From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for August 2011

Forget about Katia, what about the low in the Gulf? (Video)

August 31, 2011 - 07:44 PM

Yes of course we all know about Katia and how it should become a major hurricane over the next few days, but there is a bit of concern closer to home. The hurricane hunters are even scheduled to go take a look tomorrow afternoon.

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A closer look at where Tropical Storm Katia should go

August 31, 2011 - 08:26 AM

Who doesn't like sunset pictures?

August 31, 2011 - 06:35 AM

I headed down to Fripp Island, South Carolina last week for a little R & R and as I am a weather geek to the highest, I had to take some pictures of the sunset to share with you. Above is the link to the gallery with all of my photos. If you'd like me to send you a larger version, feel free to email me and I'm more than happy to give you a copy. I must say, they look great as a computer background!

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Tropical Storm Katia forms in the Atlantic

August 30, 2011 - 07:38 AM
Infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Katia

I also have some interesting calculations and correlations from Bob Ryan regarding Irene's rainfall.  Not to mention, a look at the rest of the week. 

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Continuous updates on Hurricane Irene for the D.C. area

August 28, 2011 - 11:50 AM


Irene still a Tropical Storm with winds of will continue to march NE through New England....will will begin to clear with sun and a bit of a breeze.


9:10am Update:

Irene has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm as it moves into New York this morning as of 9am. Winds are down to 65 m.p.h. and the storm is moving NNE at 26 m.p.h.


Hearing from folks on Facebook...and one person really enjoyed the storm as it came in handy!  FROM Tammy Thomson Forsyth "She was my kind of storm...she pruned the dead branches from our tree and blew down my dog Sterling's rubber squeaky shark from the roof."


Latest update from the National Hurricane Center keeps Irene a Category 1 Storms with sustained winds at 75mph.  Continues to pummel NYC with gusty winds and heavy rain.  Final bands of rain are exiting our area.

**Tropical Storm Jose forms south of Bermuda, but will be no threat to the mainland US!


Local Flood warnings will expire at 8am....except for St Marys & Calvert who will remain in effect until 10:30am!


Peak gust at Reagan National Airport was 60mph!  They have just over 3 1/3 inches of rain!


Want to see just how often your town has been hit by a hurricane?  Check out this neat tool from NOAA...interactive with google maps!


Storm continues to march northward as we await the 8AM update from the hurricane center we continue to see our rain showers diminish...winds more northwesterly pulling in drier air!

6:25am Update:

Rainfall Totals so far:

7.50" Annapolis, MD

6.38" Upper Marlboro, MD

5.5" Downtown at Childrens Hospital

4.5" Alexandria, VA

6:20am Update:

Highest Gusts from Irene:

71mph - NIST: Gaitherburg, MD

63mph - WxBug Hdqtrs: Germantown, MD

59mph - Murch Elementary: Washington, DC

55mph - American Dream Way: Reston, VA

6:10am Update:

Rain bands continue to shift north with only a few more hours until we begin to dry out.  Currently there are FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS up for the metro region until 8AM.

5:00AM Update:

Irene still holding on to Hurricane Status, but barely. Current update shows its current winds are sustained at 75mph (74 + is hurricane) with higher gusts.

12:27am Update:

Here's a few wind gusts right after midnight...

D.C.: 49 m.p.h.,  Laurel: 50,  Glen Burnie: 45,  Columbia: 45, Burtonsville: 49

12:00am Update:

Ok, it's getting late and I've been here for 12 hours, so here is something crazy and I'm not sure if it's even real, but wow if it is.

Highest winds and heaviest rains will continue to affect the I-95 cooridor and east in and around D.C. Flash Flood Warnings continue to 3:15am for Anne Arunel, Baltimore County and City. 

11:25pm Update:

Flash Flood Warnings continue through 2:30am for D.C., Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Prince Georges, Montgomery and Howard Counties.

11:14pm Update:

Here is part of the latest forecast discussion for Irene, "MORE SO THAN WITH MOST STORMS...THE WINDS WITH IRENE INCREASE

11:02pm Update:

The new public advisory is out for Hurricane Irene which is still a Category 1 storm with winds to 80 m.p.h. as it moves NNE at 16 m.p.h. 

10:56pm Update:

The Flash Flood Warning has been extended until 2am for Charles, Calvert, St. Mary's, Prince Georges and Anne Arunel Counties in MD. Very heavy rain will continue to fall over the next couple of hours.

