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Eric Elwell: 7 surprising facts about summer

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 3:06 PM

Ready or not, here comes summer.

Summer will officially begin early tomorrow morning just after midnight, at 12:24 a.m. Granted, it has felt like summer for much of the last week thanks to the heat and humidity.

RELATED: Warm spring means hot summer likely

For the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins when the sun’s zenith reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees. It’s also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, this is the first day of winter for the Southern Hemisphere.

Typically, the first day of summer is also the longest day of the year. Because summer officially begins just after midnight Wednesday morning, both today and Wednesday will have 14 hours, 59 minutes and 19 seconds of full daylight. After Wednesday, we will lose about 3 and a half minutes of daylight by the end of the month and then lose over 40 minutes in the month of July.

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Here are seven other interesting facts about the summer months you may or may not know:

1. The word solstice derives from Latin, meaning ‘sun stands still’. This word was chosen because when the solstice occurs the sun appears to stand still.

2. Every year on the summer solstice, a unique baseball game is played in Fairbanks, Alaska on the solstice since the sun is out for almost 24 hours. The game begins around 10 p.m. and ends around 1 a.m. without any artificial lighting. The tradition originated in 1906 and has been played every year since 1960 by the Alaska Goldpanners.

3. The Eiffel Tower in France grows more than 6 inches thanks to the expansion of iron due to the heat of summer.

4. The dog days of summer typically are the weeks between July 3 and August 11. And no, it has nothing to do with it being so hot that dogs are lazy and lay around. The name came about because the Greeks and Romans associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius. Sirius was known as the “Dog Star” because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (large dog). Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is so bright that the ancient Romans thought it radiated extra heat toward Earth. During the summer, when Sirius rises and sets with the Sun, they thought Sirius added heat to the Sun’s heat to cause hotter summer temperatures.

5. Summers in the northern hemisphere are typically hotter than summer in the southern hemisphere due to the differences in amount of land masses. There is more land mass in the northern hemisphere which heats up faster than water. Of course, land also cools faster so typical winters in the southern hemisphere are milder than those in the north.

6. Earth is not the only planet to have a summer solstice. Mars’ solstice occurs a few days after earth’s June solstice. On Uranus, each summer solstice lasts for 42 years. This also means that each winter solstice lasts the same amount of time for the opposite hemisphere. Let’s just be thankful that we get to enjoy our seasons more often than every 42 years!

7. Finally, one of my most favorite facts is this one: Watermelon is the most popular summer vegetable in the United States. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92 percent water. The average American consumes 15 pounds of watermelon annually. Wow!

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Flood advisories, flash flood watch issued as Cindy brings showers/storms

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 4:07 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for Logan County in effect until 2 p.m. Friday

Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, and Shelby counties are under a Flood Advisory until 12:45 p.m.

Champaign, Logan, Miami, and Shelby counties are also under a Flood Advisory until 1:30 p.m. 

A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for most of the Miami Valley through 2 a.m. Saturday. 

Track the latest conditions on Live Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Showers and a few thunderstorms are expected Friday, some of which could be strong to severe, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. 

Rain will be somewhat widespread for most of the day, so it’s a good idea to keep the umbrella with you. 

RELATED: Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center  

RELATED: "Cindy” now Tropical Depression, moving our way

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST  

  • Showers and storms expected Friday
  • Strong to severe storms possible, mainly southeastern Miami Valley 
  • More dry time and cooler this weekend

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 

DETAILED FORECAST 

TODAY: Moisture from the remnants of what was Tropical Storm Cindy will move into the Miami Valley and will combine with a cold front pushing in later Friday evening. 

RELATED: Sky Witness 7

This will help spark a few thunderstorms. While the severe threat does look stronger to our southeast, we still could see some stronger thunderstorms. 

The biggest threats for us will be locally heavy rain that could lead to flooding, strong damaging winds, and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out. 

Temperatures will top out in the upper 70s on Friday. 

