End of an Era

March 23, 2011

To our blog readers:

We’ve decided to retire this weather blog.  Even though we won’t contribute here anymore, we’re actually producing much more content online than we did just a year ago, when nbc12.com and the weather blog were the only ways to reach you. 

We’re now posting articles frequently on nbc12’s webpage, our facebook accounts, and on twitter.  If you “like” us on facebook or follow us on twitter, you’ll be getting ALL our content that we used to post here, and much more.  You’ll also be able to interact with us there and with our email addresses.

Web:      http://www.nbc12.com/weather











 And you can always get us via email:






We hope you keep reading and contributing—but just in a different format.

 NBC12 First Warning Weather Team


Today’s Snow Plus Blog Comments

January 26, 2011

New Video blog post up on this evening’s snow chances here:

Now, About the lack of posts:  We’ve been bad at updated this blog but we’ve been REALLY GOOD (I promise!) on our website.  As winter storms have approached we’ve been doing twice daily (if not more frequent) video discussions saying what we think about upcoming winter storms.  Hopefully you’ve seen these and enjoyed them.  We’re still trying to figure out exactly what this blog will be going forward, since so much of the blog content we used to put here is now going on our website instead.  One of the problems with the blog is that not everyone comes here to look for content. We do work that gets way more eyeballs if we put it on NBC12.com

Blog Readers:  Are you ok with this?  Would it help if we posted links here to everything bloggy we do on the web page?  That way our registered commenters like you could still use this forum to discuss our posts with us and others.

Let me know!

-Andrew Freiden

Unusually Cold December

December 21, 2010

Just one day this month has seen temperatures above-normal, a rarity in any month, but especially so in this early stage of what has been widely predicted to be a relatively mild winter.  Of course, winter’s really just begun, so the postmortem on this season is far from being written.

Let’s talk about the cold. A huge and persistent trough, or plunge southward in the jet stream has delivered a relentless stream of arctic air masses over the Midwest and East for the past several weeks.  Your home heating bills will validate the assertion that this has not been a typical blast of cold air.  It has been repeatedly replaced, and more will carry us through the final days of December.

We’ve seen snow as well within this pattern, with more expected Christmas weekend.

However, this polar-like chill doesn’t necessarily foretell a cold January or February. In fact, we often see flips of sorts in these kind of patterns, that can lead to remarkable reversals in the weather. I would not be surprised to see some a change ahead. It probably won’t happen within the next couple of weeks (through first week of January), but after that we’ll see.

by Jim Duncan

Winter Outlook-A Mix

November 22, 2010

Weather predictions beyond the next few days are, with rare exception, a gamble.  The following is intended to give you a general idea of expected weather patterns, and not a precise forecast.  A continued moderately strong La Nina, among other factors, plays into this outlook.

The winter ahead will be compared to last winter as a benchmark,  in order to give some perspective. This is useful since last winter remains so ingrained in our memories.  Compared to last winter…

Jet stream patterns overall should be less amplified, implying fewer deep southern storm tracks and shorter extreme cold-air outbreaks.  This does not mean we won’t have any storms from the south, rather we will most likely have fewer, less snowy ones than in the winter of ’09-’10.  A more west-to-east oriented prevailing jet will tend to favor more storms running from the Plains and Midwest.

Temperatures will be highly variable, as they usually are in the winter here, but when averaged at the end of the season may end up above normal.  Arctic air intrusions should be shorter-lived than last winter, i.e. they will still occur, but shouldn’t last as long.  Temperatures may exhibit large swings from warm to cold, with milder periods persisting longer than cold ones. 

Snow will fall…almost always does to some extent.  Again, using last winter for comparison, there is a high probability that we will  have much less total snowfall.  The huge totals (28″ RIC, & much higher west/north) we saw last winter would obviously be extremely difficult to achieve.  However, a few smaller snows could still keep snow-lovers out of a deep depression :).   Our “average” annual snowfall for Richmond is about 12-13″, and I think we could end up close to that range, give or take a couple of inches.

Ice Storms were pretty non-eventful last winter, since most of our big winter storms brought snow or rain.  This winter could bring an increased chance of ice storms vs last year, with the potential for more western-oriented storm tracks favoring this.  Mixed-precip. systems occur with cold surface air and warmer air aloft, which in a typical winter happens here with decent frequency.  So, even if this is just a “normal”  Richmond winter, expect at least one or two ice storms.

Rain and precip.-totals overall show no clear signal of straying much above or below climatological averages. Whereas drought could very well get much worse south of Virginia, we should be just far enough north to benefit from some storm regularity based on expected jet-stream patterns.  On the whole,  rain, not snow or ice, will contribute the most to our winter precipitation totals .

In summary, this winter should be milder and much less snowy than last.  Even so, expect enough variety to keep things interesting. 

by Jim Duncan

Skylight Damage

November 18, 2010

Thought I’d pass along a story from the storms Tuesday night/Wednesday Morning.  Here are some pictures and a story from the Burton family  from Richmond’s Northside.

We were awakened around 12:50 to the sound of very loud wind loud enough for us to wake the kids and have them all go downstairs.  Then we heard a crash and this happened:

We spent the next 15 minutes in the basement until the storm died down.  Then we spent a couple of hours cleaning up glass and bark that was strewn across our office from one end to the other and out into our family room. Luckily nothing was damaged except for the skylight.  We don’t have any trees right over our home so the wind must have been pretty powerful to carry this huge branch right through our house.

Thankfully no one was hurt!

-posted by Andrew Freiden

Winter Forecast. Part I

November 11, 2010

Folks want to hear a winter forecast by mid-Autumn, so here’s a little preview of what I’m thinking we’ll be looking at this winter (more details coming later)  Let’s address the most asked question for now:  >>>Snow: 

 Might as well get to the important stuff first. There is a high chance that we won’t be duplicating last winter’s remarkable snow totals.  Getting real here…that would be an extremely difficult task in any winter, regardless of the patterns.   Unlike last winter,  frequent storm tracks from the Deep South shouldn’t be as prevalent, and anyone who knows our area, also knows that that’s where our big snows come from.

The expected prevailing jet-stream patterns should favor more storms tracking from the Midwest to the Northeast, which would put us on the southern edge of systems, the part usually characterized by rain or sleet/freezing rain, and not so much pure snow. Yes, we’ll still get some snows, but if this pattern occurs they would be smaller than those from the  classic “big ones”, because of mixing and changeovers to rain or icy mixes.

I will be getting a little more specific with details on my “best guess” for this winter  in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Jim Duncan

Nature’s rebalancing

November 4, 2010

Drought was the catchword of our summer, but storms over recent weeks have put a substantial dent in the deficit, and the back and forth of our weather continues.

Since September 1st Richmond has received about 10″ of rain, including nearly an inch from this latest storm.  Ten inches represents roughly  a quarter of our average annual precipitation, so you can see that Nature’s balancing act, of which I often refer, is working out pretty much as one would expect.

Our weather rarely occurs in what you would call “normal” fashion.  It is most often characterized by extremes that, when averaged over the longer haul, produce the numbers that make up our climatological averages.

by Jim Duncan