Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Giant Antarctic Iceberg Crash

Satellite images reveal that a giant crash earlier this month between Antarctica's Mertz glacier's giant floating tongue of ice and another iceberg has resulted in a new iceberg (the size of Luxembourg) to break off the continental shelf.

Yet another instance of "ice calving" that may be related to climate change (refer to previous blog post on January 14), the occurrence is feared by scientists to ultimately affect ocean circulation patterns.

Exactly how would that happen? Well the collision halved the size of the tongue that drains ice from the vast East Antarctic ice sheet into the Southern Ocean. The removal of this tongue of floating ice would reduce the size of that area of open water, which would slow down the rate of salinity input into the ocean, which would also slow down the rate of Antarctic bottom water formation.

Oceans act like a giant flywheel for the planet's climate by shifting heat around the globe via myriad currents above and below the surface. When such instances disrupt this process the end result could prove quite significant as it relates to our evolving climate.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Around the City, After the Snowicane

The record snow stopped falling overnight and today I ventured out around the city to run some errands. While doing so I snapped some photos. It's amazing how well New York cleans up after a major snowstorm! Here are just a few of the photos I took today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snowicane Exceeds Expectations and Proves Historic

Late this afternoon I decided to go back out into the Snowicane and snap some more photos, and of all those that I took, I think there are two that perfectly capture the intensity of the storm. Check out these shots looking crosstown from the east side to the west side of Manhattan (looking down 42nd Street).

As I made my way home and settled in to thaw my frozen toes and fingers I captured this clip on the local news. This, I think, really provides great detail on the awesome scope of the Snowicane, which continues to dump heavy snow squalls in New York City and points north and east.

It will be interesting to see where we end up as far as total snowfall for the city. As I blogged about earlier, this storm broke records! Will we make the top 3 heaviest snowfalls ever recorded in New York? We are extremely close and I will provide updates to the previous blog post, "Snowicane Breaks Records in NYC!" so check back often!

I wanted to also say thank you to everyone who is following along as I experience this epic winter weather event, which has clearly exceeded all expectations and is now one for the history books! It's been an amazing couple days and I am glad I can share it with you!

Snowicane Breaks Records in NYC!

UPDATE 11:00 A.M. (2-27-10) The National Weather Service in New York City has updated its record books once again! Yesterday's snowfall also broke daily records for that day particularly. 11.5 inches of snow fell yesterday alone, breaking the old record of 8.4 inches set in 1991.

UPDATE 6:00 P.M.
At 21 inches this snowstorm is now tied for the third heaviest for New York City. Below is where we stand among the top 3.

1. 26.9 inches in February 2006
2. 26.4 inches in February 1947
3. 21 inches in March 1888 AND TODAY, February 26, 2010

Original post:

As of 2:00 p.m. 20.8 inches of snow was reported at Central Park, making the Snowicane the fourth heaviest (so far) snowstorm on record! The all time record stands at 26.9" on February 11 – 12, 2006. We will continue to climb towards that over the next several hours and through the evening – possibly exceeding it by tomorrow morning. Even if we do not exceed the all time heaviest snowfall, as the snow does continue to fall, the Snowicane may very well at least slip into the top three!

Speaking of records, I’ve got another one for you! Regardless how much more snow falls from this storm, the Snowicane has allowed the previous monthly record snowfall of 30.5 inches in March 1896 to be squashed! February 2010 is now the all time snowiest month ever recorded with a record 35.9 inches (so far)!

As snow continues to fall these figures and records will be updated!

Snowicane Continues... 17" and Still Accumulating!

Shortly after I hit the publish button on the blog last night I did my normal 10-minute check out the window to see how the snowfall was progressing... and what a sight I saw! Within minutes the snowfall literally doubled in intensity. I could hardly see out my window and the street went from slushy to snowrific in the blink of an eye. And honestly, it has not let up much since.

The snow continues to come down this morning at quite an impressive rate. I think at its peak overnight we reached somewhere near 3 inches per hour, accompanied by gusty winds near 50 mph. Oh and did I mention the thunder? Yes, there was even thundersnow, which is an extremely rare occurrence and something that usually only takes place within the most intense Nor'easters. This definitely classifies!

So as I was saying the snow has not let up all that much. I am looking out the window as I type this and it's still coming down at about an inch per hour, sometimes heavier.

Latest snowfall totals as of 8 a.m. in Central Park are 17 inches! We have at least another 24 hours to go until the steady accumulating snow subsides, just to be replaced with squally snow showers, which in themselves could produce heavy, accumulating snow in bursts.

