Countdown to the Solar Eclipse Is On

Posted in General, GWC News at 10:16 pm by gmachos

Less than 48 hours until the 1st Solar Eclipse in North America Since 1979

The strong storms that moved through the Mid-Atlantic on Friday are gone, and fair weather has moved in for the most part over the Garden State. There was an area of thunderstorms pushing through Central Pennsylvania earlier tonight as the result of an upper level low that moved through Ohio and Western Pennsylvania earlier on Saturday.

This upper level low has produced a bow echo with these storms, but they are likely not going to affect New Jersey. There could be some clouds that we could be dealing with at times over the next few days, but conditions are expected to be mostly sunny, which looks good for the eclipse that is expected to begin across New Jersey a few minutes before 1:30 PM on Monday afternoon.

Since New Jersey is not in the path of totality, which means it is not in the area where there will be a complete eclipse. However, it will still get about 75 percent of totality so many across the Garden State will be able to see a good sky show. If you have been trying to get a pair of solar eclipse glasses like I have over the past few days, you are running out of options.

Stores such as Lowe’s and 7-Eleven, which have been selling eclipse glasses are out of stock. Meanwhile, there are some local libraries that may offer a pair although mine didn’t have any, and actually never received them. According to Friday’s NJ.com, Amazon.com, Unique Photo on Route 46 West in Fairfield, and B & H Photo in New York City still have glasses in stock, or will be restocking them. However, to have a good chance to get the glasses in time, orders had to be made within the past 24 hours. Otherwise, you will have to get them in person.

This will be the first total solar eclipse to occur across North America since February, 1979. Back then, I was in 3rd grade, and I do recall that the weather didn’t cooperate here in New Jersey. Instead skies were cloudy on that day. I recalled that I stayed home from school that day, and ended up watching the live news coverage of the 1979 eclipse on television. I can recall hearing on TV that the next eclipse wouldn’t be until 2017, and wondered if I would ever see it.

As Monday’s date has become closer, I have become more excited, but also more cautious since the weather played a factor in the last one in 1979, and forecasts earlier in the week suggested that clouds would affect the viewing of this one. The weather forecast has been much more promising since then, especially now that Friday’s storms have pushed through. There is still a chance that clouds could hinder viewing on Monday, but the latest forecast by the NWS office in Mount Holly is calling for sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 80s in Middlesex County.

The next chance you have to see a total eclipse here in the United States will not be until April 8, 2024. After that, you will have to wait a little more than 20 years to see the next one on August 23, 2044. Then, a year later, there will be a chance for another one on August 12, 2045.


GWC Slideshow–August 22, 2014–Trip to High Point

Posted in General, GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Slideshows at 11:48 am by gmachos

Here is a slideshow of photos taken during a trip to High Point, New Jersey on the next to last Friday of August 2014. This video was shot by the High Point Monument, which symbolizes the highest elevation in the Garden State at 1,803 feet. On this day, the weather was cloudy and foggy with a bit of mist. The weather overall around the Garden State was cloudy after some rain came through on Thursday night and early Friday morning.


GWC Weather Footage–August 29, 2013–Trip to New York City

Posted in General, GWC News, YouTube Videos at 8:38 pm by gmachos

It was a great weather day for a sightseeing trip to New York City via the Seastreak from Conners Highlands near Sandy Hook. The day got off to a cloudy start, but gradually cleared out just in time for the trip. Conditions were still a bit muggy, but there was plenty of wind to make things comfortable. The video contains footage of the Verrazano Bridge, New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge.


GWC Weather Footage–July 3, 2013–South Amboy Shower

Posted in General, GWC News, YouTube Videos, GWC Web Cam at 3:49 pm by gmachos

Here is a video of a shower developing at Waterfront Park in South Amboy on the day before Independence Day. Clouds were on the move near the Jersey Shore as conditions continued to remained humid in the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures were not as warm as they were last week, but dew points were still in the mid to upper 70s.


GWC Time Lapse–November 29, 2012–Sunrise Over South Plainfield

Posted in General, YouTube Videos, GWC Web Cam at 2:51 pm by gmachos

Here is a short time lapse video of sunrise over South Plainfield, New Jersey in late November 2012. Footage taken with my new GoPro Hero 3 Black Camera.