10:49pm Update:

Life cycle of Irene over the past week:

10:41pm Update:

Parts of St. Mary's county have received over 8 inches of rain through the storm and winds appear like they are only reaching Tropical Storm force along the Bay. Wind gusts across the area are still on the order of 30 to 40 m.p.h. and will continue to be very gusty through the next 5 hours or so. Even with the hurricane to the north, the Outer Banks are still getting wind gusts from 50 to 60 m.p.h. Thomas Point Light just had a wind gust to 64 m.p.h.

9:33pm Update:

As of the 9pm update of Irene, winds are still at 80 m.p.h. moving NNE at 16 m.p.h. The pressure is at 951mb and the track keeps it as a hurricane as it passes just to the east of Ocean City late tonight.

Current Doppler Radar imagery is showing very heavy rainfall from D.C. to points east including most of Prince Georges, Charles, Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties. A bit of a break is beginning to come in to St. Mary's with another band farther south over the bay. In this heavy rain, high winds have been getting mixed down to the surface and numerous reports of 45+ m.p.h. wind gusts are coming in across our WeatherBug Network.

Flooding will still be the main concern tonight so be sure not to go out during the overnight hours unless you absolutely have to.

8:43pm Update:

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect for the majority of the D.C. Metro area until 11:30pm tonight. There have been reports of over 5 inches of rain in parts of Southern Maryland with another 2 to 3 possible in the next few hours. A Flood Warning is also in effect until 12:30am for Calvert and St. Mary's counties where another half an inch or more is continuing to fall each hour.

8:21pm Update:

Reading some tweets I heard about a possible tornado 2 miles southwest of Lewes, DE on the eastern shore from Jim Cantore and also heard from our own Meteorologist Devon Lucie that about 70% of Richmond, VA has lost power. Be sure to follow me and the rest of the team on twitter for the latest updates and information on Irene.

8:03pm Update:

Our Interactive Radar is showing the next heavy band about to move into Anne Arundel and stretches down into Southern Maryland with winds sustained above 40 m.p.h. at Chesapeake Beach along the Bay. Expected Tropical Storm conditions over the next hour or so as this band moves through to the north and west.

7:44pm Update:

Saw Rob's comment below. We are not expecting much coastal flooding along the western side of the Bay as winds have been sustained out of the north and will gradually turn to the northwest as Irene's center moves north to the east of Ocean City. Also, the next high tide at Chesapeake Beach is 3:33am and Annapolis 4:55am which would put high tide after Irene has passed to the north. This will also help keep the water from piling up on the western shores of the Bay was winds will be out of the northwest.

7:00pm Update:

Rainfall totals... Leonardtown 4.57",  Ocean City 2.76",  Annapolis 2.54",  Oxon Hill 2.57",  Spotsylvania 2.38",  Waldorf 2.36",  D.C. 2.3",  Alexandria 2.16".

Also, check here for some of the latest wind gusts and rainfall totals from other locations around the D.C. area.

6:16pm Update:

The heaviest rains are beginning to fall all across the D.C. area with the highest potential for flooding along and east of I-95. We think 4 to 8 inches of rain will be possible. Be sure to check Live Doppler Radar for the latest positioning of the rain.

Also, please send any pictures or videos to and we will get them on air through the night.

5:29pm Update:

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 11:30pm tonight for portions of Howard and Montgomery in MD, Fairfax and Prince William in VA, and D.C. An additional 3 to 6 inches of rain will be possible with locally higher amounts.

5:17pm Update:

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 11pm tonight for Anne Arundel, Prince Georges and Charles Counties. An additional 4 to 8 inches of rain is possible in those areas through the overnight hours, which I think is absolutely possible. Flooding will be the primary threat through the night with the additional threat of downed trees. Remember, flooding is the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States.

5:04pm Update:

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 11pm tonight for Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George Counties. An additional 1-3 inches of rain is possible through the remainder of the night with locally higher amounts appearing likely. I really think there will be some spots over 6 inches of rain by the time this system is leaving tomorrow morning. Flooding appears like it will be a huge problem along and east of I-95 and trees will easily come down with saturated grounds and winds gusting from 40 to 50 m.p.h.

4:57pm Update:

Irene continues at hurricane strength with winds at 80 m.p.h. and gusts to 100 m.p.h. It is moving to the NNE at 13 m.p.h. and is still expected to move parallel to the coast of the Eastern Shore.

4:13pm Update:

The Tornado Watch continues for the Eastern Shore of Maryland until 8pm, but Calvert and St. Mary's counties in Southern Maryland have been dropped.

3:47pm Update:

Check here for the latest storm reports in the D.C. area. Numerous reports of flooding and trees down are coming in from Southern Maryland. Heavy rain and high winds will continue to make conditions worse through the remainder of the afternoon and into tonight. 

3:35pm Update:

The heaviest rain band is currently over Calvert and St. Mary's counties in Southern Maryland and will move very slowly to the north and west as the hurricane moves to the north. Rainfall rates should be around 0.5-1.0" per hour through the evening and overnight as Irene continues to move north.

Here is a great site to check out rainfall totals, winds, wind gusts, etc.

Here is a site that is showing streaming video from a guy that is chasing the storm in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

3:05pm Update:

A 62 m.p.h. wind gust has been reported at the Chesapeake Beach, MD station on our WeatherBug Network. They are reporting 40 m.p.h. sustained winds there. Also, Rehoboth Beach, DE has recorded a 56 m.p.h wind gust and Patuxent River NAS has recorded a 42 m.p.h. wind gust.

For rainfall totals so far, Leonardtown, MD has received 2.01" and Brandywind, MD 1.53". Expect A LOT more in the way of rain, as numerous locations in southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina have recorded upwards of 8 inches.

2:42pm Update:

The eye wall is about to move into the Albermarle Sound in N.C. The eastern part of the eye wall which is the worst with the highest winds will be moving into Kill Devil Hills, NC and Nags Head, NC and eventually northern portions of the Outer Banks like Duck and Corrola.

2:31pm Update:

At 2pm, the National Hurricane Center's update shows Irene still as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 m.p.h., gusting to 100 m.p.h. It is moving to the NNE at 13 m.p.h. and is expected to move right along the eastern shore this evening and tonight. 

2:03pm Update:

Rain continues to mainly affect areas along and east of the I-95 cooridor and a very large rain sheild exists all the way down to southern Virginia and North Carolina. In, N.C., 5 to 10 inches of rain has fallen with locally more in eastern portions of the state including New Bern and Beaufort where over 10 inches have been reported.

Local high tides may bring bigger issues with storm surge flooding possible, particularly overnight. Chesapeake Beach has high tides at 3:03pm today and 3:33am tomorrow. Annapolis has high tides at 4:25pm tonight and 4:55am tomorrow. Alexandria has high tides at 7:48pm and the next not until 8:05am which will not be a problem.

1:37pm Update:

Rainfall for the month has been heavy at Reagan National at 5.09" (+2.6" for August). It has been under at BWI Marshall and Dulles though with only 2.66" and 2.33" respectively at each airport. This will help bust the moderate drought conditions in our region.

1:23pm Update:

Based on Irene's latest location and movement, count on periods of heavy rain and high winds through at least the next 8 hours. The worst of the storm should be around Midnight as its center moves just east of Ocean City, MD.

1:17pm Update:

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 6:45pm for Calvert and St. Mary's counties in Southern Maryland. Our WeatherBug Network has seen 1.5 inches of rain in Leonardtown and 1.21 inches of rain in Huntingtown already.

The intense rainbands are beginning to move into the D.C. area and will continue to move in from the south through the afternoon and into the early overnight hours. In the heaviest rain bands, winds will pick up from northeasterly to easterly later this evening and tonight.

Here are the Virginia Surface Observations.

Here are some Maryland Surface Observations.

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Rainfall totals and wind gusts across the region from Irene

August 28, 2011 - 09:27 AM

As shown in the radar estimated precipitation there was a huge difference in rainfall totals from west to east. It was estimated that there were numerous area of 3 inches of rainfall or more along and east of I-95. We actually found this radar estimation to be below a lot of the reports we have from WeatherBug and from the public information statement from the National Weather Service. Here are some area rainfall totals.

Annapolis, MD: 7.56"

Frederick, MD: 6.78"

Upper Marlboro, MD: 6.53"

Columbia, MD: 6.13"

Bowie, MD: 5.92"

Washington, D.C. (Childrens Hospital): 5.66"

Alexandria, VA: 4.69"

Arlington, VA: 3.68"

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Hurricane Irene path: Projections, spaghetti style

August 26, 2011 - 02:55 PM

Looking at the possibilities for Hurricane Irene, you may be confused by the lines going all over the place:

Irene track

A bit confusing, no? You may be wondering why we meteorologists can be so confident when there are so many different possible paths. One turns left, and goes right over D.C., continuing north through Pennsylvania and up to Canada. On the other extreme, one doesn't even touch North Carolina. How can we get so many different projections, and how can we be sure that the storm won't go over our heads?

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Hurricane Irene local forecast: Expect heavy rains, possible flooding

August 26, 2011 - 01:23 PM

Residents should use today to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. Partly sunny skies will be overhead today however with a frontal boundary stalled just to our south and east.

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Hurricane Irene path: Why is the East Coast a target?

August 25, 2011 - 04:30 PM

Greetings! John Metcalfe, your everyday weather blogger, is on vacation. My name is Jeremy Binckes, and I have dabbled in weather. I'm happy to be filling in, considering that Metcalfe will be missing one of the more awesome weather stories of the past decade.

The most recent predictions are showing that Hurricane Irene has Cape Hatteras in its sight. Early projections (Monday or Tuesday) showed that the storm would strike North Carolina then curve off to the east. However, the most recent projections are showing that Irene is likely to hug the Eastern Seaboard — a straight-line projection that's exceptionally rare. It comes down to a matter of timing.

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Delmarva Beach forecast this Friday through Sunday

August 25, 2011 - 08:19 AM

Due to the impending storm, Ocean City is now under a Phase 1 Evacuation Plan meaning the following:

- Anyone traveling to Ocean City is asked to delay their visit until the situation improves.

- Mobile Home Residents and Residents of known flood prone areas should prepare secure your homes and prepare to evacuate.

-Secure or move all watercraft.

- All persons are asked to tune into their Government Access Channel for further detailed information or advisories. 
If you were thinking about heading to the beach this weekend you should rethink those plans as Irene will make for nasty and potentially dangerous conditions.  Be sure to monitor the latest updates from the National Hurricane Center as the exact track could still change.

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Updated Hurricane Irene path and forecast discussion

August 25, 2011 - 08:17 AM

It is important to note that there is still much uncertainty with the exact forecast for Irene, so our forecast and the effects it could have on the D.C. area is subject to change in the hours and days ahead.   

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Irene Changing Track

August 24, 2011 - 01:21 PM

Irene's changing forecast track over the last 4 days and dProg/dT.  What the heck is that?  Here is our video discussion with the latest tracks

Adam and all of us always are looking at not only the latest track and discussion from our colleagues at the NWS tropical prediction center but the trend.  Here's our discussion of the lastest and what it means for the DC area.

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Plan a trip to Gravelly Point

August 24, 2011 - 08:15 AM

Gravelly Point is located right along the GW Parkway just to the north of Reagan National Airport.

View Larger Map

It is a perfect place to go and watch the planes land or take off but I advise you to check the weather ahead of time. Now why would I say that?

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Blogger on vacation, but keep checking StormWatch 7 for news

August 24, 2011 - 05:05 AM

Hey folks, this blogger is taking a vacation for a while. But the blog won't. Keep visiting for stories and weather updates from the ABC7 weather team, including the latest on Hurricane Irene. As always, the latest forecasts and radar readings are on the main WJLA weather page. Earthquake forecasts? Science is still working on that.

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WATCH: Virginia earthquake causes things to bump and sway

August 23, 2011 - 04:34 PM

The earthquake centered in the Washington, D.C. area today was strong enough to be felt in Portland, Maine, according to one Twitterite. More serious reports of damage are coming in from around the city, although I've only seen one claim of injury, from the Prince George's County Police Department:

Injury Report: 1 person diving for cover at DuVal HS during #earthquake was transported for a head injury. #DCQuake

(Keep current with every ort of Virginia earthquake news at WJLA's live blog.)

Here's the Ecuadorian embassy at 15th Street and Euclid. The shot was taken by William Neuheisel, who says:

Came home after the earthquake to find Euclid St, University Pl, and my back alley closed off. My neighbor, who was in the back alley at the time, didn't realize there was an earthquake, and thought maybe they were knocking down the building with a construction crew.

dc earthquake damage photo

This fun video comes from of Waldorf, Md., whose pool suddenly developed tides (or a seiche?) when the quake hit at 1:51 p.m.:

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Aftershock reported in wake of Virginia's 5.8-magnitude quake

August 23, 2011 - 03:16 PM

If you felt the aftershock in D.C. from this afternoon's Virginia earthquake you must've had feet as sensitive as a cockroach's antennae. It occurred about 5 miles away from the quake's epicenter near Mineral, Va., around 2:45 p.m., and was "poorly" constrained with a depth of about 0.1 miles. (The quake itself hit at 1:51 p.m.) Expect a few more aftershocks as the day goes on, and perhaps even tomorrow. (Do not miss WJLA's live blog on the quake's aftermath.)

There are some interesting reports rolling in from around Virginia (although this thing was large enough to allegedly be felt from Boston to Atlanta). MOST interesting is this report from FOX news saying the Washington Monument might be "tilting." Definitely going down to the Mall later tonight to check that out, maybe try to push it back into place if it looks askance.

Here's what my dad sent earlier today from Cherrydale, Va.:

No damage to our house, but it was scary. House shook. Pots rattled, etc.
All of the neighbors outside with "what the hell" expressions.

The quake knocked off one of the spires atop the National Cathedral. Take a peek at this whaaaaa??? photo by Kate Adamson:

national cathedral earthquake damage spire

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Hurricane Irene's path: Forecasting a mammoth storm (PHOTOS)

August 23, 2011 - 05:00 AM

In the above photo gallery you'll find a nice mix of satellite photos and forecast maps for Hurricane Irene, the first major cyclone of 2011's Atlantic hurricane season. Irene became a Category 2 storm late Monday and is expected to strengthen possibly into a "major" hurricane as it tracks over the Bahamas today.

The cyclone could visit Florida as soon as Thursday, although it's important to note that it could also stay safely out at sea. Predicting this far in advance is difficult, and the expected path has already changed substantially since the weekend, as you can see in this animation. Here are the latest predictions from the National Hurricane Center.

My favorite image in this gallery: Did you know that the U.S. military operates a device that automatically classifies clouds by their type? That's delightful and a little scary at the same time. Absorb these different views of Irene, and let's hope they're the most that Easter Coasters will be seeing of this tropical monster.

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Hurricane Irene update: Storm expected to intensify near U.S.

August 22, 2011 - 02:52 PM

The wait is over! Early Monday morning, the swirling waters of the ocean unveiled the first cyclone of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, and it's a beaut. At this time, Hurricane Irene is a Category 1 spinner looming over the northern Dominican Republic, with tropical-storm force winds extending 160 miles from its center and a nice head of thundering clouds reaching 9 miles into the sky.

The storm whipped through Puerto Rico on Sunday carrying loads of thunderstorms inside its violently rocking centrifuge, knocking out power to about one-fifth of the population. (Mira la foto galeria over at local news outlet El Nuevo Dia.) The storm is on track to stir up trouble in the Dominican Republic and then intensify to a Category 3 hurricane as it travels across the Bahama Islands.

Many an ear were no doubt popping in San Juan as Irene whirled by. Look at this stark drop in barometric pressure on the island, posted earlier today by ABC7's senior meteorologist Bob Ryan. If it reaches Florida later this week, Irene will be the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Ike strutted into Galveston, Texas in 2008.

But how likely is that?

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WATCH: Fatal supercell with embedded tornado in Michigan

August 22, 2011 - 01:17 PM

Ever seen one of those ultra-high-speed photos of a drop of milk hitting a flat surface? Magnify that effect a billion times and you get this mountainous thunderstorm cloud that developed on Aug. 19 over Marinette, Wisc. You won't see a supercell like this in D.C. (although you definitely have a chance in Nebraska).

Jason Asselin filmed the gigantic puffball from a perch on Michigan's Iron Mountain. He says:

Seeing this storm as I sat behind my house in the alley was something else. I never imagined seeing something so beautiful yet deadly. Living in Upper Michigan, I have seen many storms but never anything like this. I lived over 7 years in Memphis, TN where I saw many tornadoes and severe storms, yet again never saw a formation of clouds like this.

What was gorgeous from afar was terrible from within: This storm dropped an EF-1 tornado that carved a barren trail eight miles long through Marinette. Screaming winds as fast as 105 m.p.h. ripped apart a trailer and killed a man inside, a 43-year-old Douglas Brem.

So where is this tornado in the below video? Asselin says: "My best guess would say on the right side of the picture, where the smaller cells are erupting alone"

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The amazing mold pies of 2011's Montgomery County Fair (PHOTOS)

August 22, 2011 - 05:00 AM

This year's Montgomery County Agricultural Fair had oversize cows, playful pygmy goats and adorable piglets running races. But there was another life-form lurking in the wings. After days of sitting around in hot and humid weather, the baked-goods exhibition had become completely overrun by mold. Here are some of the prize-winning pies and cakes, now more of a curiosity for seasoned microbiologists and painters of memento mori. (LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY)

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