Moraine State Park #3 -- Chris Condello

You may have noticed that meteorologists and climatologists define seasons differently from “regular” or astronomical spring, summer, fall, and winter. So, why do meteorological and astronomical seasons begin and end at different times? In short, it’s because the astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth in relation to the sun, whereas the meteorological…

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May in Western Pennsylvania certainly had it’s fair share of up and downs. As you may recall the first two weeks of the month were more winter-like than springtime. It truly was a tale of two seasons. The first 13 days the average high temps was 57, the last 18 days the average high was…

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Blocks in meteorology are large scale patterns in atmospheric pressure fields (high and low pressure), which are nearly stationary, and as a result there is little or no movement of weather systems.  These “blocks” can remain in place for several days (or longer) producing the repeating weather pattern. On such block is known as, the…

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Super Moon -- Dan Kotouch

April was an interesting month in and around Pittsburgh. Spring was trying to gain a foothold, but had limited success. Overall, the month included more chilly days than warm days and more wet days than dry. Here’s a look at the official numbers for April 2020. TEMPERATURE *Average high for the month was 57.8 degrees,…

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Ring around the moon means rain soon — sometimes. It’s not uncommon to see circles of light around the sun or moon, and halos have fueled superstition for centuries. But there’s nothing unnatural about how these ghostly rings form. Though you might see them in a clear sky, the culprit are wispy clouds tens of…

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It’s exactly what it sounds like. On a clear day, you can see the edges of Earth’s shadow at twilight creeping up or down the horizon. It’s a dark bluish band that appears opposite to the rising or setting sun. The Earth is really big and curved, and its shadow is the same way. In…

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Perhaps when you have visited the beach a thunderstorm has rolled in off the water. These are spectacular sights, which sometimes produce region specific weather events… like waterspouts! They appear as tornadoes of water, waterspouts are an eye-catching small-scale phenomena. They can simply be tornadoes that moved from land to bodies of water, but oftentimes…

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Virga

Virga is ghostly precipitation that never makes it to the ground. When the air beneath a cloud is very dry, precipitation falling through it evaporates before reaching Earth’s surface. What’s left are feathery streaks extending from the cloud’s base, capturing the path the rain or ice took before becoming water vapor. The evaporation process takes…

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What is lightning? Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds, the air, or the ground. In the early stages of development, air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground. When the opposite charges builds up enough, this…

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Last night we had a line of strong storms that moved across the area. The heavy rain, thunder, lightning and strong winds came together in a well defined line across a large area. In the world of weather, this is called a squall line! Thunderstorms can come in all sorts of forms. Sometimes they arrive…

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Sometimes you’ll find yourself bathed in a spotlight of sunlight, streaming out of the clouds at slanted angles. Those alternating bands of light and shadow are crepuscular rays; their name comes from the Latin word for twilight, when they are most easy to see. The effect comes depends on having a lot of particles in…

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In most years, as April arrives you can expect spring weather to take hold full time. Temperatures start to consistently warm, flowers begin to bloom (etc. etc.). However, there are always years when things just aren’t “normal”. Here is some insight on what a normal April should be (according to climatology) as well as some…

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3-28-20 Hailstone -- Annette Dashofy

March 2020 is officially in the books. In the weather community, March is looked upon as a transitional month with a wide variety of conditions possible on a week to week, or even day to day basis. This year, the 31 day period did not disappoint. Here in Western Pennsylvania we had rain and snow,…

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During severe weather season, one of the hazards we often experience are strong straight line winds. Often, straight line wind damage is localized but, occasionally, the damage can be a little more widespread. When the damage covers a larger area it is classified as a microburst. They are not uncommon in our area and sometimes…

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Severe weather season is upon us, and it’s always important to be as well informed as possible when it comes to the threats we cloud be facing in the months ahead. Here are some informational tidbits that separate myth from facts about lighting courtesy of the National Weather Service and my ongoing partnership as a…

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Spring storm season is upon us. You know the routine. Dark clouds move in, heavy rain drops hit the roof, lightning flashes, thunder roars and winds start moving trees side to side. Right now, at this very moment, there are about 2,000 thunderstorms going on around the world. And even though thunderstorms are common, they…

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Spring is ready to spring…officially! What’s known as meteorological spring started back on March 1st. This is the 3 month period (March, April, May) with the greatest increase in daylight and average daily temperatures. However, astronomical spring…aka the Vernal Equinox is here as of today! Here is a little more info about the equinox and…

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We see our fair share of T’storms in Western Pennsylvania during the year and the period with the highest frequency is spring and summer. One of the chief tenets of a thunderstorm is of course lightning, so we are no stranger to the awe inspiring power of mother nature. But, there is another kind of…

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In addition to weather watches, warnings and advisories, the National Weather Service also issues statements from time to time.  Here is a breakdown of what these statements mean and the information that they are meant to convey to the general public. Statements are issued to update current weather situations or highlight significant changes to come.…

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