SEVERE WEATHER: Difference between Watch vs. Warning

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 1:49 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 1:49 PM

The National Weather Service is the official issuer of a watch or a warning, based on expected weather conditions.

Stormcenter7 Meteorologist Brett Collar explains the difference.

In severe weather season, knowing the difference between a watch and a warning can be life-saving.

WATCH means you should prepare for the possibility of a severe storm or tornado.

WARNING means you should take action now, get to a safe location because severe weather is occurring or a tornado has been seen or indicated by radar.

Solar eclipse ‘event of a lifetime,’ says Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @ 5:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @ 11:18 PM

It will be the event of a lifetime -- IF -- the weather cooperates here in the Miami Valley late summer. 

On Aug. 21, the first total eclipse in nearly a century will be visible across much of the United States. It will be a total solar eclipse from Oregon to Tennessee to South Carolina, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.  

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If skies are clear enough here in the Dayton region, expect the eclipse to begin a few minutes after 1 p.m. The eclipse will reach its maximum in the Miami Valley at 2:28 p.m. with nearly 90 percent of the sun being obscured by the moon.

We’ll have near darkness in the middle of the afternoon. The moon then will move away with the eclipse ending at 3:51 p.m.

STAY WEATHER SMART: What’s the difference between a watch and a warning?

It is highly recommended that viewers of the eclipse wear protective eye gear, not just sunglasses. Staring at the sun can cause severe damage to the eyes. 

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If you miss the eclipse or the weather does not cooperate, you won’t have to wait another century. Dayton will get a chance to see another total solar eclipse on April 9, 2024. 

Spring outlook shows warmer than average conditions to return

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 5:38 PM


            Spring outlook shows warmer than average conditions to return

Spring has sprung, making an official debut just before 6:30 a.m. Monday.

While I know many of you are excited spring has finally arrived, I am also sure many of you realize spring in Ohio doesn’t necessarily mean we are done with winter weather. In fact, take a look at some stats from the last six weeks: February in the Miami Valley was tied for the warmest on record with temperatures averaging 10.7 degrees above normal for the entire month. But there has been a bit of a change for the first 20 days of March where temperatures are currently averaging nearly three degrees below normal. That is quite a swing.

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But now some good news, depending on your perspective I guess, was just released from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The CPC released their outlook for spring for the country late last week and it appears a big change is expected for the season. Temperatures are forecast to swing back to above normal levels for the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, at least as an average of the spring months. The average high temperature for today’s date in the Miami Valley is 52 degrees. The average high by the end of April will climb to 67 degrees. However, the CPC outlook would mean most days would likely be above the average high.

Despite the relatively warm winter, we’ve had our fair share of wet weather throughout the season. Precipitation amounts over the winter were near to slightly below normal. However, much of the precipitation we’ve had throughout the winter has fallen in the form of rain. In fact, preliminary numbers show that Dayton has only had 4½ inches of snow since the first day of winter, Dec. 21. However, around 4 inches of snow fell in Dayton in the days leading up to winter. But when looking at only the winter days, the winter of 2016-2017 will go down as the least snowiest on record. The old record was 5½ inches in 1983.

The precipitation outlook for spring has no strong signals on whether we can expect above or below average precipitation amounts, as there are equal chances of both. It is important to note that in years past, when coming out of a warmer than average winter, there tended to be an increase in strong to severe storms across the region by late winter and into the spring. There are already signs that a similar pattern may be evolving. However, the pattern that evolves later in the spring and into the summer will also likely depend on whether El Nino, a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific that influences weather patterns, can develop. Right now, it is still too early to know if or how exactly El Nino will impact our region later this year.

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

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.

Know your forecast for your county 

Published: Wednesday, December 07, 2016 @ 5:00 PM

Know your forecast for your county 

Winter weather in the Miami Valley varies drastically from county to county--from north to south--or west to east--depending on the direction in which a storm system approaches. Each weather event brings a multitude of variables. Knowing whether your county will see rain, snow or a mix in between could drastically affect how you plan your day.

That's why the StormCenter7 team of meteorologists tracks storms in each county and compiles a forecast for each county, twice per day, so you are prepared with the most accurate weather information.

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