Accordingly, the National Weather Service once again upgraded the snowfall projections which now stand at 18 to 24 inches for the immediate New York City area. Points north and west could see as much as 30 inches. Slightly less as you move south of the city into New Jersey and east of the city onto Long Island.

In true form I could hardly sleep last night and woke up today at the crack of dawn to take some shots of the city in the snow! Here they are, along with a video I took in Madison Square Park. I hope you enjoy them!

I will post another update later!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

12 Hours into the Snowicane, 36 Hours to Go!

It's after 9:00 p.m. and the snow has been falling for over twelve hours now. The snow comes in bands and waves. No matter how heavy or light the precipitation across the tri-state area has been, it has not stopped since pre-dawn. Many areas are already reporting over a foot of snow, while some are still seeing rain. However, even those areas are finally beginning their transition to snow.

For snow lovers like myself it's quite interesting, and somewhat depressing, living in New York City during s
torms like this... because when I look outside my window on a busy midtown street, all I see is wet roads. No snow covered grass. Just damp concrete. Not much accumulation. Meanwhile uptown just thirty blocks at Central Park there is clear evidence that we are well on our way to a foot of snow in the city. The trees and park benches are plastered white. The park is literally buried. But not my street -- the heat from the cars, the subway, the foot traffic, the buildings -- it all melts my snow. And it drives me absolutely insane!

I am tired of running to the park each time it snows
just to see how much there is. But even that hope is shot right now because the authorities are warning people to stay off the streets and out of the parks. The weight of the heavy, wet snow is too much for the trees and power lines to handle. They are falling left and right, and today in Manhattan someone was killed by falling trees. In fact, a tree even fell on a city bus. Trees are also lining the streets in the Upper East Side. As you can imagine its quite dangerous out there.

So as the night progresses so will the heavy snow
and wind. By morning we can expect double the amount of snow we have already seen, and additional accumulations are expected through the day tomorrow. There are some hints that the storm will not completely move away from the area until Sunday, but right now we are thinking Saturday morning... which is why the Winter Storm Warnings have been extended until that time.

Overall, the immediate New York City areas accumulation projections have been raised to 12 to 18 inches. On western long island 6 to 12 inches can be expected and on the eastern part of the island about 3 to 6 inches and 1 to 3 inches respectively. Moving westward from the city, however, we are looking at accumulations approaching two feet, if not more in the higher elevations.

Winds are kicking up and will continue through Friday, sometimes gusting near hurricane force.

All in all, the Snowicane continues. I just wish I could see more of it outside my window.

Snowicane Progressing Nicely!

Well, its been snowing since about 7 a.m. in New York City. A heavy, wet snow that started as rain in the early morning hours will continue through the rest of today, into tonight and through the day Friday (some indications are that we won't be out of it until Sunday -- but more on that later).

The storm should peak in intensity during the overnight tonight when snow will fall at rates greater than 2 inches per hour at times, accompanied by wind gusts approaching 60 mph in some areas. This combination will lead to white out conditions, downed trees and power outages. But not for all! That's right... just miles away in Nassau County on Long Island, heavy rain and wind has been reported throughout the day, with over an inch already on the south shore.

Such a tight gradient between who gets heavy snow and who gets heavy rain has proved challenging for weather forecasters -- but it was expected. Check out the rain/snow line on this radar image today at 2:30. It has not moved much all day.

This should prove interesting for people commuting to and from the city this evening. You could go from dangerous, blizzard-like conditions to blinding rain within minutes. Be careful out there!

We'll provide a storm update this evening!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Computer Models Define Tricky Forecast

We at The Northeast Quadrant are not card-carrying meteorologists but we do know a lot about weather. And that starts with a basic understating of forecasting. We know that in situations like today when everyone’s eyes and ears are set on an impending winter storm that has yet to form, that we must look at the computer models, and only base our knowledge of the situation on what they are telling us.

I hear the buzz around the office today and I am sure it’s the same for all who commute into Manhattan – “what is in store for me tomorrow? And Friday?”

In my office we have people commuting from Long Island, New Jersey, upstate New York. Even from Pennsylvania. Well, the answer for all of them is different. It is absolutely guaranteed that tomorrow morning each one of us will wake up with another story when we look outside. And another story when we get to work, if we get to work.

