Ask Greg

Recent Questions

Question: Lately I sometimes get the following message when I try to view the forecast for my area. "The forecast is currently unavailable for this weather station." My current zip code is 22922. — Dave Miller

Answer: We aren't certain if you're referring to our web page or to our WRAL Weather App, but we tried entering 22922 in the zip search on both platforms and found that in both cases, data and forecasts for Arrington, VA resulted. So far, we haven't seen the message that you received, so we wonder if there may have been a transient problem that has been resolved in the time since you wrote to us. If you notice the problem again, please feel free to write to us again. If possible, make note of the date and time that you had the issue.
Jun. 27, 2016 | Tags: wral.com

Question: I need daily rainfall totals for research I am doing near the Arboretum at NC State University. Is there a database that exists with this kind of information? — Joel Burley

Answer: Our primary recommendation for you would be the version of the Applied Climate Information System at xmacis.rcc-acis.org/. There are a couple of functions under the single-station, like "Daily Data Listing" and "Daily Data for a Month," that you may find very helpful. There is a cooperative station at or very near your location of interest. You can access that information in the "Station Selection" drop down by choosing "Raleigh State Univ." If that doesn't appear in the list, make sure the "Change CWA" section has been set to "RDU - Raleigh."
Jun. 26, 2016 | Tags: cool sites, past weather, rain

Question: On June 16, 2016 at 8:00 am the image was representing Rain, Lightning, and clouds BUT at 9:00 pm same day it only showed two of the three representations; WHY!!! — Rev. Donald L. Budd

Answer: We can't be quite certain, but take it that your question refers to the forecast icons for each period of the hourly forecast. You don't mention which of the two were present at 9 PM, but we would imagine that the issue was that the chance of precipitation may have been higher at 8 AM than at 9 PM. Usually, if we expect a chance of thunderstorms that is only 20-30% or so, we will use an icon with only clouds and a lightning bolt, but if the chance of showers and storms is higher (about 40% and up), we will show an icon with clouds, drops and a lightning bolt.
Jun. 25, 2016 | Tags: maps & codes, wral.com

Question: I think that their has been a plane crash at Eaton's Ferry bridge in Warren county. Don't know how to get in touch with the news department. ?? — Scott Griggs

Answer: We happened to see your AskGreg submission shortly after you sent it (and checked in the with the news desk, where they were already aware and had a crew en route), but that isn't always the case. If anyone here has a news tip to send along, your best bet is to email it to assignmentdesk@wral.com, or you can call the newsroom by phone at (919) 821-8600 or (800) 245-WRAL.

Jun. 24, 2016 | Tags: wral.com

Question: Hey! My brother lives down East (Vanceboro) on an open field and they get tremendous winds and wind gusts. He would like to have, and I would like to give him, an anemometer. Do you have suggestions for features/where to purchase etc for an average homeowner? Thanks so much! — Laurie Scholl

Answer: While you can get handheld, portable anemometers as stand-alone instruments, you'd probably be better served here looking for a home weather station set-up that includes an anemometer along with other instruments so that they can measure and log the winds and other variables while no one's around. There are several reputable companies (Davis, La Crosse, Rainwise, Acurite, Oregon Scientific, etc) that make complete home weather stations. These range from quite basic to to very advanced, and from inexpensive to rather costly as you move up the quality/accuracy/convenience scale, and include wired or wireless installations and data transfer. Most come with software for archiving and displaying the data on a PC, tablet or laptop. You can find a number of suppliers for these systems by doing a web search for the phrase "home weather station." Good luck!
Jun. 23, 2016 | Tags: instruments, winds

Question: We would like a Selma SkyCam. Our Historic Downtown or I-95 area would be great spots for weather or traffic cams. Please provide guidance on how we can address this. Thank You. — Mayor Cheryl Oliver

Answer: We agree with you, and would love to have you on board! Our network requires a particular brand of camera, and we’d be happy to provide you with specifics on what the town of South Hill, VA, just installed to become our newest SkyCam location. We can provide some installation assistance as well, if needed. We're contacting you separately by e-mail to keep the process going, and invite other towns that are interested to contact us as well. We already have new SkyCam sites in the works for a couple of other local cities.
Jun. 22, 2016 | Tags: instruments, wral.com

Question: Can a tornado happen without storms or rain? — Casey Cartwright

Answer: Generally speaking, they do not. The tornadoes that are strong and persistent enough to do serious damage, and those that tend to cause injuries or fatalities, are generated by intense thunderstorms that typically produce at least some rain and sometimes hail, although in some circumstances it is possible for the tornado to occur outside the area where precipitation is falling. There are some rotating wind phenomena that can have an appearance not unlike a tornado in some respects, but that can develop in the absence of clouds or rain. These include dust devils, which often form in the absence of any significant cloud cover, and waterspouts, which typically do have clouds and sometimes precipitation, but in many cases are either not associated with rain or tend to dissipate when rain begins.
Jun. 21, 2016 | Tags: thunderstorms, tornadoes

Question: What affect will North Carolina see from a La Nina, should one arise after the waning of the current El Nino? — Kimberly Wiegand

Answer: The recent El nino is now considered over and conditions are in the "neutral" range regarding equatorial sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific. However, there is a La Nina watch in place now as development of La Nina is considered likely by later this summer. The influence of any particular La Nina event, similar to that of El Nino, can vary a good bit depending on it's intensity (how much cooler water temperatures are than normal) and the state of other large-scale patterns that it interacts with. That said, on average La Nina has its primary influence on North Carolina during the cooler half of the year, and on average leads to warmer than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. During the warmer months, there is little influence on day-to-day weather here, but it does have a tendency to increase the number and intensity of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, which can indirectly lead to greater than normal precipitation here due to the higher chance that a couple of these cyclones or their remnants will pass through the area.
Jun. 20, 2016 | Tags: el nino/la nina

Question: If I am not mistaken, I remember that back in the summer of 1999 we had here in the Triangle 21 straight days of 100 degree weather - beginning in July & ending in August. Is this true? — Patrick

Answer: Not quite, but 1999 was indeed a very hot summer with a lot of days in the 90s and 100s, including 12 days at 100-plus, more than any other year in records going back to 1887. The longest stretch of consecutive days reaching 100 or higher in Raleigh was 6, which occurred in July 2012. In 1999, the longest consecutive stretch of days that hot was 3. We did have 23 days in a row at 90 or higher in July to August 1999, but that streak comes in second to a 24-day stretch that occurred in July to August 1995.
Jun. 19, 2016 | Tags: heat, past weather, records/extremes

Question: Never seen a straight rainbow, until Sunday afternoon June 5th. Does that mean anything? — Gail S

Answer: We did some follow-up checking about the location in the sky, the type of weather conditions, and more specifics about the colored band you saw, and based on the added information and a photo you sent in, it was clear that what you saw was not a rainbow, but a form of halo that can occur when the sun is very high in the sky and there are some thin cirrus clouds made up of well-formed six-sided plate-like ice crystals that are mostly oriented with their flat sides parallel to the ground. The result is called a "circumhorizon arc," and they are typically visible several times a year, though you have to happen to be looking in the right area at the right time. Because the sun has to be at least 58 degrees above the horizon, they can only occur here between late March and mid-September (in Fall and Winter the sun never climbs that high over us). You can read more about them, see some other photos in a gallery, and find some diagrams that explain how they form, at www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/cha2.htm. The photo you took of the arc you asked about here is posted at www.wral.com/weather/image/15777736/?ref_id=15777729.
Jun. 18, 2016 | Tags: atmospheric optics, cool sites

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