January, 2013

Out With The Storms, In With Wintry Weather

January 31st, 2013 at 8:16 am by under Weather

A powerful line of storms moved through last night waking up many folks with the sound of gushing winds and heavy rain.  The line of storms moved through between midnight and about 3am this morning.

Satellite/Radar From Last Night

Some of the wind gusts were very impressive.  We had a gust to 75mph at Langley Air Force Base according to the National Weather Service’s website.  There was a gust to 66mph at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach.  Norfolk International Airport had a gust to 61mph.  There were gusts to 49mph in Newport News and Elizabeth City.  I’ve heard second-hand of trees and power lines down, but I haven’t actually seen a lot of the reports.  The quick moving line put down about a half inch of rain before it pushed out.   That batch was along the first cold front, but a second cold front moved through in the mid morning hours and brought another weaker line of showers and gusty winds.  Winds this morning were still gusting to near 40mph through the 8am hour.

Wind Gusts

Winds will steadily taper off this afternoon, but it will take a while.  Temperatures are expected to drop a bit to the upper 40s, but it’s possible that we pop back up to the low 50s for a bit with some sunshine along with the westerly winds. Tonight the winds will taper off even more.  Skies will be clear for a while.  So low temperatures will drop to the upper 20s to low 30s.

Tomorrow morning looks interesting.  A sharp upper level trough is expected to move through with a little moisture.  So we have a chance at some scattered flurries and/or light snow showers.  Our model Future Trak is showing this between about 7 am and 10am.

Future Trak (9am Friday)

No model is suggesting anything heavy.  We could see a dusting in a few cities, but that would be about all.  The worst case scenario is that the snow is just a little heavier and starts up during the busier part of the morning rush-hour.  Then we could see some problems.  I’m optimistic for now, but stay tuned.  We’ll be dry for Saturday and cool with highs in the 40s. On Sunday another system will try to affect our region.  We could see a brief Wintry mix again depending on the timing of the precip.  That one also doesn’t look like much, but it will have to be monitored in future updates.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Severe Weather Update

January 31st, 2013 at 12:40 am by under Weather

The line of showers and storms has just made it past I-95 corridor, so we expect most of SE Virginia and NE North Carolina to see rain after midnight through around 6 AM Thursday morning.


Our Future Trak model has the line of storms moving through the metro between 2-3AM.

Future Trak at 2AM Thursday

This is the same storm system that produced tornadoes across the south this afternoon. However, this line of showers and storms is moving through overnight, which should lower the severe weather threat across our region. Daytime heating increases the instability in the atmosphere, which is an ingredient we are lacking tonight. We do have plenty of moisture to work with and there is a lot of energy in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere. But the severe weather threat may not materialize if we are missing just one important ingredient. However, we still expect a squall line (line of storms) to move through Hampton Roads. Generally, the main threat with any squall line will be damaging wind gusts due to the bowing segments that can form. The tornado threat is not zero because we do have a lot of wind shear (the change in wind speed/direction with height in the atmosphere). But, it is rather low since we are dealing with a squall line opposed to individual storms forming ahead of the initial line.

Biggest Threat Tonight – Damaging Wind Gusts

Wind have been extremely strong tonight. Check out the latest wind gusts across the region. This is the reason for the reported power outages across Hampton Roads. Be sure to bring inside or secure any loose items in your yard tonight before heading to bed.

Wind Gusts

Wind Gusts

Right as I was finishing this blog, a new tornado watch was issued. This watch includes the entire viewing area until 5AM.

Tornado Watch until 5AM

Don and I think the overall tornado threat is low, especially since there have not been any tornado warnings where the watches have been issued. This means that the severe weather has not materialized as expected.  But we are still warm with temperatures in the 60s and dewpoints in the 50s and 60s, which is extremely high for it being the end of January. We will be watching the radar tonight and doing cut-ins if necessary.

Meteorologist Tiffany Savona

Warmth Comes To A Crashing Halt!

