Saturday, February 17, 2007

V-day Storm, Alberta Clippers and the Wind Storm of '06

Busy blog post today! There are three things I would like to discuss today: Last week's snow storm, Alberta Clippers and what exactly they are, and last year's wind storm, which hit our region a year ago today!

Valentine's Day Storm:
I don't have to tell you that this was one of the bigger storms Groton has seen in past years, but I will anyways! I measured 15" from the storm, which was actually a 2-part storm. The first storm came at us from the Tennessee Valley, spreading some heavy snow over the area starting the night before Valentine's Day. Then, overnight, that storm transferred its energy and formed a second, stronger storm just off the coast of the Carolinas. As this storm moved up the Atlantic Coast, moisture was pumped in and it snowed...a lot. As much as we got, the map above shows that we were actually one of the least hardest hit areas in our region! (The dark blue, pink, purple and white areas all received over 20")

Alberta Clippers:
You may have heard of Alberta Clippers on the news or in my forecasts. But what exactly is an Alberta Clipper? Basically, they are a winter storm that forms over the mountains of Albert, in Western Canada. These storms usually don't have much moisture to work with, so they don't usually bring massive amounts of snow. As they drop out of Canada, into the midwest and eventually the north east, cold, arctic air often spills in behind the storm. Usually these storms end up tracking to our south and we get an inch or two, if anything. One of these storms will move to our south tonight and into tomorrow morning, bringing some light snow to our area.

Feb. 17, 2006 Wind Storm
Friday, February 17th, 2006 started warm, with temperatures in the 50-55 degree range riding on strong south-westerly winds which we gusting in the 20-30 mph range. Then, at 8AM sharp, it all changed. Accompanied by a band of heavy rain, very strong winds and a rapid drop in temperature, a cold front barreled through Groton. By 8:10 AM, the heaviest of the rain was over and the temperature has begun its nose dive. By 9:30 AM, the temperature had leveled off around 36 and the precipitation had stopped. The wind, however, was now stronger than ever. Even though my anemometer is shielded by the trees around our house, it still peaked out at 33.8 MPH, the highest reading I have ever recorded (breaking the old record of 33.3 MPH set on November 13, 2003.) At this time, there was already one tree down in my backyard and another clump partially uprooted. While no more excitement occurred in Groton, the rest of Central New York had some other events. In Rochester, a lady was killed when a tree fell on her car. Just outside of Union Springs, road signs were blown over. At the Waterloo Premium Outlets, a stop light was blown right off its wires. And all across the area, trees, mostly pine trees, toppled to the ground.

(This picture, taken by me, was used
on News
Channel 9 that night!)

In other weather news, there is potential in the Wednesday/Thursday time frame for another winter storm. This one will not have as much cold air to work with, so most areas will see rain. However, we would likely be far enough north and west to get at least some snow, if not a lot. As I have said many times before, it is still very early and very hard to tell. If I had to make a prediction based on my gut, I say we get very little. But stay tuned anyways!

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