What’s Going On This Winter?

Connecticut is experiencing an unusually warm winter with not much to show in the snow department. Actually, January averaged 10 degrees above normal in New Britain with only one and half inches of snow. The average for January is 10″. There’s various reasons why we’re having a Virginia like winter without getting too technical is the La Nina phase of a Pacific Ocean jet stream is affecting the continental US. Usually a La Nina has a blocking effect for allowing Polar outbreaks to move southward from Canada in the eastern part of the country. Low pressure systems from the Pacific Ocean ride along La Nina jet stream and hit the west coast with heavy rain and upper elevation snow. These low pressure systems move across the country and move in the Great Lakes region giving a general rain pattern for us. Remember: If a storm system moves to our west we are in the warm sector from the counter clockwise wind circulation from the low pressure. The reason for below normal snow falls.

About Climate Change? Yes, there’s a component to that too. For the last several decades the average temperature has been gradually rising. You probably noticed the hotter summers lately.

Sweating in the pumpkin patch

Next week September will be coming to an end and it will hand off its torch to October when we transition to a true autumnal month. Usually fall chill settles in as the sunlight is chased away by early night darkness. The torch handed off to our tenth month will be “hot” when temperatures have a good chance to rise into the 90’s by the end of next week. Hopefully this mini heat wave will be short lived as more normal weather temperatures arrive by mid October. No flannels, no sweaters, no jackets and no comforters will be a mainstay as mid July rears its ugly head again. So… your attire next week when visiting a local apple orchard and pumpkin patch may have an unusual look as the October dress code will be broken with flip flops, shorts and tee shirts. I feel many will approve.

Strongest wind gusts since Irene

We will experience the strongest wind gusts tonight and tomorrow since tropical storm Irene hit Connecticut on August 27th, 2011. The atmosphere is set up perfectly for a tight pressure gradient from a departing low and strong high pressure area moving in. As the low pressure deepens to our north and strengths there will be wind gusts of 50-60 mph or more at times. Example: When walking through the caverns of skyscrapers in New York City don’t you notice the high wind squeezed between the building? Same analogy with the high and low pressure areas. The closer the high and low pressure areas are together, the stronger the “pressure gradient”, and the stronger the winds. On weather maps, lines of constant pressure are drawn which are called “isobars”. These isobars are usually labeled with their pressure value in millibars.

February’s Full Moon is Super

Picture taken tonight in West Hartford at 5:49pm
This year’s February presents the biggest full moon super moon of 2019. From around the world, the moon will look plenty full to the eye on both February 18 and February 19 as it parades across the nighttime sky. It reaches the crest of its full phase on February 19 for much of the world. What’s a supermoon? It’s a popularized term for what astronomers call a perigean full moon. In other words, it’s a full moon near perigee, or closest to Earth for this month. This February 2019 full moon reaches its exact full phase closer to the time of perigee than any other full moon this year. Hence the year’s closest super moon.

Chunk of polar vortex to dislodge

The analomy of an arctic air front from the top of our world has a new catch phrase named “Polar Vortex”. A few winters ago meteorologists recalled an arctic invasion to the northern portions of the United States with a stylish name and it has stuck like a hockey puck in a goaltenders big glove. Yes, after the real feel of frigid air this week with sub zero temperatures another one has eyes on the northern mid-west to New England early next week. The brunt of this latest cold invasion will be felt throughout the Great Lakes region with New England standing on the eastern periphery, meaning temperatures will be 0-10 above zero in the morning instead of 10-20 below. But there’s something to consider being on the edge of this cold air mass, the storm track will be very closeby where cold fronts end and warm air masses merge. Keep shovels nearby and snowblowers primed.