Club Meeting – December 12th, 2013

Phil Hysell 121213Phil Hysell is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Blacksburg Virginia.  Mr. Hysell gave an informative and entertaining presentation about the role of the National Weather Service, winter weather basics, and how citizens can become engaged in helping the NWS make more accurate and timely local forecasts.

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The long range winter forecast for our area, factoring in all meteorological models, is for it to be… well, normal.  Variations off the norm, which no doubt will occur, will be based on oscillations in the Artic and North Atlantic.  These affects can only be forecast within shorter prediction cycles. So we need to stay informed.  If you don’t already use the NOAA local NWS website check it out.

Additional weather definitions…

Ice Storm Warning
In lieu of a Winter Storm Warning, an Ice Storm Warning is issued if the precipitation type will be all ice

  • At least ¼ inch of ice in 12 hours
  • Less than ¼ inch of ice handled with a Winter Weather Advisory

What is the criteria for a Blizzard Warning?  Surprisingly not the amount of snow, but rather…

  • When winds are 50 mph or greater, and visibilities are 1 mile or  less due to snow
  • When winds are 35 mph or greater, and visibilities are 1/4 mile or  less due to snow

Wind Chill Warnings and Advisories

  • A Wind Chill WARNING: WC –20 or lower
  • A Wind Chill ADVISORY is issued when WC expected to be between -5 to -19
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Public safety is a major priority of the National Weather Service.  Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio to stay informed of watches and warnings in our area.  Stay informed on the go via smartphones by accessing the mobile NOAA website or using weather apps.

Citizens are encouraged to partner with the National Weather Service to help forecast and measure weather events.  You might find the following programs of interest.

CoCoRaHS Network
CoCoRaHS stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.  The CoCoRaHS network is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to report rainfall, snowfall and hail information. To learn more click here.

The mPING Project
Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground
is a project to collect weather information from the public through their smart phone or mobile device using the free mPING mobile app. To learn more click here.