If you turn on any weather station or throw any weather-related URL in your address bar you will probably hear a variety of forecasts, all which draw no real conclusion. At least not the conclusion you want to hear, such as:

• It’s going to be a close call for New York City
• The rain snow/line will be very close to New York
• New York and points north and west will likely see all snow
• Long Island and coastal Connecticut will likely see a changeover to rain

• New York may see 6-12 inches
• New York May see a foot plus

• New York may see several inches of snow, then rain, then more snow

• New Jersey will see over 2 feet of snow in the higher elevations

How frustrating, right? The deal is… this storm is so amazingly complex that just a few miles will make a difference in precipitation type and amount. Literally speaking, this time tomorrow there may be a raging snowstorm in downtown New York City, while just several miles away in Nassau County, Long Island there may be a heavy, windswept rain. Same holds true for areas in New Jersey. While there may be a blizzard of epic proportions in the northwestern parts of the state, the coastal areas may see a mix of rain and snow limiting accumulations there.

OK, so you get the picture. But the reason for this post is to show you that when a storm has not even formed, speculations like the above can only be made from computer analysis.

Here are two very reliable computer models that tell us two very different stories:

• The 12Z NAM shows a foot of snow around the New York City area, while the 12 GFS shows only about six inches
• The 12Z NAM shows about four inches across western Long Island, while the 12 GFS shows about eight inches
• The 12Z NAM shows about sixteen inches in northeastern New Jersey, while the 12 GFS shows about ten inches
• The 12Z NAM shows about four inches in southwestern Connecticut, while the 12 GFS shows about eight inches
• The 12Z NAM shows about fifteen hear Philadelphia, while the 12 GFS shows about eight inches

All in all, this will continue to be a tricky forecast that will not be nailed down until tomorrow when the storm develops.

Enjoy the weather – it’s the only weather you got!

A ‘Snow Hurricane’ -- Because Blizzard May Not Do Justice

You heard blizzard many times this winter... but not like this!

Severe winter weather watches and warnings are grabbing the attention of millions across the
country as all eyes are on a developing storm system that threatens to absolutely slam the northeastern states with extremely heavy snow, fierce hurricane force winds, torrential rains on the coast, along with battering waves and coastal flooding. A Snow Hurricane if you will -- a storm which has been quoted as "a decade of storms rolled into one," and "the perfect storm part two," or "nothing short of a monster!"

Well over a foot of snow is forecast in locations just inland from the coast from New Jersey to Maine northward to the Canadian border and beyond. And if you go even further inland, you could be looking at accumulations approaching 30 or 40 inches in the higher elevations. Snow drifts will be at least three to five feet in areas. The heavy wet snow, combined with winds in excess of 40 mph will cause dangerous blizzard conditions for hours on end. This will likely lead to downed trees, power outages and impassible roads.

Coastal regions from Long Island to northern Maine will receive hurricane-force winds at the storm’s peak, along with several inches of windswept rain. These areas could also expect to see coastal flooding from the onshore flow literally pushing the ocean onto land.

And to top it off... this is a long duration event! Beginning overnight Wednesday and lasting until Saturday for some areas. This is because the developing low pressure will approach the area, stall, begin to move away, then actually hook back... and as it does so it will deliver round after round of severe wintry weather before finally moving back out to sea late Friday.

When all is said and done this storm will be one for the record books. Its unique track, its extreme force and its ability to affect millions of people in its path will all need to be taken into consideration.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Hurricane Wind Scale for 2010 Season

Beginning the 2010 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 – November 30 for the Atlantic Basin (i.e. Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico), the National Hurricane Center will be categorizing storms using a new version of the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The new Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale will keep the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category.

The modification to the previous scale comes as realizations were made that storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. The National Hurricane Center says storm surge forecasts will continue to be included in hurricane advisories.

If you live in a hurricane prone area, below are the categories you should become familiar with:

Category One (Sustained winds 74-95 mph) – Severe winds will produce some damage and minor flooding is possible. Example: Humberto, 2007

Category Two (Sustained winds 96-110 mph) – Dangerous winds and moderate flooding will cause extensive damage. Example: Dolly, 2008

Category Three (Sustained winds 111-130 mph) – Extremely dangerous winds and significant flooding will cause devastating damage to occur. Example: Fran, 1996

Category Four (Sustained winds 131-155 mph) – As a result of destructive winds and flooding catastrophic damage will occur with very few structures remaining. Example: Charley, 2004

Category Five (Sustained winds greater than 155 mph) – Unfathomable winds speeds and flooding will cause mass catastrophic damage to occur and structures will be left in ruins. Example: Katrina, 2005

Stay tuned! In early April the official 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast will be released. You can bet The Northeast Quadrant will be on top of it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Global Warming Could Increase Effects of Atmospheric Blocking

Research now being conducted by the University of Missouri's Atmospheric Science department, indicates that atmospheric blocking, a general stagnation in the weather pattern, such as never-ending heat waves or winter storms like we saw this past summer and winter, can and will have a significant impact on local agriculture, business and the environment. And wait, hold your breath, here it comes... yup, as expected, such weather patterns could be increasing due to global warming!

The goal of the research is to ultimately help forecasters better predict blocking and warn people in the path of severe weather of these potential long-lasting, life-impacting events, and in conducting the research, they are trying to see if increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting atmospheric warming will affect the onset and duration of future blocking occurrences.

Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place and, because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked. It is anticipated that in a warmer world, blocking events will be more numerous and longer-lived, therefore resulting in an environment with more storms. Areas most impacted would be North America, Europe and Asia.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NASA Rocket Destroys Sundog

Last week when folks in The Northeast Quadrant were buried under snow, NASA launched another new mission. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) lifted off from Cape Canaveral on a five-year mission to study the sun. SDO will beam back IMAX-quality images of solar explosions and peer beneath the stellar surface to see the sun's magnetic dynamo in action.

Shortly after launch, SDO's Atlas V rocket flew past a sundog hanging suspended in the blue Florida sky and with a rippling flurry of shock waves, destroyed it.

Sundogs are formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high, cold cirrus clouds. As the crystals drift down from the sky like leaves fluttering from trees, aerodynamic forces tend to align their broad faces parallel to the ground. When sunlight hits a patch of well-aligned crystals at just the right distance from the sun a sundog can be seen.

When the rocket penetrated the cirrus, shock waves rippled through the cloud and destroyed the alignment of the crystals and the thus the sun dog too. The whole launch video is pretty cool, but for those of you who are impatient, the awesomeness occurs around 1:50 in the video.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Climate Change Olympics

When it comes to weather and this year's Olympics everyone is talking about how warm it's been in Vancouver, and how little snow, if any, is on the ground to support the wintry-themed event. The Northeast Quadrant blogged about it well before major news outlets really drilled the story home, and even today posted a headline "Olympic Weather Not Very Wintry."

Well Vancouver, you should feel lucky you're on the leading edge of what the future has in store for the Winter Games. XXI could be worse...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The NEQ Answers Your Weather Why’s – Part 3 of 3

The Tide is High and so is the Snow in DC!

We saved the best for last! Part 3 of the Challenge Their Knowledge video blog post series answers everything DC-related! We all know it’ been a crazy winter in the nation’s capital – but find out how this winter in DC stacks up among other winters, as well as what global warming and Al Gore have to say about it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The NEQ Answers Your Weather Why’s – Part 2 of 3

Driving on Ice, Cyprian Weather and Jersey!

We’ve done our research and we checked it twice… find out if it’s safe to drive on ice! In this video blog post we’ll teach you a little about driving on frozen water, the best time to vacation far outside The Northeast Quadrant, and why location matters when it comes to precipitation type in the Garden State.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 3 – the final video blog post in the Challenge Their Knowledge series! You won’t want to miss this – especially those of you in DC!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The NEQ Answers Your Weather Why’s – Part 1 of 3

Northern Lights, Smelly Feet and Woodchucks!

The Northeast Quadrant recently called on its readership to send in questions relating to anything and everything science – whether it’s meteorology, astronomy or anything at all, Well, we’ve answered your weather why’s via a three-part video blog post series dubbed Challenge Their Knowledge, recorded President’s Weekend 2010 from the nation’s capital!

Part 1, embedded below, will satisfy everything you need to know about the northern lights, smelly feet and woodchucks! Check it out – we think you’ll be quite impressed!

… and keep a look out for more video blog posts over the next few days as The Northeast Quadrant continues to answer your weather why’s!

Monday, February 15, 2010

January 2010 Was Warmest Month In 32 Years

On its path to breaking records set 32 years ago, January 2010 was recorded as the warmest month across the globe since 1978... and it's being attributed to the strong El Niño climate pattern we are currently experiencing.

In a USA Today article published on Friday, it states that according to climatologists, the Earth was about 1.3 degrees above average last month. Sounds a bit skeptical to those of us in the United States and Europe that have been experiencing winter weather extremes in the form of record breaking low temperatures and snowfall. But our weather conditions are only a very small fraction of Earth's overall dynamic atmospheric environment.

The main heat in January is said to have come from the subtropical areas, especially from the Sahara through Arabia and South Asia.

Meanwhile in the United States, nearly three quarters of the nation is snow covered and for the first time in 14 years, Lake Erie,
with an average depth of 62 feet, completely froze over!

And these crazy extremes are why we love weather!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Giant Up to the Minute Weather Map

When you're not getting weather news from The Northeast Quadrant, you might want to check out this new no-frills site Full Screen Weather map brought to you by our friends over at Weather Underground.

