington Park 2018-03-22

The tulips got a slow start this spring.

By Jason Gough

You no doubt know Jason from his many years as a meteorologist on TV here in the Capital Region. He's helping us nerd out on some local weather stuff. Got a question about how local weather works? Send it along!


"Spring, my dimpled tookus". - Jason Gough

OK, we know this spring is the pits, but just how many pits are we talking here?

Before we take a look at some hard numbers to right the ship of despair that is spring 2018, let's look at the bigger picture.

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Nor'easters and model behavior

Knox Street mall snow 2018-03-13

March was just... very gray.

By Jason Gough

We're happy to welcome Jason Gough to AOA as a contributor. You no doubt know Jason from his many years as a meteorologist on TV here in the Capital Region. He's helping us nerd out on some local weather stuff. Got a question about how local weather works? Send it along!

Last time we spoke it was about "the models," the complex sets of atmospheric models meteorologists use to make predictions about the weather -- some of the history behind them, what goes into them, what makes them imperfect. And I promised at the end we'd get to how we use those models to make a final forecast and the ongoing competition between the Americans and Europeans.

Since that time, well, it's not been the best March in recent memory. Our highest temperature of the month was 56 degrees, and that was on the last day of the month. We also had our share of snow -- enough to make into the top 10 of snowiest Marches on record. That snow was not easily forecasted. And it piled up. A few times.

So let's starting off talk about the first Nor'easter of the month and the forecasts for it.

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-03-012

Spring is out there. Somewhere. Probably.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Monday: Thoughts of crocuses and daffodils. Highs in the upper 30s.
Monday night: Memories of the feel of sun-warmed earth. Snow, at least a few inches. Lows around 30.
Tuesday: Thoughts of crunchy snap peas. More snow, probably another few inches. Mid 30s.
Tuesday night: Recollections of tulips. Probably more snow. Upper 20s.
Wednesday: A watch for more robins. Maybe more snow. Mid 30s.

So another storm is making its way up the East Coast week. Yep, how about that. It's looking like the worst of it will probably be to the east. The THE PROBABILISTIC SNOWFALL FORECAST MAPS have the "expected snowfall" for the Capital Region core pegged at 4-6 inches. And a snowfall of greater than 8 inches is forecasted to have a less-than-20-percent chance.

That all said... and as you well know... a small change in the track of a coastal storm can make a big difference in how much snow we get.

Even so, we're marking this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch as just into "that's something" territory. It sounds like the morning commute on Tuesday could be snowy. But otherwise... six inches, fine, OK, yep.

Shovels at the ready, hardy upstaters. Look forward to spring.

Media freakout forecast: March madness. We're on the brink of having one of the 10 snowiest Marches on record.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier: Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-03-06 v2

Updated Wednesday at 8:30 am: After yesterday's upward revision on the snowfall totals, it looks like the bulk of the snowfall has now shifted to the afternoon, though the projections for total snowfall are about the same. But, you know, every icy, snowy apocalypse is like its own snowflake.

The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch is having a deja vu moment.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Tuesday: Sunny. Mid 40s. La la la.
Tuesday night: Maybe snow starting after 11 pm. Lows in the upper 20s.
Wednesday: Snow. Snow. Snow. Maybe 3-7 inches. Mid 30s.
Wednesday night: Snow. Snow. Snow. Maybe another 3-7 inches. Lows around 30.
Thursday: Probably more snow in the morning, mid 30s.
Thursday night: Maybe more snow, lows in the upper 20s.
Friday: Maybe some snow, maybe rain. Mid 30s.

Unlike last week's storm, the forecasts for this week's Nor'easter are relatively confident there's going to be significant snow. In fact, the National Weather Service has already issued a winter storm warning from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning with "heavy snow expected."

Updated How much snow? Let us now turn to... wait for it... yes, it's THE PROBABILISTIC SNOWFALL FORECAST MAPS. The "expected snowfall" for Albany is now 12-18 inches with more at higher elevations. And the window of outcomes in Albany appears to be not that big:
+ >= 6 inches: 89 percent
+ >= 8 inches: 80 percent
+ >= 12 inches: 53 percent
+ >= 18 inches: 5 percent

Of course, you know about coastal storms. A small change in track can make a big difference in how much snow we get. But it's looking like there's a pretty good chance of significant snow.

So we're marking this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch very much into the "proper winter" category, and nearing the old-school snow storm level. It sounds like the snow could be more on the wet side (ick), and the storm could really be cranking during the Wednesday commute home. So, yeah, that should be... interesting.

Shovels at the ready, hardy upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: We are onto you, Nor'easter!

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier: Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-03-01

How lucky are you feeling? Because the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch is going to roll the dice.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Thursday: Some snow. Low 50s. What's the big deal?
Thursday night: Rain, maybe changing over to snow. Lows in the upper 30s.
Friday: Some sort of mix of snow and rain. Maybe 3 inches of snow during the day. Highs in the low 40s.
Friday night: Probably more of the snow/rain mix. Windy. Lows around 35.
Saturday: Cloudy, maybe some rain. Highs around 40.

OK, here's the important thing to know about the weather over the next day or two: No one seems to know exactly what's going to happen.

The signs are pointing to what the NWS Albany forecast discussion calls a "potent coastal storm" moving up the East Coast. Somewhere along the line it's going to meet colder air moving in from the west. It's just not clear exactly how that's all going the shake out. And you know about coastal storms -- a little shift one way or the other can make a big difference.

What's all that mean for what's going to happen here? Well, again we turn to our absolute favorite National Weather Service page: (trumpets) the probabilistic snowfall forecast maps. The "expected" snowfall forecast for the Capital Region core is 3 inches -- but the totals increase steeply to the west. Westerlo's pegged at 15 inches! And Canajoharie's tagged for 8.

Sometimes that happens, especially in the Hill Towns. But here's the part that should really catch your attention -- the probabilities for larger snowfalls in Albany:
+ >= 6 inches: 38 percent
+ >= 8 inches: 27 percent
+ >= 12 inches: 11 percent
+ >= 18 inches: 2 percent

While those (much) larger amounts aren't predicted to be the most likely -- a 6-8 inch total isn't exactly unlikely, either. And larger than that? What we're saying is, there's a chance.

So we're marking this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch just short of the "proper winter" category because of the uncertainty and upper-end potential. It could end up being not much. Or it could be a lot. There's an extra ugh factor because it's probably going to be wet, heavy snow. Also: We've tasted spring and going back, even for a few days, will not be pleasant.

Shovels at the ready, hardy upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Caveats.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier: Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

ny state capitol before after snow storm

Sometimes the models can't agree on what the picture's going to look like.

By Jason Gough

We're happy to welcome Jason Gough to AOA as a contributor. You no doubt know Jason from his many years as a meteorologist on TV here in the Capital Region. He's going to help us nerd out on some local weather stuff. Got a question about how local weather works? Send it along!

If you watched me over the years for your weather forecasts on even a semi-regular basis -- and thank you if you did! -- you may have noticed that when winter storms came into the mix, you heard something like: "I'm tracking the storm, but the models don't agree on things just yet. Still a few days to sort it all out."

The models? What's that all about?

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-02-06

Timing is everything. And it's time for the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch to return.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Tuesday: Maybe some snow, but not much. Cold overnight, with temps in the 10s.
Wednesday: Snow starting mid morning. Something like 5-9 inches during the day. Highs in the upper 20s.
Wednesday night: Probably more snow. Lows in the mid 10s.
Thursday: Sun, upper 20s.

The National Weather Service probabilistic snow forecast maps have the "expected" total pegged at 8 inches for much of the Capital Region core Wednesday morning to Thursday morning (with higher totals to the north). And the forecast seems pretty confident about that. The chance of more than 4 inches in Albany is figured to be 80 percent, more than 8 inches is 30 percent. And the chance of more than a foot is estimated to be 0 percent. (Apparently there's some chance we could also get some sleet.)

It seems like the big issue then is the timing of this storm. Half a foot overnight when plows can run without much traffic? Not a problem. Half a foot during the day, with snowfall cranked up around the evening commute? Ugh. (And if it's wet snow, double ugh.)

So we're marking this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch just into the "proper winter" category because of the timing. Wednesday looks like it could be messy.

Shovels at the ready, hardy upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Eh. It's February, sure, whatever.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-01-04

Scary-sounding meteorological term. Scary-sounding meteorological term. SCARY-SOUNDING METEOROLOGICAL TERM.

Yep, it's Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch. The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Thursday: Snow throughout the day. Accumulations of as much as 4 inches around Albany. Highs in the low 20s.
Thursday night: Maybe a bit more snow. Wind picks up. Temps drop. Lows around 3 with wind chills around -15. Dangerously cold.
Friday: Windy, with some blowing snow, highs around 8. Wind chills around -16.
Friday night: Lows around -5. Wind chills around -23. Dangerously cold.
Saturday: Sun. Highs near... 2.
Sunday: Some sun. Highs near 13.

So this is the infamous "bomb cyclone" storm that the national media has been hype monkeying about. (The term is from "bomb cyclogenesis" -- you'll also often see the term "bombogenesis" in forecast discussions.) It's basically a coastal storm with a very strong low pressure system. If you listen to actual meteorologists, it's both not that uncommon and a lot like a Nor'easter.

You know about coastal storms. There's often a steep gradient in the amount of snowfall from east (more) to west (less). And that's the case here. Checkout the probabilistic snowfall maps from NWS Albany -- it's got the most likely outcome pegged at 7 inches in the Berkshires, 4 inches in Albany, and 2 inches in Canajoharie. Of course, with a steep gradient, the track of a storm can make a big difference in snowfall totals. But the high-end forecast -- which NWS pegs at a less than 10 percent chance of happening -- has Albany at 7 inches.

(By the way: We're a big fan of those probabilistic maps -- they're easy to read and convey how weather forecasts are really about a range of outcomes based on projected probabilities.)

The snow -- and it's looking like relatively fluffy snow -- probably won't be a huge issue. The bigger thing is the temperatures, because it's about to get dangerously cold overnight and through the next day or two. Like, frostbite-for-exposed-skin-in-10 minutes cold. And when it gets that cold, roads can be slick even with salt.

So we're marking this as a That's Something-Plus Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch because of the cold. Bundle up and keep an eye out for each other.

Shovels at the ready, remember that you are hardy upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Warped by the terminology and the fact the coast is in for some serious snow. Also, the attention-devouring social media platform industrial complex demands hype. Must hype. Must cut through noise. Must get attention. So thirsty.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2017-12-11

Is this winter ready to be a proper winter? Because it's not yet mid December and already the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch is making an appearance.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Monday night: Snow starting late in the night. Lows in the mid 20s.
Tuesday: Snow to start, then a mixture of snow and rain. Accumulations of a few inches in Albany. Highs in the upper 30s.
Tuesday night: Maybe some more snow. Cold -- lows below 20.
Wednesday: A chance of snow. Earnestly cold. Highs in the low 20s.
Thursday: Sun. Highs in the mid 20s.

This snowfall has already been getting some hype, but the NWS probabilistic snowfall forecast* has the "expected" snow total for the Capital Region core on Tuesday pegged at 2-3 inches in Albany and 4-6 inches in Saratoga. And the range of projected possibilities is relatively narrow, just a few inches higher or lower on each end. It sounds like some warm air will make an appearance and hold down the totals. But, you know, things change, so there could be a shift. (Also: A few inches of wet snow can be worse than half a foot of fluff.) If anything, it looks like the cold weather following the snow could be more significant.

Drop this snow event in February and we're guessing most people who just sort of shrug. In early December, though... the gas tank on the hype blower is full and people are eager to pull the start cord.

So we're rating this icy, snowy apocalypse somewhere just north of "flake news" because it sounds like there will be snow, but this storm is getting hyped by the early season perspective.

Shovels at the ready; remember that you are hardy upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Out of practice.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

* Bookmark/fave/remember that NWS Albany page. It will be very helpful throughout the winter.

So, that wasn't a typical October

pepper plants November garden

Pepper plants still growing in the garden in November? Sure, why not. They can keep the kale and brussels sprouts and onions company.

Noted: The October that just ended is now the warmest on record for Albany, according to the National Weather Service.

The average temperature for Albany during October was 57.8 degrees -- 8.1 degrees higher than the typical average. In this case, "on record" means dating back to 1820. And here are those records for October.

That follows a September that includes three days with highs above 90 degrees. (September here typically averages almost none.) And the last winter included the warmest winter day on record.

Also: The official growing season this year in Albany started April 9 and ended October 18 -- a span of 192 days. That's tied for 16th longest on record -- and the longest since 1931. (In this case, "on record" is since 1874.)

In related news: We were thinking the other day it feels like there a lot of trees around Albany that either haven't fully gotten the message about changing their leaves this year or they're conflicted about it and procrastinating.

+ Yep, another weird winter
+ Growing seasons in Albany

Another warm winter on the way?

NOAA winter outlook 2017-2018 temperature

This NOAA map depicts the probabilities that temperatures will be higher or lower than normal in parts of the country.

The weather/climate forecasters at NOAA predicting that the odds favor another relatively warm winter in this part of the country. From the annual winter outlook released Thursday:

Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across most of the northern United States, extending from the northern Rockies, to the eastern Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, in Hawaii and in western and northern Alaska.
Drier-than-normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S.
Warmer-than-normal conditions are most likely across the southern two-thirds of the continental U.S., along the East Coast, across Hawaii and in western and northern Alaska.
Below-average temperatures are favored along the Northern Tier of the country from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and in southeastern Alaska.
The rest of the country falls into the equal chance category, which means they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation because there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds.

In this case, "warm" is relative to a typical winter. As one of NOAA's climate forecasters told the media today, they're not necessarily predicting another crazy-warm winter like the last two. [Washington Post]

Another thing that could affect things: La Nina might develop off the Pacific coast of South America, and its effects tend to blunt the snowstorms that move up the East Coast.

Though, as we saw last year, it just takes one storm.

Earlier: Yep, another weird winter

Today's moment of summerfall

tree top blue sky 2017-09-25

Monday's high temperature hit 91 degrees -- a new record the date. And the high Sunday was 90 degrees, another record. Near the end of September. [NWS Albany x2]

In other news: We've been eating tomatoes from the back yard like it's August.

By the way: The latest 90-degree day in a calendar year on record for Albany is October 5, set in 1941. [NWS Albany]

Also: Autumn is out there. Its temperatures approach. [@Jason_Weather]

Rainbow weather

Empire State Plaza rainbow by Sam K 2017-June

If you'd like a larger version.

We've had run of rainbow weather lately -- pop-up showers, with sun streaming in from one side and dark clouds as a backdrop on the other.

And the (double!) rainbow Sam captured arcing over the ESP this past weekend is maybe the best we've seen of the recent batch.

(Thanks, Sam!)

That's enough, March

dirty snow and iris poking through dirt

Dearest March,

We can all agree that we live in uncertain times. So much now is odd or nonsensical, a parade of the real fake and the fake real. It's easy to feel like we're simultaneously doing too much and not enough.

So let us be clear: That's enough, March, that's enough.

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2017-03-30

Troll. Troll. Troll. March is trolling us.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Thursday night: Snow starts late, after midnight. Maybe an inch. Lows in around 32.
Friday: Snow and sleet through most of the day, switching over to rain eventually. An inch or so. Highs in the mid 30s.
Friday night: More rain and snow. Maybe another inche. Lows around 33.
Saturday: Snow showers to start, switching over to rain. Highs around 40.
Sunday: Sunny. 44.

The probabilistic snowfall forecast has the "most likely" snow total for the Capital Region core pegged at 2-5 inches. But there's a very wide range -- the low end is zero inches and the high end is... a foot. (And, as usual, higher elevations are probably in for higher totals.)

The key thing will be the shift back and forth between snow, rain, and the dreaded wintry mix. Also: The NWS forecast discussion indicates we're in for heavy, wet snow. Ugh. That's bad for shoveling and bad for trees and power lines. Let's hope for more rain than anything.

The snow totals for this storm aren't that imposing, but three inches of wet, heavy snow is worse than six inches of fluff. Add in the slop and ice and the fact that it's the end of March... ugh. So we're placing this storm in the "winter's trolling us" category.

Waterproof boots and dreams of spring at the ready, hardy upstaters!

Media freakout forecast: Ennui.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Map: Blizzard snow totals

bilzzard 2017 snow total static map

Yep, it snowed a lot Tuesday during the blizzard.

How much? Well, it varied a bit depending on location.

So we rolled together a clickable map of snow totals from around New York and much of the Northeast...

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Blizzard scenes from Albany

Albany blizzard state Capitol shoveling Smith Building steps

So, we're having a blizzard. You might have noticed. It involves a lot of snow.

Here's a handful of blizzard scenes from around Albany Tuesday afternoon...

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Why is this a "blizzard" and not just a big snowstorm?

Buckingham Pond blizzard 2017-03-14

Visibility: low.

In most winters around here, we get at least a few big snowstorms, with a foot or more of snow. But they're not blizzards.

This week's storm? It's been tagged as a blizzard.

So... why is that?

(there's more)

Yep, another weird winter

albany winters cold and snowy weird annotated 1896-2017 cropped

Super short explanation: The blue shaded areas represent what you might consider the normal range -- high and low -- for temperature and snowfall in a winter. (Here's a longer explanation from earlier.) If a winter is outside both shaded blue areas, it's probably fair to say it was weird. Don't squint -- there's a larger version.

Some quick follow-up to ongoing winter climate weirdness...

Meteorological winter ended with February, and it was the 10th warmest on record for Albany with average temperature of 31.4 degrees -- 5.8 degrees warmer than the normal. (Glens Falls logged its warmest on record.) [NWS Albany]

And February itself was odd: It was the third warmest on record for Albany with an average temperature of 33.3 degrees-- 7.4 degrees warmer than the normal.

The almost two feet of snow we got during February did put us something closer to the normal -- we're now about 6 inches behind the typical amount.

With the new numbers, we've updated our Albany winters cold and snowy (or not) weirdness graph. It's above, with the 2016-2017 marked in orange. It was another weird winter for temperature. And, if we don't end up getting any more snow this season, it will be an almost-weird winter for snow.

Which is all becoming very usual.

Earlier on AOA: The warmest winter day

The warmest winter day

melting snow sunny green grass

The tail end of winter.

This all sounds familiar...

The high temperature Friday hit 74 degrees at Albany International Airport. That is not just a new record for highest temp on record for the month in Albany (besting the record set... Thursday) -- it's also now the highest temperature on record for any of the three meteorological winter months in Albany.

The previous winter record had been 71, which had been reached on three previous dates.

Albany temperature records date back 1874.

We noticed our crocus was started poke through the dirt today. Someone please convince all the flowering trees and plants to hold out a little bit longer.

Earlier on AOA: Yep, winter's been odd in recent years

A new February record

melting pile of dirty parking lot snow

As warmth returns to the land, the snows of a far off mountain range melt and stream upon the parking lot plains.

Yeah, so February, just when it was looking like you'd be typically wintry... you, too, have gone all weird on us.

Thursday's high temperature at the Albany International Airport was 69 degrees -- not just a record for the date, but the highest temperature ever recorded in February here (going back to 1874). [NWS Albany]

As it happens, it's not the highest winter* temperature ever recorded here. Days in both December and January have hit 71 (December 29, 1971; January 6, 2007 and January 13, 1932).

* Meteorlogical winter = December, January, and February

Earlier on AOA: Yep, winter's been odd in recent years

Snowy, in a normal way

albany snowfall 2017-02-13 to date

Albany snowfall this winter so far.

That graph above shows the snowfall accumulation for the Albany area this winter (green) versus the 30-year normal (brown), the record high (blue), and the record low (red). (That graph was generated by the NWS Albany website.)

So, yeah, the last few storms have caught things up with the normal pace quite a bit. As the NWS Albany Facebook page points out today (with even more up to date figures), the 20.6 inches this area has gotten in the last four days equals all the snow it had gotten previously this winter. And the seasonal total is now just slightly ahead of the normal.

The 30-year normal seasonal snowfall here is a little more than 60 inches. But the variation season to season is wide, something that was clear when we recently looked at 120 Albany winters. That we're coming off an exceptionally weird winter last time around -- it was very warm and un-snowy -- maybe makes all this recent snow feel unusual. But it's not, really. Upstate's gonna upstate eventually. (Probably.)

NWS Albany
By the way: This seems like as good a time as any to point out that the National Weather Service Albany posts all sorts of interesting forecast and historical info on its website and Facebook page. The NWS website hasn't always been the easiest to use -- it's gotten a bit better -- but if you're looking info with out all the hype, it's a go-to option.

We've become fans of the probabilistic forecast page, which give a better sense of what, say, a forecast of 6 inches of snow means. And if you're just a general weather nerd, the NWS Albany Facebook page post a steady stream of local weather bits.

Yep, winter's been odd in recent years

scarce snow on winter grass

That this sort of sight has been more familiar in recent winters than what we're seeing Thursday is odd.

It's fair to say that winter hasn't been itself for a while, going almost two full seasons now.

Last winter was extraordinarily warm and un-snowy. And this winter has also been... underwhelming. As of February 8, this winter is almost 18 inches behind the normal pace for snow (though it should pick up some of that during Thursday's storm). And the January we just finished had an average temperature 8 degrees warmer than normal.

Winter, we're starting to worry about you, old man.

It's felt like winter has been acting strangely for years now. But memory can be a blurry thing, a picture where the unusual events stay sharp and the ordinary fades into the background.

So we thought it'd be interesting to look at more than a century's worth of winters in Albany to get a sense of whether things really have been weird lately.

(there's more)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2017-02-08

What's this? Another snow storm? Again? It's like winter might actually have some self respect and is deciding to get up and do something.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for this region starting at 2 am Thursday until 6 pm Thursday. The paraphrased forecast:

Wednesday night: Snow starts, mostly after midnight. Maybe a few inches. Lows in the mid 20s.
Thursday morning: Snow continues, another 2-4 inches. Could have some gusty wind. Highs in the mid 20s.
Thursday night: Snow tapers off in the evening. Lows around 10.
Friday: Some sun. A small chance of snow in the afternoon. Highs in the low 20s.

The winter weather advisory has the snow accumulations pegged at 3-7 inches for the Capital District. And as both the probabilistic snowfall maps and the forecast discussion indicate, a sharp snowfall total gradient is expected from south/southeast (more snow) to north/northwest (less snow). In fact, NWS has issued a winter storm warning for the Hudson Valley, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

(there's more)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2017-01-23

In the days of old, when winter's teeth were sharp and the snow built mountains, the people of this land would feel the rumble of an impending icy, snowy apocalypse. And they called for a sign, some indication, a measurement -- A METER, PERHAPS -- as they contemplated an ending in ice not fire.

