OFFICIAL storm survey from Weather Service

October 29, 2010

As I wrote in the previous post, the tornado that caused Wednesday’s damage was a weak one.   It did hold together for a long time for Central Virginia:  11.5 miles!

Click the link for the National Weather Service official report.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/akq/wx_events/severe/oct_28_2010/RIC_f1.htm

Posted by Andrew Freiden

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10/27/2010 Severe Storms

October 28, 2010

What a Day!

Tornadic thunderstorms formed very early Wednesday over Southern Virginia, with confirmed damage from the National Weather Service.

NWS STORM SURVEY HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF SKIPWOOD RD AND NEW HOPE RD. PATH WIDTH WAS APPROXIMATELY 1 1/4 MILES IN LENGTH WITH A PATH WIDTH OF APPROXIMATELY 1/4 MILE. STORM DAMAGE IN THE AREA WAS CONSISENT WITH A HIGH-END EF-0 TORNADO…WITH WINDS ESTIMATED AT 70 TO 80 MPH. NUMEROUS TREES AND POWERLINES WERE KNOCKED DOWN…MINOR SHED DAMAGE WAS INCURRED AND SEVERAL TREE TOPS WERE TWISTED.

The storm that produced damage yesterday evening in the Richmond metro area was likely a tornado but it hasn’t been confirmed yet by the National Weather Service.  They’re headed for a storm survey today in Henrico, Richmond and Mechanicsville, with the results expected this afternoon.

Based on eyewitness reports and from tracking the storm on radar yesterday, I expect that this damage was from a tornado.  That lack of major structural damage to sturdy buildings leads me to believe it was probably an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado.

We’ll see later today what the final verdict is…


A Winter Preview

October 21, 2010

It’s only late October, but winter truly is just a short few weeks away. Hard to believe.

The much advertised “La Nina”, a reversal of Southern Pacific ocean temps from the warm El Nino that prevailed last fall and winter, will certainly play some role in our winter patterns…but there are many other, yet to be seen factors that will come into play too. 

Making predictions this far out can be problematic, with just a modest degree of skill.  However, an outlook is just that, a prediction of general weather trends, not specific forecast details.

My outlook for this winter is pegged to jet stream patterns that will probably keep primary storm tracks farther north than last winter, and subsequent cold air outbreaks less severe.

That would put us in the “middle” more often than last year.  Let me explain.  Cold air will certainly make appearances. It always does. Unlike last year, however, I think many storms may end up tracking to our west, then north, versus the frequent southern storms (big snows) we experienced last winter.

Even with moderately cold air intrusions, this would set the stage for more mixed-precip “events”, i.e. better chances for icy mixes versus snow.  This would actually fall into the category of a fairly typical Richmond winter. 

Snow-lovers were spoiled by last winter’s big blasts.  Not saying we won’t squeek out some decent snow this go around, but we’ll be hard-pressed to come anywhere near what we saw last year.  I’ll post more here in a couple of weeks.

An additional note… NOAA issued their winter outlook today, generally calling for a warm, dry Southeast, and tttc (too tough to call) Northeast, putting us somewhere in the middle.  You can see their outlook here:  http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20101021_winteroutlook.html

Jim Duncan


No More Drought

October 8, 2010

Last week’s rain totalled anywhere from 6 to 12 inches for most of us in central Virginia (significantly less for areas further west of I-95).  The long soaking rain from a weak tropical system was just what we needed.  The newest release from the National Drought Monitor indicates that we are no longer in a drought. 

 

 Last Monday, Lake Chesdin’s water level was 11.8ft below full.  On Wednesday, Chesdin’s level was 2.8ft below full.  More rain would still help completely fill up our lakes and reservoirs, but at least now we can enjoy the sunny weather without the guilt of knowing how desperately we need rain.


Will Lake Chesdin fill up? *9/30 Update*

September 28, 2010

All eyes are on Chesterfield/Dinwiddie’s Lake Chesdin, which is at its lowest level on record.  NBC12 viewers are emailing to know if Chesdin will fill back up after recent rain.

First, let’s look at what Lake Chesdin is.  It’s a man-made reservoir–a dammed section of the Appomattox River that holds water for us to use.  The Appomattox is a much smaller river than its neighbor to the North (the James River)  and it drains much less area than the James.

This map illustrates that nicely:

The Appomattox River’s headwaters in are Appomattox County East of Lynchburg.  It then flows through Farmville to Petersburg, eventually joining up with the James River at Hopewell.  In the middle of that journey in southern Chesterfield, the waters of the Appomattox pause at Lake Chesdin where some is removed by the Appomattox River Water Authority.

It’s then treated and used by surrounding counties/cities.  Heavy rain between Lynchburg and Chesterfield would be the recipe for filling Lake Chesdin back up.

So what happened with the rain on Monday/Tuesday?  There was a good 1-2″ soaking of rain along the headwaters of Lake Chesdin– and the Appomattox River showed a response, stabilizing the Reservoir.

Click here for the River Level of the Appomattox at Mottoax.  It’s the last river gauge before the reservoir:  the river is going up VERY slightly and will likely have slower response to the rain ( a couple of days) than you might think.   The heavy rain of 9/29-9/30 could be just what the doctor ordered.  If the Appomattox reaches flood stage in a couple of days, the Reservoir would quickly start filling back up.


Super Harvest Moon Tonight

September 22, 2010

If the clouds aren’t too thick…

Could be a good time to get the family outside around sunset.  The full moon is expected to be an impressive one this evening. 

From NASA:

For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a “Super Harvest Moon” and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.

Full Harvest Moon + Autumnal Equinox +Jupiter = Astronomical Fun.  Should be a great night for a canoe ride or walk under the moonlight.

*posted by Andrew Freiden


Two Category Fours at One Time!

September 15, 2010

Interesting Info on the heels of Jim’s previous post.  It’s from Dennis Feltgen who’s a Public Affairs Officer/Meteorologist at the NHC

With both hurricane Igor and Julia reaching Category 4 strength, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center reports these interesting facts:

  • Two category four hurricanes existing simultaneously in the Atlantic basin has occurred only one other time since 1900: September 16, 1926  (Hurricane #4 and the Great Miami Hurricane).
  • There are only three other incidents of two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) at the same time: 1950 (Dog & Easy), 1958 (Helene & Ilsa), and 1999 (Floyd & Gert).
  • Hurricane Julia is the most intense hurricane to be located so far in the Eastern North Atlantic.

We’re witnessing Hurricane Season History right now– now let’s get a little tropical moisture in here (no winds, please) to break our drought.

-Posted By Andrew Freiden