Visit and plug in your zip code and enjoy up-to-the-minute weather information in all its full screen glory. And like your favorite blog, The Northeast Quadrant, Full Screen Weather is brought to you ad free. More weather awesomeness for you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The United States is Snow Packed!

A vigorous snowstorm has been moving across the Gulf States since early Thursday, spreading snow and ice from Texas to North Carolina. In its path -- Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina... and even Florida. That's right, for the second time this winter the Sunshine State is experiencing abnormally cold temperatures and snowfall. But why the big deal? It's not The Northeast Quadrant that's being affected. Well, get this...

The new snow pack in Dixie brings the total states dusted with snow up to 49. I would have had to say 50, and I heard all 50 had snow, but after further investigating,
The Washington Post reports that Hawaii does not currently have snow cover. Although snow falls every winter on Hawaii's two tallest volcanoes, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said there was no snow in the state as of today.

At this time nearly 70 percent of the entire nation is absolutely snow packed (see image to the right)! And as the southern storm moves off the coast tomorrow morning it is estimated that over 70 percent of the nation will be snow packed. And get this, there's another storm heading for the mid-Atlantic and northeast on Monday, adding to the record depth of snow in those areas.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzards Shatter I-95 Weather Records!

Yesterday’s blizzard, the second to slam the I-95 Corridor from Washington, DC to New York City within just a few days, marked the third severe snowstorm this winter to slam that region (the first being the December 19, 2009 blizzard).

Yesterday’s storm dumped an additional 10.8 inches on Washington, DC – a city that received more than double that amount of snow this past weekend. The extreme events concluded that this winter is now the national capital’s snowiest, with a total of 55.9 inches. This broke the old all-time winter snowfall of 54.4 inches set in 1898-1899.

Baltimore, MD shattered its previous all-time snowiest winter record as well. The 19.5 inches of snow that fell there during the past 24 hours brought this winter's snow total to 79.9 inches. The winter of 1995-96 and its 62.5 inches recently held the record.

15.8 inches of snow fell on Wednesday in Philadelphia. That brings this winter's snowfall total to 71.6 inches, breaking the previous record of 65.5 inches set in 1995-1996.

This winter is also now the all-time snowiest in Atlantic City, NJ and Wilmington, DE. So far this winter these cities received 48.7 inches and 66.7 inches, respectively.

I am sure I don’t have to remind anyone that winter is not over yet…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big Blizzard in the Big Apple - A Video Journal

A major blizzard affected a large portion of the country today, from the mid-west to the east coast.

Direct from New York City, we recorded all day in th
e storm and posted the videos here and on our Facebook Fan Page. The evening videos as compared to the ones shot earlier in the day really show the rapid development of the Nor'easter and the deteriorating conditions associated with the blizzard.

Oh, and check out these photos The Northeast Quadrant blogger, Devin, took today in Central Park with The Weather Channel's Chris Warren.

It was truly a great day for a great snowstorm! Our Facebook fans thought so as well. Below these videos you will find a slideshow of photos submitted by them during the storm!

... and now for the Facebook fans' photo slideshow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nor'easters: Winters Most Ferocious Storms!

Time for a Meteorology Lesson

Everyone has been asking why there has been so much snow! What is causing this crazy, abnormal winter pattern? No matter what the cause is, which is likely ‘attributable’ to El Niño, atmospheric conditions this winter have been absolutely perfect for Nor'easters to form.

But what is a Nor'easter? The term has been thrown around in the news more times this winter than in the past decade, but what is it? For those inquiring minds, here's some insight.

A Nor'easter is a large-scale cyclonic storm with extremely deep low pressure that forms along the east coast of the United States. Conditions need to come together perfectly for a Nor’easter to form, and that is usually when the very cold Labrador current meets the warm Gulf Stream current (see image 1). Typically this will take place between 50 and 250 miles off the southeast United States. At the same this is occurring there needs to be a steady flow of arctic air from the north. The friction that occurs from the cold air to the north moving across the North American continent, and the warm air being pulled up from the Atlantic, causes the developing low pressure to begin to spin and move northeastward along the jet stream (see image 2). As it does so a Nor’easter is born and its tight rotating center of circulation will cause fierce winds from the northeast to affect any land in its path. Coastal areas are often battered by high seas and coastal erosion, and just inland you’ll find crippling snowfall amounts, deadly wind chills, damaging winds and torrential rains.

