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Weather Service field office locations:

Gray, ME.
S. Burlington, VT.
Taunton, MA.
Albany, NY.
Buffalo, NY.
Johnson City, NY.
Upton, NY.
Bohemia, NY.
State College, PA.
Cleveland, OH.
Mount Holly, NJ.
Corapolis, PA.
Wilmington, OH.
Sterling, VA.
Ruthdale, WV.
Wakefield, VA.
Blacksburg, VA.
Raleigh, NC.
Newport, NC.
Wilmington, NC.
Greer, SC.
W. Columbia, SC.
Charleston, SC.
Caribou, ME.

Information

Eastern Region Headquarters Internet Web Site
Bohemia, NY.

[NWS Regional Headquarters Homepages] | [Eastern Region Forecast Office Homepages] | [Eastern Region River Forecast Offices] | [NOAA Homepages] | [Staff Notes] | [Station Digests]


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WFO CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA - CTP
MIDDLE ATLANTIC RIVER FORECAST CENTER - MARFC

STATE COLLEGE, PA

 

STATION LOCATION: The co-located WFO and RFC office is located about three miles north of downtown State College, PA in Centre County. The office, which moved in the Winter of 2005/2006, is now located at Innovation Park, on the northern fringe of the main campus of the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). The office is located about 90 miles northwest of the state capitol of Harrisburg.

 

From Harrisburg, follow US Highway 322 northwest to State College. Follow the highway through town, (do not take business Route 322 - Atherton Street) and exit at Innovation Park (about 1 mile after the exit for Route 26). Make a right turn, then quickly exit to the right using Exit A for Innovation Park. At the stop sign, make a left onto Innovation Boulevard. Follow this to the last building on the left, 328 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 330.

 

From Interstate 80, use exit 161 to US Highway 220 south. Continue on US Highway 220 south to exit 74 - Innovation Park and Penn State University. Follow the signs (bear right) to Innovation Park, which becomes Innovation Boulevard. Follow this through the Park to the last building on the left, 328 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 330.

 

STATION ACTIVITY - WFO CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA (CTP): The office established 24 hour operations in 1993. Short-term warning, forecast, and hydrologic service area responsibility for 33 counties in central PA was added in 1994. Complete public forecast service was then established in 1998, after full staffing was implemented. The office moved from its original location in downtown State College to its current facility in the winter of 2005/2006.

 

Products/Services/Programs

*        Long-term forecasts (7 days) and product issuance for 33 counties, supported by IFPS/GFE database preparation. Included are zone forecasts, hazardous weather outlooks, areas forecast discussions, and all winter weather and high wind related public products and warnings.

*        Short-term warnings (both warm season and hydrologic) and associated products (33 counties) including locations such as Johnstown, Altoona, State College, Williamsport, Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster.

*        Aviation terminal forecasts (TAFs) for 6 airport locations and 2 Route (TWEB) forecasts.

*        Short-fused forecast products, including special weather statements, area forecast discussions, weather summaries and short term forecasts.

*        Hydrologic warnings and forecasts (48 locations) for the Allegheny, Chemung, Juniata, West Branch and Main Stem Susquehanna River Basins. Support from co-located Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center (MARFC) and Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC)

*        Climatology for Williamsport and Harrisburg.

*        Fire weather forecasts for central Pennsylvania (seasonal).

*        Cooperative observer program (127 sites).

*        Remote WSR-88D radar located about 10 miles northwest of office in Black Moshannon State Forest (2489 feet).

*        NOAA weather radio program (10 transmitters).

*        SAWRS/LAWRS supervision (7 sites).

*        State liaison office - Pennsylvania.

*        Collaborative research and studies with Penn State University, including conducting a senior level class held on campus during the Spring and Fall semesters.

*        Severe weather spotters, HAMS, and community preparedness.

 

STATION ACTIVITY - MIDDLE ATLANTIC RIVER FORECAST CENTER: Originally located in Harrisburg, PA the office relocated to downtown State College, PA in 1993. Along with the WFO, the office moved to its current location in the winter of 2005/2006. The MARFC, serving seven WFOs, maintains routine 17-hour operations, extending to 24-hour operations with the threat of flooding.

 

Products/Services/Programs

*        Daily River Forecasts for the following river systems are issued by 11 AM ET:

             Susquehanna, Delaware, Schuylkill, Passaic, Raritan, Potomac, Shenandoah,
 Rappahannock, James, Appomattox

*        River Forecasts are routinely reviewed and updated as needed, as frequently as every 6 hours during flooding events

*        Operational HAS function focusing on interoffice communication, QPF production and analysis, data quality control, meteorological monitoring,      WSR-88D radar interpretation, data submission and archival, analysis of QPF performance and post-event studies.

*        Issuance of Flash Flood Guidance.

*        Issuance of Short and Long Term Probabilistic Forecasts as part of the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System.

*        Issuance of Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimates (MPE).

*        Maintenance of forecast system parameters and model states.

*        Monitoring of data gathering systems behavior for operations.

*        Forecast model calibration, and adaptation to local needs.

*        Development of capabilities for the graphical presentation of hydrologic information.

*        Monitoring snow accumulation and water equivalent and adjustment of model parameters based on ground truth samples and aerial surveys.

*        Local applications programming efforts, adaptation to new platforms.

*        Collaborative activities with Pennsylvania State University Civil Engineering and Meteorology Departments including research and conducting part of a senior level “Introduction to National Weather Service” course held during the Fall and Spring semesters.

TRANSIENT AND PERMANENT LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS: There are numerous hotels/motels within easy travel distance of the office. Being a college town, apartments are numerous in the summertime, but become scarce when Penn State is in full session. Single family homes start at around $90,000 and go up to over $350,000 depending on size and location. Homes in State College are more expensive than those in surrounding towns. Apartments, condominiums, and townhouses are available with rents averaging from $600 to $900. There are several new home developments, and land available within ten miles of the office.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION: There are bus services (including a Innovation Park-Campus Link, Campus Loop and Town Loop), taxis, an airport, and train connections nearby. Some hotels/motels provide transportation to the airport. Flights from State College use commuter planes, and generally go to other towns in the region, or to main airports like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Detroit, and Cincinnati.  Parking is free and readily available at the NWS facility in Innovation Park, but can be challenging in the downtown area of State College during the school year and especially during special events.

EATING FACILITIES: A variety of eating establishments are located in State College and the surrounding towns, and vary from fine dining to fast food. Eating facilities within walking distance of the office are limited. A full service restaurant is available to support the nearby conference center, and a sandwich shop is available for the local tenants at Innovation Park. Both are about a 5 minute walk from the office.

COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION: Located in the geographic center of Pennsylvania, Centre county is a haven from the congestion and problems often found in urban America. Home to the main campus of Pennsylvania State University and more than thirty high-tech industries, it is located just 90 miles from Harrisburg, the state capitol, and only three to five hours by car from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington DC, and Baltimore. State College has a population of about 80,000 including about 40,000 students. Many of the students leave during the summers. Centre county includes State College and has a population of about 135,000. Unemployment rates in Centre County usually run below the national average. Good schools and churches of all denominations are found here, and there is a shopping mall, nearby outlet centers, and local merchants. Both community theater and cultural activities associated with the University enrich life in Centre County. A nationally recognized Festival of the Arts takes place here each summer, and of course, Big Ten sports including football add extra excitement. Whether you visit old mills or the grand Victorian houses; explore breathtaking caverns, fish the prime trout streams or hunt the whitetail deer, or just take a walk on nature's quieter side, there is something for everyone in the valleys of the Susquehanna river. Ski resorts are located nearby. Historical reenactments bring the past to life. State College Area school district has 11 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 1 high school. Other school systems nearby include Bellefonte, Bald Eagle, and Penns Valley.

TAXES: Real estate and personal property taxes are based on the millage system which varies with location. There is a county tax of 6.59% based on 50% of fair market value. In addition, there are municipal or township taxes which include income taxes (some between 2 and 3 percent), school  taxes, occupational taxes and occupational privilege taxes. Pennsylvania state income tax is a 3.06% flat tax with relatively few deductions. The state sales tax is 6% although some items such as groceries (food) and clothing are exempt.

CHILD CARE FACILITIES: There are many daycare centers and nurseries in the area. Prices range from $90 to $160 per week depending on the age and facilities needed. Some area schools also provide transportation of students to local daycare facilities before and after school. There are no child care facilities at the office, although one is located nearby in Innovation Park.

CLIMATE: State College (elevation 1200 feet above sea level) is located in Nittany Valley and almost in the exact geographical center of Pennsylvania. The valley itself is one among many which bisect the state in a northeast-southwest direction. Five miles to the northwest is Bald Eagle Ridge rising 600 feet above the valley floor to an elevation of 1800 feet. Tussey Mountain, 4 miles southeast of the town, rises to an elevation of 2000 feet. Considerable agricultural land lies in the valley and hardwood forests provide the vegetative cover on the surrounding higher elevations.

Because of the proximity of the nearby mountains, the valley climate is considerably different from that of the higher elevations. The growing season averages 166 days in length and extending from April 29 to October 12.

In State College the average temperature is 34.0 degrees in January and 83.0 degrees in July. In summer, the days are sometimes oppressive due to a combination of high temperatures, high relative humidity and light winds, however, temperatures generally cool to comfortable levels during the night. The highest temperature ever recorded for State College was 102 degrees on July 9, 1936 and on July 17, 1988 and the lowest was minus 18 degrees on January 19 and 20, 1994.

Freezing temperatures have been experienced during all the months except June, July, and August. The coldest month was January 1977 with a mean of 13.4 degrees while the warmest month was July 1955 with a mean of 76.5 degrees.

The surrounding mountain ranges have an effect on precipitation in the valley. Average precipitation for State College (38.29 inches) may be 20 percent below that at nearby higher elevations. Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The record for State College shows that monthly precipitation extremes range from 0.08 inch in October 1963 to 12.82 inches during June 1972 while yearly extremes range from 24.81 inches in 1930 to 59.30 inches in 1996.

Warm spell rains occur mostly as afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms which many times are shunted through the valley from the southwest. Thunderstorms average about 40 per year (25 during the summer months) and occasionally are severe.

Measurable snowfall occurs on the average during the November through April period. The average seasonal snowfall is 45.7 inches. The heaviest monthly snowfall (47.5 inches) was reported in March 1942 and greatest seasonal snowfall (109.3 inches) occurred in 1993-94.

 

Station digests