WBAL TV Meteorologists Climb Mount Washington…sort of.

February 17, 2014 - Leave a Response

The WBAL TV meteorologists travelled to the top of Mount Washington this past weekend…at least in spirit. Crofton resident Art Huseonica and his friend Paul Cail took along a picture of the 11-Instaweather Plus team on their climb in New Hampshire on February 15.

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Crofton resident Art Huseonica poses with a picture of the WBAL TV weather team atop Mount Washington. Photo by: Paul Cail

 

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Crofton resident Art Huseonica poses with a picture of the WBAL TV weather team atop Mount Washington. Photo by: Paul Cail.

Huseonica said that it took his team a grueling 10 hours to reach the 6,288-foot summit. Two-thirds of that time was spent trudging through deep snow. The snow depth actually decreased as they approached the top, as the strong winds near the summit constantly shift around the snow.

“I wanted to take my favorite meteorologist team with me on a winter summit climb to the home of the world’s worst weather,” said Huseonica, by email.

Mount Washington is the tallest peak in the Northeast, and well known for its extreme weather.

According to the Mount Washington Observatory, on the day of Huseonica’s climb, the temperatures at the summit ranged from -1 to 18 degrees. The sustained winds averaged 58 mph, and there was a max peak wind gust from the NW at 112 mph.

The record coldest temperature at Mount Washington was -50, set on January 22, 1885. It’s strongest wind gust was 231 mph, recorded on April 12, 1934.

Congratulations to both Art and Paul for a successful climb, and a big thanks for sharing your journey with the weather team!

Feet of Snow in Maryland with Two-Part Snowstorm

February 14, 2014 - Leave a Response

Here are a few of the notable snow reports compiled by the National Weather Service as of 8:39 am on Feb. 14, 2014. These are storm totals, including the first and second part of the storm. A complete list for the region can be found at the following links:

http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=LWX&product=PNS&format=CI&version=1&glossary=0&highlight=off

http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=PHI&product=PNS&format=CI&version=1&glossary=0

********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

FROSTBURG 22.0″

BWI AIRPORT 11.5″

REISTERSTOWN 24.0″

PARKTON 22.8″

TOWSON 18.8″

PARKVILLE 16.5″

WHITE MARSH 13.3″

WESTMINSTER 24.8″

MANCHESTER 23.0″

ST. CHARLES 12.0″

BEL AIR 17.5″

SAVAGE 20.5″

COLUMBIA 16.1″

Baltimore City on northern edge of snow tonight

January 28, 2014 - Leave a Response

It’s one of those rare situations when the beaches of Maryland have a better chance of snow than any other part of the state. Winter Storm Warnings begin after 4 pm in Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

Winter Warnings

Rare heavy snow will fall in the Carolinas this afternoon, before hugging the coast and moving northeast toward Virginia and Maryland.

RPM 7 PM

The snow will creep north through Maryland this afternoon and evening. There will be a sharp cut-off between who gets snow and who doesn’t. As it stands now, Baltimore city is right on the line.

RPM MD 9 PM

Between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am, light snow could fall along the 95 corridor.  Potential accumluations are no greater than 1 inch. That’s “if” the snow even makes it this far north. Cities like Westminster and Parkton may very well just sit this event out.

The chances for snow and accumluation increase south and east of Baltimore city. Annapolis, for instance could receive between a coating to 2″ of snow. Same goes for the Eastern Shore around Cecilton and Chestertown.

AML_MetroSnowcast

On the other hand, southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore may easily get 3 inches or more of snow, with higher amounts possible the closer you get to the East coast.

Simple Science Experiments Kids Can Do at Home

November 19, 2013 - Leave a Response

Science can be fun when you add a little creativity! Ava Marie visited the Maryland Science Center to learn how you can do simple experiments with your children using materials found right at home.

Power Painting

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Make masterpieces with the help of an old power drill. Use art to teach children about engineering and design.

Puppet Show

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Teaches children about light, shadows, transparency and opacity through story telling. Add an extra engineering lesson by making parts of the puppet move.

Homemade Flashlight

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This one is a little more tricky to do at home, but it’s an example of the activities children can learn when they come to the Maryland Science Center.

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Steps to Winterizing Your Car

November 18, 2013 - Leave a Response

The first snowflakes of the season fell in Baltimore last week. While they didn’t amount to much, it was a good reminder that colder weather is on the way. Meteorologist Ava Marie visited Tim’s Automotive in Parkville for some tips on getting your car ready for winter.

Refuel often
Keep your gas tank full to prevent the gas lines from freezing. You’ll also be glad to have the extra fuel if you get stuck in a traffic jam during cold weather.

Check your windshield wiper blades
Replace any blades that are cracked or torn. In general, blades start to lose their effectiveness after one year.

Fill up your windshield washer reservoir

Check your tire pressure
Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction – and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires also drops when it gets colder, by about 1 lb per square inch for each 10 degree drop in temperatures. The correct tire pressure can be found in your owner’s manual.

Consider investing in snow tires
If you live in a hilly neighborhood, or one that tends to receive more snow, then you might want to swap out your all-season tires for snow tires during the winter. When shopping around for tires, ask about all the associated fees, including fees for mounting and balancing. The total cost of tires is generally referred to as the “out the door charge”.

Give your battery some TLC
Make sure the battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free. If your battery is more than three years old, have a certified repair shop test its ability to hold a charge.

Consider an oil change
Your engine oil should have the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.

Examine your belts and hoses
When you have a full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear – even on newer vehicles. Cold temperatures can cause these materials to wear out faster.

Do you have four-wheel drive?
If so, make sure it’s working properly – especially if you haven’t used 4WD since last winter. Be sure the system engages and disengages easily, and that all drivers in your household known how and when to active the system.

Get the antifreeze mixture just right
Aim for a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing during extreme cold. Your local mechanic can do this for you, but you can also check this yourself with an inexpensive antifreeze tester found at any auto parts store. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed.

Prepare an emergency kit to keep in your trunk

  • Blanket
  • Extra boots and gloves
  • Extra set of warm clothes
  • Water and food
  • Ice scraper
  • Small shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Extra windshield wipers
  • Road flares
  • Jumper cables
  • A tool kit
  • Tire chains
  • Tire gauge
  • Spare tire with air in it
  • Tire-changing equipment
  • First aid kit
  • Paper towels
  • Bag of abrasive material like sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide traction if you get stuck in snow

And in the event you do get stranded, here’s what to do:
Don’t wander away from your car unless you’re completely sure about where you are and how far you are away from help. Light two flares and place them on each end of your vehicle to let others know you’re in trouble. Put on extra clothes and use blankets to stay warm. If you have enough gas in the tank, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes for each hour you’re waiting. Leave at least one window open a little bit so that snow and ice don’t seal the car shut.

Lightning Safety Tips

June 26, 2013 - Leave a Response

June 24-30, 2013 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about lightning.

What causes lightning and thunder?

Lightning is a bright flash caused by the discharge of electricity during a thunderstorm. It happens when imbalances in positive and negative charges occur between the earth and atmosphere. While it’s not always the case, the air inside a thunderstorm usually carries a negative charge, while the earth carries a positive one. The lightning strike makes a connection between the two, and therefore briefly neutralizes these charges. As the electricity travels through the sky, it heats the air around it to 50,000 degrees, causing the air to explode and expand into a shockwave. Thunder is the sound made by the shockwave. Light travels faster than sound, which is why there is always a delay between lightning and thunder.  The shorter the delay, the closer you are to the thunderstorm, and the greater the danger.

When should you take shelter from a thunderstorm?

To be as safe as possible, you should start moving indoors anytime you see lightning or the skies become threatening. At the very least, you should take shelter as soon as you hear thunder. Once you can hear thunder, the storm is usually 10-15 miles away, which is close enough to be struck by lightning. Once you take shelter, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder until you go back outside, to make sure the storm has completely moved away.

Where is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm?

The safest place during a thunderstorm is inside a sturdy building or house, with running water and electricity, away from any windows or doors. In the event of a direct lightning strike, the plumbing and electrical wires help ground the electrical surge, preventing any of the electricity from reaching the people inside. This is why you should avoid using electrical appliances or running water during a thunderstorm. You may also want to unplug any valuable appliances like your TV and computer to protect them from a power surge.

If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, but I have outdoor plans, what should I do?

On days when the forecast calls for the possibility of thunderstorms, it is best to stay alert while doing outdoor activities. Plan ahead on where you’ll take shelter in the event of thunderstorm. Keep an eye on the sky for lightning or darkening clouds. You can also get weather alerts and watch the radar on your smart phone through the WBAL TV mobile app.

What happens if I’m caught outside during a thunderstorm?

Being outdoors during a thunderstorm puts you in great danger of being struck by lightning. That’s why you should start taking shelter as soon as you see lightning, and especially by the time you hear thunder. Keep in mind, that if you’re out on a lake or in a field, it can take a while to get to a safe place. The safest place to shelter is inside a sturdy building with electricity and plumbing. At a park, the only option may be the bathroom facility. If there isn’t a shelter nearby, you can take shelter in your vehicle. It’s a myth that the rubber tires will help ground your vehicle. It’s actually the metal roof overhead that offers some protection in the event of a lightning strike. While sheltering in your car, avoid leaning on the metal steering wheel or car doors.

What if I’m outside during a thunderstorm and I’m not close to any shelter?

This is a situation you want to prevent getting yourself into in the first place. However, if you find yourself out in the open during a thunderstorm, quickly start making your way to a sturdy shelter. Avoid taking shelter under open porches or pavilions, as they offer no protection from a lightning strike. And never take shelter under a tree. Lightning tends to hit the tallest objects. And when a tree is hit, the energy travels through the truck, and through the ground around it. Also, a lightning strike is so hot it can cause branches to break or cause the entire trunk to explode.

If you’re in route to shelter, and you start to feel the static electricity build up around you and your hair starts to stand on end, you are extremely close to getting struck by lightning. At this point, the safest thing to do is crouch down, grab your knees and balance on the tip of your toes. Essentially, you’re trying to make yourself as small as possible, while trying to touch as little of the ground as possible. This is obviously a last resort option, should avoid ever having to resort to this.

How many people are injured or killed by lightning?

The most recent lightning injury in Maryland occurred on June 13, when a young female was struck by lightning at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun. She was reportedly standing near a large tree at the time, and is still recovering from serious injuries. Every year, dozens of people are killed by lightning nationwide, with hundreds more subject to lifelong injuries.

If I see someone get struck by lightning, what should I do?

Call 911 immediately. Most victims can survive lightning strikes if they receive immediate medical attention. In many cases, their heart or breathing may have stopped, in which case, CPR may be needed. Do not hesitate to approach and help the victim; they will no longer be carrying an electrical charge.

If you have any more questions about lightning or weather safety, you can contact the WBAL TV meteorologists at http://www.wbaltv.com/tv/about

By Meteorologist Ava Marie

Another Round Of Storms Thursday

June 13, 2013 - Leave a Response

The stormy leading edge of a collapsing Mesoscale Convective System (MCS), with origins Wednesday in Iowa and Illinois, moved across the Baltimore area Thursday morning. The heaviest rains along with some hail were north of I-70, Baltimore City and I-95.

The track of this storm complex was similar to last year’s derecho but the system was not nearly as strong so it did not meet derecho criteria.

The area is still under the gun for some heavy weather on Thursday.

7:00 AM Thursday Surface Map / Source: NOAA

7:00 AM Thursday Surface Map / Source: NOAA

Maryland is in the warm, humid airmass. A deep low pressure area will track across Pennsylvania with a cold front trailing to the southwest. This system will likely trigger strong storm activity in the warm, humid, unstable airmass this afternoon.

The morning storms did help to stabilize, to some extent, the airmass in northern Maryland. This has most likely shifted the highest severe weather probabilities a bit to the south of the Baltimore/Washington metro areas but it doesn’t mean the area is completely out of the woods.

The two charts below show CAPE and Lifted Index values as of mid-morning.

CAPE

CAPE  (Source: SPC/NOAA)

Lifted Index

Lifted Index  (Source: SPC/NOAA)

CAPE is, in essence, an expression of energy in the atmosphere for making storms and when values are in the thousands there is a severe potential. As of mid-morning the highest values have been pushed south by the early morning storms.

Lifted Index is an expression of stability/instability in the atmosphere. Negative numbers are unstable indicators. As of mid-morning the higher valued negative numbers are also concentrated to the south of the metro area because of the morning storm activity.

The bottom line, the Baltimore area will likely be on the northern edge of severe storm activity this afternoon and evening. It all depends on how much destabilization can occur before the cold front comes in. Sunbreaks will help but cloud cover will be considerable for the rest of the day.

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the area until 7:00pm.

Thunderstorm Watch area PINK / Flood Watch area GREEN

Thunderstorm Watch area PINK / Flood Watch area GREEN     (Source: NWS/NOAA)

As storm activity develops, the Watch area could be extended to the Eastern Shore counties.

The latest updates are available anytime on the web at wbaltv.com/weather. Join Tom Tasselmyer for the latest at 5-6 & 11pm on WBAL-TV 11 and at 10 pm on WBAL+.

John Collins

Bumpy Weather Ahead

June 12, 2013 - Leave a Response

The atmosphere around the Mid Atlantic is becoming primed and ready for stormy conditions over the next couple of days.

A stalled front reaches from New Jersey to low pressure in Iowa. Dewpoints south of the Front are in the 60s to around 70 (very humid). North of the front dewpoints are in the 50s.

Wednesday Midday Surface Map / Source: NOAA

Wednesday Midday Surface Map / Source: NOAA

The thin cloud deck over the Chesapeake Bay area at midday will allow heating and destabilization of the atmosphere during the afternoon. The boundary just to the north is a focus point and strong upper air winds will help energize any storms that develop or move into the area.

BWI Forecast Sounding for Wednesday Evening / Source: NIU

BWI Forecast Sounding for Wednesday Evening / Source: NIU

The right edge of the BWI forecast SKEW-T chart for Wednesday evening indicates that there will be some directional and wind speed shear. Other values on the chart are indicative of storm potential.

Wednesday Storm Outlook / Source: SPC/NOAA

Wednesday Storm Outlook / Source: SPC/NOAA

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center places the highest chances for severe weather on Wednesday between the Ohio River Valley and the lower Great Lakes with a bullseye near Chicago. The Chesapeake Bay area is in the “Slight Risk” area.

Thursday Storm Outlook / Source: SPC/NOAA

Thursday Storm Outlook / Source: SPC/NOAA

By Thursday the focus moves east with the low pressure system and storms. The Chesapeake Bay area is right in the middle of the “Moderate Risk” target for severe storm potential. It will all depend on the timing of the approach of the cold front and the degree of the destabilization of the atmosphere.

Check out the forecast at anytime on the web at wbaltv.com/weather

John Collins

More Storms On The Way

June 11, 2013 - Leave a Response

Monday (6/10/13) was a very active day for storms around Baltimore. A waterspout and several possible tornadoes were reported/sighted. The National Weather Service will be a several locations nearby on Tuesday to investigate storm damage.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
1050 AM EDT TUE JUN 11 2013

...PRELIMINARY STORM SURVEYS UNDERWAY TODAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
WILL CONDUCT STORM SURVEYS OF AT LEAST FIVE AREAS TODAY IN CONCERT
WITH STATE AND COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. THESE LOCATIONS ARE
FORK MARYLAND IN BALTIMORE COUNTY...BALTIMORE CITY NEAR LOCUST
POINT... WOODBINE MARYLAND AND THE ROUTE 94 CORRIDOR IN HOWARD
COUNTY INTO NORTHERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY... COLTONS POINT IN SAINT
MARYS COUNTY... AND CHARLES COUNTY BETWEEN LA PLATA AND WALDORF.

THESE SURVEYS ARE IN RELATION TO THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS THAT
MOVED THROUGH THE AREA YESTERDAY.

A FINAL ASSESSMENT INCLUDING RESULTS OF THE SURVEY ARE EXPECTED
TO BE COMPLETED AND TRANSMITTED VIA A PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
THIS WEEK... POSSIBLY AS EARLY AS LATE TODAY FOR SOME OF THE
DAMAGED AREAS.

IT WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE...WHICH CAN BE FOUND AT
WEATHER.GOV/WASHINGTON.
 One of the areas to be investigated will be western Howard County where a storm cell generated a tornado warning. Some damage was reported. Radar at the time displayed a “velocity couplet” that is a signature for possible tornado activity.
Highlighted point is an indicator of a possible tornado

Highlighted point is an indicator of a possible tornado

The brighter green spot at the tip of the arrow along side an area of red is an indicator of rotating winds at an increased velocity. This “couplet” moved into south central Carroll County over a twenty minute period before dissipating.

The front that generated Monday’s storms has moved east but another system will be approaching late Wednesday into Thursday. Another round of storms is likely in that time period and the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK has targeted the Mid Atlantic region with the potential for a slight risk of severe storms.

Convective Outlook for Thursday

Convective Outlook for Thursday

Ceck out our web site    wbaltv.com/weather    for updates.

John Collins

Rare Blooms Help Kick off Conservatory’s 125th Anniversary Celebration

May 22, 2013 - Leave a Response

It’s a historic event at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory. Two giant agave plants have begun their once-in-a-lifetime blooms just in time for the conservatory’s 125th anniversary.

“It’s as if they joined the [planning] committee” said Kate Blom, Conservatory Supervisor.

Built in 1888 at Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, the Rawlings Conservatory is the second oldest glass-enclosed conservatory in the country, and the last still standing in Baltimore. Blom estimates these agave plants are between 40 to 80 years old.

The Agave Americana was the first to show signs of blooming. On March 22, 2013, a large, asparagus-shaped stalk appeared from its center. Workers at the conservatory had to remove panes of glass from the roof to allow it to keep growing.

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You can imagine the amazement the conservatory staff felt when they also found their second giant agave blooming. WBAL TV visited the conservatory on May 8, when the second stalk was just 10 days old. It was already getting ready to protrude the roof, see the video here: http://www.wbaltv.com/weather/ava-checks-out-giant-agave-at-rawlings-conservatory/-/9380898/20060418/-/o5346i/-/index.html

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“You can practically come in here and each day you’ll see that it’s moved and grown,” said Blom.

Now in mid-May, individual flower stalks are starting to show up on the first plant. Any additional sunshine will likely help speed the process along. What the flowers will look like is anyone’s guess. No one has actually ever seen them before.

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The sight will no doubt be bitter sweet. Agave plants bloom just once in their lifetime, always to signify that they’ve reach the very end of their life. So far, there’s no clear indication on whether or not the two blooms are connected. Last year, the Conservatory did a thorough soaking of the desert room where the plants live. Blom said that it’s possible that the abundance of water may have encouraged the plants to flower in an attempt to reseed.

A noble gesture by these plants, as the Conservatory ramps up its efforts to raise awareness and funds for its 125th anniversary celebration. According to Blom, more than 600 people have come to see the plants so far.

The conservatory is located at 3100 Swann Drive next to the Druid Hill Park Reservoir in Baltimore. They are open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but there is a suggested $5 donation. For more information, you can visit their website: http://www.rawlingsconservatory.org

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By Ava Marie

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