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Another big whiff by TV weather forecasters

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

 

snowTime for another check of how well those long-range winter weather forecasts issued in the fall by Pittsburgh TV meteorologists are holding up.

KDKA’s Jeff Verszyla might want to crawl into the hole with Punxsutawney Phil, having predicted 7.9 inches of snow for January and “slightly above normal” temperatures. The actual total was 17.9 inches, ninth-snowiest January in recorded history per the National Weather Service, and the monthly average temperature was 6.2 degrees below normal, making it the 16th-coldest January on record.

Mr. Verszyla said we’d get 32 inches of snow during the entire season. With February and March still to go, we’ve had 42.3 inches.

WPXI’s Stephen Cropper said we’d get 12 inches of snow for the month with “mild spells” before mid-month when Arctic temps would lock in. Not bad on the temperature forecast. Bad on the snow forecast, nearly 50 percent off the mark. Mike Harvey of WTAE came closest on the snow forecast, predicting 15 inches, but said temperatures would average 0.5 degrees below normal. Swing and a miss.

Our forecast: These guys will continue to shamelessly offer long-range forecasts in an effort to hype their ratings. We should assign those forecasts a zero percent chance of credibility. (Photo by Larry Roberts of the Post-Gazette)

Our review of the weathercasters' performance for the month of December can be found here. (Scroll down.) And our first report card, for November, is here.

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The right lane on northbound Route 51 will be closed between Stewart Avenue and Ivyglen Street in Overbrook starting tonight and continuing weeknights through Feb. 28. The closure will be in effect from 7 p.m. daily until 6 a.m. the following morning for utility work related to the Route 51-Route 88 intersection project.

Inspection of overhead signs could cause lane closures on the Parkway West/Interstate 376 between Pittsburgh International Airport and Hopewell from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Exits 13 and 15 in Butler and Lawrence counties.

Rodi Road in Wilkins will have alternating one-way traffic on the ramp over Chalfant Run south of William Penn Highway from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 10. Crews are doing research for a future project.

Banksville Avenue has reopened from McMonagle Avenue to Potomac Avenue. The road was closed Oct. 17 for landslide removal and construction of a wall. More work is planned in the spring.

Work to convert the intersection of Streets Run and Prospect roads in Baldwin Borough to an all-way stop requirement is scheduled Tuesday starting at 10 a.m. An engineering and safety study concluded that traffic from all directions should have to stop.

The Wabash Tunnel will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Friday for replacement of a ventilation fan.

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Empty Netter Assists - 02-03-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-How many teams still use the "bag skate?"

-The Penguins held a mom's trip.

-Zach Sill's (right) hometown newspaper is reporting his injury involves his wrist and includes some tendon damage. He is expected to take eight to 10 weeks to recover.

-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Frantisek Kucera. Kucera came to the Penguins at the 2001 trade deadline in a deal that sent a sixth-round pick to the Blue Jackets. He appeared in seven games for the Penguins that season and recorded two assists. In the 2001 offseason, he was traded to the Capitals along with some other guy in exchange for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, Ross Lupaschuk.

-After the Jump: An embarrassing display by referee Wes McAuley and Henrik Lundqvist's Olympic lid.

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Rocco

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The death of Rocco the police dog serves as a reminder of how much our four-legged canine friends do for us, even the ones who aren't on the police force.

020314 Rocco

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Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, model of versatility

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

pshoffmanblogThe fate of “The Hunger Games” franchise pales when compared with the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and elsewhere on the PG site you can find the obituary I wrote for  Hoffman. 
 
I was in Toronto when he and other “Capote” cast members did interviews and I once interviewed Catherine Keener for Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” while Hoffman plopped down a few seats away in a restaurant and ate his lunch of a burger and fries. 
 
Keener laughed. “He knows I love working with him. You can listen, I don’t care. We got used to each other really quickly, and it just stayed that way.” 
 
I was in the press room of the Academy Awards the night he won his Oscar for “Capote” and he was among the winners who said their brains turned to mush (Paul Haggis, “Crash”) or porridge (Rachel Weisz, “The Constant Gardener”) or something similar. Hoffman said, “I was swimming in my head. ... I was lucky to get out what I got out.” 
 
The day before, at the Independent Spirit Awards, where he won, he confessed to being nervous speaking in front of people.  And he quelled any notions that he would be barking his Academy Award acceptance speech, should he win. He told a story on the talk-show rounds that, years ago, he promised a friend he would bark like a dog. 
 