January 30th, 2013 at 7:34 am by under Weather

Yesterday was fabulous.  No doubt about it.  We ended up with a little more sunshine than was forecast… So high temperatures managed to climb up to near 70.  I took advantage of the warm weather and rode my bike for a while in the afternoon.  It was great, but it felt weird as it is the end of January.  Today we will also be warm, but the winds will be a bigger part of the forecast.  High pressure will slowly break down today.  We may see a stray shower, but otherwise skies will be partly to mostly cloudy through the day.  Winds will pick up out of the south at 15-25mph with gusts up to 35mph.  Then tonight the gusts will increase to 45mph.  So there is a wind advisory for most of the viewing area.

Wind Advisory

We will stay in the warm zone all day today.  Highs will be in the upper 70s to near 80.  The record for today is 80 degrees set back in 2002.  We may be making a run for it.   However, there is much colder air pushing into the Tennessee Valley this morning and it’s heading for us. That area is where there is a moderate risk for severe weather.

Today’s Forecast Map

Storms will move as far east as central Virginia and North Carolina by the afternoon, but the cold front won’t reach eastern Virginia/North Carolina until tonight.  That is when our winds pick up and our rain chances increase to about 100%.

Tonight’s Forecast

We are on the edge of the slight risk area for severe weather.

Severe Weather Risk

The thinking is that the storms will move through between about 10pm until 2am.  So they should lose some of the heating of the day and therefore instability.  The computer models do weaken the storms as they move through the coastal area.  However, winds even outside of the storms will be gusting to 45mph.  So straight lined winds will be the main threat from this system.  In fact…there may not even be too many thunderstorms tonight.  Mostly rain and wind.

Tomorrow behind the front we will start drying out.  Skies will begin clearing through the morning hours.  Winds will still be breezy, but not as bad as tonight.  They will be westerly at 15-20mph with gusts up to 25-30mph.  Highs will be in the low 50s although the temperatures may fall a bit during the afternoon.

By Friday we’ll see highs in the low 40s and upper 30s.  Some of the models still hint at a few flurries or sprinkles trying to move in late Friday.  But so far nothing is showing a lot of precipitation.  We’ll stay cool for the weekend.  Lows will be back in the 20s and 30s.  We could see a few showers on Sunday.  Enjoy the warm weather today, but do be prepared for those strong winds.  Secure your garbage cans if today is your trash day.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Heat…Then Storms…Then Cold

January 29th, 2013 at 7:44 am by under Weather

We are really heating things up around here.  Even this morning we started with temperatures in the upper 40s to near 50.  So high temperatures will rise from here into the mid-upper 60s.  I wouldn’t be surprised to even see a 70 degree reading in one or two cities.  Skies will be between partly to mostly cloudy skies.  Winds are southwest at around 8-12mph.   There is a weak area of high pressure just to our south, but some clouds will still manage to enter into the region.

Today’s Forecast Map

They are expecting severe weather out towards the mid and lower Mississippi River Valley today.  There is a moderate risk for severe weather out towards Arkansas and Tennessee.  This is just ahead of a powerful cold front that will eventually affect us.

Tonight we’ll hold onto the southerly winds and we’ll see plenty of clouds.  So lows will only bottom out near 50. There will probably even be some low 50s out there.  Then tomorrow we’ll see lots of clouds, but the winds will be very strong out of the south.  So high temperatures will reach the low/mid 70s.  The record high for tomorrow at Norfolk International Airport is 80 degrees set back in 2002. That’s pretty impressive, and I doubt we’ll get close to it.  The strong cold front mentioned above will make it to western Virginia and North Carolina.  We could get a stray shower or storm tomorrow afternoon out ahead of the main line of storms.

Tomorrow’s Forecast Map

Tomorrow night is the most likely time for the storms to move through.  We are in a slight risk for severe weather for that time, but the higher chances look to be to our west.  Luckily the storms are expected to come through at night.  So that should take a little bite out of the storms.  I think the main threat will be from straight-lined winds.  The timeline for the storms looks to be from about 9 pm until 2 am.  Give or take an hour.  Behind the front we’ll see cooler temperatures.  Temps will probably start in the low 50s Thursday morning.  Then they will likely drop to the 40s or at least hold in place in the low 50s.  We’ll stay chilly going into the weekend.

Temperature Trend

A couple of models hint at a few flurries coming in on Friday.  Notice that the high temperatures will be near 40.   However, there will be some extremely cold air aloft.  So perhaps there will be a few flurries Friday in the early evening with temperatures in the mid-upper 30s at that time.   It looks pretty chilly this weekend, but not as cold as last weekend.  Highs are forecast to be in the 40s.  There may be a few showers on Sunday, but the models disagree on that.  Stay tuned for updates!  Until then enjoy the great weather.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Oscars are on the way… have you seen the Best Picture?

January 28th, 2013 at 6:44 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

So, there are nine films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture this year… have you seen the winner?

I have seen five of the nine films, and I can’t wait to see the other four when I take on all nine nominees over the two Saturdays before the Academy Awards airs on Sunday, February 24th.   Luckily for me, this year the four I haven’t seen are equally spread.  A different one starts and ends both days!

What?  You don’t know about the Showcase? The AMC Best Picture Showcase is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love seeing all of the Best Picture nominees in the context of each other — even seeing some I have already seen is great.  It almost makes it easier to pick the best, if that is really even possible.

I have been going to the BPS forever!  Well, it feels like it anyway.  I spend 10am -11pm (times approximate) in my seat in the theater — my slice of heaven.  I bring a bag with a little pillow, my snuggie, a notebook, and, of course, my smartphone.  People all over the country are watching the showcase, and they are tweeting after every film hits credits.  I’m with film lovers in the theater, and we talk about the film right after it airs.  And you can also chime in on the twitter discussion using the hashtag #amcbps

If you have never been, if you love movies, and you haven’t thought about going, you should!  It’s a great deal!  You can find all the details at this link:  AMC BEST PICTURE SHOWCASE.  If you decide to go, let me know!  I’ll look for you there!

Now that you know about #amcbps, what do you think is going to win Best Picture?  Argo is building steam!  I remember seeing it the first time and was blown away.  Can’t wait to see it again.  I loved Silver Linings Playbook.  The dialogue was amazing and seamless.  Welcome to major acting roles, Bradley Cooper.  Life of Pi was visually stunning.  I am amazed at what Director Ang Lee was able to do with green screen technology!  Les Miserables was just a spectacle on the grandest scale.  If you love musicals, you just have to like it — in spite of some of the flaws.  The acting in Lincoln was mind blowing!  Daniel Day-Lewis is unstoppable.  Those are the ones I have seen so far.  Can’t wait for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, Django: Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty.

It was all I could do to keep myself out of the the last two during the holiday season, but I had a feeling they would be a part of the showcase.  And I’m glad I will get to see them soon.

I have four others to see before I can fairly say I’ve seen the Best Picture.  But!  I really, really, really, loved Argo.

Have you seen the Best Picture yet?


Ok. What’s Next?

January 28th, 2013 at 11:28 am by under Weather

The icy mess from this morning is wrapping up.  For most of the morning we had cold rain that started melting all of the snow.  Luckily temperatures increased before sunrise to the low/mid 30s.  They were in the 20s overnight.  So the big question now is where do we go from here?   Well a nice juicy warm front (yep..I said it) is coming up from the south.  The precip and clouds have kept the temperatures down so far this morning, but there is a little clearing inland.  So I think we still have a shot at getting into the mid 40s with upper 40s in a few locations.

