Friday, December 19, 2008

Dry Slotting

Snow Totals:
10AM- Dusting
11AM- 0.5"
12PM- 1.5"
1PM- 3.2"
2PM- 4.2"
3PM- 4.6"

Bad news for snow totals, good news for traveling...but the storm's dry slot is going to just hit Groton. It is racing eastward across Southern New York and should be entering Tompkins and Cortland Counties by 3:30. This should more or less end the snow.

Now, the low is forecast to start taking more of a southeasterly track, so I think we will get back into the snow this evening. However, we will be hard pressed to get to 8" I think...let alone a foot. I think 5-9" total would be a good projection for Groton now. Areas just to the north, however, that remain in the snow will stick in that 8-14" range.

Morning Storm Update

It is now quarter after 10am, and everything is going pretty much as expected. The snow started here in Groton about an hour ago, and already visibilities are down to roughly a mile as the snow has started to pick up in intensity. Looking at the official 10AM observations, Ithaca is reporting light snow, with moderate snow in Rochester, Penn Yan, and Dansville, and heavy snow falling in Buffalo. Over the next hour, expect the snow to continue to increase in intensity to the rate of an inch or so an hour. The snow will continue at least at that intensity, likely reaching 2" per hour at times, through the afternoon. Heavy and moderate snow is being reported back through Michigan. There is actually heavy snow in Wisconsin as well, but I think Lake Michigan is enhancing that snow since the winds are out of the northeast. Here is a look at the radar (from 9:30...but that is recent enough to get the point across). You can see any mixed precipitation is well south, and the snow extends back into the areas I just described. All this is moving more or less east-southeast.

Bottom line is the snow is going to come down hard very soon and continue at rates of 1-2" per hour until at least sundown. There may even be some thunder and lightning in the snow during the early and mid afternoon. Please leave a comment here, or log onto the chat (assuming it is open) and report any thunder! The chat room will likely be open most of the day today as well. I will continue to update this blog hourly, probably just with snow totals, but also any new information that comes in.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Friday Snow Storm

Another Friday, another snow storm for Central New York. Unlike last week's storm, this storm is not a nor' easter. It is pretty much moving west to east, so there is no worry about the models having an eastward bias. That makes my life a little easier this time around. I decided to do a snow map after all, even though the entire GrotonWeather forecast area should get the same amount.

As you can see, this will be a big storm, despite its relatively short duration. The snow will being to move in during the morning, before coming heavy by 10 or 11AM. It will really come down hard for a period of 6-8 hours, likely exceeding an inch per hour at times. By the evening, it will quickly taper off to just flurries over night.

I am going to dinner now, but once I get back (by 6:30-7), I will open the chatroom to field questions...and I will likely be there a good part of the night!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Love That East Bias!

I hinted this morning in my forecast discussion that "If it [the storm] really gets its act together, we could end up on the high end of those totals [from last night's snow map]." Well, the storm remains very impressive on satellite and radar. One thing is very evident though. The eastward bias of the models I was talking about is showing up perhaps even more significantly than I thought it would.

When I looked at the models last night, the back edge of the precipitation was roughly from a Pittsburgh, PA to Rochester, NY line. Already though, precipitation is being detected on radar as far west as Cleveland and Buffalo (though it is probably not yet reaching the ground). The low right now is over northern Georgia and is already a good one hundred or so miles further west than it is supposed to be.

The National Weather Service and local media stations have picked up on this finally and have more or less come into agreement with what I was saying yesterday. Tompkins and Cortland Counties are now under WINTER STORM WARNINGS instead of the Advisories that were in effect. Those last until 10AM tomorrow. Since the low will track a little further inland, the precipitation may be a bit heavier and last a bit longer than last night. I also mentioned this morning the possibility of expanding the 6-10" range west. As you can see, I have now done that with this new data.

After school activities have been canceled for many schools in our area. I would say that the chances of a snow day have increased a bit. It is still far from a certainty, but there is certainly cause for hope!

Also, if you haven't heard yet, I have a new feature on the site that I just added this morning. If you look to the black bar on the right side of the page, you will see a link to the 'GrotonWeather Weather Chat.' The text will either say the chat is open, of that it is closed. If it is open, it means I am sitting in the chat room, ready to give you whatever information you want to know about the weather! So, if you see that the room is open, come on in!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow Map

11AM Update: I just added a new feature to the website....a chat room! The link to the chat room can be found in the black bar on the right side of the page. More often than not, I will have the chat room closed. But, during times of severe or extreme weather, when I am on my computer forecasting, I will open up the chat for you to ask my questions about the weather. Please click the link to the right for more details...and if the room is open, stop in and say hi!

10:20AM Update:
I have updated the main forecast page as promised. Next blog should be sometime between 4-7PM...probably sooner rather than later!

Original Post:
At last, here is the snow map. When one of the models came in, it still had the storm way east, with Ithaca getting an amazing 0.07" of snow from the storm. That isn't the model I prefer to use on a day to day basis anyways though, so I didn't put too much stock into. The model I do use takes a bit longer to become available (since it goes out a lot longer), so that is why the map has taken so long. That model seems to be settling in nicely with my earlier predictions now.

The temperatures during this storm are going to generally be in the upper 20s to near 30. Since wet snow doesn't accumulate as much as drier snow, I slightly lowered totals from what I pulled out of thin air earlier. As for snow days, at this time, I would probably say its a good idea to expect school on Friday, but someone in the area will likely wake up with a nice surprise three-day weekend.

