WFO CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA - CTP
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
conducting a 400 level class held on campus during the Spring and Fall
Severe weather spotters, HAMS, and community
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
December 2005. The MARFC, serving seven WFOs, maintains routine 17-hour
operations, extending to 24-hour operations with the threat of flooding.
River Forecasts for the
following river systems are issued by 11 AM ET:
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
Maintenance of forecast system parameters and
Monitoring of data gathering systems behavior
Forecast model calibration, and adaptation to
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
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
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. Only a few are
located within walking distance of 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 135,758. 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 4.09%
based on 50% of fair market value. In addition, there are municipal or township
taxes which include income taxes, occupational taxes and occupational privilege
state income tax is a 2.8% flat tax with relatively few deductions and the
state sales tax is 6% although some items such as groceries (food) and clothing
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
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.