In addition to the impending blizzard tonight into tomorrow, recent memorable Nor'easters are the DelMarVa Blizzard of February 2010, the December 19 Blizzard of 2009, the Blizzard of 2006 (absolutely epic for NYC, three feet of snow in three hours / total snowfall near 30 inches in less than 24 hours), the Blizzard of 2003 (also known as the President's Day Storm II), and let's not forget a very, special Nor'easter that occurred in the off-season this past Autumn: Nor'Ida! Nor'Ida developed from the remnants of Hurricane Ida which after crossing the Gulf Coast, rode up the Atlantic seaboard, causing extremely heavy rain, coastal destruction and damaging winds! In New Jersey alone Nor'Ida caused coastal flood damage that left $168 million in losses.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A New Climate Information Service Under NOAA

While Washington, DC was buried under snow Monday, the Obama Administration proposed reorganization of the Department of Commerce to create a new National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Service. The new office would target the nation’s fast-accelerating climate information needs.

According to the
Washington Post, “The initiative, modeled loosely on the 140-year-old National Weather Service, will provide forecasts to farmers, regional water managers and business operators affected by changing climate conditions. But it comes at a time when climate skeptics have become increasingly effective in attacking the credibility of global warming forecasts.”

More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. With growing availability of information of all sorts, people are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives.

NOAA, along with the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ranks as one of the federal government's key agencies for monitoring the climate and conducting climate research.

The move is not planned until October 1, 2010, and will require the approval of Congress. To get a preview of the new climate service visit

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recap: February 5 - 6, 2010 DelMarVa Blizzard

The storm began in the mid-Atlantic on Friday morning, February 5, and with all forecasts pointing to a major blizzard bringing the potential for record-breaking snowfall, everyone was wondering, what would The Day After Tomorrow bring? Well, that day is today, Sunday, February 7, and here’s a re-cap of this historic snowstorm…

The storm originated in the Plains States on Thursday and quickly went from noteworthy to notorious, as it dropped snow amounts of 20, 25 and in few instances more than 30 inches. This, accompanied by fierce winds and whiteout conditions, caused near blizzard and even full-fledged blizzard conditions in many locations.

Embedded above are a few images from Accuweat and, which detail the storm’s incredible snowfall history. The slideshow below is a compilation of photos submitted to us by our Facebook fans on The Northeast Quadrant Facebook Fan Page wall.

In the wake of the February 5 - 6, 2010 DelMarVa Blizzard, seasonal snowfall has already climbed well up the ranks of great historic winters in several mid-Atlantic cities. And there’s more to come!

Our attention now turns to the previously mentioned new storm! The most reliable weather sources indicate another Nor’easter for the east coast, this time focusing more on the Northeast and southern New England than the mid-Atlantic. That is not to say the mid-Atlantic won't see any snow. Right now it seems several inches are possible there, but the heavier snow bands could set up a little further up the coast. The images below capture what we’re thinking...

We’ll continue to keep you posted!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Next Storm Another East Coast Blizzard?!?

It's the weekend and we are preparing for a fun blog post tomorrow that will re-cap the February 5 - 6, 2010 DelMarVa Blizzard, which will include an awesome slideshow of photos submitted by our Facebook fans on the Facebook Fan Page!

Until then, read this analysis from on the possibility of next week's Tuesday-Wednesday storm becoming ANOTHER BLIZZARD!!!

It seems the operational models are going towards another major blizzard along the Mid-Atlantic (AND Northeast) Wednesday.

Here's what we know...
  1. Looks like this one will be a much colder storm as the polar vortex dumps right into the East.
  2. Storm should bomb out as the polar vortex catches up with the southern stream system.
  3. GFS has a blizzard with snow ratios of 20:1 to 30:1 from BWI to Boston.
  4. New Euro has 995 mb low off of Atlantic city NJ Wed AM. That would mean heavy snow for areas from Maryland to new England.
  5. DGEX model has the blizzard from NE PA into New England with NYC getting smacked.
  6. JMA goes along with the DGEX model, so all operational models are going for a major storm Wednesday.
  7. Also, wide swath of wind blown snow of 3-6 inches will start in Kansas and move east through Illinois and Ohio to PA before we even get the bomb developing along the coast.
If we get the storm as per the operational models, this would be an unprecedented winter with 4 major blizzards in the East and 3 major blizzards in the Plains and Midwest. With the exception of the 2005 hurricane season, I can not remember a 3 month stretch of such intense storms. 1978 comes to mind, but I think there were only 3 storms that year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Climate Change Responsible for Butterfly Homicide

Biologists in the Golden State announced this week that butterflies are joining the list of unfortunate victims of climate change.

A University of California study found that butterflies living at lower elevations are slowly migrating towards mountain tops to escape the hotter, more volatile weather conditions (and urban development), while butterflies already living on mountain tops have no escape and are simply dying.

