Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking back at 2011's Weather

2011 has been a busy year for weather events.  I can think of four events that I will mention later, that made significant impact on us here in the South Eastern PA and surrounding states.
I remember last summer that we had very little rain, grass on yards all across Montgomery County were all turning brown.  This year was different, I lost count of how many flood warnings we had.  Now we have  a moist and mild winter, only in the last two days have I see the temps drop below freezing.

In my research, I found that there were several Tornadoes that touched down in areas outside of Montgomery County, most were in Western, Central and North Eastern PA.  There was a Tornado in Delaware and a few in New Jersey.  So here is my list of basic weather events affected us here locally.

  • Tropical Storm Irene - Irene was a major Hurricane which was strong enough to take 44 lives from Puerto Rico to then sweep through  the US East coast.  Five victims were in PA alone, and from looking a reports several had trees fall on it's victims, others were car accidents and one poor lady was dragged away from flood waters after her car stalled near the Wissahickon Creek.
Here is a pic I took that clearly shows how much flood water rose from Irene and Lee.  The water pushed debris about 10 feet and had trash sitting in a tree.

  • Tropical Storm Lee:  Lee hit our area back on September 9th, the flooding was so bad that our President had to declare PA in as in a State of Emergency.  With that federal assistance was available to flood victims.  The flooding affected the Susquehanna river and even Hersey Park was so flooded that several animals in a Zoo there could not be saved and perished from the flood.  Lee claimed 7 lives in PA alone.  The worst of all was the fact that Lee came right after the flooding from Irene.
  •  The Virgina Earthquake:  August 23rd, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude Earthquake that we felt.  I have experienced several minor quakes when I lived in South America, but this was a big surprise to me! I was sitting at the office on the 4th floor and I could feel the building being pushed around.
  •  October Snow:  A freak early snow event, that caused 6 deaths and 200,000 reported power outages.  I wrote a few days before stating that the snow won't stick to the warm ground.  Well of course I was wrong.
Here a snap shot from the snow in October;

Finally I wanted to say that I look forward to writing more blog posts for 2012, stay safe and if anyone needs any safety information for weather events, please email me at;

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Strong La Niña & Arctic Oscillation

A stronger La Niña has been affecting our weather recently we are currently in by what NOAA defines as a multi-year La Niña, where it began during the Summer of 2010.  Normally a strong La Niña is followed by a strong El Niño event.  Normally these cycles can be strong to neutral, last year they were predicting a moderate event and it started to weaken during the spring and then it had intensified by late summer.

Since La Niña is here to stay, they say we may end up having a mild winter, which translates to little or no snow accumulation for Southeastern PA.

A more recent article on the NOAA website states that there is another cycle called the "Arctic Oscillation", apparently this is being identified as the newest element for our warm winter and for unusually warmer temperatures in the far northern areas.  This is the main cause of the diminishing polar ice that is melting away.

This was in part my own summary of a much bigger and impressive topic, to read on from the experts please visit;

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hurricane Charley

Hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday weekend!

I have been so busy, still need time to edit the family pics from Christmas.  In the mean time, I found this video  that may be submitted for the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest recorded Hurricane winds (on camera).  Thank you to for publicly posting this incredible video on youtube.
Please note that the location and date is detailed at the end of the video.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I am happy to say that I am thankful for having a good year..

I wanted to thank all my readers and followers, I have had a lot of fun writing and taking pictures for this blog.

Merry Christmas from The Weather Vane..

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Greenhouse Gas - Methane

Bubbling through melting permafrost in several areas near the Arctic, is Methane.

Methane or also known as what is used for Natural Gas, is a widely used fossil fuel.  The problem is that there should not be high levels of this released into our atmosphere.   I have seen two scientific studies that state that the same ice melt that is shrinking the glaciers, is thawing out the ground where trapped methane gas deposits are now bubbling to the surface.  One area is in  northern Russia, where they say that it is becoming a serious problem.   There is another noted area is in Alaska, where several videos show how the Methane is coming out of the ground.  Large amounts of Methane added to our atmosphere will cause accelerated Global Warming.

I do not like to paint a doomsday picture of our future, however it is better that folks understand the concern regarding this and the impact it has on Climate Change.

Here is a detailed youtube video about this topic, this is an older video from 2009, this problem is now worse because the global temperature has risen since then.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Debris from Tsunami

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has released a Youtube video about debris that may land on the California coast by 2013. 

If you recall, I wrote about the Earthquake that hit Japan and caused a Tsunami that caused horrific damage.  You can read about my earlier story here; Reporters visit-fukushima-nuclear-powerplant

Now, I would like to know if any of the debris is radioactive, of course this is just a personal thought.

Check out the video here; 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Weather Ready Nation

The Nation Weather service, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other organizations, have been working together on a large scale plan to prepare our country to be a “Weather Ready Nation”. 

 During the next ten years, a major plan is being constructed in time for the 150 year anniversary of the National Weather Service.  Building a Weather Ready nation would involve using the latest technology, preparation, education and training, to help insure protection of lives and would benefit our economy. 

