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Colder, snowier winter likely

Published: Monday, October 17, 2016 @ 6:14 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 8:45 AM

Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell says La Nina will likely impact our weather pattern as we head into the coming winter. This will likely mean a colder, snowier winter than last year.

It may be hard to believe it with today’s weather, but we are only about 63 days away from the official start of winter.

Temperatures to start this week have been nearing 20 degrees above normal. In fact, it is quite rare for us to see temperatures in the 80s this late in the season. The latest date on record to hit 85 degrees or higher in Dayton was on Oct. 21, 1953. While it doesn’t look like we will break that record this year, our monthly average temperatures have been above normal for the last 5 months with one of the most humid summers on record.

As many of you know, we had forecast a warmer than average summer thanks to the development of a strong El Nino pattern. El Nino is a weather pattern that is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific. But by late summer, the El Nino pattern ended with ocean waters cooling in this region. While this hasn’t meant much change in our weather pattern as of yet, it appears the development of La Nino, or cooler than average ocean water in the equatorial Pacific, could begin to show its influence in the coming months.

Computer model simulations that forecasters have been watching indicated a strong La Nina could develop by this winter. However, those models now have had some varying results making the forecast for the coming winter a bit trickier. So what do we know about the coming winter?

First, we will no longer have the influence of El Nino which kept temperatures above normal and snowfall below normal last winter. If La Nina does indeed develop, then it is likely after our currently dry fall, moisture may become more abundant as we head into winter. This could mean increases in either rainfall or snowfall compared to last winter.

Another area we will be watching closely is actually the ocean water temperatures off the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Currently, this area is seeing much warmer than average water temperatures. If this were to continue into the winter, this can force a stronger ridge in the jet stream across the western U.S. into western Canada. This ridge would translate into a trough, or depression in the jet stream across the eastern United States. This type of jet stream flow would likely lead to a colder, unsettled pattern for the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Lake effect snow may also be more of a problem, especially the first half of the winter. The waters of the Great Lakes are quite warm after such a warm summer and fall. Depending on wind flow, this could increase our wintry weather.

The bottom line is that this winter will most certainly be more typical Ohio winter than what we saw last year. That means we can expect more snow and more cold. How bad this coming winter will be may be more of a matter of perspective than that of reality. While this past winter wasn’t too bad, many still haven’t forgotten the “polar vortex” winters of 2014 and 2015.

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Breezy and cold today, but temps in 40s expected this weekend

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:34 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 1:24 PM

Temperatures rise, but rain comes along for the ride.


  • Bright skies, but cold today
  • Warming up into the weekend
  • Rain showers by Sunday

>> Another eclipse is on the way, featuring a ‘Blood Moon’


Today: Lots of sunshine, but breezy and cold. Highs today climb to near 30 degrees, but will feel like the single digits and teens due to the wind. Later tonight skies remain mainly clear. Temperatures will drop, but not as low as last night. Overnight lows expected in the upper teens with wind chills in the single digits.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

Friday: It won’t be as cold in the morning and most will start with temperatures in the upper teens. There will be sunshine and clouds increasing through the day. Highs will be in the mid-30s, which is back to normal. It will be a nice, dry end to the week.

>> Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky 

Saturday: It will be a beautiful start to the weekend. It will be a mild day with highs in the mid to upper 40s. There will be sunshine and scattered clouds, but it will stay dry during the day. We could see a few light showers at night.

>> 4 tricks to help avoid illness during big temperature changes

Sunday: Another system will bring some scattered rain showers to the day. Highs will be in the upper 40s and it will be breezy.

Monday: It will be a wet morning commute with steadier showers moving through during the first half of the day. Highs will be in the upper 40s in the morning and continue to fall. We could see some gusty winds and some possible wet snow showers toward the end of the night.

>> WHIO Weather App

The time of the January thaw begins this week

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:32 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:39 PM

            Yellow Springs resident Bill Felker has offered his take on the world of nature for years through radio spots and the written word. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Yellow Springs resident Bill Felker has offered his take on the world of nature for years through radio spots and the written word. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

You see how you fit into this cosmic schema and you see how all is family from one side of the horizon to the other. It is clear to you how the cycles of morning to evening and evening to morning, from springtime to next springtime, form birth to death to birth, all follow similar and necessary trajectories.

— Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

The Frolicking Fox Moon, new on January 16, waxes throughout the period, encouraging foxes and other small wild animals to court and frolick, no matter what the weather. It enters its second quarter at 9:26 p.m. on January 23. Rising in the morning and setting in the evening, this Moon passes overhead in the afternoon.

The Sun: Leaving Deep Winter’s constellation of Capricorn behind, the Sun moves higher in the daytime sky, entering Aquarius on the 20th, ushering in the last subseason of winter (aptly called “Late Winter”). Little by little, the day’s length is approaching a spring-like ten hours!

The Planets: Jupiter and Mars are still the morning stars this week. Look for them in the southeast in Libra.

POOR WILL’S CLARK COUNTY ALMANACK: Time to seed bedding plants

The Stars: The new Moon will be setting in the west these dark evenings, following the Northern Cross (Cygnus) toward the horizon. As you look directly above you, try to find Perseus (looking a little like a horse). In the east, Orion stands tall.

The Shooting Stars: There are no major meteor showers this week.

Weather Trends: The January Thaw period begins this week and often lasts through the 25th. The Moon, entering its mild second quarter on the 23rd, increases the chances of a significant thaw.

The Natural Calendar: Autumn’s fruits are giving way to the weather, measuring the advance of the Northern Hemisphere back toward the sun The feathery heads of virgin’s bower, soft and thick in late November, have blown away in the wind. Hosta pods are almost empty. The final rose of Sharon seeds lie precariously in their open calices. Worn tufts of ironweed are half gone.

The heads of purple coneflowers and zinnias, tough and unyielding a month ago, crumble between your fingers. Some honeysuckle and euonymus berries still hang to their branches, but their flush and firmness are gone. In the greenhouse, the blossoms have withered on the Christmas cacti.

Fish, Game, Livestock and Birds: Dependable companions in the cold winter mornings, crows now become more boisterous; their migration typically starts this week. Sparrows and starlings court and build nests from now through the end of spring. Overwintering robins become more active in the daytime; opossums and raccoons and frolicking foxes become more active at night as Deep Winter wanes.

Ladybugs sometimes emerge in sunny window sills this time of the month, foretelling the January thaw. In addition, they bring good luck; treat them well!

Hunt and fish when the barometer is low around the January 19 and 25 cold fronts, and make plans to take advantage of low barometric pressure during the January thaw period. The waxing first-quarter Moon will be overhead in the afternoon, making fish and game more likely to be active at that time of day.

In the Field and Garden: New Moon on the 19th is a perfect lunar time for putting in all of your bedding plant seeds for spring. Try flats of greens and flowers for setting out in March; plant a second batch of everything at February’s new Moon.

Frost seeding typically begins at this time of the year. Broadcast crops such as red clover in the pastures, and scatter grass seed over bare spots on the lawn. The freezing and thawing of the ground works the seeds into the ground.

Christmas cacti can be divided and propagated throughout the months ahead. You might turn one cactus into a lucrative business if you’re willing to work at it for a few years!

Marketing Notes: Mardi Gras takes place on February 13 this year, and it is followed by Chinese New Year (the Year of the Dog) on February 16. Explore needs that celebrants might have for food and paraphernalia.

The Almanack Horoscope: The influence of the slowly waxing Frolicking Fox Moon weakens throughout the week, and seasonal stress should weaken along with it. Even though the cold and gray skies of winter may be causing irritability and depression, the possibility of a January thaw opens the door to hope and optimism. Now is the time to pay special attention to even the smallest changes in the landscape around you; they measure the approach of warmth and sun.


January 19, 1989: Looking for spring, we went southeast over the mountains. On the way through South Carolina, we saw the first flower in bloom, a roadside sow thistle. Buzzards were circling, and the first trees were definitely in flower 60 miles north of Savanna. A daffodil was budding at the Georgia line.

Some black medic and white clover, red clover, and dandelions were in full bloom, too, fifty days in time away from Springfield. Thistles had thick stalks, a foot and a half high, June size. Wild onions were as tall as in April here. Throughout the cities, the tree line was pink with flowers. Just past the Florida state line, we saw a flock of robins flying north along the coast.

More sow thistles were completely open, along with dock, hairy chickweed, and bittercress. Jacksonville was in the center of middle spring: Elderberries and azaleas blooming, some sugar maples half to fully leafed, beds of pansies blooming, calves in the fields. My daughter, Jeni, found a newborn turtle last week in the pond by her apartment.


Start counting pussy willow

New Year’s first full moon brings a deep winter chill

Supermoon rings in the New Year

With winter is here, sunset comes a little later in Clark County

Poor Will’s Almanack for 2018 is still available. Order yours from Amazon, or, for an autographed copy, order from You can also purchase Bill Felker’s new book of essays, “Home is the Prime Meridian,” from those websites.

Mark your calendar for these 2018 meteor showers

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

Image from a dashcam video provided by Lisle Police Department in Lisle, Ill., shows a meteor as it streaked over Lake Michigan Feb. 6, 2017. The meteor lit up the sky across several states in the Midwest.  Contributed photo
Image from a dashcam video provided by Lisle Police Department in Lisle, Ill., shows a meteor as it streaked over Lake Michigan Feb. 6, 2017. The meteor lit up the sky across several states in the Midwest. Contributed photo

There are plenty of meteor showers to enjoy this year, reports Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

Mark your calendars and keep checking in for the latest forecast.


RELATED: Download our free WHIO weather APP to stay informed 

  • Lyrids: Active April 16-25. Rates are usually 10-15 meteors per hour. A dark sky is expected. This meteor shower is associated with fireballs which are very bright. The shower peaks pre-dawn April 22.
  • Eta Aquariids- This shower peaks May 5 before dawn. There are typically 10-20 meteors per hour.
  • Delta Aquariids- View before July 27-30. The best viewing is before dawn. There are usually 15-20 meteors per hour. This year there will be a full moon.
  • RELATED: Meteors explained: What happens before the flash of light?

    • Perseids- This is a very active shower. August 11,12,13 head outside from the late evening through dawn. The moon this year won’t get in the way.
    • Draconids- This shower peaks October 8. It is better in the evening hours with only a handful of meteors per hour. 
    • Orionids- This shower peaks October 21 before dawn. There are 10-20 meteors per hour. The moon might get in the way.

    RELATED: Follow Live Storm Chasers

    • South Taurids- This shower peaks November 4-5. There are about five meteors per hour. This shower is active overnight and there will be no moonlight. 
    • North Taurids- This shower peaks November 11-12. There are about five meteors per hour. This shower is active overnight. 
    • Leonids- This shower peaks November 17 or 18. Look before dawn on those mornings to see 10-15 meteors per hour.
    • Geminids- This shower peaks December 13-14 with about 50 meteors per hour! It is best in the early morning before dawn. 

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    Meteors explained: What happens before the flash of light?

    Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 8:48 AM

    Meteorite, meteor, meteoroid are all different. Here's how to tell which is which!

    In the past several days, multiple meteor sightings have been reported across the area and have grabbed national attention. But, did you know there is a process that takes place before you see the flash of light?

    RELATED: What’s the difference between meteor, fireball and bolide

    RELATED: Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky

    “In space there are comets, asteroids and smaller obits of debris or space rock called meteoroids,” Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said. “If these meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere they heat up during the trip producing a bright tail.”

    RELATED: VIDEOS: Meteor spotted in Ohio, Michigan, Canada

    “A meteor as bright as Venus is known as a fireball, a bolide is a big meteoroid that actually explodes when traveling through the atmosphere producing a bright flash! If any piece of the space rock actually survives the trip and lands on earth it is called a meteorite,” Zontini said.  

    RELATED: Glossary: Commonly used astronomy terms

    If you capture a meteor or fireball on video or find any meteorites where you live, share them on social media using the hashtag #SkyWitness7

    RELATED: #SkyWitness7