Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are we done YET?

6:45 PM Update: A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the very southern most portions of Tompkins and Cortland counties, but the storm is pretty much south of the county lines. Looking upstream, the more impressive thunderstorms should pass well to our west and east as the cold front begins to press through. As a result, I think we are pretty much done with severe weather here in the Grotonweather forecast area. There will likely be a shower or two...maybe even a light thunderstorm...over the next few hours...but the biggest hazard from here on out through tomorrow morning should be some areas of dense fog.

5PM Update: The storms over Ontario County have struggled to organize and are falling apart into just showers.

As I suspected (but a bit quicker I must admit), a healthy looking cell has broken off the lake breeze and is holding itself together nicely over Ontario County with some new development along its southern flank. If it keeps holding together, it should reach Cayuga Lake about 5:15-5:30 before heading into the Grotonweather forecast area between 5:30 and 7pm.

Original 4PM post: The Grotonweather forecast area has been hit hard twice today, with only the northern portions of Cortland County missing out on the active weather (but not by much, as southern Onondaga County has been hammered too!) Numerous severe weather reports have come out of the area, the most notable being trees and powerlines down in Lansing early this afternoon and a recorded wind gust of 55mph in Locke, 1.25" hail in Dryden and 1" hail in Cortland with the second round of storms.

So...are we done yet? For a little while at least. What has been happening is lake breeze fronts from Lake Erie and Ontario have been triggering storms between Rochester and Buffalo. These storms have been sitting and redeveloping over the same area for hours. As the individual cells move away from the lake breeze, they have been tracking southeast across the Finger Lakes, right into our neck of the woods. the last big storm that went through our area stabilized the atmosphere a good deal, and so as the cells break off of the lake breeze, they have started to quickly die out. I tend to doubt this will remain the case though. The sun is out and already working to destabilize the area once again. Eventually, I believe that another storm will have enough fuel to head down towards us once again, probably in the 1-3 hour time frame. After that, the lake breeze will start to die out. However, the cold front still has to come through and encounter a still unstable airmass across Western New York. more storms may fire up along that as it moves east...especially if it does so while the lake breeze is still adding extra lift to the atmosphere.

Bottom line: we may not be done stay tuned!

1PM Severe Weather Update

2PM Update: SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR S. CAYUGA COUNTY UNTIL 2:45 pm. A severe storm over Ontario county will move into S. Cayuga county over the next 30-60 minutes. I expect the warning to be extended/overlapped as the storm moves into the area. If the storm remains severe (and there is not really any reason for it not to), Groton, Homer and Cortland will have to watch out for this storm between 3-4 pm. Interesting note: All of the Grotonweather forecast area but extreme northeast Tompkins and northern Cortland Counties have been under severe thunderstorm warnings at some point today already! And our watch goes for 6 more hours.

Original 1PM post: Lots going on this afternoon already. A severe storm tore through central Tompkins county last hour. It is looking a bit less organized as it moves into S. Cortland county. I was in Ithaca, on the 11th floor of Bradfield Hall, Cornell as the storm passed. There was rotation with it, and I got some awesome pictures I will post tonight. The storm produced 1" hail in Trumansburg and took out "many" trees and powerlines in Lansing. No other reports yet (as of 1PM).

While all this was going on, the SPC moved us into a moderate risk. This is primarily for the threat of damaging winds. Now, we've already experienced severe weather...but is more on the way? Our watch goes until 8pm, afterall. The answer is yes, our threat still continues. There are more showers and storms forming over western New York back into Canada. The cold front itself stretches from Ontario back into Ohio and Indiana. The air just upstream is very unstable, and the storms we've already had shouldn't have much of an effect on our instability for the middle or latter part of the afternoon.

If you haven't become a fan of Grotonweather on facebook or a follower on Twitter, you will want to do so now! I've been posting up a storm (pun intended) on those two sites all morning with the latest updates and will continue to do so through the day. Also, the Grotonweather Toolbar is a great way to keep your eye on the latest forecast. Download it here. And, as always, the main site/blog will be updated throughout the day to keep you safe!

That's all for now. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The GrotonWeather Toolbar!

That is the hottest link around right now. Click it, and you can download the GROTONWEATHER TOOLBAR...the latest way to get your forecast quick and easy! Downloading this toolbar will allow you to have some great features displayed at the top of your browser window. Here is an explanation of each of the features in order, from right to left...

ToolbarLogo: Clicking on this will take you to the Grotonweather homepage. Additionally, there is a little white arrow just to the right of the logo. Clicking on this will drop down a menu with additional links. Of these, the most important is probably the "refresh toolbar" link at the top, especially if you leave your browser open for long periods of time. The forecast automatically updates around 6PM, so if you do not see a forecast for tonight by 6PM, click the refresh toolbar link!

Search Box: The search box is a staple on most toolbars, and allows you to easily search from the toolbar. The site I am using to create this toolbar does not allow for many options regarding the customization of this. As such, every time you highlight text, it automatically gets put into the search box. Click the arrow, and then you search for it! The sliding bar on the far right part of the image allows you to shrink and expand the search box. I suggest shrinking it down as far as possible, to allow room for the other content!

Forecast: Your forecast is shown here. The forecast automatically changes to the night forecast at 6PM. If it is after 6PM and you do not see the night forecast, hit the refresh toolbar link, as explained in the "toolbar logo" section. At the far right side of this, in brackets and color, is the "hazard of the day". Each day, the primary mode of hazardous weather you need to worry about will be displayed here. The colors correspond to the risk. For example, a red risk will be much more serious than a green or yellow one. If you move your mouse over the hazard, the forecast will disappear to show...

Hazard Text: This is just a simple message that takes the place of the forecast to inform you that there may be other hazards besides the one listed. Following that message is a link to the Grotonweather homepage to see what other hazards may be in store. Moving your mouse over the blue "return to forecast" text will display the forecast once again.

Twitter Feed: Even if you are not a fan of twitter, you can still get updates from Grotonweather's twitter channel here! Click the bird to display the latest posts in a drop-down window below the bird.

[pic not available yet] Doppler Radar: Clicking this box (its red with a sun icon in it) will bring up a map of the United States. Click New York (or any state) and the radar loop for that state will pop up.

Live Time & Temperature: The time and temperature are displayed live here. Clicking on the image will take you to the live stats from Groton. If the time appears out of date, then you may need to refresh your toolbar!

Scrolling Alerts: A Grotonweather original feature, any watches, warnings or advisories will be displayed here. As with the scrolling text on the main site, this is difficult to keep updated manually and may occasionally be out of date or miss displaying all alerts. This is something that will hopefully be automatically updating in the near future!

I hope you enjoy this toolbar. Make sure to suggest it, and, to your friends and family! Don't forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter too!!