Why is State College weather so weird

Living in University Park, I am wondering how many of you found yourself in a situation similar to one of these:

It's one of the first weeks of school - September. You have to get dressed for your 8am and out on a t shirt and shorts because, as we said before, it's early September. You leave your dorm or apartment, and run back inside to put on a sweatshirt, pants and moccasins because its 40 degrees out....

Later that day, you are still in your sweatshirt pants and moccasins, but are seriously regretting it because it is now 80 degrees. 

You go through a heat wave, finally it's Friday and the weather .. is in the forties and fifties. 

It's a hot and humid day. No surprise that when you get out of class, it looks like the end of the world has come to Penn State because of the looming dark clouds and wind blowing the leaves of the trees. You rush to the nearest store to buy an umbrella because you have your laptop in your backpack and there's no way you can get to class without one. You wait in line, buy an overpriced umbrella, and walk out of the store into sunshine and cross the street of a college ave that barely looks like there was a thunderstorm two seconds before. 

These situations have happened to either my roommates or I since we started our sophomore year. I won't even get into some random weather situations I found myself in last year. I know people find State College weather random, but what I am wondering is is there a reason behind this?

My first guess to explain State College weather would be the fact that we live in a valley (happy valley). I predict that because of the surrounding "mountains", they affect the way the valley absorbs temperature or experiences weather fronts. I didn't find any really evidence to support my hypothesis though. This website gave some credibility to my theory, going into detail about how there is temperature variation with varying typography. 

Another prediction I would have is that we live in central PA. Maybe central PA gets exposed to more of a variety of weather fronts than where I am from outside Philadelphia. Again, researching this I couldn't find any evidence supporting this theory either. 

To some extent,  am just over-analyzing the weather, but if anyone knows the answer or has some ideas themselves, please comment!


I’ve lived in North Easter Pennsylvania my entire life so I completely understand where you’re coming from with the strange weather. Winters are long and cold. Spring is rainy and cold on and off. Summers are hot and short. Fall is cold on and off too. You can never predict the weather in this area because it’s always different. But some factors to tie in with what kind of weather we are having is what year it is, wind, pollution, or any natural disasters occurring around the world. I read about El Nino
“El Niño happens once every four to ten winters. Winds blowing from the northeast push lots of warm Pacific Ocean water together. When the strong winds stop blowing, the big pool of warm water starts to drift east. This is El Niño. El Niño pushed warm, wet air toward the U.S. This may have helped cause heavy rains in California. It may also have made the winter weather too warm for much snow to fall in some northern states. Grenci said the El Niño affected our weather until March, when it cooled off.
This helps to at least explain why we get the warm weather we do when we do. But nonetheless the weather in Centre County is strange and unpredictable..poor weather men.

I totally feel you about the weird weather coming from the west coast. Even what you would find as normal I would probably find strange. Like what's up with the sudden thunderstorms? In summer? I had my own blog post about that actually. It's interesting to look into what causes weather in specific locations.

Very appropriate topic for this time of year, now that we're getting into fall and soon enough winter. I'd say I agree with your predictions. If you're looking for a good weather app though, check out accuweather. It tells you good sports and exercising conditions, the "real feel" and has a lot of cool other features.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?
We have all heard the expression, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." My question is, does eating…
Accents are weird
I have always wondered why people have accents. Why cant I look at a Spanish word, with all the…
Creatine will make you bigger
Creatine monohydrate is an extremely common dietary supplement for people who are trying to build muscle. In this blog…

Old Contributions