Jeremy Wheeler

Nice April Weekend!

April 11th, 2014 at 7:48 am by under Weather

We have a great weekend ahead in terms of weather.  Today is looking good with highs in the upper 70s and a few 80s inland.  It will even be warmer near the shore today due to the stronger southwest breeze.  It will be blowing at 10-15mph with gusts up to 25mph.

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

Highs will be in the upper 70s with a few 80s inland.  Skies will be partly sunny.  Nice!  You’ll notice that cold front on the map above.  Well, don’t worry…It will move down our way tomorrow, but it will also fall apart as it does so.  The winds will change though.  So highs will be more in the upper 60s.  There’s about a 5-10% chance for a shower, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  Overall tomorrow is mild and dry.  Then on Sunday we are looking good.  The heat will resume.  Highs will be back in the mid-upper 70s.  Skies will be partly sunny.  We’ll see a repeat on Monday.

The next decent chance for rain will be next Tuesday.  Showers and some thunderstorms will be likely across the region.  That will be a bona-fide cold front.  It will drop our highs to the 50s by next Wednesday.  That will be the same front that will bring some April snow to parts of the Midwest and Northeast.  No snow here.  We’ll be too warm.

In national news the house of representatives just passed a bill that will essentially reorganize some of NOAA’s resources and combine it with the National Weather Service. Here is the article:  Weather Bill

Have a great weekend!

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


The Annual Pollen Blog (Jeremy Style)

April 10th, 2014 at 9:07 am by under Weather

The local forecast is nice and quiet.  Not just for today, but for the next couple of days.  So I thought today would be a good time to do my annual blog about pollen.

Pollen Forecast

Pollen Forecast

This year has been interesting as it has been a very cold Winter as well as a chilly start to the Spring.  Because of this folks have been varying as to how much they have been affected.  For instance my allergies still haven’t been too bad up to this point.  It has started to increase over the last week, but it still hasn’t been full blown.  By about this time last year the pollen was off the charts.  I did ask how people were doing on my facebook page, and the response was interesting.  Some people have claimed that this year has been much worse than others.  Many more have said that this year hasn’t been too bad.  I think it boils down to this:  Due to the cooler weather the pollen types have been more staggered.  Some of the trees have been pollinating for weeks.  So if you allergic to specific trees, then it may have hit you a little harder so far.  However, the grass and some other trees like maple have had a slower start.  While some specific tree pollens have been high, the overall pollen hasn’t been too high yet.  A lot of the grass will probably start to seed by next if it hasn’t already.  Then the grass pollen will increase.  Also we just had a good amount of rain between Monday and Tuesday.  So the trees are really ramping up this week.  Ragweed is more of a Fall allergen.  So I don’t expect that to contribute.  Mold has also been high as we have had a lot of cold weather and moisture between January and mid-March.  Hopefully that decreases with the upcoming drier weather.

As some of you may already know, I am one of the millions of Americans that are affected by seasonal allergies every year..  The impacts for people can range from a few sniffles up to an extreme case where a person has to go to the hospital.  Basically as the length of day increases and the temperatures increase, the trees release their pollen so that they can get the seeds to germinate and sprout.  As the soil temperatures get warmer the vegetation becomes more active.  Eventually in the Spring, the grass pollen and plants also starts to contribute.

Along with pollen from vegetation, people can be allergic to all kinds of things.  Pets, dust, certain foods, and even some insects are examples. (Ewww)   The problem is that during this time of year many different allergens are coming at you from all directions.  For example you could have a mild allergy to mold that lasts through the year, and then that might combine with a seasonal allergy to oak pollen.  There are a lot of ways to try to combat those allergies.  Here are some tips:

1.  Clean often!  Vacuum your home a couple of times a week.  Sweeping will likely not help as the pollen grains are so tiny.  You should also dust often to get that pollen and dust off of the surfaces.  You can also vacuum out your air vents if you want to try to go the extra mile.  But the payoff may not last long as more pollen will re-enter the air ducts quickly.   Don’t forget to clean or change the filter in your vacuum cleaner.

2.  Keep your windows closed.  This goes for your home and your car.  Homes are not air tight, and pollen also drifts in as you open your doors.  So keep the house closed up as much as possible.  Window screens may help block a little of the larger pollen, but overall it is small enough to fit right through the mesh.

3.  You should run your air conditioner or even just your fan on your A.C.  Your unit should have a filter on it that will help take out some of the pollen.  You should change the filter a couple of times a month if you have bad allergies.  Changing it about once a month is normal.  There are special filters that block even small particles. They are the denser ones that are typically more expensive, but I’ve had A.C. repairmen tell me that those are not good for some units as it reduces the flow.  If you want to try it, then call up and ask a specialist.  You should also get your cabin air filter for your vehicle changed if you haven’t for a while.  Warning… it can get a little pricey, and not all vehicles have cabin filters.

4.  There are many small/medium plug-in air filter systems for your home.  They are designed to help clear the air in one or two rooms.  Be careful though.  Some are very expensive, and some do not work that well at all.  Some have filters that you can re-use and clean, but there are others that you have to buy.  So do your homework.  I’ve had 3 different filters in the past and all have been disappointments, but there are other folks that swear by them.

5.  Wash your bedding often.  If you don’t want to keep doing laundry during the week, you can use or buy another set.  Then just swap it out until you have time to wash again.  The pillow cases are the most important.  So maybe just swap those out.  Wash the items in hot water to kill dust mites if you can.  Careful!  Some delicate fabrics can’t be washed in hot water.

6.  There are many over the counter medications to help with allergies.  Products with antihistamines will help.  There are nasal sprays which can help to either clear sinuses and/or medicate the nasal area.  There are eye drops that help with itchy red eyes.  I have one with an antihistamine in it that really helps, but it does sting a little at first.  Finally, there are many pills that you can also buy.  Read the instructions carefully.  There are some that can make you very drowsy.  Many medications are not to be used for young children.  If you do have young ones that are really suffering, then call your pediatrician.  You can also go so far as to get tested for allergies.  I got tested, and found that I was allergic to several things.  Just know though that the process involves numerous tiny shots.  And I mean numerous.  The doctor has several prescriptions that can help.  It’s also possible to get special allergy shots for the really bad sufferers.  There are new medications coming out all the time. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if they are right for you.

7.  Even if you are not allergic to your pets, their fur can still collect pollen from trees, dust, etc.  So it’s good to groom your pets.  Believe it or not, house pets can also suffer from allergies.  So monitor them if they become overly itchy this time of year.

8.  There are food allergies (i.e. nuts/shellfish), however there are also some foods that can act as mild allergens that can cross-react with the pollen.  Bananas and some melons, for instance, can impact your allergies.  Keep in mind that even if you are fine during the year, it can be a small addition to the seasonal allergens this time of year.  Here’s a great link to a site that lists some of the foods and allergies:  Food List

9.  Dry clothes indoors.  It may help with energy consumption, but drying clothes on a clothesline will be a pollen magnet during the next few weeks.

10.  You may have cleaned your floors and carpets, but you’ll continue to track in pollen unless you clean off your doorsteps, patios, and walkways.  I recommend a hose as a broom will stir up the dust/pollen.

11.  Some folks have recommended eating local honey during the year.  They say that it helps the body build up an immunity to pollen.  I did try it last year, and it didn’t seem to work.  Maybe it finally kicked in this year.  (I doubt it)> There are some who swear by it.  It might be a little late this year, but it’s a thought for next year.

Pollen is a complicated thing to forecast.  It is based on the temperatures, pressure, humidity, rainfall, soil temperatures, etc.  Also pollen can blow in from other source regions.  Rain can wash out pollen, but only if it lasts for a long period of time.  I’ve actually noticed that trees and plants love to get water.  So they will sometimes launch heavy pollen several hours after a rain shower.  It’s even tougher in this area as there are no proxy data.  To my knowledge there is no group or department that takes the local pollen count.  Some local health departments used to take a reading, but they stopped due to budget cuts and/or other reasons.  The closest readings are in Richmond and Raleigh.  So I use myself and others as a barometer on many days.  Also the proximity to water can make a difference.  (There are no trees over the ocean). The forecast today is a 9 out of 10.  Good luck with the allergies this season, and feel free to comment with your own tips below.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Almost There!

April 9th, 2014 at 8:07 am by under Weather

The nice weather is coming.  It’s on our doorstep…  It’s just around the bend… It’s been trying to head our way.  We just have one more day until the really nice weather.  Don’t get me wrong through.  Today actually won’t be too bad.  We have had a couple of spotty showers in the region this morning, and we will see some isolated light showers or sprinkles this evening.  These are not from a big weather system.  Rather one is just a small wind shift line.  The evening showers will come from an upper level trough.  Here were the light showers this morning:

Few Showers This Morning

Few Showers This Morning

They moved southeast and basically fell apart.  Most of today will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 60s.  Winds will be light and northerly.  So it will be cooler near the shore.  By the evening a few of those sprinkles will try to come around.  I put the chance of rain between 20 and 30%.

Future Trak (5pm)

Future Trak (5pm)

Tonight all of this goes away.  We’ll dry out and cool down to the mid 40s.  Then tomorrow…Mostly sunny and highs near 70.  That is perfect weather for this area for this time of year.  Following that, we’ll see dry weather and highs in the 70s all the way through the weekend.  The next chance for rain will be next Tuesday.

Tomorrow I will write a blog about this year’s pollen.  To me this seems like it has been a very different year in terms of allergy misery.  Stay tuned.  The pollen forecast is a 9 out of 10 today.

One final note…. It’s not meteorological, but astronomical.  The planet Mars, Earth, and the sun will have a special alignment tonight.  Here’s the story with more details.  Cosmic Alignment.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Nice Weather Soon

April 8th, 2014 at 8:49 am by under Weather

We’ve seen some active weather in the region recently.  Yesterday there were scattered showers and thunderstorms in our area.  There were even 2 tornadoes reported over northeast North Carolina.  Here was the radar signature of the tornado that moved over Bellhaven, NC.

Hook Echo On Radar

Hook Echo On Radar

This is a good example of a hook echo.  It looks just like a hook from above as the winds are twisting counterclockwise around the tornado.  There was some damage in and near that city.

Today we started with just some scattered light rain showers, but that was about it.  So far we’ve picked up about 1″ of rain on average.  Here were some of the rain totals from the last 24 hours:

24 Hour Rain Totals

24 Hour Rain Totals

Most of my weather watchers had about 1″ of rain, however, Don in Toano had 1.75″.  Mike in Whaleyville said that his land was just drying out before this recent rain fell.  Greg in Currituck is hoping for a dry stretch of weather so he can start working in the fields.

The scattered showers will continue through the noon hour.  The cold front will have moved through most of Hampton Roads by that point. The showers will be more isolated behind the front this afternoon.

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

By the late afternoon/early evening we will dry out and clear up a bit.  Winds will turn from out of the southwest to out of the west at 10-15mph with a few gusts to 25mph.  Temperatures will hold steady.  They’ll stay in the upper 60s to low 70s.  By the time we get to this evening it should be pretty nice outside, but it will be cooling to the upper 50s to low 60s.

Tomorrow we’ll have high pressure build in at the surface.  However, an upper level trough will swing through the region during the afternoon.  This will create (what I think) is a few sprinkles.  Some models are calling for a few rain showers, but I believe anything that falls will be very light and very spotty.  It will be cooler with a light northerly wind.  Highs will be near 60.

After that we are looking good.  We’ll see dry weather Thursday through next Monday. Highs will mostly be in the 70s.  I can’t wait.

The pollen took a break over the last 24 hours due to the rain, but it will build back a bit this afternoon and tomorrow.  It will be pretty heavy by the end of the week.

By the way our local waters have been running very cool compared to average.  With the recent warming the Chesapeake Bay has been slowly warming into the low/mid 50s.  The ocean temperatures are also slowly warming.  Can’t wait until it gets into the 60s.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


First Big April Shower

April 7th, 2014 at 9:28 am by under Weather

While we have had rain recently, it has mostly been on the light side.  It has also been very scattered.  Today we’ll change all that with widespread rain in the region.  It had already started by the early morning.  There was a stream of heavy rain from just west of our region stretching back down to Atlanta, GA.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

Rain will continue on and off today as moisture pushes in from the south and southwest.  The surface winds will be out of the southeast at about 10-20mph.  A warm front is forecast to move through the region later today.  This will allow for some late day warming.  Temps will rise to the upper 60s to near 70 this afternoon/evening.  Winds will be from the southeast at 10-20mph.  We will see some thunderstorms this afternoon, but the chance for severe weather is questionable.  The Storm Prediction Center has put our region in a slight risk for today.  Mostly for strong straight-lined winds.  However, we will see clouds all day with barely a break.  So the instability is not going to be that high.  There will be some strong upper level winds to our west, but they won’t be as strong here until late tonight.  The rotation in the atmosphere (helicity) is decent.  So it’s possible that a weak/isolated tornado may form over parts of northeast North Carolina where it will be a little warmer and more humid.  Stay tuned for updates on that.   Either way, rain will continue until the front moves through after midnight.  Then we’ll hold on to some scattered showers through early tomorrow.  The front will get hung up just offshore, and the moisture will linger for a while behind it.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

We are looking at a good 1-2 inches of rain for the entire region.  Perhaps a bit less over northeast North Carolina.  We have had a brief dry spell lately.  So Norfolk is 0.67″ below average for the month and down 0.76″ for the year.  Wallops Island is down 0.57″ for the month, and they are 1.65″ below the average for the year.  Again, I don’t believe snow is factored into those numbers.  Either way we could use a little rain for the growing season.

By tomorrow afternoon we will dry out.  The upper level part of the system will move through on Wednesday.  This could give us a couple of sprinkles.  Highs will be in the 50s.  Then we are looking good going into the weekend. Highs will be in the 60s and 70s and it will be dry through Sunday.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

 


Cool & Dry…For Now

April 6th, 2014 at 8:33 am by under Weather

We started off today with cool temps and sunshine.  Lows were in the 30s by West Point and Richmond, but it was in the 40s elsewhere.  We were much cooler due to the cold front that brushed through here on Saturday.  Today the front is well to the south.  We saw more clouds to the south as well.  High pressure was building in.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

We’ll stay dry today, but northeasterly winds will keep it cool with highs in the low/mid 50s.  Clouds will push back from the south later today.  So we’ll go from mostly sunny to partly cloudy through the day in southeast Virginia.  By late tonight some of the moisture will push up from the south.  We could see a few showers before sunrise tomorrow.  Then through the day rain will be on and off.  We could even see a few thunderstorms during the afternoon.

Future Trak (Noon Monday)

Future Trak (Noon Monday)

Rain will continue not only into Monday night, but now it looks to stretch through midday Tuesday.  With that in mind, I’m surprised that the forecast rain totals aren’t higher.  Overall it looks like we’ll see about a half an inch.  Some locations could see closer to an inch.

Forecast Rain Totals

Forecast Rain Totals

At least it will be in the 60s both tomorrow and Tuesday.  We will cool down and dry out for Wednesday.  Highs in the low/mid 50s.  Then we’ll rise back up to the 609s on Thursday and 70s by Friday.

2 things to note before I go.  First, many folks are planting flowers in the yard and garden.  You may want to wait just a bit longer.  We had some mid 30s this morning over some northern parts of the viewing area.  We could easily see one more frost over the next couple of weeks.  Especially since this has been a colder year so far.  If you do plant, then be ready to cover them up if a frost does arrive.

Second, the pollen has really increased over the past 2-3 days.  It’s due to the warmer soil temperatures and the natural tree cycle.  The grass will start pollinating soon as well.  So expect the pollen to really increase over the next 3-4 days.  It will be down a bit today with the offshore breeze and tomorrow and Tuesday due to the rain.  But it will be back up by next Wednesday.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


The Big Warmup…Plus Lasers & Lightning.

