Don Slater

January Climate Stats For Globe And For U.S.

February 24th, 2014 at 11:06 am by under Weather

While it’s counterintuitive when we consider our unusually cold January, global temperatures were once again well above average. Here’s the short breakdown from the National Climatic Data Center. Here’s the longer explanation from the same source. As you can see below…while the Eastern Seaboard had well-below normal temperatures, much of the rest of the world was well-above average.


Here’s the really counterintuitive part. The United States temperature taken as a whole ended up being just slightly below average; The unusually warm weather in the west counterbalanced our unusually cold weather…and we ended up with a U.S. average temperature that was only 0.1° F below normal.


Models Are Lining Up…And Wednesday Evening’s Rush Hour

February 11th, 2014 at 12:12 pm by under Weather

Jeremy writes such a complete blog here that I have little to add. But I’ll do my best.

As of this hour, most of the newer forecast model runs have yet to be completed. One of them (NAM) has completed its run and is painting the following accumulated snow picture:NAM12Z_THURS

I haven’t posted the full “legend” indicating snow amounts, but it’s easy to see that most of the region escapes the brunt of the snowfall. Zero snow or near zero snow is indicated for our area. Keep in mind also that even if we do see things begin as snow, the changeover to rain will melt whatever snow might be on the ground at that point.

Here are a couple other, slightly older model runs depicting accumulated snowfall. First, the GFS model from its 1:00 AM run:GFS06Z_Thursam

And finally, the Canadian (GEM) model from 1:00 AM:GEM06Z_THURSAM

I have not added the 1:00 AM European model because of copyright concerns (from my private source). However, it agrees well with  the above models.

So the models are lining up well indicating that this will not be a major snow event for our part of the world. However, I do have some concern with the timing of the rain/sleet/snow entering the area on late Wednesday afternoon. The precipitation could enter your neighborhood as a wintry mix (even solid snow) for a time before changing over to rain. Temperatures will remain sub-freezing prior to the onset of this precipitation…warming to around 32 to 36 as the precipitation hits. The ground is going to be cold and some of that snow or sleet could stick onto the roads for an hour or two. And that hour or two closely coincides with the evening rush hour Wednesday. Right now, my thinking is that much of the Hampton Roads area (esp. South Side) will be just fine on this…with a quick transition to all rain, thus wet & not icy roads. In fact, much of the South Side might not see any solid snow to stick on the roads at all…just a rain/sleet mix becoming all rain. For the Peninsula cities though (say, Oyster Pt. & north), this could indeed begin as a snow/sleet event for a time…sticking on the roads very close to the evening rush.

This is going to be a close call…and if I’m in error on this, I’m erring on the public safety side of things. At this point, the models continue to lean toward a “not frozen roads” solution. But it’s close! Everyone should be watching closely for the details on this one all the way into its onset late tomorrow…near the evening rush hour.


January 30th, 2014 at 11:59 am by under Weather

To add a little to what Jeremy has written.

As of 11:00 last night, I had predicted overnight lows to be in the single digits inland to the low teens inland. Of course, the temperatures dropped to from around -4 to around 7 or 8! So this was indeed a “blown forecast”.

Here’s a little of what was going on prior to the 11:00 newscast. Mid and high-level cloudiness was covering the region and greatly slowing the temperature drop. That cloud cover was just not budging either. With that cloud cover not clearing out, temperatures had not dropped all that much during the evening hours…basically dropping from daytime temperatures of around 23 to around 12 to 19 by late evening. In other words, no real indication of “plummeting” temperatures.

Here are a few images from last night. I screen-grabbed them off the web so image quality is not terrific, but you’ll get the idea. This first satellite image is from 10:30 last night. You will note the cloud cover over southeastern Virginia and North Carolina; that cloud cover had basically not moved since late afternoon yesterday. You might remember yesterday’s brilliant sunset. Temperatures were in the upper teens to around 20. 330This second satellite image is from 11:30 PM (right at the end of the newscast…uh-oh!). The cloudiness has finally shown signs of eroding. 430Here’s the satellite image from 12:30 AM. Cloud cover is basically gone from southeastern Virginia. With clear skies, dry air, no wind, and extensive snow cover…temperatures can now plummet!530

And plummet they did! Here are 2 temperature records from National Weather Service reporting sites (screen grabs again). The first from Suffolk. You will note under the Temp. column, the -4 readings at 6:15 and 7:35! For the 11:00 (10:55) reading, it was 12 degrees. That’s a 16 degree drop by 6:15:sfqHere are the temperature records for Norfolk for pretty much the same time frame. The 11:00 reading was 18 degrees. While the 3:51 reading was 7 degrees, we actually bottomed out at 6 degrees (presumably around 4:00 AM). So that was a 12 degree drop between 11 PM and around 4 AM!orfRapidly clearing skies, no wind, dry air, and heavy snow cover. All resulting in a very rapid temperature drop…and that blown forecast.

We’re still on track to see highs in the low 30s today. We’ll see at least some of that snow melt today…a lot more by the weekend!


January 27th, 2014 at 11:12 pm by under Weather

A “ModelPalooza” coming up in this blog post. Tiffany posted a bit earlier in the evening about the likelihood of significant snow in the area…and most especially for the South Side cities and into eastern North Carolina. The question is not, “Will we get snow?”, it’s, “Where will the heaviest (as in, VERY heavy) snow fall?”. Will the crazy amounts of snow hit mostly in North Carolina and miss most of the South Side? Or will the bulls-eye of heaviest snow be over the South Side cities (big population!)? Regardless, eastern North Carolina is going to get the heaviest snow. Virginia will get snow greater than the snowfall of last week.

As I write this, the 00Z (7:00 PM initialization) models are not entirely complete, but let’s go with what we have thus far…and some of the earlier models. Here’s a 00Z model that isn’t totally complete, but it’s the latest…and does run through the entirety of the storm. This graphic is precipitation (just rain…even though it’s not going to be rain). We’re looking for the heaviest area of precipitation:0Z_HiRes

You will note that the heaviest area of precipitation (in yellow) is south of the Albemarle Sound. So with this particular model run (4km NAM), the heaviest of the heavy snow stays south of the Albemarle Sound. However, the blue colors reaching all the way into Virginia still indicate a snowfall in the 4″-6″ range into the Hampton Roads Cities.

Here’s a graphic of actual snowfall from the 18Z (1:00 PM initialization) GFS model:

18z_gfs2Instead of the heaviest precipitation occurring south of the Albemarle Sound, THIS model has the heaviest snowfall north of the Albemarle Sound and well-into the South Side Hampton Roads cities. And those snowfall amounts are in the 8″-12″ range all the way up into Virginia Beach! I’m not buying into those heavy amounts all the way up into Virginia Beach. However, 8″-10″ is certainly possible into North Carolina…with 6″-8″ possible into Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

The EURO model has been all over the place in the past 5 days (yes, no, yes, no, maybe, YES, YES!). The EURO model only comes out twice a day (7:00 AM & PM). The 00Z EURO has yet to complete its run, so we’ll look at the 12Z model run:

12Z_EUROThe colors here are a little different, but the snowfall estimates are a bit more to my liking right now. You will note that the heaviest precipitation (darker purple) is south of the Albemarle Sound. But we’re still looking at 10″-12″ into North Carolina and 5″-8″ into parts of the South Side cities.

Here are two more 12Z models. The NAVGEM (NAVY) model is shown first…and the GEM (Canadian) immediately follows:12z_NAVGEM

12Z_GEMThe NAVGEM shows the heaviest (but not huge) accumulation south of the Albemarle Sound…and the GEM shows 12″-16″ of snow just north of the Albemarle Sound.

It’s going to snow. And it’s likely that that snow will be heavier than last week’s snow. The question remains as to where the huge (10+”) will fall. Newer model runs will hopefully reach consensus as to where that “monster snow” will fall.

Timing seems to favor the snow spreading northward across North Carolina from around 11:00 AM through 2:00 PM. Snow will reach the state line and continue northward into Virginia from 2:00 and on through the afternoon. I fully expect that snow will be falling from the sky throughout the Hampton Roads cities by 5:00 PM. In fact, the heaviest snow is likely to fall between 5:00 or so and on to past midnight.

Stay with us. Jeremy Wheeler will have more on WAVY NEWS 10 Today and at Noon. Tiffany Savona and I will be there for you at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00…and likely throughout the evening hours.

Active Weather Ahead!

November 21st, 2013 at 10:49 am by under Weather
Two big weather events within the next seven days.

1. Look for a pleasant warming trend into Friday and early Saturday. Temperatures should drop later Saturday and continue that drop into Sunday. Highs Sunday only around 40! Wind chills will likely be in the 20s and low 30s.

2. A storm is likely to develop over Georgia pushing northeastward off Cape Hatteras on Tuesday and especially into Wednesday. It’s too early to nail down the storm’s exact effects yet, but it does look like a very rainy, breezy day on Wednesday. The storm does look like it’ll move quickly so as not to provide significant tidal flooding, but it still looks nasty! Here’s an NWS graphic depicting total rainfall from Tuesday through Wednesday. Note the red stripe of 3″+ through our area. Again, it’s too early to be exact…but one to watch.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.32.57 AM

Relative To Space…

November 20th, 2013 at 1:20 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

Quick post…

My 2nd cousin (Karen Nyberg) was on board the International Space Station for nearly six months. Today from 2:00 to 3:30, NASA is allowing the media to hold satellite interviews with Karen. The interviews are from all over the country and will be in five minute intervals. My allotted time is from 3:25 to 3:30. I’m not sure yet when my interview with Karen will actually hit the air.

