Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weather Extremes of 2010

I enjoy reading Jeff Masters' blog. He is a co-founder of, certainly the best U.S.-centric non-government weather web site. Recently, he has been quite busy due to all the extreme weather we've been having in the U.S. and around the world. Though 2011 has already brought a new wave of amazing weather events (e.g. Mississippi flooding, Japan earthquake), he took the time to put together a retrospective of the incredible weather extremes of 2010, including Snowmageddon, the hottest year on record, and the wettest year on record. It's an excellent summary of an unprecedented year. He dug up pictures for all the major events to highlight the events. As usual, it's a great read.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

OMG! First Lightning Picture!

I realize this sort of thing is old-hat to some. But, it's pretty exciting to someone who has never captured lightning before. :-) We've had a moderately severe storm rolling through Massachusetts today. A tornado touched-down in Springfield and lightning has been recorded across the state. I say "moderate" because I grew up in Oklahoma and I know what the scene around a severe storm looks like---nothing is left behind. Here, a few buildings were damaged and a few people were killed. Nothing like the storm that hit Joplin, MO. Anyway, I was in the gym during the first round of the Mass. storm, but after I got home, another round of thunderstorms rolled through. We've had a Nikon D50 SLR for a number of years now and I've familiarized myself with shutter-speed and f-stop, so I decided to try my hand at capturing a lightning bolt. After futzing-around, I settled on a shutter speed of 30 seconds, manual focus, little-to-no-zoom and a 13 f-stop. After a few minutes of taking pictures out of our dining room window (which doesn't have a screen), I got one. I couldn't believe it!

FWIW, the rain was pretty strong with this storm. My weather station recorded .63 inches of rain in 20 minutes, a rate of 1.89 inches/hour.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


It's nice to see that Wikipedia chronicles recent blizzards. We sure have had a lot of them lately! Here are the North American storms from the 2010-11 winter:

Here are the storms from the 2009-10 winter:
I recall being disappointed that the 2010 February storms missed the Boston area. Now that I know a bit more about ice dams, I really don't mind so much when big storms miss us!

North Atlantic Oscillation

The National Weather Service has a page showing the current status of major weather oscillations around North America, including the Atlantic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. The Atlantic Oscillation has been (strongly) negative from late November 2010 through late January 2011. It has recently lifted to positive territory. This has been quite noticeable around Boston as temperatures have warmed a bit and the pace of Nor'easters has slowed.