From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for October 2011

Orionids 2011: NASA sees meteor showers in ways you never will

October 21, 2011 - 01:46 PM
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Early Saturday morning, something nutty will be going on in the skies.

The 2011 Orionids, flaming flakes of dust from Halley's Comet, will be darting around the blackness of space like shiny cave fish. When the meteor shower reaches its expected peak right before dawn, skywatchers camping out with their coffee and telescopes could see more than 15 green-and-yellow Orionids per hour.

Meanwhile, over at NASA headquarters, our nation's top astroscientists will be having their minds blown by a much groovier show: Meteors crashing into the moon like kegs of dynamite hurled by an interstellar Donkey Kong. It's like they'll be watching IMAX: Hubble 3D, while junior astronomers encrusted in morning dew will be trying to sneak glimpses of 1979's Meteor through a neighbor's partially closed blinds.

Just listen to how NASA's Tony Phillips describes these lunar detonations:

Cometary debris streams like Halley's are so wide, the whole Earth-Moon system fits inside. So when there is a meteor shower on Earth, there's usually one on the Moon, too. Unlike Earth, however, the Moon has no atmosphere to intercept meteoroids. Pieces of debris fall all the way to the surface and explode where they hit. Flashes of light caused by thermal heating of lunar rocks and moondust are so bright, they can sometimes be seen through backyard-class telescopes.

The main guy in charge of the U.S. Meteoroid Environment Office, Bill Cooke, has caught more than 250 fiery meteor-on-moon impacts. They're kind of neat, he says: "Some explode with energies exceeding hundreds of pounds of TNT." So here's hoping that Cooke and his team capture a couple of these amazing events on film and decide to share. God knows the footage of a lunar meteor flash on YouTube is less than spectacular.

Where should you be looking for the Orionids this year? Somewhere far away from the lights of D.C., of course. Search the eastern skies for a triangle formed by the Moon, red Mars and blueish Regulus. Keep your eyes within the triangle for the best chances of ogling an Orionid.

For more information, Spacedex has a great presentation on the annual October shower. And here's a helpful sky map from NASA (large version):

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Fall foliage photos and how to share your pictures

October 21, 2011 - 06:03 AM
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We've been talking about it for days, and the forecast still holds true for great Fall-like weather this weekend. It's weather that will be perfect for viewing the Fall foliage and enjoying your favorite Fall activities with sunshine and highs in the low to mid 60s.

Peak color has yet to arrive, but the leaves are starting to change across the abc7 viewing area, and throughout the week we've been sharing some of your photos of the Fall foliage and Fall fun. If you're heading out and snap a few photos, please send them our way via social media or email. An easy way to go about it is to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook or email: acaskey@wjla.com

Thanks for all of the photos thus far!  Here are some we've shared on-air...


Deep Creek Lake 10/16/11. Courtesy: Lynn & Katie DeFazio

 



Roosevelt Island 10/18/11. Courtesy: Mary Wasserman


Russel Canter's pumpkin carrying challenge - 12! Courtesy: Meagan Canter

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What's the deal with southerly winds bringing cooler temperatures?

October 21, 2011 - 05:42 AM
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Here is the 850mb temperature plot from Thursday morning. It shows the temperatures (colors) and wind speeds around 1,500 meters or 5,000 feet up in the atmosphere. This chart is usually good for seeing areas of cold or warm air advection as well as areas where gusty winds may be present. The giant swirl in the atmosphere at this time over the Great Lakes is what has helped bring the cooler air and gusty winds to the D.C. area, but it is not often southwesterly winds will bring a colder air mass to the Mid Atlantic.

850 Temps Thursday AM

This low had a path which took it just to the west of the mountains, which placed the center to the northwest of D.C.

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2011 U.S. winter outlook: dry South, cold North, D.C. unsure

October 21, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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D.C. residents, brace yourself for a wallop of shocking information: There are "equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation" in the Mid-Atlantic this winter, according to an analysis by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. (Press release, full outlook here.)

