PA 550 Speed Limit

Someone has set up a petition on to increase the speed limit on PA 550 to 55 m.p.h. The petition states:

“The speed limit on PA route 550 south is too low and should be increased to 55mph. A large portion of motorists already consistently drive over 50mph on 550 daily and by increasing the speed limit the road would be made safer as the speed limit would more closely resemble the speed motorists actually travel on the road. This would also likely eliminate most tailgating and strings of traffic behind someone going ‘exactly 45 THE WHOLE WAY DOWN 550.’”

As of this posting, 22 people have signed the petition.

PA 550 is a rural highway that runs from Zion, PA to near Tyrone, PA. The petition does not state which section of the highway it is addressing, or mention that the current posted speed limits are not consistent along its length (35 m.p.h. in Stormstown, 25 m.p.h. in Bellefonte, and above 45 in Huntingdon County). Nor does it mention the no passing zones for much of its length, the limited sight distances, sharp curves, the presence of slow moving farm equipment, or wildlife crossing the highway.

The argument stated in the petition is a logical fallacy. Just because “everyone” is exceeding the speed limit is not a valid argument for increasing it. As stated above there are too many potential hazards to warrant an increase to 55 mph.

July 2021 Weather Summary

July was 0.4 deg F below normal for temperature. The high for the month was 91.8 deg. F recorded on July 7. The low for the month was 49.6 deg F, recorded on July 31. There was a single day at or above 90 deg F! There were 32 heating degree days and 224 cooling degree days.

July was a below normal month for precipitation with 3.08 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.38 inches below normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 0.69 inches recorded on July 7. There were 12 days of rain >.01 in, 7 >.10 in and 0 >1 in.

High wind speed of 43 mph on July 7.

July 2021 Data

Western Pennsylvania Traffic Net Update

The National Traffic System (NTS) is an organized network of amateur radio operators sponsored by the American Radio Relay League for the purpose of relaying messages throughout The United States and Canada. It has evolved from a collection of stations using Morse Code to an expanded system using Morse Code, voice and digital modes.

Amateur radio operators send hundreds of messages each month using the phone and digital modes, during different conditions: summer heat, ice storms, rain, wind, etc. Normally, the messages are routine greetings (“Happy birthday Aunt Mary”) to keep the NTS operators active and well practiced in the event they are needed. When there is an emergency or disaster, The NTS works closely with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) to provide emergency communications. The most common type of disaster-related messages are “health and welfare” inquiries and notifications into and out of the area affected by a disaster. In a time of disaster, it is easy to expand the system by simply creating additional meeting times for the nets with high volume, or by setting up a specific “trunk line” between two points. One such trunk line system is known as Hamshack Hotline. It is a network of phones, connected to The Internet, using voice over Internet protocol (VOIP).

In order to be better prepared, my fellow operators and I would appreciate messages of 25 words or less. All that is needed is the message, a phone number and/or email address, plus the destination town and state. A street address is optional. You may initiate a message by sending the required information to

The Western Pennsylvania Phone and Traffic Net meets daily on 3.918 MHz LSB at 2200 UTC and will begin meeting at 2130 UTC on August 1, 2021.

I regularly check into the Digital Traffic Network (DTN) hub, and into WinLink, to send and retrieve NTS messages.

June 2021 Weather Summary

June was 1.0 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 92 deg. F recorded on June 29. The low for the month was 41 deg F, recorded on June 23. There were 63 heating degree days and 188 cooling degree days.

June was an above normal month for precipitation with 6.42 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 2.56 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.65 inches recorded on June 13. There were 13 days of rain >.01 in, 10 >.10 in and 2 >1 in.

High wind speed of 44 mph on June 21. The high winds caused tree damage in the area.

Damaged Trees Blocking PA 550 near Patton/Halfmoon Township Line
June 21, 2021 – Photo by George Riley

June 2021 Data

Here is the latest drought summary for Pennsylvania:

Volunteers Take Action To Monitor Centre County’s Watersheds

I am one of the volunteers that monitors the streams in Center County, PA.