Evidence of climate change is all around us, being prepared to protect lives is a priority, and there is also the need to protect our Nation’s water supply.  New technology, using tools such as computers, Doppler radar, and satellites, would be used by scientists and meteorologists, to monitor our climate both on Earth and space weather, will help to enhance our ability to detect and study significant possible weather events with better accuracy.  Advancement in information technology using such tools as the internet, computer software, social networks and smartphone technology will help to bridge gaps in vital communication and weather alert status information.

Will we be ready for strong weather events such as Hurricanes, tornadoes, or as the NWS states a High Impact Event?

What is a High-Impact Event?

No standard, nationwide criteria define a high-impact event.  It may impact millions of people or one sector, and it may vary in timing or location.  It is any weather-dependent event that significantly impacts safety, health, the environment, economic productivity, or homeland security, such as:
• Major events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis
• Persistent drought
• Thunderstorms in a congested air space
• Rains that trigger flooding and cause agricultural run-off, leading to harmful algal blooms and dead zones
• Geomagnetic storms that disrupt energy distribution and communication systems
• Snow squalls at rush hour
• An above-average hot day
• Coastal inundation
• Changes in Arctic climate

For more detailed information, please read the Strategic plan 2011,  here ;

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photos from Irene

I was looking through some pictures that I took this year, and I found a photo that made me recall of the day Hurricane Irene affected our area.  I remember standing in the mud with my tripod back on August 28th of this year.  I was holding my camera with my left hand and I started to walk out closer to the swollen creek where I was a little worried that it was going to rain again. As I walked closer to the water and with each step, I kept sinking into the mud.   Also as I waked closer to the water, I began to notice how high the creek was that day and the magnitude of the flooding that occurred earlier.   I read the weather report  and I knew it was going to rain again, and that the creek could quickly start to rise.  The water was flowing downstream at a fairly quick rate and as you can see the water was over it's normal level.  Because I was there after full brunt of the storm, the water was actually much higher before I arrived that day.  You can see from this pic how the brush was pushed flat and in the direction of the creek flow.

The second photo (below) shows a left angle view from the first photo.  I am sure that the creek water was twice as high as it normally would be.  The first pic shows a small tree right in the flow of the water, and since the water was rushing downstream quickly you can see it was generating waves.

After taking a few more pictures, the rain started again and I had to pack away my gear quickly.  In that last photo, more to the left and out of view, was a work crew cutting through large trees that had fallen and was blocking a public road.  I was able to drive out of that road, which was shut down, but being persistent I drove into the park area anyway.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why I watch the Weather

Here is something I wrote back in January, I made minor changes as I learned more about storms and weather history.  This is a personal account, and that I am lucky to be alive to write this.

The first time I seen unusually strong weather was when I lived in Glenside in the late '70s. I was about 11 years old, I was just home from school with my brother and we noticed that the sky turned dark very quickly. The winds gradually picked up from a normal 5 or 10 miles an hour to the point that you can hear whistling sounds and eventually the sound turned to a freight train noise. The house literally shook and when I looked out the living room window, I saw arcing wires outside just from the winds that hit our house. The noise got so bad that we were shouting in fear.  When the event ended, we wandered outside and did not see damage to our house, but we looked two houses over and saw that a large branch from a nearby tree fell on a work van in their driveway.  A little later we spoke to a friend who told us that there was more damage about 5 blocks away.  I jump on my bike to get there and saw a huge maple tree had fallen on top of a station wagon that was parked on the driveway.  As you can imagine, the car was heavily damaged from this large tree.

I would like to find old records of the event, but I am absolutely sure that this was the result of a small funnel cloud. I am sure the winds had to top 70 miles per, I have checked online and cannot find a recorded event of a EF-0 in Glenside around 1978-1979.  I think about what happened now and how we were really lucky that this was not worse than it was, but it seems that the mini twister followed a chaotic path, that touched the ground then would lift up again then touch down with more force a few blocks away.

