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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.


Columns

Recently I wrote an article on the role of meteorologists in aviation safety. I discussed one hazard known as clear air turbulence, or CAT. CAT is the biggest cause of in-flight injuries in civil aviation. CAT is essentially invisible both on radar and to the cockpit crews’ eyes. There are geographical regions which are known to be more commonly associated with CAT, …

Weather

Many people know the chilly waters of Lake Erie in the spring and early summer can seriously weaken thunderstorms passing over the lake. For example, a chilly breeze from the lake is what saved Western New York on May 31, 1985, from the full impact of a major tornado outbreak that killed 88 people in northeast Ohio, northwest Pennsylvania, southern Ontario and eastern N…

Weather

I’ve avoided the chemtrails topic for the same reason I won’t poke a stick into a hornet nest. Hornet stings are painful, but the sting of chemtrails believers is something from which I’ve been hiding. This article may prove I was wise to hide. If you’ve never heard of the chemtrails conspiracy, it’s the belief the government is spraying us all with varying types of nas…

Weather

Raise your hand if you’re a nervous flier. OK, even mine is slightly raised. No doubt, nasty weather adds to those fears whether down on the ground or up in the air. What do airlines, their meteorologists, government meteorologists and the FAA do to enhance your weather safety on a routine basis? More than you might think, though there is space here to discuss only a…

Weather

Having worked in Wichita for a year, I considered myself fortunate to have experienced only a few tornadoes during that time. After all, I was new in my profession and only just beginning to realize how little I knew about them at the time. This spring has been extraordinary in the plains. Through Monday, Oklahoma has experienced zero tornadoes. That's a record tornado …

Local News

Of course May will be warmer than April. It doesn’t take a degree in meteorology to figure out that one. On the other hand, we had forecast March would be colder than February, thanks to the very warm last two weeks in February and a coming pattern change that verified that  forecast. With the sun coming up to a higher angle in the sky, it would be much more difficult f…

Weather

After some measurable snow Monday night and Tuesday and more coming by Thursday, I figured I'd better see what concrete evidence there is for weather hope in the near future. If your standards aren’t too elevated, I believe I’ve dug some up. Let’s start with precipitation and precipitation type. The American GFS model does, as I wrote, bring some snow by Thursday again …

Weather

The National Weather Service has elevated  a winter weather advisory for all but the three Southern Tier counties to an ice storm warning. A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Southern Tier for somewhat lesser ice accumulations. Quick answer: Not yet imminent, but likely. Cold weather precipitation type is largely determined by the depth or thickness o…

Weather

A major point in my article written Monday is the struggle warm air can have making a northward move in Western New York, even when computer guidance is more optimistic. As recently as early Monday evening, some National Weather Service headquarter ensemble output was still pushing for highs of 60-plus degrees near Buffalo this weekend. As of midday Tuesday's guidance, …

Weather

If I’ve called myself the Prince of Pessimism, let’s call this article tempered pessimism, following some short-lived optimism. There appears to be a notable warmup on the way. Look, for example, at National Weather Service HQ projected high temps for this Friday. I’ll break it down a little further, based on my 34 years of experience in Western New York. What…

Weather

I suspect most folks are at least vaguely aware that the ice boom has nothing to do with our cold spring this year. After all, it’s been newsworthy that cold has dominated the Great Lakes and the Northeast. But then, it never has been connected with our other cold springs, either. Despite stubborn suspicions to the contrary, ice has always tended to pile up into a traff…

Weather

“The Wizard of Oz” was released in 1939. The classic movie brought to the screen the most memorable tornado special effect ever created, possibly up to and including “Twister.” 1939 was a bad year for tornadoes. From April 14 to 17 that year, 57 fatalities and 170 injuries occurred from a multi-day outbreak in the southern states, especially Alabama. Tornadoes often str…

Weather

The last week of March will get some Western New Yorkers to crack a smile: Temperatures will actually move above average during that final week. The warming won’t be comparable to that of March 2012, which I wrote about recently, but it’s safe to assume that some days in the 50s and upper 40s will not go unappreciated. The month so far is running 3.2 degrees below avera…

Columns

Paychecks were bouncing in Bangor. My first TV job was in the nation’s 156th largest market out of more than 200 markets. That’s not a "largest" anything. WVII-TV in Bangor had such low ratings, they only got asterisks in the ratings book. Not once in my three months there was I ever recognized by a member of the public. The station owner was deeply in debt, and those p…

Weather

We do get early springs, on occasion. March of 2012 comes to mind; there were four consecutive days of 80 degrees or higher, as well as a boatload of days in the 60s and 70s. The monthly mean temperature was an astounding 13.4 degrees above the March average. This year, we have reached 40 degrees only once in March so far, on the first. Our mean temperature as of the 12…