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Don Paul

Don Paul worked as a broadcast meteorologist for 34 years at all three Buffalo television stations, serving as chief meteorologist at WIVB for 29 years and chief at WGRZ for three years.


Columns

Many times optimism is well supported with evidence when dealing with weather. For a few consecutive days, guidance has been continuing to suggest a warm home opener for the Bills against the Bengals Sunday at New Era Field. There should be a brisk southwest flow bringing well-above-average temperatures. There is high confidence that both Saturday and Sunday will featur…

Columns

It would have been catchier if this was titled “The Heat Goes On.” Alas, other than Wednesday’s mugginess, what lies ahead doesn’t cut it – in my book – as true heat, even by mid-September standards. We will be holding on to above-average temperatures most days for some time to come, even though this Thursday was almost unseasonably chilly. The warmup gets going even befo…

Columns

Arctic wildfires are not unprecedented. Some proportion of them actually bring beneficial impacts, as is the case with some wild and forest fires in the mid-latitudes, burning old growth and allowing for new growth. Recent years have been another matter. Extraordinarily warm and sometimes hot, dry conditions has led to unprecedented coverage for these fires, with major …

Weather

After a cool weekend and start to this week, summer will make a comeback. It won’t be true midsummer heat, but it will be close enough for those who prefer summery weather. Like this past week, Tuesday will bring a considerable warmup with nearly muggy conditions by evening and overnight. Niagara Frontier daytime highs should approach or exceed 80 on a southerly flow, w…

Environment

It’s true we are using less coal in the United States. Coal is more expensive for power generation than natural gas, and that's a primary market driver in our domestic downturn of using coal as an industrial fuel. The side benefit to that downturn is less carbon emission from our power plants, since natural gas — while still a fossil fuel — only emits about 40% of the c…

Columns

Dorian is causing storm surge and beach damage to the northern Florida east coast midday on Wednesday, and will begin moving toward the Carolinas Thursday. But it’s safe to say things have gone much better for Florida than what we were looking at a week ago in computer models, including the European. It has stayed far enough offshore to spare Florida its direct eyewall imp…

Columns

Extremely dangerous category 4 Dorian came to a virtual stall, as forecast, early on Monday, over Grand Bahama Island. This prolongs the unimaginable agony over that beleaguered location, with top winds of 165 mph in the inner eyewall at landfall there, now at 155 mph. Here is high-resolution NOAA GOES imagery, via the College of DuPage. For Florida’s east coast, there …

Columns

On this Labor Day weekend, let’s first look at how we’ve done in August and during this summer. The monthly mean temperature has been just a bit above average, at about plus 0.7 degrees. There were no 90-degree-mean days, with 13 days’ highs exceeding 80. There has been just one 90-degree day this summer, which is below our average of three. Rainfall has been about 0.45…

Columns

As of this writing Friday afternoon, Dorian has just become a Category 3/Major Hurricane. https://twitter.com/NOAASatellites/status/1167467077017493508?s=20 Since the atmosphere behaves as a fluid influenced by many factors always in flux, I am going to focus on what are the higher confidence probabilities in Dorian’s development with an understanding there are still…

Columns

On a just-completed trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana, I snapped this picture of the largest remaining glacier in the park, Jackson. This was a vacation journey to one of our most beautiful national parks, which remains stunning. As many of you might suspect, the park’s glaciers are shrinking, as are the majority of the world’s glaciers. When the park op…

Columns

The most visible symptom of runaway arctic warming is not rising sea levels — a topic for another article — but the huge number of wildfires now in progress. Wildfires during the arctic summer are not unusual. However, the intensity and number of wildfires this year is unprecedented in the instrumented era. Via the BBC, here is an image marking the fires from NASA polar o…

Columns

Up to this point, July has been warmer and drier than average in Western New York. Buffalo is running 2.7 degrees above average for its mean monthly temperature, which is far from unusual. Rainfall, after a surplus for most of the year, is running well below average for the month. It’s at just 1.04 inches with 2.45 inches being average. For the first time this year, I can …

Environment

Yes, corn sweat is a thing. We sweat. Through a process called evapotranspiration, corn sweats as well. This process is not much of a thing around the City of Buffalo, but farther inland where corn is being grown, it is a bigger deal. It’s long been known in meteorology that corn and other large-scale crops such as soybeans add significant moisture to air. Dew points in p…

Columns

In the recent hot spell, Western New York got off comparatively easy. While we had some oppressive dew points in the 70s, the  temperatures were nothing out of the ordinary. Elsewhere, the heat index soared to truly dangerous levels in New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and much of the Midwest. Among large cities, Minneapolis peaked with a heat index of 115. This …

Columns

One very hot ridge of high pressure stacked up in the atmosphere through the first half of the weekend looked like this aloft. I can’t help feeling even the “untrained eye” can capture the heated look in this ensemble graphic. This steamy hot ridge with extraordinarily high dew points will begin to give way a bit with a first cold front on Sunday, and then make a real ret…