Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Natural Cycle" for Mountain Lake

There's an amazing site taking place right now in Giles County. Personally, I think it's sad, however, I'm told this is natural. I'm talking about what's taking place at Mountain Lake - yes; the site of the famed movie Dirty Dancing.

For a few years now, I've seen the lake level dropping, but recently I heard the level was severely falling. On Thursday, May 29th, my dad and I drove up to check it out for ourselves. I think the pictures on this slide show tell the story.

The lake is fed by underground springs and ground water, but since the area has been experiencing a drought the last several years, and the fact the lake naturally drains 600 gallons per minute, the level continues to fall.

If you've ever been to the lake, you know how beautiful it is. For me, it's a place of personal significance. My parents met there many moons ago when my dad worked there, and my mom's family vacationed there from Beckley, WV. We've had family reunions there; I worked there as a bellman and front desk clerk for six years; and I proposed to my wife on the gazebo on a snow and ice covered day in 2001.

My memories are filled with a full lake, and honestly, it's hard to call it much more than a pond right now. Hopefully, the lake will retain it's bank-full status one day, but that will likely take several years. We'll need lots of rain and snowfall to bring it back; and the lake will have to stop draining.

I highly recommend the short trip to Giles County to see Mountain Lake. Enjoy lunch "On Top of the World" and walk the lake bed to find some of the former sunken treasures that have been held in the lake for generations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Your Memorial Day Outlook

The Memorial Day weekend forecast is looking fantastic! Click here to see the models: Unisys Weather: GFSx SL Pres/Prec Plot

Because it's almost midnight, I'm making this blog extremely brief, but I wanted to give you a look at the Memorial Day forecast. Right now, Saturday, Sunday and Monday all call for clear skies and warmer temperatures. Expect highs in the mid 70s Saturday, with lower 80s Sunday and Monday. Stay with SkyTracker7 Weather for updates, but right now the holiday weekend is looking strong!

Here are a few Memorial Day weather extremes. Enjoy!

Roanoke: 94 / 1953
Lynchburg: 94 / 1918
Blacksburg: 89 / 1953
Danville: 94 / 1982

Roanoke: 2.33" / 1990
Lynchburg: 2.38" / 1968
Blacksburg: 2.92" / 1975
Danville: 2.07" / 1968

Monday, May 12, 2008

Severe Weather vs. Entertainment

In our business, there are two kinds of storms. The kind that threatens life and property, and the kind broadcasters create when we "cut-in" over programming.

Last Thursday night as a line of severe storms pushed east across the area, cut-ins were needed. After all, the following day it was confirmed three EF1 tornadoes touched down. NEWS7 was contacted by several viewers concerning our cut-ins. Some viewers were glad we cut-in over programming, and some were not.

We respect the opinions of our viewers, but at the end of the day we're going to cut-in over Survivor, Price Is Right, paid advertising, or anything else when a tornado warning is issued. With that said, we'll return you to scheduled programming as soon as possible. Sometimes that may be a few minutes; sometimes much longer if conditions warrant.

Tornadoes can easily be a case of life or death. Broadcasters have a duty to inform the public of the imminent threat of severe weather - no matter how urban or rural an area is.

This may be a good time to write this blog. Some reports say the United States has had more confirmed tornadoes so far this year, than to this point in any of the last 50 years. Virginia has almost reached our annual average number of tornadoes - and it's only mid May.

Jeff Haby is a former professor of mine who has a great weather website. On his site, he's posted a list of the pros and cons of severe weather cut-ins. Here is the link:

Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by my blog! --Jay