So it has been, so it is again: Yes, gentle people, the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter returns.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for this region starting at 1 pm Monday until 1 pm Tuesday. The paraphrased forecast:

Monday afternoon: Maybe some rain, then maybe rain and snow starting around 4 pm. Windy. Highs near 40.
Monday evening: Rain, snow, and sleet through the overnight. Windy. Snow and sleet accumulation of 1-3 inches. Highs in the low 30s.
Tuesday morning and day: Rain, snow, and sleet continue. Maybe another inch. Still windy. Highs in the upper 30s.
Tuesday evening: Maybe a little more precipitation. Lows just below 30.

The winter weather advisory has the snow and sleet accumulations pegged at 2-5 inches for valley areas and 4-8 inches for higher elevations. (See probabilistic snowfall maps.) It's also predicting slippery conditions and hazardous travel at times.

The driver of this event is a storm moving up the coast. And as you know, those notoriously tricky to forecast because small changes in track or other variables can make a big difference in what happens in here. (And the NWS Albany forecast discussion indicates the models aren't in agreement about what's going to happen.)

So we're going to rate this as a "that's something" icy, snowy apocalypse. That rating isn't so much because of the potential snow, but rather the possible slush and ice that could make commutes Monday evening and Tuesday morning messy. (We'll always take snow over ice.)

Ice melt at the ready, hardy upstaters!

Media freakout/hurry, buy milk and bread and eggs forecast: Eh, winter is no longer great.

By the way: It's good to see the National Weather Service has acquired its own prototype icy, snowy apocalypse meter.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

2016 was hot

2016 temperatures Albany NWS

This graph is from the NWS Albany office -- it shows the daily average temperatures across 2016 compared to the record temperatures (high and low) for each day.

Because 2016: This past calendar year was the 6th warmest on record in Albany, according to the National Weather Service Albany office.

The average temperature here was 51.1 degrees -- 2.8 degrees warmer than the 30-year "normal" annual average (1981-2010). In this case, "on record" means dating back to 1820.

This past meteorological winter -- that is the period from December 2015 to February 2016 -- was the warmest, least snowy on record.

The warmest year on record was 2012, at 51.6 degrees.

Would you like to see a graph of the difference from normal in average temperature each year going to back 1820? We thought you might...

(there's more)

Adapting for a more extreme future

flash flooding 2014-08-05 Western Elberon

Flash flooding in the city of Albany in 2014 when a storm dropped almost three inches of rain in less than an hour. / photo via Laura (thank you)

The Northeast US is looking at average temperature rises of a few degrees over the next century because of climate change, according to the some of the best estimates. And while an increase of, say, 4 degrees might not sound like much, it's setting up a future in which the extremes are likely to be more extreme and more common: hotter heat waves, bigger rainfall events, more common floods.

Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research, was at UAlbany this week for a program about extreme events prompted by climate change and their effects on human health.

We got a chance to talk with him for a few minutes about how climate change is already affecting this part of the country, what could be ahead, and how we might adapt.

(there's more)

Albany snowfall seasons

October snow grass line

So, it snowed. In October.

And, as it turns out, that's not all that unusual. In fact, the average start date of the snowfall season for this area is October 28, according to the NWS Albany office. (And average end date: April 16.)

Here's a look at the length of every snow season on record for Albany...

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First snow of the season

The kale and broccoli are troubled not a bit.

First snow of the season, a review: A charming entry, with a dash of whimsy, and small undercurrent of foreboding. ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ -- Would gaze out the window again.

A winter that's back to normal?

NOAA Precipitation Outlook Winter 2016

An outlook for precipitation this winter from NOAA.

Projections for what a winter is going to be like here -- especially when it comes to snowfall -- are probably best taken with some salt (because healthy skepticism and... icy sidewalks). For example: A "typical" seasonal total of snow can be tipped by a few coastal storms that just happen to track a little farther inland. You don't know until you know.

But there are some large scale phenomena that do generally point toward some sort of direction. Last year's winter is a good example: A strong El Nino -- that is, warm water off the Pacific coast of South America by the equator -- helped prompt a historically warm, un-snowy winter here.

The El Nino has ended. And for this winter we're now looking at the prospect of La Nina -- basically the inverse of El Nino -- influencing things. Maybe.

(there's more)

It's been a dry year underground, too

scraggly parched lawn

As you've probably noticed, much of the weather this year so far has been abnormally dry. Even though the Albany area had a somewhat-rainier-than-normal August, we're still behind the typical year-to-date rainfall total by more than three inches, or about 12 percent. And maybe you've noticed some signs -- including dry fields and faded lawns.

But what about the water we can't see? The new issue of the Capital District Region Planning Commission's Capital District Data looks at the state of the region's aquifers -- bodies of water stored underground -- and finds they're at unusually low levels, not just because of the lack of rain, but also because of the relatively snow-free winter. A clip:

Long term trends in aquifer water levels show that 4 of the 6 aquifers in the Region are running deficits. These deficits are helped most by long, low intensity, precipitation events that soak the ground. Brief, high intensity, precipitation events cause high levels of runoff as the sudden deluge of water cannot be absorbed quickly by the soil. As a result, the heavy rains of July and August have not had the impact on improving aquifer levels that many would have suspected. If the long term trend of deficits continues for the Region's aquifers, the availability of water for the Region's wells, streams, crops, and recreation, will become increasingly challenged.

The article goes on to explain that the lack of rain stresses these underground water reserves in other ways. For example: Farms aren't getting needed precipitation so they're drawing on wells and ponds, which in turn are drawing on the aquifers, reducing them further.

If we get a typical winter snowfall -- around 60 inches of snow -- that could put things back on track. But: "If, come February, there has not been significant snow accumulation, then local officials may want to consider adopting local ordinances for water conservation in the Spring. These may include, but are not limited to, ordinances implementing day and time restrictions on lawn watering, restrictions on filling swimming pools, restrictions on washing vehicles, and many more."

Rain, finally

albany precipitation accumulation 2016 through July

See the upturn in this year's line there at the end? That's this past weekend.

Update: And when it rains, it pours -- the storm overnight Monday to Tuesday dropped another 1+ inches of rain on parts of the area.

Update update: Here are unofficial rainfall totals for the last three days from NWS -- the NWS Albany office reported 5.34 inches of rain.

Both 2016 and this summer had been abnormally dry here. And then this past weekend happened.

The Albany area picked up more than three inches of rain over the weekend -- including more than two-and-a-half inches on Sunday, a record for the date, according to the National Weather Service.

This summer is now ahead of the typical precipitation pace. And the year as a whole is just about three inches (about 14 percent) off the normal total.

Earlier on AOA: A peek at our possible future climate

graph via NWS Albany website

A peek at our possible future climate

climate explorer january rainfall map

A screengrab of the Climate Explorer map that allows you see projected rainfall change under two different emissions scenarios. This map is showing projected rainfall for the Northeast January in 2050. (The deeper the green, the larger the project rainfall increase from the 1960-1989 normal.)

We've had an unusually dry summer so far, and it's been somewhat hotter than usual, too. And while any one year isn't necessarily a sign of some broader trend, this summer is in some ways an example of what the future summers here might be like because of climate change.

We were thinking about that today while looking around the federal government's new Climate Explorer website. It takes projections based on climate change models and greenhouse gas emission scenarios and makes them easy to map and graph for locations around the country. For example: Here's the page for Albany County.

So, what sort of future are the models pointing toward for our area?

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It's "abnormally dry"

albany precipitation accumulation ytd 2016-07-21

The latest national drought update from the feds has eastern New York pegged as "abnormally" dry -- and many parts of western New York are tagged as being in moderate and severe drought.

As of the end of Wednesday, the Albany area was 5 inches off the 30-year normal for precipitation year to date (about 24 percent). And since June 1, we're almost a full inch of precipitation off the normal (about 15 percent).

That graph above is from the NWS Albany website and shows precipitation for the year versus the records and normal.

By the way: At this time last year, we were more tan 3 inches ahead of the normal rainfall for since-June 1 rainfall.

A little dry

accumulated precipitation Albany ytd 2016-06-23

Accumulated precipitation for the Albany area for 2016 so far.

We noticed a few people watering lawns recently, and that got us curious about how this area's doing in terms of rainfall lately. So we looked up the numbers via the NWS Albany website, which very helpfully generated the graph above.

That precipitation accumulation since the start of 2016. The green line is this year's accumulated total, the brown line is the 30-year normal, and the red and blue lines are the record lows and highs.

As you can see, we're a bit behind the normal for the year. And for the month of June so far, the Albany area's at a little more than 2 inches -- about .8 inches off the normal. But over the past month parts of the state have been relatively dry -- see this map from the NWS Binghamton office.

graph: NWS Albany

A light streaking across the sky

This is either:

A) Dash cam video from the Plattsburgh Police Department of the fireball seen streaking across the sky in the Northeast overnight Monday to Tuesday.

B) A scene from the beginning of low-budget sci-fi film in which the citizens from a small town start exhibiting strange new powers -- both amazing and troubling -- after an odd light appears in the sky.

C) Maybe both?

[via New York Upstate]

An exit interview with winter

dirty leftover snow with grass

April is a good time to take stock of the past winter and assess how things went.

Toward that end, we recently obtained a copy of this year's exit interview with winter.

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May in March

80-degree day March no leaves

Hot sun and no leaves on the trees -- weird.

The temperature at the Albany airport hit 80 degrees today. That's not only a temperature record for this date. It's also the earliest calendar day to ever reach 80-degree mark here since records have been kept (dating back to 1874), according to the National Weather Service Albany office. The previous record date had been March 16, set in 1990.

Oh, and the last time the temperature was over 70 degrees in Albany, it was Christmas Eve... which is weird in its own way. [NWS Albany]

Earlier on AOA: This was the warmest, least snowy winter on record

This was the warmest, least snowy winter on record

snowfall 2015-2016 December-February

This winter's daily snowfall total through February compared to the 30-year normal daily total.

The (meteorological) winter that just ended was the warmest, least snowy on record in Albany, according to the local office of the National Weather Service.

The average temperature for this past December, January, and February was 33.4 degrees -- that's 7.8 degrees higher than normal, and .7 degrees higher than the old record set in 1931-1932. (Temperature records date back 1820.)

The total snowfall for those three months was just 10.3 inches -- 33.5 inches less than the 30-year normal for that period. The total just dipped below the old record of 10.9 inches set in 1936-1937. (Records date back to to 1884-1885.)

(Even with the low snow total, this area wasn't short on precipitation. The Albany area got 8.98 inches of rain from December through February, which is more than a inch above the normal level.)

The NWS Albany office also reported this week that this past meteorological winter had the most number of days with high temps above 50 degrees -- 24 days total -- of any winter on record (since 1874). The previous record had been 17 in 2001-2002.

And this snowfall season -- October through May -- is still in the running for least snowiest ever. We're currently at 10.3 inches since last summer (36.6 inches off the normal pace). The record is 13.8 inches, set in 1912-1913 (dating back to 1884-1885).

At what point do we sit winter down and talk about its erratic behavior?

NWS Albany temperature graph 2015-2016_winter Feb17

The blue bars are the temperature spans for each day this winter.

The blue bars are the temperature spans for each day this winter.

Check out this graph from the National Weather Service Albany office of temperatures this winter. That recent swing is remarkable -- from a record low (-13) over the weekend all the way up to an almost-record high Tuesday (56).

Also, if you look toward the left end of the graph, you'll notice the unusually warm December.

Winter just hasn't been itself.

By the way: If you're a local weather nerd, it's worth following the NWS Albany Facebook page. The office posts all sorts of interesting local weather bits there.

Snow, probably

NWS Albany snowfall probability map example

An example: This map depicts that probability that there will be snowfall of more than 1 inch around the Capital Region between 7 am Tuesday (February 9) and 7 am Wednesday. / image: NWS Albany

Check out these snowfall probability forecasts/maps the National Weather Service Albany office has been posting online.

The non-winter winter hasn't provided many opportunities for making use of these maps, but we figured they were worth highlighting this week as we face the prospect of... a whole 3 inches of snow. (Somewhere the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter is feeling lonely and neglected.)

One of the things we like about these maps is they way they highlight how forecasts are about ranges of possibilities. For example, the top of the page includes three maps: "expect at least this much," "most likely snowfall," and "potential for this much."

And farther down the page there's a series of maps depicting the probabilities that snowfall will be at least some amount in areas around the Capital Region.

So the page is both a way to get a quick sense of potential snowfall -- and indulge your inner weather nerd.

This winter so far: As of the end of Sunday, the Albany area has gotten 5.5 inches of snow this winter -- that's 32.5 inches off the normal pace.

The winter with (almost) no snow (so far)

snowfall winter to date 2015-2016 January-20

Totals via the NWS Albany website.

You've probably heard about the icy, snowy apocalypse that's targeting the East Coast over the next few days. And right now it looks like the Capital Region will be hit with... nothing. OK, there's a chance of a little bit of snow -- but basically nothing.

This has been a weird winter so far here. It's been unusually warm. And probably somewhat as a result of that, we've had an abnormally low amount of snow. (The amount of total precipitation is slightly above normal.)

Have a look at the graph above. The light blue is the "normal" seasonal snow accumulation total for each day going back to December 1 -- and the dark blue is the accumulation total for this winter. As of Wednesday, this winter was behind the normal snowfall accumulation total by 23 inches.

It's only late January, but the current snowfall total of 5.5 inches at least puts us in the conversation for one of the least snowy winters on record here. The record is 13.8 inches, set in the winter of 1912-1913. (On record in this case means since 1884-1885.) Anything less than 28.7 would put this winter in the top 10.

Of course, there's plenty of winter still to go. And one or two coastal snow storms that take a turn toward upstate could easily pile up 30 inches of snow.

If it does ever decide to snow again... Check out the NWS Albany's new probabilistic snowfall forecast page. It has maps of the Capital Region depicting the probability of various snowfall totals.

The December that didn't feel like December

Albany weather warmest Decembers

For the record: This past December was the warmest on record* in Albany. The average temperature 41.8 degrees, easily surpassing the old record of 38.6 (set in 1881). And it was 13.3 degrees higher than the 30-year "normal" temp**.

December also included two other local weather records:
+ The high temp of 72 degrees on Christmas Eve is now the highest high on record for a December day in Albany.
+ The snow on December 28 set a new record for latest measurable snowfall (that is, more than a trace) -- the old record had been December 24.

* In this case, "on record" means dating back to 1820.
** The 30-year normal is from 1981-2010.

All numbers via the NWS Albany website.

It feels weird that it's now January and it feels like winter has only just started.

By the way: Over at FiveThirtyEight there's a quick discussion about why December was so warm in the eastern part of the United States. (It involves El Nino.)

No snow

NRCC 2015 December 6 snowfall departure map

The map above shows the departure from normal snowfall totals so far this fall/winter across the Northeast -- it's via the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell.

That link also includes a table of the latest snowfalls of an inch or more in many places around the Northeast. The latest inch-or-greater snowfall for Albany is January 19, 2007. (The record for latest measurable snowfall in Albany -- that is, more than a tenth of an inch -- is December 24.) [NWS Albany]

There's also a table with seasonal snowfall totals for those late-snow seasons -- as you might expect, they often end up with less snow than normal.

One of the things that's remarkable about this fall/winter so far isn't just that there's been a lack of snow -- but it's unusually warm, too. We just had one of the warmest Novembers and autumns on record here. And high temps could reach the 60s this weekend, which would approach records for the date. [NWS Albany]

Earlier on AOA: The signs are pointing to, yes, there will be winter

Yep, November was unusually warm

NWS Albany warmest november autumn

These graphs are from the NWS Albany. (We added the green arrows highlighting 2015 and gif'ed them.)

So, about this past November... It was the fifth warmest November on record in Albany, according to the National Weather Service. Its average temperature of 45.5 was 5.8 degrees warmed than the 30-year normal for the month.

And this past autumn? The fourth warmest on record for Albany -- 4.1 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal.

In this case, "on record" means dating back to 1820.

Whenever something like this bubbles up now, there's always the question of global warming. And scientists repeatedly say it's difficult to draw a link between that overall trend and specific events. Weather and climate are very complicated.

But with that in mind, we did notice that four of the top 10 warmest Novembers on record in Albany have happened since 2001.

Earlier on AOA: Yeah, so, not a typical start for November

Yeah, so, not a typical start for November

early november temperatures table

* Forecasted high temps for those days this week.

Some of the best weather days of the entire year have been this week -- and it's early November... which feels odd.

So, we looked up the high temps for the first week of November over the last 10 years and dumped 'em all into the table above. The 30-year normal high temp for each day is at the bottom of each column, and the days are color coded by how much they differed from that normal temp (red warmer, blue cooler).

Whenever we get a run of seemingly atypical weather like this, we think of global warming. Of course, scientists often say it's hard to attribute any one weather event with climate change. But when we get weeks like this in November -- and the "best November ever" a few years back -- it does make us a wonder a bit.

(2015 is shaping up to likely be the warmest year on record globally.)

Data via the NWS Albany office website.

The signs are pointing to, yes, there will be winter

cpc winter temperature outlook 2015-2016

A probability map for winter temperatures December-February, adapted from a NOAA Climate Prediction Center map.

Living now in the Period of Continuous Weather Hype, you've probably heard that this is a strong El Nino year (a band of warmer than typical water in the Pacific off the coast of South America). And that somehow this is important for the upcoming winter because it will mean things. Probably.

The federal Climate Prediction Center recently posted a broad outlook for the upcoming winter that takes into account this year's strong El Nino. The bottom line for here? A 40 percent chance of warmer than average temps, and we're right on the border of projected area with a more than than 33 percent chance of higher than average precipitation.

So, maybe this winter will be a bit warmer and wetter. Or it won't. As a blogger over at the site recently wrote, "[S]ometimes El Niño is the bartender who doesn't bring you what you ordered."

And, of course, there are all sort of other moving parts to the weather. A few Nor'easters could closely track up the coast and hit us with 12-inch snow storms, making it an atypically snowy year. Or they could track farther out to sea. Or warmer winter weather could mean more freezing rain instead of snow. Or it could mean heavy snow. Because weather.

If you're curious, we've pulled the seasonal snowfall totals for Albany in El Nino seasons dating back to the 1950s...

(there's more)

The cone of uncertainty

NHC Joaquin 5-day 2015-09-30

The National Hurricane Center's five-day track forecast "cone" for Joaquin, as of 2 pm on Wednesday.

We're still a way out from all this, but it's worth keeping an eye out: Hurricane Joaquin is currently spinning its way through the Caribbean and long-range forecasts have it headed for the mid and upper East Coast. The current potential track has it making landfall between North Carolina and Connecticut sometime on Sunday. We could potentially feel the effects here on Monday.

That said, things could change and/or the projections could be off. There still appears to be a lack of clear consensus among forecasters and the models they use about the track of the storm. [Weather Channel]

Of course, the big concern here is going to be rain. Even if the storm doesn't eventually track through upstate New York, it could still end up dumping many inches of rain. And as well all saw during Irene, 4+ inches of rain in a short period of time can have serious consequences in flood-prone areas.

The Cuomo admin is already asking people to make some initial preparations, just in case.

Here's the National Hurricane Center's page for Joaquin projections.

A future with less heating, more air conditioning


Can you imagine a New York with temperatures that are more like... Oklahoma?

That's one of the comparisons made in a paper published today in Scientific Reports that aims to project how global warming will affect the heating and cooling needs of areas around the United States.

Using a climate scenario that expects global mean surface temperatures to rise by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit, two Stanford researchers projected how the current "normal" annual number of heating and cooling degree days across the US would compare to levels at the end of this century.

(You can think of heating and cooling degree days as a measure of how much heating or cooling a building needs in a place over a time period.)

Here's a clip from the paper about projections for New York City:

The historical CDD [cooling degree day] value of New York City (1,105 CDD) is projected to increase by the end of the century (2,348 CDD), approaching a CDD value that historically prevailed in the hot desert climate of El Paso, TX (2,331 CDD). The historical HDD [heating degree day] value (4,750 HDD) in New York City is projected to decrease (3,126 HDD) to approximately the number of HDD in present Raleigh, NC (3,246 HDD). New York City's historical degree-day sum (5,855 HDD + CDD) will decrease (5,474 HDD + CDD), resembling the historical degree-day sum in Oklahoma City, OK (5,463 HDD + CDD).

The researchers used numbers for current normals from more than 7,000 weather stations around the country, so they were able to make maps based on the projections. One of them -- showing projected differences in cooling and heating degree days across the country -- is above.

A bigger map, which we think illustrates things a bit better, is after the jump. And it illustrates that the Albany area is, of course, not exactly like New York City. But the general trend is projected to be about the same -- fewer heating degree days, and a lot more cooling degree days.

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That time it was 104 degrees in Albany

sun 2015-07-27

The sun on Monday. (As it happens, it's the same sun as in 1911. Long lasting that star is.)

Because it's sure to come up this week as we approach of string of forecasted 90something-degree days: The highest daily temperature on record for the Albany area is 104 -- recorded on July 4, 1911. [NWS Albany]

That record temp was part of a massive heatwave.

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Soggy June

albany area precipitation 2015 Jan-June

This year's weather had been tracking along a path toward one of the driest years on record for the Albany area.

Then June happened.

The chart above was generated on the NWS Albany website -- it shows the normal accumulated precipitation for January through June (brown line), the accumulation for 2015 (green), and the highest and lowest accumulated precipitations on record (blue and red). You can see how this June marked a significant upturn in local rainfall.

June's rainfall total was 6.7 inches -- almost three inches more than the typical amount for the month. It was one of the wetter Junes on record for the Albany area.

This year is still about 3 inches (about 17 percent) short of the typical rainfall total to date for the Albany area.

For weather nerds: The NWS Albany website now has an easy-to-use option for looking up local historical weather data and generate graphs from it.

Unlucky streak

NWS Albany Schenectady County tornadoes

Unfortunate weather quirk: Since 1950 seven tornadoes have touched down in Schenectady -- four of them since 2011.

The National Weather Service Albany office pointed out that bit today as it shared the above map. It depicts the paths of those seven tornadoes. The labeled paths are the four since-2011 tornadoes, including this week's small tornado and microburst in Scotia.

By the way: The NWS Albany office has a page that collects info about significant weather events in the area. It's worth a look if you're a weather nerd.

May was hot and dry. So June starts cold and wet. Because of course it does.

nrcc May 2015 rainfall difference

May was unusual in Albany.

The map above is from the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell -- it depicts how much parts of the Northeast deviated from their typical May rainfall totals. The Albany area recorded just 29 percent of its typical rain fall amount, the sixth driest May on record.

It was also the second warmest May on record in Albany, according to NRCC, at 7.3 degrees warmer than the normal.

Of course, then June started with a 50something degree day (20 degrees lower than normal) and a half inch of rain.

So, well played, Weather, we have no idea what comes next.


washington county lightning john bulmer

Check out this photo John Bulmer captured of a double lightning strike in Washington County during Wednesday's storms. Here's a timelapse of the storm.

You might remember John from his Reclaimed and Dark City photo illustrations of Capital Region sites.

The storms that rolled across the region Wednesday dropped very uneven amounts of rain -- some places, such as Clifton Park, got 1.5 inches, while others, such as ALB, got .11 inches.

The official rainfall total for May so far is just .42 inches -- 2.69 inches less than usual. And Albany is almost 9.5 inches behind on rainfall from its typical total since March.

Growing seasons in Albany

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

The lettuce likes it cool, anyway.

With the, um, rather brisk weather this week (56 on Wednesday) -- and frost advisories around some parts of the Capital Region -- we were curious about growing seasons here in Albany over the years.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service Albany office publishes that info dating back to 1874. And because we have an easier time scanning this sort of stuff when it's in graphical form, we flipped into an interactive chart...

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Yep, still convinced it was a good idea to break up with winter

NOAA NCDC national temperatures 2015-Q1

From the National Climatic Data Center's "State of the Climate" summary for the first quarter of this year:

New York and Vermont were both record cold for the year-to-date. The New York year-to-date temperature was 16.9°F, 6.8°F below average, dropping below the previous record of 17.4°F set in 1912. The Vermont January-March temperature was 13.3°F, 6.4°F below average, tying the same period in 1923.

The contiguous United State as a whole, though, was atypically warm. NCDC reports that the average temperature for March was 2 degrees above the 20th century average, and nationally it was the 24th warmest January-March on record.

Earlier on AOA: Dear Winter...

map: NOAA National Climatic Data Center

So, that was February

2015 February average temps

Average daily temperatures for this February 2015 versus the typical daily temps for each day.

For the (almost) record: the past month was unusually cold.

This February was the second coldest February on record, according to the National Weather Service. The average daily temperature was 12.7 degrees -- 13.2 degrees colder than a typical February. (The record for February is 12.1 degrees, set in 1934.) That mark also tied for 4th coldest month on record for Albany. There were 12 days during February on which the minimum temperature dipped below 0.

It also happened to be the fifth snowiest February on record, with 30.6 inches of snow. (As of this morning we're at 72 inches of snow for this winter -- about 25 inches more than the typical amount by this point.)

Temperature record date back 1820, snowfall records to 1885.

In related news: It's now March.

Really, really cold

2015 february daily average temperature through February 18

The average temperature for each day this February (dark blue) compared to the 30-year "normal" average temperature for the date. The gap between the bars for each date is known as the "snot-freezing difference." (OK, that last part is made up.)

You know what's better than complaining about the weather? Complaining about the weather with numbers.

As the NWS Albany office pointed out today, this February has been unusually cold -- so much so that, at average temperature of 12.7 degrees, it's on pace to be the second coldest February on record and the fourth coldest month on record. (In this case, the records date back to 1820.)

Here's another answer to the how-cold-has-it-been question: This February has had just two days when the high temperature was 32 degrees or higher.

Of course, things could change over the next week. The high temp on Sunday is forecasted to be 38 -- HEAT WAVE. But then on Monday... 16.

Temperature data via NWS Albany.

Top 5 snowiest days on record for Albany

blizzard 1888 Pearl Street Albany

A scene from Pearl Street, near Maiden Lane after the all-time record day.

For no reason whatsoever... OK, there's a reason. You might be able to guess.

The question of the snowiest day ever came up Monday after the snowstorm broke the snowfall record for February 2, with 11.8 inches of snow and counting. The old record for the date had been 5.5 inches, set in 1892.

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 snowiest days on record for Albany...

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2015-02-01

Early in the week. Predictions of a lot of snow. This all seems so familiar. It's icy, snowy apocalypse deja vu.

There is a winter storm warning in effect through Monday evening. The paraphrased forecast:

Sunday into Monday: Snow. Maybe 5 inches by morning.
Monday during the day: More heavy snow. Another 5-9 inches. Highs around 17.
Monday night: Snow slows, maybe another 1 inch. Cold -- temps around 0.
Tuesday: Sunny and 19.

The Capital Region is pegged for 10-14 inches of snow.

This isn't a coastal storm -- it's a huge blob (technical term) moving in from the west/southwest -- and those types of storms tend to be more predictable. The NWS Albany weather discussion calls this a "high confidence forecast." Another way to look at it is the NWS probabilistic snowfall map:

(there's more)

How much snow is that much snow?

snow in a measuring cup

The snow we got from this most recent not-quite-local-snowy-apocalypse was fantastically light and fluffy -- so much so that it almost seemed fake. On Tuesday while clearing the sidewalk we thought it might be the lightest snow we've ever shoveled.

The fluffiness of snow is something that meteorologists pay attention to. Or, to be more specific, they're interested in how much water it takes to create (insert number) inches of snow under given conditions. And if you ever dive into the forecast discussions from the National Weather Service, you'll often see mentions of the snow-to-liquid ratio.

We were curious about getting some more specific sense about how fluffy Tuesday's snow was, so we conducted an (not terribly scientific) experiment.

The first part: Scooping the snow you see above in the photo from an undisturbed part of the yard.

Can you guess how much water was in all that snow when it melted?

Here's the answer...

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As the nor'easter blows by

wind map noreaster 2015-01-27

Map gawking: Check out this beautiful wind map of the US Northeast (click over for the mesmerizing in-motion map). The screengrab above is from Tuesday morning. You can see the Nor'easter's position off the coast of Massachusetts.

The map is from and is the creation of Cameron Beccario.

[via @carlzimmer]

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)


Tuesday morning 8:20 am update: The storm took a track more to the east, which caused snowfall totals here to stay low. (Classic Nor'easter move, getting people hyped up and then bailing at the last moment.) So, we are canceling the apocalypse.

The new forecast includes a projection of something like 3-6 inches of snow through the Capital Region core.

That's not an icy, snowy apocalypse -- that's just a Tuesday in a January.

(there's more)

This just in: It is, will continue to be, cold

NWS cold temperatures forecast 2015-01-07

The graphic above was shared by the NWS Albany office this afternoon on Twitter. Yep, it's going to be very cold tonight.

We are now pretty much at what is typically the coldest part of the year for the Capital Region. The graph of daily average temperature for this area bottoms out at 22.1 degrees between January 14 to January 20, based on 30-year averages. So, temps in the 20s and 10s aren't that out of the ordinary.

That fact doesn't make it any easier to deal with, though. The high of near 30 projected for Friday is going to feel summery.

The coldest temperature ever: The lowest temperature on record for Albany is -28 degrees Fahrenheit on January 19, 1971.

(In this case, "on record" covers 1874 to the present present.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Staying warm outside -- when it's your job
+ How to properly dress in cold weather
+ Cooking out the cold

Some snow for some places, a lot of snow for others

nws snowfall map 2014-12-12-1

Mappage: This is a snowfall map created by the National Weather Service for the storm this week. It highlights how parts of western Albany and Schenectady counties got dumped on.

Here's the list of totals from the NWS Albany office. Two examples that highlight the wide range of totals: Albany got 7 inches of snow -- Duanesburg 24 inches.

image: NWS MARFC Twitter

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2014-12-09

Updated Tuesday 8:30 am.

There continues to be a lot of uncertainty about how this storm will affect the Capital Region, but it looks like forecasts are now leaning toward this being more rain/freezing rain/sleet than snow.

The paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday: Sleet during the late morning, switching over to freezing rain, then rain by the afternoon. Highs in the mid 30s.
Tuesday night: Rain into the night, switching over to sleet and snow late.
Wednesday: Precipitation switches to rain/sleet again, the rain and snow. Mid 30s.
Wednesday night: More rain and sleet. Then some snow.
Thursday: Snow, then -- surprise! -- rain and snow. Then maybe some snow into the evening.
Friday:Maybe some snow in the morning, finished by later in the morning. High around 37.

The most recent NWS 24-hour projection for snow accumulation has the Capital Region core pegged for 1-4 inches of snow, depending on location. The projected totals rise quickly to the west -- the Helderbergs could get six inches and western Schoharie County could get 10-14 inches.

Even so, all that wintry mix could make travel tricky -- there was ice on roads already Tuesday morning. And the next few days look sloppy and wet.

As mentioned Monday, things were bound to change, and they have. We're downgrading this apocalypse to a basic-plus apocalypse. It doesn't look like snow will be a big problem. ** But there's still a possibility of freezing rain and sleet and that could make things messy. And travel will probably be tricky at times because of ice. **

Brake early and lightly, upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Let down.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

snowy apocalypse meter_2014-11-24

Updated Wednesday at 11 am.

And so it begins. The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch makes its debut for the 2014-2015 season with everyone's favorite variety of icy, snowy apocalypse: A costal storm with great uncertainty -- ahead of holiday travel.

Which way will the storm track? Will there be two inches of snow or ten? Will Andrew Cuomo blame a weather forecaster? Drama without a script. Drama. Without a script.

The paraphrased forecast:

Wednesday: A winter storm warning has been declared. Snow starting late morning (oh, look, it has), could be heavy at times -- 1-2 inches an hour at times during the afternoon. Daytime accumulation of 4-8 inches possible.
Wednesday night: More snow, maybe another 3-5 inches.
Thanksgiving: Probably some more snow, trailing off in the morning. Mid 30s.
Thursday night:Cloudy, low of 22.
Friday: Sunny and 34.

Because this is a coastal storm, the track will make a huge difference as to what happens in the Capital Region. If it tracks farther out to sea, we could get a few inches. More to the west and mashed potatoes won't be the only thing people are shoveling.

Projections for snow totals in the Capital Region have increased since the beginning of the week. About 10 inches or more now looks like a good bet in the Capital Region core. Areas to the east/southeast/south will probably get more, areas to the the north/northwest/west. The probabilistic snowfall accumulation map is worth a look.

We're continuing to peg this as a "Winter's making a point" icy, snowy apocalypse.

Shovels at the ready, upstaters. There's turkey on the other side.

Media freakout forecast: HORN OF PLENTY. Major travel holiday + first icy, snowy apocalypse of the season = extra helpings of media freakout. (Pass the gravy.)

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

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When is the coldest day of the year?

NOAA coldest day of the year around US

Because winter is happening, apparently: This map depicts the when the typical coldest day of the year occurs around the United States.

The map is the creation of the federal National Climatic Data Center, based on 1981-2010 climate averages. Blurbage:

The map reveals several interesting regional differences across the country. Most prominently, the western half of the Lower 48 typically reaches its climatological coldest day in December, whereas most eastern stations reach their minimum in January. In addition, areas with higher snowfall Normals, such as the Northeast and high-altitude regions in the West, tend to reach their climatological coldest day much later, which is likely because of the increased reflection of solar radiation at the Earth's surface due to the presence of snow cover.

This map prompted us to look up the typical "coldest" day of the year for the Albany area. And it's actually multiple days -- a stretch from January 14 to January 20 when the normal average daily temperature is 22.1 degrees.

Here's a gratuitous graph of Albany daily temperature average normals.

The Buffalo snowpocalypse

Farther afield: As you've probably heard, Buffalo is getting hammered by lake effect snow today. That's created some crazy scenes, like the one above of a "wall of snow" advancing on the city. Here are a few more views.

As of around noon today, parts of the Buffalo area have already gotten roughly four feet of snow.

Warm thoughts about this winter

noaa winter 2014-2015 outlook map

The National Weather Service has released its winter temperature outlook for the US -- and it reports the climate signals are pointing toward an increased probability of this part of the country having a warmer-than-average winter.

If this winter does end up heading that direction -- and that's not a lock, just the way forecasters figure the probabilities are lined up -- it would be a contrast to last winter, which was a bit colder than typical.

Also noted: "This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance."

map: NOAA

The nicest weather days of the year, ranked

blue sky autumn 2014

(So far.)

We've been on a pretty great run of whether the last month or so. And just last week, while sitting on a restaurant's deck, we said something to the effect of, "This has gotta be the nicest weather day of the whole year..."

We got to thinking about that idea -- the "nicest weather day" -- and whether (ha) we could somehow rank the days of this year by how their weather.

And that's exactly what we did...

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Our time in the sun

blue sky tree top

Worth savoring.

A string of brilliantly sunny days + walking by a house getting solar panels installed = our curiosity about how much sun Albany gets, and how it compares to other cities. (Of course, it had to be cloudy today.)

So we looked up the numbers -- and found a few things you might expect, and a few things you might not.

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Pics from the Albany flash flooding

flash flooding 2014-08-05 near Western Ave

Behind Western Ave near Quail. (Thanks, Laura.)

That thunderstorm late Tuesday afternoon hit the Albany area with around 2 inches of rain (plus hail) in a very short time, causing flash flooding in parts of the city.

Here's a roundup of tweets and Instagram pics of the flooding...

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Today's moment of summer

Katie tweeted this photo after that strong thunderstorm blob (technical term) rolled through Albany late Wednesday afternoon.

Bonus rainbow pic: Here's a great one of downtown Albany from what appears to be the Corning Tower.


Check out this video clip of a lightning strike at the Saratoga Spa State Park last week.

A security camera at the SPAC box office captured the strike destroying a tree on June 3 around 5:15 pm. The video was posted on the park's FB page, and the above video is a higher-quality clip posted by the NWS Binghamton office.

The strike lights up the tree in a brilliant flash, and then the tree collapses in splinters and chunks. After you watch it at full speed, click the little gear icon on the video and watch it at .25 speed. (We put together a slo-mo gif of the clip -- it's after the jump.)

(Thanks, Tim!)

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Icy, Snowy, Apocalypse Watch (update x2)

snowy apocalypse meter 2014-03-10b

Updated overnight Tuesday to Wednesday

Again, significant updating because the forecast for this "complex winter storm" continues to change.

The paraphrased NWS forecast:

Wednesday morning: Precipitation starts. And because temps will be in the upper 30s, it will be rain. And there could be a lot of it -- more than half an inch.
Wednesday afternoon: Temperatures fall during the day. The rain starts to turn to the ever popular freezing rain in the late afternoon/early evening.
Wednesday night: Freezing rain turns to sleet. And then the sleet turns to snow. Accumulation totals between 2 and 4 inches.
Thursday: Snow continues. Very windy. And very cold -- temps in the lower 20s. Generally unpleasant.
Thursday night: Maybe a bit more snow. Lows in the single digits.
Friday: Sunny and 36.

As mentioned before, this storm is going to be like a giant smear across this part of the United States, stretching from the west/southwest to northeast. And within that wintry smear will be very steep gradients for precipitation. How steep? Well, forecasts have the Adirondacks pegged for as much as 20 inches of snow. Lake George/Saratoga for 7-14 inches. And closer to Albany, something like 2-6 inches total.

Have a look at the snowfall probability forecast map (screengrabbed post jump) -- it looks like a topographic map of a long (snowy) butte or something: a big plateau of a highly probable snowy deluge stretches from Buffalo through the Adirondacks and into Vermont and Maine, and then steeply declining probability high snowfall totals from about Glens Falls through Albany and into the Hudson Valley.

So small changes in the track of the storm -- or shifts in temperature -- could have a big effect on how things shake out Wednesday and Thursday.

Even though the forecast is now calling for mostly rain during the day Wednesday, we're keeping this pegged as a solid "effort acknowledged" icy, snow apocalypse because of the uncertainty and the threat of possible icing. (We'll take snow over ice any day of the winter.) Depending on when the freezing rain starts, the commute home could be messy.

Lucky shovels at the ready, upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Low, but trending upward. The hype monkeys live for icy drama, and they're starting to pick up the scent.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

(there's more)

Today's moment of winter

february rainbow

A snowbow?

We had some odd weather -- for February, at least -- on Friday. Thunder, lightning, rain. And even... a rainbow. Moira spotted this in Ballston Lake and passed it along. Thanks!

Maybe it's spring trying to get a foothold.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

snowy apocalypse meter 2014-02-13

Update: Thursday 9 am

We're revising the snowy apocalypse for this storm upward based on the latest forecasts. (previous watch post jump) The paraphrased outlook from the NWS:

Thursday: Light snow through the morning, picking up as the day continues. The later afternoon might see snowfall rates of an inch an hour, increasing into the evening. Daytime totals could range between 3-7 inches. Highs in the mid 20s.
Thursday night: Snowy drama continues, perhaps with periods of 2 inches of snow an hour -- some places might even hit three inches an hour at some point (that's... a lot). Additional accumulation of 3-7 inches. Lows in the mid 20s.
Friday: Maybe a bit more snow in the morning, probably no more than an inch. Mid 30s.

NWS has issued a winter storm warning for the Albany area from Thursday 10 am to Friday 10 am.

As mentioned in the first version of this snow apocalypse watch, this storm is a Nor'easter, which are always a little tricky to figure. And you can see that in the snowfall prediction totals -- 6-14 inches is a rather wide target. Based on the accumulation probability map, it looks like the chances for 8 inches are very good (something like 80 percent), and the chances of a foot or more aren't bad at all (something like 40-50 percent). And as it happens, a NWS Albany snowfall total forecast map posted early this morning has most of Albany and Rensselaer counties pegged for 10-14 inches, with Saratoga and Schenectady counties in for 8-10.

Again, though, Nor'easters are tricky, and if its path shifts one way or the other as it moves up the coast, we could see a swing up or down. The Capital Region is toward the edge of the storm -- a few counties away the forecasted snowfall totals are just 4-6 inches.

Still, 10 inches from this storm doesn't seem like a bad bet, and a foot -- or even a bit more -- wouldn't be surprising. So we've upgraded to a solid "grudging respect" icy, snowy apocalypse.

Shovels at the ready, upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Continues to be high. Obviously.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

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Yeah, it's been a bit cold so far this winter

2013-2014 winter temps through January small

Don't squint -- see it in large format.

There have been a few stretches this winter that have felt, for lack of a better phrase, really @##$%^ cold. But have they really been that cold? Or have the last few winters left unaccustomed to Jack Frost's chilly embrace.

Curious, we charted the temperature data for November through January. Here's the resulting graph in large format.

Or, looking at differently:

+ The mean temperature for this November was 2.5 degrees colder than the normal mean.

+ The mean temperature for this December was .9 degrees colder than the normal mean.

+ The mean temperature for this January was 2.9 degrees colder than the normal mean.

So, yeah, this winter has been a bit colder than typical, so far. And a few of the lows have dipped near the record low marks. (Though we've had a few high highs, too.)

And as far as snow goes, this winter (37.1 inches) is about 3 inches ahead of the typical total through the end of January (34.1 inches).

All numbers via National Weather Service. Normals are the 30-year averages, 1981-2010.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2014-02-04

It's now February and the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch finds itself curiously under used. Sure, this winter's had snow and it's been cold, but as they (don't really) say, it's been a dry cold.

That changes tonight. The paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday: Sunny, low 30s. Snow? What are you talking about?
Tuesday evening: Snow? Really?
Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday: Oh, so this is what you were talking about. Snow begins after midnight, with accumulations of maybe 4 inches by sunrise. Temps in the low 20s.
Wednesday morning: The snow continues with maybe another 8 inches. Temps around 30.
Wednesday evening: Maybe a bit more snow. Temps in the teens.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from midnight Tuesday to 6 pm Wednesday. And 24-hour snow accumulations are projected to be in the 8-12 inch range. (Higher elevations could get 12-15.)

This storm is moving in from the southwest, and it seems like there's usually more certainty with storms from the west than the coastal storms and their fickle paths. In fact, NWS is projecting there's an 80 percent chance this area gets 7 or more inches during the period from midnight until noon Wednesday. Upside: NWS is predicting most of the snow will be just that -- we won't be subject to the wintry mix.

Even so, we're pegging this as a solid "grudging respect" icy, snowy apocalypse. A foot of snow is a respectable effort on winter's part. Add in that the not-terribly cold temps could lead to heavier snow (as opposed to the incredibly fluffy, super cold stuff we've had this winter), and the heart of the storm is hitting around the morning commute, and this could be some hassle.

Shovels at the ready, hardy Upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Oddly enough, we're dialing down the predicted freakout. Eh, it's February, the hype muscles are probably feeling a bit fatigued.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

The aurora could be visible here tonight. Maybe.

sun flare 2014-01-07 nasa sdo

From NASA: "This pictures combines two images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured on Jan. 7, 2013. Together, the images show the location of a giant sunspot group on the sun, and the position of an X-class flare that erupted at 1:32 p.m. EST." Also: Oooooh.

Something to keep an eye out for overnight Thursday-Friday: the aurora borealis -- you know, the Northern Lights.

To completely oversimplify things: The sun made a big burp the other day, and particles from that burp are streaming toward the earth. When they hit the Earth's magnetic field, there's a light show. [NASA] [Space Weather]

There are projections indicating that we have a not-terrible chance of seeing some sort of aurora tonight. This forecast -- from the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- indicates the aurora could be visible near the horizon at latitudes as far south as Cleveland. And Accuweather has our area on the border of fair/poor for viewing.

So, overnight, have a look to the north near the horizon. It might appear as a green or reddish glow.

photo: NASA/SDO

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2014-01-02

The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch cranks up for the first time in the new year -- 2014 is here and it's giving us the cold shoulder. Jerk.

The paraphrased forecast:

Thursday: Snowy, cold. Daytime accumulations maybe as high as 4 inches. High temps near 11 degrees.
Thursday night: Snowy, very cold. Additional accumulations of as much as 7 inches. Lows just under 0.
Friday: Snow in the morning, but probably not a lot of accumulation, maybe an inch. Blowing snow, wind chills as low as -20. High temp around 8 degrees.
Friday night: Really @#$%^&*@#$ cold. Lows near -11.

This storm is moving in from the west, so there's no will-it-or-won't-it-track-along-the-coast questions.

The NWS has issued a winter storm warning and total accumulations in the Capital Region could approach a foot of snow, with a few more inches in higher elevations around the edge of the region. And it's going to be no-joke cold the next few days, with sub-zero lows both Thursday and Friday. The upside to the low, low temps is that the snow should be light and fluffy.