You can watch the hour and a half worth of live interviews on NASA TV.

Sub-Tropical Storm Melissa Forms In Atlantic

November 18th, 2013 at 10:10 am by under Weather


It’s the 13th named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Melissa is a sub-tropical storm…basically meaning that it has some cooler air wrapped into the system (and not warm air throughout, vertically & horizontally). Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph It’s moving to the NW at 9 mph with a gradual turn to the north, then northeast over the next few days.

Here’s a map from the Hurricane Center showing its likely movement for the next few days:


Melissa will quite obviously not come anywhere near the mid-Atlantic coastline. And it’s not really likely that we’ll even see much of an increase in ocean swell. The storm’s far away, not terribly powerful, and would likely move too rapidly to build significant waves that could reach the mainland.

The Hurricane Season continues through November 30th. We are well-past the peak (Sept. 10th) of the season.

Watch at noon. Jeremy will have more.

Midwestern Storms To Move East?

November 17th, 2013 at 12:58 pm by under Weather

Just to reiterate what Jeff Edmondson posted earlier, there’s an unusually dangerous weather scenario today for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and adjacent areas. Here’s a map from the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center:day1otlk_1630

I want to use the next map to allay any fears that anyone might have. The likelihood of severe storms is NOT very high for our part of the country. Most of the impetus for severe thunderstorms will transfer northeastward into Canada.

This next map was just updated by that same Storm Prediction Center and depicts the possibility of severe thunderstorms for tomorrow. You will note that there is a yellow area for a “Slight Risk” centered around Massachusetts while we have barely an”Isolated Risk” in green.


Look for some rain overnight into Monday morning…with an isolated shower or two in the afternoon. There could be a rumble or two of thunder, but even there the chances of actual widespread thunderstorms are pretty slim. Temperatures will turn sharply cooler after Monday.

Tiffany Savona will have more on the incoming weather changes this evening. And of course, Jeremy Wheeler will be with you tomorrow morning on WAVY News10 Today. Enjoy your Sunday!

Comet ISON

November 15th, 2013 at 12:26 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather


My colleague, Jeff Edmondson, alerted me to the fact that there’s a comet becoming visible in the east-southeastern sky. It’s Comet ISON.

I’m not an astronomer (1 college course long ago) so I don’t have a wealth of knowledge on this. Through the years, there have been comets which have been expected to produce a brilliant show (e.g., Halley’s Comet), but which failed to live up to expectations. Then there have been other comets which were supposed to be rather lackluster, but then ended up being a nightly show for weeks. Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995 was supposed to be a bust, but ended up as the comet of the century.

The predictions for Comet ISON appear to have already gone awry. It was originally thought that it would not even be visible until December 1st, but it’s showing up now…and may end up being destroyed by the sun by around Thanksgiving. Additionally, there have been reports that the comet is much brighter than expected. Whether this enhanced brightness will continue, nobody seems to know. Nobody seems to really even know whether the comet will survive it’s November 28th brush with the sun. One would think not, I guess. After all, it’s a dirty chunk of ice and it’s headed toward the sun! is a good resource for continuing updates on the comet. Here’s a link that might help you find the comet in the night (pre-dawn) east-southeastern sky. As usual, it’s best to be away from any light pollution. Dark secluded areas along the ocean or Bay are obviously best. But even rural areas away from the water would probably work well, too. Just be sure to have an unobstructed horizon to your east-southeast.

The weather might not cooperate for a few days as we’re likely to see a lot more cloud cover (& some rain tonight & Monday) through Monday. But after that, we’ll likely see sky conditions improve.

It Finally Froze!

November 14th, 2013 at 10:46 am by under Weather

Well, it finally froze all the way to the coast in Virginia. This morning’s temperatures bottomed out at around 25 inland and 25 to 30 near the Bay & Ocean.

In North Carolina, it was pretty much the same story for mainland areas…25-30 inland. For Manteo, Nags Head, & Duck, the temperature bottomed out at around 35 to 38. Hatteras Island saw lows in the 40 degree range.

Temperatures today should recover nicely into the 50s. And look ahead to the weekend! Near 70°!

August, September, and October temperatures have averaged a little below normal. So for us anyway, this story seems like a “face palm”; In other words, the story just doesn’t jibe with our experience.