Butterflies have long been regarded as an early warning indicator for climate change. But because the environment is changing so quickly and they have very little time to cope, their already short life cycles and high sensitivity to temperature make them especially vulnerable.

Another recent study indicates the same issue occured in the eastern United States, stating that climate change was one possible explanation for a sharp decline in female monarch butterflies there.

Poor butterflies!

Happy National Weatherperson's Day!

What better way to celebrate the imminent threat of a major snowstorm than with National Weatherperson's Day!

February 5 is National Weatherperson's Day, which commemorates the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. Thirty years later, Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and he took the first balloon observation in 1784.

So Happy National Weatherperson's Day! This is a day to recognize the men (like everyone's favorite, CNN's Rob Marciano, pictured here) and women who collectively provide Americans with the best weather, water, and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation.

You'll need 'em this weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Second Huge Snow To Strike DC - Everyone Panic!

The snow should start falling during the morning hours of Friday in the DC area and will increase throughout the day, with heavier snow arriving during the late afternoon and evening hours. Snow will fall heavily through the night, and continue through Saturday morning, before tapering off during the afternoon hours. At this point, the worst conditions appear to arrive late Friday afternoon through Saturday morning… with heavy snow during this time. Snow will fall at the rate of several inches per hour at times.

Winter storm warnings are posted for the DC metro area, and current indications are that 18 to 24 inches of snow are possible in the area. This will rival or exceed the December storm in many areas. Winds gusting to 25 mph overnight Friday will make for blowing and drifting snow, and low visibility. Virginia has already declared a state of emergency and DC area federal offices are operating on unscheduled leave policy on Friday.

Significant and substantial disruptions to travel, including high impacts to the Friday evening rush hour are expected. This has the potential to be a significant snow storm, and possibly even historic.

Everyone panic. Or just enjoy this SNOrgasm! But maybe stock up on amo for later when you have to hunt squirrels for food.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coral Succumbs to Deep Florida Freeze

Remember that unusual and unseasonable harsh winter freeze that made its way down to the Florida Keys earlier this winter? The same one that offered up some snow around Disney and even a flurry or two in Miami? The same one that caused lizards to fall from trees, and forced the citrus crop into anger-management? We blogged about it then and here we are again – this time to talk about the recent devastating assessment of coral reef in the Keys region.

Scientists are saying the cold weather completely killed much of the coral extending from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas islands west of Key West. Divers assessing the coral last week were looking for bleaching – a tell-tale sign that the ocean life has been damaged, but what they found was even more devastating. The corals didn't even have a chance to bleach. They just went straight to dead. Divers from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are calling the situation an “ecosystem-wide mortality."

Snowstorm Extravaganza!

I am really trying to hold back from blogging about the pending Nor'easter (later referred to as snowstorm #3, with #2 being last night's winter wonder and # 1 being this past Saturday's theatrical delivery of Snow White) forecast to hit The Northeast Quadrant this weekend... bringing with it the potential for major snow and ice accumulations, gusty winds and coastal flooding. OK, I suppose I did just blog about it. But seeing as it's only Wednesday and the storm is still evolving in Texas and has yet to reach the Gulf of Mexico and traverse across the southern states and spawn a new low off the east coast and ride up the seaboard delivering a plethora of winter weather, I'm just going to wait another day to talk more about it... because I think it's going to end up being a super complex storm and as of now it's fair game for anyone in The Northeast Quadrant to see heavy snow, crippling ice, torrential rain, or a mixture of all. Our bets are on heavy snow though! Like potentially feet of it!

Oh, and next Tuesday may very well be #4 in what seems to be a growing list of significant snowstorms to plague the region in 2010!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mid-Atlantic (DC) Snow FREAKOUTZ!

Well, we all know it's supposed to snow... It's February, it's winter, it's cold and it's moist. So you would *think* after December's Blizzard of 2009, that several additional inches of snow accumulation wouldn't yield such FREAKOUTZ! But it does... and always will. And we love you for it! We really, really do! That said, here's some of The Northeast Quadrant's favorite Mid-Atlantic (DC) Snow FREAKOUTZ!

By the way, and no cause for alarm (yeah right!)... but there is a potentially another MAJOR snowstorm heading towards the east coast this weekend, and again mid-next week. As mentioned, no cause for alarm but this weekend's storm could trump some recent biggies!

Now, enjoy the FREAKOUTZ!