“Everyone knows that that was a story from when I was 19 and really drunk. It’s a great story, though, isn’t it? You know my friend already called me and let me off the hook. He called me, ‘I officially let you off the hook for barking, but if you do bark, you’re my hero, and if I get a chance to go up there, I’ll meow.’ ”
 
Today, Lionsgate released a statement on the actor’s passing:  “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We’re very fortunate that he graced our Hunger Games family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”
 
His passing raises questions about the franchise, given that the “Mockingjay” movies are being shot back to back. 
 
The Hollywood Reporter says director Francis Lawrence told the publication that after a Christmas break, the production would be shooting for three more months in Atlanta before heading to Europe for two additional months of shooting. 
 
THR says Hoffman had completed his work for Part 1 and had seven days remaining for Part 2 (a fact echoed by the Wall Street Journal). The Journal says one of his scenes in the final film will have to be rewritten with a different character taking the spot of Heavensbee. 
 
His death will not affect the announced release dates for the movies, Nov. 21, 2014, and Nov. 20, 2015. But let’s not forget the world lost a great actor and a woman lost her partner and their three children lost their dad today. 
 
Hoffman was not only accomplished but versatile. In January 2008, I wrote: Put Philip Seymour Hoffman's characters in a police lineup and they might -- might -- look like distant cousins but not the same man. 
 
Capote
 
Truman Capote, after all, little resembles Jon Savage, a bearded, shaggy-haired, slightly overweight Buffalo college professor whose living room is so stacked with books and papers that his sister jokes, "It looks like the Unabomber lives here."
The-Savages
 
He was a model of versatility coming off a fabulous fall and early winter.
 
Before-the-Devil-Knows-You-re-Dead
 
Clean shaven, hair combed back and clad in suit and tie, Hoffman played a duplicitous, desperate real-estate broker plotting a holdup at his parents' jewelry store in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."
 
With the clock spun back to the early 1980s, he added a mustache and tinted glasses to channel Aliquippa native, University of Pittsburgh graduate and rogue CIA agent Gust L. Avrakotos in "Charlie Wilson's War."
Charlie-Wilson-s-War
 
 
Last to arrive, at least in Pittsburgh, was "The Savages," in which his life was as messy as his living room. Jon and his sister Wendy Savage discover their estranged father is about to be homeless in Arizona, is sinking into dementia and needs more care than they can provide. If that weren't enough, Jon's girlfriend is returning to Poland, and he ends up in makeshift traction after a tennis game. 
 

 

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Frozen takes top honors at Annie Awards, Oscar seems next

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

frozenduke
Another weekend, another round of awards.
 
“Frozen” emerged as the top winner at the 41st annual Annie Awards which are dedicated to animation and were held at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Actor Patrick Warburton hosted the ceremony. 
 
It was competing against “A Letter to Momo,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” “Monsters University,” “The Croods” and “The Wind Rises” for best animated feature. 
 
getahorse“Get a Horse!” (left)  — which appears before “Frozen” — won for animated short subject. 
 
Other honors: 
 
Best Animated Special Production: “Chipotle Scarecrow” (Chipotle Creative Department, Moonbot Studios).
 
Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial:  “Despicable Me 2” (Cinemark-Illumination  Entertainment/Universal).
 
Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children:  “Disney Sofia the First” (Disney Television Animation).
 
Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Children’s Audience:  “Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network Studios).
 
Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production:  “Futurama” (20th Century Fox Television).
 
Best Animated Video Game: “The Last of Us” (Naughty Dog).
 
Best Student Film:  “Wedding Cake’ (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Viola Baier, Iris Frisch). 
 
The Annie Awards honor overall excellence as well as individual achievement in a total of 30 categories ranging from best feature, production design, character animation, and effects animation to storyboarding, writing, music, editing and voice acting. 
 
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Emmanuel Lubezki won top honors at the American Society of Cinematographers for “Gravity.” 
 
He joined Jeremy Benning, Jonathan Freeman and Blake McClure in picking up prizes at the 28th annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The ceremony was held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood. 
 
Benning won the TV movie/miniseries award for “Killing Lincoln.” Freeman took home top honors in the one-hour episodic television category for “Game of Thrones,” and McClure was the recipient of the half-hour episodic series award for “Drunk History.”
 
For other awards given out Saturday night, see 
http://www.theasc.com.
 

 

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