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October 30, 2008

Weather Watch

Thanks to an extreme upside-down temperature pattern, a prolonged stretch of Indian Summer is on the way


By MARK HANOK

The weather pattern will change from mid-winter in late October to very mild and dry in early November — thanks to an absolutely amazing “reverse temperature anomaly that resulted from the intense Nor’Easter on Tuesday.

As a rapidly intensifying storm system turned into a classic early winter-like Nor’Easter over the Delmarva Peninsula, heavy, wet snow fell over the Western Catskills all day; with temperatures at or below freezing all day over higher elevations, there was up to a foot of snow, and 20” in Shandaken in the central Catskills.

At valley locations like our weather station in Otego, all of the accumulating snow occurred overnight with two inches of snow, and even though a steady light to moderate snow continued all day, there were no additional accumulations; highs in the low to mid-30’s. Heavy snow occurred from the Adirondacks southwestward to the central Appalachians. There were even a few inches of wet snow in the higher terrain of northwestern New Jersey.

The intense storm system was centered just south of Long Island by early Tuesday evening, and unseasonably cold air wrapped around the storm on strong northwesterly winds, pushing far to the south. At the same time, a large Canadian high dipped southward to the southern Great Plains and Deep South. In the strong southerly flow ahead of the storm, the high was 64 degrees at Caribou, Maine.

With brisk northwest winds and crystal clear skies, the high was just 58 degrees at Jacksonville and 59 degrees at Tallahassee, Florida, and only 50 degrees at Atlanta, a record low maximum temperature for so early in the season. Downsloping westerly winds, sent the mercury soaring to a record-breaking 80 degrees at Great Falls and 76 degrees at Cut Bank, Montana, and 62 degrees at Bismarck, North Dakota.

As a large ridge of high pressure builds across the mid-Atlantic states and southwest flow takes over, and brilliant sunshine will prevail all day in Friday with highs in the low 50’s. The beautiful weather will continue on Saturday with a southwesterly flow ahead of a weak cold front approaching the eastern Great Lakes. A weak cold front will cross our region early Saturday, with only a few passing clouds and no precipitation; the front will only reinforce an already very dry weather pattern. With partly sunny skies and a northwest breeze, highs will be from 45 to 50 degrees. Mostly sunny skies will continue on Sunday with highs again in the mid to upper 40’s.

A zonal west to east flow across the nation will continue the dry conditions all of next week. On Monday, skies will be mostly sunny with highs in the low 50’s. Tuesday and Wednesday will feature spectacular Indian summer weather: sunny to partly sunny skies and highs from 55 to 60 degrees.

Mark Hanok is an Otego based meteorologist. You can visit him on the World Wide Web at http://members. aol.com/weathergazette.