Stay home! Significant ice accumulations from freezing rain, sleet possible today
ROANOKE, Va. – Although we still have winter weather alerts in effect until tomorrow morning, the heaviest precipitation has moved out. A mix of freezing rain and sleet has been moving through Southside and the Lynchburg area for a few hours already. That’s where we’ll see the most significant ice accumulations and biggest impacts from this storm. Winter weather advisories have been posted in these areas. The next opportunity for winter weather comes Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Beyond The Forecast: Cuddle alerts likely for your Valentine’s date night!
It’s the season of love in Southwest and Central Virginia as Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend. Before I get to the forecast, let’s take a look at the “weather extremes” for the holiday in Roanoke. The coldest Valentine’s Day on record happened just five years ago! On the flip side, Cupid visited Roanoke Valley lovers in 1990 with 70+ degree warmth. This may surprise some of you, but Roanoke hasn’t been all that snowy on Valentine’s Day.
Despite clouds and snow, Phil sees shadow; predicts six more weeks of winter
– As is the yearly custom, Punxsutawney Phil was awoken from his slumber at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday. After conferring with members of his inner circle, it was declared that he saw his shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. It was the 105th time he saw his shadow, compared to 20 times he has predicted an early spring. Whether the shadow was produced by the sun’s rays or flashing camera bulbs is up for debate. Weather observations Tuesday morning at the nearby DuBois Regional Airport reveal that it was cloudy and snowing at the time of Phil’s proclamation.
Beyond The Forecast: Diving into the history of Groundhog Day and the rodent’s weather predictions
It’s officially a new month and we’re looking ahead to one of the more bizarre “holidays” we recognize each year: Groundhog Day. We can trace Groundhog Day back to the German holiday “Candlemas”, which was celebrated on February 2 each year. The Pennsylvania Dutch were immigrants from Germanic-speaking areas of Europe and created the tradition of Groundhog Day. The average attendance for the groundhog’s prediction was 2,000 people up until Bill Murray’s movie “Groundhog Day” debuted in 1993. According to AccuWeather, the groundhog is accurate 39% of the time with his weather predictions, worse than a coin flip and certainly much worse than Your Local Weather Authority.
Beyond The Forecast: Taking stock of winter thus far, plus an early look at Thursday’s snow potential
That means it’s as good a time as any to take stock of the winter we’ve had up to this point. There have been some blasts of frigid air, Christmas comes to mind for me, but overall, most of our region has been WARMER than average this winter. Blacksburg is the only climate site meeting its snowfall average to this point in winter. Here’s our first call snowfall forecast. In addition to this shot at snow, there’s another opportunity for wintry weather in the forecast over the weekend!
Beyond The Forecast: 2020 was a record year for weather disasters in the US
We’re ten days into the new year and I know everyone is hoping to close the book on 2020 for good. I do want to take one more look back at the wild weather the United States dealt with last year. 22 different weather events caused at least $1 billion in damage, a new record. The disasters caused a total of $95 billion in damages and killed 262 people. The number of billion-dollar disasters in 2020 nearly quadrupled the 30-year average.
Beyond The Forecast: A minor meteor shower peaks tonight, will you be able to see it?
The shower gets its name from the constellation it originates from: Ursa Minor (also known as the Little Dipper). The minor shower peaks tonight and five to ten meteors per hour could be visible. Although the shower peaks tonight, it could still be visible through Christmas. The best night to view it this week may be Tuesday night, as we expect mostly clear skies overhead. In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com.
Winter Storm Watch issued for much of Southwest, Central Virginia ahead of Wednesday’s snow, freezing rain
ROANOKE, Va. – Winter weather is on its way to Southwest and Central Virginia. On Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for much of the region beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Depending on where you are you’ll see no or very little snow to more than 6 inches! Snow accumulation forecast for Wednesday, 12/16/2020 as of Monday, 12/14/2020Because of how this system works, many will see ice, as well as snow. “Ice accumulations up to two-tenths of an inch possible along the Blue Ridge,” according to the Watch.
Beyond The Forecast: This November will be warmer and drier than normal in SW and Central VA
Despite the chilly air we’re contending with to start the week, Your Local Weather Authority is projecting a warmer than normal November overall. It also appears we’ll be drier than normal, which is bad news for any snow lovers out there hoping for some early season white stuff. To start, you need to know what “normal” is in our area during the eleventh month of the year. We feel comfortable saying it’s unlikely that the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg and Southside will see measurable snow this November. You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area, Southside or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather.
Vote for your favorite pumpkin from the Virginia Today team
All 5 members of Virginia Today carved a pumpkin. Now you get to vote on your favorite! Jenna Zibton, Chris Michaels, Rachel Lucas, Patrick McKee and Megan Woods all carved pumpkins and we need your help to decide which one is the best. From now until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., you can vote once per hour for your favorite pumpkin. We’ll announce the results Thursday morning on Virginia Today!
Beyond The Forecast: Why do we change our clocks twice a year?
This upcoming weekend, we’ll “fall back” as Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday. Modern Daylight Saving Time was proposed in 1895 by George Hudson. Negatives include disruption of circadian rhythms and sleep and the need for people to remember to change their clocks. The time change is also a good reminder to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. In 2021, Daylight Saving Time will start on March 14 and end Nov. 7.
Beyond The Forecast: Two meteor showers this week, we tell you which one is worth your time
Here at Your Local Weather Authority, we love to tell you when to look up into the night sky to see celestial happenings. This week, you’ll have the opportunity to catch one of our favorite events: a meteor shower. The best time to try to view the shower will be 90 minutes to two hours before sunrise at 7:33 a.m. One factor we have to keep in mind when telling you about meteor showers is the moon phase. Switching gears to your forecast, we already told you about the front that could produce some rain this weekend.
PHOTOS: Parts of the area see frost in final days of summer
While we didn’t break any records, the frost in parts of the New River Valley and Highlands was “premature.”Full Screen 1 / 6 Photo: Doug Urbaniak - RaphineOn average, the first frost in parts of the New River Valley doesn’t happen for another 2 to 3 weeks. For those seeing a little frost this morning, it's coming quite early! When the air is dry and the wind is calm, the last piece of the puzzle is a clear sky. A clear sky is like a bed without blankets. Morning lows from 9/21 to 9/25/2020Lynchburg’s record low Tuesday is 41 degrees set back in 1962.
8/11 : A good reminder to call before you dig!
Aug. 11 is a day the not-for-profit agency VA811 uses as a reminder to ensure the practice of safe digging in our communities. 811 Day is an annual initiative led by the U.S. Department of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, echoed in communities by calling 8-1-1, a nationwide toll-free number, before any excavation project. In fact, 8/11 Day has been designated as an important annual date and enacted into Virginia law by the Virginia General AssemblyVirginia Today anchors Jenna Zibton, Rachel Lucas, Patrick McKee and Meteorologist Chris Michaels with an 811 Day cake. When contacting 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Virginia811 - the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. According to VA811, every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.
Beyond The Forecast: WHY IS IT SO HOT? Breaking down humidity and the heat index
If youve watched Your Local Weather Authority forecasts this summer, youve likely heard us discuss the humidity as well as the heat index. (WSLS)We can calculate the heat index if we know the temperature and the dew point. Anytime the heat index is in the red or purple category, heat-related illnesses become a concern. If were forecasting a heat index above 110, youll see an excessive heat watch issued. The highest heat index recorded in our area happened in Danville in August 1996.
PHOTO GALLERY: Saharan dust starts as a dud, surprises with Sunday sunset
ROANOKE, Va. – Saturday’s sunset was a huge, and I mean HUGE, letdown for many of us. The dust was there, but so was a wall of clouds. You spend a whole week forecasting dust. Then, a Cinderella story came out of nowhere to take them down. Below is the photo gallery we put together of all of your pictures, from the disappointment on Saturday to the excitement on Sunday.
Last day of school surprise for Roanoke County first graders
Published: May 22, 2020, 4:00 am Updated: May 22, 2020, 10:24 amROANOKE, Va. Roanoke County Public Schools are officially on summer break. The last day of school was Thursday! Green Valley Elementary School first graders got a surprise. Green Valley Elementary students did a virtual visit to our studios! (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)