• what's this I hear about snow tomorrow? I hope we get 2 feet again!!! • snow day tomorrow. Two to four inches, I hope they close the government. • 2-4 inches of snow expected between 4PM today & 7AM tomorrow in D.C. Please take precautions - is no longer a "weather alert" - it's a weekly occurrence • just got an alert from the City of Alexandria- weather alert AGAIN- 2-4 inches of more snow starting at 4:00 this afternoon- Winter- go back to Iowa please- we are done with you here in DC • will not be running his errands today due to the snow… dry cleaning and laptop/ipod shopping will have to wait. • DC weather people are saying our snow will be "light and fluffy" and "sweepable". Uh-huh. Better get out the broom... • the snow is now past "sweepable"... unless your broom has a shovel on the end of it! • calling for another 3-6" of snow overnight Tuesday... • snow starting… only 2-4 inches... but that's enough to f-up the roads here. • say it ain't snow, Joe. • Attention FB friends in the DMV area... The national weather service has issued a Winter storm warning beginning today at 5PM until tomorrow morning at 7AM. Accumulations predicted up to 3-6 inches. Take your time during rush hour and travel safely... • now it’s a warning. There goes all the toilet paper, eggs, milk and bread from all the grocery stores. • more than a weekly occurrence now & more joy Friday. Fairfax County Schools have canceled all afternoon & evening activities. • word on the street is we are supposed to get a huge storm this weekend in addition to tonight!?!!? Can anyone verify this??! • let it snow.... dc is under the gun for a big one!!! • I heard we were getting 49203 feet. • looks like we're about to get more snow! • These weekend storms are God's way of telling today's high schoolers to stay in school. • I do love the weather, almost as much as I love plants! That said, this is getting old. 2nd winter storm warning in 3 days, and were likely to go through it AGAIN Friday/ Saturday, with an even bigger storm. I mean, if it’s gonna be cold, snow is nice to look at and all, but really, it IS getting OLD! I’m so NOT a northerner when it comes to weather and plants. • It's been an unusual winter for DC. I don't think we had more than a couple of inches in the previous 2 winters combined. So far this year, we've had several storms. One dropped about 2 feet in December. Last Saturday we had about 6 inches. Apparently all the municipalities have already blown their snow budgets. • Uggh, we went from 1-2 inches, to 2-4 inches now 3-6 inches of snow. Going to the gym for a swim. • Seriously. I just checked and 3 hours ago we had 2-4, now 3-6... • WooHoo!!!! Snow day tomorrow? Better get to gym before it starts... • This snow and blizzard stuff is throwing off my workouts!! It has to stop soon or I won't be pretty by spring!!!!

More Snow in the Mid Atlantic – SNOtagain!!!

Happy Groundhog Day! To kick off six more weeks of winter glory, Mother Nature seems to have decided to send some more snow to the citizens of The Northeast Quadrant!!

Snow totals are
expected to range from a slippery coating to an inch or two in New York City, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and 2 to 4 inches in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Oh no SNOtagain!!!

Unsurprisingly, the forecast is enough to send Washington DC into panic mode. Government employees ARE expected to spend most of the evening pushing refresh on the
OPM's Operations Status website.

Famous Rodent Calls for 6 More Weeks of Winter!

So as well all know by now, Punxsutawney Phil was ripped from his weather station of a hole (see image to the right) this morning to provide us with critical climatological information, noting that we have to endure six more weeks of winter weather!

The legend is that if the groundhog (also known as a woodchuck, whistle-pig, or land-beaver) sees its shadow, then we will have six more weeks of winter, while no shadow predicts an early Spring. However, last I checked Winter will always end on March 21 when the Spring Equinox begins. But somehow every year on February 2 we turn our attention to the PA-based rodent to provide us with a useless prediction on what to expect over the next several weeks. This tradition started in the 1700's in Pennsylvania with the German settlers who lived there. They are called Pennsylvania Dutch today (but The Northeast Quadrant calls them Amish)!

In other related news, PETA announced this past week that they would like to see Phil replaced with a robotic groundhog! Here's a dramatic, yet accurate representation!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Record Low National Drought!

The stormy pattern affecting the nation over the past several months has proved extremely helpful in fighting the national drought, which is at an all-time low!

A drought, which is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply, has in recent years been especially harsh in the desert southwest, including California, Nevada and Arizona; the inter-mountain west states of Utah and New Mexico; and the gulf states from Georgia to South Carolina.

As of January 26, The U.S. Drought Monitor, which measures drought on a scale from D0 (abnormally dry) to D4 (exceptionally dry), indicates that only 9.15% of the country is in moderate to exceptional drought. This is a 10-year record low percentage of drought in the United States since the Drought Monitor report began in 1999.

The Weather Channel says much of this drought alleviation can be attributed to the recent western storminess that provided days of heavy snow and excessive rains across the southwest. Arizona went from 88% of the state in severe or worse drought to just 15.7% in one week, while California plummeted from 63.2% to 19.4%.