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I'm an Emmy Award Winning meteorologist at Fox 61 in Hartford. For the latest forecast updates (and fun stuff too, like food and family pics), please follow me on Facebook, twitter and instagram. I look forward to interacting with you there!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friday & The Weekend!

Today will be noticeably less humid and more comfortable in the wake of a cold front. This is the same front that brought deadly severe weather for the southeast. Luckily, our air was more stable thanks to the influence of the ocean. Today will turn out partly sunny with the chance for a shower in spots in the afternoon, but most of the day will stay dry. With high pressure in control all weekend, the sky will remain mostly sunny. Sunday will be pleasant and mild with rain returning Monday.

Thursday thunder & one of the worst tornado outbreaks of all time



The pink shaded counties are under a severe thunderstorm watch until 4 PM. That includes Fairfield & Litchfield Counties. The clouds, fog, and drizzle we have seen the past two days will work in our favor. Our proximity to the ocean and the Long Island Sound will keep our air more stable. So even though some strong storms could sneak into the western part of the state bringing gusty winds, the storms will weaken fairly quickly. Expect heavy rain at times.

Meanwhile, I am glued to the TV watching video of the historic tornado outbreak Wednesday. This is blowing my mind! I couldn't take my eyes off the radar yesterday. Every storm that developed was more impressive than the last. They looked like textbook super cells...perfect storms.


The most tornadoes ever reported in one tornado outbreak was The Super Outbreak of April 3–4, 1974. 148 confirmed tornadoes ripped across eastern North America and resulted in the second highest death toll (319) in the United States. Although you see 164 tornado reports on Wednesday, some of the reports are caused by the same tornado. The NWS will investigate the damage the next several days. So we have to see what the final confirmed number is to determine if we broke any records. I don't even have the right words to express how sorry I am for the people affected by these storms.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hot & NOT: This April Vs. Last Year

I have heard numerous complaints insulting the weather this April! This might surprise you but the average temperature this month is exactly around normal!

Average temp so far this April: 48.4 degrees
Departure from normal: +0.2 degrees

So why does it feel particularly crappy this April? Because we were spoiled by the weather from last year! Take a look at how this year compares (or doesn't) to 2010. This graphic compares the number of days the high temperature reached into the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Mild, But More Clouds Wednesday

Tuesday was the warmest day since September, 2010! Today will feature more moisture and clouds but the weather set up is similar. Southerly winds are pumping in mild air. With a breeze coming off the water, the shore will remain cooler than inland locations. Morning fog will be locally dense with times of clouds and sun and a humid feel in the afternoon. There could be a shower or rumble of thunder in spots. But more organized rain/storms will approach on Thursday ahead of a cold front.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yep, We Hit 80!

High Temperatures Tuesday:
  • Windsor Locks: 82
  • Hartford: 80
  • Willimantic: 79
  • Bridgeport:73
  • New Haven:72
  • Groton: 63
The last time Windsor Locks hit 82 degrees was back in September of LAST YEAR! As expected, the shoreline stayed cooler with a southerly wind blowing off the relatively cooler water of the long island sound.

I was so proud when my forecast checked out. All the computer models I looked at forecasted significantly cooler temperatures. All the other TV stations were forecasting cooler temps. But I was talking to meteorologist Bob Cox (WTIC radio) and we both thought that the computer models looked too cloudy. Statistical computer models also tend to underdo temperature extremes. Anyway, I was proud everything worked out with the forecast.

Monday, April 25, 2011

75-80 Inland, 64-70 Shore Tuesday

Although clouds and fog will start off the day, we expect increasing sunshine as a warm front moves north of Connecticut. This will allow southwesterly winds to transport milder air into the state. With the wind blowing over the Long Island Sound, shoreline temperatures will remain significantly cooler than inland locations. There will be more moisture in the air on Wednesday with variably cloudy skies and a shower. The cold front will rumble through on Thursday with showers and thunderstorms.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

And The Emmy Goes To...

I am officially an Emmy nominated meteorologist. Boy, I like the sound of that! No I’m NOT going to walk the red carpet with stars from The Office. There are regional Emmy award ceremonies all across the country that recognize local television. I am nominated for best “On Camera Talent Anchor-Weather” for the 34th Boston/New England Emmy awards.

