From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for October 2012

River Flooding Tool

January 31, 2013 - 07:15 AM

Heavy rains fell overnight and river and stream flooding is ongoing this morning. Numerous water rescues have occurred and we continue to hear of more incidents with highs standing water.  This tool will not highlight low-lying areas with flash-flooding, but can give you a good timeline for if and when waterways near you may be cresting their banks. So like everything else these days, let me share an awesome interactive tool online that will help you figure out the flooding potential near you!

River Flood Utility

There are lots of rain gauges along the waterways that provide up to the minute information on the current river levels as well as forecast crest times. Give it a try – it is very intuitive.

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October continues warm Washington weather trend

October 31, 2012 - 08:16 PM

The high temperature on this last day in October at Reagan National Airport was 55 degrees following a morning low of 42 degrees. This is 9 degrees cooler than the average high and 4 degrees cooler than the average low for Halloween! The last time the high temperature was above average was Saturday.

When you put all the eggs in one basket though (factor in all the high and low temperatures for October) and do the math, the average high for October was about 1.46 degrees above the monthly average of 59.5 degrees. The warmer early to mid-October outweighed the colder end with Sandy and the cold front providing much below-average temperatures.


Checking back through the records, the last month that was cooler than average in Washington was just a year ago in October 2011. Therefore, we’ve had 12 consecutive months (November 2011-October 2012) with above average monthly temperatures. Prior to October, the last month with below-average temperatures was March 2011.

There have been NO other periods in recorded data for Reagan National Airport where the average monthly temperature was exceeded for 12 consecutive months prior to this current stretch.

However, there were 11 consecutive months of above average temperatures in Washington from October 1990 to August 1991. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that climate averages or normal are updated every 10 years, so the average daily and monthly temperatures DO change as these new climate normals are released by the weather service office.

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Hurricane Sandy Timelapse in New York City

October 31, 2012 - 04:16 PM

This terrific timelapse looking toward Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge captures some of the fury and the impact of Sandy on New York City.  The video starts late Sunday through early Tuesday.  Watch close to see the surge coming up the East River and then about 1 minute in the lights of lower Manhattan go out as the surge inundates power stations, subways and tunnels.  Great video from SMVideochan


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2012 Daylight saving time ends; time to fall back in D.C.

October 31, 2012 - 10:17 AM

Daylight saving time ends this Sunday morning (November 4th) at 2am. This is when everyone gets an extra hour of sleep and the sun rises earlier but also sets earlier. The latest sunrise of the year will be on the morning of the 3rd (Saturday), when the sun rises at 7:38a. The following day on the 4th, with the clocks back an hour, the sun rises at 6:39am.

The part that many of us may not enjoy are the evenings, with the sun setting at 6:05pm on the 3rd, but setting at 5:04pm on the 4th! The times will even get earlier through the end of November to the Winter Solstice come December 21st. By the end of November on the 30th, the sun rises at 7:07am and sets at 4:47pm.

The Earth's tilt on the Winter Solstice

The earliest sunset for the year actually goes on for a period of 11 days! From the December 1st through the 11th, the sun sets at 4:46pm. By the time the solstice comes around on the 21st, the sun rises at 7:23am and sets at 4:50pm. This also coincides with the shortest days of the year from the 20th through 22nd with 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight.

When you fall back, this is also the time when you should check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends you replace the batteries in each of your detectors to make sure they are good through the winter months. Coming on the heels of Sandy, this should be an important reminder with the fires that occurred during the storm in New York and New Jersey. We also heard about the story of carbon monoxide poisoning that happened which could have been prevented with working detectors.

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Hurricane Sandy: Birth, track and monster for the East

October 30, 2012 - 05:33 PM

Here is a great series from the NOAA GOES 13 and GOES 15 weather satellites of the formation of Sandy October 21 as a depression in the Caribbean to become a Category 2 hurricane passing over Jamaica and Cuba then as a strong wave in the jet stream moves across the U.S, watch as it.almost grabs Sandy and turns it left into the New Jersey coast.  Two entirely seperate types of systems in the atmosphere that unfortunately combined at just the wrong time for the east coast.  From the great NASA GOES Project

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LIVE BLOG Hurricane Sandy Path: What to expect in D.C. area Tuesday

October 28, 2012 - 09:11 PM

12:37pm: Here is the link to the latest Public Information Statement issued for the D.C. area by the Sterling NWS Office. It includes the latest snowfall totals (18.8" in Bayard, WV), rainfall totals (9.3" in Greenbelt, MD) and wind gusts (61 mph in the City of Fairfax). 

12:34pm: The National Weather Service has suffered a systems failure so currently you cannot access the local NWS pages.

11:42am: These pictures were taken by my Aunt Sandy (yea she's famous) and Uncle Jeff in Cape May, NJ. They had about 5 inches of water under their house last night but since then they have started to recede. The storm also knocked down their basketball hoop! They told me the water behind their house and on their street wasn't from surge but from the rain.

Cape May, NJ
Cape May, NJ
Cape May, NJ

11:29am: The remnant low of Sandy continues to spin through southern Pennsylvania, now located around 120 miles east of Pittsburgh.

12Z location of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy

11:10am: Snow is really beginning to come down heavier at Wintergreen. Check out the rest of our live cameras here.

Snow continues to fall at Wintergreen Resort

10:51am: How awesome is this beautiful picture from the GOES Project of Hurricane Sandy transitioning over the eastern U.S.? Be sure to check out the assoicated movie of Sandy over the past few days here, really neat look at it.

Hurricane Sandy taken from the GOES 13 Satellite

10:16am: Here are a few more pictures of snow and some local wind damage. Lucky it was just some siding and nothing more. The snow picture is actually from Bakersville, NC and was sent to me by one of my meteorology classmates from N.C. State. Thanks Ashley!

Snow picture from Bakersville, NC
Siding off a house sent in from Michael Wright

9:01am: Rainfall Deficits...

Reagan National: As of Oct. 27th: -9.08"      As of the 29th: -5.31"

Dulles: As of Oct. 27th: -8.75"      As of the 29th: -4.32"

BWI Marshall: As of Oct. 27th: -7.84"      As of the 29th: -2.31"

Talk about a major way to crush the rainfall deficit across the D.C. area!

8:52am: I have no clue if this is real or photoshopped, but there is a report that someone saw a shark (looks like a small dogfish) swimming in their front yard in New Jersey. Figured I would let you all make your own opinions on this!

8:16am: Here are a couple of snow pictures from Keyser, WV and Oakland, MD. There has been reports of over a foot of snow in numerous locations along the mountains. Send your pictures to us! A big thanks to our old co-worker Alan Auglis who works for WHAG for the share!

Snow in Keyser, WV from Cookie Shackleford
Oakland, MD Snowfall from Barbara Michael

7:19am: Check out Cape May, NJ before Sandy came ashore yesterday evening.

7:09am: Waiting for the sun to come up so we can start seeing the images from our WeatherBug cameras across the region.

Rehoboth Beach

Wintergreen Resort

6:53am: Here's something just for fun. A look at the weather data from the Mount Washington Observatory at its summit in New Hamshire. Notice the 139.7 mph wind gust in the past 24 hours!

Mount Washington Observatory weather data

6:41am: Rain continues across the D.C. area with the heaviest showers in the immediate D.C. Metro dropping around a tenth of an inch of rain per hour. See Live Super Doppler 7 here

6:29am: Expect snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible through much of West Virginia and portions of southern Ohio as well per the Storm Prediciton Center's Mesoscale Discussion.

6:19am: Look at the snow as far south as Boone, NC in the mountains. Great live webcam here.

6:17am: The webcams at Wisp Ski Resort are comical as it appears you can see nothing but white on each cam!

6:13am: If Sandy wasn't odd enough for everyone so far, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch may be issued for parts of New England this morning including a chance for a few isolated tornadoes. Here is the latest mesoscale discussion which includes CT, RI, MA, NH, VT and ME.

6:02am: To access the 5am Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy advisory, click here.

5:39am: What a view of Sandy in this high resolution satellite loop from Monday. 

4:53am: Here's Fairfax County's interactive road closures map which shows A LOT of different roads closed throughout the county this morning. Be safe if you must go out!

4:47am: The only river gauge expected to reach the major floodstage is the Monocacy River as it's already at a moderate flood stage at 17.1 ft and is expected to rise to 21.5 ft by tomorrow morning.

Monocacy River Gauge

4:35am: Look at some of the record rainfall totals from across the area yesterday. Records were broken at each airport for Monday's totals.

Record Rainfall across the D.C. area Monday

4:23am: Check out some of the latest snowfall totals, wind gusts and rainfall totals in the region. All the graphics you could ask for!

Rain event totals from Sandy
Sandy strongest wind gusts
Snowfall so far with Sandy, more updates later this morning

4:13am: Find BGE Power Outages here

Pepco Power Outages here

4:00am: Check out the latest interactive power outage map from Dominion Power which shows around 119,000 customers without power in Northern Virginia. Below is a picture of the map. Click here to see it for yourself.

Northern Virginia power outages from Dominion Power

3:51 a.m. Per the New York Times, "The monster storm that has battered and drenched the coastline of the northeastern United States is likely to become less monstrous as it moves inland. Hurricanes and tropical storms generally lose strength once they move over land, and this storm should be no exception, said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami."

3:38 a.m. Per the Baltimore Sun, "A day's worth of some excellent storm coverage by CNN was all but shredded during the Piers Morgan show Monday night when meteorologist Chad Myers reported that the New York Stock Exchange was under three feet of water and the hip-shooting host ran wild with the report that turned out to be false. 3:21 a.m. Per the Baltimore Sun, "Millions of gallons of raw sewage were overflowing into the Little Patuxent River in Howard County late Monday and early Tuesday morning after two separate electrical feeds were cut off at the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant, according to county officials."  


2:53 a.m. Per the AP, "Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city's historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people."  

2:00 AM @BobRyanABC7  Things settled down but look at integrated Doppler rain in the area.  most 4-10" Winds less and settling down Tuesday with left over showers and wet snow west




1:22AM: Winds are starting to diminish a little, especially South of the D.C. metro area.  Strongest wind gusts are around 45mph in the Northern parts of the viewing area, as the center of what was hurricane Sandy, moves over Harrisburg, PA. 

12:50AM:  Here's the latest storm timeline for overnight and through 4pm tomorrow.

11:49PM: The National Weather Service in Sterling, VA has issued a statement concerning the latest on Sandy.  Some areas are reporting rainfall from 8" - 12" and winds as high as 76mph!

11:05PM: The 11PM EDT update on Sandy from the National Hurricane Center - max sustained winds = 75mph, central pressure - 952 MB, moving northwest at 18mph.

Courtesy: National Hurricane Center - Miami

 10:36PM: This zoomed in map of outages in Northern Virginia gives a pretty good perspective on where the highest concentration of outages persist:

Courtesy: Dominion Power

10:11PM: Power outage update: Dominion reporting 126,089 in Northern Virginia are without power; Pepco is reporting 26,207 are without power. BGE is hit the hardest, with more than 198,000 without power.

9:20PM: Flood warnings in effect for many small streams and rivers across our area. Flooding will be a huge concern over the next several days with winds switching to the WSW Tuesday.  That will push rain water up the Potomac and up the Chesapeake Bay causing dangerous flood waters.

9:04PM: Still very windy outside, but I don't anticipate many more 60mph wind gusts.  Overnight wind gusts between 40 and 50mph and then winds speeds slowly diminishing throughout the day tomorrow.  

8:55PM: Very heavy rain pounding Centreville right along I-66 in Fairfax County!

 8:32PM:  Rainfall totals continue to climb. The highest total I've seen from our WeatherBug network is at the U.S. Naval Academy where this is just about 8inches of rain!  Rainfall totals range from 3-8inches across the region. Rainbands still moving through, but I think the heaviest rain tapering off after midnight.  Flooding will be the biggest concern moving on, as well as more power outages with heavy trees and saturated ground.

 7:47PM: There are 75,836 without power in Northern Virginia. Check here for all power outage updates.

7:20PM: The National Hurricane Center has officially deemed Sandy a post-tropical storm.  Translation: Sandy is no longer classified as a hurricane, it's an extremely strong rain storm!

Courtesy: National Hurricane Center - Miami

6:29PM:  Expect some of the heaviest bands of rain and wind over the next few hours in our area.  Here's our latest timeline.  The ground already heavily saturated, so flooding a major concern, as well as more power outages.

6:20 PM: Sandy has made landfall, according to various news sources.

5:35PM: Here is a big list of wind gusts and rainfall totals across the D.C. area. 

5:15PM: 2nd report of 70mph wind gusts in Montgomery County:

Courtesy: NWS Baltimore-Washington

5:03PM: The latest advisory for Sandy as of 5pm has the storm 30 miles East Southeast of Cape May, NJ with winds of 90mph moving west northwest at 28 mph. The pressure is 940mb.

5pm Hurricane Sandy Forecast Track

5:00PM: First report of 70mph winds in Southern Maryland!  

Courtesy: NWS Baltimore-Washington

4:40PM: Meteorologist Devon Lucie here.  Some of the latest wind gust reports from our Weatherbug Network:

Peak Wind Gusts: Weatherbug
Peak Wind Gusts: Weatherbug

4:23PM: Here are some of the latest local storm reports from NWS Sterling.

4:18PM: Recent picture of a tree down in the Franklin Farm neighborhood in Oakton. There has also been reports of power outages in other parts of Fairfax County such as Clifton and Centreville.

Tree down in Franklin Farm from Chris Bevington

4:00PM: Here is a picture of the snow falling in Garrett County, MD from Barbara Michael.

Snow in Garrett County

3:58PM: Some of the current weatherbug observations show 4 inches of rain in Germantown, MD, 3.5 in Laurel, a 50 mph wind gust at WTOP Radio and a 59 mph wind gust at Rehoboth Beach, DE.

3:44PM: The situation for some snow mixing in tomorrow morning seems like it would be most likely south and west of the city. Since this is a warm-core system (even with it transitioning to extra-tropical) it will be a little warmer aloft closer to the center of the low. Here is the forecast for 12Z Tuesday morning as far as 850mb temperatures. Temperatures will be below normal aloft as the cooler air makes it around and south of the low.

12Z NAM Forecast for tomorrow moring, (850mb temperatures, heights and wind)

3:33PM: Does the region have a chance for a wintry mix tomorrow morning? Some models say yes, others say no. Currently, the NAM and European Models bring the chance for a few wet snowflakes across the the region tomorrow morning as cooler air is brought around the back side of the low.

