Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Connie & Diane Battered Connecticut 59 Years Ago This Month

Long-time area residents will never forget August of 1955 when two of the most memorable hurricanes --- Connie and Diane --- battered the Northeast. Hurricane Connie soaked New England with torrential rains on August 13, 1955. Then, just five days later, Tropical Storm Diane followed suit creating massive flooding not seen since the 1930s. Take a look at the front page of The Bridgeport Telegram from August 20, 1955.

Telgram
Test

The combination of Connie and Diane yielded rainfall totals close to 25 inches in some areas, resulting in unprecedented flooding. Nearly all of the major rivers in the lower Connecticut Valley exceeded flood stage. Some rivers rose more than 20 feet over their banks. Read the Valley News archive of daily weather events from August of 1955 to gain a better understanding of the power of those two August hurricanes!

Connie

While the two hurricanes affected the entire Atlantic coast, Connecticut suffered the most damage. For example, of the 180 lives that were lost, 77 were in Connecticut. Of the 680 million dollars in property damage, over 350 million dollars occurred in Connecticut. Over 200 dams in New England suffered partial to total failure. Many of these were in the area immediately south of Worcester, in the Thames and Blackstone headwaters. Here is a photo of Winsted, Connecticut, virtually devastated following the flood.

Aug55  
If August was not bad enough, two months later, a four day storm dumped an additional 12-14 inches of rain in southwestern New England. This event was not as widespread as the August storms, but record flood levels were achieved in some locations of the Housatonic and Hudson River basins.

Paul

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Marking the Anniversary of Hurricane Connie in 1955

An approaching storm system will bring rain, possible thunderstorms, minor coastal flooding, and gusty winds to southwestern Connecticut tonight and tomorrow. One-to-three inches of rain are possible. However, that pales in comparison to what happened 59 years ago today. Hurricane Connie brought nearly four inches (3.92") of rain to the region on Friday, August 12, 1955. Take a look at the front page of The Bridgeport Telegram from Saturday, August 13, 1955.

Telegram

Long-time area residents will never forget August of 1955 when two of the most memorable hurricanes --- Connie and Diane --- battered the Northeast. Hurricane Connie soaked New England with torrential rains on August 12 and 13, 1955. Then, just five days later, Tropical Storm Diane followed suit creating massive flooding not seen since the 1930s. Take a look at the front page of The Bridgeport Telegram from Saturday, August 20, 1955.

Telgram
Test

The combination of Connie and Diane yielded rainfall totals close to 25 inches in some areas, resulting in unprecedented flooding. Nearly all of the major rivers in the lower Connecticut Valley exceeded flood stage. Some rivers rose more than 20 feet over their banks. Read the Valley News archive of daily weather events from August of 1955 to gain a better understanding of the power of those two August hurricanes!

Found on Newspapers.com
While the two hurricanes affected the entire Atlantic coast, Connecticut suffered the most damage. For example, of the 180 lives that were lost, 77 were in Connecticut. Of the 680 million dollars in property damage, over 350 million dollars occurred in Connecticut. Over 200 dams in New England suffered partial to total failure. Many of these were in the area immediately south of Worcester, in the Thames and Blackstone headwaters. Here is a photo of Winsted, Connecticut, virtually devastated following the flood.

Aug55

If August was not bad enough, two months later, a four day storm dumped an additional 12-14 inches of rain in southwestern New England. This event was not as widespread as the August storms, but record flood levels were achieved in some locations of the Housatonic and Hudson River basins. The tropical season has been fairly quiet thus far, but things usually stir in late August and September. Tropical Storm Irene (2011) and Hurricane Gloria (1985) are two recent examples.

Paul

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Dog Days of Summer" Officially Come to a Close Today

The Dog Days of Summer officially come to an end today. In case you’re wondering, the dog days last for 40 days, from July 3 to August 11. They are directly related to the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major, or the big dog. Sirius is known as the Dog Star, and we see it clearly illuminating the night sky from early Autumn through early Spring.

However, during this time of the year, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. During late July, Sirius is in “conjunction” with the Sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the Sun, creating a stretch of very hot, humid, and sultry weather. Actually, the conjunction of Sirius with the Sun varies slightly with latitude, and a gradual drifting of the constellations over time means that they are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome.