April 4th, 2014 at 8:32 am by under Weather

We are advertising a big warmup for today.  While some inland temperatures have recently been as warm as the mid 80s, it has been much cooler near the shore each day.  Today a warm southwest breeze will be picking up.  That should be able to push the warmth to the shoreline. Also a warm front is lifting through the region.  Hampton Roads was on the cool side of the front this morning.  So we cooled down to near 50, and patchy fog formed.  The fog will burn off later this morning.  Then we’ll see clearing and Summer-like conditions:

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

I’m calling for highs in the mid-upper 80s inland, upper 70s to low 80s in the metro, and 70s near the shore.  The Eastern Shore will be tougher to warm up.  So highs will be in the 60s and 70s there.  Winds will be southwest at 10-15mph. It may take a while for the wind to really develop.  So it may be later this afternoon before some of you see the warming.

It will be nice this evening when many of you get off of work.  Skies will be partly cloudy and temps will be in the 70s and low 80s.  It should be good for the Norfolk Tides game tonight.  During the overnight a cold front will move through the region.  It will bring us some scattered showers.  There has been a lot of strong storms to our west, but the center of the storm system (area of low pressure) is moving northeast through the Midwest.  So basically it’s only the front that will cause the rain, and as it moves east it will dwindle down to just some scattered showers.  Tomorrow we’ll dry out early.  Saturday is looking good.  We’ll have a westerly wind at 10-15mph, and skies will be partly sunny.  Highs will be in the mid-upper 60s.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

We’ll stay dry then through Sunday, but it will be cooler.  Lows will be in the upper 30s to low 40s.  Highs will be in the mid 50s.  We’ll warm up on Monday, but there will be rain through most of the day.  There could be a few thunderstorms too depending on how much warmth moves in.  We’ll have another cool-down by the middle of next week, but it doesn’t look too cold.  There could be a little snow over the Appalachians though.  None of that here in the 7 day forecast.

The weather looks good for the Daffodil festival in Gloucester this weekend.  It will be dry both Saturday and Sunday.  Highs will be in the 60s on Saturday…50s on Sunday.

Before I go…I found this new article about lasers and lightning.  This article from Digitaltrends.com talks about how lasers could be used to direct lightning away from objects.  Very interesting. Here is the link: Lightning and lasers.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Here Come Some Changes

April 3rd, 2014 at 8:21 am by under Weather

After some clouds in the morning, skies cleared nicely yesterday.  This allowed some of the inland temperatures to skyrocket into the 80s.  Meanwhile it warmed to the 60s near the coast.  Then temps fell back to the 50s as the winds shifted from offshore.  A cool front/wind-shift line moved through yesterday and helped to push the winds from the east.  Now that boundary is sitting over the region.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

As the day goes on, the boundary will slowly drift north.  A few showers are possible along this front.  We already saw a couple of showers north of the metro.  Highs will be mixed again, however, the clouds should stop the temperatures from being as dramatically different as they were yesterday.  So I’m thinking highs will be in the mid-upper 70s inland with a few 80s possible.  Upper 60s to low 70s in the metro.  Then 60s near the shore.

Another shower or two is possible tonight with lows in the 50s.  Tomorrow a strong area of low pressure will form over the Midwest while our local area of high pressure drifts east.  This will allow for the winds to pick up out of the southwest.  Skies will go to partly cloudy.  The April sun will allow for strong warming, and this time the wind should be able to push back the cooler air that sits over the water.  So highs tomorrow will be near 80 for many.  We’ll probably hit the mid 80s inland.  It will feel like early Summer.

Then a cold front will move through late tomorrow night into early Saturday morning.  It will cool things down for the weekend. Highs will be in the 60s on Saturday and mid 50s on Sunday.  Other than a few showers early Saturday, the weekend looks dry.

