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What is a Nor’easter and how does it form?

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:45 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini talks about what these strong East coast storms are and the impacts they can bring.

A powerful storm has issued winter weather advisories and storm warnings up the entire East Coast. 

“You might be seeing some pictures and videos of snow coming from Florida or Georgia,” Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said.” Winter Storm Warnings blanket the East Coast all the way to the northeast where Blizzard Warnings have been issued for Maine and Massachusetts.” 

This powerful type of winter storm is known as a Nor'easter, Zontini said. 

LOCAL WEATHER: Frigid temperatures remain this week 

Heavy snow began to fall in Summerville, SC on Wednesday afternoon.

“A Nor'easter gets its name because the winds in the coastal part of the storm are typically moving from the northeast. These types of storms usually develop between September and April and can develop between Georgia and New Jersey,” Zontini said.

>>Track the latest conditions with WHIO Doppler 7 Radar

“The area of low pressure hugs the coast staying around 100 miles east or west of the east coastline. A Nor'easter will typically move northeast, continuing to strengthen, peaking near New England or eastern Canada,” according to Zontini.

RELATED: Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

“Storms like this can go through what is called ‘bombogensis’ which is when a low pressure system rapidly intensifies, dropping 24 millibars or more in 24 hours.” 

RELATED: Lose power in the cold? Here’s what to do 

A Nor'easter usually produces heavy rain or snow and are also know for very strong wind gusts and dangerous surf. The big cities that can fall in the path of a Nor'easter include Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, Zontini said.  

“During the winter, these storms develop off the east coast because it is when the polar jet can dip south bringing very cold air to southern states,” Zontini said. 

“The warm Gulf stream waters hug the east coast and warm the air over the coastline. The cold land air spills then can move towards the relatively warmer air over the ocean and feed or enhance the development of theses low pressure systems.”

Some past Nor'Easters include the New England Blizzard of February 1978 and the March "Superstorm" of 1993. 

Cold morning, but temps in 40s expected this weekend

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:34 AM

Thinking of the warmer weather? Here's what you can expect this weekend!


  • Cold, dry morning
  • Warming up into the weekend
  • Rain showers by Sunday

>> Another eclipse is on the way, featuring a ‘Blood Moon’


Today: It will be a quiet and cold morning, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Most will start off in the upper single digits. It will be a nice afternoon with sunshine and temperatures around 30, which is closer to normal.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

Friday: It won’t be as cold in the morning and most will start with temperatures in the upper teens. There will be sunshine and clouds increasing through the day. Highs will be in the mid-30s, which is back to normal. It will be a nice, dry end to the week.

>> Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky 

Saturday: It will be a beautiful start to the weekend. It will be a mild day with highs in the mid to upper 40s. There will be sunshine and scattered clouds, but it will stay dry during the day. We could see a few light showers at night.

>> 4 tricks to help avoid illness during big temperature changes

Sunday: Another system will bring some scattered rain showers to the day. Highs will be in the upper 40s and it will be breezy.

Monday: It will be a wet morning commute with steadier showers moving through during the first half of the day. Highs will be in the upper 40s in the morning and continue to fall. We could see some gusty winds and some possible wet snow showers toward the end of the night.

>> WHIO Weather App

WPAFB Thursday Forecast: Cold start ahead of warming trend

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM

Sunshine is back in the forecast today with temperatures starting out chilly, said Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell.

A slow warming trend will get underway with highs rebounding to near 30 degrees during the afternoon.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Dry and seasonably weather is in the forecast Friday with mostly sunny skies and highs in the middle 30s.

Saturday will start with sunshine but clouds will be on the increase late in the day. Showers will move in to wrap up the weekend.

>> Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky

Despite the rain chances, temperatures will soar into the upper 40s this weekend before colder weather returns early next week.

Another cold night, but gradual warm-up coming

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:51 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:50 PM

Temperatures slowly climb towards the weekend.

Wind chills will fall to around zero degrees under mainly clear skies overnight, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

>> Another eclipse is on the way, featuring a ‘Blood Moon’


  • Another cold night ahead
  • Dry, temperatures approach freezing Thursday
  • Warm-up continues, chance for rain this weekend

>> WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs


Thursday: Sunny skies return with a slow warm-up getting underway. Highs will be near 30 degrees by late afternoon.

>> WATCH: Meteor spotted in Ohio, Michigan, Canada

Thursday at a Glance(Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

>> VIDEO: Mountains of thick ice pile along shores of Lake Erie 

Friday: Mostly sunny and breezy at times with highs reaching the middle 30s.

>> 4 tricks to help avoid illness during big temperature changes

Saturday: Clouds increase through the day with temperatures in the lower 40s. 

Thursday Morning(Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

Sunday: Cloudy skies with a chance for rain showers. Highs will be above normal in the upper 40s. 

>> WHIO Weather App

Monday: Cloudy skies, gusty winds, and rain showers during the day. Highs will reach near 50 degrees early, but will fall in the afternoon. Rain may mix with, or briefly change to snow, before tapering off Monday evening. 

Next Storm System(Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

This is why you should seriously never eat snow

Published: Friday, January 22, 2016 @ 3:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 9:27 AM

Never Eat Snow - Here's Why


Don’t eat the snow! A study, published in 2016, claimed that eating snow is potentially dangerous, particularly in urban areas.

Dr. Parisa Ariya, a professor at McGill University in Canada, told The Huffington Post that snow in cities can absorb toxic and carcinogenic pollutants and that the snow itself combining with those pollutants can lead to even more dangerous compounds being released.

>> Read more trending stories

"Snowflakes are ice particles with various types of surfaces, including several active sites, that can absorb various gaseous or particulate pollutants," she said.

Ariya, who led the study, said she did not "wish to be alarmist," but "as a mother who is an atmospheric physical chemist, I definitely do not suggest my young kids eat snow in urban areas in general."

The study examined how snow interacts with pollutants from car exhaust in the air. Findings showed that snow pulled pollutants like benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes from the air. The amount of pollutants concentrated in the snow increased dramatically.

"Without considering snow and ice, one will not be able to properly evaluate the effect of exhaust emission, and subsequently health and climate impacts, for the cities which receive snow," Ariya said. "Further research is recommended to address various aspects of such experiments under various environmental conditions, for adequate implementation in future modeling."