Category Archives: Weather

Scott Pecoriello: You Do Need This Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

In kindergarten, Scott Pecoriello was curious about rain. His parents showed him a radar map. Hooked, he checked it every day.

The next year he drew a map of the Northeast, and colored in storms. Soon, he was trying to figure out how tornadoes form. (He was completely wrong.)

Scott Pecioriello drew this map -- freehand -- when he was 10 years old.

Scott Pecioriello drew this weather map when he was 10 years old.

From there Scott advanced to the Weather Channel. Then came online forums like AWE (the Association of Weather Enthusiasts), filled with people who share his passion. He taught himself all about meteorology.

Three years ago — as a Staples High School freshman — Scott got tired of sharing his maps and forecasts with a few family members. He started a blog called Wild About Weather. It drew about 12 followers (mostly family members).

When he started a Facebook page, his audience exploded. With each storm he forecasted correctly, his followers grew. With Hurricane Irene, the numbers snowballed (so to speak). During one blizzard last winter, he had a web reach of 2.3 million people.

Sure, you can get your weather forecast anywhere. Folks flock to Scott because he makes it interesting. He breaks down every element, so people can learn. He’s enthusiastic, and his blog and Facebook page are personal.

Scott proves himself during big weather events. You or I might fear a hurricane or snowstorm. Scott revels in them. He’s gone 2 days without sleep. He studies every element, explains each one, then forecasts what’s next.

Scott Pecioriello in his element: measuring snow last year.

Scott Pecioriello in his element: measuring snow last year.

Scott’s biggest success was Hurricane Sandy. But, he notes, “everyone got that right.” He’s prouder of a storm last winter, when he predicted conditions in every Northeastern city with 94% accuracy.

His biggest failure? Also last winter: a dud snowstorm. On his “Know Snow” app, he apologized. And — as he does whenever he gets something wrong — he explained why.

On the app, Scott predicts school closings for each area town. Last year, he was 91% accurate. It would have been higher, he says, but Westport and Fairfield closings are extraordinarily difficult to figure.

Far more often than not though, Scott gets the closings — and his entire forecast — right. That’s why professional meteorologists follow him on Twitter. They respect him, and he in turn learns from them.

Media star Scott Pecoriello, being interviewed on CNBC.

Media star Scott Pecoriello, being interviewed on CNBC.

Another fan is Staples principal John Dodig. Teachers follow him too. But Scott — who in his spare time mentors an autistic boy through the Circle of Friends, and counsels elementary school students about food allergies through a group he helped start — downplays his passion with his friends. “I don’t want to be known as the ‘school weatherman,'” he says.

Okay. But how about a sneak preview of winter for “06880”?

“It will be similar to last year,” Scott says. “A lot of snow in Siberia early correlates to the polar vortex we saw before. If the southern jet stream is active, we could get some big snowstorms.”

Speaking of active, Scott is very. He’s just hired a few assistants, to help launch his new premium service on Wild About Weather.

Here’s my forecast: Scott Pecoriello’s future is very hot.

(Scott is not the only young Westport weather whiz. Jacob Meisel — a 2012 Staples graduate, now at Harvard — has just expanded his own website. He’s branched out to New York and other places from southwestern Connecticut, and is offering subscription services. Click SWCT/NY Weather to learn more.)

 

Who Saw That Double Rainbow?

Westporters enjoyed a rare — and beautiful — double rainbow yesterday afternoon:

Double rainbow

But when an alert “06880” photographer snapped this shot, she was the only one who noticed. Everyone else was too busy chatting, or looking at their phones.

 

Welcoming A Wet November: The Sequel

Hot on the heels of my post earlier this morning — a gloomy scene shot from inside the Westport Library — comes this shot from alert “06880” reader Audrey Hertzel.

Clamatis - Audrey Hertzel

“What a welcoming sight on a dreary, raw day!” she writes.

“I’ve had clematis in my garden for years, but never in November!  Thought you’d like to share :-)”

Can spring be far behind?!

 

Welcoming A Wet November

The view today, from inside the cozy Westport Library:

Saugatuck River from library

PS: Don’t forget to set your clocks back tonight. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep we lost last spring!

Really, Cablevision?!

Last night, I was one of more than 700 Westport customers who lost power, because it was windy.

It was restored about 3 hours later (thanks, CL&P!).

When I got home this afternoon, there was a voicemail from Cablevision. My internet should be working, they told me — not that it was their fault, they added — but if it wasn’t, I should try to reboot.

And if I didn’t know how to do that, I should just go to www.Optimum.net.

I checked the date. Today is October 23.

Not April 1.

Cablevision logo

 

Staples High School: Old And New

Staples High School is an ultra-modern school. Built less than 10 years ago, it works very well in the 21st century.

But Staples is also 128 years old. It started out on Riverside Avenue in 1884. Over 70 years later — in 1958 — it moved to North Avenue. Those 9 separate units were eventually merged into 1, in 1981.

Our high school has stood the test of time well. The original lintel now serves as the main sign at the entrance. Trees planted nearly 60 years ago flourish. And — set back from the road — the new building will stand for decades to come.

Staples High School lintel

Staples HS - autumn

It’s Not Politically Correct To Thank Christopher Columbus, But…

…if not for him in 1492, we might not be here to enjoy this in 2014:

Beach - October 12 2014

Beach 1 - October 12 2014

Happy Columbus Day!

Positano’s: The Prequel

Peter Jones posted a fascinating photo on Facebook today (and David Pogue provided some touch-up magic to it):

Cafe de la plage - Pogue touchup

It shows the corner of Compo Hill Road and Hillspoint, during Hurricane Carol in 1954.

What is today Positano’s was then called Joe’s Store.

Peter wrote: “Notice the waves hitting Old Mill Beach. After Hillspoint Road was washed out, the town rebuilt and enlarged the jetty at Schlaet’s Point and reinforced the embankment at Hillspoint Road with HUGE boulders, creating sort of a Stonehenge effect.”

Darlene Bora added: “My mom always told me the pillars had been cut down at the bottom of Compo Hill Road (she grew up on Sterling Drive). I never saw them before today.”

Joe’s Store was there in 1954. Cafe de la Plage was there in 1984. Positano’s is there in 2014.

Now though, there’s no telling what that corner will look like — in good weather, and bad — in 2015.

Marine Police Make A “Swell” Save

Today’s Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island was not exactly a day at the beach. WHS executive director Sue Gold writes:

Our 5th annual trip was hardly smooth rowing, as we quickly found out once we were a half mile offshore.

The swells were high, even though no boats were in sight. We were about 25 strong, but although the spirit was willing, Mother Nature was not.

The scene from a previous Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island. This year's weather was less pleasant.

The scene from a previous Westport Historical Society kayak trip to Cockenoe Island. This year’s weather was less pleasant.

Our 2-person kayak was overwhelmed by relentless waves. Though both of us are strong and seasoned boaters, we were captive to the water that quickly filled our boat. We were forced to evacuate, fortunately onto a nearby sandbar.

We were like drowned rats, cold and shivering in the water with a boat we had no way to bail out. Peter Jennings expertly handled his safety boat to get us out of the water, but it was Bob Myer of the Westport Marine Police Unit who saved the day.

He got the kayak in his motor boat, pulled us on board, covered me with a medical blanket (my teeth were chattering), and got us back to the marina safe and sound. He then went out and rescued others on the tour as well.

Everyone got back safely. We applaud the Westport Police Department, who are there in a heartbeat to provide the most caring, compassionate and exceptional service to all in need.

One of the Westport Police Marine Unit's 2 boats. (Photo/Westportct.gov)

One of the Westport Police Marine Unit’s 2 boats. (Photo/Westportct.gov)

PS: Once we got back and my partner tossed me the car keys from the boat — well, they never made it into my hands. They now lie on the bottom of the Sound.

Fortunately, a diver overheard our dilemma and said he’s happy to take a look next week and fetch them for us. The giving never stops.

Hail, Yes: In The Wake Of Today’s Storm

From Green’s Farms to Saugatuck Shores, today’s quick but very intense storm produced some amazing images.

Plus plenty of downed wires.

As of 7:15 p.m., over 400 Westport CL&P customers were without power.

This was the scene on Hyde Lane, between Long Lots and Maple Avenue. With the downed transformer, outages were reported throughout the Hunt Club area:

(Photo/Nick Blaikie)

(Photo/Nick Blaikie)

Nearby, this tree on Long Lots road near Peabody Lane blocked traffic — though a neighbor tried to help:

(Photo/Randall Hammond)

(Photo/Randall Hammond)

Several miles away, a tree on Great Marsh Road — across from the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club — was split by lightning:

September 6 2014 storm - tree hit lightning Great Marsh Road

A car was struck by a falling tree near Southport. Fortunately, no one was hurt:

September 6 2014 storm - Dale Najarian car

John Kantor, owner of Longshore Sailing School, reports: “No hail on the immediate coast, but big time rain and some strong gusts. We chain down our boats for weather like this so they don’t leave our zip code, but it didn’t prevent a capsize or two. No damage. Just a pulse raiser. After Irene and Sandy this was a relatively minor inconvenience.”

(Photo/John Kantor)

(Photo/John Kantor)

Bart Shuldman took this photo, as rain and hail pelted down:

(Photo/Bart Shuldman)

(Photo/Bart Shuldman)

Meanwhile, the Sasco construction site near Super Stop & Shop was awash:

(Photo/Steve Rubin)

(Photo/Steve Rubin)

More thunderstorms are possible tonight. Be careful out there.