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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

Those of you with good memories may recall I wrote an outlook article that predicted January would turn predominantly cold. It ran Jan. 1. Hopefully, many of you will be too busy to open that link to reread the piece. Yes, I did pull back from that in a subsequent article on Jan. 7. That doesn’t undo my first overestimation of the likelihood of more prolonged below aver…

Weather

According to both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2016 was the warmest year globally in 137 years of record keeping and the second warmest for the United States. When it became apparent that last winter’s El Nino was going to be a huge event, a large spike in global warmth was expected and fully …

Weather

We live in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It’s where nearly all of our weather occurs, although a few towering thunderstorms can cross over a boundary called the tropopause and extend up into the stratosphere. In the troposphere, the temperature generally decreases with height  – except when there are temperature inversions, where a warm layer alof…

Weather

Most of you know that Earth would be uninhabitable without greenhouse gases. These gases allow solar energy through to heat our surface, but help absorb enough longer wave infrared radiation to keep our planet warm enough for life as we know it. In that broad and vital sense, the greenhouse effect is an all-important and good thing. Without the greenhouse effect, we wou…

Weather

Social media – Facebook more than any other element of it – suffers from countless posts on news, politics, medicine, nutrition, and weather based on bad information. I’m here to discuss my bailiwick, weather. Sometimes it’s awful information tied to baseless conspiracy theories such as chemtrails. In this example, thousands of folks believe the government is secretl…

Weather

Here today, gone Tuesday. I’m referring to the polar airmass which has us in its grip. A couple of weeks back, I wrote of some evidence January would be turning much colder than what we were experiencing late in December. It did just that. What has changed since then is the coming development of a significant January thaw now showing clearly in all the extended…

Weather

Whatever you thought of the year just passed, whether your feelings are tied to politics or the perceived spike in celebrity deaths late in the year, not all things were negative. We know one downward trend was a very good thing – tornadoes. We had the fewest tornado fatalities in 30 years and the second fewest since accurate records began in 1950. The National Weath…

Weather

Underestimating the coming cold? Maybe. Standing on the shoulders of other scientists and their work, after a few warm days to start January, some of us meteorologists believe we may be heading into more frequent bouts of genuine winter cold than we’ve seen in December over both the central and eastern United States. These are probabilities for below-average tempe…

Weather

On Christmas Eve, a data buoy at the North Pole registered a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 50 degrees above average for this time of the year. A massive low pressure storm system had pumped that warm air up to the top of the world. That general process of polar warming has happened many times in the past, though not to this record extent and not w…

Weather

I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV. This article was inspired, though, by an email piece sent by the American Meteorological Society, so I view it as fair game for a meteorologist to tackle. Most of you have heard of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD supposedly is almost epidemic in the winter and is related to lack of natural light. That would put mor…

Weather

When I arrived here in 1984, the National Weather Service was just coming off a long-used model called the LFM. For its time, it was a model breakthrough, offering more detail in larger regions such as the northeast United States than had been available 10 to 15 years earlier. Part of its output produced numerical forecasts that indicated how much liquid precipitation w…

Weather

As we head into the coldest temperatures and wind chills by far this season, and another movable feast of serious lake snow and blowing snow, the least I can do is let you know it won’t be relentless — it will only seem that way when you’re out in it. After Thursday’s subzero wind chills, Saturday’s warm-up into the upper 30s should feel like relief. Sort of. Because it…

Weather

This is not going to be a record-breaking cold December, but my confidence remains high that much of the time between now and Christmas, and at least a little beyond Christmas, temperatures will be running below-average for this time of the year, and well below-average later next week. That again reinforces my confidence that most or all of Western New York will have at le…

Weather

No doubt there are those who would just as soon skip the whole snow scene. But even some of those die-hard winter haters would like to see at least a thin veneer of snow on the ground for Christmas morning, just for scenery and atmosphere. Statistically, Western New York has a higher probability of a white Christmas than much of the country over the years. The Christmas…

Weather

The five deaths that occurred at the end of November were the first tornado fatalities in the United States since May 9. That was the third longest such streak, and the length of that streak was obviously rare. What is not so rare is the occurrence of tornadoes late in the autumn in the south. There are times of the year in which tornadoes become more common in differen…