In the national news…They had some rough storms over the central U.S. yesterday.  The Storm Prediction Center has put a moderate risk for severe storms and tornadoes out for states in the central Mississippi River Valley for today.  This is due to a strong upper level trough and a lot warmth and humidity out there.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Almost A Repeat

April 2nd, 2014 at 8:32 am by under Weather

As advertised…yesterday had some mixed temperatures.  There was a big difference between the inland and coastal cities.

Highs Yesterday

Highs Yesterday

I don’t believe that it made it up to 74 in Kill Devil Hills, but I’m checking on that.  Regardless, today we’ll see similar weather.  Highs will be just a bit warmer.  We’ll see temps near 60 along the shore, mid-upper 60s in the metro, and it will warm to the mid-upper 70s inland.

Today's High Temps

Today’s High Temps

During the afternoon we’ll see the sea breeze kick-in along with a wind shift line.  Winds will be variable at 5-10mph, but will be more easterly during the afternoon.  So some temperatures near the shore will cool down to the mid 50s.  We’ll be dry again today.  Then tomorrow the wind-shift/trough will push back north.  This will give us some spotty showers during the afternoon.  For now I’ve kept the chance for rain at 20%, but I may have to raise it.  Highs will be a little warmer, but will be fairly mixed again.  On Friday we’ll have a different setup.  Winds will be strong out of the south.  They’ll be strong enough to stop the sea-breeze.  Therefore highs will be in the upper 70s across much of the region.  We’ll probably see some 80s inland.  On Saturday a cold front will move through early.  This will give us a few showers into the early morning, and then we’ll dry out.  Highs will be in the upper 60s Saturday.  We’ll be dry and cool on Sunday. Highs will be in the mid 50s.

A big area of low pressure will develop over the Midwest next Monday.  It will move through northern Virginia.  This will give us a better chance for rain along with some thunderstorms.  A few showers could linger on into Tuesday.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Mixed Temps

April 1st, 2014 at 9:34 am by under Weather

Today will be a quiet weather day, but it won’t be a simple forecast.  Temperatures will be tricky.  One easy thing is that the winds have died down.  Yesterday an area of low pressure lingered offshore from the northeast states as high pressure was building into our region from the west.  This created the strong northwest wind.

High Pressure & Sunshine

High Pressure & Sunshine

Today the high will sit right on top of us.  This will make for fair skies and light winds.  The wind will be light and easterly at times, but overall the direction will vary.  As we get into the midday hours the air temperatures will quickly warm to the 50s and 60s.  Remember though that the water temperatures are really cool for this time of year.  They are still in the 40s.  Even some of the nearby ocean temperatures.

http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/contour/natlanti.cf.gif

Sea Surface Temperatures

This will be a good setup for a sea breeze to form.  This is a common occurrence, but today it will be more amplified.  When the warm air over land heats up, it rises.  Meanwhile, the cooler water temperatures keep the air cool above it, and this promotes sinking.  The sinking air has to go somewhere.  So it spreads out over the water and onto land.

Sea Breeze

Sea Breeze

The cooler air moves inland and can travel anywhere from 10 city blocks up to 20 miles depending on the local winds and the temperature difference.   So this setup will let our inland temps warm to the low 70s while temps along the shore will likely be in the upper 50s.

Forecast Temperatures

Forecast Temperatures

This is our model, but it does show the general outline.  I think Virginia Beach will be in the upper 50s.  Norfolk and Newport News in the 60s.  I do think Williamsburg will make it to the low 70s.

By tomorrow the winds should be more out of the south.  It still won’t be a strong wind, but it may be enough to stop the sea breeze from forming.  Highs will generally be in the 70s with 60s near the shore.  We’ll see highs in the 70s Thursday and Friday with dry conditions.  Rain showers are expected on Saturday, but at least it still looks warm.  Another cool down will approach into Sunday, but at least this time it looks dry unlike last weekend.

They say if you don’t like the weather in Hampton Roads, then just wait 10 minutes…It will change.  Well today if you don’t like the temperature, then just drive 10 minutes west or east.  You’ll find something you like.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler