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.


  • 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.

Tornado Facts and Safety

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 5:44 PM

Cultura RM Exclusive/Jason Perso/Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive

Tornado Facts

Tornadoes can range in intensity. Wind speeds are measured on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which was implemented in February of 2007:

  • EF0 = 65 – 85 mph winds
  • EF1 = 86 – 110 mph winds
  • EF2 = 111 – 135 mph winds
  • EF3 = 136 – 165 mph winds
  • EF4 = 166 – 200 mph winds
  • EF5 = Over 200 mph winds

Tetsuya Theodore "Ted" Fujita (1920-1998) developed the original Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale. The scale was changed to the “Enhanced” Fujita Scale in 2007, after more information about the destructiveness of tornadoes had been scientifically examined. The estimated wind speeds were updated, and more specific damage requirements were set. Tornadoes are now measured AFTER damage has been assessed, days after a tornado strikes.

The size of a tornado is not necessarily a measure of its intensity. Larger tornadoes can be weaker and less violent than smaller tornadoes that have more intense winds. Tornadoes in the EF0-EF2 range are much more likely to develop than stronger ones, but all tornadoes can be deadly. Following these tips could save your life.

Tornado safety tips

1. Have a plan in place:

  • Know in advance exactly what to do when a tornado nears.
  • Know where to take shelter in seconds.
  • Practice home tornado drills with your entire family.
  • Have your kids draw a picture of their home with their “safe place.”

2. The best shelter is a tornado shelter, or an interior room like a closet or bathroom on the lowest level of your home, away from glass or windows.

  • Bring pillows and blankets to cover yourselves from falling debris and wear bike helmets to protect your head.
  • Have a flashlight and a battery-operated radio to take into your shelter with you.
  • You may even turn your television volume up loud enough so that you can hear severe weather alert updates.

3. If you live in a mobile home:

  • Get out!
  • Find the nearest shelter, like a neighbor’s house.
  • If no other shelter is available, it is safer to lie down, as low as you can, such as in a ditch, outside, covering your head with your hands.
  • Even if your mobile home is tied down it is not a safe place during a tornado.
4. If you’re in your car:
  • Get out!
  • Find shelter in a sturdy building. If you don’t see one, find a ditch away from trees and other cars.
  • Lie down in the ditch with your hands covering your head.
  • If there’s no ditch, find an open area of land away from trees and cars. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head with your hands.

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.

"Cindy” now Tropical Depression, moving our way

Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 7:35 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 5:24 AM

UPDATE @ 11:45 a.m. (June 22, 2017):

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said the National Hurricane Center has downgraded Tropical Storm Cindy to a Tropical Depression due to weakening of the storm. Winds are now sustained at 35 mph with gusts reaching higher. Despite weakening, heavy rain is still being produced and is a threat for southern states. Cindy is expected to weaken more as it moves north-east later today eventually bringing the remnants back towards Tennessee and Ohio.


The Miami Valley is expected to experience steady, heavy rain Friday due to Tropical Depression Cindy.

RELATED: Tropical moisture to bring heavy rain, flooding risk to Miami Valley


Tropical Storm Cindy continues to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the Gulf states after it made landfall Thursday morning.

The storm is moving north at about 12 MPH and is expected t weaken over the next two days now that it will be over land, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. 

RELATED: Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall in Louisiana 

Flash flooding remains a threat across southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the western panhandle of Florida as 6 to 9 inches of rain is expected, with some localized areas seeing more than a foot, through Thursday night.

RELATED: Tropical storm Cindy forms in Gulf of Mexico

PHOTOS: Dayton Air Show 2016

The remnants of Cindy are forecast to lift into the Tennessee Valley by late Friday with rain and storms pushing into the Miami Valley as early as Thursday night.  

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs said tropical moisture from the south will meet up with a cold front from the northwest. This will bring prolonged, heavy rain and storms to the Miami Valley Thursday night through Friday.

RELATED: 1 tropical storm churns in Gulf; 2nd disbands in Caribbean

The potential for a few inches of rain is still possible but the timing of the cold front could be beneficial to the Vectren Dayton Air Show.  

That front is expected to move the moisture east heading into Saturday, which will allow for a dry day. Sunday appears to be another dry day with sun and clouds, yet slightly cooler.  

If you head to the air show this year, be prepared to grab the sunscreen but in terms of the temperature, it will be mild but not muggy.


30 minutes of hail costs Texas a whopping $480 million

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 3:05 AM

A man shows a piece of golf ball size hail that caused some damage in the area in Odessa, Texas, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP)
Jacob Ford|Odessa American/AP

What’s a little hail?

If you’re asking Texas, almost $500 million in damages

Last week, grapefruit-sized hail fell in Odessa for about 30 minutes, the Houston Chronicle reports. But what’s especially newsworthy about the occurrence is that the half-hour managed to cause $480 million in damages, according to an estimate made by the Insurance Council of Texas.

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Thousands of homes and some 35,000 vehicles are thought to have been damaged during the storm. 

According to one Insurance Council of Texas official, a hailstorm hasn’t caused as much damage in the area in 20 or 30 years. 

One car dealership reported that all of its 700 vehicles were hit in the storm, totaling an estimated $10 million worth of damage. 

Read more here or here.