2015: THE YEAR IN WEATHER

2015 is nearly in the books and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this blog, following me on social media and watching my forecasts on TV. It is much appreciated!

2015 has been a remarkable year weather-wise in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys with extremes in temperatures, rain and snow. I thought I would share my top 5 weather stories of the year.

#5: Another Pleasant Summer With a Lack of Extreme Heat

For the second year in a row, the warm season wasn’t….well, all that warm in our part of the country. Sure, we had some warm days and sticky nights but long stretches of high heat and humidity were almost completely absent. The last 2 summers have been much different than many of the previous years.

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*A correction to the graphic above: We had 4 90+ days this summer, 2 in July and 2 in September.*

Notice how many days featured below-average highs in June and July.

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#4 EF0 Tornado in Hermitage Area on May 31

Late May and June was a stormy period across the Valley. On May 31st (the 30th anniversary of the 1985 outbreak) a tornado touched down briefly in the Hermitage area, causing damage to a Sheetz station and flipping a vehicle. Trees were uprooted as well. There were no injuries. Maximum winds were estimated to be 80 mph.

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#3 VERY Wet June in the Valley

June brought several rounds of thunderstorms and some other heavy rain events. Trumbull County was particularly hard hit. The airport picked up about 9″ of rain, making it one of the wettest Junes (and ANY month, for that matter) on record.

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#2 El-Nino Fuels a Record Warm December

We are finishing up a REMARKABLY warm final month of 2015. It El Nino totally to blame? No, but it was a lot to do with it. El Nino (the warming of waters in a certain part of the Pacific Ocean) causes fluctuations in the jet stream that can often favor warmer-than-average weather in our part of the country in winter (especially early winter). The effects are most pronounced when it is a STRONG El Nino and this year’s is the strongest on record.

Temperature anomalies for December across North America:

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The coldest high temperature this month? 31. Only 2 other Decembers on record had a “lowest high temperature” that warm. 2011 and 1931.

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Of course, November was quite warm as well. All this warm weather means the snow season is off to a VERY slow start. In fact, this is the least amount of snow through December 31 on record at the Youngstown airport.

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#1 Record Cold February

After a mild and mainly snow-free December, winter kicked in during January and did not release us from it’s icy grip until the end of March. Things peaked in February, when temperatures rarely made it above freezing and some nights featured lows of -10 to -20. The calendar view is pretty amazing to look at:

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I mean, look at  that stretch from February 9-28! 20 consecutive above-average days. No above freezing temperatures from the 12th through the end of the month. Only January of 1977 was colder.

The expanded set of February stats shows that it was a snowy month too, although we didn’t have a “whopper” at any point. 7″ on the 1st day of the month was the biggest one day total. There was a healthy snow pack on the ground all month. Many did not see grass until the 2nd week of March. feb.png

The Year in Temperatures, Precipitation

It was a year of bookends. The year start brutally cold, was very warm at the end….and the middle was pretty average.

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The precipitation numbers are skewed by the very wet month of June. Drier than average months actually outnumbered wet months but we will finish the year with a 5+” surplus.

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Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours a healthy and prosperous 2016.

-Eric

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WEDNESDAY WEATHER BRIEFING

Good morning!

This will be a quick one as the weather looks very quiet over the next week or so. The big story in the next few days will be a rare appearance by WINTER as temperatures will actually be appropriate for the season for a change.

I thought we could try to squeeze in some sun today but I am not as optimistic this morning. Best chance to see some brightening at midday will be south of Rt 30. Model cloud cover:

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That said, temperatures will still be above average today with highs 40-43.

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There is a small chance for a sprinkle or shower this afternoon.

The cold air out west will migrate east over the next few days 8am temperatures show the chill:

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Highs tomorrow and on New Year’s Day will be noticeably colder.

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Lots of clouds to end 2015 and start 2016 but not much more than a flurry.

Saturday will be a sunnier, nicer day. There might be some flurries Sunday afternoon.

LONG RANGE: 

A mild January week next week with high temperatures running around 7-10 degrees above average for much of the week. No big storms in sight!

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WEATHER FOR WEATHER GEEKS: 

The Valley’s most detailed weather video will be online by 8pm and tonight I will preview my “Year in Review” post that will go online tomorrow. I have picked the top 5 weather stories of the year for our region. We’ll see if you agree with my choices! Also tonight: an update on the possible pattern change later in January….which is NOT a lock to happen….yet.

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TUESDAY WEATHER BRIEFING

Good morning!

After a rainy, cold, windy Monday and Monday night, things will be somewhat better today. Not much more than spotty drizzle/showers through midday and then clouds and slowly falling temperatures. This morning’s surface map shows fairly benign weather:

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There’s plenty of cold air out west and some of that will finally be heading our way in the coming days.

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Before we move on to the forecast, a few words about the past. I will do a full 2015 Year in Review tomorrow or Thursday. For now, it looks like a lock that December will be the warmest on record in Youngstown.

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With no measurable snow likely through the 31st, we should hold the record for the slowest start to the snow season (through 12/31) on record with only 1.2″ at the airport.

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The contrast between the extreme (cold) weather that we had at the start of the year and the end (warm) of the year is amazing.

WEDNESDAY: 

A tranquil day tomorrow with highs in the mid 40s. There might be a passing sprinkle or shower in the afternoon. This will be the last “mild” day for a while.

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NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY: 

The arrival of seasonably cold air will be accompanied by some lake-effect snow in the snow belts. Probably not a big event but enough to shovel for some. For the WFMJ viewing area, not much more than spotty flurries. The temperatures at midnight on January 1, 2016 will likely be around 30-32. Highs on Friday will not be much warmer than that.

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Snowfall through Saturday, based on the GFS model:

gfs_6hr_snow_acc_ma_19.png SATURDAY/SUNDAY: 

Good news for holiday travelers as the weather looks quiet with not much more than a flurry.

LONG RANGE: 

So, it will turn colder at the start of the year, but does it last?? Well, not really. Think the pattern will once again favor milder-than-average temperatures for next week although it will not be nearly as warm as it was around Christmas.

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But there are indications that January will end up being MUCH closer to average overall in the temperature department. One of the things we watch is something called the “arctic oscillation”. When it goes negative, shots of cold air are “allowed” to come into the eastern US more frequently. It is shown to be negative for much of the first half of January.

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Our January forecast, issued around November 1, called for near-average temperatures for the month of January (as a whole). This forecast may not need to be tweaked much. After a December temperature anomaly of +12, a near-average January will certainly FEEL colder!

WEATHER FOR WEATHER GEEKS: 

The Valley’s most detailed weather video will be online by 8pm and will focus on the longer range since the short-range weather will not be all that active. We’ll take a look at the factors in play for January and February. Might even talk about how NEXT winter should be much different!

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MONDAY WEATHER BRIEFING

Good morning! I am back at it after some time off for Christmas.

This will almost certainly go down as the warmest December on record in Youngstown but before the year is out we will have a small taste of wintry weather today and again on Thursday.

On the weather map this morning we have a major storm system across the South. It is producing more severe weather with multiple Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings up as of this writing.

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On the north side of the system, there is an area of rain, snow and mixed precipitation. That blob is heading our way and today’s bit question is….what type of precipitation will wee see this morning and early this afternoon?? It will just be rain later but in that window around midday we will have some sleet and even freezing rain around the Valley.

15 hour futurecast:

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While I do think some rain can fall with temperatures almost right at 32 late this morning and early this afternoon, the IMPACTS are not likely to be significant locally. This is not an ICE STORM. Road temperatures are above freezing. I would expect most things to be just wet. There can also be some SLEET mixed in for a time.

A reminder: sleet is a snowflake that melted and then refroze on the way down. Like tiny hailstones. Sleet does not typically cause travel headaches unless it is especially heavy.

To the east of I-79 and also in NW PA, temperatures at and just above the ground will stay at 32 or lower longer and so freezing rain is more of a concern. That’s why Freezing Rain Advisories are up for those locations.

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Caution is advised if you will be on I-80 or I-79 east and north of Mercer County today.

TUESDAY: 

Just plain rain with rising temperatures tonight and early Tuesday. But Tuesday afternoon we expect nothing more than a passing shower, along with mild temperatures.

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WEDNESDAY: 

A pretty uneventful day with cooler (but still above-average) temperatures. There might be a shower around.

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NEW YEAR’S EVE AND DAY: 

Colder, more seasonable air will arrive at the very end of 2015. The Great Lakes are wide open for business so I would expect some flurries locally and lake-effect snow showers in the snow belts. Temperatures will be mainly in the lower and mid 30s during the day. At midnight: upper 20s.

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LONG RANGE: 

Seasonable weather will hang around for a few days and then the pattern will (once again) favor mild temperatures. No extreme cold seems to be on the way during the first half of January.

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WEATHER FOR WEATHER GEEKS: 

This evening’s video will take a deeper dive into the weather for New Year’s and we will check in on the latest trends for January and even February. Love snow or have a business that depends on it?? Be sure and watch tonight’s video! It’ll be online around 7:30-8:00.

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TUESDAY WEATHER BRIEFING

Good morning and welcome to (astronomical) winter. Starting tomorrow….longer days!

A quick review of Autumn…..it was warm! No shocker there. In fact it was the 2nd warmest Autumn on record in Youngstown.

AUTTEMPS

 

 

Today started with a soaking rain across the region. The radar around 8:00 am was lit up with downpours:

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Rain totals over the last 24 hours are near an inch in parts of the region:

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The rain comes with a moisture plume that is pretty unusual for December. Dewpoints are in the 50s and it feels “humid” for this time of the year.

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The rain will clear out around midday today and we can even get some sun this afternoon.

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Highs will be in the middle and upper 50s….almost 25 degrees above average. And we are just getting started.

WEDNESDAY: 

As the anomalous air mass continue streaming north, showers will break out again Wednesday, especially in the morning and midday hours. This simulated radar off the NAM model takes us from this morning through Thursday morning:

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We can’t even rule out a thunderstorm Wednesday and there is a pretty decent risk of severe weather to our south.

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Highs on Wednesday can get into record territory (current record is 61).

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CHRISTMAS EVE: 

The models have been speeding up the progress of a cold front on Thursday and this means showers will probably clear out pretty quickly in the morning. Thursday morning will be remarkably warm and we may actually be near the record of 63 EARLY in the day. Temperatures will kind of level out between 58-62 from there…will be a nice afternoon!

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CHRISTMAS DAY: 

The best day of the bunch! It will be “cooler” but still well above average with some sunshine.

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THE WEEKEND: 

Back to rain. Front will get hung up around the region and the weekend may be a borderline washout. Still mild…especially Saturday.

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LONG RANGE: 

Pattern will evolve into one featuring a ridge along the West Coast and a weak trough over the Great Lakes. This will promote much more “reasonable”, seasonable weather for us as we ring in the new year. Not harsh cold but much closer to average. This pattern is not likely to dominate January though…we expect a warmer-than-average month overall.

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Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you and yours! The daily briefings will return on Monday.

 

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MONDAY WEATHER BRIEFING

Good Monday morning! Welcome to the final hours of astronomical Autumn. Winter begins this evening at 11:49pm. Then, slowly but surely the days will start getting longer! Well pick up 4 seconds by Wednesday. Woo!

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We will not be dealing with wintry weather anytime soon. Unless you have paid zero attention to the weather lately, you know that this week is going to be very warm for this time of the year. As the warm air surges north, Round #1 of rain will be here today.

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The HRRR model shows this rain pushing through for the midday and early afternoon today and then a break in the action this evening.

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But another round of steady rain is likely to return early tomorrow morning before we get another respite tomorrow afternoon and night.

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Rain totals through tomorrow morning will average 0.50-0.60″.

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Highs today and tomorrow will be well above average. Today will actually be the coolest day of the week!

 

WEDNESDAY: 

The break from the rain will come to an end this day with another surge of moisture (and even higher temperatures). Look for scattered showers (not a wash out).

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CHRISTMAS EVE: 

The last of the rain (for a couple of days) will depart by lunch time as a cold front pushes east. This will set the stage for a pleasant Christmas Eve evening.

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Look at how many places will have record warmth on Christmas Eve. Amazing.

CHRISTMAS DAY: 

A nice day!! We’ll finally have some sunshine and while it will not be 60….50 is still way above average.

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LONG RANGE: 

Rain will return Saturday and perhaps Sunday, but that beats snow for holiday travelers.

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There are signs that the pattern will change enough late this month and into January that cold air will be able to win more battles. Not sold that it is a “COLD” pattern….just a pattern that will allow more “typical” weather for the time of the year.

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WEATHER FOR WEATHER GEEKS: 

Have been getting a lot of questions about any signs of a pattern change for January so we’ll take a good look at the climate models for January and even February to see if Winter is ever going to show up. Tonight’s video will be online by 8:00. See you then!

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