Don Paul - The Buffalo News

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Don Paul

Don Paul is a frequent contributor on weather/climate for The Buffalo News. He is also a staff meteorologist for WKBW and a former chief meteorologist for WIVB.


Weather

One reason most of Western New York has never experienced an EF-4 or EF-5 monster tornado is the proximity of Lake Erie and its cooler waters during spring and early summer. When the lake surface is cooler than the air mass overhead and over land, as the heated air over land rises, the cooler and denser air above the lakes will rush in on a lake breeze to replace the ri…

Weather

On Oct. 14, President Obama issued an executive order putting into motion plans for the nation to develop contingency plans to deal with potentially paralyzing  impacts from a future extreme space weather event. Space weather is a catch-all phrase that includes solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun, along with less potent ongoing cosmic rays and …

Weather

As of a few days ago in October, snowfall for the month is a bit above average over a portion of Siberia. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? What MIGHT it have to do with what kind of winter we can expect in eastern North America? A couple of decades ago, MIT researcher Dr. Judah Cohen started his statistical research on a potential relationship b…

Weather

The “October Surprise” is something I hope to never déjà vu all over again, meteorologically. Heavy October snow was not unique in all Buffalo history, but it was unique in my lifetime and unique in the lives of meteorologists working then right up to this day. There had been some very early season major lake snowfalls in our more distant past, including 1906 and …

Weather

Part of this article is about weather and part of it is about climate. “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get” is an old saying in my field, and it’s about right. But this summer makes the distinction fuzzier. Globally, the Associated Press tallied many nations’ weather and emergency agencies and reported more than $50 billion in damage and more than…

Weather

I’d venture a guess that all of my colleagues around these parts have gotten social media requests for a winter outlook by now. Many such requests have been directed my way. There is no shortage of winter outlooks to be found in social media, a few from bonafide meteorologists, but the majority from amateurs some of whose amateur status is quite rank (read: poorly infor…

Weather

As I completed a quiz Wednesday to see how badly I needed to take an online course in forecasting aviation turbulence (if I did aviation weather, I would definitely need to complete this course, believe you me!), a recent article that was directly related caught my eye. A British atmospheric researcher at the University of Reading has postulated that climate change may be…

Weather

If you need the ultimate example of a runaway greenhouse planet, look no farther than Venus. It has an extremely thick atmosphere which is 96 percent carbon dioxide. That concentration of CO2 is the reason Venus’ surface temperature averages around 860-864 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt lead. This is despite the constant cloud cover which blocks solar in…

Weather

Hermine … and the roads less traveled. For us. The roads, I mean. Not looking for sympathy here, but we’ve had to evacuate beautiful Ocracoke Island, N.C., twice in the last five years. Ocracoke is a 13-mile long barrier island south of Hatteras, with Pamlico Sound on the west and the Atlantic on the east, part of North Carolina’s fabled Outer Banks. The reasons …

Weather

This year marks the 200th anniversary of “the year without a summer.” Since we’re having quite the opposite this year, it’s a good time to make comparisons with a unique summer with historically extraordinary bad weather. The summer of 1816 was a terrible time for farming and a worse time for humanity in many parts of the world. The culprit was Indonesia’s Moun…

Weather

That most of WNY is in a Severe Drought is serious but somewhat old news. How much rainfall we need to fix the problem is more complicated, and how much we’re going to get is the most complicated of all. Here is a Thursday graphic from National Weather Service HQ in College Park, Md. (Actually, the graphic is from the Weather Prediction Center, a branch of the National …

Weather

Some of these topics appeared in a Washington Post Capital Weather Gang article a few years ago. However, I have written on all of the following in past articles and in my former Buffalo Weather Blog. I think they bear repeating. 1. August is the hottest month. Even though August is typically filled with a good supply of steamy days, and even though the hottest day on r…

Weather

Buffalo has something in common with Tampa and Miami: None of the cities have ever hit 100 degrees, officially. That's not hard to believe about Buffalo. But Miami and Tampa? Credit the marine layer, in all three places. The ocean and lake-modified layer of air near the surface caps off the ability of the surface air to peak to the higher temperatures of locations not i…

Weather

The year 2016 is on track to be the warmest year globally on record, according to NASA and other agencies’ measurements. There can be little doubt of this. Next year, relative to this year, may bring a slower rate of warming. And that will lead to confusion and misrepresentation, but not by climate scientists, most meteorologists and physicists. It will be more a matter …

Weather

1.     The official record-keeping observatory for Buffalo moved to the airport in 1943. While Buffalo isn’t necessarily representative of overall WNY statistics, it can be said this has been the worst drought for Buffalo since that move. Even after today’s soaking rains we are still down more than 6” in liquid for the year. But if you add on last December and No…