Saturday, October 26, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Lake effect snow in northern Ohio is common....but usually not before Halloween. Here is what our classic lake effect skies look like in Cleveland: Sunshine west; heavy, low and unstable cloud cover with rain and wet snow east
Here are the best of the best October snow photos! You can always email me weather photos at email@example.com
Here are the best of the best October snow photos! You can always email me weather photos at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Snow in Mayfield Heights|
|Snow on a pumpkin in Middlefield, Ohio|
|Beachwood, Ohio accumulations|
|Garfield Heights, Ohio|
|Andre Bernier's photo of 5" in Chesterland, Ohio|
|Lyndhurst, Ohio snow|
|Snow on the west side...Westlake, Ohio|
|Jefferson, Ohio near Lenox Township|
|Branches down in Highland Heights|
|Snow in Newbury, Ohio|
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
How often have we heard the saying "Perception is Reality"?
No other phrase describes the weather better than this one. We look at past winters through our own lense molded by our own experiences in that weather. Maybe we were on our way to a Christmas party in a snow storm. That storm will leave an indelible mark in our minds because of its proximity to Christmas. This memory often places more emphasis on the current weather than a more innocuous event. We might perceive the winter to be more harsh as a result.
I've often heard people talk about how mild last winter was here in northern Ohio. Yet when I site the data which shows that the average temperature from early November to March 31st last winter was SLIGHTLY COOLER than the 20 year average, people are skeptical.
There must be a more detailed story behind the typical winter narrative we are used to. Generalizing degrees of cold and snow just doesn't cut it. So how do we quantify why we remember a winter to be COLD or NOT SO COLD; SNOWY or NOT SO SNOWY?
As I stated above, sometimes the average temperatures or total snowfall don't tell the complete story. For example, last year's overall average temperatures were SLIGHTLY BELOW THE 20 YEAR AVERAGE! Hard to believe but its true.
The 5 month average is misleading to be sure. How about snow...we had more snow last year than the year before right?
Now let's dig a bit deeper beyond the generalities and averages. The number of days at or below 30 degrees during was more than DOUBLE the year before
...and we had a week's worth of nights in the single digits well above the winter before.
...and we had almost 3 weeks MORE with at least one inch of snow cover!
I mention all of this to people and its still not enough to convince them that this past winter wasn't as "mild" as how they perceived it. Digging deeper still into the data shows the most important stat of all: The number of days at or above 40 was pretty high on the list. We probably remember those days more than the run-of-the-mill 30 degree days.
What can we learn from this in determining how we personally define a "cold and snowy" or "not-so-cold and snowy" winter?
* We remember the weather extremes better than the run-of-the-mill "typical" winter weather.
* We easily forget the single digit nights and the consistent snow cover vs the winter before.
* We diminish the importance of the days when the temperatures stayed in the 20s.
We chalk all of this as normal.
Coming off of several winters with below normal snowfall and milder temps, we involuntarily assign more importance to the winter days above 40 degrees--the warmer extremes--so the memory becomes stronger as a result.
What will stand out in the months ahead in solidifying our memory of this winter?
Friday, October 18, 2013
Its Friday and its time for some miscellaneous meteorology tid-bits. An eclectic blend, if you will, of current weather topics with handy charts and colorful pictures. So settle in and get ready to jump around a bit as I clean off my desktop of all the jpegs I've been working on this week.
Cold weather is coming next week. The 500mB map shows a huge trough in the east and a ridge in the west. Also, the Greenland Block is present which will only aid in strengthening the eastern trough into November.
Could we see wet snow IN SPOTS at the end of next week? You bet...
Could we still see warmer days? Historically, it happens a few times after October 17th and before the end of November. We had 4 last year. Over the last 30 years, we've only had 3 instances where the daytime highs never went about 70 in late October and early November in northern Ohio.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Last year, a similar question was asked on the heals of the incredibly warm summer of 2012. I did some quick checking of the lake water temperature data and compared 2012 to other recent summers. READ MY FULL POST HERE That research showed the lake seems to cool at relatively the same rate from September through November.
Will the lake cool similarly this year?
The overall summer temperatures were very close to average. Yet the air temperatures this fall--since September 22nd--have been very warm, 5th warmest in 50- years! Common sense would seem to point to a warmer lake later in the fall season. So I checked the Lake Erie water temperatures in the years with early fall warmth WARMER than this year. The remaining years in the top 5 warmest (since 1964) are 1973, 2007, 1986 an 2005.
|Data Courtesy: NWS, Dick Goddard|
How do these temperatures compared to other random years? Check my blog post listed above and you'll find the water temperatures for 2010, 2009 and 2001. The cooling is very similar to the above years.
Will lake effect snow be affected this year? Probably not. The lake seems to balance out the other external factors by the time we need to worry about lake effect snow. The severity of the cold air moving over the lake and the strength of the wind (among some other) are more of a contributing factor.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Our biases can undermine how we look at everything. We all have a bias about something as much as we deny it. So we trick ourselves into believing that our decisions are solely rational ones. Our human nature is an exercise in self-deception. Many financial gurus have taken up behavioral economics (see here and here and here) in an effort to nail down how our addiction to narratives (good stories vs information) and our built in biases affect our decision making on investing.
What does weather come into all of this? I like to call it "Behavioral Meteorology" (I might be the first to coin this new discipline...probably not). Here's is an example that I guarantee has happened thousands of time in the last several days:
"Everyone is ready for the weather bottom to fall out. We're now in the midst of one of the warmest early fall stretches in recent years so our inner thermostats are a bit skewed. This early October warmth has lead to speculation of what this winter will be like. We scrounge up our distant memories of winters gone by and start making comparisons to what lead up to the winter in question. In the span of minutes, we create a stripped down analog of what this winter might be like using what information we have. The results are everything from "this winter will be very cold and snowy" to "this winter will be mild like the last few winters." We get preemptively testy. We fear the unknown winter. We start to question the weather forecasts more than usual. We jump to irrational conclusions..."
No surprise with any of this. We've all done this.
Its Behavioral Meteorology at its finest. The psychology (which I wrote about HERE) goes like this:
Transition seasons are very hard to take both physically and mentally. Our preconceived notion of Decembers and Januaries featuring snow and cold have been replaced with rain and milder air. These changes don't sit well. It makes us feel uneasy holding onto these conflicting ideas. Psychologists call this "Cognitive Dissonance". How many times recently have you had a conversation with someone and they said, “What is the deal with this crazy weather…what is going on here?” The uneasiness in the question is palpable.
No one likes to feel uncertain or conflicted. Weather most times exists in a perpetual "grey" area. It’s this built in randomness that causes frustration and conflict. Most of the time, we grossly underestimate the significance of randomness. We all have a built in motivation to reduce conflicting ideas by altering the existing conditions in our mind to create consistency.
In the case of understanding the weather, we do this by 1) either believing the weather information which best fits our comfort level or 2) we alter its importance in our mind or 3) we just plain criticize it. Sometimes, it’s a blend of all three. This inclination to favor information that reinforces our comfort level is called a "Confirmation Bias". The problem is that by creating "consistency" through favoring information , we create a new false interpretation of the weather which we believe to be true. Rather than looking objectively at the reasons for the change scientifically (science scares people), most people tend to use an overly simplified and often inaccurate scientific explanation of the weather to ultimately confirm their predispositions. For events that require object analysis, our own human nature deceives us. In this case, our biases "cloud"--no pun intended--our judgment of the weather.
So as we transition to the winter season and the temperatures start to fall and we see our first snow, remember your biases and how they work in deceiving the way you look at the weather and the forecast.
Our therapy session is over. Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
In between live shots this morning, I had the chance to roam the stadium and take pictures from some unique vantage points.
|Panoramic view from the left field side|
|Mustard, Ketchup and Onion wandering the stands|
|View from the left field foul pole|
|Tunnel out to the outfield bleacher|
|The fantastic view from John Adams Perch high atop the left field bleachers|
|Panoramic shot from the 3rd base dugout|
|Steps from the dugout to home plate|
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
October is here. This allows me more flexibility in saying the word "snow" since technically it has snowed in October. So I take full advantage of this just to see who is paying attention. The first few mentions of snow invariably invokes painful emotions and memories of winters gone by followed by sharp, poignant responses which run the gamut of colorful adjectives. Depending on your age, these memories might start with the Blizzard(s) of 1978. Maybe the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1950 has a deeper resonance. Maybe its the Blizzard of 1993 or the grand daddy of all snows: The Lake Effect Event of November of 1996 when Chardon, Ohio received almost 70 inches of snow in a few days.
Bottom line is this: Most people don't particularly like snow. The level of disdain for frozen precipitation in these parts is on par with other evils of the world. At least frozen precipitation melts and disappears.
What are the snowiest Octobers in Cleveland history? Here is the list. REMEMBER THAT THESE AMOUNTS ARE TAKEN AT HOPKINS AIRPORT
Here are the daily instances of October snowfall with the date and amount. The snowiest month was in 1962. The earliest snow was in 2003. Both are colored in blue.
2008 10/29 0.3" 2003 10/2 0.3"
2001 10/26 1.0" 2000 10/8 0.1"
1993 10/31 0.2" 1981 10/19 3.8"
10/23 0.2" 1979 10/25 0.2"
1976 10/26 1.5"
1974 10/2 0.1"
1972 10/18 1.4"
1969 10/22 0.6" 1967 10/28 0.1"
1962 10/25 1.3"
10/26 6.7" 1957 10/27 2.5"
1954 10/16 0.3"
10/31 4.1" 1952 10/20 0.8"
1937 10/24 1.0" 1935 10/4 0.3"
1934 10/27 0.3"
10/28 0.5" 1932 10/18 0.2"
1925 10/22 0.3"
1909 10/12 0.2"
1906 10/10 4.2"
10/31 0.8" 1905 10/12 0.8"
1895 10/20 0.1"
10/21 0.2" 1893 10/30 0.2"
Back in 2006, we just missed a MAJOR snow event. Check out this radar loop from October 12, 2006 when Buffalo received 2 feet of snow in the middle of October. So it can happen...hopefully not this year!