Here is a look at the NAM Bufkit at 9am tomorrow morning. It clearly shows temperatures near freezing aloft and the P-Type nomagram shows the wet snowfall possibility. The GFS model does not bring in the same cold air, but even if it snows, the most to expect would be an isolated slick spot or dusting, particularly closer to the mountains.

12Z NAM forecast for tomorrow morning

3:04PM: A Blizzard Warning has now been issued east of the West Virginia mountains and extends into the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge for areas above 2000ft. Snow should be heaviest this afternoon and evening and may accumulate 6-12 inches at 2000ft and above.

Latest Winter Watches and Warnings

2:40PM: Adam Caskey just found a great timelapse from Shenandoah National Park at the Big Meadows Byrd Visitor Center. This is just over 3500 feet and some heavy, wet snow is falling!

2:35: From Bob Ryan  Latest storm surge graphic from NOAA  Sandy accelerating and hits New Jersey coast 5-7PM with record storm surge in some areas.  We stay on south side strongest winds and more bands of heavy rain yet to come

2:27PM: Current wind gusts across the region.

Stevensville, MD: 59 mph      Glen Burnie, MD: 54 mph

Rehoboth Beach, DE: 53 mph      Ocean City, MD: 53 mph 

2:25PM: River Bend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls, VA shows just how much rain has fallen across the region with the fairways covered in water. Weather Camera Here 

2:13PM: Hurricane Sandy's forecast track as of 2pm. The latest advisory shows Sandy at 90mph now moving northwest at 28 mph! On this current track and speed, the storm should make landfall somewhere around Atlantic City, NJ around 5pm this evening.

Hurricane Sandy 2pm Forecast Track

2:04PM:  2PM NHC update on Sandy - Still a very strong and massive storm system and it is rapidly moving towards the NW now at 28mph!  Winds are still near 90 mph and the central pressure is 940mb.  Currently, Sandy is located 110mi. SE of Atlantic City and 175mi. SSE of NYC.  Sandy will make landfall sometime this evening.  It looks like landfall will fall between Cape May and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

1:28PM: Here is the latest wind probabilities and wind field graphics.

Sandy Tropical Wind Probabilities
Hurricane Sandy 11am Wind Field

12:30PM: As far as winds are concerned, the 12PM numbers show sustained winds around 25 mph and gusts to 35 mph which is about a 5 mph increase over the past two hours. At this point, we are expecting 50 mph winds later this afternoon and closer to 60 mph winds later this evening as the storm makes landfall around the New Jersey coastline.

12:28PM: A flood warning is now in effect until 8:30pm for the District, Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges and Carroll Counties. Two to three inches of rain has fallen through the majority of those areas and will continue to fall through the rest of the day. Rock Creek is already at the flood action stage of 6 feet and major flooding is possible along Rock Creek later today and tonight.

12:24PM: A look at where Sandy may be at 7PM this evening.  Coming ashore in central-south NJ.  The dark red indicates winds 50mph in the DC area and purple winds 70 mph+ along Jersey shore, LI and NYC area



11:28AM: As far as flooding is concerned, the area could see some near record river crests through Wednesday. The Monocacy River near Frederick is forecast to crest just under 32 feet. At 30 feet, water reaches the second floor of Gambrill Mill on the Monocacy National Battlefield. This crest would compare to Hurricane Eloise in 1975 and would be the second highest crest on record.

The Potomac River at Paw Paw is expected to crest near 31 feet by early Wednesday morning. This crest would be the worst since 1996, and be similar to the Flood of April 1993.

11:05AM  Bob Ryan here Look at the NOAA storm surge projection as Sandy continues to grow stronger and comes ashore this evening along the New Jersey Coast storm surge 5 feet+ along coast and higher in areas of NYC and Long Island.  Worst time at high tide (8:53 PM today) Water rise could exceed 10 feet


10:47AM: The latest Hurricane Sandy update shows the storm now with 90mph winds moving NNW at 18mph. It appears like it will make landfall in southern portions of New Jersey later this evening.

Hurricane Sandy track update as of 11am

10:34AM: Here is a good look at Hurricane Sandy as she begins to jog to the west on Satellite.

Latest Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy

10:16AM: Here are some of the latest hurricane graphics which will be updated at 11am. I wanted to show you the current wind field first.

Hurricane Sandy's wind field as of 5am

Here is the current Tropical Storm Forced wind probabilities map from the National Hurricane Center. Note that the D.C. area is in the 90% to 100% shading.

Tropical Storm Forced Wind Probabilities

Finally, here is the latest forecast precipitation from the storm which shows more than 6 inches of rain possible for the majority of the D.C. area.

Days 1-3 forecast precipitation from HPC

9:57AM: Check out some of the weather cameras at the beaches.

