September 15, 2010 - Triple Threat in Atlantic Basin

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

We have three tropical systems in the Atlantic and very few, if any chances of rain in Valley. Also included are answers to your questions on my previous blog! Read all about it today!

Nothing says an active hurricane season like two Category four storms at the same time. Hurricane Igor has been teetering on Category 5 status over the past 48 hours. The latest observation at 5am showed slight weakening, but that is probably due to another eye wall replacement cycle. Bermuda looks to take a direct hit from Igor - which would be devastating to the small island. Hurricane Julia blossomed overnight into a Category 4 storm with winds of 135 mph. Luckily, Julia is not an issue for any land mass.

Now there is Tropical Storm Karl in the Caribbean, about to make its first landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula. Karl may weaken to a tropical depression at that point, but will strengthen again upon returning to the Gulf of Mexico. Karl may become a hurricane before making landfall a second time on the east central Mexican coast.

We have a slight chance of rain Thursday night into Friday morning as a cold front moves through the area. Rainfall amounts will be low - likely only 0.10", if that, in many areas. Some lucky locales may receive a heavier rain shower, but this is the only chance of rain in the current forecast.

Now to Eddie's question: Where do, or how do the almanacs get their information?

The Almanac's use a lot of astrological signs to determine long range weather forecasting. They use anything from sun spot cycles, to the position of the planets to make their determinations. Last year, they called for average precipitation and temperatures from January 2010-March 2010. Meanwhile we had our SECOND blizzard in February, which was a month that our average high was in the 30's (well below average). But remember, it's the average of all three months. January was average, March was warm - therefore for the 3 month period, it probably was average in terms of temperature, but slightly above average for precipitation.

Don's question: When I saw your comment the previous day about global winds being in a La Nina phase, I was wondering if that meant warmer temperatures, less precipitation, or both.

Every La Nina, El Nino, and neutral phase act differently. Sometimes it depends on the strength of the phase. Such as - moderate El Nino phases tend to bring us above average snowfall during the winter (last year). However a weak El Nino phase brings us frigid temperatures and slightly less than average snowfall.

La Nina typically brings slightly above average temperatures. I say "typically" because each La Nina is different than the last - they rarely act the same every time. Precipitation levels should stay about average. I will say this - based on research done at the National Weather Service (this report was my first blog entry), the DC Metro Area has NOT had an above average snowfall year during a La Nina phase (records date back to 1950). There have been a few above average snowfall years in a neutral phase, and several in El Nino.

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