Although this is typically the warmest time of the year in southwestern Connecticut, the added heat is not due to the added radiation of a far-away star, regardless of how bright it is. The heat of Summertime in the Northern Hemisphere is a direct result of the Earth’s 23.5 degree tilt on its axis. Today's normal high temperature is 82 degrees, just one degree shy of the normal for late July.

This Summer has been one of the most enjoyable in recent memory. There has been just one 90-degree day at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford (July 8). An approaching storm system will bring heavy rain, potential flash flooding, and possible thunderstorms to the region Tuesday night and Wednesday. However, cooler and less humid weather returns Thursday and Friday, and the upcoming weekend is expected to be mostly sunny and pleasant.

Paul

Friday, August 8, 2014

August's Full Sturgeon Moon Illuminates Night Sky

We'll have a wonderful view of the Full Sturgeon Moon this weekend. Skies should be mostly clear when the Moon is nearly full Saturday night. Full Moon happens at exactly 2:09 p.m. this Sunday, August 10. A spectacular weekend is ahead under mostly sunny skies with daytime high temperatures in the lower 80s and nighttime lows in the lower 60s.

So, how did the August full Moon get its name? The fishing tribes are given credit for naming it, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
                    

Thunder and lightning are quite frequent with Summer storms in August. So, this month’s full Moon also goes by the name of the Lightning Moon for the Summer thunderstorms. Other names given to the Moon in August are the Red Moon and the Dog Moon. Full Moon names date back to the days of the Native Americans, in what is now the Northern and Eastern United States.

The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

Enjoy this weekend's Full Sturgeon Moon.

Paul

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Little League Weather

The Fairfield American Little League all-stars are just two victories away from returning to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Fairfield American's 12-year-olds play Barnstable, Massachusetts, this afternoon at 4 o'clock in the New England Regional semi-final round game at Breen Field in Bristol. If Fairfield wins, it will play in the nationally-televised regional championship game this Saturday evening.


The weather should cooperate for the players. It will be mostly sunny and seasonably warm at game time with a temperature of 77 degrees and a light wind out of the North. There is a slight chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm, but that shouldn't prevent the game from being played. The locals are the top-seed of the four remaining teams after posting a 3-1 record in the qualifying round. Fairfield defeated Cumberland, Rhode Island, 5-3, this past Tuesday on a walk-off two-run home run by Jamie Flink.


The success of the Fairfield American Little League 12-year-old program is nothing short of amazing. The team won the state championship in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, and advanced to the Little League World Series after winning the New England Regional tournament in 2010 and 2012. If it wins the next two games, the team will have reached the Little League World Series for the third time in five years. That's simply incredible, considering the squad is comprised of new players and coaches every season.


Fairfield defeated Williston, Vermont, 9-4, in last Friday's regional opener before cruising to a 10-0 five-inning victory over Falmouth, Maine, Saturday. Goffstown, New Hampshire defeated Fairfield, 4-2, Sunday, but the locals came back to take the dramatic two-run victory over Rhode Island two days ago.

If Fairfield is fortunate to win today, the weekend weather looks great. Saturday evening's championship game will be played under mostly clear skies, a nearly-full Moon, and comfortable conditions.

Paul

Saturday, August 2, 2014

'Seasonable' July 2014 Much Different Than Scorching July 2014

What a difference a year makes! I'm sure you remember last July, which was the hottest month ever on record at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. There were two heat waves, including an unprecedented seven-day heat wave, and 11 days featured high temperatures at or above 90 degrees. The average temperature last July was 78.5 degrees, which was a whopping 4.2 degrees above normal.

Now, fast forward to this July. Incredibly, there was only one day when the mercury touched 90 degrees (July 8), and the average temperature for the month was 75.1 degrees. That was less than one degree above normal (74.3). However, the temperature never dropped below 60 degrees. The coolest temperature was 61 degrees on the mornings of July 6th and 30th.

Although the first half of the month featured average daily temperatures slightly above normal, cooler air arrived for the second half of the month. In fact, the average daily temperature was below normal five straight days from July 17th through July 21st. Eleven of the last 16 days of July were cooler-than-normal. On the flip side, only one of the first 16 days of the month was cooler-than-normal.

Interestingly, July's total rainfall measured just about three-and-a-half inches (3.46"), which was exactly normal for the month. There were nine days with measured rain, including three days in a row from July 2nd through July 4th. The greatest 24-hour rainfall (1.65") happened on July 14th and 15th. There were five days with at least a trace of rain, and 17 of the days were completely dry.

Paul