Rehoboth Beach Weathbug Camera (Also here)

Ocean City Surf Camera Ocean City, MD surf camera (may or may not be working)

9:53AM: Here's a picture from last night of Sandy from NASA Goddard Pix Flickr account.

Hurricane Sandy at night

9:48AM: Check out this live camera in Ocean City at 8th St. and the boardwalk at Malibu's Surf Shop. Crazy seas out there potentially 10 to 15 foot waves.

9:21AM: Thomas Point has measured a gust of 42 mph so far. The wind will gradually increase with gusts closer to 65-75 mph at Thomas Point tonight and early Tuesday. 

9:08AM: Another band of heavy rain is moving east to west from Annapolis into the D.C. metro area.

8:55AM: Buoy about 20 miles east of Bethany Beach, DE is measuring waved heights of 19 ft. 

8:25AM: Wave heights are estimated around 40 ft in the strongest part of the storm on it's northeast side between New York and Bermuda. Estimated wave heights:  

Estimated Wave Heights

8:11AM: Rainfall totals are slowly rising with Ocean City at over four and a half inches thus far from Sandy.  Here are other rainfall totals so far, but keep in mind that these numbers are changing by the minute. 








































































































































7:55AM: Heavy rain continues to slowly move across the Bay, onto the western shore and into the metro area. Rainfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour can be expected this morning and into the early afternoon in parts of the abc7 viewing area.


Doppler Radar Estimated Rain Rates

7AM: Heavier rain is overspreading the metro area from the east to the west.  The rain should be the heaviest today from about 10am through 8pm.  The wind will gradually increase throughout the day and peak tonight and early Tuesday morning.  Expect wind gusts of 60-70 mph at the storm's peak Monday night and Tuesday morning.  Here's a timeline of what to expect today:




1:10AM:  Everything remains consistent with earlier forecasts and warnings.  Sandy has begun a turn to the north and by Monday afternoon will be heading almost 90º to the New Jersey coast.  Here is a late hi resolution simulation form the meteorology department at Penn State showing the winds 60 mph+ Long Island to NJ and 30-40 mph around DC.  The heaviest rain will continue to move in as the day progresses and the "worst" will be late tomorrow through Monday night.  As the soil gets saturated with 4-8"+ rain and winds 30-40 mph continue the risk of power outages continues.  The areas that will get hit the hardest are still along the NJ shore to NYC and southern New England.




11:41pm:  Light rain in D.C. and that's all there's been, so far.  The heaviest rain bands have been on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Southern Maryland around Saint Marys' and Calvert counties.  I think (Eileen) the heaviest rain in D.C. will begin around 7am tomorrow morning and the heavy rain will continue through about 8pm.  Monday will be the worst rain with combination of rain and wind.

Live Super Doppler

11:23pm:  No big change from the NHC with the 11pm update.  Still Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds 75mph and central pressure 950mb.  Track still takes Sandy onto the Southern Jersey shore late tomorrow.  Rain and wind ramping up overnight, but the heaviest rain will occur early Monday morning through Monday night.


10:10pm:  Hurricane Sandy remains a Category 1 hurricane and is still moving towards the NE off the coast of North Carolina.  Take a look at all the active watches and warnings across the D.C. metro area.  Notice the high wind warnings (mustard color) across the entire viewing area, hurricane force wind warning for the Chesapeake Bay, and blizzard warnings along the mountains.

National Weather Service - Sterling

Record rain and strong winds, sustained for over 36 hours, is the main concern.  Power outages and flooding will be likely.  Rainfall totals, by Wednesday, could range between 5 and 9 inches in the D.C. area, with locally higher amounts in towards the Bay and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.   Here is the latest predicted rainfall from the HPC


Hurricane Sandy will go in the history books for its meteorological uniqueness and the devastating impacts to the Mid Atlantic and Northeast.  The StormWatch7 Weather Team will have the latest updates on our weather homepage and through our personal facebook and twitter accounts.  These are the people to follow for the latest weather updates and local D.C. impacts from Sandy.  

Bob Ryan;  Doug HillJacqui JerasSteve RudinAdam Caskey;  Brian van de GraaffDevon LucieAlex Liggitt;  Eileen Whelan 






































































































































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Sandy: The lastest track and impacts for us on Monday

October 28, 2012 - 12:09 PM

Here is the very latest track from the NWS on Hurricane Sandy.

The mostly likely path is for Sandy to come ashore late Monday night along the New Jersey coast.  Here is a late high resolution simulation of Sandy at 8 p.m. Monday.  The purple area is where winds will be over 60 mph.

It is much better to be on the south side of a storm like Sandy than on the northeast side where the storm surge and winds will be most severe.  Right now that looks like the area from New Jersey to New York City, as well as Long Island and the south coast of New England.  Here in our area winds will be strong but from the north and northwest, so we should NOT see a repeat of the terrible surge up the Bay from Isabel.  Heavy rains into Tuesday night with some areas getting three to six inches, as well as local flooding and power outages.

