Archive for June, 2014

NOAA-16 polar satellite retired
June 14, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko


On Monday, NOAA made the final shut down of the NOAA-16 polar-orbiting satellite, which spent more than 13 years helping predict the weather.  The satellite was launched in September 2000, and was used as a backup satellite to NOAA-18 since 2005.

NOAA-16 made 70, 655 orbits around the globe during its lifetime.

“NOAA-16 helped our forecasters detect the early stages of severe weather from tornadoes and snow storms to hurricanes, including the busiest hurricane season on record – 2005,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

The entire press release from NOAA regarding NOAA-16’s shut down can be found here:

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Rip Current Awareness Week
June 3, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

With many people starting to have the beaches on their mind, the National Weather Service has made this week Rip Current Awareness Week.  Rip currents are defined strong narrow currents moving away from shore.  According to NOAA, strong rip currents can attain speeds of 5 mph.  While this speed seems slow, this is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint.  NOAA also says that, on average, more people die every year from rip currents than from shark attacks or lightning.

Below is a link that provides tons of information regarding rip currents.  Topics include the science of how rip currents form, how to identify them, techniques to get out of a rip current, and other interactive materials.

Rip Currents: Break The Grip of The Rip


Spring 2014 recap
June 2, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

After a long, cold, snowy winter, it took a while for things to improve this spring.  Meteorological spring – defined as the full months of March, April, and May – finally saw our temperatures get back above normal in the end.  This March tied for fifth as the coolest March on record at Bradley International, where records date back to 1904.

As far as record go, we set one of each: one record high (May 12, 90 degrees), one record low (March 2, 0 degrees), and one record rainfall (May 1, 1.94 inches).

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2014 Atlantic hurricane season begins; Pacific already setting records
June 1, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

June 1st will forever be a historical date for the Springfield area after the 2011 tornado.  To most people in the meteorology community, however, it is significant because it’s the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Here is the list of this year’s Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane names:


While El Nino may make this year’s Atlantic season a little weak, the Pacific hurricane season is usually enhanced by it, and it is already starting strong.  Their season’s first storm, Amanda, set a new record for the most intense hurricane in the Pacific basin for the month of May.  One week ago today, Amanda had winds of 155 mph, close to a category 5 hurricane.

Here is a complete write-up from the National Weather Service in Taunton, MA about the preparations and potential impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes in New England: