Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township

HATT | PO Box 2084 | Pocono Pines, PA 18350-2084

October 11, 2017



October 11, 2017 • 6:30 p.m.
Lake Naomi Clubhouse

Speaker: Ben Gelber — “A History of Severe Storms in the Poconos”

At 6:30 p.m. all were welcomed by Chuck Waygood, HATT president. He invited the veterans to stand as they were applauded. We were then served a delicious dinner by excellent wait staff. The official meeting began at 7:30 pm.

Rick Bodenschatz introduced himself as the current program director and began by advising those present that board of directors had designated this annual meeting to honor our media friends. He began by introducing Seth and Ruth Eisdenberg from The Journal of the Pocono Plateau, then Kim and Chaz de Bourbon of BGA Studios, our web designers, and then Jeanine Hoffbauer from This Week in the Poconos. They were sincerely thanked along with the folks from Pocono Printing and the Pocono Record for their generosity and support.

Rick then outlined the program for November which will be on the 9th at 5:30 p.m. The Home for the Holidays concert is scheduled for December 9 and tickets will be available as before at the Clymer Library. Watch for signs and information. He solicited volunteers to hang posters on the programs for November and we thank all who volunteered.

There is no programming from January through March. Programs resume in April at the usual time of Thursday evening at Clymer Library.

Rick is working on programming for the 2018 calendar year. The programming has been set but there are a few changes in that the picnic will be in June in the evening following our June meeting and the annual dinner meeting will be in September in order to capture more folks who normally go south for winter.

Rick then introduced Ben Gelber, meteorologist with the NBC4 television station in Columbus, Ohio. He pointed out Dr. Gelber’s three books on weather in the Poconos, all of which are in Clymer Library or can be obtained online.

Dr. Gelber was born in Kentucky but his family moved to East Stroudsburg when his father took a job at East Stroudsburg State College before it became a university. It was there that he grew up and admits that he LOVES the snow. He recalls that as a teenager he would constantly measure the temperature and pressure as well as track storms. He feels fortunate to have had the resources of the ESU’s library where he researched historical data on weather and tracked current weather patterns in his younger years.

When in Pennsylvania, he was connected to the Pocono Record and was instrumental in getting a weather station in East Stroudsburg made part of the National Weather Service grid.

As a TV personality now for some 37 plus years, he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for weather, weather patterns and changes occurring on our planet. He has followed the well-established weather stations and was appreciative of the pure data sets available to him on northeastern Pennsylvania weather patterns, old and new.

He then outlined the patterns in recent past history, starting with floods past which wiped out bridges, homes and major roads. Much of Northeast Pennsylvania is in a flood plain, which adds to the possibility of future flooding, especially when hit with multiple storms which drop an enormous amount of water in a short time. He showed pictures of some of the damage from these events.

His next concern was the number of severe storms in the area. The wind issues are hurricanes, straight-line winds and tornados, and all can be a problem because we are on a plateau and there is little to no protection.

Tornado activity has been documented more than a few times in our area. He showed pictures the worst of which as in 1985, when there was a 2½-mile wide tornado in Pennsylvania which took out a farm and woodlands.

Because we also have high precipitation in the area, we have a great amount of snow in winter. This varies but we have been known to get upwards of four-plus feet of snow at one time!

Following his presentation, Dr. Gelber took questions and considerable discussion followed. Rick then thanked Ben Gelber and presented him with a certificate of appreciation for his kind service to our community and HATT members.

The meeting was closed at 8:57 pm with many folks continuing the conversation with Dr. Gelber.

Respectfully submitted,
Peggy Rapp, Secretary