SNOW SQUALLS: Dangerous winter driving conditions

Published: Friday, December 09, 2016 @ 4:29 PM

Be prepared this winter to know what to do if you find yourself driving in a Snow Squall this Winter.

We see snow squalls in the Miami Valley nearly every winter season, even though they are most common in lake effect snow areas. 

WHAT IS A SNOW SQUALL?

StormCenter7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini describes a snow squall as a burst of snow that quickly drops visibility levels to zero. They are usually accompanied by gusty winds which only make visibility worse as snow blows and falls simultaneously. 

WHY ARE SNOW SQUALLS DANGEROUS? 

Snow squalls are very localized. Driving conditions and roadways can look clear and safe one minute, and a minute later, you can't see. Drivers are caught in the whiteout as they are traveling at fair weather speeds which can result in chain reaction rear-end crashes like the incidents below.  

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December 8, 2016, Ashtabula County, Ohio I-90 pile up: 

Heavy snow squalls and icy conditions led to a 75 car pile up on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio.  

75 cars collided on I-90 in Ashtabula County, Ohio, December 8, 2016.

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March 24, 2015, Shelby County, Ohio I-75 pile up: 

More than 20 cars collided during a snow squall in Shelby County on I-75 between SR 274 and 119.  

A snow squall caused white out conditions on I-75 in Shelby County, Ohio, March 24, 2015. 

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January 21, 2013, Butler County, Ohio I-75 pile up: 

More than 50 cars were involved in a pile up on I-75 between Middletown and Monroe on January 21, 2013. 

No one was killed but the highway was shutdown for hours as emergency crews rescued drivers trapped in their cars and cleared the highway of debris.

Snow squalls caused 52 cars to collide on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, January 21, 2013. 
52 cars collided on I-75 in Butler County, Ohio, near Middletown during a snow squall on January 21, 2013.

Stay weather aware this winter no matter where you are.

DOWNLOAD the free WHIO Weather App that will send you audible weather alerts even when you're not in the app. You'll have access to live radar to see where snow is moving in to your area, as well as hour by hour forecasts. 

Showers expected today, some could be heavy at times

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 5:30 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

Rain showers are expected today, but we should be drying out this weekend.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Showers and storms at times today
  • Warmer than normal through weekend
  • Fall begins Friday

DETAILED FORECAST

Today: Showers are expected today, some of which could be heavy at times. As we head closer to the evening hours, we'll see some dry time and that will allow temperatures to climb into the upper 70s. Shower re-development will be possible later this evening, however anything that does re-develop will be somewhat isolated. Not everyone will see rain this evening.

>> RELATED: WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Wednesday: Some spotty fog possible again in the morning. It will be warm and muggy with highs in the low 80s, which is warmer than normal. It will be sunny with scattered clouds. An isolated shower or storm can’t be ruled out, but most will stay dry.

Thursday: There will be more sunshine and it will be even warmer. Highs should stay in the mid-70s, but temperatures will climb to the upper 80s. It will be dry through the afternoon and evening.

>> Hurricane Maria lashes Dominica, now menaces other islands 

Friday: It will be a great start to fall. The equinox is around 4:02 p.m., which will signal the new season. Highs will be in the upper 80s, which is more than 10 degrees warmer than normal.

>> RELATED: Fall begins Friday

Saturday: It will be mostly sunny and warm with temperatures in the mid-80s.

Hurricane Maria now a Category 5 storm

Published: Saturday, September 16, 2017 @ 9:16 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 5:58 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at the path and intensity of Maria and Jose.

Hurricane Maria has strengthened to a Category 5 storm, with winds reported at 160 mph, according to Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes. 

RELATED: FEMA facing third major relief effort

Maria is the second Category 5 storm for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Maria will continue to move toward the Virgin Islands  and likely move over Puerto Rico late tonight and through Wednesday. Life threatening flash flooding, mudslides and storm surge are be possible.

Hurricane Jose is still expected to impact the northeast coast of the United States through the week. 

Tropical Storm Warnings extent along the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 

See our WHIO Dopple 7 Interactive Radar

Jose's center should stay out to sea but dangerous rip currents and life threatening surf will be possible as the storm moves north. 

Maria became the fourth major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season on Monday. Maria is expected to bring major impacts to the Leeward Island, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

>>>LIVE Storm Chasers

Several islands were already severally damaged from Hurricane Irma. Rain totals could reach as high as 20 inches in some of those spots producing life threatening flash flooding and mudslides. Hurricane and tropical storm force winds extend out from the center of the storm. 

Storm surge 6-9 feet above tide could impact parts of the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Maria is expected to curve back out to sea by the weekend, but there will be plenty to track. 

On Monday, there were three active named storms in the Atlantic for the second time this season. Tropical Depression Lee was also active. 

Flood advisory issued for Wayne County, Indiana, expires

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 5:16 AM
Updated: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 11:33 PM

Chance for showers and storms return for Tuesday across the Miami Valley.

UPDATE @ 11:30 p.m.: A flood advisory issued for Wayne County, Indiana, has expired, according to the National Weather Service. 

Doppler radar showed thunderstorms in the advisory area. About two inches of rain have fallen so far tonight. 

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Few Showers and Storms Possible this Evening
  • Few More Storms Tomorrow
  • Warmer than normal week

WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

This evening/overnight: Partly cloudy, warm and muggy this evening with a few passing showeres/storms. Severe weather is not expected, but heavy downpours and isolated gusty winds possible. Temperatures will fall through the 70s this evening, then to a low in the middle 60s overnight. There will be a lull in the precipitation after sunset and through most of the night. A few more showers and isolated embedded storms may develop from the west towards morning.

Tuesday: Chance of a few passing showers or storms early. In the 60s through the morning. Clouds linger through the day with a few more showers or storms possible. Highs in the upper 70s. Severe threat is not expected.

>> Atlantic has 3 active storms

Wednesday: Partly cloudy, warm and humid. Slight chance of an afternoon shower or storm. Most will likely remain dry. Highs in the middle 80s.

Thursday: A mix of sun and clouds, warm and muggy with highs in the middle 80s. 

>> WHIO severe weather guide

Friday: Sunshine and a few clouds, warm and muggy again. Highs in the middle 80s 

Saturday: Mostly sunny, warm and muggy with highs in the middle 80s.

9 weather terms you should know when preparing for a hurricane

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 4:37 PM

What are the Differences Between Hurricane Categories?

Whenever a hurricane is poised to strike a region, there are several terms meteorologists use that might not be familiar.

>> Read more trending news

Here are common ones you should know as you keep your eye on the storm’s path: 

Feeder band

Lines or bands of low-level clouds that move (feed) into the upper region of a thunderstorm, usually from the east through south.

This term also is used in tropical meteorology to describe spiral-shaped bands of convection surrounding, and moving toward, the center of a tropical cyclone.

Squalls

When the wind speed increases to at least 16 knots and is sustained at 22 knots or more for at least one minute.

Storm surge

An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. The height is the difference between the normal level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the cyclone. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomic high tide from the observed storm tide.

>> Related: What is storm surge and why is it dangerous? 

Eye wall

An organized band or ring of clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind center, of a tropical cyclone. Eye wall and wall cloud are used synonymously.

Sustained winds

Wind speed determined by averaging observed values over a two-minute period.

Computer models

Meteorologists use computer models to figure out a storm’s path and its potential path. The models are based on typical weather patterns.

Advisory

Official information describing all tropical cyclone watches and warnings in effect along with details concerning tropical cyclone locations, intensity and movement, and precautions that should be taken.

Hurricane watch

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane warning

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.