Showers and storms come to an end Friday evening, and we’ll see a few breaks in the clouds overnight . Lows will be in the lower 60s. Some patchy fog is possible early Saturday.

A flash flood watch will be in effect through 2 a.m. Saturday.

SATURDAY: We’ll see partly cloudy skies on Saturday. Highs will be in the middle to upper 70s. A couple of pop up showers or storms can’t be ruled out during the heating of the day Saturday in the northern Miami Valley, but it does appear most of us will stay dry.

SUNDAY: We’ll be a notch cooler Sunday with highs in the middle 70s, otherwise it should be a very similar day to Saturday. Partly cloudy skies with the slight chance for a pop up shower in the northern Miami Valley, but most stay dry. 

MONDAY: It’ll be a cooler on Monday with partly sunny skies and highs in the lower 70s.

TUESDAY: We get back into the middle 70s Tuesday under partly sunny skies.

 

Tropical Storm Cindy remnant brings flood threats, heavy rains 

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 5:33 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 10:30 PM

>>INTERACTIVE RADAR: Track weather in your area

Clouds thicken overnight with a few scattered showers and storms developing towards morning, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs said. This is due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy moving in from the south and meeting up with a cold front approaching from the northwest. Overnight it will stay muggy with temperatures in the lower 70s.

Ahead of the approaching storm, a Flash Flood Watch was issued by the National Weather Service. It goes into effect at 2 a.m. Friday through 2 a.m. Saturday for Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and Warren counties in Ohio and Wayne County in Indiana.

RELATED: Flash Floods--What you need to know to stay safe

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Scattered showers, storms develop overnight
  • Heavy rain and storms likely Friday
  • Flash Flood Watch 2 a.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday

Friday: A cold front from the northwest will meet up with tropical moisture from the south creating a wet and stormy day. Rain, heavy at times, and thunderstorms develop through the morning and become steady into late morning/afternoon. Localized heavy rain may lead to flooding, specifically flash flooding with rapid rise in water creating dangerous road conditions. Rain totals ranging between 1 to 3 inches with isolated spots potentially up to 4 inches are possible by Friday evening. Along with the flooding threat, some storms may produce isolated damaging wind gusts. Temperatures will range in the 70s.

The cold front should shift the moisture south and east as we head into Friday evening, so it should dry out by late Friday night. 

RELATED: Will Tropical Depression Cindy impact Dayton Air Show?

RELATED: Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center 

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts

LOOKING BEYOND FRIDAY INTO WEEKEND

The heavy rain and strong winds should be out of the area by Saturday, making way for a nice weekend of low humidity and seasonable temperatures. 

Saturday: Sun and some scattered clouds are expected along with breezy conditions at times. Highs will be below normal in the upper 70s. The UV Index will be high, so if you head to the Vectren Dayton Air Show apply and reapply sunscreen through the afternoon. 

Sunday: Partly cloudy and cooler conditions are expected, and it will be breezy at times with highs in the middle 70s.

Monday: It will be partly sunny with the slight chance of a passing shower and highs in the lower 70s.

Tuesday: Sun and a few clouds are expected with highs in the middle 70s.

RELATED: Sky Witness 7

Tornado flattens buildings near Birmingham, Alabama

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

Liquor bottles remain untouched on a shelf after a possible tornado touched down destroying several businesses, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Fairfield, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/AP

A tornado damaged several businesses outside Birmingham, Alabama, onTuesday.

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Meteorologist Jason Holmes said buildings, including a liquor store and a fast-food restaurant, in the suburban community of Fairfield, west of the city, were reported damaged.

Holmes also told The Associated Press that trees were down and buildings were reported damaged along the Interstate 20 corridor on the southwestern outskirts of Birmingham.

Photographs on social media showed what appeared to be a funnel cloud in the air in the Birmingham area.

YOU NEED THIS: WHIO Weather App

Published: Friday, November 18, 2016 @ 2:01 PM

Weather app

The free WHIO Weather App will keep you alert and informed of changing weather conditions. You’ll be able to access the live radar before you hit the road.  

Install the WHIO Weather App free now from the Google Play or Apple store. Right at your fingertips, you'll have access to:

  • Live radar to track rain and storms
  • School closings 
  • Hour-by-hour forecasts 
  • Hyper-local forecasts for your county 
  • Forecasts wherever you travel in the U.S. 

HOW DO I ADD MY CITY OR LOCATION IN THE APP?

Once you have downloaded the app, it is time to setup the locations you would like to monitor. Remember, these can change whenever you'd like with a push of a button. 

  • Once in the WHIO Weather app, look for the 'plus sign' at the top left of your screen  
  • Click Current Location to save your first city 

After that, you can save up to 10 locations by typing in the city and state. These locations can be anywhere you wish to receive weather updates. 

SHOULD I "ENABLE" BACKGROUND TRACKING? 

A new feature in the app is its ability to track storms even when the app isn't open and update you wherever you go...even out of state. If you travel into a location that is being impacted by weather, you will automatically be updated through the app. 

  • Once in the App, click the 'plus sign' at the top left of your screen 
  • Go to the Settings button at the bottom of your locations tab
  • Click Background Tracking, this will take you to your phone's settings
  • Make sure under the 'Location' option you chose 'always'

DO I HAVE TO BE ALERTED TO EVERYTHING WEATHER RELATED? 

The WHIO Weather App is unique because it allows you to choose which the weather alerts for which you want to receive notifications. All watches, warnings and advisories that the National Weather Service issues are available in our app. 

  • Make sure there is a check by the alerts you want to receive
  • You can turn off any notification you don't want by clicking the check mark 

WHY DIDN'T THE WARNING GO OFF ON MY PHONE? 

A special feature on the WHIO Weather App is the ability for the app to notify you ONLY when your GPS or saved locations are in the POLYGON for a warning. The National Weather Service draws polygons when it issues warnings and advisories. If your location isn't in the polygon, the alert will NOT go off. 

WATCHES on the other hand are issued for entire counties, not polygons. If your location falls in a county where a watch is issued you WILL get an alert. 

ISN'T THE 7-DAY JUST LIKE ANY OTHER WEATHER APP? 

Unlike most apps that rely on a computer to just dump weather data on to their app, the StormCenter 7 Team updates the forecast on the WHIO Weather App each day, multiple times a day. With the WHIO Weather App you are getting a detailed forecast specifically created for the Miami Valley. It's not from a meteorologist many states away.

 

HOW DO I SEE THE LATEST LIST OF SCHOOL/ BUSINESS CLOSINGS AND DELAYS? 

We've added the latest list of school and business closings and delays in the WHIO Weather App so you can check the list from wherever you're located. Simply open the app, along the bottom is a tool bar, 'Closings' is the third option from the left. This will take you directly to the most recently updated list. This new feature will better help you plan your day, allowing you to adjust as needed when your kids' school or your place of business issues a delay or closes due to road conditions or other reasons. 

 

I MISSED A NEWSCAST, HOW CAN I GET MY FORECAST? 

If you miss a TV newscast, you can still keep up with the latest video forecasts our meteorologists create throughout the day. These short weather video segments tell the weather story of the day, how it will impact you, and contain their scientific explanations for unique elements of the forecast you won't get in a written story or graphic. This is a great tool during severe weather days and when a big winter storm may impact the Miami Valley. These custom video forecasts created by the StormCenter7 team of Meteorologists can be found under the 'Video' tab. 

 

WHAT CAN I SEE ON THE INTERACTIVE RADAR BESIDES RAIN AND SNOW? 

The Interactive Radar is available year-round in the WHIO Weather App. Features on the app allow you to see lightning strikes along with satellite and radar. Under the 'Radar' tab you can click on the 'Layer' icon to overlay things like watches and warnings so you can see where storms and alerts are in relation to your location.