Day: January 6, 2018

Don’t leave valuables in view

The Redding Police Department reminds residents not to leave your valuables in plain sight, even if they are in a locked car. Several incidents have happened locally that may be related.

On December 29, a woman was walking in Topstone Park mid afternoon. When she got back to her locked car, she found the window smashed. Her purse was on the seat and was rifled. Some papers were stolen from the car.

On the same day, a purse was found on Old Redding Road. It belonged to a Naugatauck woman who claimed it was stolen from her car in Danbury. The Danbury Police believe this is related to a string of smash and grabs in the city.

Winters Storms not officially named

Those cute and trendy winter storm names are not made up by official sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), or even the organization that names hurricanes: the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Since 2012, the Weather Channel (TWC) has assigned the monikers.

“It’s simply easier to communicate about a complex storm if it has a name,” said TWC hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross in an interview with ThoughtCo.Com.

And, it doesn’t hurt that social media hashtags with the cute storm names will direst right back to the Weather Channel.

NOAA, NWS, AMS, WMO and Accuweather do not support naming winter storms.

In an article on the Accuweather website, Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather Founder and President said, “A unilateral decision by The Weather Channel to name winter storms will create confusion, rather than delivering critical and important safety and planning information to the public,” He added, “… in deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety and is doing a disservice to the field of meteorology and public service.”

“We have explored this issue for 20 years,” continued Dr. Myers, “and have found that this is not good science and importantly will actually mislead the public. Winter storms are very different from hurricanes.”

Naming of hurricanes makes sense because they are well-defined storms following a path that can be tracked and predicted. Hurricanes have a life of many days and often weeks, move deliberately, and primarily affect a well-defined area of impact in all four quadrants, centered around the Eye-Path.™

“By contrast, winter storms are often erratic, affecting different areas unevenly. Winter storms often develop, dissipate, and reform with two to three centers, often delivering snow in only one quadrant, while places not too far away from a blizzard may experience rain or fog, or nothing at all. As a result, the public will not know what action to take when there is a “named” storm, or may take the wrong action.

By contrast, some of the most severe winter events affect only limited areas, such as lake effect snow or freezing rain, which are not even associated with a predicted storm center. Under the Weather Channel system, these might not even be named, yet they can cause death and destruction.”

AccuWeather believes that naming winter storms by The Weather Channel will increase confusion in the public and the emergency management community.

How does The Weather Channel decide which storms will be named?
TWC’s website lists a committee which is composed of three members: Tom Niziol, winter weather expert;  Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist and senior director for Weather Communications; and Jonathan Erdman, digital/senior meteorologist for Based on a thorough discussion of meteorological and societal factors that could produce a winter storm, a decision is made to name or not name. It is important to note that the decision to name a storm is solely held by this committee of meteorologists. Their criteria usually consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Evidence from forecast maps and models that the storm is shaping up to be one of historic or record-breaking proportions
  • NWS has issued a winter storm warning
  • If the storm is forecast to impact an area of at least 400,000 square miles, a population of at least 2 million people, or both

If the answers to all of the above are “yes,” it’s very likely the storm will be named.

Names will generally be assigned at least 48 hours before a storm is forecast to impact a location. Each subsequent winter storm is given the next available name on the list. This year’s list was taken from popular baby names from Aiden to Zoey.

Snow! Bomb Cyclone!

“Bomb cyclones” or “weather bombs” are wicked winter storms that can rival the strength of hurricanes and are so called because of the process that creates them: bombogenesis.

It’s a mouthful of a meteorology term that refers to a storm (generally a non-tropical one) that intensifies very rapidly.

Bomb cyclones tend to happen more in the winter months and can carry hurricane-force windsand cause coastal flooding and heavy snow.

How bombogenesis works

The word bombogenesis comes from combining “bomb” and “cyclogenesis,” or meteorology speak for storm formation. Technically speaking, a storm undergoes bombogenesis when it’s central low pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hoursaccording to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (A millibar is a unit of pressure that essentially measures the weight of the atmosphere overhead. Typical sea-level pressure is about 1,010 millibars.)

Storms occur when a rising column of air leaves an area of low pressure at the Earth’s surface, which in turn sucks in the air from surrounding areas. As that air converges, the storm starts to spin faster and faster, like a twirling ice skater who pulls in her arms, which leads to higher wind speeds. The closer you are to the center of the storm, the stronger the winds.

If a storm is strong enough or deepens (drops in pressure) rapidly enough, its winds can reach hurricane-force, or 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher. Of the 43 North Atlantic storms that achieved hurricane-force winds during the winter of 2013-2014, 30 underwent bombogenesis, according to NOAA.

Bombogenesis tends to occur when a strong jet stream high in the atmosphere interacts with an existing low-pressure system near a warm ocean current like the Gulf Stream. The jet stream pulls air out of the storm’s rising column of air, causing the surface low to deepen.

When and where bombogenesis occurs

Bombogenesis tends to occur more often in winter in what are called mid-latitude (or extra-tropical) cyclones. These storms are driven by the collision of warm and cold air masses, whereas as tropical cyclones are driven by convection, or the transfer of heat upward (though they can also undergo rapid intensification and sometimes the term bombogenesis is used to describe that process as well)

Photo: NASA

Library closed for furnace repair

The Mark Twain Library has been without heat for two days. It was determined yesterday that the furnace will need to be replaced; MTL will be closed for at least a few days while this serious situation is being addressed.  We very much appreciate your patience, and look forward to
welcoming you back into the building as soon as possible.