I'm the only meteorologist in Connecticut to receive an Emmy nomination this year! But you have to submit a tape to even be considered and I'm not sure how many of my colleagues entered. I know Geoff Fox stopped sending in tapes after getting seven of the golden trophies. Then there are people like Joe Furey who never enter. When you have been forecasting the weather for close to 20 years, I guess you don't need an Emmy to confirm your expertise in your field.

Well I needed that confirmation now more than ever! I have been reading a lot of negative comments about myself lately. People can be especially cruel behind the anonymity of the Internet. I get comments questioning my credibility and insinuating that my looks are the only reason for my recent shift to weekdays.

Well I know my degree is real. I remember crying late at night at Penn State because I was overwhelmed with classes that I thought I would never get through. Cloud Physics, Atmospheric Thermodynamics, Calculus 1 &2, Differential Equations, Mesoscale & Synoptic Meteorology...the list goes on and on. But I got though four years, with honors.

Here’s where I’m going with this…I know my level of dedication to my job and to the people who watch me to get an accurate forecast. But it’s also nice to know colleagues in my profession are recognizing my on air talents too. This Emmy nomination couldn't come at a better time for me! I will resume dancing on the couch now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frosty Night! 50/50 Weekend

Temperatures will tumble into the upper 20s to low 30s tonight, BRRRRR! There is a frost advisory in effect along the immediate shoreline to warn people that any early plants could get frost damage. Even though inland areas will be just as cold, the growing season hasn’t officially started yet so you won’t find any frost advisories away from the shore.

Although some of you will see blue in the sky early Friday, high clouds will move in and will filter the sun. Then clouds will thicken up as the day progresses. Temperatures will remain cooler than average in the low to mid 50s. Saturday will be the wet half of the weekend with periods of rain and drizzle. But Easter looks better, partly cloudy with the chance for a shower.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Dreary Wednesday, Sun Thursday/Friday!

You need the umbrella for one more day with showers and drizzle at times through Wednesday night. A warm front will try to move through the state but will likely stall just to our south. The sky will remain mostly cloudy with patchy fog. If the front manages to move through there could be a few breaks in the clouds with slightly milder temperatures. Thursday and Friday look much nicer with partly to mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s to low 60s. April showers return over the weekend.
 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Geoff Fox On FOX


If you haven't heard about this and you live in Connecticut, you must be living under a rock. Geoff Fox is now part of the FOX CT Weather team! Most people close to me want to know how I'm taking the news. They approach me with a concerned look in their eyes. But the decision to bring Geoff here was no shock to me. I was fortunate enough to be part of the decision making process. I wanted to work with him as did the rest of the FOX CT weather team.

Geoff is a household name in Connecticut. I'm thrilled to be given the opportunity to learn from him. I can only hope to grow such a large and loyal fan base! He's also a great communicator. Us geeks are sometimes too left brained. We know all the math and science behind the weather, but it's hard to boil down the facts into something easy to understand. Geoff is a pro at this! I hope to "borrow" the way he explains certain things.

Alright, I admit I am a little bit nervous. I love my shift and my job and I don't want to lose it! But Geoff assured me right off the bat. He said "Rachel, you have seniority". HA! Geoff Fox telling ME I have seniority when he has been on air in Connecticut for 26 years?! It was very sweet. He followed by saying that he's not out to steal my shows and I "won't feel (his) paws on (my) back." He was very genuine.

Now we just have to figure out how we're going to share this little weather center! It's packed full of amazing technology but short on space. We both love making graphics and making our own forecasts. It will be interesting! But I KNOW we are going to make a great team. Joe, Dan, Geoff and myself...I really believe we are the best weather team in the state.

BTW I hate that picture.

Cooler But Sunny Friday

Grab the sunglasses Friday with high pressure in control. Despite sunny skies, temperatures will remain a few degrees cooler than Thursday with a slight breeze coming off the water. Friday night will be chilly with mostly clear skies and patchy scattered frost. Saturday will start off sunny with clouds increasing during the day, especially in the afternoon. Another storm will arrive Saturday night bringing periods of rain and gusty winds. Rain will continue Sunday morning with clearing in the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here Comes The Sun!

After a couple of dreary days, Tuesday’s weather will be a huge improvement! Any leftover clouds and fog in the morning will break for sunshine. Temperatures will warm into the 60s this afternoon. Friday is not as mild, but the sun will be out in full force. Most of Saturday looks dry and sunny with clouds increasing in the afternoon. Another storm is on the way for Saturday night into Sunday with more rain and gusty winds. But the rain could move out just in time for the Huskies victory parade.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cool and Wet Tuesday & Wednesday

The sky will remain mostly cloudy Tuesday with a few showers as a front stalls south of Connecticut. Although tomorrow will not be a washout, you will need an umbrella from time to time. Check out our in house model. This is an image of forecast rainfall by tomorrow night. Not too impressive. But notice the shoreline does get more than inland areas.



Heavier rain will move in late Tuesday night into Wednesday from a developing coastal storm. The soaking rain and gusty winds will be over by Wednesday morning with just a few lingering showers during the afternoon. This is another look at the RPM model (our in house model) with total rainfall totals by Wednesday night, including whatever we get Tuesday. Some models are forecasting over an inch or more of rain Tuesday night-Wednesday with southeastern CT falling in the bullseye with a coastal front or inverted surface trough enhancing rainfall. I swear I don't hate Groton. You guys are just "lucky".



I’m not convinced we get THAT much rain. The GFS model shows only half an inch of rain total for Tuesday and Wednesday with the storm moving out much faster. But at this point, it’s the outlier (meaning that most other models disagree). We’ll have a better idea tomorrow. But a soaking rain is certainly possible!

The weather improves on Thursday with plenty of sun and milder temperatures. Friday will be dry but cooler.

Monday's Bust

High Temperatures Monday:

  • Danbury: 80

  • Torrington: 70

  • Waterbury: 70

  • Windsor Locks: 69

  • Bridgeport: 62

  • New London: 51

I'm not happy today. Today was one of those really annoying days for a meteorologist. At one point Groton was cloudy, foggy and 48 degrees while Danbury was cooking with sunshine and 80 degrees heat! That’s a 32 degree temperature difference within 70 miles! One person on facebook said she “turned on the air conditioner for the first time today!” Another viewer cursed me out because he called off from work expecting temperatures in the upper 70s. I didn’t have a prayer in hell of getting this forecast right. BUT I always look back at previous forecasts to see what I can do differently next time. I never want to make the same mistake twice.

I mentioned last night if the clouds were stubborn to break, temperatures would be cooler than advertised. I also knew if the clouds broke sooner, temperatures would skyrocket over 80 degrees. There was a huge bust potential either way.

There was a lot of low level moisture combined with a low level jet located along the shoreline. I knew there would be a cap keeping the warm air in the upper atmosphere from mixing to the surface. But I assumed even a small amount of sun could break the cap causing temperatures to skyrocket very quickly. This happened in Danbury with a 20 degree temperature rise in four hours. But the clouds took too long to break in Hartford and almost everywhere else. We couldn’t break the cap in time to see temps take off.

We also had the wind working against us, blowing out of the south (over the cool water of the sound) instead of blowing out of the southwest (over warm land).

In retrospect, I think I should’ve stressed the uncertainty in the forecast. I also think I will take the low level jet/cap more seriously in April. In the warm summer months, with a high sun angle, temperatures would’ve made it into the 90s. But in spring, I was giving the sun more credit than it deserved.

By the way, I watched the satellite and temperatures ALL DAY. Watching the clouds break up was like watching paint dry or water boil. Except in this case, the water never boiled. And I never got around to cleaning the house. GRRRRR!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nice Saturday, More Clouds Sunday, Warm Monday

Grab the sunglasses Saturday with mostly sunny skies. A light sea breeze will keep shoreline temperatures in the mid and upper 50s. Inland areas will be milder, with daytime high temperatures rising into the low 60s. Some high level clouds could filter the sun at times. Then on Sunday a warm front will approach causing clouds to lower and thicken up. A few showers are possible, mainly late in the afternoon/night, but most of the day will be dry and comfortable with temperatures in the 60s. Monday looks toasty with temperatures soaring through the 70s. Some towns could reach 80 degrees! The daily record high temperature is 79 degrees in Hartford, set back in 1955!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Slow Warming This Weekend, 70s Monday?!

High pressure will build over the region Friday, deflecting a nearby storm south of Connecticut. After a sunny start, some high clouds may filter into the sky, especially in the afternoon. A light southerly breeze, transporting air off the Long Island Sound will keep shoreline temperatures cooler than inland areas. I'm thinking 50-53 along the shore, 54-58 inland.

Saturday looks pleasant with some towns breaking into the low 60s. A warm front will cause clouds to increase on Sunday with clouds and some showers around. Look for 70s to return Monday! If everything pans out just right, my forecast high of 74 degrees could be TOO LOW!!

850 mb temps are 16 degrees on Monday. With perfect sunshine and a dry column of air, that's near 90 degrees when mixed down to the surface. Of course, those perfect conditions will not be there. But I just wanted to give you an idea of the airmass that will be in place! The record high on Monday is 79 degrees set back in 1955. We could take a run at that!

Hmmmm...looking back at this blog post, I seem to like exclamation points!!!!!!

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

50s Through Saturday

There could be a few lingering showers along the shoreline early Thursday morning as a wave of energy passes south of Connecticut. Leftover clouds will break for some sun in northern Connecticut first, then along the shore. Temperatures will stay around average for this time of year with less wind than recent days. Friday and Saturday will be partly to mostly sunny with another storm staying to the south. A warm front will bring a few showers on Sunday, with low 70s possible early next week!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wednesday's Weather

After starting off near 60 Tueday morning, a cold front knocked temperatures back into the 30s and 40s in the afternoon. We weren't the only ones feeling the cool-down! Check out this map of 24 hour temperature departures behind the front. Some areas are up to 35 degrees cooler than yesterday! Click the map to get a better look!

Wednesday will start off sunny and brisk with a west wind blowing 5 to 15 mph. Clouds will increase, especially in the afternoon as weak front approaches. The disturbance could trigger a rain or snow shower late in the day/at night. High pressure builds south from Canada on Thursday with partly to mostly sunny skies. There are a few storms riding south of the Connecticut tomorrow through the weekend. Some of them could graze Connecticut, but mostly dry weather is expected through Saturday.

Warmth returns Sunday/Monday with 60s possible (showers too).

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Showers

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims! Hahaha...that was my favorite joke when I was a kid. Maybe that's why I had no friends. Anyway....we have lots of showers in the 7 day forecast so keep the umbrella handy this week.

Tuesday morning will be the warmest time of day before a cold front moves through around lunchtime. Showers will accompany the front with a few embedded thunderstorms possible. Winds could gust up to 50 mph at times! Then some afternoon clearing will occur with temperatures dropping into the 40s by rush hour. Wednesday will start off pleasant and dry with temperatures around average. But a weak system could bring a few showers late-day. Thursday looks dry, followed by more April showers Friday, Sunday, Monday...OK, OK we get it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekend Forecast!

Rain and snow moved out just in time for the weekend! But winds continue to howl in the wake of our spring nor’easter with gusts up to 25 mph at times on Saturday. Partly sunny skies will allow temperatures to climb into the low 50s. Sunday will remain breezy with a mix of sun and clouds. A warm front will bring the chance for rain or snow Sunday night, changing to rain on Monday. Warmer air will arrive behind the front on Tuesday, taking a run at 60 degrees followed by more rain late in the day.

Seasonal Snowfall Total

We are up to 86.4" for the season. That's an entire Shaquille O'Neal worth of snow PLUS 1.4". Yeah, we have seen more inches of snow than Shaq is tall. Be proud Connecticut. We made it through a rough winter!

Storm Recap

The storm ended up shifting east at last minute. (Have I mentioned lately that I hate spring forecasting?) There are thousands of power outages in MA where most of the accumulation occurred. I thought Litchfield County would be included in that region.

Most accumulations ended up in the higher elevations on CT. Although I think a lot of inland areas saw around an inch, it ended up quickly melting as rain and sleet began in mix in with the snow. Overall, my only regret is not lowering the range for Litchfield County because it did start to look less likely when the afternoon model runs came in. I guess I would rather prepare people for the worst case scenario.

Here are some snowfall totals:

LITCHFIELD COUNTY
NORFOLK: 2.6
BAKERSVILLE: 2.5
COLEBROOK LAKE: 2
THOMASTON DAM: 1.5

HARTFORD COUNTY
NORTH GRANBY: 3
COLLINSVILLE: 1.8 BURLINGTON: 1.5
1 WNW WINDSOR LOCKS: 1.3
ROCKY HILL: 1

TOLLAND COUNTY
TOLLAND: 2.3 COVENTRY: 1.5
STAFFORDVILLE: 1

WINDHAM COUNTY
UNION: 2.6
EAST KILLINGLY: 1.9
HAMPTON: 1.5

BUFKIT FUN! Weather Nerds only. Otherwise you will be bored.

00z model run update for April Fool's Storm