The following article appeared in The Centre Daily Times on June 6, 2021:

Volunteers take action to monitor Centre County’s watersheds

Late last year an effort was made to determine the effectiveness of some our volunteer water monitoring groups in aiding in determining our state’s compliance to the watershed clean-up efforts. CCPaSEC was qualified due to their extensive data (more than 12 years), their quality assurance program and association with Clear Water conservancy, Penn State’s “Shale Network,” Penn State laboratories, the Centre County RSVP and Centre County Conservation Services.

The Centre County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps, a nonprofit associated with the ClearWater Conservancy and the Centre County RSVP, has been monitoring many of our local streams since 2003. Pennsylvania is second only to Alaska in the number of natural clear-water surface streams. Pennsylvania’s streams constitute a major source of water entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and is subject to federal concern due to pollution, including that from Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). Pennsylvania’s AMD abatement and treatment program (AMD Set-Aside Program) was first authorized in 1990. Our mission is to inform the public and our county leadership of the quality and health of our local streams.

WHAT DO CCPASEC VOLUNTEERS DO? CCPaSEC’s volunteers are dedicated to help Centre County compliance with our state and federal stream monitoring standards. The CCPaSEC members support 13 teams that, weather and conditions permitting, monitor many streams each month using field kits equipped with instruments and chemical reagents to measure levels (mg/L) of phosphate, nitrate, sulfate and alkalinity, flow (m3/sec), pH, and conductivity. Twice a year they perform counts of macroinvertebrates — those little creatures like mayflies, Stonefly Larvae and riffle beetle that indicate year-round stream health.

The ClearWater Conservancy held its annual Watersheds Cleanup Day on April 24. The first Cleanup Day was held in 1997. Over these 24 years, roughly 6 million pounds of trash has been removed from our roadways and streams, all done by volunteers. The CCPaSEC is a division of the ClearWater Conservancy and the Centre County Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) has been participating in the cleanup effort over the years. This year we had eight of our members participating. We concentrated our efforts in the Buffalo Run watershed area, and did our cleanup… 1/26/10/2021 SENIOR CORPS
along Filmore Road, Upper Gyp Road, and Valleyview Road. All of these roadways border on or have tributaries to Buffalo Run. The total bags for the cleanup day this year was 217. The CCPaSEC volunteers collected of 36 bags of that total.

Since our main volunteer effort is monitoring the quality of Centre County streams, we view it as important to continue our participation in the Cleanup Day campaign. After all, we do “all live downstream.”
DEDICATION TO CENTRE COUNTY WATERSHEDS In 2020, CCPaSEC members logged 2041.4 hours of volunteer service in their mission to gather and publish data on the quality of water in the streams of Centre County.

The value of those hours to the community in 2019 dollars is $51,871.97 and in the past 7 years, (2014-2020), $433,128.27. CCPaSEC works with several organizations, universities and youth groups to carry out projects benefiting Centre County watersheds.
Through the pandemic the group continued to meet using the internet and to preform field surveys when permitted by the Pennsylvania COVID-19 regulations.

CCPaSEC’s water monitoring efforts are no longer limited to seniors. Previously, the RSVP restricted membership to seniors, due to provisions imposed by the AmeriCorps for supplemental accident insurance to cover costs over and above what you may already have and it is only for accidents that occur during volunteer service. Now, the ClearWater Conservancy allows its members to participate by providing Clearwater members with additional accident insurance while participating in in volunteer activity.

You must join either organization to participate with a survey team. If you wish to join one of our volunteer teams, please contact either the Centre County ClearWater Conservancy or the Centre County RSVP.

For more information, visit http//


May 2021 Weather Summery

May was 1.3 deg F below normal for temperature. The high for the month was 87.7 F, recorded on May 21. The low for the month was 32.4 deg F, recorded on May 13. There were 0 days at or below 32 F. There were 297 heating degree days and 74 cooling degree days.

May was an a-normal month for precipitation with 3.67 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.44 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.15 inches recorded on May 9. There were 10 days of rain >.01 in, 9 >.10 in and 1 > 1 in.

The high wind speed for the month was 33 mph on May 26.

May 2021 Data

The developing drought in northwestern Pennsylvania has eased. Our region continues to be below normal for rainfall for the year.

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. The last freeze was 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