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Capital Weather Gang: October 24, 2010 - October 30, 2010

Tomas grows into season's 12th hurricane

The tropical system now bearing down on the Lesser Antilles, just yesterday identified as 91L (pre-depression stage) by the National Hurricane Center, is now Hurricane Tomas. Its satellite presentation is unmistakable its hurricane characteristics, with very cold (high) cloud tops radiating outward in all directions almost symmetrically. Maximum sustained winds are estimated to be near 75 mph, and the storm is moving west-northwestward at 15 mph. The center of Tomas is passing near St. Lucia and St. Vincent this Saturday afternoon (see live radar), where hurricane warnings are in effect, and enter the Caribbean Sea tonight. The National Hurricane Center predicts Tomas will intensify to major (Category 3) hurricane status next week.

By Greg Postel  | October 30, 2010; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Forecast: Four straight days of sunshine

Between the Stewart/Colbert rally, the Marine Corps Marathon and Halloween, it's a big weekend in our Nation's Capitol. Thankfully, the weather looks to be just dandy. As we've become accustomed to this fall, beautiful sunshine fills the weekend skies. Temperatures won't be as warm as they have been, but nothing a warm fleece or warm-up jacket can't overcome during any morning or evening chill.

By Jason Samenow  | October 30, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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PM Update: Frost advisory just N & W of D.C.

Clouds have hung tough much of the day thanks to cold air aloft, and this has kept temperatures a smidge cooler than forecast with highs reaching the low-and-mid 50s most spots. The clouds are beginning to dissipate as we get past peak heating of the day and we'll lose them entirely heading into tonight. If you're headed out this evening, bundle up, it's going to be chilly.

By Ian Livingston  | October 29, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Occoquan Color, by iPhone

I like my iPhone 3GS just fine but I will never consider using it for a photo shoot. Well, let me clarify. I will never consider using the iPhone for a photo shoot unless I leave all of my camera gear sitting in a backpack next to the kitchen door as I drive away for a photo shoot. I arrived at the Occoquan River last Saturday morning with two tripods and no cameras. Given the one hour round trip from home, and the rapidly changing light conditions, I felt I wasted a good chance for a photo shoot.

By Kevin Ambrose  | October 29, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Photography  
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Shary & friends keep tropical storm season alive

One, two, three. Count 'em. We have three more tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin to monitor. But are they really tropical? The two swirlies in the central Atlantic, roughly along the latitudes of Florida - one of which was named Tropical Storm Shary last night - are questionably so. The system near South America (tagged as 91L by the National Hurricane Center), however, most definitely is. 91L is a large swirling disturbance that moved westward across the tropical Atlantic as an African Easterly Wave (AEW) - a kind of circulation that is generally quite capable of maturing into a tropical cyclone.

By Greg Postel  | October 29, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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NASA meteorologist sees dead people

Meteorologists have all sorts of special powers. Yesterday we learned Capital Weather Gang's Steve Tracton is a sorcerer capable of controlling the weather (at least in his dreams). Today, the Post's J. Freedom du Lac profiles NASA meteorologist Rob Gutro whose hobby is communicating with ghosts...

By Jason Samenow  | October 29, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Humor  
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Freeze watch for north and west suburbs tonight

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Watch for a large portion of the north and west suburbs tonight into tomorrow morning. Areas under the watch include: Frederick, Montgomery, and Howard counties in Maryland, and Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier and Fairfax counties in Virginia.

By Jason Samenow  | October 29, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Alerts, Extreme Cold  
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Forecast: Autumn blows back into town

In somewhat shocking fashion, we say goodbye to warmth and hello to Autumn again. Not only will our bodies feel jolted by the suddenly cold air today, but they'll be further chilled by a moderate breeze. Saturday and Sunday are a little warmer and not as breezy, and Sunday evening Halloween festivities should go off without a weather hitch. We'll have plenty of sun through the weekend. Will it stick around to start the work week?...

By Camden Walker  | October 29, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Security camera records tornado taking out trailers

Two maintenance trailers were there and then they were gone. All it took was a wicked tornado and three seconds. Watch the video above and be patient: the destruction occurs 45 seconds in. The twister occurred at Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga, Tenn, on Tuesday (Oct. 26, 2010).

By Jason Samenow  | October 28, 2010; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms  
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PM Update: Cool and windy tonight and tomorrow

Humidity levels have fallen and we're headed back toward the type of weather we should be seeing at the end of October. Even though the cold front has passed, cooler air has been slow to arrive, so we've managed another warm day with highs in the mid-and-upper 70s. Things are changing now though, and temperatures will head back toward or below seasonal levels starting tonight.

By Ian Livingston  | October 28, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Consecutive record warm mornings

Afternoon highs in the 70s - though mild - have been nothing out of the ordinary; record highs are in the 80s. But the tropical flow ahead of the giant Midwest storm has flexed its muscles after dark holding nocturnal temperatures at historically warm levels. The low Tuesday morning at Reagan National was only 63 degrees, tying the record high minimum from 1971. On Wednesday (yesterday), the low was a balmy 68 besting the record high low of 66 in both 1920 and 1977.

By Jason Samenow  | October 28, 2010; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Extreme Heat, Local Climate  
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TWC says live weather coverage still comes first

The Weather Channel (TWC) has stepped back from comments made by an NBC productions executive, which we reported on earlier this week, that indicated that the venerable weather network is moving away from its traditional live weather coverage in order to mix in more long-form programming, including a reality show about a landscape photographer.

By Andrew Freedman  | October 28, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Freedman, Media, News & Notes  
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Weather sorcery: If I could control the weather...

Image source: Nebraska Energy Office It's been rumored that during my youth (I'll refrain from divulging just how many years ago that was) I dabbled in weather sorcery. That might not be overly surprising, perhaps, given my obsession with all things weather. Among the wizard-like powers attributed to me were...

By Steve Tracton  | October 28, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Climate Change, Humor, Tracton  
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Forecast: Sunshine and dry air a sure bet

This weekend displays autumn at its finest! Sunny dry conditions make for perfect leaf peeping and the colors are just becoming breath-taking. There are only treats for Marine Corps marathoners on Sunday as well as for the candy crowd later in the day as the mild sunny weather just keeps coming. Look for a little frost on the pumpkin in the western suburbs on Saturday morning.

By David Streit  | October 28, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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PM Update: Storms out, fog in

It's been another wild weather day, but perhaps not as wild as it could have been given the Tornado Watch and all. We're seeing a break in the action right now and there is a good chance there won't be much, if anything, else to come through much of the area. Highs generally reached the low-and-mid 70s earlier today and temperatures have fallen back a bit since, though sunshine breaking back out may push them back to earlier values.

By Ian Livingston  | October 27, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Initial storms exit, tornado watch scaled back

Though tornadoes did not materialize overnight, the atmosphere remains humid and unstable and thunderstorms capable of rotating may once again develop this afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for much of the metro region (map), excluding the far western suburbs.

By Jason Samenow  | October 27, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Alerts, Updates  
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Midwest storm by the numbers

Although the massive Midwest storm has peaked in intensity and jogged into western Ontario, its effects are still being felt across a large chunk of the U.S. Winds are howling in upper Midwest and Great Lakes, wind-whipped snow is flying in the Dakotas, and the cold front ahead of the storm is producing showers and thunderstorms up and down the Eastern seaboard. A few severe thunderstorms could still develop this afternoon in the eastern mid-Atlantic (including the eastern portion of the D.C. metro region) and Southeast. But today will be nothing like yesterday, when this monstrous storm made history. Let's take a look at some amazing storm statistics:

By Jason Samenow  | October 27, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather  
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Forecast: Gusty showers & storms a threat today

The storm system that clobbered the Midwest yesterday arrives in the D.C. area today with less fanfare, but the impacts could still be significant in some places. The main attraction is the potential for showers and storms with strong winds, both this morning and maybe again during the late afternoon into evening. The weather calms for tomorrow through the weekend, but with much cooler air arriving by Friday.

By Dan Stillman  | October 27, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Tornado watch until 3 a.m. for metro region

The metro region is included in a large tornado watch spanning parts of six states. TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE...

By Jason Samenow  | October 26, 2010; 11:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Alerts, Thunderstorms  
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PM Update: Windy, overnight showers and storms

Where did October go? The warm and muggy air mass continues to sit over the area today as the giant Midwest storm helps funnel more summer-like air northward. Temperatures have made it into the low-and-mid 70s as dew points climb into the mid-60s. The stage is set for potential strong to severe showers and storms overnight.

By Ian Livingston  | October 26, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Wind advisory posted for western suburbs

Ahead of the potent cold front that will pass through the region overnight, the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the western suburbs. The watch is in effect from 8 p.m. tonight to 4 a.m. Wednesday morning

By Jason Samenow  | October 26, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wind  
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Weather Channel to reduce weather coverage

The Weather Channel (TWC), which has been dedicated to live weather programming since its inception in 1982, is now moving further away from that formula in a bid to appeal to viewers of long form programming, such as reality shows. TWC, which is now co-owned by NBC Universal and private equity firms, is reducing its live weather coverage in favor of new shows, including one about Peter Lik, described by NBC Peacock Productions executive Sharon Scott as a "crazy" landscape photographer.

By Andrew Freedman  | October 26, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Freedman, Media, News & Notes  
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Midwest storm may bring severe weather to DC

Tornado watches extend from Michigan to Mississippi. But NOAA's Storm Prediction Center indicates the storm threat extends even east of there, with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms reaching all the way into the D.C. metro region by late tonight.

By Jason Samenow  | October 26, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
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Massive, historic storm tearing through Midwest

What may become one of the strongest fall storms on record, rapidly intensifies as it cuts through Minnesota today landing at the Canadian border Wednesday morning. This high impact storm is already producing damaging winds in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes. High wind warnings are in effect across parts or all of at least 10 states where sustained winds of 30-50 mph are likely, with gusts to over 60 mph possible. Significant airport delays are likely in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit (especially later today) and smaller surrounding airports - not to mention power outages.

By Jason Samenow  | October 26, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  U.S. Weather  
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Forecast: Very warm through tomorrow

Yesterday's breezy weather, tormented sky, and flying leaves were a sure reminder that autumn is all about change. And seemingly like politics, change is a constant this time of year. The weather today into tomorrow yields more of the same unsettled feel with frequently re-arranged sky conditions, warm breezes with occasional gusts, and sporadic showers that increase in likelihood tomorrow. A cold front approaches later tomorrow to offer a more late autumn atmosphere with much cooler and drier weather

By Matt Rogers  | October 26, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Is a hurricane shield protecting the U.S. coast?

Ten hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic basin this season, but none have made landfall in the U.S. Since 1900 there is no precedent of an Atlantic hurricane season with 10 or more hurricanes where none has struck the U.S. as a hurricane. The five previous seasons with 10 or more hurricanes each had at least two hurricane strikes on the U.S.

By Jason Samenow  | October 25, 2010; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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PM Update: Muggy with a few showers

It has not felt too much like late October out there today. Warm temperatures and fairly high humidity levels have mixed to create a somewhat muggy one. For the most part, rain of consequence has missed the area so far, but a few showers have passed through and some more rain is possible before the day ends. Temperatures that have risen into the low-and-mid 70s won't be eager to drop overnight thanks to clouds and moisture in the air.

By Ian Livingston  | October 25, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Richard's troublesome tropical journey

After battering Belize with heavy rains and strong winds (measured to around 60 mph), Richard - now a tropical depression - is winding down, with little deep convection remaining. Although Richard's remnants may re-emerge in the Gulf of Mexico, strong upper level winds are likely to impede any redevelopment.

By Greg Postel  | October 25, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Arctic sea ice loss linked to severe U.S. winters

Last winter's record wallops of heavy snow had many in the mid-Atlantic wondering what happened to global warming. If the planet were warming as scientists say it is, shouldn't we be receiving less snow? (Not necessarily, I reported at the time). Now comes word that, paradoxically, cooler winters with heavier snowfall in regions such as the mid-Atlantic may be connected to rapid warming and sea ice loss in the Arctic. In other words, Arctic climate change, which studies have concluded is likely due in part to human activities, could favor cooler and snowier winters in places far removed from the far north.

By Andrew Freedman  | October 25, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman  
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Video: "We are in the tornado" from Rice, Texas

Sunday evening, Eric Meyers - an emergency management coordinator in Navarro County, Texas, recorded his incredibly encounter with a powerful tornado. In the remarkable video, shown above, Meyers yells repeatedly: "We are in the tornado" - although it appears he is just outside the twister, getting pummeled by debris.

By Jason Samenow  | October 25, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms  
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Forecast: Warm & a bit showery to start week

Two different weather regimes define the upcoming week. We begin the week with a warm and moist regime bringing unseasonably mild air and the occasional chance of showers. Mid-to-late week, we transition to a dry and seasonable regime with cooler but sunny afternoons and clear, crisp nights. That regime may last into at least part of Sunday, though the weather pattern becomes a little more blurry by Halloween night.

By Jason Samenow  | October 25, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Forecast: Superb Sunday with sun & clouds

Whatever we did to get these beautiful weekends we've been having, let's not change anything. Another gem concludes today with nearly ideal fall weather. We'll see a bit more in the way of clouds today but stay dry. With highs in the 70s, I'll take a few clouds if I have to. As we move into the work week, flow from the south ahead of a rather potent low-pressure system keeps us nice and warm, but with partly to mostly cloudy skies and sporadic rain chances at least until after a cold front comes through late Wednesday.

By Brian Jackson  | October 24, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Forecasts  
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