Weather Map Today

Tonight will be very mild compared to the last week.  Low temperatures will only drop to the low 40s.  Then tomorrow we will develop more sunshine.  So highs will bonce off of the warm morning and land somewhere in the mid 60s with partly sunny skies.  Nice!  On Wednesday a powerful cold front will move in from the Midwest and Mississippi River Valley.  This front will produce quite a bit of severe weather across the Midwest and Southeast.  By the time it gets here it should change a little.  It is expected to produce some strong storms, but the bulk of the storms will occur at night.  So I think we’ll be dealing more of a squall line as opposed to tornadoes.  Stay tuned on that though.  The details may change.  And I think they will have a better shot at rotating storms in the western part of Virginia and North Carolina.

Temperatures will drop after that.  We’ll start out in the 50s Thursday morning, and then we will drop to the 40s.  By Friday it looks like we will see highs back in the upper 30s even though GFS MOS (Model Output Statistics) is telling me 40s.  The models are hinting at a few snow flurries by Friday afternoon/evening.  It doesn’t look like a big deal, but that’s how 2 of the last 4 systems started out in the last month.  So we’ll have to keep an eye on it.  Either way it looks very cold again from Friday through Sunday.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Movie Review: Broken City. Exactly.

January 28th, 2013 at 7:45 am by under THRS Movie Reviews

CLICK HERE to watch the Broken City trailer.

Official movie poster for “Broken City”.

So you look at a film like Broken City and you think — look at that cast!  At least I did when I was deciding whether or not to see it…

You’ve got Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones and Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg… and you have to think that they knew what they were doing when they took the parts, right?

Having seen it now, I have to think, no. No they didn’t.

Let’s start with the plot:  As the story begins — Mayor Hostetter (Crowe) washes away some very incriminating evidence for police officer Billy Taggert (Wahlberg) guaranteeing that Taggert is now forever in his debt.

Immediately fast forward seven years to the bulk of the movie.  The Mayor hires Taggert — now a Private Investigator and recovering alcoholic — to track his wife (Zeta Jones) who he claims to believe is having an affair.

It’s all an elaborate scheme to cover up a bunch of stuff during an election year, but we see it coming.  Political speeches, car chases, shootings, shredding of important documents, a fall off the wagon, a relationship break up and oh the revelation of righteousness.  By the time Taggert is figuring it all out I’ve planned tomorrow’s grocery list and come back to see what happens when he decided to confront the Mayor.

Broken City has some really broken parts.  The storyline is predictable, and for the most part, the acting is sub-par — which means the directing left much to be desired.  How is a character drunk as heck at one point in a bar and then sober as all get out seconds later at a crime scene?  Taggert has a girlfriend for about one fifth of the film.  She’s an actress working on an indy film — who breaks up with him.  Who knows why?  It’s irrelevant and never contributes anything to the film.

Crowe tries to turn a powerful performance but the dialogue is weak and so is his attempt at an accent.  It went in and out of New Yorker, throwing in a dash of almost Irish, and then non-descript American, with a hint here and there of his native tongue.

Zeta-Jones film choices of late have left a lot to be desired… and Broken City is no different.  A lot of melodramatic overacting.

Wahlberg has his standard look for most of the film — that almost confused, grimacing forehead, but handsome look.  He did what he could with what he had to work with… but that unfortunately wasn’t much.

I checked the time multiple times during the movie, a sure sign that it’s slow and the viewer got bored!   To say Broken City is “broken” would be cliche.  But then so is most of the film.


Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence.


Icy Monday Morning

January 28th, 2013 at 6:49 am by under Weather

This is just a quick update this morning.  The precipitation has moved in a little ahead of schedule.  This is common in overrunning events where warm moist air gets out ahead of the warm front and causes rain (or a wintry mix) in the cool zone to the north of the front.  So this morning we have rain showers with some sleet and freezing rain mixing in.

Super Doppler 10 (6:30am)

The good news is that surface air temperatures have risen in the last couple of hours.  So temps this morning are in the low/mid 30s as opposed to mid-upper 20s.  Still… there are some ground temperatures that will stay near freezing for a bit longer.  So icing will be a problem in some cities.  It will vary city-by-city.  So be careful as you could be driving over a wet ground, and then all of a sudden a spot of black ice forms.  So take some extra time getting into work.

