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

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

2020 Western Pennsylvania Drought

The following was recently posted by the State College National Weather Service Office. The chart was produced by The Mid-Atlantic River Forecast Center (MARFC) which is co-located with The State College National Weather Service Forecast Office.

A neighbor asked to explain why Centre County was depicted as being a standout from the other counties.

For the 60-day period (6/13/2020 through 8/11/2020) Centre County’s areal precipitation was 3.2 inches which was 4.8 inches below normal for the period. A normal amount would have been 8 inches. This works out to be 60% below normal which is above the 50% threshold for the red portion of the scale. By comparison, here are the values for the surrounding counties: Blair 47%, Cambria 29%, Clearfield 47%, Clinton 41%, Huntington 43%, Mifflin 47%, Snyder 44%.

The River Forecast Centers use a distance weighting technique to calculate the areal precipitation. A grid of point estimates is made based on a distance weighting scheme. Each observed point value is given a unique weight for each grid point based on the distance from the grid point in question. The grid point precipitation value is calculated based on the sum of the individual station weight multiplied by observed station value. Once the grid points have all been estimated they are summed and the sum is divided by the number of grid points to obtain the areal average precipitation.

Here is a map of standardized precipitation index (SPI).

There is a bullseye of values between -2 and -1.5 over our region.

The SPI is a widely used index to characterize meteorological drought on a range of timescales. On short timescales, the SPI is closely related to soil moisture, while at longer timescales, the SPI can be related to groundwater and reservoir storage. The SPI uses precipitation only, and can characterize drought or abnormal wetness at different time scales which correspond with the time availability of different water resources (e.g. soil moisture, snowpack, groundwater, river discharge and reservoir storage).

Drought for the Northeast United States

As the above map indicates, southwestern Centre County is experiencing a moderate drought. The criteria for drought classification appears below.

July was lower than normal for precipitation for six counties in central Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania July 2020 Precipitation by County

The above graph shows all of the precipitation data I have collected since establishing my weather station in December 2015 until now. This past July was as dry as July 2016. However, August 2020 is on track to be the driest in 5 years.

June 2020 Weather Summary

June was 0.1 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 88 deg. F recorded on June 9. The low for the month was 41 deg F, recorded on June 1. There were 71 heating degree days and 168 cooling degree days.

June was an above normal month for precipitation with 4.80 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 0.94 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.56 inches recorded on June 4. There were 8 days of rain >.01 in, 7 >.10 in and 1 >1 in.

High wind speed of 32 mph on June 3.

June 2020 Data

Outlook for July 2020

April 2020 Weather Summary

April was 3.1 deg F below normal for temperature. The high for the month was 69.8 F, recorded on April 8. The low for the month was 24.2 deg F, recorded on April 17. There were 7 days at or below 32 F. There were 557 heating degree days and 1 cooling degree day.

April was an above-normal month for precipitation with 5.06 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 1.67 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.34 inches recorded on April 30. There were 15 days of rain >.01 in, 10 >.10 in and 1 > 1 in.

It snowed two inches on April 18, which had all but melted by the end of the following day.

High wind speed of 42 mph on April 10.

One kind reader remarked that this April seemed to be windier than usual. Here are the wind data for April during the past 5 years (2016-2020):

Year Wind Run (mi) Avg (mph) High (mph)
2016 2850 4.0 43
2017 3200 4.4 38
2018 3500 4.8 53
2019 3050 4.2 45
2020 3350 4.7 42

Wind run is the total distance of the traveled wind over a period of time.

April Wind RunBy any measure, April 2018 was the windiest during the past 5 years.

April 2020 Data

Outlook for May 2020

March 2020 Weather Summary

March was 6.6 deg F above normal for temperature. The high for the month was 72.5 deg. F, recorded on March 20. The low for the month was 22.1 deg F, recorded on March 1. There were 10 days at or below 32 F. There were 657 heating degree days and 0 cooling degree days.

March was an above-normal month for precipitation with 5.26 inches of rainfall recorded, which was 1.71 inches above normal. The maximum rainfall in a single day was 1.78 inches recorded on March 28. There were 19 days of rain >.01 in, 9 >.10 in and 1 > 1 in.

High wind speed of 47 mph on March 3.

March 2020 Data

Outlook for April 2020

2019 Stormstown Weather Summary

2019 Weather Data

Overall, the year’s temperatures were normal. The annual mean of  50.6 F was just 0.4 F above normal. The record annual precipitation of 38.03 inches was 2.67 inches below normal.

January

January was the coldest month of 2019 with a monthly mean of 26.2 F, which was 1.9 F below normal, with a high of 58 F and a low for the month and year of -9 F. Precipitation was 1.79 inches below normal with 1.32 inches of liquid precipitation. Eight inches of snow fell during January 19-20. There was some ice accumulation on January 8.

P1030912

We were also treated to a total lunar eclipse on January 20.

February

February was warmer with temperatures at 1.9 F above normal. The high was 58 F and the low was -3 F. Precipitation was 0.49 inches above normal at 2.76 inches. The high wind speed for the month and year was 58 mph, recorded on February 24. Snowfall on February 11.

March

March temperatures were below normal with a high of 70 F and a low of 7 F. Precipitation was 1.8 inches below normal with 1.75 inches of liquid precipitation.

April

Temperatures were 1.9 F above normal in April. The high was 74 F and the low was 22 F. Rainfall was 0.85 inches above normal at 4.24 inches. The last day of temperatures below freezing was April 29.

May

Temperatures were about 3 F above normal with a high of 84 F and a low of 40 F.  Precipitation was 7.15 inches; about 3.92 inches above normal.

June

Temperatures for the month were about 1 F below normal. The high was 90 F and the low was 38 F. Precipitation was above normal with 4.18 inches of rainfall.

July

July was the warmest month of the year. The temperatures were 2 F above normal. The high for the month and year was 94 F and the low was 52 F. Rainfall was 1.61 inches below normal with 1.85 inches of precipitation.

August

The month’s temperatures were 1 F below normal. The high was 90 F and the low was 47 F. Precipitation was 0.72 inches below normal at 3.42 inches.

IMG_0942

A severe thunderstorm on August 18 caused some minor to moderate damage in the area with downed trees and power lines. There was also pea-sized hail and heavy rain as high as 10 in/hr. The maximum wind speed was 36 mph, the temperature dropped 22 F, and the total rainfall was 1.35 inches.

September

Temperatures were 2 F above normal this month. The high was 90 F and the low was 42 F. It was also a relatively dry month with 2.22 inches of rainfall. This was 1.76 inches below normal.

October

October was warmer at 2.2 F above normal. The high was 88 F and the low was 30 F. The first day with below-freezing temperatures was October 19. Rainfall was above normal at 5.42 inches, which was 2.08 inches above normal.

November

Temperatures began to drop in November and were 4.5 F below normal. The high was 61 F and the low was 18 F. Precipitation was 1.03 inches, 2.21 inches below normal. The first significant snowfall was recorded on November 24.

December

The temperatures were 1.8 F above normal. The high was 57 F and the low was 12 F. Precipitation was 0.44 inches below normal at 2.69 inches.

P1040356

Snow was recorded on December 2.

img_1212

An ice storm was observed on December 17.

2019 Insolation
2019 Solar