Game-Day Weather: Purdue

Hi there everyone, it's time once again for this season's ninth edition of Cold Fronts and Field Goals! This past week in general has been one of the craziest in recent memory, and I just don't mean in terms of sports. Yeah, the White Sox finally won the World Series and we found out what happens when an entire city jumps aboard a bandwagon, plus Penn State is 7-1 and still put up 63 against Illinois without Derek Williams, but both pale in comparison as to what happened weather-wise this week.

We're deeper down the hurricane name list as Tropical Storm Beta spins just east of Central America, and some parts of my viewing area received up to sixteen inches of snow in a very messy pre-winter snowstorm on Tuesday. We'll talk about these notable weather events in more detail later, but now let's bring out the Homecoming Saturday forecast!

First off, Saturday should be a rain-free day for all outdoor Homecoming activities. We're still trying to push the rest of the atmospheric junk associated with last Tuesday's snowmaker off into New England, but these leftovers won't contain any rain showers - just a lot of clouds.

Now, it's on to the details of the skies. At the moment there's an upper level storm directly over southern Ontario. Around this storm are a number of small areas of upward motion, called short waves or vorticity maximums, which have been kicking up clouds and showers. (Think of this scenario as a spinning top on the outer perimeter of a spinning pinwheel.) Anyway, one of these short waves around this low will drop into the region on Friday, keeping our skies cloudy and our ground wet with a few possible showers. Late Friday night and early Saturday, this upper level low and its short wave baggage will slowly start to move to the northeast, allowing high pressure directly to our west to move in and take control of our skies early Saturday afternoon. This "changing of the guard" will mean that the first half of Saturday will be on the cloudy side, but by game time skies will be brighter as sunshine mixes in with the remaining clouds. Your Saturday forecast looks like this: morning clouds will break for partly sunny skies in the afternoon with high temperatures in the lower 50s.

While not very common, major winter-like weather events are possible in these parts before Halloween. If my memory serves me correctly, State College dealt with a crippling ice storm back on October 30, 2002, which was the start of a very snowy winter season. One inch of ice fell, which was then followed by two inches of sleet and snow. Tree limbs and power lines were down everywhere, leaving thousands without electricity. With this storm of last Tuesday, State College received about two inches of snow, while just 25 miles to the west in Philipsburg received eight inches. Sixteen inches of snow fell about fifteen miles southwest of Johnstown atop Laurel Mountain on the Somerset / Westmoreland County border. For those who weren't ready for shoveling snow or the words "two hour delay with no morning kindergarten", it was a wet, slushy snow that melted quickly thanks to highs in the 40s during the following days. Still, it was a bit odd to see several inches of snow on the ground when the leaves were at their color peak and had yet to fall!

And meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beta, our record 23rd named storm of the season spins away, posing no threat to the mainland United States. How much further into the Greek alphabet will we go before November 30th? Only time will tell.

Go Big Blue. Beat Purdue.



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