Posted by Meteorologist Matt Holiner at 8:55pm
The wind is howling and the snow is coming down! Andrew provided us with a few reports on what he saw at his place. What does he do when he gets excited about a good forecast? Find out!
Posted By Meteorologist Matt Holiner, 2/12/15, 7:00pm
An arctic cold front cleared the area this afternoon, but this was just the start. The graphic below shows the coldest temperatures recorded at Richmond International Airport so far this winter. Cold, but two more arctic fronts arriving over the next seven days will likely knock some of these temperatures out of the top five.
The next front will arrive in Central Virginia Saturday evening. On Sunday, we're currently forecasting a high temperature of only 26°. This would tie our coldest high temperature so far this winter and is just two degrees shy of the record low high of 24° set back in 1943. Sunday night, temperatures will tumble to 8°, just one degree shy of the record of 7° set all the way back in 1905.
But we're not done yet. ANOTHER arctic front will arrive next Wednesday morning and this one could be even colder than Saturday's. Highs Wednesday will only climb into the mid 20s and then Wednesday night, we're currently forecasting a low of 5°! That would break the record of 10° set back in 1979. Temperatures may not recover from this cold blast until next weekend.
To put things in perspective, our average high temperatures this time of year are in the low 50s while our average low temperatures are in the low 30s. This means temperatures are going to be more than 20 degrees below average at times...winter is far from over!
-Posted By Andrew Freiden, 11:53am 2/10/2015
It more of a Boston Ski Party than a Boston Tea Party in the Northeast as the snow keeps coming.
Here's the snow total from BEFORE Boston's most recent snow:
And the latest report from Logan Airport:
These are staggering numbers. Keep in mind, they've had 40" of snow since February started, and nearly 70" since January 26th!
They are making a run at the all time seasonal snow record of 88" in 1993-94. Only 11" to go--and there are two potential storms that could hit them hard in the coming days:
— Michael Ventrice (@MJVentrice) February 10, 2015
One Thursday Night and another one Sunday. These are associated with two arctic blasts that will make it impossible to remove the snow any time soon. Check out this before and after:
— Tim Ballisty (@IrishEagle) February 10, 2015
I think they are ready to declare independence from winter. Here in Richmond, we're still at only 0.3" of snow at the airport for the season.
Have a great day.
From Meteorologist Samantha Roberts:
One of my favorite things about the television business is that it affords me the luxury of watching the sun rise and set on most days. (Yes, sometimes there is a lengthy nap in between.)
If you were up early on this Saturday morning, we enjoyed a particularly beautiful sunrise. So much so that it caught the attention of many of you on social media.
You are so right, Trevor! This is a question we are often asked. (I'd say that makes us pretty lucky, huh? So many people in our area wondering, "Why are Virginia sunrises and sunsets so gorgeous, especially during the colder months?" Maybe it's because I'm a native Virginian but I do believe we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I'll stop gushing now.)
The seasons do have a lot to do with the appearance of the rising and setting sun. This time of the year, we are often brushed by cold, dry, and most importantly, CLEAN Canadian air masses. According to our friends at NOAA, that clean air is the "main ingredient" of a brilliant sunrise or sunset. Clean air provides more radiant color.
It's not just a matter of air masses. Clouds also help to enhance the appearance of the rising and setting sun. Clouds grab the sun's rays and reflect them toward the ground. (We had a nice deck of cloud cover moving over the area this morning. It helped.)
Lastly, one must consider the sun angle. (Andrew threw this idea in late this morning.) In the winter months, the sun hangs closer to the horizon. Therefore, sunrises and sunsets last a bit longer, giving you more time to enjoy the view.
So, what's all of the fuss about? It'd be cruel to tease you like this, if you're not a morning person. If you missed this morning's sunrise, here are a few pictures.
Added at 6:25 PM: Not to be left out, I received this shot via email this evening of the setting sun over the mighty Rappahannock in Morattico. Thanks to Sandy and Gale for sending this stunning shot.
Wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend.
Not only do we do our best to bring you the most accurate forecast possible, the First Warning Weather Team also wants to help you understand the weather better. Some weather questions come up more than others, so we'll try and respond to these here on the Weather Insider.
A common one we get this time of year is why do we see our breath when it's cold out? First, remember that our lungs and mouths are filled with moisture. When we breathe out, some of this moisture exits our bodies in the form of water vapor. When the air temperature is cold enough, this vapor is forced to change from a gas into tiny, liquid water droplets through the process of condensation. This is the same process that forms clouds in the skies above, so you're essentially making your own personal cloud just by breathing out on a cold day!
So how cold does it have to be to make your own cloud? Well it's not a straightforward answer, because it's not just the temperature that matters, but also the humidity.
When you breathe out, your warm, moist breath mixes with the colder, drier air outside. The combination of the moisture in your breath and the moisture in the outside air must reach 100% relative humidity in order for you to see your breath. You raise the humidity by breathing out, but if the outside air is too warm (above the low 60s) or really dry (low relative humidity), condensation will not occur.
The more humid it is, the warmer the temperatures you can see your breath in. If the relative humidity of the outside air is already above 50% when temperatures are in the 50s or upper 40s, the moisture in your breath should be sufficient to bring the combined relative humidity to 100%. If the outside relative humidity is under 50% though, the addition of your breath likely still won't be enough to reach 100%.
It is much more common to see your breath when the temperature is below 45°, but even then it's still not a guarantee. Sometimes the air is so dry that even at these cold temperatures, condensation will not occur and you won't be able to see your breath.
Now you'll have a lot more to think about the next time you're making those little clouds!
Posted By Meteorologist Matt Holiner, 2/6/15
From Meteorologist Samantha Roberts (1:00 PM, 2/5/2015)
We use model data, in conjunction with our own knowledge of certain weather situations and the local area, in order to develop a forecast. Models come in to the weather office at different times during the day. The 12z (morning model run) of the European model can take a while to come in so I thought, "Hey, while I wait, I'll crunch some numbers."
What numbers are we crunching today? They have a little something to do with snow. ..
Recently, a lot of you are asking, "When is it going to snow again?" Even more recently (like, today...) people are asking, "IS IT EVER GOING TO SNOW AGAIN?!" I mean, how can we ever crown a winner of our NBC12 Snowcaster of the YEAR contest if we never accumulate an inch of snow at Richmond International Airport?!
Let's take a look back at last year, which is what some might consider a "bad winter." It started off rather mild but man, did we have to contend with a few decent, impactful snows there toward the end. I won't bore you with all of the numbers, because I know you're busy. We'll keep it simple.
From December 2013 through March 2014 (so, basically, last winter), we accumulated about 14.5" of snowfall. 5.1" of that had already fallen by THIS DAY last year.
This year (December 2014 - now) we've only accumulated a measly 0.3". THAT was in January. (Keep in mind, we are using Richmond International Airport as our observation site in this instance. Many of you actually DID see some accumulating snow a few weeks back when we had that burst of early-morning snow.)
Hear me, snow lovers. I don't want you to despair just yet. While we accumulated 14.5" of snowfall last year, 9.4" of that occurred AFTER February 5th. We've still got time! In February 2014 alone, we accumulated 5.8"...ALL AFTER February 5th.
Whether we're talking about every day life or weather, waiting is rarely fun! Perhaps our patience will pay off? I don't really see it paying off anytime within the next few days, although there is a *small* chance for some snow early next week.
With that, I'll leave you so that I can start working on the forecast. That 12z European model should be slowly trickling in, and I want to see if our snow chance has improved :)
Posted By Andrew Freiden, 10am 2/3/2015
It starts with a horrible joke by me on twitter:
Q: which locality in Virginia has the most Owls? A: Wise county #sorrynotsorry— Andrew Freiden (@AndrewNBC12) February 3, 2015
A real groaner, right?
I thought that would be the end of it. But a member of the Richmond twitterati called me out:
That led me to think...Fairfax county is an urban county. To the city folk up there, the sighting of an owl probably sends them scurrying off to their phones to "report" the owl. But in rural Wise county, they probably see owls all the time, and likely don't really feel the urge to "report" an owl just so everyone knows they saw one. It would be like reporting every squirrel you see!
Also, Wise is sparsely populated with vast natural areas that are uninhabited. The owls can hide without being seen and reported.
So, I applied my soon-to-be-patented HOO (Human-Owl-Observation) factor and did the math. I figure each live owl in Fairfax is reported 5 times to the authorities. But in Wise, only 1 in every 5 owls gets reported at all.
Turns out there are clearly way more owls in Wise County than in Fairfax County after all! Probably 6 times as many.
And before you ask-- yes. It was a slow weather day and Mr. Bain appears to have enjoyed the give-and-take:
@AndrewNBC12 this shall be held up and used as training material for all aspiring future wiseacres and wisenheimers (GET IT? WISE?!?!)— Taber Andrew Bain (@taber) February 3, 2015
Posted By Meteorologist Matt Holiner 2/1/15, 4:45pm
For Richmond to get a sizable snow, things have to line up just right. Just a slight change in one of the variables can cause the whole thing to fall apart. Thursday will provide us with another opportunity for things to line up, but will it happen this time?
The initial set up is actually a very favorable one for snow. Early indications point to an area of low pressure moving from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Coast Wednesday night into Thursday morning. This will be a low filled with moisture that will be able to produce precipitation easily. Of course, you have to have cold air if you want this precipitation to fall as snow. This too looks to be falling into place for Richmond. Much cooler air from Canada will be arriving Wednesday night into Thursday morning across Central Virginia, causing temperatures to fall below freezing by Thursday afternoon. If precipitation were to fall then, it would be all snow.
BUT, here's the catch. Right now the majority of the models have the low tracking pretty far to our east. This would keep the bulk of the moisture offshore and result in only a dusting in Richmond with slightly higher snow amounts to the east of town.
This far out, it's still possible that the low could end up tracking a little farther west, which would result in considerably higher snow totals. By the same token, this also means that the low could shift farther east, causing us to just be cold without any precipitation. Once again, a lot of uncertainty with this system. We'll keep you updated throughout the week!
Last Updated: 1/31/15 8:00 AM (Samantha Roberts)