Hurricaneville Storm Footage–October 28, 2012–Sandy Stirs Up The Waves In Raritan Bay

Posted in General, Storm Experiences, GWC News, YouTube Videos, Tracking the Tropics at 11:41 pm by gmachos

Here is storm footage from Waterfront Park in South Amboy as Hurricane Sandy barreled her way up the Eastern Seaboard in late October 2012. Surf was getting rough in Raritan Bay where this video was shot. Waves had been on the increase since Saturday afternoon prior to the storm. Winds are increasing out of the North and Northeast, and it was a chilly wind, which was uncharacteristic of a hurricane.


Question: What Is A Frankenstorm?

Posted in General, Commentary, GWC News, Tracking the Tropics at 4:03 pm by gmachos

Government Agencies And Media Give Hybrid Sandy A Halloween Feel

People love to give names to storms. You’ve heard it before. Back in 1993, it was Superstorm 1993, or the Storm of the Century. Same thing was said of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The winter storms of 2010 were given the name Snowmageddon by President Obama, and then this time last year, our little October Snowstorm was given the moniker of Snowtober. Now, we have Hurricane Sandy, which is now a minimal hurricane, and soon to be less of a tropical entity, and more of a hybrid entity.

On Thursday night and early Friday morning, I was watching the news on several different media outlets, both local and national, and heard the term Frankenstorm used to describe Sandy. Then, on Friday morning, I take a look at the front page of the newspaper, and I see the title of “Rise of Frankenstorm.” Why not call it Young Frankenstorm? I say that facetiously, but there is some truth to it because the storm is still evolving. Obviously some people feel that by calling Sandy a Frankenstorm, it makes the storm sound more sinister and dire, which could help getting the word out to people about it. In addition, Halloween is around the corner so it gives weather, which is not as popular or sexy a topic to most people as say sports or entertainment can be, more appeal to the masses.

There have been other terms given to Sandy over the past 24 hours as well such as The Perfect Storm after the 1991 storm that had Hurricane Grace as a component, and was a subject of a book by Sebastian Junger, which eventually became a movie starring George Clooney. There is also the term hybrid that I’ve been using since it has a little of both tropical and mid-latitude cyclone characteristics. Snow hurricane, or snowicane is another term although, I would find that a bit unlikely here in Jersey since temperatures aren’t going to be cold enough to produce snow. It could produce the white stuff in more mountains areas along the Appalachians such as West Virginia, Virgina, and Central Pennsylvania, where you have higher elevation.

And with a storm like Sandy, a potentially unprecedented weather event bearing down on the largest and most densely populated region of the country, using the moniker of Frankenstorm is an attempt to capture people’s attention. Using names for hurricanes and tropical storms have become commonplace now. These storms come in stages so it is appropriate to use names to describe them. It also makes it easier for people to identify with and remember, especially in the Caribbean and Central America, where English is a second language.

There has been some backlash to the use of the term, Frankenstorm to describe Sandy though. CNN announced on Friday that it will not be using the term Frankenstorm in its broadcasts. One of the lead meteorologists, Chad Myers indicated that it “trivializes” the storm, which is already responsible for 20 deaths in Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Myers and CNN’s reasoning for this policy is a valid one because it may give people the idea that the storm is a joke, or shouldn’t be taken seriously. With the potential damage and destruction from this storm, a possibly difficult aftermath to follow in a part of the country that has been quite lucky during this active cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes, and a population that tends to be more cynical about such storms in this part of the world, the last thing you want to do is trivialize it.

Continuing on the idea of naming storms, the Weather Channel is taking things a step further by using names to describe significant winter storms, which has caused some controversy in recent days. TWC recently announced that it is going to begin giving names to winter storms this coming season. Forecasters and specialists there believe this is a good way to get the word out to the public on the severity of a snowstorm. When I was younger, there was a weatherman at FOX5 in New York named Hurricane Schwartz that used to give nor’easters and winter storms names. One problem meteorologists have with this though is that Nor’easters and blizzards don’t form in stages like tropical entities do. They are also hard to predict in the sense that a winter storm might not always bring snow. Sometimes, temperatures will be warm enough for the precipitation to come down as rain instead.


Dog Days Of Summer Are Here

Posted in General, GWC News, Tracking the Tropics at 12:11 pm by gmachos

Late Week Muggy Weather Typical For August In Jersey

About a month ago at this time, I had posted an article in the blog about how it was the heat, not the humidity that was dominating our weather.  It was true then that we were dealing with a dry heat.  However, that is not the case for the past 48 hours here in Northwestern Middlesex County.  As a matter of fact, the opposite has happened.

The latter portion of this week’s weather has been dominated by a truly tropical air mass.  It started out on Wednesday with torrential downpours from  strong and slow moving thunderstorms.  Places in the Garden State such as Keansburg, Morristown, and Bernardsville were hit hard.  Meanwhile, over in New York City, the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island were all under a Flash Flood Warning in the afternoon.  Some locales in Queens received two inches of rainfall in a short amount of time.  

Flash Flood Warnings did eventually go into effect in Middlesex County, but here in South Plainfield, there was only 0.38 inches of rain when it was all said and done.  What those storms did though was make the air feel very tropical with increasing humidity.   The atmosphere over the Garden State became muggy like it usually does during these dog days of August.   On Thursday, the temperature creeped up to near 90 degrees while the dew point rose to 75 and the heat index topped out at 97.   Cumulus clouds built up in the afternoon, but they lacked the vertical development that the ones prior to Wednesday’s storms had.

Fast forward to Friday, and the weather outside has become downright oppressive.  As of 11:58 AM this morning, the temperature was at 85 degrees, but the humidity was soaring up to 80 percent for a dew point of 78 and a heat index of 96.  Rare to see humidity that high during this time of day.  The air outside is very thick and stifling while the skies are quite hazy.  The humidity is so high that the front porch door windows still have a bit of dew on them.   Heat Advisories and Air Quality alerts are in effect for parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New Jersey including the Philadelphia Metro Area.

Forecast for South Plainfield is calling for temperatures to get into the low 90s over the next several days.  High on Friday is expected to climb up to 94 with a chance for isolated thunderstorms during the afternoon.  The next chance at severe weather is on Sunday and Sunday night with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms.


GWC Weather Footage–January 2, 2012–Cold Blast To Ring In New Year

Posted in General, YouTube Videos at 9:15 am by gmachos

Here is weather footage of the first cold snap of the winter season in Northern Middlesex County. It also brought some nice footage of some of the different birds at Roosevelt Park in Edison, New Jersey.


Solar Flares And Coronal Ejections Pick Up In Space

Posted in General, GWC News at 11:02 am by gmachos

Sun Activity Picking Up As It Approaches The Peak Of 11 Year Cycle

With all the crazy things going on in our weather over the past 13 months or so, you can add something else.  However, this latest development involves something beyond our atmosphere.  The sun has been sending out solar flares and massive coronal ejections over the past few weeks, and they should continue as our star approaches the peak of its 11 year cycle.

The latest solar flare and coronal ejection occurred a little over a week ago, and the flare did cause a disruption of radio communication.  The flare was classified as an X1.9 flare, which is the most powerful one that the sun can release according to an article on Space.com.   Within a few hours, a coronal ejection occurred on another part of the sun, and headed toward Venus.

A solar flare is defined as a powerful release of energy that brightens the sun, and is often linked with increased magnetic activity on the star.  This latest flare came from a large and very active part of the sun known as AR11339, and is approximately 50,000 miles wide.  More of this kind of activity is expected from the sun, which will reach the peak of its 11 year cycle around 2013.  Within the past two months, there have been other solar flares that have made news. 

Back in late September, there was a solar flare that created an electromagnetic storm which resulted in quite a display of aurora in the higher latitudes according to an article from the Washington Post.   A little more than two weeks ago, another solar flare brought northern lights as far south as the Southeastern United States.  These two instances of solar flares were graded as G1 and G2, but there can be stronger ones.

Some solar flares can be rated as G5 on the high end of the scale.  Those flares are capable of causing significant electromagnetic storms capable of knocking out electricity and affect spacecraft and satellites.  The most notable solar storm was back in 1859.  The storm was so powerful that it provided enough light to read in the middle of the night, and disrupted telegraph service for two days.  Another solar storm in 1921 was only one fourth as powerful as the one in 1859.  However, if the 1921 storm were to occur today, it will knock out power to 130 million people, cost up to $2 trillion in damage, and take 4 to 10 years to recover from. 

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