From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for April 2014

Lunar eclipse tonight: Will we be able to see it in D.C.?

April 14, 2014 - 07:53 AM
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It's a full moon tonight as well as a lunar eclipse. Unfortunately for us in D.C. and our neighbors up and down the east coast, it will be too cloudy to get a glimpse of the eclipse. 

It will still be a sight for our clear weather friends in the rest of North America. Check out this map where the eclipse will most visible.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Lunar eclipses only occur when there's a full moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is directly opposite the sun and passes into Earth's dark shadow. The eclipse will begin by 12:53am EDT and will continue through 4:34am with the "totality" phase occurring around 3:06am.

(Fred Espenak)

At the time of the eclipse, the moon will take on a reddish hue. This is because of Earth's atmosphere. The suns' rays will pass through our atmosphere scattering the light, which is the same phenomenon that gives us colorful sunrises and sunsets. Space.com has an even more in-depth explanation of lunar eclipses, if you want to read more. 

(R.G. Meier / Shutterstock)

Even though we in D.C. won't be able to catch sight of the lunar eclipse from home, NASA will live stream the eclipse beginning at 10 p.m. tonight. You can also check the planet Mars' approach, which is the closest the planet's been to Earth since 2008.

This lunar celestial phenomenon will be the first in a series of four eclipses, also called a "lunar tetrad." The next will occur on October 8th 2014, the next April 4, 2015, and the final September 28, 2015.

(F. Espenak / NASA / Goddard Spaceflight Center)

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Picture Perfect for the Cherry Blossom Parade

April 11, 2014 - 05:10 AM
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The cherry blossom festival culminates Sunday. And what perfect weather to compliment the pink and white blossoms that line the Tidal Basin! 

Yoshino cherry blossom trees reached peak bloom Thursday with 70% of the blossoms open. The National Park Service forecast the peak bloom to arrive between April 8th and 12th. They were spot on!  Just as the weather turned warmer and brighter, the blossoms responded and are now out in their full glory.

(Courtesy Navin Sarma Photography)

If you haven't made it down to the Tidal Basin to take in the sights, you still have time - but the sooner you arrive, the better. The National Cherry Blossom Festival continues through the weekend with the Cherry Blossom Parade taking place Saturday morning. Check out meteorologist Alex Liggitt (driving StormChaser7) and Brian van de Graaff and Joe Witte waving from out of the sunroof while Adam Caskey greets the crowd from atop of the roof!

ZZZZZ

The parade is from 10am through noon Saturday and takes place along Constitution Ave from 7th to 17th streets, NW. The parade will feature giant helium balloons, elaborate floats, fourteen marching bands, and big name performers. Among the celebrities that will be in town are American Idol season 12 winner Candice Glover and pop artist Aaron Carter. The forecast for the parade couldn't be better!

ZZZZZ

The rest of the weekend will be just as nice with plenty of sunshine and even warmer highs for Sunday.

A strong front moving through Tuesday will likely bring heavy rain and wind that could bring down most of the blossoms. Enjoy the cherry blossoms while they're out and share your pictures with us! Click this link to find out how to share them with the ABC7 Storm Watch team. 

Special thanks to Brian van de Graaff for the help with this blog!

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2014 Hurricane seasonal forecast posted by CSU team

April 10, 2014 - 10:43 AM
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The first hurricane forecast of the season was put out today from Dr. William Gray and Dr. Philip Klotzbach, who lead up the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University. The announcement was made from the National Tropical Weather Conference this morning in San Padre Island. Meteorologist Nate Johnson from WRAL in Raleigh, NC is at the conference and has been live-tweeting the announcement. Be sure to follow him for the latest from the conference.

The forecast is for a quiet season this year with only 9 named storms, 3 becoming hurricanes and only 1 major hurricane. An average hurricane season features 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. They site one reason for fewer predicted in 2014 being the developing El Nino pattern, which can lead to increased vertical wind shear in the tropics which hinders tropical cyclone development.

Other features such as cooler than normal sea surface temperatures will also be a big factor in the tropical season ahead. Dr. Klotzbach wants everyone to remember though that it only takes one bad storm to make for a terrible hurricane season. 1992 only had one major hurricane, and it happened to be Hurricane Andrew. They've given the various probabilities of a landfall below.

You can follow along with the conference by searching the hashtag #tropicalwx on twitter. Find the full detailed forecast from the Colorado State University team here.

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Send us your Cherry Blossom photos

April 8, 2014 - 03:04 PM
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STORMWATCH 7 FACEBOOK PAGE

With the Cherry Blossoms blooming this week, we know a number of you will be heading down to the Tidal Basin this week and weekend. We would love if you would share your photos with us so we can share them here online and possibly on air throughout the day on ABC 7 News and Newschannel 8.

This picture was taken by our very own Photojournalist James Joslyn this morning in the fog and mist. The next chance for rain in the 7 Day Forecast looks to be Friday night into Saturday morning.

Photo by James Joslyn - ABC 7 Photographer

There are a number of ways you can submit them. You can of course send them to iwitness@wjla.com, which is always accepting weather photos of all kinds. You can also share your photo to our Facebook page above, or any of our Twitter accounts below.

@DougHillABC7               @JacquiJeras

@SteveRudinABC7         @EileenABC7

@ABC7Brian                    @LaurynRicketts

@AdamCaskey               @AlexLiggitt

@DevonLucie                  @MikeSABC7wx

We'll be sure to share or retweet your pictures!

 

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D.C. cherry blossoms: Days away from peak bloom

April 7, 2014 - 08:14 AM
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After a long, snowy, chilly winter, D.C. 's favorite festival shouldn't disappoint. The National Park Service posted this morning that the cherry blossoms are now at the "Puffy White" stage as of this morning. That means peak bloom is 4-6 days away!

 

 

(Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms)

 

It felt like it would never get here. The cooler than average March in D.C. had some (including me) wondering if the early prediction of peak bloom on April 8-12 would have to be pushed back. Luckily, it looks like the experts were right on track. Still, there are questions of weather the next few days will impact the petals or viewing.

Monday will be a wet one with up to an inch of rain possible, so not the best weather to get out there to view the blossoms. 

 

(Monday rainfall)

 

Tuesday will be drier, but rather breezy, so we will have to keep an eye out for how the wind will impact the blooms. Right now my thinking is that the blooms aren't quite far enough open for the wind to have a big impact or knock down many petals. Wind will be from the West on Tuesday at 10-15 mph, but a few gusts could reach 20 mph. Conditions will become more tranquil midweek with increased sunshine.

A cold front will pass late Friday or early Saturday and could squeeze out a few showers. So, if I had to pick a day this upcoming week for the best possible viewing and color with sunshine and calm conditions, it would be Thursday. Here's the 7 day forecast:

 

(Seven-day forecast)

 

We would love to hear about your experiences at the Tidal Basin checking out the blossoms. Post your photos on the Stormwatch7 Facebook page. You can also post them to my personal facebook page or twitter account and we might just use them on Good Morning Washington. For a list of Festival Activities, click here. Enjoy!!!

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