By MARK HANOK
Hurricane Ike, a powerful category two hurricane covering a larger area than the Lone Star State, reached Galveston during the early morning hours on Saturday, spreading torrential rains across southeast Texas.
The storm pushed northward to northeast Texas and southern Arkansas by early evening, after bringing some areas over 12” of rain. One of the very best indicators for a prolonged stretch of beautiful weather in Otsego County is widespread flooding in southeast Texas, especially with a tropical storm or a hurricane. In this kind of weather pattern, any rain in the Western Catskills occurs at night or early in the morning, with a dry, sunny weather pattern beginning no later than one day after the Texas flooding event. This was an excellent signal that the rain predicted for Sunday in our area, would stay well to the west, and that bright sunshine would take over, then dry weather for at least the next ten days. Not only did the tropical low bring no rain to central and eastern New York as it moved quickly northward, the storm pulled in unseasonably warm air and incredibly high humidity for so late in the season. In the Cooperstown area skies were mostly sunny from late morning right through the afternoon, with a very humid southwesterly breeze; the high was 83 degrees at our weather station in Otego, with 70-degree dew points. Highs were in the upper 80’s across central New York and the Mohawk Valley, including a high of 89 degrees at Utica and 88 degrees at Syracuse. By late evening as the center of the low moved to just east of Toronto, all the rain associated with Ike, lifted quickly northward to far western New York and southern Ontario. A strong southerly wind brought almost unheard of warmth for late evening so late in the season to western, central, and northern New York. At 22:00 it was an amazing 85 degrees at Rochester and 81 degrees at Watertown! As if the hurricane wasn’t enough to ensure day after day of beautiful early fall weather in the Cooperstown area, the high was 85 degrees at Billings, Montana on Tuesday while only 68 degrees at Raleigh, North Carolina.
Now we can look forward to absolutely magnificent weather every day through at least next week, and temperatures will average near to slightly above normal. On Friday high pressure centered over the Great Lakes will continue brilliant sunshine, with a northerly flow of cool, very dry air. With unlimited sunshine and azure-blue skies, highs will be in the upper 60’s.
Brilliant sunshine will continue on Saturday on a southwest flow ahead of a weak cold front. This front will only serve to reinforce the very dry weather pattern, and Sunday with feature partly sunny skies, a northwesterly breeze, and highs from 65 to 70 degrees. Skies will be mostly sunny Monday through Wednesday with highs around 70 degrees.
Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist. You can visit him on the World Wide Web at http://members. aol.com/weathergazette.