The second event that happened to me was when I lived in Guayaquil Ecuador (South America).  I did not have internet access at time, and I was looking for a new job.  I had a former co-worker that was one of my basic Photoshop students, he referred me to the owner of an Ad Agency.  The day I went to the job interview  was a day of typical tropic warmth and bright but somewhat normally cloudy skies.  I was hired and told when to report to the job. (YES!)  Then first day of the job was a nightmare it was the first time I witnessed the effects of “El Niño Southern Oscillation.  I never heard about “El Niño” before then, and that it was forming that week off the coast of Ecuador and Peru in the Pacific Ocean.  My first day on the job and the two months that followed was a life altering event. That day I had witnessed about four feet of water on flooded streets. Torrential rains that looked like the clouds reached 400% relative humidity. I only made it to work safely because I got lost driving to work. By some crazy luck, I took higher ground. I instinctively drove to up hills and did make it to work. When I got to work I had found the owner was on the phone speaking to some of his employees who could not make it in, they were stranded on the flooded roads that were shut down by high water. The crazy “Gringo” (me)  and two other people made it to work that day.  After that, I was of course in shock. I did run into more problems, the rain did not stop. I think it rained without ending for about 4 days or more at a time. It got so bad from driving in deep water that the brakes on my car slowly disintegrated. I then had to take the bus to get to work for about a week. I then got my car back, new brakes I was happy. However my car started to smell bad from flooded water that would seep into the car. That was not the end of my troubles, I was driving home one night and it started to rain again but this time it was much stronger than before. I was on the final stretch of road getting near the house. I noticed that my windshield wipers failed to clean off the glass fast enough to aid my vision. I was driving about 30-35 mph and just started to slow down. The water on the road started to pond, I wanted to avoid hydroplaning so I gradually slowed down, but then the car felt like it quickly fell  downward. Like the feeling you get when you fall in a very large pothole. I could no longer see the road from the blinding rain and dense low clouds.  I guided myself by trees and the brush lining the left edge highway divider and on the right side was driving near a slight embankment that did not have a barrier. When the car fell, it bottomed out violently, two things occurred. The brake line under the car snapped off and the engine stalled from the impact. I tried to hit the brakes and restart the vehicle but the brake pedal sank to the floor board.  I did not panic, I let the car roll and started it, then I down shifted into second to let the engine slow the car down to then again downshift again into first gear.  At that point I was driving my VW Beetle in first gear, (12 mpg?) my wipers were useless and no brakes.  Imagine driving a car blind with no brakes. Yes I did make it home safe, I was the only nut on that flooded road.  I went through 3 sets of brake shoes, and two headlights as they were destroyed by water. After the first rains I padded the spark plug wires with rubber cement and the car did not fail to start after that. At times I was driving around with about four of more inches of water sloshing around inside the car.

I did see other weather events, 3 foot snowstorms, glancing blows from passing hurricanes, and ice storms, but now after seeing all this I have to say that you learn to have a great respect of the forces of nature.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Billion Dollar Weather Disasters

Climate change is taking it's toll, every year the varying cycles or oscillations, whether it is "La Nina" or "El Nino" alternately causes floods, drought and or heightened storm activity.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, has released data from years of it climate data.

Here is the first graph showing information from 1980 to the present.  (click image below to enlarge)

The next image shows number of significant events, notice that PA has 17-24 events. Looking at the previous graph you can see that the number of events has increased in the last 25 years.

Looking at this information, it would be wise not to ignore the possibility of a serious weather event.
This week alone, Scotland had category 5 hurricane force winds, we are talking of winds from 100 to 165 Miles per hour!     (Data from NOAA  )

Now I would like to ask folks to take a pic of any local weather event and send them by email to us.  We would like to post the pic and give credit to our readers.  Send your weather pics  to:

In the email please include the folowing;

  • Your name (the photographer,)
  • If you want us to post the picture with your name publicly (your permission) or anonymous
  • The time and date of the weather event
  • Basic location of the picture taken, (Intersection, town city, state)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where is the Snow?

For late tonight into early tomorrow morning,  it looks like it is and will be too warm and wet for anything over a 1/4 inch of snow to stick to the ground.  The current temperature in Horsham is 42 degrees, and it is dropping, the barometer readings are a very low 996 mb. The low pressure front is here, this is a significant storm,  thunder was heard in eastern Montgomery County tonight.

There is still a Flood Watch, for Montgomery County until 5 AM tomorrow.  Please drive with care in a flood event, it is easy to encounter ponding on roads which may cause  for unsafe driving conditions.  Check your basements for water and take necessary precautions for areas close to creeks and small streams.

Please check your local news for details and updated Flood status information.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flood Watch and Snow

It is difficult to predict what will occur on Wednesday evening until Thursday morning.

So far the National Weather service has updated it's latest report to say that there is a good chance that our area will see some snow.  The latest forecast information was updated at 4 PM, stating that there is a Flood Watch that says heavy rain that will occur into Wednesday night.  As a cold front moves in from the southwest, this gives the possibility of some snow.

There is a Winter Storm Watch for our area on Wednesday night, higher elevations are expected to see up to 3 inches of snow.

Our area (Montgomery County), might see a coating to up to an inch of snow.  The Flood Watch should be more of a concern then a simple coating of snow. 

Click here to see important  information about Flooding Safety;

We shall see tomorrow morning what the latest forecast will say.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chance of Snow or False alarm?

Remember back during the end of October we had a surprise snow event.  Everyone including meteorologists were caught off guard.  Again, for the last three days, weather reports flip back and forth from it being cold to not being cold enough for the rain / snow changeover later this week.  

Some online forecasters are stating that there is a dividing line where the air maybe just cold enough to change the rain to snow.  Before on that last event I mentioned, I wrote that the snow would not stick because of the warmer temperatures the day before would not allow the snow to stick to the ground.

Update 8:44pm 12/5/2011:  The National Weather Service has issued its updated forecast.  Possible rain changing to snow.  Snow showers from Tuesday night, then again Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  Looking at the forecast details, they say we should not get anything more than a 1/4" of snow on either of these two days. 

I would be more concerned of the Fog that will be out there again tomorrow morning!

  I am sure everyone is thinking why I am writing all this.  With definite signs of climate chance, you have to be aware of changing weather that can affect your local community.  Just yesterday I read that parts of northern Texas were expecting snow.  Further updates will be posted just in case the slow moving low pressure system, pulls in enough cold air to make it snow more than what is being stated.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fog warning from tonight until morning

The National Weather Service issued a statement tonight..

Patchy fog will move in from the south.

Patchy fog will move across the region tonight through a better
part of the morning hours. The fog may become locally dense in
with visibilities dropping below one-mile at times. Please use
extra caution while driving and make sure to use the low-beam
setting on your headlights.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011 Hurricane Season videos

The Hurricane  season ended very recently, we need to not forget it's impact and reading about weather history, I found that yes our area can be hit almost directly by a big storm.  This week I read about about authorities in NYC discussing the possibility to be hit by a large hurricane, this may occur every 100 years.  If this does happen, NYC will be flooded.

Please watch this time-lapse video of the 2011 Hurricane season .
This will let you see the storm activity of 19 storms which 3 became major Hurricanes.

Let us not forget what Hurricane Irene and Tropical storm Lee did to our area, hopefully we will be better prepared next year.

I found a lot of videos from PA regarding Hurricane Irene, some of these were in areas close to were my family used to live.

Here is one video from Cheltenham PA.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stormchasers Tornado Handbook!

I wanted to share this great tornado simulator that is provided by STORMCHASERS at

If you are curious as to how tornadoes are formed then you must click this link below for the Tornado Handbook.

 There are three tabs in the lower portion of the window, be sure to click on each one.

Enjoy !

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


There is a volunteer group of storm spotters, trained to document specific information that is vital for Meteorologists to study evolving weather events. These weather events may show signs that they could become a severe storm or maybe even a Tornado.  These storms need to be identified and documented by trained weather spotters, this way multiple sources of information are sent to the local NWS office.   These storm reports are called in to the National Weather service, where Meteorologists combines these reports with doppler radar data.

Skywarn started in the 70's as a national volunteer program, that has helped the NWS to provide more accurate and early storm warnings to the general public.

The author, (Me) has completed the basic course and will work to provide reports to the NWS office in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.  I will be documenting flooding, storms, storm damage and snowfall amounts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NPP Status Update

Before I wrote about the mission launch on Oct. 28th, soon after the satellite reached it's final orbit.  After review, the satellite passed it initial stages and soon it's instruments were operational.

Earlier Nasa reported that the NPP Satellite had captured it's first hi resolution image on Nov. 21st.
This image was taken by one of the five instruments on board.

Image credit - NASA - 
The one instrument called VIIRS, (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite), which can detect fog at night just by reflected moonlight.  There is word that this may be able to further enhance early warning for fog alerts.  The imaging system will measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion, fires and Earth's albedo.  Albedo is the fraction of sunlight reflected by the moon, or also known as moonlight. The NPP satellite is a big step from the satellites used back in the early eighties.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Schuylkill River at Norristown PA

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning last night and indicated that the  Schuylkill River reached flood stage as of 5:30 AM this morning. 

This chart shows that at 10:30 AM, the river reached one foot over flood stage and at 11 AM it had started to rain again as I write this.  At this point it is considered minor flooding, still please use caution when driving today.

Attached here is the link with the Flood Stage chart and a Map.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood watch for our entire area.
Counties include;   Montgomery County, Northern Chester Co., Berks, Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks County.

Please be aware that flash flooding can occur on roads from tonight into tomorrow afternoon.  Please use caution when driving, fallen leaves can cause storm drains to clog causing flooding on some roads.

Consider ourselves lucky, parts of Vermont and Main are expected to get 6-10 inches of snow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Record Rain & NPP Update

Record for rainfall achieved at 1pm today for Philly area, it is the most it had rained since 1996.   New York also broke it's record today for yearly rainfall.  The National Weather service had issued a statement that more rain will fall into the night.

Latest update for Nasa's NPP satellite, first image from NPP's  ATMS Channel 18 data. (shown below)

 The image above shows low level water vapor, tropical storm Sean is visible in this image.

ATMS stands for "The advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, which is one of 5 high-tech climate measuring instruments on board the spacecraft.  Nasa has stated that the satellite is functioning perfectly, and will review data from the other 4 sources by mid December.   NOAA director Dr. Uccellini has stated that NPP will improve weather forecasts by 5 to 7 days in advance of what was normally calculated.

I want to thank NOAA and Nasa for providing information online, which is found at; 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reporters vist the Fukushima Nuclear power plant

For the first time Japan allows reporters to visit the plant after the worst nuclear accident in history.

As we recall the terrible event took place, Japan was hit by a terrible earthquake and tsunami back in March of this year.   It is said to take about 30 years to clean up the damage surrounding the plant.  The reactor will be encased in reinforced concrete and steel plates, and will need to be inspected in the future to reseal its permanent tomb.

I am not certain that our nuclear plants are completely safe.  We see with climate change how strong storms and flooding have been affecting our landscape.  We have seen earthquakes here and quakes have been felt in the Midwest.  There were plans to build new plants in the US, if so they will need to revise backup power for these plants that  must pump water to cool the reactor.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dual Polarization Radar

The Doppler radar site that covers our area (a good part of eastern PA and much of NJ), is being upgraded by February 2012. This upgrade will allow Meteorologists to detect and measure rainfall and storms with much better accuracy.  In some instances, a developing tornado can hide within a rain wrapped storm.  This new technology will help increase warning time to the general public.

Here is a youtube video from the National Weather Service which gives a good idea of the impact this technology will have on forecasting.

On a final note, looks like rain is on its way.  The NWS has posted its forecast,  rain for Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Asteroid 2005 YU55 - twisters & tremors in OK

As I wrote before on October 30th, about the near fly by of the Asteroid 2005 YU55 and how it will pass very close to the Earth tonight.

Here is a video from Nasa explaining how the Asteroid is tracked;

I have heard reports from storm chasers of multiple Tornadoes in Oklahoma and more aftershocks were felt as well.

Here is a great video from Storm Chasers in Oklahoma, this was filmed yesterday. You can see the hail on the ground.  At 2:40 minutes in you see the Chaser talk about his car that flipped over because his steering wheel locked up on him.                                           
Courtesy of on youtube.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Frozen fall colors

After our early snowfall, the frozen temperatures  had an effect on the timing of color change of the leaves.
Per an article found here : NOAA fall Foliage , it states that the color change process is interrupted and some leave may not make its full change before the leaves fall from the trees to get ready for winter.
I took some pictures yesterday while I was in a commercial park.  It is nice that business put effort to decorate the landscape to make it a nice place to be.  The last pic here is from Blue Bell, PA, it is a good indicator of what a tree looks like halfway through its color change.  In the background you can see a few trees in different stages.  One tree had it's leaves fall off much earlier, could have been from storms we had before.

a fall of all colors

Red Reflections of fall


Daylight Savings Time

After tonight we need to check all our gadgets from the microwave to our car radios, to see if we need to set them back by one hour.  The good news is that we gain one hour of sleep!  Hope that everyone enjoys the remainder of their weekend.  Be sure to adjust your clocks, the time change actually is in effect at 2 AM.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Well I finally did it, after searching and putting it off for about 3 years, I finally got down to business and took the basic Skywarn class.  I have to say this was better than I thought it would be, the instructor is an actual Meteorologist from NOAA and works for the National Weather service.  The class was very good and I did learn about things that I did not find online.  They showed a few video clips, one about driving through flood waters that made a memorable point. We saw a car dragged away, and by some miracle the driver and passenger managed to get out in time.  A few other videos showed twisters causing actual damage.
Then at a break in the middle of class we had a visit by Channel 3's Meteorologist Kate Bilo. She spoke to us and I have to say, what a smart and attractive lady!  They then led us outside to see their Mobile Weather lab that is a modified Audi Q7.  It has an array of weather sensors to measure wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity etc.  It has a large flat screen TV display in the back and the vehicle transmits its reports live via satellite through several on board cameras.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Besides being Halloween tomorrow, there are several events that have or will occur soon.  
On October 28th we saw the successful launch of the NPP Satellite;

Last night we witnessed a historic storm which left us with over 2.5 million people without power in the surrounding area.  As mentioned before, there were black ice conditions which led to a  fatal accident overnight on I-95. Channel 6 news also reported a few other pileup accidents on other major roads in PA and in NJ.   I am actually looking to order a full set of snow tires and wheels,  maybe next month myself.
Just a reminder that November 6th is the hour change for Daylight Savings Time, Fall back which to set the clocks one hour back.

Coming up on November 8th, there will be a very large asteroid that will pass by us at a closer distance from us to the Moon.  It is called 2005 YU55, which is about the size of an Aircraft carrier!  Thank goodness that Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is stating that there should no chance that this asteroid will hit the Earth.

A final note, I have signed up to take a Skywarn class on Tuesday.  I will meet up with a class that teaches how to report storms to the National Weather Service.  I will volunteer my time and hope to help others by reporting storms. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Early Snow

Well the forecast information that I studied yesterday did not project what actually happened.  Meteorologists have a difficult job trying to compile as much information as they can, even using sophisticated computers, they can end up looking like they were wrong.  Anyway I feel that sufficient information was put out there telling people that there was a freeze watch, and possible snow.  I read too much into the information I found and stated that the snow should not stick because of the ground being too warm.   At this hour there is a very heavy band of snow, hitting the area.  Temperatures are hovering around the freeze mark and since this has been the case now for much of the day, there is the danger of bridges and certain areas of roads can freeze and make driving very dangerous.  Because of a good quantity of leaves that are still on the trees, there are reports of branches and entire trees falling on wires, causing power outages.  Do not be surprised if you loose power, hopefully you still have batteries you purchased when Hurricane Irene came through our area.

For parts of PA and NJ, it is now not recommended to go out unless you really need to.  I was driving around and there is a lot of wet heavy snow still on certain roads.   If this freezes we can really see a problem, especially on hills or narrow roads.

Be safe so stay at home, the storm warning is over at 2am but temperature will stay in the lower 30's, which means the roads will continue to freeze.

Tomorrow will be a bit warmer and the roads will be clear and everything should melt, if you need to go out and shop, just wait until tomorrow.

This pic was taken at 3pm today, at this time it had started to be a mix of rain and sleet.  I checked online and they are reporting that some areas had anywhere from 2 to 5 inches within a 10 mile radius of Horsham.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow & another Nor'easter?

We have not even reached the fall color peak yet and you can hear the buzz from all the radio and TV stations about freezing temps and even some snow.  A Nor'easter is on its way, which is a dual front event, that when it meets,  can produce a good bit of precipitation and this type of storm is known to linger for some time. 

The good news is that this event should not effect us for too long.  For those like myself that live in northeastern Montgomery county, we should not see much snow, and even if we did, the ground is warm enough it would not stick.  Now for folks living more to the north and west, especially way up in Allentown or Reading, they should see accumulation. 

Channel 6 news reported at 11pm, that an October snowstorm is extremely rare, well we know that, I don't remember seeing snow at this time of year.  Please revisit the post regarding tire selection,The_Weather_Vane: Do you need new tires?   
This is a warning sign that we should look to be prepared for what could come our way during the Winter months.

Hurricain Rina & Our First Freeze

The two major headlines for today, the Track of Hurricane Rina and there is a Frost warning for the northern areas of Bucks and Montgomery counties.

The NWS has sent out (early this morning) a Freeze Watch which is in effect from late tonight until tomorrow morning.  This mainly impact vegetation such as any plants that you may have outside.

Hurricane Rina will reach he Yucatan Peninsula by Thursday afternoon, a weaker storm but still a category 1 Hurricane.

The forecast looks good for the launch of the NPP Weather and climate study satellite.  Launch is expected for Friday the 28th.

Thanks go to for the map displayed here and the the National Weather Service for alerting the public for storms and other events.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nockamixon State Park

First I need to mention that the German Satellite crashed into the Earth today, Nasa has stated that it could have landed anywhere from the Indian Ocean to China.  A large 1.7 ton reflector, is a prime concern because it is fairly heat resistant.

Fall is now upon us, this past weekend we had great weather, relatively clear skies and some winds.
So given the nice weather, I went for a hike at Nockamixon State park.  Every time I go to this place I a surprised at it's diversity, offering, hiking, fishing, hunting, swimming and boating.  I am sure I missed something on my list.  I first parked at a boat launching area, after checking my GPS, I started to walk and found the path blocked. A small yellow sign warns of this being a hunters area and beyond this point you should wear an orange vest.  

Please note that you can click on any picture here to enlarge the image view.
 Well I forgot that we are in Deer season, so I continued down this path. I then ended up near a crossroad and briefly noticed hunters hundreds of feet away.  I originally intended to follow my GPS through a long trail that would have led me to the lake shore through a narrow mud filled path.   I started to think that I may not be safe where I was hiking.  I walked a few more feet then I heard a powerful gunshot in the distance.  Well then I walked over to a field clearing and saw Haycock mountain, this is about 960ft high. This mountain is also known as Ghost Mountain.  I did not see an Albino Cannibal running around.  For more on that story, click here :  weird US
 Now being fully aware of this being a bad place to be, I thought to back track and see if I could find a hunter.  I did walk back to the crossroad and spoke to two hunters that I had waved to earlier, just so that they are aware of a crazy photographer that was walking around.  They confirmed that I was not in a good place and said I should get back to the main road.  I agreed and walked back down the asphalt path that I had originally came from. 
I got back to the area where my car was parked, and took a couple shots at the lake but I was not satisfied with them.  I found a map of the park and proceeded to plan my next stop.  I found another boat launch location, that was facing a more open area of the lake and I thought should have boats there to be seen.  Well I was right, it was a good move, I found fisherman, fishing boats and sailboats.

In the end the sky progressively got darker, the constant winds appeared to have brought thick dark clouds with it. This meant that the lighting conditions deteriorated for my work that day.  I wish I had more time there, but I felt that I did just enough to capture this moment of time.

Here is a final shot, not quite a sunset, but close enough to say goodbye to this lake for the day.
On a final note, be on the lookout by this Thursday, possible double low pressure fronts moving in to give rain into Friday, not sure if this will be a storm, but we cannot rule that possibility out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Satellites & a Storm

Current Weather and Technology Events
  • Be aware that two fonts may meet in our area that initially there was a slight chance of forming a classic Nor'easter.  Recent weather reports do not seem to indicate this at this present time, anyway we will receive lots of rain and possible thunderstorms.  Remember that we received record rainfall last month and it would not take much rainfall to see flooding conditions. 
  •  A German Xray satellite is expected to fall from its deteriorating orbit, and crash into the earth later this week. Reports state that this could occur sometime between the 21st to the 25th.  The ROSTAT satellite has been inactive for over 10 years, and it was a project managed by the US, Britain and Germany.  Nasa states that they should make a formal public announcement two hours before final reentry.
To see a detailed live tracking map of it's actual position, please click here : ROSTAT Position map
  •  Nasa is launching its brand new NOAA satellite on October 27th, this will allow Meteorologists to track storms, day maybe even weeks in advance. This represents a huge step in weather safety and climate change study.  I am really excited about the change that will be seen by this new satellite.

Here is an informative video about the launch and the function of NPP

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Updated Flood Maps & Daylight Savings Time

As I wrote before regarding flood awareness, I mentioned about homeowners should reevaluate the need for Flood insurance.  Yesterday I received in the mail a copy of the Horsham Township report, which clearly states that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued new maps to replace the ones listed out there that are 14 years old.  I suggest for anyone residing in Montgomery County or anywhere else that has been affected recently by flooding, to contact your local Township Building and review the new Flood Maps.  This is needed to determine the rate you would pay for flood insurance.

Another reminder, that November 6th is when we turn the clocks back one hour (if not done automatically)

For more information about flooding visit. or

Thank you for reading my blog, and don't forget to return for more..

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tornado Videos

Here are a few videos I found online of Tornadoes that struck in the south.
I hope everyone has a pleasant Friday evening..

The first one, I advise to scroll in about one minute to where the driver drives down to road to get a better look

The second video is a preview for a DVD you can purchase online.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NWS Modernization

 National Weather Service, has been going through significant upgrades at the cost of $4.5 billion dollars.
Thankfully this was a result of a study from the years 1989 to 2000, by the National Research Council.
As an example they had found that the highest recorded ocean temperature was in 1997, which was well above normal levels.

The renovation of weather forecast tools will greatly improve and provide early warning and information for weather research and education.

These are upgraded technologies;
  • The Automated Surface Observing System
  • Next Generation Radar (Dual Polarization)
  • New Weather Satellites
  • Powerful New Computers systems
  • The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System
This to me great news, we will be entering a new technological age, in modern 21st. Century Weather Science and Forecasting.
With the depletion of the Arctic Ice, holes in the ozone and with very high ocean temperature,s we know this has impacted weather events at a global level.

We need new tools to record and predict strong weather events.

I want to credit the National Academy of Science for providing this important story online
The detailed story is here.

as a final note a signature image of the day, vista from Pennypack Park area;

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

goodbye warm weather

A coastal storm is moving up and will affect us mainly by tomorrow afternoon.

Here are a couple shots to help us remember that great weather we had over the weekend.
These were taken at the end of the day on my hike in Audubon. 
A tribute in a "Digital Painting" that I bring to you..

Monday, October 10, 2011

Further Fall Colors

I recently visited the "John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove", this is a historic wildlife nature preserve in Audubon, PA.  The objective of the hike was to take shots of the present fall color change.  Some trees are still green, others mixed and some in a more advanced stage.  The advantage of that day was a higher than normal temperature, which made for  a great day for a hike! I will post shots from yesterday and I may go on another trip by the end of the month for more landscape photography.  Enjoy the nice weather, don't sit around at home!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do you need new tires?

The time has come where we need to think about the seasonal change.

We drive to and from work, and where ever else we normally would during our normal routine.  During Spring and Summer, the only thing we worry about is to wash the car and replace the tires when they appear to be worn.  During Fall we run into wet leaves, then in winter we run into a different scenario.  We need to  inspect our tires to make sure they have sufficent tread and to make sure that we have the right type of tire that will safely get you around during the upcoming winter months. 

I had a nasty accident years ago, where a young driver hydroplaned around a curve, lost control and slammed their car head on into mine.  I was pretty young at the time myself, but this served to be a wise lesson for me to understand the importance of auto safety.  If you are not sure how to check you tires, ask someone!  You could be saving someones life, including your own.  There are many types of tires to choose from depending on the type of vehicle you have or the season you are getting ready for.  Most common is the all season radial tire, this is found on almost every type of regular car or minivan.  Sport cars may not have this type of tire, they commonly come with a summer or performance tire which is not suitable for winter driving. 

Here are a couple quick facts;
  • Did you know tires have a date code?   Is the tire shop selling you an old dried out tire from a five years ago?

  • Winter tires are not like the ones your parents used in the '70s.  There are modern tires now and they are quite effective in deeper snow and some types may allow driving on icy surfaces.

  • Did you know that you lose one PSI (Pound per square inch) every month on average? This means to check your tire pressure every time you have your oil changeg or other routine auto service.

For most drivers, a good all-season tire will be sufficient to get you through the winter.  However if you have noticed that we have been experiencing snowy winters for the last couple years.  In 2009, I remember only getting a few inches snow.  2010 however was different, below are some photos I took, to remind us of last year.

Now you remember? Well, please read this article from, they have endless information regarding the proper tire selection for foul weather and for the type of car you drive.
Remember the date code is found on the sidewall, it is the last four digits of the tire id. number, like 5107 would then be 51st week of the year 2007. 

So go out there and buy fresh tires.
Reading tire date code :|21263|tire%20date%20code||S|b|6698650813&techid=11&index.jsp=&

Testing on Ice: Winter / Snow vs. All-Season vs. Summer Tires, click below; 
You really should go here and read up before you go out and buy tires, use this website as a reference.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Blue Sky


A Blue Sky, the pic above was taken by me leaving work yesterday, I saw the upper level clouds which are triggered by cooler temperatures.  I pulled over and got out the camera, set it on the tripod to take a few shots.
Later that night I read a scary article online from Rebecca Boyle of Popular Science, the article painted a picture of our immediate future.  Apparently there is not just one large hole in the ozone layer in the Antarctic.  What I read now is that there is another hole in the ozone layer but this is in the Arctic, which can affect our region to the north.  After reading this article, I transferred this photo to edit it on my computer, looking at this crisp blue sky made me think about how we have allowed our progress and industry to nearly destroy this great greenhouse of a planet we all live on.  I had just read a few weeks before that the sea ice has been dwindling in the north seas.   This now makes sense, with a second hole in the ozone layer, this allows for more harmful rays from the sun to penatrate our atmosphere and cause the ice to melt at an accelerated rate.

This also means that we really should not sunbathe at all, UV or Ultraviolet rays are reaching higher levels which will cause skin damage.  At this point it means that sunscreen would not help that much to protect us from skin cancer. 

That article from Popular Science mentions that the holes in the ozone are triggered by "chemical reactions involving chlorine.  In cold air and sunlight, chlorine is converted into compounds that break down ozone."

Yes climate change has even affected the air currents in the upper atmosphere which is affecting the destruction of the ozone layer.  Ozone at ground level is a toxic gas, however it is absolutely necessary to exist in the upper atmosphere to filter out the type of rays from our sun that can cause harm to plants, animals and even to us.
Hope, yes there is some, we have already started to take action to slow down climate change.  The federal government has imposed strict laws to control and reduce factories to reduce pollution.  More advanced emission control in modern cars has helped a bit as well.  We just need all the countries in the world to work together and make vital investment to reduce pollution and to plant trees.

Please visit to read the original article from Popular Science : New Ozone hole over the Arctic
Here is information about the ice in the Arctic :

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Temperature Change

Well now that we are feeling the cooler temperatures it is time to be looking through our closets to find sweatshirts and other fall type clothing to wear.  I wanted to add another picture from Blue Bell and a sunset shot from that last trip to Pennypack Park.

I stayed longer at that park to see how the sun would start to set and I have to say it was worth it.  I feel that it was a successful trip for different reasons. 

On another note I have completed the first stage of my Skywarn training, more to come on that later.

Until then, keep an eye out to see if more rain is on the way, we have had record amounts of rain which can lead to road damage, large pot holes which can be hidden under puddles of water.

Friday, September 30, 2011

cloudy skies

The storms that went by us to the west brought spectacular skies on Wednesday.  There was a line of storms that was west of us then went up to the Reading area.

As mentioned before here are a few pictures donated to us by a fellow photographer. The first pic is from somewhere in Blue Bell and the second one from Montgomeryville, PA

Update;  this blog is now optimized to be viewed on your smartphone as well as your desktop or tablet

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pennypack erosion part II

Here is another image, this one very dramatic.  I was standing on a bridge looking down at the creek. As you can see the tree as high as it is from the creek was affected by the flood waters.  This must be at least 12 feet high and the trees roots were embedded into the rocks. The force of the water snapped the tree at its roots.

Tomorrow I will compile other pictures about cloud-filled skies, I had a few donated by a fellow photographer.

Below is a sample I took from Pennypack Park;

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Erosion along the Pennnypack Creek

The Pennypack creek runs through Montgomery County from the Horsham area to Northeast Philly.
Pennypack Park is a well known section of  Fairmount Park.  Because of recent heavy rain, augmented by tropical storms Irene and Lee, the water level rose to such a degree that debris was left clinging from the trees.  I went on a hike through the park and I found how the force of the raging waters moved everything in its path.  Grass, trees, and fence posts, after seeing this you can get a clear idea of how powerful of a force we are dealing with in a flood.  Man with or without machine cannot match the force of nature, please see the pictures below as evidence of the force of moving water and erosion. I saw one large birch tree snapped at its roots, small trees were flattened to the ground  We estimated that the creek had to have risen to at least 6 to 12 feet above the path we were walking on that day.