Thursday, December 2, 2010

It’s December Already!?
By Sonya Stevens

The year has flown by and December is here! The first day of the month is starting out cold and windy thanks to a cold front that moved through last night. Days like today remind me that winter isn’t that far away with the official season starting December 21st.

The average high for this time of year is in the lower 60s while the average low is in the upper 30s. According to these “norms”, temperatures are expected to be cooler than normal over the next week here in Central Georgia. Looking ahead to the following week, temperatures are expected to be below normal too (see graphic below).

I know it is December, but it is not supposed to be THIS cold yet! I guess I’ll be wearing lots of sweaters and my heavy coat to stay warm! If you don’t like the cold, the long-term forecast is looking good. A strengthening La Nina is expected to bring warmer than normal temperatures and drier than normal conditions this winter. If this holds true, snow would be very unlikely. That may be good news for some yet bad news for others! Let the countdown to winter begin and in the meantime try to stay warm!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Meteorologists Braving the Elements…Are We Crazy?

Have you ever noticed that when there is a major weather event that meteorologists flock to that area?

For example, Dave Price from the Early Show was in Wilmington, NC, at the end of September for all the flooding rain they had. There were also meteorologists and weather reporters from the Weather Channel in various points up and down the east coast to cover the extensive flooding as well.

So why do we flock to these events like we do? Well several reasons!

First, we get paid to do it…it’s our job!

Second, we want to inform viewers of the current conditions. We can show you the radar and satellite imagery in the studio, but it’s much better to see the meteorologist out in the field… it makes it much more real that way! If it’s a dangerous situation, we hope that seeing the rough conditions will make you want to stay home and therefore stay safe!

Third, we love to do it! I know most people wouldn’t want to be in our shoes, but we are just very passionate about the weather (although sometimes it makes us appear to be a bit crazy)! We can experience pouring rain for hours, ankle-deep water that we have to wade through, or hours in the cold measuring snow with a ruler.

So the next time you see a meteorologist braving the elements, don’t feel TOO bad for them…because deep down inside they are enjoying it…they are in their element!

-Sonya Stevens

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sizzling September

It’s September… and it’s still hot!

Highs have been in the 90s so far this month except for 3 days. Those 3 days were a dose of reality as our normal highs for this time of year are in the upper 80s. The above normal temperatures have been courtesy of upper ridges that have been setting up across the Deep South. The air underneath the ridge sinks and then warms up. This set-up has kept us sweating but has also kept us fairly dry.

Rain chances have been few and far between so far this September. We didn’t have any rain in Central Georgia the first week and a half of the month. Now we have just over a quarter of an inch in the rain bucket, which gives us a surplus of a half inch for the year. Right now, the 7 day forecast is completely dry. We don’t NEED the rain yet, but it would be nice to get a little (at least my lawn would appreciate it!)

The slightly above normal temperatures are expected to continue through next week…at least the humidity is bearable! Fall starts officially in about a week, so let the countdown begin! I just hope cooler temperatures will follow!

-Meteorologist Sonya Stevens

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Raining Cats & Dogs

This is one of my favorite weather phrases...probably because I’m such an animal lover. The term simply implies that it's raining really hard! But where did this funny phrase come from?

No one knows for sure but it's probably been around since at least the 1700's. One reason that the phrase may have come along is that cats and dogs used to live up on roofs, where it was the warmest, and might have been washed from roofs during heavy rain giving the impression that they were falling from the sky. The other reason is that back then flooding would occasionally carry along dead animals implying to some folks that they had fallen from the sky. These are all just theories though. There is no truth to the term "raining cats and dogs", but it has rained other animals!
  • In August 2000, a shower of dead fish rained down on a fishing port in Norfolk, England, after a thunderstorm. The fishy rain was believed to be caused by waterspout which sucked up the fish near the surface of the water and then later threw them on the ground.
  • In June 1997, it rained toads in the town of Villa Angel Flores in Mexico. A small tornado whirled up a cluster of toads from a nearby body of water and then dumped them over the town.
Other small animals such as lizards and birds have "rained" down as well. The creatures are most likely sucked up from bodies of water by tornadoes or waterspouts into thunderstorms and then dumped miles away in heavy rain. Tornadoes will pick up anything in their path ( picked up a cow in the movie Twister)! I must admit that I love a good rain sometimes, but if I ever saw frogs or dead fish falling with the raindrops, I would be grossed out, yet intrigued at the same time!

~ Meteorologist Sonya Stevens

Friday, July 30, 2010

Heat Advisories, Watches and Warnings

Another day, another heat advisory. As of Friday, it was the eighth day in a row a heat advisory was issued for most of Central Georgia. Also on Friday, an "Excessive Heat Watch" was issued for Southern parts of Central Georgia. We've been throwing these advisories and watches and warnings out for a while now, but I can't remember if we've ever explained the differences between the heat related ones. So here we go!

The most common one we've seen this summer is the "Heat Advisory" which is issued within 12 hours of the onset of the following conditions: heat index of at least 105°F but less than 115°F for less than 3 hours per day, or nighttime lows above 80°F for 2 consecutive days. Pretty simple.

The newest one is the "Excessive Heat Watch". It is issued by the National Weather Service when heat indices in excess of 105ºF (41ºC) during the day combined with nighttime low temperatures of 80ºF (27ºC) or higher are forecast to occur for two consecutive days. So it basically means that nighttime temperatures and dew points aren't going to drop enough to provide adequate cooling overnight to those of us without the luxury of an air-conditioner. This can create a dangerous situation because the body isn't able to recoup and recover before the heat of the day kicks in again.

Just like a Tornado Watch and Warning, a watch means it's possible for this type of weather to occur while a warning indicates that the event is already occurring or imminent.

The "Excessive Heat Warning" has one caveat... Even if nighttime temperatures dip below 80, the warning will be issued if the heat index goes over 115. This is because the guidance for an "Excessive Heat Warning" is: An Excessive Heat Warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of the following criteria: heat index of at least 105°F for more than 3 hours per day for 2 consecutive days, or heat index more than 115°F for any period of time.

Hope this clears up a little confusion for you. Stay safe out there this summer!

Meteorologist Jason Disharoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Everyone has heard of the "dog days of summer", right?

Blondie & Abbie

This picture describes what we think of the know days of sweltering temperatures where it is so hot that even dogs don't want to be outside! While this description makes perfect sense, the "dog days" actually have nothing to do with hot weather or dogs. Surprising, huh?

The dog days of summer are July 3rd through August 11th, when the Dog Star, Sirius, rises along with or closely with the sun. Some people believe that the combination of the sun and the brightest star is to blame for the scorching temperatures in the middle of the summer, but really it's just the result of the earth's tilt toward the sun.

The Dog Star & Its Tiny Companion

Some proof of this? Here are average highs during the summer months:
June – 89.5°, July – 91.8°, August – 90.5°, September – 85.4°

So you see, July and August are supposed to the hottest part of the summer and that's why it's no big surprise that the "dog days" stuck! Being such a dog lover, I love the term and may just have to use it later this week as temperatures heat up to above normal values!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Sooooooo Hot...

Well, to say it's been hot lately would be quite an understatement! But, how hot is it? Here are a few of my favorites!

  • Birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
  • Potatoes cook underground, so just pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
  • It's so hot that I saw two trees fighting over a dog. : )
  • It's so hot, today I saw a chicken lay a fried egg.
  • It's so hot that it makes me want to take off my skin and sit in my bones.
  • Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.
  • Cows are giving evaporated milk.
  • You discover that it takes only 2 fingers to drive your car.
  • The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
  • Hot water now comes out of both taps.
  • You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
  • You break a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.
Hope you beat the heat...

Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones