Stormstown: A Brief History

The village that is now called Stormstown was located on one of the area’s earliest roads. Laid out in 1791-92, the road served as a main route for the shipment of Centre County iron west to Pittsburgh. First settler Abraham Elder’s tavern, on the east end of the village, was a stopping place for iron haulers. In 1812 David Storm recorded a plat of 30 lots, plus a school lot, that he named Walkerville, on the west side of present-day Municipal Lane in the middle of Stormstown. The origin of the Walker connection has not yet been tracked down. Some twenty years after Walkerville was established, Caleb Way slowly started selling off lots between Walkerville and the former site of Elder’ tavern, in an area that was briefly called Wayville. Eventually, by the time of the Civil War, the whole area was called Stormstown. The enterprises of the village included a gristmill, sawmill, distillery, tannery, wagon maker, and several craftsmen’s shops – blacksmith, weaver, potter, and chairmaker. An Easter fire in 1867 destroyed twenty-six buildings, many of which were never rebuilt.

April 2021 Weather Summary

April was 1.2 F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 82.5 F, recorded on April 27. The low for the month was 21.7 F, recorded on April 2. There were 5 days at or below 32 F. There were 446 heating degree days and 22 cooling degrees day.

April was a below-normal month for precipitation with 2.27 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 1.12 inches below normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 0.90 inches recorded on April 11. There were 11 days of rain >.01 in, 4 >.10 in and 0 > 1 in.

It snowed enough to leave a trace on the ground on April 2 and April 22.

High wind speed of 46 mph on April 30.

April 2021 Data

There is a developing drought in northwestern Pennsylvania. It has also been abnormally dry in western PA. Our region has been below normal for rainfall for the year.

Bellefonte, PA

This is the town of Bellefonte, PA, looking NE. The image was taken from 3000’ MSL by a local pilot. Bellefonte is the Centre County seat.

Bellefonte was the initial stop on the first scheduled west-bound air mail flight made by Pilot Leon D. Smith on December 18, 1918. The site for the field was chosen by pioneer aviator Max Miller and was in regular use for air mail until 1925. The field was located at the center right of the image. It became a major refueling stop for mail traveling between New York and Chicago. This leg of the flight was called “hell stretch” because of the fog shrouded ridges of the Allegheny Mountains. Six pilots would lose their lives. One pilot used a half empty whiskey bottle strapped to his dash to tell when his wings where level!

March 2021 Weather Summary

March was 5.3 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 69.9 deg. F, recorded on March 25. The low for the month was 13.7 deg F, recorded on March 7. There was 1 day where the maximum temperature was at or below 32 F, and there were 20 days where the minimum temperature was at or below 32 F. There were 697 heating degree days and 1 cooling degree day.

March was an below-normal month for precipitation with 2.96 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.86 inches below normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 0.87 inches recorded on March 18. There were 9 days of rain >.01 in, 6 >.10 in and 0 > 1 in.

High wind speed of 47 mph on March 26.

March 2021 Data

Summary of Winter 2020-2021

Meteorological Winter is officially over. Here is a brief summary of December 1, 2020-February 28, 2021 in Stormstown, PA:  

Number of Days Max T <= 32 F: 24  

Number of Days Min T <= 32 F: 81 

Number of Days Min T <= 0 F: 0  

Max T: 58.1 F – February 24, 2021  

Min T: 2.8 F – February 8, 2021 

Dec Dep from Normal: 0.8 F  

Jan Dep from Normal: 2.6 F  

Feb Dep from Normal: -3.4 F  

Heating Degree Days: 3098  

Cooling Degree Days: 0  

Dec Precip: 3.03″, 0.10″ below normal  

Jan Precip: 1.05″, 2.06″ below normal  

Feb Precip: 2.52″, 0.25″ above normal  

February 2021 Weather Summary

February was 1.2 deg F below normal for temperature. The high for the month was 58.1 deg. F, recorded on February 24. The low for the month was 2.8 deg F, recorded on February 8. There were 14 days when the maximum was at or below 32 F and 26 days when the minimum temperature was at or below 32 F. There were 1031 heating degree days and 0 cooling degree days.

Due to the ice and snow accumulation, which fouled the electronic rain gauge, precipitation data was collected from a nearby CoCoRaHS (PA-CN-18) station. February was an above-normal month for precipitation with 2.52 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.25 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 0.68 inches recorded on February 16. There were 18 days of rain >.01 in, 9 >.10 in and 0 > 1 in.

There were 28.3 inches of snow for the month, with a maximum daily total of 6.4 inches on February 1. The 3-day total recorded on February 1-3 was 14.9 inches.

High wind speed of 36 mph on February 24.

February 2021 Data

Due to the epically failed Climate Prediction Center outlooks for February 2021, they will no longer be published here. They can be viewed with the following URL:

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions//multi_season/13_seasonal_outlooks/color/churchill.php

Digital Traffic Network

This week, my amateur radio station became an official digital traffic network (DTN) station. The main operating digital mode is PACTOR, an evolution of both AMTOR and packet radio. PACTOR uses a combination of simple phase shift keying (FSK) modulation, and the ARQ protocol for robust error detection and data throughput. PACTOR is most commonly used on frequencies between 1 MHz and 30 MHz.

I first looked into PACTOR last fall. I abandoned the idea when I learned that the terminal node controllers (TNCs) cost hundreds of dollars, an investment I was not comfortable making at the time. In December, I asked around about becoming a DTN station operator. I was told that the operational mode was PACTOR and I balked about having to obtain the necessary TNC. Then I was told that a used TNC would be provided. All I had to pay was a $15 dollar shipping charge. That was more than acceptable. Soon, the loaner TNC arrived. It was about 25 years old and supposedly could handle the required PACTOR digital node.

Advanced Electronic Applications, Inc. PK-232MBX TNC

I found a appropriate AC/DC adapter, but I had to jury-rig a mic cable to connect it to my radio and the 5 pins on the back of the TNC. I also had a audio cable on hand for the radio output to the TNC. An RS-232/serial port USB adapter cable connects the TNC to my laptop PC.

Breadboard for connecting a CAT6 twisted-pair cable to the TNC

The AirMail software was downloaded and installed on my laptop. That needed to be configured to interface with the TNC. The TNC was switched on and AirMail was opened. Following initialization of the HF mode, the TNC successfully initialized. My radio AGC was set to 6 and for 40 watts output. It was then tuned to a frequency for a nearby PACTOR station. Then the receive threshold was properly set on the TNC. I tried to connect to a PACTOR station but no joy.

After several days of troubleshooting, with the assistance of two fellow amateur radio operators, I tried a loopback test on the TNC. This involved disconnecting the TNC from the radio and connecting the mic and audio input pins, on the TNC, with a jumper wire. Then a terminal software app was setup to connect the TNC with itself. This test failed and indicated the problem was with the TNC.

I was able to obtain an identical TNC on eBay for a modest and very affordable price. When it arrived, I quickly set it up for a loopback test. The test was successful. I then connected it to my laptop and radio, and it successfully connected to a PACTOR station. The operators of two PACTOR stations modified their configurations to recognize my station. Then I was able to send and retrieve national traffic system (NTS) messages.

I now routinely log in to retrieve NTS messages from The 3rd Region Hub for The Western Pennsylvania Section, on every even numbered day, sharing the responsibility with another amateur radio operator who checks in on odd numbered days. After retrieving messages, I relay them via The Western Pennsylvania Phone Traffic Net, or deliver them via phone, email or US Mail. I also originate my own messages to send via the NTS.

Contact me if you wish to originate an NTS message.

January 2021 Weather Summary

January started with freezing rain on the first. On, January 3, I measured 3″ of snow. There was more freezing rain on January 26. On January 31, 2 inches of snow had fallen with more to come.

January was 2.6 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 48.4 deg. F, recorded on January 14. The low for the month was 12.6 deg F, recorded on January 21. There were 30 days at or below 32 F and 5 days when the maximum temperature was at or below 32 F. There were 1064 heating degree days and 0 cooling degree days.

January was a below-normal month for precipitation with 1.05 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 2.06 inches below normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 0.36 inches recorded on January 15. There were 12 days of rain >.01 in, 3 >.10 in and 0 > 1 in.

High wind speed of 32 mph on January 2.

January 2021 Data

Outlook for February 2021

2020 Stormstown Weather Summary

Overall, the year’s temperatures were above normal. The annual mean of 52.1 F was 2.0 F above normal. Of course the main event of 2020 was the drought. The annual precipitation of 36.46 inches was 4.24 inches below normal. Most of Centre County was in a severe drought in September.

However, at the end of the year, the drought in Centre County was essentially over.

2020 Weather Data

January

Snowfall on January 7, 2020

January was mild with a monthly mean of 33.2 F, which was 5.1 F above normal, with a high of 64 F and a low for the month of 9 F. Precipitation was 1.07 inches below normal with 2.04 inches of liquid precipitation.

February

The mild winter continued into February which was 5.5 F above normal. The high was 62 F and the low was 6 F, which was also the low for the year. Precipitation was 0.60 inches above normal at 2.87 inches.

March

Dusting of snow on Bald Eagle Ridge on March 15, 2020

March temperatures were also mild at 6.0 F above normal with a high of 73 F and a low of 22 F. Precipitation was 1.71 inches above normal with 5.26 inches of liquid precipitation. The high wind speed for the month and year was 47 mph.

April

Dusting of snow on Bald Eagle Ridge on April 18, 2020

Temperatures were 3.1 F below normal in April. The high was 70 F and the low was 24 F. Rainfall was 1.67 inches above normal at 5.06 inches.

May

Spring did finally arrive in mid-May. Bald Eagle Ridge on May 31, 2020

Spring temperatures continued to be cooler than normal in spite of a mild March. May was 2 F below normal with a high of 86 F and a low of 27 F. Precipitation was 1.72 inches which was 1.51 inches below normal. This was perhaps the harbinger of the future drought conditions. The last day of temperatures below freezing was May 13.

June

Temperatures for the month were near normal. The high was 88 F and the low was 41 F. Precipitation was 0.94 inches above normal with 4.80 inches of rainfall.

July

July was the warmest month of the year. The temperatures were 3 F above normal. The high for the month and year was 95 F and the low was 55 F. Rainfall was 2.27 inches below normal with 1.19 inches of precipitation.

July also gave us outstanding views of Comet Neowise.

Comet Neowise from Stormstown, PA

August

Forest fires in the western U.S. provided spectacular sunsets. August 15, 2020

The month’s temperatures were 2 F above normal. The high was 93 F and the low was 47 F. Precipitation was 2.66 inches below normal at 3.42 inches. The drought was getting severe.

September

Hazy sunset due to the western forest fires. September 22, 2020

Temperatures were near normal this month. The high was 86 F and the low was 32 F. Drought conditions continued with 2.61 inches of rainfall. This was 1.37 inches below normal. The first freeze of the season was September 20.

October

Fall foliage, Sormstown, October 9, 2020

October was warmer at 1.0 F above normal. The high was 81 F and the low was 28 F. Rainfall was below normal at 2.96 inches, which was 0.38 inches below normal.

November

Temperatures were mild in November and were 3.7 F above normal. The high was 76 F and the low was 22 F. Precipitation was 3.44 inches, 0.20 inches above normal.

December

December was the coldest month of 2020. The mean temperature was 32.6 F. The temperatures were 0.8 F above normal. The high was 55 F and the low was 11 F. Precipitation was 0.10 inches below normal at 1.88 inches.

December 17, 2020

15.5” of snow was recorded on December 16-17

2020 Insolation

2020 Daily Solar Radiation W/m**2

December 2020 Weather Summary

December was 0.8 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 55.3 deg. F, recorded on December 11. The low for the month was 12.9 deg F, recorded on December 19. There were 25 days when the minimum temperature was at or below 32 F and 5 days when the maximum temperature was at or below 32 F. There were 1003 heating degree days and 0 cooling degree days.

December was a near-normal month for precipitation with 3.03 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.10 inches below normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.88 inches recorded on December 24. There were 12 days of rain >.01 in, 5 >.10 in and 1 > 1 in.

High wind speed of 36 mph on December 2.

Snowfall on December 16-17: 15.5 inches

December 2020 Data

Outlook for January 2021

The drought in Centre County is essentially over.

Summary of Autumn 2020

Meteorological Autumn is officially over. Here is a brief summary of September 1-November 30 in Stormstown, PA:  

Number of days Max T >= 90 F: 0

Number of Days Max T <= 32 F: 0

Number of Days Min T <= 32 F: 10

Max T: 85.9 F – September 8, 2020

Min T: 22.0 F – November 19, 2020

Sep Dep from Normal: -0.4 F

Oct Dep from Normal: 1.0 F

Nov Dep from Normal: 3.7F

Heating Degree Days: 1176

Cooling Degree Days: 117

Sep Precip: 2.61″, 1.37″ below normal

Oct Precip: 2.96″, 0.38″ below normal

Nov Precip: 3.44″, 0.20″ above normal

The outlook for Winter 2020: