Mark your calendar for these 2017 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

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.

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  • Lyrids: Active April 16-25. Rates are usually 10-20 meteors per hour. The moon will be a waning crescent so the sky will be pretty dark. This meteor shower is associated with fireballs which are very bright. The shower peaks pre-dawn April 22.
  • Eta Aquariids: Active April 19 to May 26. Rates are usually 10-30 meteors per hour. The moon is a waxing gibbous so it will shine bright in the sky. The shower peaks before dawn May 7.
  • Alpha Capicornids: Active July 11 to August 10. Only produces about five meteors per hour but is known to produce fireballs. The shower peaks July 26-27.
  • Delta Aquariids: Active July 21 to August 23. This shower is best in the southern hemisphere. There is usually a good number meteors the week surrounding the peak which is July 30.
  • Perseids: Active July 13 to August 26. This is an active shower that produces 50-70 meteors per hour. The peak night is August 11-12. The moon will be near full and might be bright.
  • Southern Taurids: Active September 7 to November 19. It is long but doesn’t have an impressive peak. You could see an increased chance for fireball sightings. The shower peaks October 9-10.
  • Orionids: Active October 4 to November 14. A typical year it can produce 20-25 meteors per hour. The shower peaks October 21-22.
  • Northern Taurids: Active October 19 to December 10. Can be active the same time as the Southern Taurids. The shower peaks November 10-11.
  • Leonids: Active November 5-30. The rates are usually about 15 meteors per hours but there can be outbursts some years. The shower peaks November 17-18.
  • Geminids: Active December 4-16. This is a great meteor shower during the year. They can have long tails and bright colors. The showers will peak December 13-14.
  • Ursids: Active December 17-23. The shower usually produces five to 10 meteors per hour but an outburst can take the rate up to 25 meteors per hour. The shower peaks December 21-22.

7 tips to keep your dog calm during a storm  

Published: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 3:35 PM

During times of rough weather, it can be difficult to keep four-legged friends calm and comforted amid the madness.

According to experts at WebMD, thunderstorm phobia in dogs is quite common and shouldn’t be ignored.

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"Most of the time they don't grow out of it on their own, and many will get worse with time if nothing is done," veterinarian Matt Peuser said.

While there’s no easy fix, here are seven  tips to help relax your frightened fur ball during a storm:

Be prepared.

The best way to be prepared to make arrangements for your dog is to simply check the forecast. According to Pethealth.com, thunder usually occurs in the afternoons. 

You can also set up a pet disaster kit, the Palm Beach Post reported. Fill up a waterproof container with Fido’s medications and medical records, essentials such as a leash and collar, food, water and dishes for both. Other items to include: a manual can opener, grooming supplies, your pet’s blanket and favorite toy, cleanser and disinfectant to handle waste, newspapers or litter, paper towels and plastic bags. 

>>Related: What's the difference between a tornado watch and warning? 

Be home.

If you know your dog tends to be fearful of storms, try to stay home or arrange for someone to stick around.

Reward calm behavior all year.

According to veterinary behavior expert Barbara Sherman, owners often make the mistake of consoling a fearful dog, but this actually just encourages clingy, panicky behavior.

 >> Related: Why you shouldn’t calm your fearful dog 

That doesn’t mean owners should scold their dogs, but instead, train them to settle down on command so that when a storm comes, the dog knows what to do.

Offer distractions during a storm.

Sherman also recommends distractions for your pet during the storm such as offering treats or toys, playing fetch and cuddling.

>> Related: If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

Create a sound-proof safe place.

Whether it’s a room in the basement, an open crate or even the bathroom, it’s wise to offer the dog its own soundproof safe place to come and go as it pleases.

You can figure out what the best place for your dog is by watching where it gravitates during a storm.

Try snug-fitting clothing.

Snug clothing such as the Thundershirt have been known to help dogs cope with anxiety by applying gentle, constant pressure to a dog’s torso, similar to swaddling an infant.

Consider medications.

If Fido is seriously affected, refer to your veterinarian or a veterinary behavior specialist for possible medication.

235 photos create beautiful cloud time lapse, and other must-see weather videos

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 9:07 AM

When you watch thunderstorms pass, they don’t appear to move very quickly.

But when they are photographed over time and then compressed in a video editor, you really get to see how things move.

The storm cloud time lapse above is made from 235 individual photographs over 11 minutes. The sequence was reduced down to less than 10 seconds - making it look like a scene from Harry Potter. 

MORE WEATHER VIEWS
» Strange cloud waves were spotted in Dayton. Here are 6 more recent odd weather events.
» These 12 lightning images will make you appreciate the beauty of thunderstorms
» 15 damaging storms that pounded Ohio in recent history

Here’s a look at other eye-catching weather videos:

A spring night thunderstorm time lapse

This spring thunderstorm was an early attempt at time lapse. The camera was left running all night, and the lens eventually fogged, but I really liked the lightning intensity and clearing sky with stars at the end.

February thunderstorm time lapse

A surprise line of thunderstorms in February lit up the sky over Greene County. About 10 minutes’ worth of exposures were captured before it began to rain and I had to stop for safety reasons.

Stars time lapse

Time lapse photos of the stars are fun and relatively easy unless clouds decide to roll in. This sequence ran all night, and I let the dawn wash away the frame.

Glowing sunset

This glowing sunset is not a time lapse, but it was one of the best unbroken sky illuminations I’ve seen. A ribbon of clear horizon appeared just as the sun set after a cold front pushed through and made the western sky glow for just a few minutes before fading away.

Monday’s Vernal Equinox : What is it?

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2017 @ 9:40 PM

We transition from winter to spring.

When this officially happens at 6:29 a.m. today, that moment is called the Vernal Equinox.

The Vernal Equinox is when the Earth is lined up so that the sun’s rays directly hit the equator.

During winter months, that line is in the southern hemisphere, and during summer months it’s in the northern hemisphere. This is thanks to the tilt of the Earth’s axis, which is an average of 23.5 degrees.

The transition into spring will bring big changes to the Miami Valley. Average highs start the season at 51 degrees Monday. But by the start of summer on June 21, the average high will jump to 82 degrees. Daylight hours also will increase from 12 hours, 9 minutes on Monday to 14 hours and 49 minutes June 21.

130 years ago this week a massive snowstorm killed 400 people

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 1:42 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 1:42 PM

People in parts of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states are dealing with a late winter snowstorm this week, but it’s nothing like the blizzard of 1888.

Known as the Great White Hurricane, the deadly snowstorm struck the East Coast almost 130 years ago on March 11, according to the website Connecticuthistory.org. When the snow finally stopped on March 14, more than 400 people had died and the region was paralyzed by 60 inches of snow in some areas with drifts as high as 38 feet in places.

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The editors of the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, now the Poughkeepsie Journal,described the blizzard this way:

“Huge walls of (snow) moved along with the howling gale and swirled around corners, almost knocking people down who confronted it… In some places the sidewalks were impassable, and people had to take to the middle of the road, where they floundered and foamed and jumped and fretted on their way to their destinations,” the newspaper reported.

“It was a storm that will be remembered by the youngest boy as long as he lives.”

In National Geographic Magazine’s Volume 1, Brigadier Gen. A.W. Greely, the Chief Signal Officer of the Army from 1887 until 1906 described the monster storm this way.

“This storm is by no means as violent as others which have occurred in the eastern part of the United States. It is noted, however, as being one in which an unusual amount of snow fell, which drifted by the high winds caused by the advance of an anticyclonic area in rear of the storm depression did an enormous amount of damage to the railways in Massachusetts, southern New York, and New Jersey.”

Related:  MA officials warn of 'fast moving, high impact' storm, urge residents to stay home

Related: Boston: Hundreds of flights canceled due to winter storm

The storm shut down the rails and the roads up and down the eastern seaboard for days. The howling winds, with reported gusts at 80 mph in some areas, knocked out the telegraph system.

Damage estimates in New York, alone totaled as much as $25 million, about $670 million by today’s standards.