The Suburbanite
  • Sandy-related rain makes up Stark's deficit

  • Meteorologists say that although it’s been raining for six days, the rainfall in Stark County is  just a half inch below average for the year. The man who collects weather data at the Akron-Canton Airport for a contractor for the Federal Aviation Administration said the airport has two weather stations — a high-tech one on the airfield and a second, manual backup on the roof.

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  • The sixth day of Hurricane Sandy-related rainfall in Stark County had only one flight from Akron-Canton Airport canceled — AirTran Airways Flight 232 to LaGuardia Airport — and only because of conditions in New York.
    The rain that began to drench this area Friday stopped Wednesday afternoon before turning to drizzle.
    The summer’s drought is becoming a distant memory, with 2012’s rainfall total now only slightly off normal levels.
    The area has seen 33.38 inches of rain this year; the average for this time of year is 33.88 inches.
    “So we’re only a half-inch below normal,” said Frank Kieltyka, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Cleveland office.
    Who tracks rainfall totals for the Akron-Canton area?
    Nicholas Moliterno, a meteorological technician for the agency that contracts with the Federal Aviation Administration to provide aviation weather information, collects data from the weather equipment stations at the Akron Canton Airport in Green.
    His agency, known as FCWOS-KCAK, provides the FAA and the National Weather Service in Cleveland with the information via computer. The weather service’s Cleveland office is the only one in Ohio. The Cincinnati office actually is in Kentucky.
    There are two stations on the airport grounds. One is on the airport roof near Moliterno’s office. It has a collection beaker where he measures rain and snow manually. That station is used as a backup to the more advanced station, which is on the field.
    The field station is connected to seven other pieces of weather data-gathering tools.
    The Automated Surface Observing System contains an “electronic tipping bucket” encircled by metal plates that enable the funnel to catch what falls instead of what blows into it. The precipitation it collects — rain or snow — is measured by a computer. And, Moliterno said, when it records a hundredth of an inch, it tips, emptying its contents. It’s essentially a high-tech rain gauge.
    The other equipment measures temperature, dew point, airport runway visual range and barometric pressure, Moliterno said.
    The equipment provides meteorologists with the actual air temperature that is not affected by the temperature of the piece of equipment that houses it.
    An anemometer nearby measures wind speed and wind direction. Another piece of equipment at the station in the open airfield is a ceilometer, something that looks like a pole but actually shoots an “invisible beam” or laser skyward “to measure the height of the clouds,” Moliterno said.
    “We measure actual meteorological conditions,” he said.
    The data gathered is submitted hourly to the FAA and the weather service in Cleveland. Each agency also receives special reports when pilots need to be notified of a dramatic change in conditions, Moliterno said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kieltyka said 3.5 inches have fallen locally since Friday.
    The most rain to fall on a single day was on Tuesday, hours after Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night in Atlantic City, N.J., devastating the area and Lower Manhattan.
    While the storm continued to wreak havoc on the East Coast, Tuesday’s Stark County rainfall was the highest daily amount of the week at 1.11 inch, Kieltyka said.

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