That's not very helpful for people wondering how many snow shovels to buy from the hardware store this November. (The answer is five.) But don't blame the forecasters too much. The D.C. region is in a weird geographic slot that makes it tough to predict the conditions from December to February.

The big climate player this year is La Niña, the mild-mannered sister of El Niño that is associated with below-average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Winters under the spell of La Niña (last year was one) typically feature hotter-than-usual temperatures in the Southeast U.S. and cooler-than-average temperatures in the Northwest.

And that's roughly what NOAA's analysis predicts. Signs of La Niña's reappearance started appearing in August, and the government meteorologists see it building in strength through the frigid months ahead. That would mean better chances of warmer and drier weather in the South, a foreboding thought for farmers whose drought-stricken land isn't growing squat. It would also ratchet up the winter damp and chill in the Flannel Belt running through Washington State, Oregon and some of the northern states.

This is how NOAA sees the precipitation spreading out in the coming months:

us winter outlook 2011 2012 precipitation

La Niña doesn't do so much for the Mid-Atlantic in winter. This region instead falls under the influence of a pattern of dueling northern pressure zones called the Arctic Oscillation. When the oscillation goes from positive to negative – meaning high pressure dominates the pole while low pressure swirls south around the mid-latitudes – it can push tons of freezing air over the East Coast and cause, in one famous instance, a Snowmageddon. But these periodic switches of the oscillation are incredibly hard to predict. So NOAA is hedging its winter forecast with this language: "If enough cold air and moisture are in place, areas north of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast could see above-average snow."

In other words, we'll just have to wait a while to see which direction the weather is heading. For a full list of the expected effects of the 2011/2012 winter around the country, plow ahead. You may also want to check out an earlier winter prognosis released by WSI, a company owned by the Weather Channel.

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No frosty temperatures yet; fall colors showing to the west

October 20, 2011 - 09:30 PM
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Climatologically, the first frost of the season in the Nation’s Capital is October 17, while it occurs around October 29 in Baltimore, October 11 in Annapolis and even earlier west of the Blue Ridge in Hagerstown on September 29.

freeze

But, we have yet to see anything close to that just yet. The coldest morning low in at Reagan National so far this fall was 45 degrees on October 2 while Hagerstown only chilled to 40 degrees so far this season on the same day.

Incidentally, last year we were in the same boat. The coldest temperatures through late October only dropped to 40 degrees at Reagan National. Temperatures finally dipped to the freezing mark by November 29th.

We are in for a stunning weather pattern if you like bright sunshine and fall weather for the next 6 days. Highs will climb into the 60s with lows in the 40s. Still no signs of frost in any mornings coming up, but the dips in our temperatures will likely keep getting cooler behind fronts.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend full of sunshine and crisp fall temperatures. This will be a picture-perfect weekend to view the peak fall colors in the Allegheny Mountains of far western Maryland. Although patchy colors can be seen west of the Beltway now, deep splendid orange and red hues seen in the image below from last year will move to the Interstate 81 corridor by the beginning of November and into the District a week or two before Thanksgiving.

fall

Don’t forget with cooler temperatures comes the time change. In just a little over two weeks early on November 6 at 2 a.m. standard time resumes and we turn the clocks back an hour.


Have a great weekend!

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WATCH: Pod of blue whales suddenly surfaces around kayaker

October 20, 2011 - 12:39 PM
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Lions, tigers, bears... yeah, let's not talk about those. Instead, why don't we focus on what's still alive: In this case, whales! Fleshy, bubble-spurting nuclear submarines that surface right next to you when your guard is nonexistent.

This man was kayaking a few days ago off Redondo Beach in California when his head-cam picked up black movement to the left. Drivers might compare it to having a multivehicle accident unfold in the periphery of their vision; something unusual and ominous was happening. Within seconds an immense blue whale has broken through the glassy sea surface, so close as to give the kayaker a finny high-five. That's just the beginning of this adventurer's journey into a pod of roiling, lunging whales.

While most people would be content to drift among the plankton-sucking behemoths, hands gripping the sides of the watercraft for dear life, this guy wants to play in the waves with them. Or rather under the waves, seeing how his camera is waterproof. The footage of these torpedoes of blubber materializing in the murk is either spectacular or terrifying, depending on how you feel about immense creatures lurking below your helpless feet. Blue whales are the largest creatures on earth and among the most gentle, although it's easy to forget that last fact when they look like a freakin' building falling on you.

The kayaker also maintains a page of ocean photography that's well worth a glance. And here's a video of him owning lobsters on the sea floor. He must eat pretty well with those skills.

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Black bear cub lost in a supermarket – must be fall (VIDEO)

October 20, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Alaska's Tatsuda's IGA has a full line of quality products: strawberries and shiny apples, halibut cheeks and smoked black cod, jojos (or potato wedges) and baby black bears so fresh they're literally crawling all over the produce aisle.

This great little video was shot on Saturday in Ketchikan, a town about 300 miles south of Juneau. A confused baby bear wandered into the supermarket and promptly freaked the heck out. So it ran to a quiet place where it could stress snack, right among cool mounds of vegetables in the produce aisle. The furball seemed to be on its best behavior with no pooping going on, although toward the end it did break down into a wee screaming fit.

According to the Ketchikan Daily News, a meat-department manager "responded to the PA announcement with a net because he misheard the announcement to say there was a bird in the store." Another man grabbed the critter and carried it out of the store after rightly determining that you don't take a net to a claw fight. Fortunately for him, the mother was not price-comparing salmon steaks nearby in the seafood department.

Thirsty for more bear news? Well, on Monday a driver struck and killed a sow in Suffolk, Va. Animal-control experts tranquilized two cubs, presumably her babies, hiding in a tree. One cub descended and the other climbed higher, eventually tumbling 40 feet back down to earth. (It was fine, says the Virginian-Pilot.) Authorities have noticed bear activity in the D.C. region as early as June, when several of the shambling creatures were spotted on roads and trails in Fairfax.

Adorable ursine footage follows the jump.

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A morning rainbow in Maryland, an evening tornado risk in D.C

October 19, 2011 - 01:34 PM
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What a nice way to wake up, with a Skittles-colored arc shimmering above your head. ABC7 reporter Brianne Carter sent in this photo around 9 a.m. from Germantown, where the rains had just cleared. The rainbow was also in full effect in Silver Spring, judging from this photo that ABC7 assignment editor Adrienne Winston took:

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A huge comet nearly obliterated the Earth in 1883?

October 19, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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It sounds like a Michael Bay spectacular: Not content with merely wiping out the dinosaurs, the coldly calculating forces of the universe made a death play for humanity by sending a comet on a kamikaze mission to Earth.

As the cheer-killing ice ball neared the planet, chunks broke off that measured four times the size of the Louisiana Superdome's roof. The jagged shards whistled so close that pedestrians walking below practically felt the wind rustling in their hair. The distance of the comet's miss was as short as 334 miles, less than the car ride from D.C. to Boston.

Great movie, right? Well, astrophysicists from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Méxicoas think that it actually happened. In a new paper, the scientists claim that this assault by cosmic shards was observed, if not totally understood, by Mexican astronomer Jose A. y Bonilla on August 12 and 13, 1883. Other astronomers, however, think that Bonilla might've just been seeing geese. Skip to the end for an opposing viewpoint.

This much is known: On those two days, while peering up at space from his observatory in central Mexico, Bonilla noted a fleet of strange objects passing across the Sun's blazing disc. They were shrouded in mist and dragged trails of fog behind them. In front of the sun they looked dark; against the background of space they glowed.

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A good weekend for leaf peeping; please share pictures

October 18, 2011 - 06:01 AM
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Courtesy: Michael Pocalyko
Looking west from the Blue Ridge to Massanutten Mountain (10/16/11). Courtesy: Michael Pocalyko

It's that time of year again! The leaves are changing and are becoming vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red and more as peak color approaches. It may not be peak color yet, but the outlook is great for leaf viewing this weekend with vast sunshine and highs in the lower 60s expected. As you venture out to view the foliage over the next few weeks, please keep us in mind and share your pictures with us. 

Usually, the D.C. metro area hits peak color around the end of October and into early November. Whereas peak color is usually a few weeks earlier (Mid to late October) along the Blue Ridge and the very popular Skyline Drive. Actually, the University of Virginia Climatology Office and the Virginia Department of Forestry have slightly different accounts of typical peak color periods. Here's more information on Maryland's Fall foliage from the Maryland DNR.

We want to share your fall foliage pictures on-air and online, so please keep us in mind as you venture out to view the colorful leaves. Even if you're just out and about during your regular routine, if you notice the bright colors, snap a picture, and send it our way. 

There are several ways to go about it via email and social media. The easiest way is to hit me up on Facebook (click here) or Twitter (click here), but you can also send an email to acaskey@wjla.com or weather@wjla.com. Please include the day and location. We'd love to share your pictures! Enjoy the season and this great link to a USGS webcam in the Shenandoah National Park.

Lastly, here's a shot from Deep Creek Lake this past weekend.


Courtesy: Lynn & Katie DeFazio

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The Fly Geyser, evidence of alien life in Nevada? (PHOTOS)

October 18, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Manmade geyser or alien being from the Planet Zlorp? The always-breathtaking Fly Geyser spews steamy water in the middle of Nevada's Black Rock Desert. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy C. Munns)

Near the town of Gerlach, Nev., lives an insanely hellish orifice in the ground called Fly Geyser. Created by a botched drilling operation in the 1960s, the geyser continuously vomits boiling water and is covered with a gooey patchwork of thermophillic algae. Hippies attending the Burning Man festival like to go stare at it... check out these photos of the Fly, and you'll understand why it's so groovy. (LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY)

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Today in weird weather history: Great London Beer Flood kills 8

October 17, 2011 - 02:56 PM
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For as long as time and yeast have existed, the great philosophers of the world have argued one vital question: Beer, can it ever be bad?

Turns out that when it's smothering you to death, yes, beer can be evil.

This day, Oct. 17, marks the shocking anniversary of beer's sudden revolt against its human makers. The setting was London in 1814 at the Meux & Co.'s Horse Shoe Brewery, a charming production center of black beer that had slaked the thirst of tradesmen and farmers since the days of George III. The centerpiece of the plant was a mammoth maturing tank standing 22 feet high that contained 3,555 barrels of porter, which was "sufficient to supply more than a million persons with a pint of beer each."

According to Jim Hughes' entertaining account of the London Beer Flood of 1814, building oversized beer-containment vessels was a popular pastime among the English:

At the time of the calamity porter was one of the most popular choices among the London beer-drinking classes, and they liked it aged. Indeed, some porters could spend up to two years quietly maturing in massive oak vats, acquiring all kinds of interesting flavours before being blended with younger beer at the alehouse, according to the customer’s taste. Breweries competed with each other to see who could build the biggest vat, even holding opening ceremonies, one of which was reported to have included a dinner for 200 people inside the the vessel! (Emphasis mine.)

Indeed, who wouldn't want to swim in this vat of pure heaven?

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Falling ROSAT satellite to make reentry between Oct. 21 - 25

October 17, 2011 - 02:18 PM
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UPDATE 2:30 P.M.: The giant satellite is now expected to reenter the earth's atmosphere around 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 23, reports Spaceweather: "Uncertainties exceed 10 hours, which makes it impossible to say exactly where ROSAT will re-enter."

ORIGINAL: Achtung: A satellite strapped to a 1.7-ton telescope will soon be descending in a flaming heap back to earth, possibly as soon as Friday. Because this out-of-control spacecraft, known as the Roentgen Satellite or ROSAT, was built with the finest German engineering, the "very heat resistant" optical device is expected to crash to the ground relatively unscathed.

The ROSAT satellite was launched by NASA in 1990 and managed by the Germans until its fuel ran out and its mission ended in the late '90s. People who bought killer-satellite insurance after the UARS reentry in late September might be feeling smug right now. But although the hunk of expensive junk could make an impromptu landing pad out of basically any major city, the chances of a telescope-on-noggin impact are still abysmally low. Consider that 71 percent of the earth's surface is ocean, and that 369 satellites made uncontrolled reentries in 2010 without any known harm (although this woman was hit by part of a Delta II rocket in the '90s, if you're the type who can't stop fretting about things).

The window of the ROSAT reentry, which the German Aerospace Center puts at Oct. 21 to 25 (though the dates could change slightly), should not be a time for finger-biting but for reflection about the probe's accomplishments. Namely, ROSAT gave the universe a thorough X-ray scan shortly after its launch in 1990. This "all-sky" observation recorded 80,000 things out in the black that are spewing out Roentgens, a finding that among other things helped scientists understand the nature of nearby stars and supernovae. The satellite even caught the moon and comets emitting X-rays!

NASA praised the vehicle's discoveries in 2001:

Using these data, for the first time, astronomers could see in full the large X-ray structures in the Milky Way Galaxy, and in other galaxies; could get a nearly complete measurement of bright X-ray sources, including stars in all stages of evolution, and neutron stars and black holes too; could see the shape and brightness of the "diffuse X-ray background", the high energy emission which seems to surround us... and could use the shape of the X-ray emission to trace the hidden material making up most of the known Universe.

In other words, it was much cooler than what you'll see at the dentist's office. The visual results of ROSAT's penetrating scan are wonderful to behold:

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Prepare for noticeable changes later this week

October 17, 2011 - 05:53 AM
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Fall is the time of year when we often experience large temperature swings throughout a work week, and this week is no exception. As we transition to the upcoming cooler temperatures, rain is likely for the middle of the week.

The stage is set for two systems to converge over the Washington area causing active weather for the middle of the week. A sharp dip in the jet stream is anticipated, which will add to the dynamics in the atmosphere.  Meanwhile, a low pressure system will venture northward from Florida while another heads east from the Great Plains. These two systems will essentially converge and become one larger system overhead leading to areas of rain on Wednesday. 



A shifting weather pattern causing noticeable changes

 

Rainfall looks likely on Wednesday, but I'm not expecting a continuous, all day rainfall. Instead, off & on showers are anticipated from late Tuesday night through Wednesday evening. Behind the rainfall, the cooler air will spill into the Washington area with gusty winds on Thursday. Being a transitional day, temperatures should continually drop throughout the day on Thursday, so our actual high temperature is expected come around midnight. The cooler air will be in place by Friday with highs likely in the upper 50s/near 60 on Friday and remaining Fall-like into the weekend (60-65). Here's the predicted rainfall from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center



HPC Wednesday Rainfall forecast

 

 

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Friday weather-news roundup: Radiation, death, Terps edition

October 14, 2011 - 03:23 PM
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Welcome to the Oct. 14, 2011, edition of the Friday Weather News Roundup:

• Officials at the University of Maryland are standing by their decision yesterday to blast students with tornado sirens and tornado text alerts despite there being no NWS tornado at the time. The university's police spokesman said that their ultra-heightened response was based on looking at maps and talking with "this guy" from Accuweather. This is the second time that Accuweather has wound up in the Friday Weather News Roundup, having been caught earlier giving temperatures in Death Valley that were as much as 15 degrees off.

• On the other hand, Accuweather's Valerie Smock posted a nice story today about Hurricane Hunter aircraft, so there's that.

• The EPA has estimated that a bill just passed by House Republicans could kill 20,000 people prematurely with pollution. The bill allows urban incinerating companies to "burn tires, solvents, plastics, oil sludge and other toxic-laden substances for profit without any oversight or reporting requirements." Republicans say the jobs the bill saves makes it worth the health risks.

• Japanese engineers investigating a high level of radiation in a Tokyo neighborhood discovered that it was not fallout from the Fukushima disaster. Rather, it seemed to be emitting from bottles that somebody had stored underneath a house as well as a wood fence, according to the Japan Times. Phew... maybe? Says the Times: "The Wednesday announcement by Setagaya puzzled some experts. The wooden fence is apparently emitting the radiation, but radioactive materials usually build up on the ground."

• Remember Tropical Storm Lee? I somehow missed this wonderful video that a USGS camera took of Difficult Run in a forest near Vienna during Lee's deluge. Watch how fast that stream powers up to flood stage:

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Funnel cloud crossing Rt. 50 during Oct. 13's tornados (PHOTO)

October 14, 2011 - 01:09 PM
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The count of suspected tornadoes that rushed over Virginia (but not the University of Maryland!) yesterday is now up to three: Louisa, New Kent and Triangle, Va. Quite a busy day for weather.

That last possible twister was added to the Storm Prediction Center's list after alarmed drivers sent in a video of a funnel cloud just sort of sidling up to their vehicle on the highway. The person who uploaded it to YouTube wrote, "We were southbound on I-95 when we noticed the clouds acting funny - as it turns out, a tornado was brewing and touched down very close to us." Take a gander:

The web is dripping with extraordinary media from yesterday's severe weather. Take, for instance, this amazing structure beating the skies over what looks like a junkyard in New Kent:

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Best 2011 weather photos, from Weatherwise Magazine (GALLERY)

October 14, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Each year, the venerable publication Weatherwise holds a contest to determine who's the savviest weather photog around. This year's shutterbugs really outdid themselves, capturing everything from a rainbow and funnel cloud dueling to lightning frying the skies of Hawaii to a sinisterly beautiful winter growth known as "ice fingers."

The publisher of Weatherwise, where ABC7's own Bob Ryan serves as executive editor, has given StormWatch 7 blog permission to throw up some of the most spectacular contest winners. Click here to go to the gallery and experience weather as you've never had before. (I'm just assuming you've never stood alone in a steaming field with a cow and fresh hailstones rolling on the ground. Apologies if you have.)

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Warning of flash floods in Virginia

October 13, 2011 - 05:40 PM
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8:58 p.m.: A flash flood warning has been issued for central Fairfax County. Flash flooding was reported there and the National Weather Service expect that additional rain will worsen the flooding.

In addition, a coastal flood advisory is in effect until noon Friday for Prince George’s, Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert, Prince William and Harford counties as well as Manassas, Stafford and King George.

8:30 p.m.: The University of Maryland repeatedly warned its students to stay inside because a tornado was imminent. Do you think the school went too far? See the warnings here.

7:55 p.m.: The National Weather Service has canceled the tornado watch for the region.

7:10 p.m.: There were at least two possible tornadoes today in Virginia, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center: One in Louisa and another in New Kent. Here's a map showing Thursday's storm reports with description of damages.

This funnel cloud was spotted by @masboo near Fair Oaks Mall this afternoon. And here's a video of another funnel in New Kent. No reports of injuries that I've seen.

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.: The University of Maryland in College Park issued a warning to students to seek shelter because of an impending tornado is due to strike. According to posts on Twitter, sirens were sounding on the campus and students received alerts telling them to seek shelter. However, the region is currently not under a tornado warning.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: All of Fairfax is under a Tornado Warning until 6 p.m. as this sky-inking storm moves right up below D.C. Keep tuned to WJLA's meteorology Twitter feed for minute-by-minute updates. Here are the current weather alerts for your zip code.

ORIGINAL: A severe storm that popped up suddenly on Thursday afternoon has reports of a tornado flying in Louisa County, about 100 miles southwest of D.C. (LATEST FORECAST, and RADAR.)

The skies are beginning to darken in D.C., and the threat of more twisters for Virginia, Maryland and the District is a distinct possibility into the evening: The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning until 5 p.m. for Orange, Culpeper and Fauquier counties with Bealeton in the crosshairs. There's also a Tornado Watch until 11 p.m. for Washington, D.C, and most of its suburbs, all the way out to the Eastern Shore.

Here's what's happening so far:

- A suspected tornado ripped the roof off a house in Louisa, according to Charlottesville's NBC29. But hey, the homeowners probably had natural-disaster insurance after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck in August... also in Louisa. Here's a photo of that poor, bald house, which some are calling a plantation home. And another one. This sure looks like some strong wind damage to me. No injuries have been reported.

- On Twitter, @mynameva says, "first we're the epicenter of a quake, then a hurricane hits us, and now a tornado? its official. the rapture will happen in louisa."

@ryanobles counters, "Maj Donnie Lowe, from the Louisa Sheriff's said despite, quakes, aftershocks and now a tornado, people there are "hearty" and can handle it."

And the hashtag #WeatherPredictionsForLouisa springs from the digital void, with @CodyRSwag guessing, "Louisa will no linger exist as of 2012." He adds: "Giant sink hole," "plague," megatsunami," "history making forest fire," "civilian radiation accident" and "I think a volcano is gonna shoot up right on route 33 . Lmao."

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WATCH: Frightful rogue waves and killer breakers in the Pacific

October 13, 2011 - 03:29 PM
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Typhoon chaser James Reynolds put together this terrifying collection of storm surges and rogue waves.

Typhoon chaser James Reynolds has seen a lot of scary stuff while working as a freelance weather videographer in the Pacific. Recently, he decided to make a highlights reel. You won't want to even smell a sea breeze after watching it.

The short compilation opens up in Taiwan with a truly terrifying wave rising up from roiling seas during 2008's Super Typhoon Jangmi. This is like the Butterbean of waves, one that could knock you out for eternity. The film then cycles through various violent images that Reynolds has collected while documenting the "most extreme and destructive forces of nature." Prepare for unnerving rogue waves, punishing storm surges and more surf than what's on offer at the Red Lobster.

For more of Reynolds' work, visit Typhoon Fury or follow him on Twitter. Video follows the jump.

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Huge ozone hole yawns over Antarctica (GRAPHIC)

October 13, 2011 - 01:22 PM
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It has been an odd year at the planet's poles.

Over at Santa's crib in the North Pole, a totally new and unexpected breach developed in the stratosphere. Scientists believe that this first-ever Arctic ozone hole was caused by an unusually long period of cold temperatures last winter, cold being one thing that helps tear ozone molecules apart. The  unprecedented level of depletion of ozone is not good news, because 1) ozone is what blocks cancer-causing UV-B rays from making it to the earth's surface, and 2) the Arctic hole floats over densely populated areas up north, frizzling lifeforms below with space radiation.

Down at the South Pole, there's also strange things brewing. The Antarctic ozone hole spread to humongous proportions this year, ranking as the fifth-largest Antarctic breach in modern times. At its maximum size on Sept. 14, the hole covered nearly 9.7 million square miles. Compare that to the largest known ozone gulf above the South Pole, which opened up in 2006 and measured 20.6 million square miles.

The size of Antarctic hole has leveled off since countries around the world banned ozone-depleting CFCs with the 1989 Montreal Protocol. But it can still swell up suddenly from year to year. And while there's not a lot of people living in Antarctica getting UV-blasted by this thing, the hole does have a baleful effect on living things. According to the National Science Foundation:

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