Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Is The Best Outdoor Thermometer?

I really love these questions you all have been leaving in the comments.

Yesterday an observer asked if there is a preferred type of thermometer for using to gather high and low weather data?

My honest answer isn't that there is a preferred type, but use a lot of care when setting up the instrument so that you are getting a true sample of the air temperature.

For example -- if your instrument is too close to a house, shed, deck, etc. it will potentially read warmer than the air temperature from the heat retained in the brick or wood.

Likewise, if it has too much sun exposure it could read higher during the daytime than it really is. You see this a lot on bank signs for example.

Most weather stations you can buy have the temperature sensor in a solar shield I believe.

WWW.AMBIENTWEATHER.COM is a good website to use for researching weather stations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reporting Weather Data -- Highs, Lows, etc.

A CoCoRaHS observer left a comment on my post yesterday asking a few questions.

1. How do you make the degree symbol without typing the word? Hold the ALT key on your keyboard and enter the numbers 0186. (this is windows -- not sure about other systems)

2. How do you report other weather data (like highs and lows) to CoCoRaHS? The data entry page on CoCoRaHS only lets you enter precip. At one point there was some discussion about adding a place to enter highs, lows, etc. for your weather station.
Not sure if or when that day will come -- so at the present, you can leave the information in the comments section and it will archive with all your reports.

Great questions! It is very cold today across much of the northern US -- here in Denver it is very windy to boot! Bundle up if you are in these locations.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sub-Zero Temps

Well hello -- it has been a while. I am really sorry, but I just have a lot on my plate with the holidays here.

I work for Phillips-Van Heusen as a field marketing rep. in Colorado, so I am spending almost every minute of the day in either JCPenney, Macys or Dillards -- making sure our product is presented well for the holidays.

Luckily I was off the day after Thanksgiving to recover from all the food!

Anyway -- I see some minus temps on the map this morning across northern Minnesota and North Dakota.

The northern tier of states will stay chilly over the next several days and see occasional chances for snow showers as two weather fronts move through.

Portions of the south saw some rain on Monday -- but not nearly enough to put a dent in the drought.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chilly Holiday Week Forecast

Sorry it has been a few days since I last posted -- this is a busy time of year for my job in the retail world.

I just took a quick look at some weather data and it looks like the entire lower 48 will get in on a major cold front over the next several days.

By the weekend, much of the nation will see highs in the 50s or lower, even as far south as the Gulf Coast.

Only southern Florida looks like it will hold onto 70 degree or higher temps for daytime maximums.

For the middle of the country and locations along the US/Canada border, highs in the 20s to 40s will be the rule over the next week with occasional snow showers possible.

There could even be a rain/snow mix as far south as central Missouri by the Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Cold Front

Another cold front is sweeping across the country today. Here in Denver we are getting much cooler weather and some light rain and snow showers in a few places.

It has been really windy this week for many people. Hurricane force gusts have been recorded in the northwest US.

High wind warnings and wind advisories are in effect for portions of the high plains today where gusts up to 60 mph are possible.

In portions of the southeast and along the Gulf Coast of Texas you woke up to dense fog this morning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Active Weather Pattern Ahead

A series of storm systems will move onshore in the Pacific Northwest this week, bringing plenty of rain, wind and snow to Washington and Oregon.

These fronts will move across the lower 48 states, keeping the weather unsettled. Here in Denver, we are expecting a roller coaster ride in temperatures. Highs on Sunday were around 70, we'll be in the 40s today, back to near 70 Tuesday and back to the 40s on Wednesday.

I suspect many people will catch cold from the temperature fluctuation.

The southern states have been extremely warm, esp. from Arizona to Texas. Some cooler weather should make it south by the week's end.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What Is Average, Or Normal?

When you see the average high for a date in your community (or normal high) do you know where that data comes from?

The same applies to average precipitation or snowfall.

Climatological averages are calculated from 30 years of data. Currently, average highs and lows are calculated from weather records between 1971-2000.

They are recalculated every 10 years using the previous 30 years worth of data.

So in 2011 the average high and low for your area will come from 1981-2010.

Now don't confuse this with record highs, lows, rain or snow for your area. A record is over the entire climate record.

So if weather data has been collected since the 1800s where you live, the entire record is examined to determine when a new record is achieved.

This is a point of debate in some places where the weather station has moved. Here in Denver for example, our official weather station moved approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown Denver with the new airport in the 1990s.

Many people don't like when a new record is set for the city because the airport's location isn't representative of where people live.

Well -- for climate purposes, even if a weather station moves, it is still continued one continuous climate record. And the simple fact of that is that documenting weather data is still a new science. Most stations have only been around 100 or so years now.

If we didn't compare the current weather to what we have documented before the weather station moved, what would we use for a comparison? The answer is nothing -- because there were no weather records kept prior.

So remember -- average or normal highs, lows, rain or snow can change every 10 years because these parameters are recalculated.

But records are compared to the entire climate history available for a station, even if it has changed location within a city. There is probably always room for an exception and I cannot immediately think of one, but I wanted to say that just in case. ;-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baby It's Cold Outside

Reading through this morning's daily comment reports made me want to reach for a warm cup of cocoa!

From frost reports here in Colorado to frozen birdbaths in Indiana -- it's really cooling down across the nation.

Lake effect snows are flying across the UP of Michigan and extreme northern Wisconsin today -- as well as in the lake effect snow belts of New York and northwest PA.

Snow flurries have even been seen at times across Iowa.

In the south, a slew of frost and freeze warnings are in effect across Dixie.

It's bone dry here in the west and in the south too -- one observer from Alabama filed their 12th report since signing on with CoCoRaHS and they have all been 0. Come on Mother Nature -- at least give him or her a TRACE to reoprt!! ;-)

As fun as precipitation is, your zero is also very important data. So keep the reports coming and the great comments too!

Monday, November 5, 2007

1st Winter Blast Of Season Moving In

A major cold front is moving south from Canada today -- it will bring the biggest taste of winter that we have seen so far this season.

Lake effect snows are expected from Duluth to Chicago. In the southern Great Lakes it will be mostly a sprinkle/flurry event with perhaps some minor accumulations.

Further north, a few inches are expected on the south shore of Lake Superior.

The front will sweep into Dixie this week with highs in Nashville, Tennessee tumbling into the 50s by midweek.

Even the Gulf Coast will see a cool down with highs in the 60s across the Florida panhandle by Wednesday.

In my last blog entry I asked for tips on cleaning the inner tube of our rain gauges. There were several good comments. One even tells you how to use a chop stick to clean!!

Here in the snow country of the west, we are just putting the outer cylinder out until spring. We have to be prepared for snow at anytime from now until April.

Those in the Great Lakes and New England should be almost ready to convert over to the winter setup (just the out cylinder and snow board). Be sure to find your snow stick or yard stick so you can measure the first snow!! And don't forget where you stored the funnel and inner tube -- sometimes when we go 2 or 3 weeks without precip it can get lost in the house or garage! (That has NEVER happened to me ;-) by the way!)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Noel Update, Cleaning Your Gauge

Hurricane Noel continues to head north in the Atlantic. The storm isn't necessarily growing in strength but is growing in size.

It may impact portions of the east coast and New England states with rain later this week.

Meanwhile, the damage has been done in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Over 100 have died and several more are missing.

A dam broke in Cuba flooding homes and crops.

An observer left a comment on the blog the other day saying they have to clean the gauge frequently due to pollen and dust.

Yes! Depending on where you live the problem is going to be worse than other places.

Does anyone have a helpful method or tip for gauge cleaning? If so, leave a comment on the blog and share it with all of us.