Monday, February 18, 2008

2008: The Year of Tornadoes

More severe weather rolled through the southeastern United States this weekend. A few weak tornadoes were reported, but thankfully nothing too severe. If you were watching WDBJ this weekend, you may have seen these strong storms showing up on SkyTracker7 Radar.

After the deadly outbreak of tornadoes earlier this month in states like Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri, I found some staggering tornado data from the Storm Prediction Center.

So far in 2008, there have be 291 tornadoes (preliminary number). By this point in 2007, there had only been 73 tornadoes. 59 were in the book this time in 2006. 43 were recorded by this point in 2005. We're obviously running ahead of schedule!

2008 tornadoes have claimed 65 lives so far. Most of these have been in Tennessee (31). Most of the deaths occurred in mobile homes (38). The 65 deaths in just two months is hard to imagine, because that's only 16 less fatalities than the entire year of 2007, only 2 less than the entire year of 2006, and it's almost twice as many as in 2005.

With this in mind, remember, Virginia can have tornadoes. We average 7 per year. 65 people have been killed in Virginia tornadoes since 1916. Now is the time to prepare. As always, stay with SkyTracker7 weather for the most updated information.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bring on the heat (and humidity)

It happens every year about this time. A point I want to get outdoors without having to put on a sweater, coat or even a jacket. No gloves. No hot chocolate. A point I want 70 degree overnight low temperatures. 90% humidity. Dewpoints around 70! Scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Maybe even an excessive heat warning thrown in for good measure. Baseball. Swimming. Fishing. A point I even want to (dare I say it) mow. That time of year happened today. While I'll soon get tired of mowing my yard on a diagonal cut, pulling weeds from my wife's flower beds, nightly watering of her flowers, and 70 degree overnight low temperatures; right now, I'm ready! My wife and I have already made an outdoor assessment of "to-do" jobs to our house this year. We decided the shutters must be painted, and we (I) have to stain our decks. Again, I can't wait! So I say, forget Valentine's Day - I'm officially ready for spring... even summer! Bring it on! (Pictured above: Our son, Parker, mowing with his bubble-making mover last summer. Note his concentration as I teach him how to mow on a perfectly neat diagonal line. I'll have him making a checker-board pattern within a few years!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Forget "Super Tuesday"

Some know today as "Super Tuesday" - others know it as "National Weatherman's (Weatherperson's) Day"! It's amazing how many people really know about this day set aside to "honor" us meteorologists. I use the word "honor" loosely. While making my daily rounds about town today, I heard the age-old joke, "You guys are the only people who can be wrong 100% of the time and still keep your job!" But seriously, it was all in good fun, and I think most viewers appreciate our efforts. Here's a few lines from a loyal WDBJ viewer who took the time to email today after she learned it was National Weatherman's Day.

"...I thank you for your role on the WDBJ 7 weather team. You are the best team in Virginia!!! I admire your tenacity even as you report from less that ideal locations and conditions. As I approach my 80th birthday, I have seen many weather conditions, some stormy, some very pleasant. The writer who said that "everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it" surely had it right. Thanks for keeping us informed about what we can expect."

Curious, I decided to jump on-line today to learn about more of these less known holidays. There are hundreds, it seems, so let me just mention a few that popped out for the month of February.

2/5 National Weatherman's Day
2/8 Laugh and Get Rich Day
2/14 Valentines Day (Please note: Valentine's Day also shares its day with "National Condom Day"..... seriously!)