Articles by Brian H. Tang
March 14, 2008
As if stepping to a drumbeat, storms keep catching us on the weekend. The jet stream is currently situated like a welcome mat from sea to shining sea allowing storms to quickly traverse across the country. This flow, which is known as a progressive pattern, is characterized by quick hitting but frequent storms. The first in a series of storms will come through Saturday morning giving us a light bout of rain, which will quickly clear out in the afternoon.
March 11, 2008
Given all the sources of weather forecasts online and in the media these days, you might wonder, who should you trust: The Weather Channel, your favorite weather character on TV, or your friendly neighborhood staff meteorologist at The Tech? This is actually a much harder question to answer than by simply pointing a finger at myself and humbly saying, “I’m the best!” Perhaps a better question to ask is: how far out can you trust any weather forecast?
February 12, 2008
Despite its nickname, Chicago is not the windiest major metropolitan area in the United States: That distinction actually belongs to Boston. Sunday surely lived up to the billing as the wind gusted ferociously around campus. A weather station on the top of the Green Building clocked a wind gust of 62 mph (100 kph) just after 4 p.m. Associated with this gust was a intense snow squall that also produced a short bout of lightning and thunder. This fickle weather was associated with an arctic front that blasted through the area dropping temperatures quicker than a piano falling from Baker House freezing any wet surface from earlier in the day.
December 4, 2007
After a bitterly cold weekend, conditions were primed for our first accumulating snowfall of the season. Although only a couple inches fell on campus early Monday morning, it was enough to change the landscape from fall’s dying colors to a layer of white.
November 6, 2007
Twice before has Hurricane Noel spun across the open waters of the North Atlantic, but the Noels of 1995 and 2001 were only storms for the fish as neither threatened any land mass. Hurricane Noel of 2007 proved much different and will likely be the most fatal of this year’s Atlantic hurricanes as it inflicted parts of Hispanola with 20 inches (50 cm) of rain, causing devastating mudslides.
September 25, 2007
The first full day of autumn was yesterday, but from the many sightings of shorts and T-shirts on campus, you wouldn’t have known. Don’t put away those summer clothes yet as more heat is in store the next couple of days. Strong southwest flow will make it breezy and transport an air mass more characteristic of the middle of summer over the area. In fact, high temperatures may approach record levels today. You should also notice the humidity gradually creeping up, but given the recent dry spell it should not become too soupy.
September 7, 2007
As you transition from a summer of frolicking to a fall of problem sets or an orientation week of free food to a first week of sudden starvation, the weather seems to be the only thing somewhat constant this first week of the semester. September is considered to be the nicest month of the year, but it is not without its variety. Autumn’s chill can come barreling out of Canada and hurricanes can approach from the Atlantic, though none of that is in the cards the next few days.
June 15, 2007
This time of year, one can often figure out how warm or cold it will be based only on whether the wind is blowing from the ocean. The water is still a chilly 55°F (13°C) in Boston Harbor. If there is no sunshine and a strong wind out of the east, as there was last Wednesday when it felt more like the beginning of April than mid-June, our air temperature will be very close to the water temperature in the harbor. If instead of clouds we have the strong June sun, the marine air will absorb heat from the sun-drenched ground as it moves towards campus, resulting in afternoon temperatures near a comfortable 70°F (21°C). With the prevalence of more clouds than sun today, we’ll likely fall short of 70°F (21°C), but it will still be warmer than the past couple of days.
April 27, 2007
You’ve probably noticed the change in the weather recently as we’ve been on one crazy roller coaster ride, going from stinging ice pellets to downright balmy weather in less than two weeks. Spring seems to have missed its layover in Boston, but these wild swings from day to day are very characteristic of the temperamental nature of the season. Gradients between cold and warm air masses can become very sharp. For instance, on Tuesday there was a blinding snowstorm in the foothills of Colorado where some places received almost two feet of snow and tornadic thunderstorms were spinning on the high plains less than 100 miles to the east.
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March 13, 2007
When precipitation is measured in feet, it’s usually when it snows. For example, a severe Nor’easter may bring 2-3 feet over a day or two to New England, but how about 17 feet of rain in six days? A small island in the Indian Ocean, La Reunion, received an incredible amount of rainfall from Tropical Cyclone Gamede late last month. A new world record was set at Commerson’s Crater, a volcano on the island, with a staggering three day rainfall total of 155 in. (3.9 m) and a one week total of 213 in. (5.4 m). Compare this to the yearly average precipitation in Boston of 41.5 in (1.1 m). Although Gamede never made landfall on La Reunion, the excessive rainfall was caused by persistent rain squalls continually lashing the island as the tropical cyclone moved slowly toward the southwest.