Jeremy Wheeler

Cool Pocket Departing Soon

August 15th, 2014 at 8:33 am by under Weather

Brrrr!  Yep it’s August and parts of the Midwest are cold.  Not cool, not a bit chilly, but cold.  Lows this morning were in the upper 30s over parts of Michigan and Wisconsin.  It’s no joke.  Now locally we had low temps in the 60s mostly.  If we kept mostly clear skies this morning, then we might have seen some more 50s.  But a small pocket of clouds did move through early.  It is already pushing out, and overall the day is looking good.  Skies will be partly sunny with high pressure in the region.

Satellite/Radar

Satellite/Radar

There is a stationary front to our south.  A weak area of low pressure will form along that today and will nudge the front northward.  This will create a few spotty showers over northeast North Carolina this afternoon. Tonight into tomorrow morning we’ll see a few showers in the region, but overall skies will be partly cloudy over the next 24 hours.  We’ll have fair skies on Sunday, however,  the heat and humidity will build in quickly.  So let’s look at the weather pattern causing this big change.

Today there is a rather large trough in the Midwest down to the Mid Atlantic.  This is bordering the cooler/colder airmass.

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

The trough would normally produce some thunderstorms in the region, but the air at the surface is very dry.  So only isolated showers in the region are forecast for today (northeast North Carolina).  Highs will be in the 70s in the Midwest with low 80s around here.  Tomorrow the trough will lift north a bit.  Winds will be light out of the southeast.  This will allow for some warming in the region.  Highs will be in the mid 80s.  By Sunday the trough will push back up to the Canadian border.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

So as the trough lifts,  the heat will be allowed to spill east into the Mid Atlantic and the Southeast.  Locally our high temperatures will rise to the low 90s.  Humidity will also increase.  Highs will stay in the low 90s through Wednesday.  There may even be some mid 90s in the region.  We haven’t seen Norfolk hit 90 degrees or more since July 23rd.  That’s when we hit 91 degrees.

Things are getting set up for the ECSC this weekend.  The main events will happen next week into next weekend.  I don’t think we’ll see too much surf this weekend for warmups and practices.  Perhaps we’ll get some waves building next week.  The finals are next weekend, so I’ll cross my fingers for the surfers.  The Atlantic is quiet for now.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Tracking Nothing And Loving It

August 14th, 2014 at 8:28 am by under Weather

Yep… It’s true.  I’m tracking nothing today.  (Sorry boss!)  No tropical systems, no thunderstorms, no meteorites.  Nothing.  Well, I guess you could argue that I’m tracking cooler weather.  Ok…You got me.  This morning temperatures were in the upper 50s to low 60s in our inland locations.  It was still in the 70s right near the shore.  Today we have a large area of high pressure in the region.  We’ll see lots of sunshine and it will be super dry outside.

Regional Dew Points

Regional Dew Points

The air is dry all the way down to Georgia and South Carolina.  Incredible.  Highs will be in the low/mid 80s and there will be a light north/northwest breeze.  It will feel like a little taste of early Fall.  Tonight we’ll have a few clouds and lows in the 60s.  Highs will be in the low 80s tomorrow.  However, we’ll heat up on Sunday to near 90.  We’ll be in the 90s also early next week.

In International News, Australia has downgraded the chance for El Nino forming this year.  This according to Bloomberg.com: Less Chance For El Nino.  This could really impact the west which is in great need of rain.  Especially California.  According “The Desert Sun”, 82% of the state is in either extreme (level 4 of 5) or exceptional (level 5) drought.  Here’s the story.  California Drought/Heat.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


Drying Out Today

August 13th, 2014 at 8:48 am by under Weather

Meteorologist Tiffany Savona did a great blog last night about the flooding and storms from yesterday.  So I’ll just do a quick update to do more on the forecast for today.  Yesterday a warm front and ample humidity helped to create a lot of the rain in the region.  It wasn’t everywhere though.  There was heavy rain over the Middle Peninisula, lower Eastern Shore, and southern Outer Banks.  However, places in between had much less.  Take a look:

24 Hour Rain Totals

24 Hour Rain Totals

Today a cold front is moving through the region from the west.  This may kick off an isolated shower this morning, but the window of opportunity is closing.

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

Satellite/Radar/Fronts

Even though there is a cold front moving through, we won’t really cool down today.  The sun will pop out (it has already).  So this will still allow temperatures to heat up to the mid 80s  The good news is that the dry air will gradually push in.  So we will go from dew points near 70 to dew points to near 60 by the end of the day.  Winds will be northwest at 5-10mph.

Other than a possible stray shower on Saturday, we are looking good for the next few days.  Highs will be in the 80s. Lows in the 60s and 70s.  The Atlantic is nice and quiet.  I think we could all use some quiet weather for a while.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

 


Showers & Storms Likely Today

August 12th, 2014 at 9:09 am by under Weather

A couple of things are working together to increase our rain chances today.  We have already had some scattered showers this morning.  It was rather heavy near Hatteras, NC to the Rodanthe area.

Radar This Morning

Radar This Morning

Along with ample moisture pooling into the region, we also have a warm front to our south.  The front will move into the region this afternoon.

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

Southeast winds will prevail.  They’ll run about 10-15mph.  We are expecting lots of clouds today.  Despite this, high temperatures are forecast to rise up to the mid 80s.  This should help to create a little instability in the atmosphere.  Also, there will be some upper level winds moving into the region that will be able to support some strong storms.  So because of this, part of our area is under a slight risk for severe weather.

Slight Risk For Severe

Slight Risk For Severe

The main threat will be strong straight-lined winds, but an isolated tornado is not out of the question.  Large hail and heavy rain will also be possible.  Don’t rule out of couple of strong storms south of the slight risk area.  Here is what our Future Trak computer model shows for 3pm:

Future Trak (3 PM)

Future Trak (3 PM)

Rain will continue into tonight and early tomorrow as a cold front pushes in from the west.  This front will keep the rain chances in for tomorrow morning, but the front and the rain should push east of us by midday.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

In fact the rain should push out by mid-morning Wednesday. We are looking at about a quarter to half inch of rain in general, but if you get under some of the downpours, then you will likely see over an inch of rain.  Once the front pushes through, then the winds will flip around to northwesterly.  They won’t be too strong, but eventually they will pull in some drier air.  Highs will still be warm though as sunshine breaks out during the afternoon.   So we’ll see mid 80s again.  On Thursday and Friday we are looking good.   We’ll have drier air moving in, and highs will be in the low 80s.  Lows will be in the 60s.  It will be more great weather.  For now things look good next weekend.  One model shows a couple of stray showers on Saturday, but it is a pretty low chance.  Stay tuned.

With the recent full moon and the persistent east-southeast winds, there has been some nuisance tidal flooding lately.  This will happen around midday today and midnight tonight, but it shouldn’t be too bad.  It should be between 3.75 ft and 4 ft at Sewell’s Point.  For reference, minor tidal flooding there starts at 4.5 ft.

I didn’t mention the tropics during the newscast, but that is because the chance for development has dropped.  There is still a small cluster of thunderstorms in the eastern Atlantic that may develop, but it is a small chance for now.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

 


Hot & Cold….Wet too?

August 11th, 2014 at 8:17 am by under Weather

Yesterday was great.  I took advantage of the nice weather and took my family to one of the local water parks.  It’s been tough to fit in outdoor stuff lately with a lot of the cool and wet weather that we’ve had in the region.  Dog Days of Summer?  Hmph!  More like the fancy cat days of Summer.  In fact there has been some very polarized temperatures lately over much of the world.  Take a look at this image of temperature anomalies for July from NASA.

http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/84000/84150/namericalsta_tmo_2014215_lrg.jpg

North American Temperature Anomalies

Look at the spike in temps west and over central Canada with the large area of coolness over the rest of the U.S. and Canada.  Mexico was above average as well.  It was also unusually cool over western Europe, but very warm over eastern and northern Europe.

So our forecast is pretty mild as well.  There are no 90s in the 7 day forecast.  Today we could see some isolated showers.  Highs will be in the low/mid 80s.  Humidity won’t be too bad, but it is increasing.

Isolated Showers Today

Isolated Showers Today

Tomorrow we’ll see a higher chance for rain as both a warm and cold front approach from the west.  We haven’t had a lot of thunderstorms over the last few days.  (Though heavy rain fell Saturday over northeast North Carolina). Scattered storms are possible Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Tomorrow's Forecast

Tomorrow’s Forecast

Behind those systems we’ll see some more nice weather from Wednesday through the weekend.  Of course I’d check back on that part of the forecast.  Lately it’s been day by day.

Along with the skies, we’ll have to watch the waters today.  There is a high threat for rip currents at the local beaches.  The waters are churned up pretty good.  Waves will be running about 3ft and there is an onshore breeze.  So be careful if you are going down for a swim.  Remember if you are caught in a rip current, then swim parallel to the shore and then back in up or down the beach.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler


A Shifty Weekend?

August 8th, 2014 at 8:44 am by under Weather

The forecast over the last 24 hours has been very very….Shifty!  I’ve mentioned how the whole weather pattern has been frustrating for the past month or so.  When it comes to stationary or slow moving fronts this time of year, the models have a difficult time determining where the convection (thunderstorms) will form.  Case in point….this weekend.  Today is easy.  High pressure is in control.  Partly cloudy with highs in the 80s and a light northeast breeze.  Done!

Today's Forecast

Today’s Forecast

By Saturday the area of low pressure over Tennessee is forecast to move east/southeast along a drifting stationary front.  Now yesterday some of the computer models had it moving to about central Virginia/North Carolina.  It brought the front north up to just south of our area.  This created a scenario where flooding rain was possible for our region.  But!  I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I had a low confidence in this as the models haven’t handled things well lately.  The rain is very dependent on where the front and low setup.  So… since just last night the models have trended south/southwest with the rainfall.  In fact some of them now call for a pretty dry forecast for Hampton Roads.  I am skeptical.  Officially, I’m calling for some spotty showers tomorrow morning with a 30% chance for scattered showers tomorrow afternoon.  Then a 50% chance for rain Saturday night into Sunday morning.  (It was up to 70-80% during that time). The latest forecast from the Weather Prediction Center (a branch of NOAA) puts the heavy rain over central and western Virginia/North Carolina for the whole weekend.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/d13_fill.gif

NOAA Rain Forecast

Now we need to be careful.  With such a dramatic shift in the last 18 hours, it’s possible that it could shift back the other way.  Heavy rain is possible for at least some of our northeast North Carolina counties. There has already been a lot of rain there lately. So localized flooding is still possible for some cities to the southwest.   Stay tuned for updates.

The low will move slowly to the southeast into Tuesday.  So at least some scattered showers are possible through then.

The Atlantic ocean is quiet, but Hawaii is dealing with Iselle this morning in the Pacific.  Luckily it had weakened on satellite before landfall.  Also the Central Pacific Hurricane Center had downgraded the storm.  In fact the winds were brought down to 60mph as it moved over land.  That was good news.

Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

The island is experiencing some strong gusty winds and heavy rain, but I believe the overall impacts won’t be too bad.  There have been some trees down and power outages so far.  There may be some mudslides along the higher elevations though.  The storm will move away from the big island later this morning and will weaken as it moves west.  Now Julio is a strong hurricane. However, it is likely to weaken and move north of the islands.  So I don’t think it will have much of an impact on the region.  Outside of a few problems, many residents will be just fine despite two storms near the Hawaiian waters.

Meteorologist: 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