We're going to peg this as a "grudging respect" icy, snowy apocalypse. The snow totals aren't crazy high -- and should be fluffy -- but those sub-zero temps could cause problems. Winter is asking to be taken seriously.

By the way: Another storm is projected to affect the region Sunday night into Monday with snow, sleet, and the ever-popular freezing rain. Or, as the NWS forecast discussion describes it -- a "wintry mess."

Shovels at the ready, hardy Upstaters. It's time to layer up.

Media freakout forecast: Medium. Everyone's probably a little hung over from the New Year, but as the hype monkeys are touting, this storm could affect more than 100 million people across the country.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2013-12-13

The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch appears for its first significant action of the 2013-2014 season. That "event" a few weeks back was like a preseason warm-up against a Division II opponent from Directional State U. Now we're onto the real home opener. It's game time!

The paraphrased forecast:

Friday afternoon/night: Some flurries and snowglobing here and there. Cold. Lows near 10.
Saturday: Snow, increasing in likelihood as the day goes on. Maybe 2 inches. Again, really cold. Highs in the teens.
Saturday night: The storm settles in for some significant snow. Maybe another 6+ inches. Still cold, but temps stay in the teens
Sunday: Snow probably continues through the morning, tailing off through the day. Highs in the upper 20s.

This storm is moving in from the Midwest, so the Nor'easter will-it-or-won't-it track question is out.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch and is projecting "moderate to significant amounts of snow." Saturday night could see snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour. So if everything lines up, we could see maybe 10 inches on the high end. The hype monkeys at the Weather Channel have the region pegged for 8-12 inches.

If the snow does fall in those amounts, we're guessing based on the temps that it will be dry snow -- and thus it'll be a light 10 inches.

Shovels at the ready, hardy Upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Looking at the media freakout models, we're seeing two conflicting trends. On one side, this could be the first significant snowfall of the season, which trends toward higher freakout levels. On the other side, it's happening over the weekend. Bundle up Only Reporter on Duty for the Weekend! You're doing a live shot in the cold and snow, probably by Exit 24. Cold toes and diesel exhaust!

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2013-11-26

So it begins.

The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch makes its first appearance of this winter season in an anticipation of a Nor'easter projected to make its way up the East Coast during the middle of this week. And, as you might have heard, Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Which means this Wednesday is one of the busiest travel days of the entire year.

The paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday afternoon/night: Maybe snow/sleet to start, then rain and lots of it. Maybe as much an inch. Lows only in the mid 30s.
Wednesday morning: More rain. Maybe another inch. Warm, highs in the upper 40s.
Wednesday night: Yet more rain, though it could switch over to snow and ice. Lows in the mid 20s.
Thanksgiving: Sunny. 30.

So, more than anything, it looks like this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse will be almost all rain. That's probably better than snow, but it will be a significant amount of rain -- 2+ inches of rain is no joke -- so flooding is something to keep an eye on (it's a good idea to rake the leaves out of the storm sewer grates). And if things are going to get tricky, it may be Wednesday night when all the temps start to drop, raising the possibility of icy conditions. Areas to the north and west of the Capital Region could get some more serious of snow and ice.

This storm is projected to track up the I-95 corridor and then up the Hudson River (maybe it's taking Amtrak). That should keep most of the snow to the west. But as with any of these storms, you never really know until it follows the path. And if even it just ends up as a lot of rain and wind, the storm could slow travel along the super-congested corridor.

Media freakout plugin: New this year: a media freakout plugin for the Icy, Snowy, Apocalypse Meter. Even as we face mostly rain, the plugin is reading near medium levels of media freakout for this storm because 1) the storm as been hyped since last week and 2) the storm is overlapping with Thanksgiving travel and 3) Thanksgiving week is usually a slow news week. Enjoy your media freakout, and pass the cranberry sauce.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Temperature vs. power

There's been a lot of talk this week about how the heat wave is putting a strain on the state's power grid. The org that oversees the state's grid predicted that cranking up all those air conditioners would push the state's electricity usage up to or beyond the all-time record. And on Thursday Andrew Cuomo was urging New Yorkers to conserve energy so as to lessen the chances of power outages.

Update: The state's electricity demand broke the record Friday, NYISO reported late that afternoon.

All that talk got us curious about the relationship between temperatures outside and power usage. So we pulled the data for both daily max temps and max "load" on the state's power grid. There's a graph above -- but don't squint, there's a large format version after the jump (along with some notes).

(there's more)

OK, so what's with the weather this summer?

grass under water

The summer of standing water.

The weather this summer has probably not gone the way most of us expect summers to go in upstate New York. It's been muggy. It seems to rain every afternoon -- and hard. It's felt like... well, not here -- sort of like Florida or someplace.

So what's the deal? And when can we expect things to change?

As we often do when we have questions about local weather, we hit up NewsChannel 13 meteorologist Jason Gough for answers -- about rainy summers, long term forecasts, and how weather is like baseball. (There might also be something about frog anatomy).

(there's more)

Rain, rain, rain

albany rainiest junes

The top 10 wettest Junes on record for Albany, in inches of rain.

This past June was the third rainiest on record (dating back to 1826), according to numbers from the National Weather Service. The 8.68 inches of rain that landed on Albany was almost five inches more than the normal 30-year average for the month.

So, OK, enough. We're good for a little while.

Plans for severe weather?

tornado noaa archive photoErin emails:

After hearing about the 2 tornadoes that touched down this week and of course Irene, I was wondering if there were any local storm shelters available for use in a bad situation, especially an underground one for tornadoes? I live in 2nd floor apartment in a building with no basement, so if really bad storm were to come through my area I'd be in a bit of a dangerous situation.
With the storms getting worse each year (or so it would seem) I like having a plan in place even if I never need to use it!

Erin is on the right path here in being proactive about planning. With some types of storms -- like a hurricane/tropical storm -- there's usually some advance notice, often days. Other types -- like a tornado -- the notice could be just a few minutes. So knowing what to do ahead of time is important.

Here are a few guides on making a plan/emergency kit: | New York State | Red Cross. And here are National Weather Service guides to thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lightning and how to take shelter in various types of buildings during a tornado. (In a building without a basement, it's get to the lowest floor and find a room in the middle of the building, preferably without windows.) Also: a NWS tornado FAQ.

Another resource: NY-Alert, where you can sign up for text alerts for stuff like tornado warnings.

Got local suggestions? Please share.

Earlier on AOA: Watch vs. warning

archive photo: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Today's moment of spring

buckingham pond 2013-05-29 yellow light

No filter, as the kids say. Larger.

Tornado warnings. Thunderstorms. Flash flooding.

And then that creepy yellow light. The kind that says severe weather warning/zombie apocalypse watch.

March 2013 vs March 2012

march 2012 vs march 2013 small

Or, if you prefer, in large format.

For whatever reason, we've been a little cranky about spring this year. You know, it's just so... slow... in... arriving. Or is it?

Well, as you know, 2012 was an unusually warm year. And March of last year was the warmest March on record for this area. So any typical March is going to seem kind of cold and drab compared to March 2012. Heck, the magnolias bloomed last year during March.

And, as it happens, March 2013 has been... more or less typical. The average high was a little cooler than usual -- by about 2.5 degrees. But the mean temp was just 1.2 degrees off the 30 year average.

So, in other words, this is what March is usually like. The chart above gives some sense of how typical this past March was -- and how odd March 2012 was.

All temperature data from National Weather Service.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2013-03-18

Update: Or not. A zone of dry air in the system "greatly diminished the precip over the area," according to the NWS.
Spring starts this Wednesday at 7:02 am. So, if you're winter, you might be thinking, "Oh, man, I should really finish stuff up." And so it is.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 6 pm Monday through 8 pm Tuesday. Here's the (paraphrased) NWS forecast:

Monday night: Light snow begins in the evening, with heavier snow and sleet over night. Accumulations of 3-7 inches possible. Lows around 31.
Tuesday morning: Snow, sleet, and rain through the morning into the afternoon. Another 2-4 inches possible. Highs in the upper 30s.
Tuesday evening: Rain into the evening, then back to snow. Lows in the mid 20s.
Wednesday: Maybe some snow to start, trailing off as the day moves along. Cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s.
Thursday: Cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s.

The forecast discussion calls this a "potent late winter storm." And the forecast warning mentions "heavy snow" with total accumulations of 8-12 inches.

The snowfall forecast map has the central Capital District in the 8-10 inch range, with less to the south/southeast and more to the north/northwest (sorry, Saratoga County).

Many of the winter storms we get here move up the East Coast -- and because of that, small variations in the path can have a big effect on snowfall totals. But this storm is a multi-state-large blob of precipitation moving across the midwest, headed in this direction. It looks like a pretty good bet that it's going plow through here.

So, given the track and the possibility of wet, heavy snow -- and bonus sleet and ice -- we're going to peg this as solid "Winter's Making an Effort" Icy, Snowy Apocalypse. Ugh.

Shovels at the ready, hardy upstaters.

By the way: We've gotten just about 41.9 inches of snow this winter. That's about 11 inches off the normal pace..

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier on AOA: Familiarity breeds chopped off fingers -- or, don't stick your hand in the chute of a snowblower

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2013-02-06

Updated Friday afternoon


A a winter storm warning has been in effect for Albany since Friday morning. But it looks like the the major snowfall period will be overnight.

Here's the (paraphrased) NWS forecast:

Friday evening: Maybe a few inches.
Friday overnight: Snowy apocalypse? Maybe?Overnight snowfall totals still project to be around 5-9 inches. Blustery. Lows in the teens
Saturday: Snow slows, but continues, through morning, tapering off in afternoon. Maybe another 1-3 inches. Highs in the mid 20s.
Saturday night: Cold. Lows in the single digits.

The estimates for accumulations for this area still span a wide range: 8-16 inches. Higher snow totals are still projected to the east and south with accumulations of 2 feet on the upper end.

As we've been saying repeatedly, storms that head up the coast are always a little tricky. Small changes in the track can have a big effect on our snowfall totals. But the forecasts are still calling for maybe a foot. That's not really SnOMG!-level icy, snowy apocalypse -- but we'll see.

Shovels at the ready, hardy Northeasterners.

By the way: We've gotten just about 20 inches of snow this winter. That's about 17 inches off the normal pace..

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Cold weather context

albany observed temps January 2013 through 1-23

Though it's been a bit nippy lately, this January hasn't been that cold.

Breaking: it's cold out there. The highs for both Wednesday and Thursday are forecasted to be in the teens, and the lows sub-zero.

So that got us thinking about some historical context, and the coldest days on record...

(there's more)

Upstate > LA

The high temp in Albany for Monday will probably end up around 47 degrees. It felt like spring, especially compared to the near-zero temps a few weeks back.

Contrast that to a recent "cold snap" in southern California that has resulted in temperatures in the -- gasp! -- 50s (normal highs are in the upper 60s). As the clip above from the Jimmy Kimmel show demonstrates, this strange chill has prompted quite the reaction.

Now is the time, fellow hardy Northeasterners, to point and laugh. (Don't worry, LA can handle it.)

The horizon

sunset 2013-01-07

We don't know if there's a name for the kind of sunset we had on Monday -- cloudless? They're not dramatic, but there's something beautiful about the way the light stretches from one end of the spectrum to the other in the glow.


This just in: it's cold. Shortly before 8 am the temperature at ALB hit -4. And weather stations around the region were reporting temps in the negative teens in spots to the north and northeast of Albany.

(By the way: the technical term for this sort of weather is "snot freezer." Don't let anyone tell you differently.)

The forecasted high for Thursday: 23 degrees. Friday, the start of a heat wave: a high of 36, with temps in the 30s through the 7-day forecast.

map: NWS Mesonet

The warmest year on record

top 10 warmest years on record Albany NWS

Last year was the warmest year on record in this area, according to the 2012 climate summary for Albany, NY by National Weather Service. In this case, "on record" means dating back to 1820.

The average (mean) temperature for 2012 was 51.6 -- that's 3.3 higher than than "normal" average temp. In this case, "normal" is the average from 1981 to 2010.

2012's record-high temperature was the result of an unusually warm winter and spring. The 2011-2012 winter was the 8th warmest on record. And the 2012 spring was the second warmest (with the the warmest March on record).

The last year was unusually warm pretty much everywhere -- the numbers haven't been published yet, but 2012 was shaping up to be the warmest on record for the entire United States.

Warmer over the long run: The temperature trend lines for both the state and the nation are sloped upward by more than a degree over the last century. [NOAA] [NOAA]

Earlier on AOA:
+ The Karner Blue as another sign from the Year of Odd Weather
+ Hot spring

chart: National Weather Service

December rainbows

rainbow collar city bridge

Here it is in large format.

Because we are living in the Extended Period of Unusual Weather, today's winter solstice included... rainbows.

Lauren Hittinger from the Arts Center of the Capital Region took the above photo from Troy. And here's another pic by @Alana_Lynn, who caught the full arc.

There was another one spotted from downtown Albany. [@KTesque] [@FoFacy]

In other news, today felt like spring. Sooooo... the tulips will be up soon, right?

Yep, the Arts Center advertises on AOA.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch - End of the World edition

snowy apocalypse meter 2012-12-20

A "potent" storm system is moving across the northern part of the country. And Friday is supposedly the end of the world.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Thursday: A sunny day that laughs in the face of the apocalypse. Highs around 40.
Thursday night: Rain and a lot of it over night. Wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Snow/sleet possible. Lows in the mid 30s. Is this the beginning of the end?
Friday: More rain, tapering off as the day goes on -- but total rainfall could be 1-3 inches. Breezy. Highs in the mid 40s.
Friday night: Drizzly. Chance the the world as we know it will continue its existence: 99.9 percent. (Hey, we're all day to day.) Localized doom may be experienced at retail outlets -- the mall, especially -- as last-minute shoppers try to buy for family members who seemingly need -- or want -- nothing.
Saturday: Cloudy, scattered rain and possibly some snow. Still windy. Highs in the upper 30s. Chance of hangover from end-of-the-world party: 40 percent.
Sunday: Cloudy and low 30s.

It sounds like there's some significant uncertainty about how things are going to shake out -- a "very challenging period of weather." But right now it's looking like we're in for a lot of rain, maybe a bit of snow, and some strong winds. Higher elevations could see more snow. And as with any situation where there's rain with near-freezing temps, there's the potential of the always unpleasant freezing rain.

That said, the forecast for the end of the world on Friday is looking pretty good. So start making those weekend plans.

By the way: We're at just .8 inches of snowfall so far this season. That's 9.5 inches behind the typical total by the point..

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2012-11-07

Here we are, good people of the Capital Region, standing at the leading edge of yet another winter. Will it be a repeat of last season's non-winter? Or will Jack Frost muster some self respect and get back in the game?

As you have no doubt heard, a Nor'easter is making its way up the coast this week. For areas that were hit hard by Sandy, it could be a problem. Here? It's not looking like much. The paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Wednesday afternoon: Chance of rain and snow, especially late in the afternoon. Cold -- mid 30s.
Wednesday night: There's a good chance of snow overnight -- maybe as much as an inch. Temps in the high 20s.
Thursday: Chance of snow and rain continue through the morning -- but little additional accumulation. Highs in the low 40s.
Friday: Sunny, upper 40s.
Saturday: Sunny, highs around 50.
Sunday: Sunny and warmer, upper 50s.

These coastal storms are always a little tricky -- a track a bit farther east or west can make a big difference in what ends up happening here. But it appears the chances of anything beyond an inch or so are small. One thing to watch for: with the rain and low temps overnight, there's some (small) chance of freezing rain. And, of course, that always makes driving more interesting.

So... we're calling this an icy, snowy apocalypse of the lowest order (it wouldn't even register mid-season). Think of it as a winter preview. It'll give you a chance to see what's in store this year, tell the flurry section that it's playing its part a little flat, comment that the blustery wind needs to work on its jazz hands.

And then you can go find your car's snow brush.

By the way: The Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch will not be a party to the unilateral move by the hype monkeys at the Weather Channel to start naming winter storms.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier on AOA: The first, last, most, and least snow

The eastern wall

petersburgh pass taconics andy arthurThe Capital Region was largely spared serious rain and wind from Sandy. Why? Meteorologist Ross Lazear explains over at UAlbany's Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences blog:

Upon reaching the lee (west) side of the Berkshires and Taconics, the strong winds essentially jumped over the valley. The only times the winds really gusted over 50 mph in the immediate Capital District were during, or just before rainfall. As rain falls into unsaturated air, raindrops evaporate, thus cooling the air and causing strong downdrafts. This process literally forced these strong winds all the way down to the surface. Had we experienced more rainfall (also significantly weakened by "downsloping" motion off the Berkshires and Taconics), strong winds would have been brought to the ground more readily, and we would have likely seen stronger sustained winds and more numerous gusts at or above 50 mph.

Bonus geological facts: the Taconics were formed about 440 million years ago and stretch about 200 miles from Connecticut to Vermont. They include Mt. Equinox in Vermont, and Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts.

Petersburgh pass photo: Andy Arthur via Flickr (cc)

The dry corner of the storm

nws hurricane sandy precipitation map northeast

The map depicts rain in inches.

As Sandy plowed its way onto land last night, we saw the Albany Weather Examiner page comment that this area had ended up on the "dry side" of the storm.

So we looked up the National Weather Service 1-day precipitation map today, and as you can see above, the Capital Region very much ended up with very little rain compared to the rest of the Northeast. In fact, you might even be able to say we were in the "dry corner" of the storm. We were lucky.

Post jump is a large-format clip from the map showing the entire Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

(there's more)

This is Sandy

nws hurricane sandy track 2012-10-25-11am

The forecasted track, as of 11 am Thursday.

Here's the situation: There's a hurricane in the Caribbean -- Hurricane Sandy -- and, at the moment, the forecasted track of the storm including hitting the northeastern United State sometime next Tuesday. By that point, according to forecasts, Sandy would be a tropical storm.

Yeah, that sounds like uncomfortably like Irene.

From the NWS weather discussion for this area, which notes there's still "considerable uncertainty" about the path of the storm:

The bottom line from looking at all suites of guidance is that some atypical storm system is most likely to impact a large area of the Northeast U.S. early next week...with the most likely time for greatest effects to be Monday and/or Tuesday...with lingering effects possibly into Wed or Thu.
For our appears that a potentially prolonged heavy rain event could evolve during the mon-wed time frame...although exact amts...and areas of most intense rain remain uncertain. A period of strong winds also appears increasingly likely...with the greatest threat across higher elevations...although valley areas certainly will not be exempt from a significant wind threat either...depending on the eventual track/evolution of the storm system.
Colder air may eventually wrap into the storm/s circulation at some point later next some snow or snow showers can not be ruled out in portions of the region by next Wed.

In other words: right now, it's looking like there could be heavy rain Monday into Wednesday, with strong wind. And depending how temperatures go, that rain could turn into snow.

So, that would make it... a snowicane? A tropical snow storm? Whatever it's called... eek.

By the way: While a storm like this would be unusual for this area, the end of October is still considered the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic.

map: National Weather Service

Today's moment of summer

gladiolus blue sky

The gladiolus, the brilliant blue skies, the fantastic weather... they've all been saying summer. But lately it's felt like the nights and breezes have been whispering... autumn.

And it will be here eventually. But not yet.

This weekend's forecast: gorgeous -- "loads of sunshine," highs in the mid 80s, only a little chance of rain. Summery.

Dark Sky version 2

dark sky national view

The Dark Sky weather app -- created by Troy-based developers Adam Grossman and Jack Turner -- now has more than 35,000 users, according to the company. The app aims to provide very accurate weather predictions over the very near term -- minutes or hours instead of days. It's now on version 2.0, with new push notifications of when it's going to rain:

Push Notifications are a feature that our users have been requesting since we first launched last Spring. By enabling notifications within the app, we will tell you whenever it's going to rain in the next ten or fifteen minutes, so you'll never get caught in the rain -- even if you forget to check the app. We've actually been working on this feature since the beginning, but it's been very tricky to implement: we're not quite 100% confident that we've gotten it perfect. For that reason, we're currently considering the system to be experimental: if you find that notifications aren't behaving exactly the way you'd expect, we'd love to hear from you. As always, we strive to improve the app with every release.

There's also a now a national radar view (above).

The update is free. The app for the iPhone and iPad is $3.99.

Grossman and Turner funded development of Dark Sky in part by raising more than $39k on Kickstarter last year, and scoring a bunch of media attention in the process.

Earlier on AOA: The Dark Sky app is now available

The Karner Blue as another sign from the Year of Odd Weather

Karner Blue butterfly Albany Pine Bush

They find the weather strange, too.

Another effect of the non-winter/early spring: Karner Blue butterflies have managed to squeeze out an extra generation this summer. From an Albany Pine Bush Preserve press release:

Karner blue butterflies typically have two broods per year, one in May/early June and the second in July. The discovery of a third brood is both remarkable and a bit alarming to Preserve scientists because the eggs produced by the July brood of adult Karners typically overwinter to produce adult Karners the following May. An early and very warm spring is the suspected cause of earlier broods this year and the additional late-season butterflies currently flying in the Preserve. The impacts of a third flight of adults to the long-term recovery of the species are unknown. ...
Only time and continued monitoring will determine if the late 2012 hatch will have an impact on the 2013 butterfly population and the longer-term recovery of the species. "We had no idea a third flight in a single season was possible before 2010" said [Albany Pine Bush Preserve Conservation director Neil] Gifford. According to Gifford, it was in 2010 that Karner blue butterfly managers from Wisconsin to New Hampshire suspected that the late season adults they were seeing may be a previously unknown third flight. "We don't yet have a good understanding of what the implications of a third brood will mean for the recovery of the species" said Gifford, adding "it will likely depend on whether the changing climate brings such conditions more frequently."

The preserve says this spring's emergence of Karner Blues was the earliest on record -- 10 days earlier than the previous record, and 21 days earlier than the 20-year average.

To say that the weather over the past year is odd would be an understatement. A handful of the signs and side effects:

(there's more)

Thursday afternoon, evening weather could be rough

nws radar conus 2012-07-26

The NWS radar from picture from Thursday morning.

The weather forecasts for Thursday include some potentially severe weather. From the National Weather Service forecast:

Today: Occasional showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 1pm, then occasional showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. High near 84. South wind 9 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before midnight. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. Cloudy, with a low around 71. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

The NWS hazardous weather outlook also mentions that some of the large thunderstorms "could even spawn an isolated tornado or two." (The key part of that is that it's a possibility, not a certainty.)

Apparently the possibility of bad weather is strong enough that state officials got a briefing about it and the state's Emergency Operations Center will be activated this afternoon, in case anything serious happens. [Cuomo admin]

Of course, this isn't the best evening for outside stuff -- Alive at Five has been moved to the TU Center (as mentioned).

And because this kind of weather isn't too common here, it's probably a good time to go over the watch vs. warning distinction again -- here's a quick review of the difference from a few years back. Here's a NWS brochure on severe weather safety (pdf), including what to do in the event of a tornado (not just a watch, a warning or report of a tornado). The short story: head for the basement, or -- if you don't have a basement -- an interior room without windows on the first floor (bathrooms are often a good spot).

image: National Weather Service


brown dry grass

Lush it is not.

Walking across a field of brown, crunchy grass we tried to remember the last time there had been significant rain. You know, something more than just a few drops -- actual, I-don't-have-to-water-the-garden-today rain.

So we looked it up. And it's been while.

(there's more)

Today's moment of summer

bumblebee flower pollen

Or, if you prefer, up close.

Buzzworthy weather. The forecast for the next few days (paraphrased):

Friday: Blue skies. Warm sun. A gentle breeze as angels flap their wings above, lazily strumming harps. Highs in the upper 70s.

Saturday: Blissful weekend weather. Sunny. Highs in the low 80s.

Sunday: Repeat.

In other words, the kind of weather that will seem like a fantasy in January. So soak it up. Jar some of it and put it on the shelf, if possible.

There was also something in the forecast discussion about a high pressure system being responsible for the beautiful weather. But we don't think angels should be completely ruled out.

Hot spring

noaa warmest spring national map

Statewide ranks for average temperature for March, April, and May. The states in dark red had their warmest springs on record.

This past spring was the warmest on record -- for Albany, for New York State, for the contiguous United States. [NRCC] [NOAA] [NOAA]

The average temperature in Albany during March, April, and May was 52.4, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell. That's more than 5 degrees higher than normal -- and tops the previous record of 52.3 in 1921. (For what it's worth, the National Weather Service has Albany's average for that period pegged at 52.3.) Year to date, Albany is 5.7 degrees warmer than average, the warmest in 74 years. [NRCC] [NWS] [NOAA]

New York
New York State's spring was 6.1 degrees warmer than normal. And the year to date, January through May, 6.3 degrees warmer -- also the warmest on record. (New York State's winter, at 6.6 degrees warmer than usual, ranked as the third biggest seasonal temperature anomaly on record.) [NOAA]

The trend in average temperature in New York State, January through December, is +1.3 degrees during the last century, according to NOAA's data.

United States
The contiguous United State's spring was a full two degrees warmer than the previous record, set in 1910. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report: "This marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States." And the span from June 2011 to May 2012 was "the warmest 12-month period of any 12 months on record for the contiguous United States."

NOAA's records go back to 1895.

There have been lot of examples this year of how the weird weather has disrupted typical cycles. The early warm weather prompted fruit trees to flower early, only to get hit by frost, resulting in large crop losses across the state. The magnolias bloomed in March. The maple syrup season was early and short. And the winter -- at just 23.3 inches of snow -- was one of the least snowy on record, endangering the giant snowman.

map: NOAA

Look out, Loudonville!

cloud face 2012-05-16 jessica macelli

He Who Shall Not Be Named?

Check out this photo Jessica sent along from Wednesday's storm.

She emails: "I took this photo before the storm tonight outside of our home in Loudonville. Didn't notice the face in the clouds until a little later. ... I posted it on my Facebook and instagram and now I can't believe I didn't take the picture because of the demon cloud! It is super creepy."

Yikes! It's like Voldemort looking down on Loudonville, or something.

The Dark Sky app is now available

dark sky in use

The weather wasn't exactly exciting at this moment. Here's the outlook for a place that was a bit more interesting (meteorologically) at the time.

The Dark Sky weather app -- from Troy-based developers Adam Grossman and Jack Turner (Jackadam) -- is now available in the iTunes Store. The app aims to provide people with very specific weather forecasts for the near future based on location.

The question Dark Sky tries to answer is not "Will it rain tomorrow?" but rather "Will it be raining here during the next hour?" It can help determine if there's enough time for a quick bike ride before a thunderstorm, or how long you have might have wait before you can walk from your office to your car without an umbrella. It can also just satisfy the curiosity of bored meteorology nerds.

Speaking of meteorology nerds, we've been playing around with the app for the last day or so, and it's been kind of fun -- if not always accurate. The radar pictures are super clear and easy to read. And it shows whether the precipitation expected will be heavy, medium or mild. The no-precipitation predictions have been pretty good, and it did signal accurately a few times that rain was approaching. It failed to predict one light sprinkling of rain. (To be fair, we were in a moving car -- and Adam Grossman says that kind of light precipitation can be difficult to detect. And in general, this kind of stuff is harder than it looks.)

If the weather isn't interesting where you are, you can watch storms anywhere in the country.

Dark Sky is available for newer versions of the iPhone (4 and 4s), iPod Touch, and iPad. It's $3.99.

Jackadam funded the development of DarkSky in part by raising more than $39k on Kickstarter back in November. In the process, the app snagged a bunch of media attention (example).

We're looking forward to playing with it more.

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Magnolias in March

magnolias march 2012

See also: Nicole's magnolia, which she says is blooming a month ahead of when it did last year.

It was 81 Thursday, a record for the date (what's else is new) and excellent outdoor party weather. And as of that day, the average temperature for this March was 46.1 -- 1.7 degrees warmer the warmest March on record (1859).

Obviously, there's still a week to go before the record would be set. But just another indication of how unusual this (non)winter and (summer)spring are.

It's warm. No surprise.

albany temperatures winter 2011-2012 vs normals

In the past seven days, we've had record-high temperatures three times. In any other winter, it would probably seem weird. This (non)winter? As expected.

The graph above shows high and low temps this winter (dark blue) against the normals and records -- highs (red), average (green), lows (blue) record highs (red), normals (green), record lows (blue). It gives you a sense of just how warm -- and unusual -- this past winter has been.

The (paraphrased) forecast for the next few days, from the National Weather Service:

Friday: Rainy, highs around 60.
Saturday: Sunny, highs in the upper 60s.
Sunday: Sunny and 70 (which would be a record).

The normal high for this time of year: 44-45.

graph adapted from National Weather Service

Spring preview

otto car window whizzing by

A good day to put your head out the window

Wednesday's high was 59. And Thursday's looking even better: breezy with highs in the mid-60s.

Outside comes with a very high recommendation today.

The rest of this week: rainy and cold Thursday night, sunny and cool Friday (highs in the low 40s), the same on Saturday, and then sunny and mid-50s on Sunday.

Winter, finally

capital hills leap day snow

Capital Hills in Albany, at the back of the old course.

This procrastinating winter got lucky -- if this wasn't a leap year, it would have totally blown the deadline for getting a respectable snowfall in before the end of February.

The official snowfall total for Wednesday was 4 inches (it sounds like a lot places got more than that), a record for the date -- of course, there aren't that many February 29s on record. [NWS]

There's another 4 inches or so in the forecast for Thursday.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2012-02-28

Updated Wednesday morning

The Non-Winter of 2012 has forced the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter to roll itself out for some otherwise underwhelming apocalypses. The fair weather has made us soft. But this could be an apocalypse deserving of some respect.

The updated situation: a "complex" winter storm out of the Midwest is projected to roll through the region Wednesday and stretch into Thursday evening. By the time it's finished, there could be as much as 10 inches of snow (or as little as 4). The paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Wednesday: Snow in the afternoon. Accumulations of 1-3 inches possible. Temps in the mid-30s.
Wednesday night: Precipitation shifting between snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Another 2-4 inches of snow possible. Temps in the upper 20s.
Thursday: Rain and snow, with rain in the morning and then snow again in the afternoon. Another 1-3 inches of snow possible. Highs in the upper 30s.
Thursday night: Chance of a bit more snow. Lows in the upper 20s.
Friday: Cloudy, maybe some rain in the evening. Highs in the mid 40s.
Saturday: Rainy, cloudy. Highs around 50.

The forecast discussion mentions this snowfall could be the heaviest since the Winterween storm in October. But it sounds like there's a fair amount of uncertainty about how much snow will actually end up accumulating -- especially given the possibility of rain and sleet. If anything, it just sounds like the next 24-36 hours are going to be cold, wet, and messy.

That said, only the brave will bet against this snowless winter. It's like Jack Frost has been shaving points.

By the way: The least snowy February on record is 1912 at 1.3 inches. As of this morning, February 2012 had tallied just .6 inches of snow. If this wasn't a leap year, that could have been the record. (The normal February total is about 12 inches.)

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier on AOA: Where's all the snow?

This is February?

55 degrees on February 1, 2012

Just before 4 pm on Wednesday.

The high temp for today was 59. That's short of the record for the date (65 in 1989) -- but it's still 27 degrees higher than the normal for the day. [NWS]

The forecast for the rest of the week: highs in the 35-40 range, no snow.

Earlier on AOA: Where's all the snow?

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2012-01-26

So this is what it's come to this winter: the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter slumming it. On a rain storm. It's just embarrassing. For everyone.

Here's the situation: a "potent" storm system is moving from Mississippi Valley toward the Northeast. it's likely to bring a lot of precipitation, but the forecasts are currently project much of that precip will fall as rain here. Rain is more likely to the south of Albany, and snow/ice more likely to the north and east.

The paraphrased forecast:

Thursday night: Rain and sleet, switching to all rain overnight, and then sleet mixing back in. Little accumulation expected. Lows around 33.
Friday: Rainy and warm. Rainfall of about half inch or more possible. Temps in the low 40s.
Friday night: The storm is spent. Wind gusts. Lows in the upper 20s.
Saturday: Sunny and highs around 40. Jack Frost filing for unemployment.
Sunday: Chance of rain and snow in the morning, then sun in the afternoon. Highs around 40.

Those warm temps should keep things liquid. But if the temps drop and the rain/snow line shifts farther south... things could go a bit badly. All that rain could switch to the ever popular freezing rain and/or snow. And there will be plenty of moisture available. That said, it doesn't sound likely.

In other news: The absurdly warm and easy winter has led to penguin hatchlings being born about three months early in Syracuse. Their cuteness arrived on time, though. Syracuse has gotten just 27.7 inches of snow this season -- that's only about 40 inches behind where it's usually at by this point. [Post-Standard] [NWS]

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier on AOA: Where's all the snow?

The winter of our discontent

dragonsnow -Siobhan Connally

Not this winter.

By Siobhan Connally

soapbox badgeWhen snow accompanied Halloween I was ecstatic. Fall masquerading as winter.

Soon it would lower its disguise and candy corn would give way to candy canes. Skiing and sledding and snowmen were sure to follow.

To love winter you must learn to play in it, or so I've been told.

After testing the theory over the past I-don't-know-how-many-winters, I've become a believer.

The problem is always talking yourself into a little faith. Talking yourself into bundling up and leaving the warmth of your house.

Winter is coming. Winter is coming. Winter is ...

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Where's all the snow?

snow-free grass 2012-01-05

Yep, something's definitely missing.

This winter has been... unusual. November was really warm. And December? Yeah, not really that cold, either.

But the most conspicuously unusual thing about this winter is the snow. Or, rather, the fact that there's been almost no snow. It's like winter is falling down on the job.

So, what's going on? We bounced a few questions to WNYT meteorologist Jason Gough -- and he had answers about historical snow totals, the subtropical jet stream, rare weather, the unreliability of weather memory, and his prognostication for how much snow we might end up with...

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2011 weather: wet, snowy

2011 weather summary composite

Winter, spring, summer, fall.

The National Weather Service's climate summary for 2011 is out. Here are a few of the highlight from the wet, snowy year...

(normals in parenthesis)

average temperature: 50 (48.3)

highest temp: 99, on July 21

lowest temp: -13, on January 24

precipitation total: 53.68 inches (39.35) -- the third wettest year on record

largest 24 hour precipitation total: 4.81 inches, August 27-28 (that would be Irene)

snowfall total: 80.3 inches (59.1) -- 14th snowiest on record

largest 24 hour snow total: 12.8 inches, January 12 (some spots recorded much higher totals)

days with precipitation: 142 (137.8)

days with rain: 64

days with snow: 76 (34.8)

While we're on the subject of weather... This recent cold snap aside, winter is totally falling down on the job this year (so far). A few quick facts about this winter and it's less than impressive effort...

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-12-07

Despite many recent indications otherwise, it is actually December. And you know what that means -- yes, we are now firmly in Icy, Snowy, Apocalypse Watch season.

Today has been generally icky, cold, and wet. Tonight is apparently going to be generally icky, cold, and snowy.

The paraphrased National Weather Service forecast for the Albany area:

Tonight: Rain and snow, switching over to snow around 3 am. Lows around the freezing mark. Snow could be heavy a times -- maybe 2-3 inches per hour. Snow accumulation of 1-3 inches. More snow to the southwest, south and east.
Thursday morning: Sunny, but cold. Highs in the upper 30s.

So, all the action is expected to be overnight. And while that 1-3 inch prediction doesn't seem like much, these things can go the other way very easily -- in this case, it looks like the speed of the storm will be important. The forecast discussion mentions that "higher total snowfall amounts could easily be reached...perhaps almost double what is currently indicated." And Steve Caporizzo is predicting 3-6 inches.

If the totals are around 3 inches, it shouldn't be too bad. But it sounds like wet snow. And the timing could make the commute less than fun. So we're pegging this as an annoying+ icy, snowy apocalypse.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow (despite how much they say it will on TV). Most likely.

The best November ever?

brown oak leaves

Something's missing from picture. Oh, right, cold. And snow.

As far as the weather goes, this is one of the best Novembers we can remember in some time -- warm, with only a few traces of snow.

Or, to put it another way: It was 63 today! And 60 yesterday!

Curious about how unusual this warm November is, we looked up the temperature data.

Are there charts and graphs? Oh, you know there are charts and graphs...

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch: It's Winterween.

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-10-28

We're not sure this is really happening. It's October -- and we've had to pull out the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter.

This weekend's forecast: messy. The NWS has issued a winter storm warning for the area, and says there's a possibility of "major societal impact." We understand that's forecaster-speak for: there are a lot of the leaves on the trees, we're going to get a lot of heavy snow, be prepared to kiss your power goodbye.

The paraphrased forecast:

Saturday: Rain and snow. Accumulation up to 2 inches. Highs in the upper 30s.
Saturday night: Snow. Additional accumulation up to 5 inches. Lows around 30. #$%^&@&
Sunday: Cloudy, then sunny. Highs in the mid-40s.

If you're counting, that's a possible 7 inches of snow.

The amounts in this storm could end up being less than impressive, and it may end up melting relatively quickly. But with those temps, the snow is bound is to be wet and heavy, which could be a serious pain. So we're tagging this as a solid "Winter's Making an Effort." Even though it's not actually winter, yet.

* Credit to WNYT's Jessica Layton for tagging the storm "Winterween."

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow (despite how much they say it will on TV). Most likely.

Dark Sky

Check it out: Troy-based web developers Jack Turner and Adam Grossman have launched Kickstarter funding for a new app called Dark Sky. From the blurbage:

Dark Sky is an app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that predicts the weather.
Using your precise location, it tells you when it will precipitate and for how long. For example: It might tell you that it will start raining in 8 minutes, with the rain lasting for 15 minutes followed by a 25 minute break. ...
Using the same techniques we've developed for predicting rain, we can show you what the storm looks like in between the individual radar snapshots. We replace the jerky slideshow with a beautifully smooth interactive animation. And it's not just pretty... it's easier for your brain to process and understand a smoothly flowing video than a series of images that jump from point to point.

Be sure to watch the video embedded above. It's a good, quick intro to what they're planning.

Jack and Adam are aiming to raise $35,000 (there's a lot of stuff necessary behind the scenes to make this sort of thing work). The pledge levels include a pre-order of the app and various other whatnot.

It snowed.

occupy albany snow 2011-10-27

Sebastien took this photo at Occupy Albany Thursday night. Whatever the message is, sticking it out through the winter would make a statement.

You might have heard that it snowed Thursday.

Sure, you could have looked out the window, or walked outside. But why do that when you could listen to everyone else as they looked out the window.

Photographic evidence! Surprise! Denial! Disappointment! ... Joy!

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The first, last, most, and least snow

snow buried carYep, there's snow in the forecast for Thursday. From the National Weather Service:

Thursday Night: Rain and snow showers, becoming all snow after 11pm. Low around 29. North wind between 6 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Thursday sounds generally unpleasant. Highs in the 40s. Rain. Then snow. So it goes.

Anyway, the question came up the other day about what's the average day for the snow of the season around here. Here's the first, last, most, and least...

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Rainbows everywhere


Katie (@KTesque) snapped this pic of a rainbow over 787. It turned out to be a double.

The sporadic late afternoon thunderstorms on Friday produced just about perfect conditions for spotting rainbows -- rain, then sun, and dark clouds as backgrounds.

Around 5 pm Twitter was full of local pics of rainbows. Here are a bunch of them.

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Video of the tornado near Amsterdam

"I'm a little freaked out because I'm pretty sure I just saw a tornado form and cross the Thruway."

Check it out: this is video shot by YouTube user linalia of the apparent tornado that touched down near Amsterdam Sunday. The clip should start at the tornado -- if not, it's at about 5:48.

The National Weather Service says it looks like the tornado crossed the Thruway near the Mohawk service area, headed north into Cranesville, and then northeast into west Glenville. [Recorder]

Update: The National Weather Service has confirmed it was a tornado.

Historic floods in Troy

troy 1913 flood riverfront

The 1913 flood in Troy.

Flooding from Irene was bad in parts of the Capital Region. Really bad. But in Troy and Albany, the flooding has been worse -- though not by a lot.

The Hudson River reached crested at 27.05 feet at Troy this past Monday afternoon, which ranks as the fourth highest flood on record in the Collar City.

Here's the story behind the worst.

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August 2011: historically wet

albany august top 10 precipitation

The top 10 wettest Augusts on record in Albany since 1826.

August 2011 was one of the wettest Augusts (by total precipitation) on record in Albany. In fact, this past August ranked #2 all time (or, at least, going back to 1826).

The rain from Irene made up a good a portion of that total. The NWS reported 4.69 inches of rain in Albany on August 28. Even without Irene, the month would have been unusually wet -- though not in the top 10.

Of course, your Irene total probably varies depending on where you were measuring. The NWS precipitation map reports heavier rainfall to the south -- especially in parts of central/south Greene County (probably one of the reasons the flooding was so bad there).

The map might even underestimate a bit -- its total for much of Albany County seems a bit low compared to the official report. And the Gazette reported this week that a rainfall total of 13.3 inches was recorded in East Durham (northern Greene County).

The rainfall map is after the jump.

(Thanks, Justin)

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Photos of Irene flooding in Troy

troy irene flooding

The Hudson was very wide today.

Downtown Troy was among the many local spots to get hit with flooding from all the Irene rain. The Hudson hit major flood stage there today -- running up against the backs of buildings, consuming parks, turning parking lots into beaches, and stranding boats. All the while odd and random things floated by.

It was a sight.

Here are a bunch of photos.

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Hurricane Irene updates (updated Mon AM)

cohoes falls 2011-08-28 hurricane irene

The Cohoes Falls late Sunday afternoon.

7:45 am Monday

The NWS reports Irene dropped 4.69 inches of rain on Albany Sunday (yep, a record for the date).

The rain has largely moved through the area -- the big concern now is flooding, though it appears the water won't rise as high as originally expected.

The National Weather Service is predicting moderate along the Mohawk River at Schenectady. That estimate is down from Sunday evening, when record flooding was projected. There's also moderate flooding projected for Cohoes, moderate flooding on the Hudson at Troy, and flooding on the Hudson at Albany.

+ Schenectady police are asking evacuated the Stockade Sunday night. [@TUCapCon]

+ Residents of Green Island were "strongly advised" to evacuate the village. [YNN Facebook]

+ Residents of Cohoes and Colonie near the Mohawk were advised to evacuate. [City of Cohoes]

+ Flooding in Troy along the Hudson and Poestenkill prompted a mandatory evacuate of some streets -- that mandatory ordered has been canceled after new flooding projections. [Troy Facebook] [@TroyMayor]

+ If you're having storm-related problems in the City of Albany call the Storm Command Center at 434-4522.

+ The Mohawk Hudson River Humane Society is open to hold pets for people who are evacuating. [MHRHS Facebook]

A local death

+ The Albany County Sheriff's Office says a New Scotland woman was swept away by the Onesquethaw Creek and died. [TU]

+ A mudslide did "significant damage" to multiple buildings in Troy near the Poestenkill (map). Said a resident of one of the buildings: "My kids were playing their games and all of a sudden I heard a bunch of screaming and then the house just started shaking, the walls started cracking, the windows started, like, tilting - they didn't bust or anything - and the floor started to, like, slide forward." [Troy Record] [CBS6]

Power outages

The wind kicked up again Sunday night, more trees and branches came down, and there were numerous reports on Twitter of new power outages.

National Grid is reporting about 69,000 customers without power in the core Capital Region. That's about 19 percent of customers in the four counties. (That'd down from about 23 percent Sunday night.)

Here is the page to report a power outage -- or call 1-800-867-5222.

Roads closed

There are a bunch of local roads that have been closed or narrowed because of flooding or down trees. You can map them on 511NY. [YNN]

Farther afield

In Schoharie County, the Gilboa Dam experienced "unprecedented" water levels -- but the NYC Department of the Environmental Protection (which manages the dam) says it's holding. The Catskills are in bad shape -- many villages have been deluged. The Watershed Post is all over it.

So long, summer

autumn leaves

Coming soon to a lawn near you.

By Martin Daley

Ironically, as I sit down to write about how great this part of the country is for having four seasons, there's a hurricane spinning out there with the Northeast in her cross hairs. C'est la vie.

When the warm weather arrives in Albany it seems like it's taken YEARS to get here, so each year, as summer approaches, I promise to have more BBQs, see more crap films at the drive-in, and make more road trips to the mountains. But it's the end of the summer, and, as is often the case, I'm left with more than a few regrets.

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Keeping track of Hurricane Irene

nws hurricane irene projection 2011-08-26 1245

The path as projected by the National Weather Service.

So, about this Hurricane Irene: it's expected to hit North Carolina Saturday and then head up the East Coast, probably hitting land again somewhere in the New York City metro area Sunday.

What's that mean for the Capital Region? Rain, and lots of it. The National Weather Service is currently projecting 4-6 inches of rain in this area. (Normal amount of rain for the entire month of August here: about 3.5 inches. So, yep, that is a lot of rain.) Also: wind gusts as high 55 mph.

Some of this will depend on the track of the storm. If it veers more to the east, the less we'll probably see. But this storm is enormous -- NASA reported today that Irene is 600 miles across. So barring some major course change or development, we will see significant rainfall. (RPI already canceled the first day of class on Monday because of concerns about students traveling in the weather. Update: And so has Sage.) [@RPInews] [Sage]

The last hurricane to have a significant effect on this area was Floyd in 1999, which (who?) dropped six inches of rain and included 50 mph winds. [TU]

We generally try to take a "let's not freak out" approach to this sort of situation, but that doesn't mean sitting back and doing nothing. It's probably a good idea to store or tie down stuff like deck furniture (question you should ask yourself: do I want this hitting the house at 40 mph?). And it wouldn't be surprising to see power outages, so make sure you know where your flashlights and associated whatnot are located.

A few links for keeping track of the storm:
+ Storm trackers: Weather Channel | NYT | Google | NWS
+ NOAA's Hurricane Irene page
+ NASA's been collecting satellite images.

Barack Obama said today following a briefing from FEMA that "all indications point to this being a historic hurricane." Things could be pretty bad in the New York City area. NYC has already started some evacuations of hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas, and it looks like the transit system will be shut down. There's also concern about storm surge possibly swamping parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The storm damage total could be in the billions. [White House] [NYT] [Wunderground] [Five Thirty Eight]


State of emergency in Albany: Jerry Jennings has declared a state of emergency in Albany. Starting Sunday, storm-related issues that require immediate attention should be directed to 434-4522. (Full press release embedded below.)

Federal emergency declared in New York State: The White House has declared an emergency in New York State and is directing federal agencies to coordinate responses to the counties in the New York City metro area.

image: NWS

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More quakes!

The trio of recent earthquake spots in Berne.

The folks at theNew York State Museum and Geological Survey confirmed that there was yet another earthquake in the Hilltowns this morning, this time a 2.8 magnitude. So that makes three recent little quakes and one big one (from far away).

Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten at the State Museum said that this morning's quake, which happened in Berne at 9:13 this morning, was the biggest of the three that have gently rocked the area in the past four days. Earthquakes in the Hilltowns are common. Between February of 2009 and March of 2010, there were 37 of them! But Dr. Chuck says they don't have anything to do with each other -- they are all coincidental and all from deep in the earth. More people are just paying attention to earthquakes this week because of the one in Virginia that was also relatively mild.

Earlier on AOA: From 2009: More shaking in the Hilltowns


smith building after earthquake 2011-08-23

People waiting outside the Smith Building in Albany after the earthquake. Twitter was full of reports of people leaving office buildings after the quake. Near the Capitol, State Police were going around telling people it was OK to return to their offices.

Updated at 3:04 pm

At about 1:54 this afternoon there was an earthquake felt in the Capital Region. Reports all over Twitter -- from people both here in Albany (@ElizabethEss at the Smith Building in downtown Albany), to Brooklyn (@MimsieSky), to DC (@jdb820).

The USGS is reporting a 5.8 magnitude quake with an epicenter in central Virginia (apparently a rare event for that area). The epicenter is about 395 miles from Albany. [USGS] [Washington Post]

We felt it shake for a good 30 seconds in Albany. Floor lamps were swaying noticeably. Our wheeled office chair rolled back and forth a bit. Did you feel it? Where?

After the jump, a bunch of reports, reactions -- and jokes -- from people on Twitter.

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The sunset summer

Buckingham pond sunset 2011-08-02

Buckingham Pond in uptown Albany.

For whatever reason, this summer seems like it's had a lot of good sunsets.

Maybe it's all the blue skies, sun, and fluffy clouds. It's like every time we look toward the west at dusk there's a scene that gives us the urge to pull out the iPhone and snap a pic (the modern world is nothing if not mediated).

There's should be a sunset forecast. "Tuesday: sunny, high in the mid-80s, 70 percent chance of a stand-and-watch-worthy sunset..." The weather people should really get on this.

Tuesday's sunset wasn't especially great -- we'd call it league average for this year. But we still appreciated it.

Rainbow over Lark Street

lark and madison rainbow

Because everyone loves a big rainbow -- here it is in large format.

Jess sent along this rainbow pic:

Spotted the most lovely rainbow yesterday evening while at happy hour at the Lionheart!

A happy hour special.

photo: Jessica Pasko

Yep, it's hot.

You might have heard: it's hot.

Because this will no doubt come up, whether you want to talk about it or not, the table above lists the records and normals for this time of year.

Conclusion: you can't complain about the heat until it's at least 90. Anything below that is pretty much a condition we like to call... July. Also known as: summer.

The hottest day on record for this area: 104 -- on July 4, 1911.

The predicted high temps for the rest of the week:

Today: 92
Thursday: 96
Friday: 95
Saturday: 92
Sunday: 87

You'll also hear about heat index -- that figures temp and relative humidity together to give an estimate of how hot it feels. The higher the humidity, the hotter it feels because sweat evaporates more slowly.

The City of Albany will be opening "cooling stations" Thursday and Friday. Details embedded after the jump.

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Summer interrupted

weather radar 2011-06-23


Tuesday had perfect weather. Then Wednesday happened. And it's like it's still happening. When will the rain stop? The paraphrased forecast:

Today: Heavy rain, possibly a thunderstorm. Highs in the mid-70s.
This evening: More of the same.
Friday: Waterlogged.
Saturday: Tapering to a sprinkle.
Sunday: Partly sunny, 78 -- and clear for the next few days.


image: National Weather Service

Rain, rain, go away

state capitol lightning


Shannon snapped this pic during today's daily thunderstorm. Unfortunately, it looks like a preview of the weekend's weather. The paraphrased forecast:

Friday: Sunny and 80. What, rain?
Saturday: Cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s. Chance of showers increasing as the day goes on. (sad trombone)
Sunday: Cloudy. Temps in the mid-70s. More rain. At least you didn't have to water your garden.

But: next week is looking like the kind of weather you'll have to work to find things to complain about.

photo: @shannon_shannon

For the hail of it

hailstorm 2011-06-08 05

And then the sun came out.

There's a good chance you got hail late Wednesday afternoon as a band of strong thunderstorms rolled through (well, over) the Capital Region.

In uptown Albany we saw some hail that was almost the diameter of a quarter -- though most of it was dime sized. A handful of pics after the jump.

You know, just for the hail of it.

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One day, 32 degrees

albany temperature drop June 1-2 2011

From "Where's the beach?" to "Where's my jacket?"

So, Thursday's weather was a lot of different from Wednesday's. How much? Well, let's see...

Just before 5 pm on Wednesday it was 92 degrees. At that same time on Thursday: 60 degrees.

(The high temp in Albany on Wednesday was 93 degrees, just off the record by one degree. The normal high temp this time of year is 75.)

Here's the paraphrased forecast for the weekend:

Friday: Sunny, breezy, highs in the low 70s.
Saturday: Sunny and 75. Some chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Sunday: A few more clouds, chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s.

OK, we'll take that.

Temperature data from National Weather Service.

Thanks, that's enough. We're good.

raindrops in puddle


If you're scoring at home (and we hope you are), here's the rainfall total for the week.

Because if you're going to complain, you should at least have data to back up your whining.

Here's to sunnier weekend.

Rainfall in inches. Data from National Weather Service.

Have you seen this star?

poster lost sun

There's more gloom forecast for Thursday and Friday. But Saturday: "Mostly sunny, with a high near 75." Sure, thunderstorms are also possible -- but we're choosing to focus on the part about the sun.

The Capital Region's snowiest winters (that includes the one that just ended)

capital region snowiest winters 2011

Now that it's May, we're going to call an end to the snowfall season. Yep, we're aware it could snow some more -- we're just going to act like that's not possible.

OK, so how does this past snowy winter stack up against the records?

The final total was 87.2 inches. That's good for the #14 spot on the chart of snowiest winters. Of course, that has to be taken with a few chunks of rock salt -- the chart only goes back to 1884-85.

By the way: The latest snowfall on the books for this area is May 28, 1902. The average last snowfall is April 20.

Earlier on AOA: The Giant Snowman of Guilderland

Data from National Weather Service

Sympathy for the weatherman

jason goughAfter we snarked on Twitter yesterday about the shifting forecasts for today's Icy, Snowy Apocalypse, Jason Gough -- a meteorologist at WNYT -- responded that we were being a bit, you know, cold.

He wasn't wrong! So we bounced a few questions Jason's way about forecasting snow storms, the feedback forecasters get when they're wrong, and whether meteorologists talk smack...

(there's more)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (really)

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-03-30

Update Friday morning: Apocalypse canceled. Whatever snow we get is expected to turn to rain. Little accumulation expected. Highs in the low 40s.

Nicely played, Mother Nature. Ha.

Update update: The situation has now been downgraded to a "winter storm advisory" with accumulations in the 3-7 inch range. Wintry mix tonight, switching over to snow. Hazardous driving. All that stuff. Until it changes. Again.

Update Thursday afternoon: The impending Icy, Snowy Apocalypse has been upgraded to a winter storm warning, lasting until early Saturday morning. Accumulations are projected to be in the 5-12 range.

The ever popular wintry mix is expected to start this evening, switching over to snow during the night. Accumulations of one inch per hour possible. Hazardous travel. Possible power outages. You know the drill, we're all going to die a frosty death. Until Saturday, when it's expected to be 45.

Or, of course, this all fizzles. Watch the track of the storm and the rain/sleet/snow line. And hope for plain rain.

Shovels at the ready.


Not quite ready to accept that this is actually happening, the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter has been dragged out of the barn where it had been stored for the season.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Today: "Ample amounts" of sunshine. Warm. Snow? You've got to be kidding!
Thursday: Rainy with a chance of some snow. Still, temps in the mid-40s.
Friday: A "significant" Nor'easter makes its way up the coast, bringing rain and freezing rain overnight, turning to snow in the morning. "Moderate to heavy" snow at times. "Hazardous" traveling conditions and "potential for power outages." Temps in the mid-30s. Blustery. Snow into the evening.
Saturday: Sunny. Mid-40s.
Sunday: About the same.

We're still a few days out from all this, so things could change. And you know the deal with these coastal storms -- they track a little farther east, we get little or nothing; a little farther west and we get dumped on. Also worth watching: where the rain/sleet/snow line falls.

Hey, at least it's not snowing in May. (Yet.)

By the way: We're now at 86.3 inches of the snow for this season. It's the 15th snowiest season on record.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Leveling the snowy playing field

Sure, Albany and the other cities in the Golden Snowball competition are getting owned by Syracuse and its epic 173.5 inches of snow this year. Outlier season or not, the Salt City should dominate -- it averages 121 inches a year (lake effect!).

So let's level the snow field a bit. How would the upstate New York competition for snowiest winter stack up if the cities were competing against their typical totals? The table above shows the results.

OK, so Syracuse still crushes. But look at Albany in the #2 spot. Taste the cold reality of third place, Binghamton. Get in line, Rochester. And Buffalo, dude, you're better than this.

By the way: This season's total of 83.6 now ranks 12th 15th on the list of recorded snowfall seasons.

(Thanks, Rhea!)

Data via New York State Golden Snowball Award. Totals as of end of March 7.

The snowfall total, so far

snowman snowfall total 2011-03-01Now that February is (thankfully) over, we figured it's a good time to check in on the snowfall total for this winter (so far): 77.5 inches.

That's relatively high. During a typical winter we've usually only had about 49 inches by this point. This season's total now ranks at #18 overall (it's our understanding we don't get a trophy until we reach the top 3 -- it's like the Olympics).

And worry not -- your recent whining about this winter did have merit. The NWS reports the combined total from January and February this year -- 64.5 inches -- is the highest Jan-Feb total on record in Albany.

By the way: the snowiest winter on record here: 1970-71, at 112.5 inches.

Earlier on AOA: The Giant Snowman of Guilderland

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-02-24

Update Friday morning: the updated forecast now says "total daytime snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches possible" (and the ISAM updated accordingly). Apparently the colder air mass tracked farther south than expected. What this means for the breakdown of snow/wet snow/sleet/rain still seems uncertain. But the best guess appears to be pointing toward more snow than rain now. Shovels at the ready.

With March just around the bend, the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter was already thinking about retiring to the barn for the season. But it's cranked up yet again. (sigh)

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Thursday night: Some snow, but not much. Warm. Lows around freezing.
Friday morning: Snow and sleet -- "messy" and "heavy at times" (1-2 inches per hour).
Friday midday: Here's the tricky part. If temps rise as expected, it should switch to sleet/freezing rain/rain around noon. But the predicted precipitation changeover point is right around Albany. So we could get a fair amount of rain -- or a lot of snow (the forecast discussion says 6-12 inches are possible). As of Thursday evening, the signs were pointing toward 2-6 inches of snow in the Capital Region, with more to the north of Albany and less to the south.
Friday afternoon: The precipitation -- in whatever form -- is expected to slow. But reading between the lines, it just seems like they're guessing. Also: there's a chance of thunder to the south of Albany.
Friday night: More precipitation. And really windy, with gusts as high as 50 mph.
Saturday: Some sun. Colder. Highs in the mid-20s.
Sunday Cloudy. Chance of snow.
Monday: Warmer. Chance of freezing rain.

So whichever way this goes, it sounds like it will be sloppy and messy. Wear your boots.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

The temperature slide

temperature slide 2011 02-15

Temps by hour, from noon February 14 to noon February 15.

So the temperature today is a bit different from yesterday, huh?

Yesterday's high was 53. Today's is projected to be 22. The graph above shows the "slide" from noon yesterday to noon today.

But get this: the forecasted high on Friday is 51. Maybe it's more of a roller coaster than a slide.

Temperature data from NWS.

A rebound year for snowmen

snowfall totals snowmen 2010-2011-Feb

Totals as of February 7 of each season. What a cute little snowman you were, 2009-2010.

If it seems like we've gotten a lot of snow this winter, it's probably because... we have. This year's count is about 50 percent ahead of a typical year. And this season's snow piles might feel especially tall because last year was a down year. (graph above)

Despite the snowy resurgence, we're probably not headed for the record -- which is 112.5 inches, set in 1970-71 (we came close in 2002-2003 with 105.4). But a top 20 finish is possible -- we're only about 17 inches behind 1987-88 for #20 spot in the rankings.

Data from the National Weather Service. Totals as of the end of February 7.

Albany snow emergency info - 2011-02-02

Albany has called a snow emergency (surprise). The details:

Starting at 8 pm on Wednesday (2/2), parking is on EVEN side

Starting at 8 pm on Thursday (2/3), parking flips to ODD side

Updates by calling 476-SNOW (7669), or subscribing to text and email alerts.

The city is also opening up additional parking throughout the city for the snow emergency. Details after the jump.

(there's more)

Prepare for round 2

two snowstorms 2011-02-01

The radar picture as of about 2:45 pm Wednesday.

So, Wednesday's storm is on a bit of a different scale than what we got on Tuesday. Yep.

The forecasted totals for Wednesday have been downgraded, though -- the predictions are now in the one foot range.

Earlier: Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

image: National Weather Service

Stocking up

Gotta get the groceries

A day without Nutella is a day without sunshine.

By Akum Norder

As the snow moves in, we hunker down ... to eat. (Because it may be a whole day -- or, gasp, two! -- before you'll be able to easily go to the supermarket.)

Today's the day to stock up on whatever you can't spend two days stuck indoors without. The Price Chopper on Madison Ave in Albany was light on ham steaks this morning, and the crock pot seasoning mixes were pretty well picked over. The bread and milk aisle? Nearly impassable because of all the people and carts.

It made us wonder: What do you stock up on when a storm moves in?

Put some chili in the crock pot and share your answers below.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-01-31

You hear that? What? Exactly. It's the calm before the Icy. Snowy. Apocalypse.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Tuesday Snow and fair amounts of it. Accumulation in the 3-6 range. Temps in the lower 20s.
Tuesday night: More snow -- as much as 4 inches. So, the accumulation range for Tuesday is 5-10 inches.
Wednesday: But, wait, there's more. Lots more. A "likely blockbuster" snow storm will bring 8-16 inches during the day. The morning commute is predicted to be "difficult." Higher totals are expected to the north of Albany, with a possibility sleet to the south.
Wednesday night: And the snow keeps on coming. Total accumulations are predicted to be in the 18-30 inch range, with two foot snowfalls "not out of the question." As the forecast discussion helpfully points out, we should exceed our normal snowfall total for February in just one day.
Thursday: And we're spent.

So buckle up, you hardy Northeasterners. This is the kind of snow you'll be able to brag about.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Brr! Argh!

So, winter's really been making an effort the last few weeks. And it's decided to really overachieve the next few days.

The 7-day forecast doesn't include a temperature -- high or low -- above 20 until next Wednesday. The lows for Sunday and Monday are projected to be sub-zero.

If we get that 35 next Thursday, it's going to feel like beach weather.

By the way: We're at 40 inches of snow so far this season -- that's ahead of the typical pace by about 10 inches.

Earlier on AOA: How to properly bundle in cold weather

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-01-17

Updated Tuesday morning: Apocalypse revised. It appears the snow is ahead of schedule (surprise). This is going to be one of those days where you'll need extra time to get where you're going -- the entire day.

With some apprehension after the performance last time out, we've cranked up the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter again -- newly re-calibrated.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Early Tuesday morning: Snow, but probably not much accumulation. Temps rising a bit... to about 15.
Tuesday morning, early afternoon: More snow. Accumulation. Snow and sleet accumulations of 3-5 inches.
Tuesday afternoon: Here's where it gets tricky. Temps are predicted to hover around the freezing point, and it looks we'll be getting the ever popular wintry mix. But the forecast is predicting "little or no ice accumulation expected."
Tuesday evening: Temps drop a few degress, with "freezing drizzle."
Wednesday: Warm -- highs around 35. Some chance of snow in the morning, tapering off in the afternoon and evening.
Thursday: Sunny and colder, highs around 25.
Thursday night/Friday: More chance of snow.

OK, so 3-5 inches of snow during rush hour could be slow things considerably. But the real threat here is ice. If something shifts and that precipitation does start glazing everything, it's going to be a real pain. A coating of ice is worse than many inches of snow.

Brake early and lightly, you hardy Northeasterners.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Wednesday's snowfall totals

snowfall measure 2012-01-12

Taken at about 4:45 pm in uptown Albany.

Updated Thursday at 6:45 am

Albany got 12.8 inches of snow Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. That's a record for the date.

We're now up to 34 inches for the season -- which is a bit ahead of a typical year (25 inches by this point).

The snow totals appear to have varied a fair amount by location. A handful of totals reported to NWS, listed by location, are after the jump.

(there's more)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-01-11

Update: The projections for snowfall have been revised upward, now to somewhere in the 10 inch range. That pushes this storm solidly into the "Winter's Making an Effort" category.

After sitting the barn for months, the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter gets rolled out twice in the span of a week. We can barely contain our excitement.

Here's the situation, from the (paraphrased) forecast:

Today: Cloudy. Cold. Probably a few flurries.
Tonight: There will be snow, probably late in the night. Maybe something like 3 inches.
Wednesday: More snow. Accumulation of as much as 5 inches.
Wednesday night: Some chance of more snow, but not much. Very nippy. Lows in the mid-teens.
Thursday: Cloudy. Cold.

Here's the deal with this particular apocalypse: two storms are said to be merging on the coast, and the combined storm will Nor'easter its way (yep, we used that as a verb) up the coast. Depending on the track of the storm, we could see a fair amount of snow -- or just a bit. Whatever happens, the farther east and south you go, the better the chances of big totals (that means you, Rensselaer and Columbia counties). Of course, things change -- and if the track turns this way -- get ready to shovel.

All that said, the forecasters seem relatively certain we're just going to be grazed by this one -- ending up with 8 inches at the most. So, we're going to peg this as nearing "Winter's Making an Effort" territory.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2011-01-06

This is very exciting. After missing the first significant snowfall of the season because of the winter break, we've towed the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter out of the barn today for the first time this season.

Here's the situation, from the (paraphrased) forecast:

Thursday night: Cold. Maybe some snow, but little accumulation.
Friday: There will be snow. Totals by the end of Friday could range from 4-10 inches.
Saturday: Yep, you guessed it, more snow. But probably not much. Cold, highs below 30.
Sunday: Some chance of snow, but not much. Highs near 30.

The NWS forecast discussion mentions there's a "a lot of uncertainty" with this storm. So we're pegging this storm as just into the "Winter's Making An Effort Category." The high end of the accumulation range -- 10 inches -- is a respectable total. There could be a fair amount of shoveling, and snow emergencies. But, hey, it'll be the weekend -- you probably won't have to dig out before work.

Shovels at the ready, you hardy Northeasteners.

Update: Saratoga Springs has already called a snow emergency, starting at 9 am Friday. [Saratogian]

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Rain, rain go away?

january puddlesSo, when's the rain going to stop? The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Wednesday: Rain all day. Maybe as much as two inches. Windy, too. Highs in the mid-50s. Generally un-December-like.
Wednesday night: Guess what? More rain! Could turn to snow around midnight. Temps right around freezing.
Thursday: The sun is back. But now it's colder. Highs around 40.

Hey, this isn't so bad. 1-2 inches of rain would be a lot of snow.

Snowy Capitol

state capitol snow 2010-11-08

Brian was nice enough to share this photo with us from Monday.

We like the way the snow dusts the roof of the Capitol and how it defines the shapes in Capitol Park.

photo: @bkraus


snow leaves 2010-11-08

It's two-pairs-of-socks weather.

It was definitely fall yesterday. And today... with the weather and the time change, it's like someone hit fast forward on the seasons.

We've gotten about 1/4 inch of precipitation today, according to the National Weather Service. If temps drop enough tonight, that could make for some messy driving (brake early and lightly!).

Updated: We got 1.3 inches of snow Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Gloppy, slushy, icky precipitation.

But... if the forecast holds, we'll all be like, "What winter? What snow?" by Thursday. From Wednesday on into the weekend, it looks like sun with highs in the 50s.

By the way: the average first snowfall in this area is October 31 -- so it's not like today's weather is weird.

Make it stop

purple mumsThe rain was nice for a while -- you know, we were a little short on it. But enough is enough. Make it stop.

Here's the paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

This afternoon: Rain? You bet.
Tonight: More rain? You know it. Cold, too.
Thursday: Drizzling and gray in the morning, maybe some sun in the afternoon. A breezy high of 65.
Friday: Sunny. High near 70. Thank you.
The weekend: Sunny and a little cool, highs in the low 60s.

So, don't let all the drip-drip-drip get to you.

It's a soup day

onion_soup_olde_bryan_inn.jpgToday's weather has left us with a hankering for soup -- something to drive out the cold, wet feeling that seems stuck to everything right now.

So, here are a few local places that pop into our heads we think soup.

Got a favorite? We'd love to hear about it. We're hungry.

(there's more)

Watch vs. warning

tornado noaa archive photoThe National Weather Service issued a tornado watch today for large parts of eastern New York, including parts of the Capital Region, until 6 pm.

We noticed a bunch of people mentioning this on Twitter today, and a few people were getting it not quite correct. That's understandable -- a tornado watch is rare here (if you lived in the Midwest, you'd know this by heart).

OK, a quick review with lightly edited entries from a National Weather Service glossary:

Tornado watch This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. The area can vary depending on the weather situation. The watches are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

Appropriate reaction: Oh, OK, I'll keep it in mind.

Tornado warning This is issued when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters; people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. The warning can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. The warnings are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes -- they will include where the tornado was located and what towns will be in its path.

Appropriate reaction: Near here? Head for cover! (You know, calmly, but with purpose.)

(Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings work the same way.)

Here's a NWS brochure on severe weather safety, including what to do in the event of a tornado (not just a watch, an actual report of a tornado). The short story: head for the basement, or -- if you don't have a basement -- an interior room without windows on the first floor (bathrooms are often a good spot).

Curious about how many watches end up including tornadoes, we looked up the stats on the NWS site. According to one study of data from 1980-1999, about 56 percent of watches ended up having at least one tornado somewhere in the watch area.

Bonus: The Tornado FAQ from the NWS' Storm Prediction Center.

archive photo: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Shoot for Saturday

pumpkins at Golden Harvest

When we stopped for a cider donut yesterday at Golden Harvest in Valatie, the pumpkins were out.

Sure, today is cold(er) and gray. And we had to dig out a sweater. And we had to turn a light on in the office this afternoon. But the weather's looking better for the weekend -- well, one of the days, at least.

The paraphrased forecast:

Friday: Some sun. Warmer. High around 70.
Saturday: Sunny. Calm. High around 75. Shaping up like a perfect late summer/early fall day
Sunday: Cooler. Cloudy. Probably some rain.

So, Saturday is the day.

His name is Earl

nws hurricane earl projected path

And with any luck, he won't be stopping by.

The National Weather Service is projecting that Hurricane Earl will skim its way along east coast, grazing North Carolina, Long Island and Cape Cod on Friday. If it sticks to that path, we shouldn't see a direct effect here (well, unless you were headed to the Cape for the weekend). Of course, things can change.

Here the paraphrased weekend forecast for our area:

Friday: Highs in the upper 80s. Some chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Saturday: A lot cooler -- highs in the mid 70s. Slight chance of rain in the afternoon.
Sunday: Sunny. Cooler -- high around 70.
Labor Day: About the same, maybe a little warmer.

So, the weather looks like it could be OK.

image: National Weather Service

The hottest month?

capital region monthly average temps

August was crushed to find out that the NWS says July is hotter.

After seeing some chatter (chirping?) about today's temperature on Twitter (essentially: it shouldn't be this hot), we figured we'd look it up to see what the typical temps are for August (and every other month, for that matter).

The chart above shows the monthly normal temps as recorded by the National Weather Service in Albany for the years 1971-2000 (so, yep, it doesn't include the last decade of data). As you can see, July is typically the hottest month, though August is close behind. The numbers are also in a table after the jump.

The average high so far this month has been 81.5, which is a few degrees warmer than usual.

About today... The highest temp on record here for August 31 came in 1953, a day that topped out at 93. As of 3 pm today, the temp was 91. The average high for this date is 76.

(there's more)

Paging Mr. Sun

sky blue sky

Don't worry, blue skies are on the way. Probably.

OK, so we're on dreary day number 4, but the sun will come out. Tomorrow even. A "moisture starved" cold front is apparently on its way -- with high pressure behind it -- which should mean clearer skies and drier air.

The paraphrased forecast:

Thursday: Partly sunny, high near 80.

Friday: Sunny, but cool. Highs in the low 70s.

Saturday: Approaching perfect. Sunny, with highs around 80.

Sunday: More sun, highs in the upper 80s.

Everywhere the hum of air conditioners

air conditioner


New Yorkers set a record for single month electricity usage in July, according to NYISO -- the org that manages most of the power grid in the state.

Total usage was at 17,312 gigawatt-hours (yeah, sounds big). It tops the old record, set in August 2005, by about two percent. And it's up 19 percent from last July.

The state also almost set a new record peak demand on July 6.

This past July in the Capital Region was hot -- but not extraordinarily so. The average temp was 74.9, which doesn't even rank in the top 10 (we needed to hit 76.5 to crack that list). There were eight days over 90 -- about four more than usual.

New York City was smokin', though. Its July was the second hottest month on record there.

(there's more)

The aurora might be visible tonight

NASA sun coronal mass ejection 2010-08-01Thanks to "wonderful fireworks the Sun has been producing," there's a chance we could catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis tonight (you know, the Northern Lights.) [CS Monitor] [HSCFA]

Forecasts indicate New York State could be on the edge of the aurora's viewing area. Around midnight, look to the north for a red or green glow. Your chances will better the more north you are, and the darker the sky.

OK, about those fireworks on the sun...

(there's more)


almost full moon

Last night's almost-full moon.

We were struck by how bright the moon was last night -- and it wasn't even totally full.

It will be tonight. And it looks like the weather should make for some excellent viewing -- clear and cool.

This whole week looks like it could be nicely summery. The paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday: Sunny and warm, highs in the upper 80s, cool in the evening.

Wednesday: Even warmer, near 90.

Wednesday into Thursday: Maybe some sprinkles.

Thursday: Warm, chance of thunderstorms.

Friday: Sunny, cooler (temps near 80), lower humidity.

Weekend: Mostly blissful.

Gray skies are going to...

nws radar 2010-06-09


We've been fighting flashbacks to the lost summer of 2009 the past few days. Fifty-six degrees on June 9? Sorry, wrong answer.

The (paraphrased) forecast isn't helping much:

Thursday: rain "likely" in the morning, high in the upper 60s, blah
Friday: Some sun, high in the mid 70s (yippee)
Saturday: Cloudy, chance of rain, high near 80
Sunday: Cloudy, chance or rain, high around 80

Upside: we won't have to water the garden.

image: NWS

This is May, right?

arielle's thermometer


Arielle passed along this photo this afternoon. She wrote:

This was taken in my yard moments ago. It's in the direct sunlight. It's always been very accurate.

The highest temp on record for this date is 94, set in 1914.

At 5 pm, the National Weather Service site reported the temperature was 93.9.

Hot, hot, hot

hot Otto

Hot. Dog.

This just in: it's a bit warm outside. The temp at ALB this afternoon hit 88. And it looks like Wednesday will be even hotter.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast:

Tuesday night: Some relief, low of 61.
Wednesday: Find a cool drink -- and swim in it. High of 93.
Thursday: Eat the ice cream cone quickly, high in the upper 80s. Fifty percent chance of thunderstorms.
Friday: Cold snap. High in the upper 60s. Chance of rain.
The weekend: What you hoped for -- sunny and 70s.

Now, if you'll excuse us, Otto's demanding more ice in his drink. And a tiny umbrella.

Warm up ahead

iris with rain dropsYes, it was in the 30s last night. And, yes, today's high temp is projected to be in the 40s. But better weather is just ahead. The paraphrased forecast:

Today: Windy, cold. Blerg.
Thursday Windy, sunny, high around 60.
Friday: Sunny with a few clouds, high around 70.
Saturday Mostly sunny. High around 80. The faint sounds of harps being strummed by angels.
Sunday: Cloudy, chance of rain. But a high in the upper 70s.

A sky blue sky

sky blue sky


We were struck by how deeply and awesomely blue the sky was today.

Credit goes to low humidity and good air quality. And Rayleigh scattering.

Cooling off

flowering treeThursday's high temp of 87 tied the record for that day (the high was set in 1991).

The next few days look cooler -- but not bad. The paraphrased forecast:

Friday: Cloudy, maybe some rain, highs in the 50s.
Saturday: Sunny, highs in the mid-50s. "Slight" chance or rain/snow at night.
Sunday: Sun, high near 60.
Next week: Sunny, 50s.

The normal high temp for this time of year is mid 50s.

Hot, hot, hot

single crocusThis past Friday's high temp of 77 was a record, according to the National Weather Service. The previous high was 69, set in 1967. The daily normal for that day is 51. (Saturday's 77 missed the record by two degrees.)

Wednesday's forecasted high temp is 81 -- hot, but it would still be short of the record. It was 87 on April 7 in 1991.

Relaxing on a spring day

swyer statue flower

Taking time to take it all in.

Bob -- of Nipper's Hot Dogs fame -- spotted this spring moment today.

The statue is of Lewis Swyer and it sits in Academy Park in Albany (here's another pic). Swyer was a developer (he developed Stuyvesant Plaza) and philanthropist (he sat on the boards of many non-profits, including SPAC).

Just a few more puddles...

january puddlesYep, it's damp and gray. But hold on. Things are about to get a lot better.

The paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday: Heavy rain, not particularly warm.
Wednesday: A bit drizzly. Temps in the 50s.
Thursday: Ahhhhh... sunny. Highs near 70.
Friday: A chorus of angels. Bright. Clear. Mid-70s.
Weekend: Approaching perfect. Temps near 80.

You did read that correctly.

That warm weather was bought on credit

snow on green grass

Thought this morning: Who dropped powdered sugar on the grass? Oh, wait...

It's sunny! The grass is greening! It's 29 degrees!*


It's like we bought all of those above average temps a few weeks back on credit -- and now we're paying them back. Here's the paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

This afternoon: Sunny. High of 35.
Saturday: Sunny. High (if that's the word) of 42.
Sunday: A little warmer, chance of rain.
Monday: Rain/snow "likely" -- temps in the mid 40s.

The normal high temp for this part of March is 49-51.

* At noon on Friday

A lot of water, falling

Via the Exile comes this video of the Cohoes Falls yesterday:

Here are a few stills: a triptych and a panorama.

The Mohawk was near flood stage yesterday at Cohoes.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A better look at the Cohoes Falls
+ An even better look at the Cohoes Falls

Hello, sunshine!

first crocus

The first crocus we spotted this year.

It was a good day to wake up from a long winter's nap.

We hit 62 today. The forecast for rest of this week:

Thursday: 61 and sunny

Friday: 66 and sunny

Saturday: 67 and sunny

Sunday: 61 and chance of rain

Snowpocalypse in Westerlo

westerlo snowpocalypse

We understand that there's a car under there -- somewhere.

Greg sent along a gallery of photos from the "snowpocalypse" out in Westerlo. He says he spent the weekend "helping my girlfriend's family dig out from the insane amount of snow that got dumped on them."

Insane is the right word. While the central Capital Region just got slushy rain toward the end of last week, the snow just kept falling in western Albany County. An observation station to the west of Thacher Park recorded snow depths of more than 3.5 feet by the end of last week.

From Greg's description of the gallery:

There's a few pictures of us excavating her brothers car, and some shots of the abandoned barn that collapsed across the street (no cows were hurt). The first picture is of Hartford, CT the same day as I drove back from a work trip.

Other places weren't so lucky -- CBS6 reported that farm animals were killed in two separate barn collapses this past weekend in the hill towns.

(Thanks, Greg!)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch Update

snowy apocalypse meter 2010-02-23

The projected snowfall totals for the rest of the week are starting to increase. From the National Weather Service:

Today: mix of rain/snow
Tonight: "New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible."
Wednesday: "New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible."
Thursday: Chance of precipitation 80 percent. But as the forecast discussion notes for Thursday and beyond, "a high degree of uncertainty remains during this period."
Friday: Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

The forecast continues to include high temps in the mid to upper 30s for the rest of this week.

We're bumping this up to a "Winter's Making an Effort" situation because, while it sounds like any one day this week might not be too bad, the string of them could add up. It seems that a lot will depend on which way temperatures break, elevation and a storm on the coast.

In other words, your wintry mileage will almost certainly vary. And it looks like the snow we're getting will be the wet, heavy kind. So, make sure you car has its snow brush. And bring a shovel.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2010-02-22

Today is gorgeous -- sunny and warm (for February). The rest of this week? Uh, different story.

The paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Sunny with highs near 40!
Tonight: Not really cold, but snow is expected to start around midnight.
Tuesday: Precipitation in many of its forms: snow, rain, something in between. Highs in the upper 30s. Might have about two inches of accumulation from the night before.
Wednesday: Some snow probable. But also temps in the upper 30s.
Thursday: Chance of snow/rain. Temps in mid-30s.
Friday: Snow? Still not too cold.

OK, so this week could just end up being damp and chilly. Or, if temps drop... we could be in for some real snow because there's almost certainly going to precipitation. In fact, the models are pointing to significant snowfall for the higher elevations (hello, ski slopes).

We're going to hope that this week stays warm and the precipitation stays unfrozen -- but it could be slushy out there. And if we do get snow, it'll probably be heavy. So we're going to peg this as "mildly annoying" on the icy, snowy apocalypse meter.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2010-02-16

Look out the window: it's probably snowing. But it appears this is just part of winter's half-hearted effort this year. Here's the paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: It will snow. Accumulation of maybe three inches. High temp around freezing.
Tonight: Probably some more snow, but not much. Maybe an inch.
Wednesday: High temp in the upper 30s. Maybe a bit of snow. Very gusty.
Thursday: More highs in the upper 30s. Maybe some sun. Again, windy.
Friday: About the same.

With that in mind, we're pegging this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse at just a touch above "whatever." If this keeps ups, we're going to have re-calibrate the meter.

By the way: This season's snowfall total is just 22.4 inches (as of yesterday) -- that's more than 21 inches behind where we usually are by this point in winter. Pity the snowmen.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter_2010-02-09

By all accounts there is a large, rather snowy winter storm headed east. And also by most accounts, that large storm is projected to just miss us. Again.

Are you feeling lucky?

Because here's the thing: this could either way. We're right on the edge of the action. The storm steams by to the south and we get 3, maybe 4 inches. But the high pressure ridge that's been keeping all the snow off us shifts a little bit -- and hello, 6-10 inches. (If you're headed to NYC or other points south, do wear your boots.)

So we're going to tentatively peg this as a "mildly annoying" icy, snowy apocalypse. But, you know, things change. Bring a shovel.

Here's the paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Tonight: Not too cold. Maybe a few flakes after midnight.
Wednesday: Not all that cold. Snow starting in the late morning. Maybe 1-3 inches.
Wednesday night: Probably more snow, but not a lot. Windy.
Thursday: Sunny. Again, not that cold -- but windy.
On to the weekend: Partly cloudy/sunny, temps in the low 30s.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Earlier on AOA: A tough year for local snowmen

A tough year for local snowmen

snowfall city totals snowmen

Even DC is beating us this year.

As cold as this winter's been at times, it has not been snowy. In fact, the Capital Region has gotten just 21.5 inches of snow this season -- that's off more than 18 inches from the usual total by this time of year.

But while we've been relatively snow-free, other parts of the East Coast have been in the middle of Snowmegeddon. So, indulging in a bit of wetterschadenfreude, we thought it would be fun to see how our snowfall totals stack up (or down) to these other normally not-so-snowy climes. (Yes, DC -- that's very unfortunate. Very.)

A few select cities are compared above in the snowman graph. More totals -- with normal totals -- after the jump.

By the way: we've actually noticed lately a few people lamenting the lack of snow this year. Gotta say we didn't see that coming.

Snow is forecasted for Wednesday...

(there's more)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2010-01-28

Here's the situation, straight from the NWS's "hazardous weather outlook":


After that: snot-freezing cold. The forecast includes overnight temps in the single digits and sub-zero wind chills.

We've pegged this Icy, Snowy Apocalypse somewhere between "Annoying" and "Winter's Making an Effort" because this afternoon could be tough for a few hours -- but after that it's expected to just be really cold. And, as a hardy northeasterner, you can handle that.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

Weird weather week

january puddles

It looks like a good week for puddles.

The weather outlooks for this week is odd. Really odd. Here's the (paraphrased) forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Rainy, windy, high of 58 (What?)
Tomorrow: Chance of rain/snow. Breezy. High near 40.
Wednesday: Maybe some sun. Still breezy. High in the mid 30s.
Thursday: Chance of rain/snow. Highs in the upper 30s.
Friday: Back to our regularly scheduled programming -- some sun, highs in the low 20s.
Weekend: winter as you'd expect.

By the way: the middle of January is typically the coldest time of the whole year around here.

The upcoming heat wave

One of the side effects of all this cold weather is that temperatures that otherwise would be awfully chilly have ended up feeling... not so bad. It's 25 degrees? Why am I wearing a coat?

With that in mind, we're getting our shorts and sunblock ready for Thursday (or perhaps we're succumbing to paradoxical undressing). The paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Sub-freezing, but not that bad
Tuesday: About the same. Could be windy.
Wednesday: Same.
Thursday: Heat wave. Sunny. High of 37.
Friday: Absolutely broiling. High of 38.
Weekend: A little cool. Temps nears 30.

Earlier on AOA: How to survive winter

What it's like to freeze to death


Not the fun kind of popsicle.

Somehow this seemed appropriate for this week: a 1997 Outside Magazine article about what it's like to freeze to death. There are a bunch of interesting facts in the piece, including the concept of "paradoxical undressing:"

At 85 degrees, those freezing to death, in a strange, anguished paroxysm, often rip off their clothes. This phenomenon, known as paradoxical undressing, is common enough that urban hypothermia victims are sometimes initially diagnosed as victims of sexual assault. Though researchers are uncertain of the cause, the most logical explanation is that shortly before loss of consciousness, the constricted blood vessels near the body's surface suddenly dilate and produce a sensation of extreme heat against the skin.

Brrrrr: Today's high is projected to be 32 degrees (the temp was 30 at around 2 pm), which is the highest forecasted temp for the next seven days. Every day high temp in the extended forecast is below freezing.

[article via @mdelfs]

Earlier on AOA: Death by icicle

photo: Flickr user peoplearestrange

How to survive winter

iced grass

The sun will come out. Eventually.

We gotta admit that the recent streak of frigid weather has us a bit down. But that's OK -- we'll make it.

Here are a few small/simple items/actions that we've found help us get through the coldest parts of winter...

(there's more)

Christmas weather forecast

It looks like getting to wherever you're going for Christmas should be fine. The getting back? Maybe not so easy.

christmas tree ornamentHere's the paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Thursday: Warmer, with some sun
Thursday night: Cold, but not too bad
Friday: Another (relatively) warm day -- temps in the upper 30s
Friday night: Chance of freezing rain and sleet
Saturday: Highs in the upper 30s -- but freezing rain and sleet "likely"
Saturday night: Still with the freezing rain
Sunday: Still warm, but chance of rain, freezing rain and snow.

Updated at 12:10 pm on Wednesday: Or, it could snow. As it is right now.

Record snowfall yesterday, Paterson defends Wall Street, parking ticket plan approved, new license plates still on the way, again no ice skating at ESP

snowfall measure

We got just about 7 inches at the uptown office.

Yesterday's storm dropped 7.3 inches of snow on the Capital Region, according to the National Weather Service (forecasts on Tuesday had been predicting 2 to 5 inches). That's a record for December 9 (the previous high mark was 6.3 inches). Parts of Saratoga County reported getting as much as 10 inches. [NWS] [Saratogian]

A freight train hit a snow plow at a crossing in Northumberland yesterday morning, killing one of the the men on the plow truck and injuring the other (map). The crossing doesn't have gates or signals. [Post-Star] [CapNews9] [Saratogian]

Albany County's public works commissioner says yesterday's short, strong blast of snow made it hard to keep the roads clear during rush hour. Troy somehow found a way to clear its streets without Bob Mirch. [TU] [Troy Record]

David Paterson again vowed to hold back aid to local governments in order to keep the state solvent (his budget director compared the fiscal situation to driving in the snow). The chair of the state Senate finance committee says Paterson will be sued it he tries to do that. [NYO] [Daily Politics] [TU]

During the same speech yesterday, Paterson also defended Wall Street -- calling it the engine of New York State's economy. Said a state Senate "source" of the speech: "I half-expected to see Michael Douglas come out and reprise his role as Gordon Gekko." [NYT] [NYDN]

(there's more)

Well, it was a good day for some people

snowman with hat

Snowmen, in particular.

We counted seven inches of snow in Albany today. And it packed well.

(Thanks, A&A!)

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter

Update Wednesday morning
Obviously this storm was worse than expected. We're going to mark this down as a loss for the snowy apocalypse meter. ISAW starts the season 0-1.

Updated Tuesday 5:40 pm

Winter has finally decided to get its act together and we're looking at what might be our first serious winter storm of the season on Wednesday.

And you know what that means? Yep, that's right: the return of Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch.

Here's the paraphrased forecast from the National Weather Service:

Tonight: It's almost certainly going to snow, late. Probably a few inches.
Wednesday morning: Some more snow, turning into sleet.
Wednesday afternoon: Rain. Highs in the upper 30s.
Wednesday night: More rain. Lows near 30.

So we're going to peg this as a "Whatever" storm.

The NWS doesn't seem to think that we're actually going get a whole lot of snow -- it says it's holding off on issuing a winter weather advisory.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory:

Total snowfall accumulations are expected to range between 2 to 5 inches...with sleet and ice accumulations up to one tenth of an inch.

The thing to watch will be how the precipitation reacts to the rising temps tomorrow morning. If it makes a quick switch to rain -- and stays liquid on the ground -- great. But if it freezes, the commute could be tricky.

Note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world. Also: Ellsass, we're sorry.

The best November ever?

blue skyWe heard someone say recently that this past November was "the best ever." And we would agree it was pretty great -- warm, sunny, snow-free. Downright autumnal.

So we were curious about the stats for this November. According to the National Weather Service...

+ The average temperature was 43.3 -- a little more than four degrees warmer than an average November.

+ The high temps were about five degrees warmer than usual.

+ There were 128 fewer heating degree days than normal.

+ It only rained on eight days (about four fewer than usual) -- and only two of the days got more than half an inch of rain.

The big difference this year was snowfall -- or, rather, the lack of snowfall. The NWS didn't record any snow last month. A typical November has about five inches.

By the way: We thought the first snowfall of the season hadn't occurred yet, but we were wrong. According to the NWS, the first flakes of the season -- just a trace -- fell on October 16.

People have been tweeting today about seeing snow. And this week's forecast includes a few days with a chance of snow.

Hello, December.

The Thanksgiving fog

washington park fog

Creepy and beautiful.

Not to be confused with turkey hangover. Emails Sebastien:

Something weird happened [Thursday] night. I was outside until about 10:30PM, came back home, and decided to go back out to buy something at the corner an hour later. The temperature had suddenly dropped about 5 to 8 degrees, instantly creating a dense "flash" fog in Center Square. It did last about an hour. I grabbed my camera and walked to Washington Park. It was creepy and beautiful.

Here's the slideshow on Flickr. The photos really are eerie.

photo: Sebastien B

Chalk drawings in the sky


That curved line traces one of the approach routes into ALB.

Sunday's atmospheric conditions made it a great day for contrails. We were struck by how defined and persistent they were against the deep blue sky. It was like someone drew them with a piece of chalk.

Nerd aside: Scientists used data from the three days following 9/11 (in which there was no commercial air traffic) to study the effect of contrails on climate. And an early analysis of the data suggested that the jet-produced clouds reduced the daily temperature range by as much as two degrees Fahrenheit. More recent analyses, though, have cast doubt on that conclusion.

While we're looking up at the sky: this week's paraphrased forecast:

Tuesday: still warm, but cloudy
Wednesday: colder, but sunnier
Thursday: sunny, November-cold
Friday: the same thing
The Weekend: Rain? Clouds? Not that cold.

Winter? So soon?

iced grass

Not yet. We hope.

It was cold this morning -- like December cold. The temp at 7 o'clock this morning dipped to 28.9 F, according to the National Weather Service.

And the next few days aren't going to be a whole lot warmer. Here's the paraphrased forecast:

Tonight: Lows in the upper 20s. Brr.
Tomorrow: Cold -- high just short of 50.
Tomorrow night: Freezing.
Friday: A chance of... s... s... s... (ok, fine)... snow. High in the mid-40s.
The weekend: A little warmer. Still a small possibility of snow.

By the way: the average high for this time of year is in the 60s, with lows near 40.

Rainbow weather


There's a pot of gold out there. Somewhere.

Yesterday's late afternoon rain showers -- and subsequent break in the clouds -- produced a bumper crop of rainbows around the Capital Region.

The local Twitter stream yesterday was full of rainbow sightings -- over the ESP, at RPI, over the county court building in Albany, on Henry Johnson, in Delmar, at Stuyvesant Plaza (a full double arc), at Crossgates, at Colonie Center, and over Central Warehouse.

Barry took the photo above at UAlbany. You can just make out the double rainbow in the upper left corner.

(Thanks, Barry!)

photo: Barry Trachtenberg

Fall foliage maps and reports

autumn leavesEverybody loves some good fall foliage. So it's probably not surprising there are a bunch of fall foliage maps and reports.

Here are a few that might be useful for planning walks, hikes and drives, and weekends over the next month or so.

(there's more)

Hello, Fall

one changed leaf

Ready. Set. Turn.

As of 5:18 pm, it's officially Fall.

It appears the trees have been paying attention.

This is the week

cotton clouds

All this week. We hope.

Mother Nature totally cheated us this summer with the weather. In fact, some might say that we didn't even have a summer. And now it feels like Fall in the breeze.

All the more the reason to soak up the weather this week. The forecast looks fantastic. Here's the paraphrased version from the National Weather Service:

This afternoon: Sunny, cool -- high 71.
Tuesday: More sun. Still a bit cool -- high 73.
Wednesday: The sun will shine upon us, the breeze will gently caress our skin and all will seem right with the world.
Thursday: Like Wednesday, but it will feel like angels are kissing our cheeks. Also: dessert will taste sweeter and you will sense a common bond with all humanity.
Friday: Like Wednesday and Thursday, but possibly tending toward hot.
The Weekend: Too good to hope for.

So, go outside this week. Take a day off. Call in sick. We won't tell.

A historically wet July

wettest albany months

We're now finished talking about the weather.

Update! It's not official yet, but it looks this July will end up being the second wettest month on record in the Capital Region. This past July was the rainiest on record in the Capital Region.

Friday's deluge (2.42 inches) brought the month's total to 9.91 inches. Not only does that set the mark for the rainiest July -- it's also one of the wettest months ever recorded in the Capital Region.

July's total ranks #2 all-time on the list kept by the National Weather Service, which dates back to 1874. Though as commenter Rainman points out, there are records of a handful of even rainier months before that.

Earlier on AOA: A damp decade

(Thanks to jwk and Rainman.)

Data from National Weather Service. Records start in 1874.

Where have we seen this before?

northeast radar

The radar picture at 11:30 on Friday.

It just won't stop. Ack.

There's a flash flood warning for Albany County, Rennselaer County and parts of Saratoga County (including Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park) and Schenectady County (including Schenectady and Rotterdam).

July just might make it into the Top 10 after all.

image: National Weather Service

A damp decade

sky in puddleThe seemingly constant rain this summer prompted us to look up whether July 2009 is shaping up to be a historically wet July. At 7.27 inches of rain so far (as of the end of Wednesday), we're more than 3 inches above the average -- but we're still not quite into the top 10 wettest Albany months on record. (We'd need another .75 inches or so to make the list.)

But we came across something interesting while looking up the numbers: a historically wet year has become common during this decade. Check it out...

(there's more)

First aid for your tomatoes

tomatoes on vine

If only...

You tried. We know you did.

Maybe you started the seeds in your house. Then you went out in the garden this spring with the very best of intentions. Maybe you picked some plants up from a grower in the early spring. "I'll plant tomatoes," you said. "It'll be great! By August they'll be red and ripe and juicy and delicious."

You dug and hoed and planted and fertilized -- then you went to bed with visions of Caprese salad dancing in your head. But as the weeks wore on you watched your dreams sink into a cold, soggy summer. And your poor, poor tomato plants are limp, lifeless, maybe even full of fungus.

So is there any hope? Can these tomato plants be saved? AOA checked in with Capital Region gardening guru Larry Sombke to see if there are any super-secret gardening tips to rescue this year's sad-looking tomato crop.

(there's more)

Short, but strong


After the storm.

The severe thunderstorm that swept through the Capital Region had a little bit of everything: heavy rain, strong winds, large hail, temporary flooding, overturned cars -- and an enormous rainbow.

Photos, video and reports from others after the jump.

The storm knocked out power for more than 40,000 households in the Capital Region, according to National Grid. Most of the outages are in Saratoga County.

(there's more)

Have you seen this season?

missing season poster


It looks like Thursday and Friday could be OK.

The sun will come out

sun in rain


This just in: the Sun still exists.

We saw it with our own eyes -- briefly -- Thursday evening.

That was a lot of rain, state Senate will meet on 4th, RPI disputes fire department accusations, Rudy Giuliani wants to motivate you, ALB says show up earlier

Yesterday's severe thunderstorms dropped more than three inches of rain in some places (the official NWS tally of 2.76 inches was a local record for July 1). Latham and Cohoes seemed to get the worst of it. There were reports of flooding all over the area. [TU] [NWS] [Fox23] [Twitter]

The state Senate held another of its "extraordinary" in-and-out sessions yesterday. The big issue of the day seemed to be the question of whether the Assembly would accept the bills "passed" by the Senate in Tuesday's V8-fueled session. It looks like the senators will be spending the Fourth of July at the Capitol -- David Paterson has ordered them into session every day through Monday. [TU] [Daily Politics]

Both Senate factions are expected to turn in per diem requests for the last two weeks today -- though whether they'll be paid is apparently up in the air. [NYDN]

Guilderland's supervisor says the town will be pulling its garbage business from the Albany landfill because of concerns about the facility's expansion into the Pine Bush. [TU]

RPI says that its public safety office called the Troy Fire Department just 32 seconds after the first report of a fire at one its chem labs this week -- not 12 minutes as the department has alleged. The TFD says RPI's delay created a more dangerous situation for firefighters. [Troy Record]

(there's more)

June washed away

sky in puddle

Hopefully the puddles will give way to blue skies

The seemingly non-stop rain in June really added up.

We got just a few drops more than five inches of rain last month, according to the National Weather Service. That's about 34 percent more than in an average June. And we got at least a trace of rain on 15 different days (normal is 11.6 days).

But get this: June 2008 was even rainier than this year's (by almost half an inch). And the rainiest June on record came in 2006 (8.74 inches).

Oh, and: the average high temp for this past June was 74.9 -- about 2.5 degrees lower than normal.

Missing person: the sun

sun closeup

Have you seen this star?

After the rain and gray of last week, we were hoping for some solid sunlight this week. Alas, no. From the (paraphrased) National Weather Service forecast:

Today: Dull, possibly drizzly. A touch cool.

Tomorrow: Cloudy, warmer. Maybe some rain.

Wednesday: Gray, sort of hot. Afternoon thunderstorms.

Thursday: Cloudy, hot, muggy -- and, for excitement, afternoon thunderstorms.

Friday: Sunny! Hot! Like a real June day!

Saturday: Again!

So, uh... one more week.

Not so unusually cold and wet

june 2009 temp graph The weather has been so wet and chilly lately that someone remarked to us: "I feel like we're being cheated out of June."

For a little perspective, we looked up the National Weather Service's June data for this area. And it turns out that our temps have been a little bit cooler than usual (off 1.3 degrees) -- but rainfall is actually right on track.

At least, it is right now. It looks like the rain will continue through the weekend into next week.

graph: NWS

Who has the best weather forecast?


Hmm... is this partly sunny or partly cloudy?

By James Cronen

Weather forecasts are everywhere these days: TV, radio, the internet -- even those electronic billboards along I-90 now include forecasts. But how do you know that the forecast you're getting is any good?

There's only one way to find out who really gives the best forecast: put them to a head-to-head test.

(there's more)

Everyone knows it's windy

branch on truck


But we didn't realize it was going to be this windy. We snapped this pic on Western Ave in Albany just uptown of the Madison/Western merge.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory until 7 pm this evening. The NWS reports that gusts will likely exceed 45 mph.

National Grid is reporting more than 500 without power in Albany County as of 3:37 pm this afternoon (it's estimating the power will be back up by this evening).

A bunch of wind reports, comments and sightings via Twitter after the jump.

(there's more)

Hot in here

april2009 high temps

We'll leave it up to you about whether it's time to take off all your clothes.

So it's been a little warm in the Capital Region the last few days -- unusually warm, in fact.

The chart above lists the actual high temps from the last four days against the normal average high temps for those dates (data from the National Weather Service). We've been running 15-20 degrees warmer than a typical late April week. Saturday's high temp was a record.

Bonus weather nerdage: the National Weather Service has a year-long climate chart that tracks actual temps against the average.

Today looks like the last hot day for a while. After today's forecasted high of 86, we're looking at 64, 69, 70 and 63 as highs for the rest of the week.

The sun will come out... soon

sun closeup

Refresher on the sun: it's an enormous sphere of plasma that warms our planet

Not tomorrow. Not Thursday. Friday -- that's the day.

If you look at the forecast, it's like somebody ordered up a delivery of summer on Friday (you better believe we're checking the tracking number on that one). The paraphrased outlook from the National Weather Service:

Wednesday: cold, rainy

Thursday: cold, windy

Friday: sunny, temps that might reach 70

Saturday: sunny, temps in the 80s

Sunday: sunny, June-like

So, hang in there.

Springing to life

first flower spring

Today is the first day of Spring -- and right on cue, a flower.

The forecast for this weekend: sunny with highs near 50.

This just in: it's frakkin' cold

wind chill chart

This might be useful this week.

It's going to be a bit nippy for the next two days. The National Weather Service is forecasting that temps will stay below freezing until Thursday (projected high for that day: a summer-like 36). Wind chills will routinely be below zero.

By the way, wind chills aren't as cold as they used to be. Really. They've actually changed the way wind chill is calculated.

(there's more)

Soak it up now

sun behind tree

Oh, Sun, we enjoy you so.

This recent string of sunny -- dare we say Spring-like -- days has been like a vacation from Winter. And today's looking like another bright, blue sky day.

So, soak it up. Because the rest of the week is probably NOT going to be like this.

Here's the (paraphrased) forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Sunny!

Wednesday: Rainy, overcast, a few flurries. Temps in the 30s.

Wednesday night: A possibility of the dreaded freezing rain.

Thursday: A lot like Wednesday.

Friday: Colder with a chance of some snow.

Saturday: Maybe some sun?

It's not like we're facing an Icy, Snowy Apocalypse or anything -- it's just, well, it's like Winter has decided to stop being nice.

All this week: The Thaw

thawing ice

One downside to all the melting: that water has to go somewhere -- hopefully not in your basement.

Check out the forecasted high temps for this week:

Today: 37
Tuesday: 41
Wednesday: 51 (!)
Thursday: 46
Friday: 40

It's not exactly early Spring, but it should make some good progress on melting the snow piles. The downside to the forecast: the middle of the week is expected to be rainy.

Cold chicken

PJs 2.jpg

The great chicken countdown.

So this week that "seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators" Puxatony Punxsutawney Phil proclaimed there would be six more weeks of winter.

We're not sure what a Puxatony Punxsutawney spring looks like, but here in the great northeast, the first day of spring is usually just another day. Just another cold, damp wintry day. Here's a more accurate harbinger of warmer days. It's the PJ's BBQ sign in Saratoga. Eleven weeks to smokey, sloppy, bar-b-cuey goodness.

Still, here's hoping the marmot was right.


weather radar

The Northeast weather radar from Tuesday morning.

There's been some talk lately that this winter is a bad one. But, really, it's probably more a case of the last two winters being kind of light on snow -- and as a result, we've forgotten what winter in the Northeast is like.

Still, there is some satisfaction in seeing a winter weather system just skim past our area. Is there a word for that? Wetterschadenfreude?

image: National Weather Service

Maybe just a little global warming?

waiting for climate change sign

It's on days like this that we become ever-so-slightly less concerned with our carbon footprint.

An ice rink on the pond

buckingham ice rink 2

For a limited time only.

We saw this make-shift ice rink on Buckingham Pond in Albany and it made us smile.

One more pic after the jump.

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse 2009-01-27

Updated Tuesday at 10:30 pm: Some of the forecasts now projecting ice and freezing rain Wednesday afternoon. The storm has already glazed over things in parts of the South and Midwest. Ugh.

Updated Tuesday at 7:30 pm: The City of Albany has declared a preemptive snow emergency starting at 8 pm on Wednesday. Surely the apocalypse is now upon us.

Just when you thought you might finally catch a glimpse of the driveway or -- gasp, some grass -- it's time for another Icy, Snowy Apocalypse. Here are the (paraphrased) details from the National Weather Service:

OK. Cold, but maybe some sun.

Again, OK. There may be a few flakes in the evening. The snow shouldn't get cranked up until after midnight. Overnight accumulations of 2-4 inches.

Wednesday morning
Continuous snow of the "additional heavy accumulation" variety.

Wednesday afternoon
A conveyor belt of precipitation stretching from Texas to the Northeast continues to dump snow on us. Some reports indicate we could get up to 10 inches by the time it's over.

Wednesday night
Snow should slow.

Rest of the week
Winter continues.

It looks like the key to this storm will be how fast the smear of snow moves through the area. Faster is better in this case. The upside? It doesn't look like ice or freezing rain should be a problem.

Because it's looking this one could approach a foot of accumulation, we're going to project this as a "winter is making an effort" on the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse meter.

Note: AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world.

Out in the cold with Capital News 9's Kaitlyn Ross

Kaitlyn Ross cold

Kaitlyn wanted us to tell you that she's much prettier without the hat. We think she's pretty cute this way, too.

So, this morning we turned on Capital News 9 only to find poor Kaitlyn Ross shivering on an Albany street corner just so viewers could see exactly how cold it really is outside.

And a few months back, when trees were bent over with ice, Kaitlyn was standing in Washington Park to let the Capital Region know that it was much too dangerous to -- you know -- stand in Washington Park.

In fact, if it's morning -- and the weather sucks -- turn on channel 9 and you're almost certain to see poor Kaitlyn out in the thick of it. Which prompts the question, what the hell did she do to piss off the Capital News 9 producers?

And of course, being us -- we had to ask.

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Death by icicle

falling ice signWe were looking out the office window this afternoon at icicles hanging from the roof and, of course, had only one thought: can you really die from a falling icicle?

Considering the ongoing deep freeze, this seemed like a question that needed answering.

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2009-01-06

Sure, it's all sunny and (relatively) warm right now, but it's only the calm before our next Icy. Snowy. Apocalypse. Here are the (paraphrased) details from the National Weather Service:

Nice. Highs in the 30s.

Snow starts in the evening -- it could turn to sleet around midnight. We're looking at as much as 4 inches.

Wednesday morning
More wintry mix, accumulations of up to 3 inches.

Wednesday afternoon
Temps in the 30s -- but also a good chance of everyone's favorite: freezing rain.

Rest of the week
An even chance of some more snow, temps going down as the weekend approaches.

OK, so it's looking like a lot of this is going to depend of the temp. If it stays warm enough, maybe we can get some rain and it's no big deal. Cold enough and perhaps we get about 5 inches of snow -- sure, whatever. But temps in between could mean ice from freezing rain and, as we've found out, that's no fun.

We're going to peg this impending icy, snowy apocalypse somewhere between "mildly annoying" and "winter's making an effort."

Note: AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world.

Baby, it's cold outside

snow hood


This picture by Sebastien just seemed to capture the last few days.

photo: Sébastien Barré

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2008-12-18

Yes, a "winter weather event" will soon be upon us. Here's the (paraphrased) forecast from the National Weather Service, which has issued a winter storm warning for tomorrow:

Eh. Not too cold.

Snow could start in the morning, and very likely will pick up in the afternoon with accumulations of up to 8 inches.

Tomorrow night
More snow with temps in the teens. Total accumulation could be as much as 12 inches.

Cold, highs in the 20s, but probably no snow.

Warming up a bit (30s), but a good chance of snow again.

We're going to project this as a "Winter's Making an Effort" storm as this looks like it'll be the first significant snow accumulation of the year. Shoveling will almost certainly be involved. If you can plan to knock off work a little early tomorrow, that might not be a bad idea.

But, hey, it's looking like there will be little, if any, ice. Here's to keeping the lights on.

Note: AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world.

Tens of thousands still without power, Paterson to propose "obesity tax," friend says Bruno indictment likely, SPAC renovation on ice

As of this morning, 75,000 homes in the Capital Region were still without power. National Grid says homes are being returned to the grid "every minute of every day." The utility company says it could be Wednesday before all the repairs are made -- and now there's concern that high winds today will set things back. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [TU]

A married couple in Glenville died this weekend from carbon monoxide fumes produced by their generator. At least 15 other people around the region were taken to hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning caused by using grills inside. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

With no power at home, people flocked to stores and restaurants this weekend. An Italian restaurant in Schenectady was so busy it ran out of spaghetti. [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette]

Many of the Amtrak trains running between Rensselaer and NYC are still canceled. [CapNews9]

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Ice storm photos

ice storm 2008-12-12 washington park

Washington Park

A few more pics from Washington Park are after the jump. The ice brought down some pretty big parts of trees.

If you have some interesting pics from the storm, we'd love for you to post a link to them in the comments or send them along: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com.

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Ice storm knocks out power, violence at Albany High said to be out of control, Freihofers sold, alleged puppy-napping in Troy

Note: The Daily Gazette's website wasn't loading this morning.

Updated: 11:25 am

The ongoing ice storm has knocked out power for about 160,000 National Grid customers in the four core counties of the Capital Region (that figure is from National Grid's website this morning at 11:25 am). National Grid says it has 150 crews in the area working on repairs. [National Grid] [TU]

An anonymous Albany High School employee tells CBS6 that violence is out of control at the school. Among the incidents collected from police reports this school year: a teacher has been pushed to the ground and kicked, another teacher was punched repeatedly in the ribs, there was a three-on-one student beating, and two students hit another student in the back of the head with a padlock. [CBS6]

An anonymous source tells the TU that "ghost" parking tickets have been circulating in the City of Albany since the early 1990s -- and the stickers that marked a car as being eligible for the no-fine tickets were distributed by the Albany Police Officer's Union. Current police chief James Tuffey was president of the union in the early 90s, but he says he never knew about the stickers. [TU]

One upside to the slowing economy: the price of electricity and natural gas is falling. The price National Grid is charging for a kilowatt hour of electricity has dropped about 15 percent over the last year. [TU]

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Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch

snowy apocalypse meter 2008-12-11

It'd be a "Whatever," but ice can be tricky.

So, yep, it looks like we're going to get the first significant snow and ice of the season during the next 24 hours. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until 1 pm Friday. Here's the forecast from the NWS:

Freezing rain, snow and sleet -- possibly heavy at times. Snow and sleet accumulation could be 1 to 3 inches. Temps will start out in the 20s and rise over night.

Freezing rain and snow in the morning. Chance of snow in the afternoon -- accumulation of maybe 1 to 3 inches. Temps in the mid 30s.

We're going to have to project this as an almost "Mildly Annoying" icy, snowy apocalypse. It'd be a total "whatever" event, but ice can be tricky. We're hoping those warmer temps will keep the accumulation down.

Note: AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. We do, however, think it's funny how every winter storm is treated like the end of the world.

Update: NBC News did a live hit about the storm from Albany last night...

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Does this count as "Indian Summer"

autumn leavesIt is unusually warm today -- like early Fall warm (the average high temp this time of year is around 50 degrees).

So does this count as "Indian Summer?"

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Snow days

snow plow

Let's hope we don't need the plows just yet.

The forecast for tonight includes the possibility of snow accumulation (and it's snowy big fluffy flakes as we post this). It's being described as "rare" and "early" snow.

OK, so when's a typical first snow around here?

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Bad commute

car submerged trunk sticking out

Hackett Blvd was a little backed up during the Thursday afternoon commute.

So, this is what it means to be in a trough. When do we get to be on the ridge?

Some more flood pictures after the jump. Take some good pictures of the flooding? We'd love to post them: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com .

photo: Paul Turner

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Rain, rain go away...

rainbow in Colonie

One upside to the rain: more rainbows, like this one over the weekend in Colonie.

Oh, Capital Region. Why so soggy this year? According to the folks at the National Weather Service, A-Town and surrounding areas have received twice the usual share of rain this summer. This is no surprise to those of us that have had to carry umbrellas to the track, the pool, the barbecue and -- oh hell, just about everywhere.

So why is it so wet this year?

We asked Brian Frugis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

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The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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