Monday, April 29, 2013

Temperature Ranks this Spring

Just ran the temperature numbers since March 15th. Where does this year's spring temperatures rank so far? Not very warm as you probably thought...79th out of the 143 years of record keeping in Cleveland.

I also circled the warmest and coldest 3/1 to 4/28 periods on the handy little chart below.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Comparing Spring 2013 to Spring 2012

Last spring's weather was an aberration.

...sure it could happen again but the chances seemed small. I explained the 2012 spring conditions and the drought that followed at The Ohio State Weather Symposium in March. (Power Point is here) A year later, the conditions are very different in many ways across the U.S.  Above normal rainfall, temperatures running well below normal and late season snowfall for starters.

Since the growing season is around the corner, lets compare the temperatures, rainfall and drought indices to this time last year. First the temperatures. After the warmest March on record and a very warm April of 2012, this spring since March first has been anything but warm. Late season snow on the 20th of April with flurries on the 24th have solidified this early spring as a bust for Ohio.
Temps vs Normal for March thru April 22nd
Rainfall last year was becoming scarce. Moist condition in winter were disappearing as evaporation from the early spring warmth was taking its tool on the soil. So far this spring, rain has been plentiful across Ohio while major flooding was a big concern for the upper Mississippi River.

Mississippi River flooding from Iowa to almost St. Louis

The Mississippi River was well above flood stage in St. Louis but no where near the record highs set during the Flood of 1993

The Long Term Palmer Drought Index for the week of April 20th shows three distinct difference compared to 2012 at this time. The first is the southeast where conditions are much improved this year. Second is the drought conditions in the western Plains and out west which are only getting worse. Third is the heavy rain and saturated soil across the corn belt.

Whether or not we see any reprieve from the rain will greatly determine how quickly corn can be planted. Corn is only 2% in the ground while last year, the top corn producing states were already 16% planted. Something to watch!

The thousands of record cold and snowfall records across the U.S. from late March through late April hasn't helped.

Spring tornadoes are way down compared to the seasonal average of 492. In 2012, 588 tornadoes were confirmed. So far this spring, the number is more than half of last year's with 226 as of April 25th. 

So what does early May look like? Will we see any warmth? Will we see bouts of cooler periods? While "cooler" for late May means something different than early April, the overall outlook for the next two weeks isn't great. Both long term projections shows the temperatures averaging below average (average high is lower 60s for earl May) which would translate to 40s and 50s.

Map on left is thru May 12th--Map on right is for May 4th--COOL!
What a difference a year makes!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What is Your Definition of a HOT SUMMER?

One of the many things I have learned over the years presenting the weather on television is the strength of the public's perception on how the weather works. The weather data may say one thing about a specific weather trend or event but the power of our senses creates and amplifies inherent biases hardwired in our brains and overwhelms any objective analysis.

How many times have we described some piece of weather history with numbers and they just didn't sit well with you because you perceived weather to be wildly different? We all have some degree of what is called cognitive dissonance--that is the feeling of discomfort (frustration, anger, embarrassment) when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting ideas or beliefs.

Rather than make you feel uneasy about listing scary numbers of summer's by (believe me, I'll have plenty of time for this in later posts) , my QUESTION OF THE DAY is to survey your PERCEPTIONS of the weather.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Snow in April? Has this Happened Before?

Its April 20th and we had snow showers earlier in the morning. I could hear the collective "Where is spring? Its not supposed to snow this late into April!" In most years, you and the rest of northern Ohio would be correct. 

Cleveland Heights
South Euclid
How many times have we seen only a tenth (0.1") of snow AFTER APRIL 20TH? Believe it or not, its happened 24 TIMES SINCE 1895 here in Cleveland.

Here are the years and the days this has occurred. The first numbers are the temps leading up to the day of snow. Notice that this year is the first time we've had an 80+ day followed by measurable snow  36 hours AFTER the 80+ degree high.

2013 - 84, 71, 44 (0.1" - 20th)
2005 - 12.4" over 3 days (23-25th)  
2004 - 70, 62, 49 (0.1" snow late on 27th)
1996 - 60, 73, 58 (0.1" overnight)1993 - 73, 40 (0.1" on 21st)
1978 - 50, 42 (0.2" on 21st)
1971 - 60, 52 (0.1" overnight on 21st)
1968 - 51, 29 (0.2" on 25th)

1967 - 49, 39 (0.1" on 24th)
1963 - 65, 59 (0.3" overnight on 30th)
1953 - 34, 57 over 2 days (1.6" & 0.1" on 20-21st)
1934 - 42 (0.7" on 21st)
1922 - 39 (0.2" on 21st)1920 - 59, 48 (0.1" on 28th)
1908 - 41 (1.4" on 30th)
1907 - 59, 42 (0.2" on 26th)

1906 - 41 (0.2" on 23rd)
1904 - 31 (0.3" on 20th)

1903 - 41 (0.1" on 22nd)
1901 - 35, 40 (2.8" & 1.8" on 20-21st)

Incidentally, how often have we seen measurable snowfall in May? 11 TIMES

1902 - 0.6" on 10th
1906 - 0.1" on 9th
1907 - 0.5" & 0.2" on 4th & 10th
1908 - 0.1" on 2nd
1909 - 0.1" & 0.3" on 1st & 2nd
1963 - 0.1" on 1st
1973 - 0.6" on 4th
1974 - 2.0" & 0.1" on 6th & 7th

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Today/Tonight's Severe Weather Threat


The radar looks fairly uniform this morning. Well defined line of rain and storms in the middle of the country. .
A WATCH might have to be issued for Indiana later this morning. No showers/storms on radar over northern Ohio as of 9AM.

For Ohio, we will see three elements evolve today before the storms arrive: First the strong winds. The pressure gradient is strong along the front as is the temperature gradient. Temps early this morning were in the upper 70s in St. Louis; 45 in Kansas City. The pressure gradient and the low level winds will translate down to the surface reaching 40-45 late today as we reach prime heating. Dew points are also climbing.

The second element is the temperatures. In April, we need a strong southerly wind to reach 80. That should not be a problem later. the only inhibiting factor will be some cloud cover. History tells us that the winds should mix out the cloud deck. Expect a fair amount of sunshine. Morning temperatures ahead of the front already in the 70s!

The third component (the toughest to nail down) is the energy ahead of the main front. Will this energy kick up some spotty storms later today/evening? Once again, history dictates that the chances are pretty good. The HRRR model shows the random, pre-frontal storms very well. The Storm Prediction Center has western Ohio in a slight risk later today for severe storms

Then we await the arrival of the winds ahead of the front. Storms will pass through the area at the right time of day (late evening/overnight) so as to diminish the severe weather threat. A few storms will reach severe limits tonight but it should not be widespread.

Expect rain early Friday, temps will remain in the 60s early. The models continue to push this front through FAST. So look for the rain to move into Pennsylvania by noon Friday. Temperatures will drop quickly into the lower 50s by afternoon. Some sunny breaks behind the front.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Just How BIG have this April's "Ups and Downs" been so far?...

Cleveland Skyline
The dramatic "ups and downs" in recent weeks have caused many to draw the conclusion that this pattern must be something very unique even for spring. Andre has a great blog on his website about how our memory is very selective. We tend to put more weight on recent events or events that are important to us without taking a look at the "big picture" and the data. I've also written extensively about our cognitive biases in how they shape how we perceive the weather (behavioral meteorology) HERE and the human condition pertaining to weather HERE. Our cognitive dissonance couldn't be more apparent in how we view this recent 14 days weather pattern, i.e. One day at 80 then 30s with drizzle and sleet, etc

So how does this April so far compare to the last few years comparing day-to-day HIGH temperatures drops and rises compared to the normal high of the day?  Here are the largest "drops and rises" compared to the daily normal over the 25 Aprils through the first two weeks. For example, if the high was 80 (normal for that date was 60 for a +20 degree difference) and the next day, the high was 45 (normal was 61 for a -16 degree difference), the final difference over the 24 hour period was -36 degrees! These are the numbers I used in the graph below.

Don't be intimidated by this chart. There a lot of numbers here. First, I BOLDFACED the instances of day-to-day positive change (WARMER) of more than 10 degrees. Second, I underlined instances where the temperature change was more than 10 degrees for back-to-back days.  Frankly, I couldn't figure out a good way of illustrating this so the raw data will have to do for now.

Here are some of my notable conclusions:

Recently, 2011 had some VERY big "ups and downs". During one stretch in 2011, temperatures dropped 31 degrees in 24 hours then rose 13 degrees the following day!

April 2010 had an instance where temperatures dropped 20 degrees and then rose 22 degrees the following day.

April 2007 had a 12 degree jump then a 17 degree drop followed by ANOTHER 35 degree drop.

April 1995 from a Sunday to Friday saw a 20 degree jump, a 17 degree drop, a 12 degree drop, 22 degree jump then finally a 19 degree drop!


The bottom line is that historically, April is known for wild swings in temperature and weather. We just don't want to believe it because what's happening NOW is usually perceived as more significant than what happened in the past.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trust Local Severe Weather Coverage

In weather situations like today, I would stick to local television stations for severe weather updates versus cable channels. National cable channels that air frequent severe weather updates often generalize their outlooks and coverage.  Most don't know about the specific mesoscale weather variations like the local meteorologists who work there.

During general updates for a multi-state area,  the words "tornado warning" might be said perhaps referring to another area. Yet local viewers often mistake these words to describe THEIR local weather!  Not saying they are wrong all of the time, they just have a tendency to "cry wolf" far too often with "wall-to-wall" when none is required.  Bottom line, watch your favorite local television station for hyper-local weather updates. I can guarantee that we at WJW FOX8 WILL NOT blow the weather out of proportion. We only break into programming during tornado warnings or if the weather becomes severe over a widespread area.

 Its not the weather that scares people the most, its the words you use to describe it!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Cleveland Home Opener Weather

So far, the front has been relatively inactive. A few spotty showers are popping up but nothing heavy or widespread. CLICK HERE FOR CURRENT RADAR

Expect a few hit and miss showers during the game. I highly doubt we will have any delays.

I will leave you with the team photo of the 1869 Cleveland Forest Citys. Snappy unis!
1869 Cleveland Forest Citys - Courtesy:

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Will We See 500 Homers Again? Updated Leaderboards

Opening Day 2013 is in the books. The dawn of the newest crop of young talent like Bryce Harper, Buster Posey and Mike Trout is showing signs of dominating the majors in the years to come.  Players like Miguel Cabrera who is in his 11th season began his MLB career in 2003! Chew on that for a minute. Let's put it another way: The number of players who were active as games resumed after 9/11 that are still active in 2013 is probably very small. The new generation of talent is here.

Last summer, knowing that the youth movement was in full swing, I looked up and down the active leader boards to see if any milestones were in reach by some of the veteran players who might not have many years left. Too my astonishment, milestones wouldn't be reached as frequently as what we saw in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Check out the link to my original post HERE. Basically, I "cleaned" up the leader boards so as to reflect an active leader board list more true to future trends. My list back in August had some pretty big assumptions such as retirements, part-time players and, in retrospect, some grossly optimistic bounce-backs of a few players. Back in 2008, I created a similar list with again, some REALLY optimistic projections for a few players that seem follish now. How things have changed since then!

What do these leader boards look like now? The first number is the actual stat (as of April 3rd), the second is the player's first year, the third is their position on the all-time list. The leader boards all of a sudden look a whole lot different!  I didn't list players who were not on a Major League roster on opening day. I also didn't list part-time playeers like Jason Giambi. Aside from Jeter and A-Rod, not many players are close to the top.


Alex Rodriguez    647    1994    5th
Albert Pujols       475     2001    29st
Paul Konerko      422    1997    46th
David Ortiz          401    1997    50th
Adam Dunn         406    2001    49th
Alfonso Soriano   372    1999    71th
Lance Berkman   360    1999    75th
Todd Helton        354    1997    82nd
Adrian Beltre       346    1998    88th
Aramis Ramirez   342    1998     89th


Alex Rodriguez  1898     1994      10th
Derek Jeter        1868     1995      13th
Todd Helton       1360     1997      98th
Albert Pujols      1376     2001      94st
Carlos Beltran    1267     1998    136nd
Ichiro Suzuki      1204     2001    169th
Jimmy Rollins     1182     2000    190th
David Ortiz         1124     1998    226th
Paul Konerko     1106      1997    240th
Adrian Beltre      1089      1998    250th


Derek Jeter        3304    1995    11th
Alex Rodriguez   2901    1994    37st
Ichiro Suzuki      2607    2001    76th
Todd Helton       2422     1997    113th
Albert Pujols      2246    2001    162th
Michael Young   2230     2000    167th
Adrian Beltre      2227    1998    168th
Paul Konerko     2183    1997    184th
Juan Pierre        2142     2000    211th
Carlos Beltran    2065    1998     237th


Todd Helton        570    1997    22nd
Derek Jeter         524    1995    40th
Alex Rodriguez    512    1994    48th
Albert Pujols       505    2001    53th
David Ortiz          482    1997    75th
Adrian Beltre       452    1998    86th
Alfonso Soriano   434   1999    124th
Aramis Ramirez   425   1998    137th
Jimmy Rollins      421    2000   143rd
Carlos Beltran     416     1998   147th


Derek Jeter          2585    1995    40th
Alex Rodriguez    2524    1994    50th
Paul Konerko      2143     1997   162nd
Todd Helton         2125    1997    166th
Adrain Beltre        2117    1998    173rd
Torii Hunter          1948     1997   267th
Raul Ibanez          1912    1996    286th
Carlos Beltran      1921    1998    284th
Ichiro Suzuki        1912    2001    290th
Juan Pierre          1882    2000     311th


Juan Pierre        591    2000    19th
Ichiro Suzuki     452    2001    51th
Carl Crawford   432    2002    57th
Jose Reyes        410    2003    65th
Jimmy Rollins    403    2000    72th
Derek Jeter       348    1995    112th
Alez Rodruguez 318    1994    145th
Rafael Furcal     314    2000    152nd
Carlos Beltran   306    1998    155th
Michael Bourne 276   2006     184th


Andy Pettitte          245    1995    52th
Roy Halladay         199    1998    112th
Tim Hudson           197    1999    118th
CC Sabathia          191    2001    139th
Derek Lowe          175   1997     171st
Mark Buehrle        174    2000    172th
Barry Zito              154    2000    237th
Chris Carpenter     144    1997    266th
Johan Santana        139    2000    295th
A.J. Burnett           137    1999    304th

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Moral Intuition and Social Media

If you've read my posts on Scott's World of Weather, you've probably seen my posts on psychology and how it related to how we perceive the weather. In that vein, I just read a great article on how we react to situations. The premise of the article is: WE REACT TO SITUATIONS AT WORK, AT HOME, ON THE STREET, ETC WITH OUR MORAL INTUITION FIRST AHEAD OF OUR CONSCIOUS MORAL REASONING. The author uses the term 'Social Intuitionism".

The article stems from a book by Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist who theorizes that our moral intuition reacts before any moral reasoning takes place. This might seem like common sense. Yet he surmises that our moral reactions are more "similar to sensations of taste". He identifies 6 of these "moral taste receptors": HARM, FAIRNESS, LIBERTY, AUTHORITY, LOYALTY and SANCTITY. His book describes how these societal traits evolved from basic behaviors like "protecting our children, forming coalitions, forming hierarchies, etc" just to name a few. Its theorized that these moral intuitions evolved from the primal behaviors which our human ancestors needed for basic survival.

I couldn't help but think about how our Social Networking behavior online often follows the same pattern.  Take Facebook comments for example. How many times have you posted some innocuous message on Facebook or Twitter where the comments are driven by the aforementioned "moral intuition"?  People seem to let their moral intuition guide their comments before their moral reasoning/rational side can have a say. Perhaps its a derivative of our ancestral survival instinct. The difference is Social Media is not a "life or death" activity. Yet many of us treat as such.

How often do we see people comment with their emotions first? Not much.

How often do we see people evoke some preconceived notion in a comment instead of rationalizing their viewpoint? Not much.

Conversely, how often do we see people let their rational side guide their comments before their emotion or--as the author of the book states--moral intuition impulsively takes over? Not much.

Let's stretch out the author's findings over a larger component of the social sciences. Politicians feed on our "moral intuition" by talking about issues in such a way as to cater to a specific demographics propensity for quick judgments Whether a person is left leaning or right leaning, the idea of a moral intuition--quick judgments before cognitive reasoning--applies.

Why does this matter? The more we have an understanding of how our consciousness works, the better our interactions with other in high pressure environments.

Some thoughts as I head out to Progressive Field where I will no doubt pull a hammy.

Education & Unemployment: Two Charts Tells The Story

While the price of a college education has continued to rise, its importance has risen along with it. These charts tell us that someone with a college degree is more apt to be employed at this stage of the recession recovery than someone with only a high school diploma. Annual earnings of a college graduate is also much higher. Bottom line: Go to college and get a degree!!!!!