Jeremy Wheeler

Hawaiin Hurricane, And Local Rain Chances

August 7th, 2014 at 9:04 am by under Weather

What a year for rain.  One of the main rainfall records that the National Weather Service keeps is from Norfolk International Airport.  (The sensor was moved there years ago).  It has had 1.56″ already this month.  That is 0.40″ above the average.  However, we have had 30.96″ for the year already.  That is a whopping 3.38″ above the annual average.  So it has definitely been a wet year, and it doesn’t look like it is letting up soon.  Last night Norfolk only had a trace of rain. However, there were some scattered downpours elsewhere.  In fact there were some reports of trees down over parts of Isle of Wight County and Suffolk.

Radar Yesterday

Radar Yesterday

A cool front moved through the region last night and caused the scattered storms.  Today that front is to our south.

Cold Front In The Region

Cold Front In The Region

Yesterday temperatures were in the upper 80s to low 90s.  Behind the front today we’ll go more for low/mid 80s.  It will be a little drier, but it’s not going to be what I would call a dry day.  Just not as bad as yesterday.  Skies will be partly cloudy.  There may be a stray shower over some far inland locations and northeast North Carolina.  Otherwise the area is looking good.  Tomorrow we are looking even better. Skies will be mostly sunny.  It will be a little drier still. Highs will be in the mid 80s and winds will still be northeast at 5-10.  However, an area of low pressure will develop over the Tennessee River Valley by Friday night.  This will move into our region late Saturday into Sunday.  So the rain chances will increase from the late morning into the evening on Saturday.  Heavy rain is possible in the region Saturday night.  It’s possible that part of the area could see some flooding.  Stay tuned for updates.  I’ll have a lot more on that tomorrow as the models get a little closer in range.  They haven’t handled the weather very well over the past couple of weeks.  We’ll see if they change before then.

The Atlantic is quiet now.  Bertha is long gone.  However, things are pretty rough in the Pacific.  In fact hurricane Iselle will likely move right over the big Island of Hawaii.  At the moment there are 2 hurricanes which are heading in that direction.  (Iselle and Julio).

Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

Julio is likely to pass north of the islands.  It may bring them some heavy rain and it will probably keep up the surge, but I think the overall impact will be low from the wind.  However, Iselle is forecast to bring wind gusts of near 90mph, flooding rain, and a storm surge of 1-3 feet.  Hilo may take some of the strongest winds and the storm is forecast to move just south of there.

Iselle Forecast

Iselle Forecast

It will pass south of Honolulu, but will probably still bring them some strong winds.  Stay tuned for updates.  Hopefully, those folks will fare the storm ok.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Bertha Weakens, But Waves Increase (Updated)

August 5th, 2014 at 7:45 am by under Weather

Midday Update (See below for morning update):

Bertha has weakened even more and now has maximum sustained winds of 60mph. Bertha should continue to weaken as it will move into an area with high wind shear. Red flags are flying at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront thanks to Bertha. Waves heights will increase even more this afternoon and there will be a high threat for rip currents. Here is the latest beach forecast.

Beach Forecast

Today’s Beach Forecast

It has been interesting to track Bertha over the last couple of days.  It started as such a weak system, that it was hard to believe that it could become a hurricane.  Yesterday it was a hurricane, but it has already weakened back to a tropical storm since the overnight hours.  It is about 200 miles ESE of Hatteras, NC.  It is moving northeast at over 20mph and now has sustained winds around 65mph.  The storm really looked like it fell apart on the satellite.  Then a few storms fired up north of the center.

Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

The system is fairly disorganized.  It is beginning to move over cooler waters, and the wind shear has picked up as well.  So the storm may weaken a bit more in the short term.  It is forecast to stay as a tropical storm for the next 48 hours.  In that time, however, it will start to wrap in some cooler air and make the transition to extra-tropical.  That will probably happen Wednesday into Thursday, but may happen sooner.

Bertha Forecast

Bertha Forecast

While the storm will stay far from here, we will still see some impacts.  We will NOT see any rain nor any wind from Bertha.  Instead we will see an increase in waves.  About 4-6ft around the Outer Banks.  3-5 ft around Virginia Beach.  This will also, however, increase the rip current threat (high).  So swimmers will need to use caution.  Red flags will likely be flying at the beaches.

Other than those local affects, we have also had some nuisances in the region.  We had some patchy thick fog this morning in a few locations.  We also had some scattered light showers.  We’ll continue to see a few scattered showers today as moisture lingers behind a developing cold front.  This is the stationary front that has been sitting over the region for the past 3 days.

Cold Front Developing

Cold Front Developing

The cold front will slowly move away from the region today.  That should help skies to clear up a bit later this afternoon as some dryer air moves into the region.  The showers will be scattered with a 30% chance for rain.  There will be a little higher chance over northeast North Carolina.  Highs will be in the low/mid 80s with east winds at 5-10mph.

Tomorrow will be partly cloudy with some warmer temperatures.  Highs will be in the upper 80s with just an isolated shower or storm late in the day.  There will be a few scattered showers tomorrow night into early Thursday. That will be another cold front moving through the region.  So we should dry out by Thursday afternoon. Then we are looking good through Saturday.  There will be a few showers trying to return by Sunday.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


More Rain, Bertha, And Waves

August 4th, 2014 at 8:49 am by under Weather

**11 AM Bertha Update Below**

Things have been pretty soggy for the past few days.  I’ve actually grown to like cool, cloudy, and rainy days.  I guess that’s a result of living in the Southeast for the past 15 years.  We have had some decent rain totals lately.  Some areas have had over 2″ of rain.

Rain Totals Fri-Sun

Rain Totals Fri-Sun

My Weather watcher, Brian in Smithfield, has had over 2″ of rain.  Yesterday the rain was confined to northeast North Carolina and a little over the Southside.  Today the rain is forecast to push back north along a stationary front.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

The rain is forecast to pick up through the late morning and early afternoon.  The chance will be highest south/southeast and lowest north of the metro.  It is very humid outside.  High temps will be in the upper 70s to near 80. Winds will be light and easterly.

Tomorrow the front will turn into a cold front.  This will move east/southeast, and it will help to keep tropical storm Bertha out to sea.  Also the upper level winds should help to keep Bertha away.  So the forecast for Bertha is to move about half way between Hatteras and Bermuda.

Bertha Forecast

Bertha Forecast

Bertha is now forecast to become a hurricane within the next 24 hours.  Wind shear has already decreased and is forecast to decrease even more.  Also the Gulf Stream is providing for plenty of warm ocean water.  The confidence is high in the forecast track.  The forecast models are all in pretty good agreement.

Forecast Models

Forecast Models

Bertha will eventually move north of Bermuda into the north Atlantic and will become extratropical by Friday.  While the winds will stay offshore from Bertha, it will increase the wave heights and rip current threat in the region.  So keep that in mind if you are going to the beach over the next couple of days.  Today it is a moderate threat, but it will be high by tomorrow.  Waves are about 2 feet today (maybe up to 3), but they will rise to 2-5ft tomorrow into Wednesday.  There might be some 5-6 footers down towards the Outer Banks.   Surfers should be happy.

11 AM Update: Bertha is now a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80mph.

Hurricane Bertha

Hurricane Bertha

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Uh Oh! Wet Weekend Ahead.

July 31st, 2014 at 8:03 am by under Weather

Well it’s still a nice day today, but things will get pretty wet as we go into the weekend.  Today will still have dry air and high pressure in the region.

Satellite/Radar/Surface

Satellite/Radar/Surface

Winds will be more southerly this afternoon.  So we’ll see some warmer temperatures (low/mid 80s).  By tomorrow the stationary front offshore will move west.  This will bring us a few showers later in the day, but only with a 30% chance.  Highs will be in the low/mid 80s, but the humidity will be increasing.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

By tomorrow evening the rain chances will increase to 40-50%.  Then….Saturday.  The front will sit right on top of us and give us a high chance for rain.  For now I put the number up to 70%, but I may increase it.  The front will also stick around on Sunday.  So we have another day with high chances for rain.

Rain Chances

Rain Chances

It’s a little early for rain totals, but preliminary estimates are easily over 1″.  I’m hoping that it doesn’t rain the entire time, but let’s just say that the breaks look few and far between.  Stay tuned.  If the front sets up just a little to the east or west, then maybe we can drop the chances a bit.  At least for one of the days.

In the tropics I’m still tracking that pesky cluster of thunderstorms east of the Lesser Antilles.  It is still likely to form into a tropical depression or storm.  So far, though, it has been fighting some dry air to the north of it. The models still run it up close to Puerto Rico.  Then they generally take it towards the Bahamas.  Luckily towards the end of the forecast they keep the system out to sea.

Tropical Forecast Models

Tropical Forecast Models

We’ll continue to monitor, but for now it’s wait and see.

Speaking of the tropics.  There is new research about forecasting hurricane intensity.  New research suggests that the microphysics of the water particles at the surface behave differently as the wind speeds increase in a hurricane.  Here is the full article: Hurricane Intensity Forecast Research.

Staying along the lines of water…Another article that I found comes from NOAA.  It talks about how nuisance flooding (flooding that is below minor tidal flooding levels) has increased in Norfolk. In fact it has increased quite a bit here and in several other east coast cities. Here is that full article: Nuisance Flooding Increase.  I have witnessed this myself.  In fact the threshold for minor tidal flooding at Sewell’s Point has changed from 5 feet to 4.5 feet over the last few years.  While a believer in Global Warming and sea level rise, I also wonder how much the man-made structures have contributed to the increase.  There are a lot of ships, docks, and structures in the Bay.  Also the tunnels must take up a decent amount of space though most of the tunnels are underground.  It’s something that should be studied in my opinion.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Cool Weather Lately…But Warming Arctic?

July 30th, 2014 at 9:19 am by under Weather

I talked about the a-typical weather pattern lately and the cooler weather that has followed it.  In fact Norfolk International Airport only had a high of 78 yesterday, when the average high temperatures is 87 degrees for this time of year.  Incredible!  Norfolk is close to the water, so that’s one reason that it was cooler than most Hampton Roads cities.  However, the region as a whole has had some coolness.  For a while we had a cyclical temperature pattern.

July Temperatures

July Temperatures

Then we had a longer stretch of cool weather in the second half of July.  We are still in that regime.  Highs today will be a little warmer (low 80s), but it is still very dry out there.  Dew points are in the 50s.  Other than a stray shower in the region we’ll have some very nice weather.  Nice weather will continue tomorrow, but we’ll see a few more showers move in around Friday.  Especially towards the evening.  Then over the weekend a boundary will move in from the ocean.  That is the current stationary front that now sits near the Gulf Stream.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

This boundary may lead to a washout.  I’m hoping the models will change their tune a bit.  A shower wouldn’t hurt, but we don’t need an all weekend rainout. Stay tuned!  Perhaps it will change.

Recently one viewer mentioned that the recent coolness over the eastern U.S. was likely tied to the recent ice on the Great Lakes and over the Arctic Ocean.  I believe that there was a good influence from the late thaws up north, but I found a website from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  Interestingly it talks about some of the fastest melting on record over the Arctic from late June through July.  Here’s the article: Fast Arctic Summer Melt.   So there was a late start, but now the melting is rapid.  Remember that while we have had some cool air, the entire globe had it warmest June on record according to NOAA.  That’s factoring in both air and water temperatures.  With the talk about the ice, I wondered how the current water temperatures were faring.  These are the current sea surface temperature anomalies (departure from average).

http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomnight.7.28.2014.gif

I figured that the Hudson Bay would be well below the average temperatures.  But according to NOAA/NESDIS most of that water is above average with a small, though sharp, area of cooler water in the southwest portion of the Bay. Looks like there a little ice there too, but generally that body of water is warmer than average. What really stuck out to me was the very warm water temperatures over most of the Arctic Waters (red areas).  This is very recent, and it’s very interesting.  Except for the north central Atlantic, most of that ocean and its surrounding waters are above average in the northern hemisphere.  It will be interesting to see how our weather pattern changes over the next month.  Especially as we go into the bulk of the hurricane season.

Speaking of the tropics.  I’m still watching that area of disturbed weather in the central Atlantic.  It didn’t look too impressive on satellite, but the National Hurricane Center still says that there is a good chance for development into a depression or storm.  If it does develop, then most models take it just east of Puerto Rico in a few days.  Then it stays well offshore from the U.S. as it moves northward.

Area Of Interest

Area Of Interest

I have some other links to other interesting weather news that I will share in tomorrow’s blog.  Until then. Enjoy the coolness.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Benefit Of Odd Weather

July 29th, 2014 at 8:05 am by under Weather

We are seeing that odd weather pattern again over the United States.  An unusually cool airmass has pushed into the eastern half of the United States, and it has created a large trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Odd Weather Pattern

Odd Weather Pattern

The reason it is odd is because this type of pattern hardly ever happens in the Summer.  Also, the pattern looks like it will be stuck for a few days.  Luckily this will give us some nice weather locally. Highs will be in the 80s and lows will be in the 60s for the next 3-4 days.   Other than an isolated shower in the region, we’ll have a dry forecast.

By next weekend things will change.  The trough will lift north, and we’ll warm up again.  The humidity will flow back northward. This will give us a higher chance for rain.

In the tropics I am tracking a large area of thunderstorms in the east central Atlantic.  It is moving west and is likely to become a tropical depression or storm in the next few days.

Area In The Tropics

Area In The Tropics

The models detect this area and generally strengthen it.  Over the next few days the system is forecast to move west and then northwest towards Puerto Rico.  The GFS model keeps it out to sea, but we’ll see what happens beyond the Greater Antilles.  For now it’s just something to watch.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Dry Air Is The Trick!

July 28th, 2014 at 7:57 am by under Weather

It has been a tough forecast over the last 24 hours.  While we did have a couple of rounds of showers and storms, they weren’t too bad.  Meanwhile there were many reports of severe weather around parts of the Midwest and Southeast. A strong cold front moved from the Midwest into the Appalachians overnight. Showers and storms along the front fell apart since then.

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

The trick today was tracking the moisture…or lack of it.  At the surface this morning there was ample moisture and even some instability.  Here were the dew points:

Dew Points (Surface Moisture)

Dew Points (Surface Moisture)

It was warm and muggy.  Temps started in the upper 70s to low 80s.  However, at the mid-levels, there was a strong punch of dry air coming in from the west.  This can be seen very well on our Water Vapor product.

Water Vapor

Water Vapor

This tool shows the dry/moist air at the mid levels of the Troposphere.  I’ll admit it’s pretty complicated how it works.  There’s more info on the link above.  However, all you need to know in this context is that the dry air has reached our area, and that will lower our rain chances today.  Even though the cold front still lies to our west.  The dry air is the dark and orange area on the above map.

Eventually we’ll also dry out at the lower levels.  You will notice it by the end of the day.  Highs will be in the low 90s, but there will be a strong breeze through the day.  It will run out of the southwest, then west at 10-20mph.  Other than a few isolated showers and storms, we’ll see some nice weather.

Tomorrow the front will stall out off shore.  We could see a few isolated showers or storms during the afternoon.  Otherwise, it will be a very nice day.  Highs will be in the upper 70s to low 80s.  Winds will be out of the north at 10mph.  Great weather will follow for Wednesday through Friday.  Highs will be in the 80s.  It will be nice and dry.  Lows will be in the 60s.  By next weekend we’ll up the humidity and the rain chances.  I don’t see a washout, but stay tuned for finer details as it gets closer.

In the tropics there is one small area of disturbed weather in the eastern Atlantic.  This set of showers has a medium chance for development over the next few days as it moves west.

Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

For me…until it’s something, it’s nothing.  Meaning… until NHC gives it a label I’ll only keep an eye on it.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


The Tornado And Other Damage From Thursday

July 25th, 2014 at 8:56 am by under Weather

It’s sad when you hear about a person that died from the weather.  Especially when you are covering it.  You try and keep people as safe as you can, but meteorologists can only do so much.  Yesterday, there was a confirmed tornado on the Eastern Shore.  It was rated an EF-1 tornado with estimated winds between 80 and 100mph.

Tornado/Wind Info

Tornado/Wind Info

The tornado moved through Cherrystone.  It especially hit hard a large campground there.  There were 2 deaths as a tree fell on a tent.  It was a family and the child is in the hospital  A very sad story.

There was a 150 yard wide path of damage.  It lasted for 8 miles.  One viewer sent in this photo of their camper which had been overturned.

Damage In Cherrystone

Damage In Cherrystone

This person said that her child had been hit in the head by a branch.  They are all ok according the the email, but there were numerous injuries at the park.  There was also some straight-lined wind damage from the storm that stretched down to Cape Charles.  Large hail also fell in the region.  It made it up to about golf-ball sized.

Looking back at what happened, this was an almost worst case scenario. (a stronger tornado in the middle of the night would be THE worst case).  For example, while there was some broad rotation in the storm, but  it didn’t tighten up until about 2 miles from the shore.  It then dropped a waterspout that moved onto land and became a tornado.  With the storm moving east at 25mph, that doesn’t leave much time to warn.  There was a lead time between the warning and the actual tornado.  I’ve heard different numbers, but 8 minutes is the most common. Also, this happened early in the morning. This is typically our most stable time of day.  In a previous blog I mentioned that the instability was actually growing at this time.  Also at that time of day most folks are just waking up when they are on vacation.  It was very warm and humid out.  The deep humidity led to lower clouds than usual.  With the localized spin this helped lead to a tornado.  Finally, the area hit was one of the largest campgrounds in the region.  Campers and trailers are highly susceptible to damage during severe winds, and it’s even worse during a tornado.  So say a prayer for the folks that are over on the Eastern Shore today.

Aside from that we also had strong storms yesterday morning and evening in some other Virginia cities.  Here are the 24 hour severe weather reports:

Storm Reports

Storm Reports

We also had numerous reports sent into the station.  Here was one photo of a huge tree down in Hunterdale, VA.

Tree Down In Hunterdale, VA

Tree Down In Hunterdale, VA

It had to be a strong wind to be able to do that as the tree looked pretty thick.  Also, I had one viewer send me a report on facebook.  This is of a silo in Sedley, VA which took some major damage.

Silo Down In Sedley

Silo Down In Sedley

There were also many reports of street flooding, lightning, and hail.  The one bright spot out of all of this is that one large area got rain that needed it.

24 Hour Rain Totals

24 Hour Rain Totals

From the Peninsula northward there was over an inch of rain.  About 1-2 inches in some cases.  This region had missed out on a lot of the recent rain.  So I am happy for them.  Jan in Reedville had been hoping for rain for weeks.  She got over an inch.

Today the cold front has settled to our south.

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

We had a cooler morning with lows in the 60s and 70s.  There were a few sprinkles early, but then they moved south.  High pressure will build in through the day and we’ll gradually dry things out.  We’ll see highs in the low/mid 80s.  Winds will be out of the north at 10mph. Tonight will be mostly clear with lows in the upper 60s to near 70.  Tomorrow looks good.  Skies will be partly cloudy with highs in the upper 80s.  Heat will build in again by Sunday. Highs will be in the low/mid 90s.  We’ll see some late day showers and storms.  Storms will fire up again on Monday out ahead of another cold front.  Since we’ve had this crazy pattern, I would expect more strong-severe storms.  So stay tuned to the weather.  There will be another batch of much cooler air over the Midwest.  Behind the front, some of that will move into our region by the middle of next week.

I miss the old days of partly cloudy with a few pop up showers and storms each day during the Summer.  I’m not a fan of this crazy pattern.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Severe Weather From Today

July 24th, 2014 at 2:02 pm by under Weather

I won’t lie…This morning was rough.  Storms fired up early and produced severe weather across the region.  A cold front entered the region and kicked off numerous downpours.  There was a very humid airmass out ahead of the boundary.  Temperatures were already very warm in the upper 70s to near 80.  There was some instability, but it wasn’t off the charts.  In fact…there was no smoking gun for this morning.  Through the early morning hours there was no slight risk for severe weather from the Storm Prediction Center.  It was upgraded by mid morning, but that was about the time of the damage on the Eastern Shore.  The computer models did not pick up on the earliness of the storms.  I will say that there were a couple things that favored strong storms.  There was some upper level wind support.  It was decent for this time of year.  Plus, the instability was growing despite the early time of day.  The cold front provided a focus for storms, and the cloud decks were very low due to the deep humidity.  As a few of the storms started they produced heavy rain to our west, but there were no warnings initially.

Satellite/Radar (7:30am)

Satellite/Radar (7:30am)

By about 8:30 am one of the storms moved from the Middle Peninsula across the Chesapeake Bay.  As it did so, it gained a lot of strength.  Before it reached the Eastern Shore there was a severe thunderstorm warning for one of the inland storms.  So we started to focus on that.  The radar had already showed an area of strong reflectivity over the Bay storm.  This was a sign of heavy rain and hail.  However, there wasn’t much rotation as it was over the Bay.  About 1-2 miles offshore it did pick up the rotation, and it did likely form a waterspout.  At it moved over land it likely became a tornado.  The National Weather Service is working to confirm this as I type.

Super Doppler 10 Radar

Super Doppler 10 Radar

The rotation moved right over Cherrystone and Cheriton, VA.  There was a brief spinup, and then the rotation dissipated shortly after those towns.  There was a lot of damage to a camp ground in Cherrystone.  There was also some large hail reported.  Again, there wasn’t a lot of time to warn folks as the storm really took shape just offshore.  There was a marine warning for over the Bay for mariners.  Unfortunately, there were some deaths.  Here’s the story so far: Eastern Shore.

Storms continued a while longer.  The front slowly slipped southward, and temperatures dropped.

Satellite, Radar, & Fronts

Satellite, Radar, & Fronts

We’ll still see scattered showers and storms this afternoon into the evening. A few storms will be strong over northeast North Carolina, but the storms shouldn’t be too bad for the rest of the region.  Heavy rain will still be possible.  The models do show that.  There’s a lot of storm reports coming in, but I haven’t see many photos of the actual tornado.  I have seen one possible photo, but no others.  We’re trying to confirm.  We’ll have more updates this evening.  We will see a nice day tomorrow.  I think we all need it at this point.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Cold Front And Severe Weather

July 24th, 2014 at 10:26 am by under Weather

We are in the middle of coverage, but I wanted to just do a quick mention.  We’ve had strong storms in the region this morning along a cold front.  The system is moving east/southeast.  We have had reports of a tornado that touched down near the Cherrystone area of the Eastern Shore.  Here was the radar just shortly after that time:

Severe Storm On Radar

Severe Storm On Radar

We also had reports of large hail in that zone.  Storms continue this morning as the front slowly pushes east.  Heavy rain and strong gusty winds will be possible through noon.  There will be another round of rain later today.  The atmosphere has been worked over pretty good.  So the severe threat should diminish.  However, storms will likely fire up over northeast North Carolina this afternoon where storms have been sparse so far.  We’ll have a bigger update either later this morning or around the midday.  Be safe out there.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler