It’s official: Fall has begun

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 10:44 AM
Updated: Friday, September 22, 2017 @ 4:02 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini explains why.

It’s hard to believe, but summer came to an end today.

The first official day of fall began at 4:02 p.m., which was the exact moment when the sun’s path crosses directly over the equator.

The changing of the seasons is due to the tilt of the earth, at 23½ degrees, and its orbit around the sun. During the summer, the northern hemisphere is titled towards the sun, allowing for a higher sun angle and longer days. This helps to warm areas above the equator.

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The opposite happens during the winter. It’s during the equinoxes, first day of fall and spring, that the northern and southern hemispheres both receive nearly the same amount of sunlight.

Moving forward into autumn, shorter days and longer nights will bring about a big change in temperatures.

Typical highs in the Miami Valley on the first day of fall should reach the lower 70s. In one months’ time that average daytime high will fall into the lower 60s.

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This decline in temperatures will continue well past the first day of winter (Dec. 21) until we reach our coldest temperatures in mid-January. By then the average daytime high is around the middle 30s.

Although cooler, the fall comes with some beauty.

It’s the seasonal switch that actually triggers leaves to start changing colors. During this time, chlorophyll, which is dominant in summer giving leaves their green tones, starts to break down and new colors are reveled. One of the interesting facts is that the vibrant colors revealed this time of year are actually the true colors of the leaves.

The vibrancy and duration of fall foliage is influenced by temperatures, sunlight and rainfall. For the brightest colors sunny conditions are needed as well as seasonal rainfall totals with cool, but above freezing nights.

McCall Vrydaghs is a WHIO StormCenter 7 meteorologist. Contact her at or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell will return next week.

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Winter Storm Watch issued for system that could bring snow to area this weekend

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:08 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 6:55 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at the current track and forecast for another spring storm.

Those ready for spring weather likely won’t like this forecast.

Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Darke, Preble, Montgomery, Wayne, Randolph, Butler, Warren and Clinton counties from 2 a.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. Sunday. Conditions are expected to be favorable for impactful snow, sleet or ice that can make travel difficult. 

>> Winter Storm: ‘Either Dayton or Cincinnati will get nailed’

A quick-moving low pressure system will spread moisture back into the Miami Valley Saturday and Saturday night, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. A band of snow will be possible that, at times, might mix with rain. The system currently is favoring the southern and western half of the Miami Valley where the watch was issued. This means areas such as Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties could see a sharp cut-off from moisture and possibly very little, if any, snow. 

>> Winter Weather Awareness: What are the different types of Winter Weather Alerts?

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The track and intensity of this system is still in question, and fine-tuning will come together during the end of the work week. Counties under the Winter Storm Watch have the best chance to see sticking snow that will could be more than two inches. 

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A few factors that could limit impact in the Miami Valley: Warm road temperatures allowing for snow melt, snow falling during the day allowing for a mix with rain, the track shifting and pulling the accumulating snow further south.

A few factors that could increase impact in the Miami Valley: Staying colder than expected, a shift further north could spread more snow across the entire area and the intensity of the system. 

Stay with Storm Center 7 for the latest updates to this spring snow storm.

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Winter Storm: ‘Either Dayton or Cincinnati will get nailed’

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 7:21 PM

Another winter storm is taking aim on the Miami Valley and southwest Ohio just in time for the first weekend of spring. While the track is still somewhat uncertain, parts of the area could see significant snow Saturday. Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell says we will need to pay close attention to this early spring storm.

A clipper-type system will push through southwest Ohio this weekend, but it’s too early to tell the storm’s track.

>> 5-Day Forecast

“Here’s the bottom line: It’s an intense system and someone is going to see a lot of snow, we just don’t know where it’s going yet,” Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said. “Right now, it looks like either Dayton or Cincinnati will get nailed.”

>> Live Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Areas between Dayton and Cincinnati will see a lot of snow, Elwell said.

“But any small deviation in the track will play a huge role in who sees what,” he said.

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Montgomery County Dems appoint county recorder

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:13 PM

A Dayton Municipal Court magistrate was appointed Thursday night to fill the Montgomery County Recorder’s Office left vacant with the passing in February of Willis Blackshear Sr.

Brandon McClain will be sworn in on March 28. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has worked in private practice and as an attorney with the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office. He is a veteran, who achieved the rank of sergeant in the Army National Guard and he mentors local youth and serves on several boards, according to a release from the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

“Whether a soldier, attorney or member of the judiciary, I have embraced my calling as a public servant and remained actively involved in the development of our community and its citizens,” McClain said. “I am humbled to serve Montgomery County and be an extension to the legacy of Willis Blackshear Sr.”

State law requires the local Central Committee of the former officeholder’s party to pick a replacement within 45 days of the vacancy. Once sworn in, McClain would have to run for election in a special election, which will be on the 2018 General Election ballot in November.

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Hamilton school board discusses superintendent on paid leave in executive session

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:32 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 7:44 PM

            Tony Orr
Tony Orr

The Hamilton City Schools board met for 2½ hours in private session Thursday night to review an independent investigator’s report concerning Superintendent Tony Orr, who is on paid leave.

The board held a quick, special meeting this afternoon and then voted to go into private, executive session to hear a presentation on the report concerning allegations Orr violated board policy.

Steve Isgro, board president, declined comment about the report as did other members.

Orr was ordered on paid leave Feb. 5 by the board, whose members hired an independent investigator to look into the allegations.

Hamilton Board of Education members did say they soon will announce a previously unscheduled board meeting for 5 p.m. Monday, and that they intend to also go into executive session at that time to discuss personnel matters, which is allowed under Ohio law. However, any votes by the board must take place in a public meeting.

READ MORE: 5 things to know about the ongoing Hamilton superintendent leave story

“We don’t know until we read the report. We are probably going to have to study the report and make a decision from then, whether it be tonight or tomorrow or when,” said Isgro earlier Thursday.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is March 27, though members can schedule an earlier meeting granted they provide the public at least 24-hour notice.

Board members declined further comment.

Besides an initial statement on Feb. 5 – in which Orr said he was unaware of the nature of the allegations but that “I am confident that I will be exonerated at the conclusion of this investigation” – the superintendent has not commented.

Isgro said in his Feb. 5 statement the allegations do not involve students.

This news outlet has checked numerous times with Hamilton police, who said there was not a criminal investigation of Orr.

Hamilton Schools’ Business Manager Larry Knapp has served as interim superintendent for the 10,000-student school system since Orr’s ordered departure.

In 2017, Orr had his contracted extended until 2020 by the board. His annual salary is $156,818.

He was hired in 2015.

Stay with this news outlet for new developments in this story.

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