Weather Won’t be a Turkey this Thanksgiving Week

Everyone knows the song “Over the River and Through the Woods”, the classic Thanksgiving song that tells a tale of traveling through snow to grandma’s house for the big feast. Nice to think about, unless you actually have to travel to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving – snow is the last thing you need.

Fortunately, at least in the Bloomsburg area, there’s not much chance for snow this Thanksgiving week. There will be rain – showers spread into Pennsylvania on Monday but a stronger storm system brings the potential for some heavier rain late Tuesday into Wednesday. Temperatures during this time should be mild, with highs around 50 and lows in the 40s as cloud cover will keep the temperatures from falling too much.

However, a cold front will cross the state and bring in some colder weather for later Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, with highs in the 40s. A few snowflakes could mix in Wednesday before the rain ends, but Thanksgiving Day should be dry. Dry weather will rule until the other major travel day of Thanksgiving, Sunday, when a storm could bring rain. Temperatures will moderate after Thanksgiving with highs returning to the 50s for Black Friday into the rest of the weekend.

Not many travel headaches locally, but what about nationwide for those heading elsewhere, or having relatives coming to Bloomsburg? For Monday and Tuesday, trouble spots include severe thunderstorms over the southern Plains, rain in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and rain/snow in the Pacific Northwest. Any of these could bring airport delays.

Wednesday, the storm that gives us rain will bring rain to much of the East Coast, with snow possible in northern New England and thunderstorms in the Southeast. Windy weather will hit the Rockies and windy/wet weather will continue in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanksgiving Day looks mainly dry except the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, and New England. But overall, a very nice day nationwide. Black Friday forecasts should make retailers happy as outside of the Rockies, little troublesome weather is expected. Looking ahead to next weekend, the nation’s mid-section may be dealing with a storm system, but that’s a week away and much could change in the forecast.

So, overall, it looks like after some rain early-mid week, Bloomsburg residents will have some nice, seasonal weather for Thanksgiving and a great post-Thanksgiving weekend.

Taking a Look at Seasonal Forecasts for Winter 2011-2012

Morning After First SnowLast weekend, the weather played quite a trick on the Northeast, including the Bloomsburg area. Snow of varying amounts fell across Pennsylvania, as shown in a National Weather Service State College Office public information report. Amounts ranged from an inch up to just over a foot, an impressive snowstorm for January, much less October. Halloween decorations in a Christmas-y natural scene made for quite an unusual sight last Saturday night.However, we are back to more normal early November weather, giving us a chance to take a look at what may happen when winter finally arrives. There are a variety of weather outlets that release winter season forecasts. Let’s take a look at who is releasing these forecasts and what they have in store for the Susquehanna Valley and surrounding region.

National Weather Service

Temperature-wise, the National Weather Service (NWS) says that Bloomsburg has equal chances of seeing above-, near-, or below-normal for the winter season. However, there was one caveat. The “wild-card”, as the NWS calls it, is the Arctic Oscillation (AO), an index that forecasters pay attention to closely in the winter. If it is negative, then we often end up cold. If it is positive, we can end up mild. The NWS is concerned that when this turns negative, we could get bitter cold arctic air masses this winter.

Precipitation-wise, we also have equal chances of seeing above-, near-, or below-normal for the winter season. The NWS does note that snow could be above normal if timing allows storms to arrive when cold air arrives.

AccuWeather

AccuWeather foresees near-normal temperatures and normal to slightly above-normal snow for the winter season. They believe that winter’s worst weather in Pennsylvania will happen in northwest Pennsylvania and the Appalachians. There, frequent lake-effect snow outbreaks and cold air masses will make for a cold and snowy winter.

AccuWeather said that a few significant snow and ice events should hit the area. They expect most of the winter’s snow events to happen in December and January.

WxRisk

A private forecasting firm owned by Dave Tolleris, WxRisk’s winter forecast is for a cold December with normal temperatures in January and February. Mr. Tolleris believes there will be a fair amount of eastern and coastal lows, leading to normal precipitation in December but above-normal precipitation for January and February. This seems to indicate a chance for above-normal snow.

Farmers’ Almanac

The Farmers’ Almanac is a bit different than the rest. They are predicting above-normal temperatures for the Bloomsburg area for the winter season. They are also predicting a stormy time, with lots of rain and snow. They believe the best chance for a big snow is in February, as a lot of the storms early might be mixed or rain.

Old Farmers’ Almanac

The Old Farmers’ Almanac is different than the Farmer’s Almanac. They are going for a slightly milder than normal winter but with above-normal snow. That may sound odd but it is possible if the timing is right for storms and cold air.

They do expect the coldest periods to be mid-December and in February, while the snowiest periods will be mid-December, mid-January, and mid-February.

As you can see, there is some variance in the forecast but it seems like we will have our share of wintry precipitation events this winter. So perhaps last Saturday was our dress rehearsal.

The View From Here: Day After First Snow

The Bloomsburg Daily photographer, Bob Rush set out on an early morning excursion to share images of the first snowfall in the region for this year. Bob’s photographs are an amazing view into the beauty of our area. According to Bob, “They were taken at sunrise on my mother-in-laws farm across from my house at the bottom of Mystic Mountain just South of Numidia.” A huge thank you goes out to Bob for navigating the snow, the cold, and the early morning hour to bring us these wonderful pictures.

Potentially Historic Snowstorm a Possibility for Bloomsburg Saturday

The National Weather Service in State College has issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Columbia County from 2 am-10 pm Saturday due to expected snowfall of 4-8 inches.

The snow should start late tonight/early tomorrow morning, and may be mixed with a bit of rain at the onset. The snow should pick up and possibly become heavy at times tomorrow afternoon. Temperatures during the snow will be right near freezing, so the snow will be the heavy, wet variety.

This raises two fairly serious hazards. First, many trees still have their leaves, and heavy, wet snow will weigh them down since the leaves will help the trees hold the snow better than bare branches. This raises potential for widespread power outages as the large branches collapse under the weight of the snow and bring down power lines. Think of someone pouring wet cement on your outstretched arm, you can hold your arm up no problem. Now, imagine holding a serving tray on your outstretched hand and someone pouring wet cement on the tray – it would be very hard to hold up your arm. Same idea with a tree.

Second, heavy wet snow such as what is expected can be very slippery for drivers. If the snow falls hard enough, it should accumulate on roads. Travel is strongly discouraged tomorrow.

There is the possibility this could be the largest snowstorm to hit Bloomsburg in October; the average snowfall for the entire month of October at the closest official reporting station, Williamsport, is .1 inches. There is, of course, a chance that this potentially historic storm ends up a miss, which would be great for weather-weary Bloomsburg residents.

However, this is a year where Pennsylvania has seen 30 tornadoes, record annual and monthly rainfall, historic floods, earliest accumulating snow at higher elevations in some parts of central Pennsylvania, record July heat, and even an earthquake. A ridiculously early snowstorm would certainly fit in with the rest of those events.

Rainfall Brings a Chance of Localized Flooding

It had to end sooner or later – our fantastic run of weather over the last week is ending with a storm system moving north from the Florida panhandle and up just inside the East Coast. A few months from now, we would be talking snow, but this will be a classic October rainstorm.

Lately, folks in Columbia County hear rain and immediately wonder if that means flooding. As it appears now, it seems the storm track would focus the heaviest rain to Bloomburg’s west, back into the spine of the Appalachians and western Pennsylvania. This would mean that there is just a chance for localized flooding in heavier periods of rain, as opposed to widespread river flooding. As of Tuesday morning, the Susquehanna River stage at Bloomsburg is just below 5 feet, and is only expected to rise to around 6.5 feet, well below flood stage.

The rain would start very early Wednesday morning, and taper to a more showery rain Wednesday evening. After this, a second shot of rain moves in as a cold front sweeps across the area sometime late Thursday. Our summer-like afternoons that we have been experiencing recently will give way to temperatures more normal for mid October, with highs ranging through the 60s.

After we get the week’s rain out of our hair, it looks to be another nice weekend with a good amount of sun.

Photo by joshwept

Fantastic Run of Weather Ends with Rainstorm Next Week

It goes without saying that everyone in Pennsylvania, especially flood-ravaged Columbia County, is sick of rain. Fortunately, Bloomsburg is in the midst of the longest run of rain-free weather since July.

Along with the dry weather, there’s also going to be warmer-than-average temperatures. Highs through early next week are going to be in the upper 70s to around 80, which is 10-15 degrees warmer than the average highs. That includes Bloomsburg University and Bloomsburg High School’s Homecoming.

During a normal weather year, this would be fantastic enough, but this year, it feels like a blessing. With so many people still reeling from last month’s floods, the sun and warm temperatures are quite welcome as people continue cleanup efforts or just enjoy the Homecoming festivities.

Unfortunately, weather is just like you – dynamic and never staying the same. A storm with subtropical origins should move north from Florida and bring rain the middle of next week.

At one time there was a fair amount of concern this storm could bring several inches of very unwanted rain to Bloomsburg but now it appears that is less likely. Still, this system could bring 1”-2” rain amounts from Wednesday to Friday. The good news is even if Bloomsburg were to see an inch or two of rain, flooding wouldn’t be too likely. This is due to our current dry period enabling streams and river levels to fall prior to this next batch of rain.

In the meantime, be sure to enjoy this spell of weather. It’s about as nice as it gets in October.