James Purpura CCM of WeatherExtreme Ltd. presentation at the AMS Meeting

January 26, 2017 – Meteorologist James K. Purpura, CCM, of WeatherExtreme Ltd., will be presenting at the American Meteorological Society(AMS) Conference held in Incline Village, Nevada. Along with Y. E. Kachiwanda and R. Jubach, they will be presenting “Malawi Weather Chasers: Using Social Media to Jumpstart Dissemination, Event Reporting, and Preparedness”. Jim was in South Africa at the end of 2015 with the SARFFG-SWFDP to promote weather safety in South Africa. A Flash Flood Warning System was expanded to a severe weather warning system in South Africa and 8 of its neighboring nations in the region. Their presentation will discuss that in conjunction with WhatsApp, a social media tool, they have been able to develop a weather spotter network, as well as communicate forecasts, warnings, observations and storm reports to remote villages, Disaster Risk Managers, media, and local, regional, and national government officials.

For additional presentation information, click here

For James K. Purpura’s full bio, click here

The Record Blizzard of 2016

2016-blizzard-NASAThis past weekend’s snowstorm was one for the record books. Many will refer to it as The Blizzard of 2016″.

So what is a blizzard, anyway? The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that results in low visibilities. So the difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow.

To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts that are greater than or equal to 35 mph with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 1/4 mi or less. These conditions must persist for three hours or more.

Last weekend’s storm certainly met the wind and visibility criteria, but amazing amounts of snow were produced. Above normal water temperatures off the mid-Atlantic coast helped enhance moisture transport into the storm as the fuel for its “snow engine”.

This storm is also noteworthy for bringing snow totals at or nearing all-time records in multiple large metro areas. Other snowstorms have have higher totals, but none were as widespread. Highest totals include…

New York City – John F. Kennedy Airport 30.5 inches, all-time record
Central Park 26.8 inches 2nd highest of all time

Baltimore – 29.2 inches, all time record

Washington, DC – 17.8 inches 4th largest on record

The satellite image above (from NASA) shows the development of the storm over south Texas as it moved north and east over several days.

Jim Purpura, CCM
Meteorologist, WeatherExtreme Ltd.

The SARFFG-SWDFP Program: What it means to weather safety in Southern Africa

 Jim Purpura (front row, far right) with the participants in the South African Warning Project

Have you ever seen a TV Weathercaster point to a distant part of the globe, mention that a strong storm was approaching, and that there would be heavy rain and flooding? Maybe a few days later, you might hear in the news that sure enough, 50 or 100 (or more) people died in that same storm?

If you knew about the storm, why didn’t the people in its path have that information? Did they get a warning of a coming storm? Did the warning make it out to their remote villages? If they got the warning…did they know what to do to stay safe?
To deal with these questions, a new program is being developed by the United Nations (UN) through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The project will merge two systems now being put in place across 9 nations in southern Africa: The Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (SWFDP) and the Southern African Region Flash Flood Guidance (SARFFG) system.

A report just issued by the UN/WMO summarizes the meetings which took place in October and November.

It is available through this link…


I was part of the team that helped kick off this initial meeting. If successful, it will be an activity not ever achieved before: nations helping each other in the issuance of weather warnings, then having the various countries work to assure the warnings get to all who need it, and most importantly, those receiving the warnings know what to do with the information, to assure safety for themselves and their families.

As you can imagine this will be a tremendous challenge. Communications are very poor, but capacity is increasing. Social media is being investigated as a way to reach remote areas, and receive weather reports, as most Africans access social media through mobile devices vs. a desktop or laptop computer.

I’ll provide updates as we make progress in this effort.

Jim Purpura
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
WeatherExtreme, Ltd.

Forecast for the East Coast: Rain, Rain, and More rain

The eastern seaboard of the U.S., already waterlogged from several days of heavy rain, can expect even more over the next week. A combination of an upper level low pressure area over the deep south and Hurricane Joaquin (now pummeling the Bahamas) are combining to send a non-stop stream of moisture laden air up the east coast.

As of late Thursday evening the forecast path of Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin was still up in the air, although most models are now keeping the storm offshore from the U.S. east coast as it heads north. If this turns out to be the case, the east coast will be spared the very strong winds and large storm surge that would accompany the storm, but flooding rains are still expected.


This plot, taken from the U.S. global numerical weather prediction model, the GFS, shows rainfall expected over the next 6 days for North America. Some of the forecast amounts are quite astonishing, the entire state of South Carolina is forecast to have over 5 inches of rain, with most of the state expected to see between 10 and 15 inches, with some of the higher elevations getting up to 20 inches! Pretty much the entire east coast should be wet, but the heaviest stuff is concentrated from northern Georgia to Virginia.
Of course, this will be dependent on the exact track of Hurricane Joaquin. If the storm tracks closer to land, the high precipitation areas will extend farther north, perhaps into Long Island and New England.

Warm Waters Bring Warm Coastal Temperatures…Possible Rain From Linda

Graphicast 9-12-2015

The eastern Pacific waters are very warm, even for this time of year when the waters off the California coast are normally the warmest of the season.

A water temperature of 77 degrees off the San Diego Coast means warm, muggy nights for coastal residents. On Friday the lowest temperature of the day at San Diego Lindbergh Airport was just 78. This is the warmest low temperature ever recorded there, and is directly related to the warm waters.

The warm waters will be responsible for abundant atmospheric moisture, from the remnants of Hurricane Linda, bringing an extraseasonal rain event to the San Diego and LA areas. Look for a chance of rain Monday through Wednesday, with the greatest chances Tuesday. See the graphic from the San Diego National Weather Service for details.

Jim Purpura, CCM
Meteorologist, WeatherExtreme Ltd.