But again the impacts here should not be as severe as to our north.  The storm surge and possible flooding in Ocean City right now looks to be moderate.


Obviously any travel will be disrupted and schools will likely cancel classes Monday and probably Tuesday.  Stay with us full reports on ABC7 and continuous on News Channel 8 and more forecast updates from our entire team as we go through this major storm.  Follow me on Twitter.

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Sandy: What to do

October 27, 2012 - 11:25 PM

Sandy is becoming what meteorologically is a "hybrid" storm but you don't really care.  Unfortunately the "official" wording and warning language may change as in this graphic.  


Or here in the various local statements/advisories/watches/warnings for our area.  




I have no idea either what a "hurricane wind watch" means.  These will all probably change by the time you read this!! But it is a very serious dangerous storm whatever it is now called and the very latest track is here. 



The uncertainty of the path is decreasing.  Whether we in the D.C. area will be on the north side or south side of the storm is critical.  Hurricane Isabel moved just to our west and generated numerous tornadoes and with strong south winds in The Bay produced almost historic flooding in Annapolis and Baltimore.  The very latest deterministic track (this DOES NOT MEAN "FOR SURE") track is for Sandy to move ashore Monday on a path north of our region and we will stay with NORTH winds.  Here is the EXPERIMENTAL current and high water outlook from NOAA for our region.


I think the positive is a probability (70% chance) of NOT having major flooding along the Bay or tidal areas.  However the strength and intensity of Sandy DOES MEAN we are likely (80% Chance) to have heavy rains 3-5" Monday-Tuesday and strong north-northwest winds and possible local, if not widespread power outages.  As always keep informed and don't let the meteorological/bureaucratic/"official" wording confuse you.  Sandy was  hurricane and will be a very major storm for the eastern United  States.  Don't take chances and stay safe.




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Sandy Weakens" : But Threat and Risk Increase

October 26, 2012 - 10:14 PM

Here is the latest satellite picture of what had been hurricane Sandy 



The storm has become disorganized but everything still tells me that while it may even weaken into a tropical depression, by late Sunday it will interact with a strong wave in the jet stream and then almost go through a "metamorphose" from a weak tropical storm into a monster more classic East Coast winter-like coastal storm.  Here are is what is likely in our region by Monday into Tuesday 



 IMPORTANT:  If you hear "Sandy" is weaker it does not mean the treat to our area is less than now or less than 2 days ago.  This will still become a major coastal storm.  It will undergo changes rarely seen but from everything we can see in modern meteorology WILL LIKELY HAPPEN.  Begin to make preparations Saturday, Finalize action Sunday and let's hope that the worst of the storm stays north of the DC region.  We will still feel serious impacts but the final/exact track is critical.  On the north and northeast side of this hybrid storm (likely the NJ coast) will be hit hardest and the farther south (Virginia Tidewater) is the area more probable to be hit the least.  Stay informed and be prepared, especially anyone near water and we will keep you informed

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Hurricane Sandy Video: Last 2 days from space

October 26, 2012 - 05:35 PM

This is a great high resolution satellite view of hurricane Sandy.  Over the last 2 days its peak wind gusts were over 100 mph and the eye was quite clear. 

But over today dry air from the southwest and strong upper level winds have sheared the storm and you can see the thunderstorms and high clouds have swept well to the northeast.  Sandy will likely weaken but later in the weekend it will interact with the strong upper level wave and jet stream and reintensify as it is drawn into the coast late Monday and Tuesday.


Here is the latest track from the tropical prediction center


Stay with us and we will keep you informed about the local impacts late Monday and Tuesday

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Hurricane Sandy Path: How the D.C. area will be impacted

October 26, 2012 - 02:15 PM

Here is the latest forecast track for Hurricane Sandy which now shows the storm as a hurricane as it moves into the East coast somewhere from Virginia to Long Island, New York. It appears landfall will be occurring sometime late Monday night into the early morning hours on Tuesday and conditions will be rapidly deteriorating as the storm continues to push westward.

Forecast track for Hurricane Sandy

It is always important to not just look at the center of the forecast track, as the storm could hit anywhere in the hased area. Some of the latest models actually bring the storm north into portions of Long Island, then continue it westward centered in Pennsylvania and New York on Tuesday and remains strong Wednesday before weakening and pushing northward Thursday.

Hurricane Sandy 12Z spaghetti plot models

Above are some of the 12Z model spaghetti plots for Hurricane Sandy, which I wanted to show you because there is still some variability on where this storm will make landfall. I imagine you could throw the green BAMD out the window for being a big outlier, but as for as the other models are concerned, you can see the potential for landfall anywhere from the Delmarva and north to Rhode Island.

12Z Sandy Intensity Model Guidance

As far as intensity is concerned over the next few days, Sandy appears like it will be a low end hurricane or high end tropical storm all the way through landfall. There doesn't appear to be any big intensification or weakening prior to that point.

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Sandy: Latest track and view Space Station

October 25, 2012 - 03:57 PM

The crew had a great view of Sandy today as the International Space Station flew over about 200 miles above the hurricane.

 The track and importantly the trend is for Sandy getting drawn into a strong upper level wave coming from the Midwest and drawing the tropical moisture into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast along with increasing winds could become a super storm which NWS forecasters have already dubbed a possible "Frankenstorm" the latest track.


The effects here in DC area still uncertain but the chances (now 60% chance) of it being a major (wind and rain) storm in our area. We will keep you posted with regular timely updates

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Tropical Storm Sandy path: Late season tropical storm forms in Caribbean

October 23, 2012 - 05:00 AM

Just when you think the coast is clear and we're free of any tropical weather, the tropics start to ramp up!   There are currently two named weather systems in the Caribbean and Atlantic.  

National Hurricane Center - October 22, 2012

Tropical Depression 19 is well out in the open waters of the Atlantic and is expected to steer clear of all landmasses.  Tropical Storm Sandy, on the other hand, is a much different story.  T.S. Sandy became the 20th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season late Monday afternoon.   The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially end until November 30th, but statistics show the season becomes much less active after the middle of October.

National Hurricane Center

The latest hurricane on record is Hurricane Alice that was active through December 31st, 1954.  It is very rare to have hurricanes that late in the season, as water temperatures are generally cooloer and there is a harder time creating and sustaining tropical development.  From the time period of 1851-2010, November has had 66 Tropical Storms and 40 hurricanes; and the month of December has had 10 Tropical Storms and 4 hurricanes. 

The most recent named storm in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Sandy.  T.S. Sandy is currently over the Southwestern Caribbean Sea and is expected to track NNE over Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas over the next few days.

NHC Forecast Track as of October 22, 2012

So where will Sandy track by the end of the week?  Well that has become thetopic of converation among many meteorologists and weather enthusiasts alike.  Some computer models project Sandy to get caught in the jet stream and get pulled inland into New England producing heavy rain, snow, and extreme winds.  The European model, as shown below, shows the outer bands of the storm approaching the Mid-Atlantic coast late Tuesday night, with the 940mb low a few hundred miles off the coast.  Now there has been some observed change between the 00z and 12z Europen runs.  The latest run (as of late Monday night) has the center of low pressure well off the coast, but then taking a stark turn to the left to bring a potentially extreme weather event to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. 

12z European Model - October 22, 2012

Other computer models, show little to no impact from Sandy, as the storm stays well off the Atlantic coast.   Take a look at the 18z GFS model, which keeps the storm center hundreds of miles off the U.S. coast.  Granted, Sandy is still a strong storm with a central pressure of about 964mb.  This simulation is Monday night (October 29th). 

18z GFS model - October 22, 2012

There is a huge margin of error and it will be interesting to see how everything pans out.  My best advice is to stay on top of the local weather forecasts.  As the week progresses, meteorologists will have a better handle on the weather situation and how and if Sandy will have an impact on the lower 48.  We'll keep you posted!  Until then, this gives you an idea of the many variables that go into weather forecasting and how much can change in a matter of days.  Enjoy the quiet weather pattern through the end of the week!

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Washington D.C.'s average temperature hit Sunday

October 21, 2012 - 08:47 PM

You often hear the Channel 7 weather team talk about the averages for the day but do you realize how rare it is to nail the averages on the nose on any given day? We can come close in a mundane weather pattern but Sunday proved to be the winner of them all; the averages were hit dead on!

This screen capture below of the ABC7 Almanac says it all! Guess what… the temperature was perfectly in line with the averages of 67 and 49 degrees on Sunday!


So with that in mind, how is an average temperature determined? Well, first of all, consider this; it’s recalculated once every 10 years, based on 30 years of data. This is the requirement from the World Meteorological Organization.

The set of “normals” or averages were released in 1956. The temperatures calculated in this first set of “normals” were based on weather data collected from 1921 through 1950. They were updated every decade thereafter. So, the next set was 1931-1960, then 1941-1970, 1951-1980, 1961-1990, 1971-2000 and the current set of averages are based on weather data from 1981-2010.

The average high and low for any given day of the year is computed by averaging the high temperature for the 30 consecutive years of data (in Sunday’s case….the high temperature on October 21st in 1980, 1981…etc., to 2010) and then dividing by 30…which is the number of years for which the high temperature is being extracted... and you end up with the average high temperature. The same computation is done with the low temperature.

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Winter Forecasts: Tools, Odds and Outlooks

October 21, 2012 - 05:00 AM

NOAA has just released its official winter weather outlook for the 2012-2013 season. Alex has a great blog including Devon's interview of the deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

But what are the factors and tools that go into these winter outlooks that many of we meteorologists (Doug and Bob will give theirs in a few weeks) make or have already made?  NOAA does put a lot of stock into winter pattern correlating with the status of El Nino (ENSO) .  But we can also look at hints from current snowfall in Eurasia.

First and foremost, it doesn't appear El Nino will be strong this year. Currently, the ONI index, basically a measurement of the strength of La Nina or El Nino is 0.3. Anything above 0.5 is considered an El Nino and above 1.0 is a strong El Nino. Conversely, a -0.5 is La Nina and -1.0 or below is a strong La Nina. Therefore, -0.5 to 0.5 is a neutral phase.

Forecast models show it will likely increase to around 0.6-0.8 this winter (December, January and February).

What is El Nino? The warming of the Equatorial Pacific water which has been found to change weather patterns across the globe. Note below how the Equatorial Pacific has warmed since January (circled area in each image).


Analog winters in which a weak El Nino (0.6-1.0 ONI index) was in place for DJF include: 1953-1954, 1958-1959, 1969-1970, 1976-1977, 1977-1978, 1994-1995, 2004-2005.

These winters tended to bring cooler than average temperatures but below average precipitation.


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PHOTOS: Best color of the autumn

October 19, 2012 - 07:40 PM

Bob Ryan spent a week enjoying the changing color and the beauty of the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah National Park and a hike to Mary's Rock. Enjoy and take in some sights yourself this weekend.

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2012 Orionid Meteor Shower from Halley's Comet

October 19, 2012 - 10:04 AM

The Orionid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend on October 20 and 21 with about 25 meteors per hour. The shower is named the Orionids because the stream of meteors appears to come out of the constellation Orion, which is just about the easiest constellation to pick out in the night sky besides the big dipper. The meteors occur around this time each year as the earth moves through the Halley's Comet debris trail.

This weekend will be especially good for viewing as not only will the weather be nice with just a few clouds during the overnight hours, but also there is a new moon, so it will be even darker than if the moon was in another phase.

Above is a great video from NASA that talks about the meteor shower and different aspects that you may or may not have known. The best viewing conditions will be in the predawn hours on Sunday the 21st away from the city lights. You can also check out a live chat about the Orionids Saturday night from 11pm-3am where you can ask a NASA expert any questions you may have.

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Fall foliage in D.C. is beginning to perk up

October 18, 2012 - 04:00 PM

The latest and greatest fall foliage report came in from the Foliage Network on Wednesday and the D.C. area is nearing peak across the mountains. With plenty of great color around the D.C. metro and western suburbs as well, this weekend will be a great time to go out "leaf peeping" with fall-like temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

Foliage Report as of October 17th - The Foliage Network

The latest fall color report shows some color D.C. and east, good color D.C. and west, and great color along the Blue Ridge and west. With a perfect fall weekend ahead of us with partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies and highs in the 60s, photo ops will be plentiful. Get out there, take some pictures, and send them to us at

Be sure to check out our HD weather camera page!

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NOAA's 2012 winter weather outlook

October 18, 2012 - 11:14 AM
(Photo courtesy Mike Conneen)

NOAA has given it's 2012 winter weather outlook and unfortunately it doesn't appear too helpful for those residents on the east coast of the United States.

NOAA gave a 3-month temperature and precipitation outlook (December-February) and with the patterns expected across the U.S. and globally, there doesn't appear to be a strong signal for extreme cold, lots of precipitation, or above average temperatures. Below are the outlooks.

3-Month Temperature Outlook

The temperature outlook shows equal chances of above average, below average and near normal temperatures across our area. The regions with stronger signals for differences are over the Rockies and most of the U.S. west of the Mississippi River where above average temperatures are forecast and Florida where below average temperatures are forecast.

3-Month Precipitation Outlook

The precipitation forecast shows more of the same for the east coast with equal chances for above, below and near normal precipitation. The Midwest is forecast to have below normal precipitation as does the Pacific Northwest, whereas the Deep South is expected to have above normal precipitation.

Here's Devon Lucie's interview with Mike Halpert who is the Deputy Director of the Climate Prediction Center.

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Daylight Quickly Decreasing

October 17, 2012 - 05:00 AM

It's that time of year when it feels dark more than it does light outside.  And yes, that's exactly the case.  Maybe you notice it in the morning before work or school.  Or maybe it's in the evening, when you're unwinding from the day and eating dinner, that you notice it's already dark.  It happens every year, but somehow I'm never quite ready for it. 

After the autumnal equinox back in September, the hours of daylight have been decreasing.  In fact, since September 22st, daylight has decreased by a little over an hour.  By Halloween, we'll have 36 minutes less daylight than we do this week (Oct. 16th).

Hours of Daylight in D.C.

Our shortest length of daylight will occur on December 21st with 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight.  After the solstice, the hours of daylight will gradually increase.  Then we're back to equal hours of daylight and darkness by the vernal equinox

Even though it may be a little hard adjusting to the shorter daylight hours, we do gain an hour of sleep on November 4th when we switch from Daylight Saving Time to Eastern Standard Time.  The shorter daylight hours also bring the return of cool temperatures and those brilliant leaves through autumn. 

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