My next update will likely not be a blog entry, but just my normal morning forecast update. Just click the banner at the very top of the page to see that.

Here we go!

Winter Storm Watches have (finally) been posted for the forecast area! I say finally because, if I had been working at the National Weather Service, I would have issued these watches yesterday. All season long, and going back into last season, the models have shown an eastward biased with storms coming up from the south. This is a large part of why a lot of last winter had a lot of hype about snow storms (myself included), only to have the storms start as snow, then change to ice and/or rain. The actual storm tracks have continuously come further west than the models suggest. So when I saw the models showing snow for Eastern New York and New England yesterday, I thought 'Thats going to hit CNY'....and now, it looks like it will.

The NWS has Winter Storm Warnings up for areas just south and east of us. I again have to say though...they are too far east! Even just a day or so ahead of this event, I do not trust the models to place the heaviest snow properly. So, I am diverging from them and the NWS and, while I haven't checked them, likely the local media as well.

So, what is this all about. An area of low pressure is over the southeast. As I said in this morning's discussion, severe thunderstorms, including torandoes, have been ongoing constantly since yesterday morning. This is indicative of the energy of this storm. As this storm comes up the coast, it will interact with the cold air left over from today's front, with the circulation just pulling more of it in. It will be a classic nor' easter...just not super powerful.

Snow will likely begin to fall in our area sometime in the late afternoon tomorrow and become heavy into the night. This storm will be a pretty quick mover, so that will help in keeping totals down. I also think that, even with the eastward biased, the heaviest snow will stay just east of our area. I haven't had enough time to hammer out a snow map yet, but, on a whim, I am thinking 5-9" is likely for most of Tompkins County and Southern Cayuga County, with perhaps 6-10" over Cortland County.

And now...what you all really want to know....will there be school on Friday? After my epic failing on predicting a snow day last February, I considered not even doing snow days this season...but, due to popular request, I will. Since this storm is coming through at night, I would say there is certainly a chance. Just how much of a chance remains to be seen. You will have to keep checking back to find out!

Next projected update: 10-11:30PM: Snow map!

Friday, November 21, 2008

3PM Snow Update

Sorry this update is a bit later than I promised. I ran into some difficulties with making the snow map.

The lake effect has been pretty disorganized through the day as winds haven't really aligned themselves well yet. The models showed this happening relatively well. This disorganization should continue until about sunset, when things really start to get going. I am expecting multiple bands of lake effect to form, with probably two main bands. They will move around a bit overnight, so plenty of areas should see some high snow totals. Here is what I am thinking for amounts by 9AM tomorrow morning:

As with any lake effect event, not every area within each contour will get that amount of snow and the variance from one spot to another can be very large. So, that snow map shows the most likely amounts that are to occur in each area.

Tomorrow, the lake effect should calm down as the day gets into the afternoon. Additional accumulations tomorrow will likely be anywhere from 1-4" in the white and light blue areas, to 3-7" in the darker blue.

Quick Friday Morning Update

Only have time for a quick update this morning. Expect a more complete update this afternoon between 1:30-3.

The Lake Effect Snow Watches have been replaced with warnings and advisories. Which counties are under what is shown below. I honestly can not begin to fathom why Tompkins County is NOT under at least an advisory. The NWS forecast for Ithaca is calling for 1-2" of snow today, then another 4-6" overnight and 2-4" more on Saturday. That is a total of 7-12". That is even beyond advisory criteria...we should be under a warning. The amounts forecast by the NWS for Groton are even higher.

Make sure to tune back this afternoon. I will be updating as soon as I can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Lake Effect Coming!

Lake effect snow watches have been posted for 2/3 of the grotonweather forecast area, so I decided to go with a blog entry tonight instead of a normal update.. In general, I think I will mostly blog-update during this event, which means you will see the blog up when you come to the site until Sunday morning. As always, you can get to the main page by cicking the banner at the top of the page, or by following the 'Homepage' link under 'Grotonweather Pages'. The homepage currently isn't updated, but will be later tonight or tomorrow as well though. To the weather now:

A very weak and moisture starved storm system has been moving across the area today. This storm will turn winds more northerly tonight and then northwesterly for Friday and Saturday. The airmass that is moving in is pretty much perfect for a big lake effect snow event. I can not remember the NWS posting Lake Effect Snow Watches for areas so far away from the Lake, yet Southern Cayuga and Cortland Counties are both under watches. Admittedly, this is another one of those situations I so often talk about where something is issued for Southern Cayugan and Cortland, but really applies for Groton and Northeastern Tompkins County as well. That is why, on the map below, I have shaded the counties under the watch, as well as where I think the best shot for heavy snow is.

The exact location of the band(s), as usual, is a tough forecast. Normally with this kind of set up, there seems to be a heavy band across Northern Cayuga County, stretching right through Syracuse and into Madison County. A second, slightly weak band, likes to set up in Southern Cayuga and Northern Cortland counties, clipping the Groton area. Of course, these bands aren't always in the same position, and 10 miles difference can make the difference between 2" or 12".

My best guess at amounts are this: Someone in the northern half of the pink area will get well over a foot, possibly upwards of 2 feet by Sunday morning. In the southern half of the pink, someone will get a foot.

The weather models I had available to me this afternoon were from early this morning. As more recent models come in, I will try to pin down amounts a bit more. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nor' Easter, then Lake Effect

Our nor' easter is starting to really wind up off of the New Jersey coast this morning. This has spread a solid area of precipitation from the Finger Lakes, east. Most of what you see on the radar is rain, but it has already changed over to snow in Binghamton and Scranton.

At 9AM, it was 37 in Ithaca, so that, combined with where it is already snowing in Binghamton, has made me expect a change over to snow a bit earlier than I was anticipating last night. This has been reflected in the higher snow amounts on the snow map below. For Groton specifically, since I placed us on the boundary between two areas, I would expect to see 2 or 3, maybe 4 inches downtown, with as much as 5 or 6 on the hills.

This storm should be well on its way out by midnight tonight. However, just as that storm departs, the Lake Effect machine will kick in for Wednesday and Wednesday night before tapering off Thursday. It is still too early to tell where exactly the heaviest lake effect will set up, and whether or not it will remain snow, but here is my best guess for snow intensity at this time:

If you want to help me out with this, as I sit up here in Oswego, it is very hard for me to know what exactly the precipiation type is elsewhere. It would be very helpful if you could leave a comment on here letting me know when you first see snow, no matter where you are. Current data from spotters is very imporatant to meteorologists, so I would really appreciate your observations! Thanks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

First snow of the season!

The past 24 hours have been crazy on the weather models. Yesterday, all but one model, the North American Mesoscale (NAM) were showing an area of low pressure heading into eastern New England, leaving Central New York more or less alone, with lake effect kicking in towards Tuesday night and Wednesday. The NAM, however, brought the storm much closer, giving our area its first accumulating snow of the year. Over the past 24 hours, however, the other models have come into agreement with the NAM, and suddenly we have a snow storm on our hands!

Now, keep in mind, I use 'snow storm' in the context of a normal October. We won't be seeing feet of snow, but for a first snow, this is pretty big. Here is what is happening:

An area of low pressure is beginning to form over North Carolina. Already moisture is spreading northward ahead of this, though most isn't reaching the ground yet. As this storm explodes and heads north, it will pull down some chilly air. That will make the precipitation that starts tonight and for the first part of tomorrow mostly rain. More importantly, however is that this rain will be snow not very high up in the atmosphere. As it melts, it will aid in cooling things down and changing precipitation over to snow. The higher elevations will see the change over first, probably as early as mid to late morning tomorrow. The lower elevations will begin to change over during the afternoon and evening hours. By tomorrow night, everyone should be seeing accumulating snow. Cayuga and Tompkins counties are not under any advisories, but Cortland county, with its higher hill tops, is under a Winter Weather Advisory.

The winds will be gusty with this as well. That, plus the heavy, wet nature of this snow could cause some branches to come down in the higher terrain. Had this come a week or two earlier, when the leaves were still on the trees, we would have some problems. We are lucky though and I am not anticipating many, if any, power outages.

This storm will be a quick mover, so real high totals aren't expected. The map below shows what to expect through 9AM Wednesday. Beyond that, Lake Effect snows will set up, but probably stay to our north, with additional accumulations. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Abnormal September Tornado Threat

I can't say I saw this one coming, but I get up this morning and almost everything I look at points to today being a rough day across parts of Central New York. Last year in meteorology class, we went over tornado forecasting in quite some detail. A lot of the things we were told to look for have started to line up. The one thing that will probably prevent this from being an outbreak is the fact that the air aloft isn't all that cold. That warm air aloft should help keep the instability less than it would be on other days that are this humid. Regardless to say, the Storm Prediction Center has us in their '5%' chance of tornadoes.

There are meteorologists, however, who do not like the SPC's % system. One of them is Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, who I have mentioned many times. Over the summer, he developed a scale to better address the threats of severe thunderstorms. His scale goes from 1-4 and outlines specific threats for each category. You will likely have to click the image to read it, but here is a look at his system:

Henry has placed us in his T3 Category today mainly for the tornado threat. It will be interesting to see how this one unfolds. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Some Strong Storms

4:30PM Update: The storm that I mentioned earlier (below) has begun to reach the end of its life cycle. All Groton should get from this is some rain. I would suspect that the previous storms today stabilized the atmosphere enough to kill this one.

Original Post: Groton and the area has already gotten a few thunderstorms today, one of which produced 3/4" hail in McGraw. After those storms passed, the Storm Prediction Center surprised me and issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, stretching from Steuben County (to our southwest) all the way into Maine. The watch runs until 11PM, but since we near the back edge of it, I would guess it will be cut back before that.

In the short term, storms continue to develop over our area and move eastward. One cell formed further west and has had time to develop into a strong, healthy looking storm. That storm is just northeast of Trumansburg and heading due east, straight for Groton. It could have some small hail with it right now, but by the time it gets here, it could very well have some slightly larger hail. I will edit this post as needed for any warnings that come out or any other information as this storm approaches. My best guess would be about 4:50PM for an arrival time of the heaviest rain in Groton.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Severe Thunderstorm Warning!

The sun we had most of the afternoon has finally given way to thunderstorms in our immediate area. So far, Groton has been spared, though there was a report of 1.75" in Scott in Cortland County.

It looks like that is about to change, however. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Groton and the surrounding areas until 8PM, though I wouldn't be surprised to see that time extended. A storm is moving north-northwest, coming at us from the Binghamton area. Hail reports have been frequent with this storm out of Broome County, the largest being 1.75". It looks a bit weaker than that, however. Hail is still possible, along with heavy rain and lightning. There is another storm a few miles to the southwest of that one, so the severe and flash flood threat will continue through the next hour or so.

Beyond that, there is a larger area of rain that will move in tonight. Here is a look at the radar over Tompkins County. The little boxes with three dots are recent reports of hail.

8PM update: The storm completely and utterly died. It is nothing more than a light shower now, despite producing 1.25" hail near Brooktondale. The other storm is still there and strong, but it might push west of Groton.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Advertising Space for Sale

Hello Groton and the surrounding areas! I am writing tonight about a new feature on ability for you to advertise your business on my site!

I have space for 2-4 advertisements on the right side of the page. Currently, there is an advertisement for Groton's website,, to give you an idea of the size and placement of your ad.

You may submit a picture to use as an advertisement, or I will create one for you. If you have a website, the advertisement will be linked to your site. If you do not have a website, that is fine too.

I don't have set prices for the space. Instead, I will negotiate a price and length of time for your advertisement, making it fit your budget...not that I am planning on charging a whole lot!

If you are interested, please click one of the 'Advertise Your Business Here' boxes to the left, or simply click here.

In the future, I am also planning to add a store where I will sell t-shirts, caps, mugs, calendars and other such items. That will likely be coming sometime in the fall, so keep an eye out for it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Split Forecast Area

The forecast area has been split by Severe Thunderstorm Watch 638. Cayuga County is under the watch, while Tompkins and Cortland got left out. In all honesty, however, that is just a technicality. Conditions are just as favorable for severe thunderstorms in Tompkins and Cortland Counties as they are in Cayuga...the SPC has to draw the line somewhere, however. I am expecting another watch to be issued later this afternoon that will include the rest of the area.

Numerous thunderstorms have developed over Western New York and Western Pennsylvania. These storms will track east, with damaging winds and hail the main threats. Other storms will develop as well, so it looks like we may have a decent severe weather event on our hands.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Severe t-storm approaching!

The National Weather Service in Binghamton has issued a Severe Thunderstorm WARNING for Northern Tompkins County and surrounding areas. This includes Groton. A large thunderstorm, likely containing hail, is currently just west of Cayuga Lake, moving east. Expect torrential downpours, hail and frequent lightning with this storm!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I think its a flop

I really am having my doubts about our severe weather chances. There seems to be a 'dead zone' in the atmosphere were some dry air has worked in. Our dew point is currently sitting at 54, which is normally much too low for severe weather. This area of dry air extends well to our west and south west, so I am not anticipating much to pop.

Now, if some more moist air can work its way in during the next two or three hours, we could get some storms later this evening...but I really think that, for our area, this one is a flop.

Click here to proceed to the normal homepage

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

Thunderstorms have begun to develop all across the Northeast and Ohio Valley, including Central and Western New York. This has prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for all of the counties shaded in blue below, including Tompkins County pretty much smack dab in the middle of the watch:

The probabilities with this watch indicate that the SPC is most concerned with hail, followed closely by damaging winds. The chances of 10 or more hail reports in the watch area is 70%, with a 50% chance of 10 or more hail reports.

Looking at the regional radar, you can see lots of thunderstorms scattered about the area. These will continue to develop, increasing in strength and coverage.
Stay tuned for any warnings!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Still not done

Our watch has expired, and just when it looked like things were going to calm down, storms began to explode again. There is currently a storm hitting Cortland with another about to strike Groton. These storms may contain gusty winds and some hail, as has been the case all day. I'll simply update this post if any warnings get issued.


On a wider scale, thunderstorms have fired along what appears to be a mini-cold front caused by a lake breeze off of Lake Ontario. These storms will continue to fire up for the next hour or two. It is hard to say if they will survive long into the night. Stay tuned.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

A storm has been tracking across northern Tompkins County and has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Groton. This storm has the potential for hail, strong winds and frequent lightning.

I am working at Cornell this summer, and, being on the 11th floor of one of the buildings, I got a great look at this storm as it crossed Cayuga Lake. There was a good deal of cloud-to-ground lightning, so watch out!

Here we go!

The 12:30PM Update of the SPC Outlooks has the moderate risk area bumped to the northwest. This shift puts the border of the moderate risk area right overhead. Our hail remains at 30% with hatching, which, if you didn't read today's first blog, indicates a 10+% chance of 2" hail or larger.

An hour ago, the radar was quiet. Now, thunderstorms have fired all across the state. Already a few of these have Severe Thunderstorm Warnings with them. As the afternoon progresses, more storms will develop and become severe.

Stay tuned for updates if any severe storms approach!

Watch Issued

Severe Thunderstorm Watch #550 has been issued. This is quite a massive watch, encompasing most of New York and about 70% of Pennsylvania. With a watch that large, probablities aren't overly helpful for local forecasts. Nonetheless, there is an 80% chance of 10+ wind damage reports and a 70% chance of 10+ hail reports within the watch area. The watch runs until 7PM.

There really hasn't been anything developing yet, thought there is one shower in Western New York that has popped up, so I am expecting more storms to fire during the next couple of hours. The next SPC outlook will be out by 12:30. It will be interesting to see if they change anything.

Its going to be close

The severe weather threat is already ending up higher than I anticipated last night. For the second time in a week, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk area for portions of the Northeast. At this time, we are just to the northwest of this area, with the boundary running from southwest to northeast through about Binghamton. Here are the hail (top) and wind (bottom) outlooks for today from the SPC. The hail one in particular has me concerned, since we are on the edge of the hatched area, which means a 10% or greater chance of hail over 2" in diameter.

8AM Edit: The visible image shows clearing skies behind this morning's area of rain. Since this satellite image was taken before the sun got very high in the sky, the dark area over Western New York is where the sun will be out. That was the key that was going to make or break us: sun. Yesterday, I wasn't calling for much if any sun. But now, things have changed.

I will continue to monitor this situation as it develops. Stay tuned for the latest! The next outlook from the SPC will come around 9:30, so check back closer to 10 for an update.

10AM Update: The newest SPC outlooks remain the same for our area. That keeps us right on the edge of the 30% wind and 30% hail lines, along with the edge of the hatched hail area.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6PM Update

Thunderstorms are currently moving into the area, developing as they approach. In just about 15 minutes, a cell started to form by Ithaca, then moved just south of Groton. By this time, it had prompted a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Winds both in and out of these storms will be gusty, with the stronger winds of course being in the storms. There are no tornado warnings in effect at this time. Here is the latest radar image:

These storms will continue to move through during the next hour or so. Stay away from windows, stay inside and, if you have wind damage, feel free to send me a report!

A New Weather Watch

The Storm Prediction Center just issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Central New York and points south until 10 PM. This watch replaces the tornado watch that has been in effect. This doesn't mean the tornado threat is totally gone, however. A lot of the severe weather composite index values that are used to predict severe weather show a semi-tornadic environment overhead. However, wind damage and hail will continue to be the main threats for the rest of the day.

Onto the radar now. As you can see, thunderstorms have again developed to our west into a bit of a broken line. Like this morning, these aren't severe. However, I expect these to strengthen as they head into the more favorable atmosphere sitting over us.

Stay tuned throughout the afternoon and evening as round 2 begins!

Not Done Yet

One round of severe storms has exited the region and pressed eastward. This line didn't look like it was going to do much for Tompkins, Cortland and Southern Cayuga counties, but right as it got here, it exploded rapidly. Just shows what a little bit extra heating and humidity can do for storms, as tempertures before the storms had reached into the mid 80's. These storms have caused quite a few hail and wind reports, as expected. Here is the storm report map as of 1:02PM.

Tempertures are back into the low 80's after about a 15 degree drop with those storms. That means we are certainly still have fuel to work with for the rest of the day. Thunderstorms are also now starting to develop well to our west along the cold front in Ohio. They haven't been going for long, but are already looking strong and developing into a line. This is what I have expected to happen, so everything still looks favorable for another, possibly more intense, line of storms later this evening.

In between then and now, additional storms are possible, also with damaging winds and hail. I'll continue to update through the day, so stay tuned!


The southern portion of that line of storms has exploded very rapidly over Western Tompkins county. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings now run from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania, including the Groton area. A large cell is about to hit Groton with lightning, strong winds and some hail likely. Take Cover now!


Tompkins County, along with all of Central and Eastern New York is now under a TORNADO WATCH until 6PM tonight!

A little known fact about watches is that they each have probablities of certain severe weather events occuring. For this watch, there is over a 95% chance of 10 or more wind damage reports, as well as over a 95% chance of 10 or more hail reports and a 40% chance of 2 or more tornado reports. That means the main threat is still damaging winds, but tornadoes are becoming an increasing threat.

An update on that line of storms: The northern portion appears to be the stronger part, with numerous warnings now in effect. Stay tuned for more updates on these storms.

Also, the National Weather Service confirmed my belief about multiple lines of storms today when they issued this statement at 10:05AM:

... Severe thunderstorms are expected across the region today...

An initial line of thunderstorms will cross The Finger lakes
region... the twin tiers... the Mohawk Valley... and the southern Tug
Hill region this morning... generally between 930 am and 12 noon.
This includes Elmira... Corning... Syracuse... Utica... Binghamton...
and Montrose. Localized strong damaging winds and hail are
possible late this morning.

This afternoon... another round of thunderstorms is anticipated.
Additional lines of storms are expected to cross the area... generally
between 2 and 6 PM. Once again... strong winds and hail are the
primary threats.

Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio... or local media outlets... for the
latest updates. Watches and/or warnings may well be issued later

Pre-frontal Storms

The first storms of the day have been ongoing across Western Pennsylvania and Western New York. There have been occasional warnings with these storms, so they have the potential to be severe. However, this isn't the main event today. The cold front still sits way back to the west over Southern Ontario, Western Ohio and Eastern Indiana. On the radar image below, you can see the line of storms along the front begining to form just east of Michigan.

The Storm Prediction Center also updated their outlooks and maps (which I don't have graphics for at this time...). We are still in the moderate risk zone, but the core of it was shifted to the east. All this means to me is the SPC is thinking the line will for a little further east. While I agree with extending the zone further east into Vermont and New England, I am not so sure I agree with cutting the Western Finger Lakes out. We will see.

9:50AM Update: The Storm Prediction Center is now saying they will issue a watch shortly for our area. Stay tunde for updates as the watch is issued!


A very serious situation is unfolding today for our area, with the Storm Prediction Center placing us under a MODERATE RISK zone. To put this in perspective as to how rare this type of severe weather outlook is for our area, I can only remember 1 other time during the lifetime of that we have been under a moderate risk, and NEVER have we been under one to start the day! I do have to say, however, that I was thinking last night that this would happen. Here are the areas under the moderate risk (pink in the top image) because of the wind threat (red in the bottom image).

As I have been indicating the past 24 hours, everything is coming together for a major severe weather outbreak. Hot, humid air is and has been in place. This will interact with a cold front and trough of low pressure that will progress eastward through the day. The final piece to the puzzle will be the strong jet stream winds. The thunderstorms that explode later this morning across Western and Central New York will be able to tap into these winds. Winds in some of the storms today could exceed 70, even 80 or 90 mph. The tornado threat is a tad higher than I thought last night as well. I will be updating throughout the day, so make sure to stay tuned here for the most up-to-date, in depth forecasts and outlooks you will find on the web for this area!

(Your normal forecast will be coming by 8AM. To find the forecast, hover over the "Grotonweather" tab in the menu above, then click the "Homepage" link!)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Round Two Begins!

The clusters of thunderstorms that moved through earlier today have shifted well off to the south and east. While these storms stabilized the atmosphere for a while, in the long run, they only made things worse. Over an inch of rain fell in Groton earlier. Now, with the sun back out, that inch of rain is returning to the atmosphere. Dewpoints have shot up into the mid to upper 70's, making it feel over 90 despite temperatures being in the low to mid 80's. All this moisture is fueling another round of thunderstorms which is just now starting to explode.

Right now, most of these storms are in the southern counties of New York, but there is a large cell over Lake Ontario as well. Further rapid development of storms is certainly possible over the next few hours. There is currently (4:30) a small cell near Trumansburg that will have to be watched for rapid development in the next hour or so. A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect as well.

Looking into this evening and overnight, there is a very strong line of severe thunderstorms over Michigan right now. These storms have a severe thunderstorm watch for Michigan, and a torando watch issued by the Canadian Weather Service for Southern Ontario. It is hard to say if this line will hold together long enough to effect us, but it is something I will be watching through the evening.

On this radar image (from you can see the numerous cells firing up in New York, along with the line of storms in Michigan marching eastward.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Storm Reports, May Stats

While there wasn't a whole lot of widespread severe weather yesterday across Central and Western New York, the one area that did seem to get hit hardest was in fact our area. Most of the forecast range (Tompkins, Cortland and Southern Cayuga Counties) ended up under a severe thunderstorm warning at one point or another as two separate severe storms crossed the area.

The first storm tracked across Southern Tompkins and Cortland Counties in the early afternoon, well ahead of the cold front. This storm produced numerous hail and wind reports, especially once it moved into Broome and Chenango Counties. The second storm came through at about 6pm. This storm took out trees in Cortland and Locke, while hitting West Groton with 3/4" hail, with some smaller hail in Groton.

I have overlayed yesterday's storm reports on Google Earth and marked a few of the towns for reference. The blue circles with a "W" represent a wind damage report, while the green circles with an "H" represent hail. Not a huge outbreak by any means, but considering the lack of severe storms elsewhere, we got hit decently hard.

Onto other things now...did you think May seemed abnormally cold? Well, if you did, you are correct. In fact, the differences between this May and last May are quite staggering. Our average high this May was a very chilly 64.0 degrees. This ended up 12 degrees colder than last May, which averaged 76.1 degrees. In fact, there were only 3 days in which our high this past month reached 76 degrees! (Those days were the 7th at 76, the 26th at 82, and the 31st and 76). Our warmest day this May was 82, much lower than last year's 92 and even lower than 2006's 95 degree day. On the whole, it was the coldest May on my records (2003-present) by three degrees. We also had our coldest nights, with our average lows falling below 40 for the first time.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Groton and areas north and east are under a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING! A thunderstorm currently over Southern Cayuga county is strengthening. This storm may contain hail and damaging winds. Take proper precautions.

This storm also has some rotation with it, and I am a little concerned with the shape of the storm. While I doubt it will warrant a tornado warning, be sure to keep checking back in the next 30 mins or so in case it does!

Near Miss South: 2:20 update

The storm continues to develop and strengthen and is currently located southeast of Ithaca. For Groton, all this storm will give us is some rumbles of thunder, which have been ongoing for some time now.

For those of you in Southern Tompkins and Cortland Counties, however, you can expect frequent lightning, very heavy rain, strong winds and maybe some hail. There is still no warning with this storm, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one issued soon. Also, the rotation, while still weak, has increased slightly.

Strong Storm Developing: 1:50PM Update

A thunderstorm has really blown up over Schuyler County in the last 40 minutes. As of this posting, the storm is not severe, but has prompted a "Special Weather Statement" for Tompkins County.

This storm has some weak rotation with it, along with very heavy downpours and possibly some hail. It looks as if the path of this storm will take it south of the Groton area, but Ithaca should get the storm by about 2:20. I will update on this storm in 20-30 minutes, or sooner if a warning is issued.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New site is functioning!

The new site is up and least for the most part. There are still one or two areas that are not fully functioning. For one, the offer for advertising your own business/site on my site is not ready yet, so those links do not work. Also, I am going to be getting new forecast icons, but I don't have them either. If anything else is not working as you think it should, please let me know. You can do this by scrolling to the very bottom of the page and clicking the "contact me" link.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Storms

The new website isn't quite ready to be launched yet, but there is some important weather to talk about today.

There are some clouds moving through this morning along a warm front. This front will bring us some real summer like weather for the rest of the day. Heat and humidity will move in this afternoon. Highs should end up in the mid 80's with dew points in the mid 60's making for a rather sultry day compared to the weather we have been having. As this front passes through, there could be a shower or thunderstorm.

However, later in the evening, say after 4pm, there will be another chance for thunderstorms to develop in the warm, moist atmosphere. These are the storms that have prompted the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma to put us in a "slight" risk for severe thunderstorms. The main threats from these storms will likely be damaging winds, hail, frequent lightning and flash flooding, though an isolated weak tornado can't be ruled out.

These storms will be forming in the "warm sector" well ahead of a cold front. That front will move through overnight and early tomorrow morning, likely with another batch of showers and thunderstorms. However, the most likely time for severe storms will run from roughly 4pm-midnight tonight. Stay tuned for updates through the evening for storms that become severe! And hopefully I will get the new site up by this evening as well!

Friday, April 25, 2008



Tompkins County:
Under State of Emergency through April 30th. All outdoor burning and recreational outdoor fires are banned. The ban does not include controlled cooking fires when the fire is in a contained, controlled fireplace, barbecue grill or cooking pit. Individuals cooking outdoors must at all times have readily available the proper equipment to extinguish the fire.

Other counties are taking precautions as well:

Cayuga County:
A State of Emergency is in effect through May 4th, but could be extended. A burn ban is in effect.

Cortland County:
No open burning is permitted until further notice.

Jefferson County:
From Tuesday, April 22 at noon through Sunday, April 27 at noon, no one in the county is allowed to set an open fire, including burn barrels. This order supersedes all burning permits, subject to extension. A violation of the order is a class B misdemeanor. Burning of campfires in licensed campgrounds is allowed.

Oswego County:
Under State of emergency with a burn ban until further notice (no open burning).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Severe Thunderstorm 6PM

A broken line of thunderstorms is coming through Seneca and Cayuga Counties right now. One of the cells in this broken line has prompted a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. This part of the storm looks like it will head southeast towards Moravia within the next 45 minutes before heading into Northern Cortland County. The main threat from this storm appears to be some strong winds, as the storm attributes (the blue circles on the radar image below) are only indicating minimal hail. It looks like the worst will stay north of Groton.

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Historic Snow Storm: April 16, 2007

Boy...what a difference a year can make! We are in the midst of a stretch of absolutley lovely and warm weather with temperatures in the upper 60's today and 70s on the way.

However...April the 16th isn't always so nice. In fact, if you remember, it was just last year that winter came roaring back to life on the 16th, giving us the largest 24-hour snowfall that I have recorded (since Christmas 2002).

So lets take a moment to revisit this historic snow storm, which saw Groton get 18", Locke a national attention grabbing 23", and a couple of my videos posted on senior meteorologist Henry Margusity's blog.

Looking back on my own blog, I first mentioned the possibility of a storm on April 11th. By the 13th everything looked like a go. I remember this day very was a Friday. In school, I kept telling people we would have no school Monday or Tuesday from a snow storm. Of course few believed me at first...I mean snow days in mid-April? However, we did get snow days both days.

By 10AM Monday morning, the storm was in full force blasting us with heavy snow. Here is what it looked like Monday morning:

The snow was still coming down by the afternoon. One of the things that amazes me looking back at that post is the radar. Notice how most of the state was getting rain at this point...but we had enough cold air in the Finger Lakes to remain snow. I find that so ironic because we couldn't get a single storm to keep the cold air in all winter long this year...even in the dead of winter! In fact...this April storm gave us more snow than probably our two or three largest (non-lake effect) snow events this past year!

The snow was a very heavy snow and caused a good deal of problems with tree damage. Within a couple of days, the snow was gone, and I got a chance to go out into the woods and take some pictures of the tree damage that occurred, especially to pine trees.

I also like to point out the fact that just three weeks later, on May 9th, we hit 90 degrees.

If you want to read more about this storm, Accuweather's Jesse Ferrell also blogged about the storm today. Of course, he doesn't mention Groton (but he does mention Locke!) and takes a much more regional look at the storm, but it is a nice little post with an awesome map. Check it out. Administrative Update:
I have been working on redesigning (again!) the homepage. This is why I haven't gotten many of the links on the current homepage working again. I am very excited about the new design and a couple of new services I am going to be offering! I am having some new weather icons (not animated...sorry...) being made and will launch the new look once they are done. I am not sure when that will be though, so make sure you keep checking back!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Late Season Snow Storm Tonight!

A late season snow storm is in store for the area tonight as low pressure moves to our south along a stalled frontal boundary. As this low moves along the front, cold air from Canada will advance south. Meanwhile, the low will throw moisture up into the cold air.

The precipitation will likely start as some rain later this afternoon and tonight. As that cold air moves in, however, it will change the rain to snow overnight. As is often the case with storms at the beginning and end of winter, the higher elevations will end up with more snow than the valleys. The models haven't been doing a good job with this storm so far; just yesterday they had us getting barely anything. However, they seem to be in better agreement with this morning's runs, and looking at the radars to our west, I think we are in for a decent snow. The map below is a little confusing since its hard to incorporate the elevation factor into the map. For downtown Groton, I would say 3 or 4 inches will fall. In the hills surrounding Groton, more like 5 or 6 inches. I think the highest amounts will be in the hills north, east and south of Cortland, especially down towards Binghamton. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone down there get 8-10", maybe even a foot!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Service Update, Storms ahead

Thank you everyone for your patience over the past couple of days while I switched over hosting services. The homepage is back up, but I have decided to not link a good deal of the links to their respected pages just yet. I am going to be working on a bit of a redesigning of the page and I want to work on those other pages and update them before relinking them.

Also, last night, I launched a new website with a few of my fellow meteorology students. This site gives forecasts in a similar manner to, with a 3-day forecast, forecast discussion, and hazards outlook for all of New York, which we split into 20 different sections to ensure local, accurate forecasting. The Tompkins, Cortland and Southern Cayuga area is simply linked to, but this site is great for more regional forecasting! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Now, for more of a long range outlook! A very stormy week is coming up next week, with at least 2 different storm systems moving in. By now, I am sure you are becoming familiar with how accurate models are even just a few days out when it comes to large storm systems. I just wanted to mention some of the trends I have been seeing over the past couple of days. First off, while the first storm this week was projected to shoot well to our west, the models are once again bringing it closer to us, with some runs even taking it to the east. This is a very similar trend to what occurred last week. Late last week, the models had a storm tracking to our west, brining rain and warm air in. By Saturday and Sunday, the track had shifted to our south and east and we ended up getting 8" of snow. Now, this isn't the same type of storm system, but it will have to be watched over the next few model runs. Now, later in the week, another storm will ride up the coast and possibly turn into a major nor 'easter. The models have been consistently showing this storm for a few days now, so it too will have to be watched closely. If it becomes anything, it would be later in the week into the weekend. By no means is any of this guaranteed to happen, I am just putting the latest trends out there for you!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Morning Forecast

Here is your forecast for today (it will be quick since I am running behind a bit this morning...)

Today: Increasing clouds with snow moving in this evening. Highs near 30
Tonight: Light snow. Lows in the mid 20's. Breezy.
Saturday: Light snow. Highs near 35.
Sat. Night: Clearing. Lows in the low 20's.
Sunday. Partly cloudy. Highs in the low to mid 30's.

Snow Forecast: Through Saturday


Status update: I believe the transfer is complete. Now I just have to upload all the files and get everything working again! I should be up by tomorrow!

As for the other site,, we will be up later tonight! Check back this evening!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Service Announcement, Forecast update 3:30PM

Hello everyone. If you were not aware, I am changing hosting providers currently. As a result, the normal homepage is not available at this time. Barring any set back or bugs (because we all know things rarely work as they are supposed to and SOMETHING always seems to comes up...), I will hopefully have the normal site back tomorrow afternoon. In the mean time, I will be forecasting and giving updates here!

Your Forecast:

Today: Sun and clouds with a few flurries possible. Highs in the mid teens.
Tonight: Flurries diminishing. Lows in the mid single digits before rising.
Friday: Increasing clouds with some flurries in the afternoon. Highs near 30.
Friday Night: Light snow moving in. Lows in the mid 20's.
Saturday: Light snow, especially in the morning. Highs near 30.

Forecast Discussion:

Some lake effect snow flurries continue across the region this afternoon. Those should diminish overnight as the winds shift. This will also bring in some warmer air overnight ahead of a clipper system. This system will bring a general 2-5" of snow Friday night into Saturday. A new series of storm systems comes in for the early part of next week. This storm will likely be warm enough for more rain than anything else, but it is still too early to tell.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Hey everyone....the website may be not be available for some time beginning tomorrow night! I am changing web hosting services and in the process of changing everything over, I will be off line for a while. I should be back up by Saturday. In the mean time, I will forecast and give updates on here, so if the other site isn't working, check here! Thanks!


What happened...or rather, why it didn't

I've done some thinking and analyzing this morning, and I think I know where I went wrong with my forecasts last night. Lets start by looking at the last radar image I posted.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

As you can see by the radar loop from last night, the snow developed mostly over Western Pennsylvania, West Virgina, and Eastern Kentucky, with lake snows further northwest over Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Now we did and are still getting the lake enhanced snow, but the other area of snow never formed. Why? The answer lies in the two images I made below:

The area where the snow broke out was just west of and along the spine of the Appalachian mountains. These mountains acted as a lifting mechanism. As the winds hit the mountains, they had no where to go but up. Rising air cools, and with all the moisture left over from the storm, condensed into clouds and moderate to heavy snow. This is called upslope snow. Since there is not nearly the elevation gradient over our area as there is to the south, there was not enough lift to cause a secondary outbreak outside of the light lake effect. This just goes to show that there are so many factors that go into forecasting, which is why it is such a tough job.

And just in case you were wondering how much snow fell as a result of the upslope effect last night in the mountains, meteorologist Jesse Ferrell put together a small list of some totals on his blog, which you can see here.

One other note about this storm. I have had over 800 hits on my website since Monday, including 571 yesterday! I just wanted to thank all of you for using my site and making it well worth my time. I really enjoy this and I am so happy that you are finding it useful! Thank you again!

Now, one final thing for now. For the past month or so, I have been working on a new website with a group of meteorology students here at SUNY Oswego. This site will give weather forecasts in a similar format to for clusters of 2-5 counties. This will be a great source for specific weather information outside of our area. I am both the chief meteorologist of this new site, along with the forecaster for the Finger Lakes region. I have set this site up so that Tompkins, Cortland and Southern Cayuga are in a cluster. What does this mean for the future of No changes! I simply using for that region, keeping everything the same for you. This new site will be launching this weekend and will have the URL, so check it out come Saturday!