Later this morning temps will rise into the upper 30s to near 40.  Highs today will be in the upper 40s with lots of clouds.  Much warmer tomorrow with highs in the 60s.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Freezing Rain Possible Monday Morning?

January 27th, 2013 at 9:26 pm by under Weather

Road conditions have improved greatly over the weekend after a very messy Friday evening commute. But…some of us may be in for another small dose of winter weather early Monday morning. A warm front will move through the region tonight bringing in more cloud cover and switching our winds from the east to out of the southwest. Thanks to the clouds, temperatures should not fall as quickly as they have been on previous nights. However, lows are expected to be in the upper 20s, lower 30s tomorrow morning, which is still below freezing. So here is where the forecast gets tricky. This is what our Future Trak model looks like at 7 am Monday morning.

Future Trak at 7AM Monday

Showers begin to develop across the Peninsula and points to the north. Warmer air will move in behind the warm front, keeping the lower layers of the atmosphere above 32 degrees. So the precipitation will fall as rain. Surface or ground temperatures will be at or slightly below 32°. This means that the rain drops will freeze on contact with the ground, sidewalk, bridges, or overpasses. Freezing rain is extremely dangerous because these icy spots are usually very hard to see especially when driving. Keep in mind that areas that appear to be wet may be icy.

If we see the rain move in around 6-7AM Monday morning, then I think freezing rain is definitely a possibility for areas north and west of the metro. This includes:

Peninsula: Williamsburg and points to the west

Middle Peninsula: Gloucester and points to the west

Northern Neck: Tappahannock and points to the west

Freezing Rain Possible in the Pink Shaded Area

If the rain moves in about an hour or two later, then surface temperatures may already be above the freezing mark. This would be the best case scenario. Keep in mind that this forecast may change. One degree can make all the difference.  Jeremy will be in Monday morning tracking the rain and where temperatures are below freezing.  All of the rain should be gone around noon with temperatures warming into the upper 40s.  Monday is only the beginning of our warm-up. Highs will be in the 60s Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be a welcome sight for many after seeing highs in the 30s for the past 5 days in a row, unless you love the cold weather.  The last time we saw a 5 day streak where high temperatures were in the 30s was back in January 2011.

# of days in a row with high temps in the 30s

Luckily, this streak will come to an end tomorrow. I hope everyone had a great weekend! Be careful driving to work Monday morning.

Meteorologist Tiffany Savona

The Snow Is Here! How Long Will It Last?

January 26th, 2013 at 9:21 am by under Weather

Ah! Nothing like some fresh snow to cover up the grass and sand for a few days.

Willoughby Spit, Courtesy: Stuart, Bridget & Bennet

Enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t drive around in it if you have too, the roads are still icy this morning.

Roads Will Improve Today (Report current at 9am)

Check with VDOT, NCDOT or our Traffic Page for the latest on the road conditions.

Many areas did get a good coating of snow from last nights storm:

Snow Totals (Difference in colors is there only for ease of reading)

More Snow Totals!

There may be a few duplicates or different reports for the same city. All of these reports are from viewers in different areas across the region. Thank you for your reports! Officially Norfolk got 1.6″.

With this fresh snow pack it has increased the “albedo” of the surface which will mean less solar radiation (energy) will be absorbed by the ground. Most of it will reflect back to space which will keep out temperatures in the low 30s today. We really won’t see a lot of melting on the roads, so plan on them being slippery basically all day today with improvement on the highways. Tonight temperatures will dip back in to the 20s, any areas which do melt may re-freeze tonight.

There is some warmer air coming:

Mid Week Warm Weather!

The snow that you see outside now will likely melt down on Monday. By Tuesday and Wednesday, grab the shorts and sandals! We are going to be in the 60s. A few spots might reach 70 on Wednesday.

In the meantime, take care on the roads, things will slowly improve.

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson