The most direct way to find your question is to search for the name you used when you submitted it (first name, last name or both). If you did not include a name, then you can search using keywords from your question. Of course, since many weather-related terms are common to a lot of the questions we receive, this may turn up a number of others in addition to your own.
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Question: I used to like to look at weather maps for the rest of the country. How can I get them back on the new site? — Kay Lindquist
Answer: There are a couple of links on the main weather page that take you to the "Map Center." On that page, you'll find selections for radar and satellite maps. Clicking wither of those brings up that kind of map centered on our state, but you can then click the state label to select from a variety of other views covering different sections of the United States.
Feb. 28, 2014 | Tags: maps & codes, wral.com
Question: You're the best. You're the one I count on for the forecast. But something that frustrates me about doppler and other weather maps is that I don't know what the different colors mean. I know it refers to different types of weather, but I think some kind of key would be helpful. I have a PhD, so I don't need a long explanation, just more info so I can make sense of these maps. — Patty
Answer: A number of you have asked a similar question, and we've got our online staff working on ways to either add keys or a link to an "explainer" page. Briefly, however, on the composite radar images covering various regions of the country and on the iControl Doppler display, radar echoes that are shades of blue indicate that the display algorithm considers snow to be the most likely precipitation type reaching the ground. The magenta shaded areas indicate a wintry mix, which often consists of sleet or freezing rain, but can also include some rain and snow mixed in, and mainly green shaded areas indicate rain, with some yellow, orange and red shaded areas within the rain echoes indicating moderate to heavy rainfall rates. Most of the Dual Doppler 5000 maps, including the live stream available through the "resources" section, are not shaded for precipitation type and only indicate intensity.
Feb. 27, 2014 | Tags: weather radar, wral.com
Question: I want to schedule a barn dance. The barn has no heat and no air conditioning. What month of the year would be warm enough for no heat, yet cool enough for no AC in Louisburg? — Georgette Burnette
Answer: That's a hard question to answer with great confidence, as we don't know what time of day you're most interested in or many specifics about the barn. However, it's probably reasonable to shoot for a time of year when temperatures in the daytime are fairly warm on average but fall off fairly fast at night. We looked for times of year when the daily average temperature was such as to result in small values of "cooling degree days," when a normally insulated structure would require a bit of air conditioning to stay comfortable in the afternoon, but something like a typical barn might not get too cool too quickly in the evening. About the middle two weeks of May and September seem to be good candidates. If your even is more focused in the daytime, you might want to shift more towards early May or late September when normal highs are a little cooler. Of course, in any given year these time periods can run warmer or cooler than their long-term averages.
Feb. 26, 2014 | Tags: normals
Question: I've seen names mentioned in the media for our recent winter storms. Are they named and, if so, how does this happen? — Mary Wiley
Answer: One media company (the Weather Channel) decided last winter season to start naming winter storms for purposes of their broadcasts. This is different from tropical cyclones, which are named by committees of the World Meteorological Organization, with those names recognized and utilized in an official capacity by government organizations such as the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center. Government organizations and most other media sources (including WRAL) do not currently use names for winter storms.
Feb. 25, 2014 | Tags: maps & codes, winter weather
Question: What is the record for snowfall in Fayetteville? And when was the last time it snowed consecutively more than 3 inches of snow in Fayetteville? — Carri V
Answer: A storm that ended March 2, 1927 brought 24 inches of snow to Fayetteville, and stands as by far the record total for that area. We were unable to find any records indicating that Fayetteville has received 3 inches of snow in two separate events on consecutive days prior to the storms that occurred on February 11th and 12th, 2014.
Feb. 24, 2014 | Tags: past weather, records/extremes, snow
Question: If my TV loses signal how can I get your live broadcast on the radio. What channel? — Kenneth Monds
Answer: In the event of a power outage or signal loss from cable or satellite TV services, you have a couple of options for seeing or listening to our coverage, especially during significant severe or wintry weather when we may be staying on the air in a continuous coverage mode.
With regards to radio, in those situations we often simulcast the news on our sister radio station, Mix 101.5, as was the case during the snow and ice storm of Feb 12-13. As a side note, the 6 PM evening news is routinely simulcast there on weekdays.
Also note that smartphones, tablets and laptop computers that have either a cell data signal or access to wi-fi that may be on a backup power supply also provide alternative ways to not just listen to, but watch our broadcasts, which are streamed on the web site and through the WRAL News apps available for most mobile platforms. For details on what's available, see www.wral.com/wral-tv/page/5787234/.
Feb. 23, 2014 | Tags: severe weather, wral.com
Question: It snowed in Rocky Mount NC on Easter Sunday in the 1940s. Is the exact of that Easter snowfall known? — Joyce W. Taylor
Answer: We weren't sure what word was missing after "exact" in your question, but in looking over records we found reports from two station just southwest and southeast of Rocky Mt and a station in Nashville that reported anywhere from 5.5 to 7 inches of snow during the period of March 24-25, 1940. Easter Sunday that year fell on March 24th, so this was almost certainly the storm you had in mind. No other 1940s snow events in the area coincided so closely with the holiday.
Feb. 22, 2014 | Tags: past weather, snow
Question: How many feet of snow/ice did we get in the Clayton area on 02/12/14? I can't find any reference to the depth of accumulation in central NC. — Kay Britt
Answer: The storm that produced snow in the Clayton area came in two waves, with the first on Feb 12th leaving behind about 3.5 to 4.5 inches of snow and sleet, followed by the addition of roughly 1-2 tenths of an inch of glaze ice due to t freezing rain that evening and overnight, followed yet again by another half-inch to inch of snow on Thursday the 13th, for a storm total of 4-5 inches (.3 to .4 feet) of snow/sleet and 1-2 tenths of an inch of ice. The Raleigh NWS office has posted nice maps for statewide accumulations from that storm at www.erh.noaa.gov/rah/news/content/accum.20140213.gif and www.erh.noaa.gov/rah/news/content/accum.freezing.20140213.gif.
Feb. 21, 2014 | Tags: past weather, snow
Question: The temperature on WRAL's website and the temperature reported on TV are different. For example, 10:20 PM on Feb 12th, the Website says 31 degrees and the temp during the continuous weather coverage shows 27. I assume the Web is more up to date? — Joe Freeman
Answer: On the air, we most often use the most recent temperature report from the Raleigh-Durham airport (which serves as the Raleigh "station of record" for official record-keeping purposes) on current condition scenes and most temperature maps. However, there are also some closer-in maps we show on-air that instead show a Raleigh temperature that is labeled "WRAL-TV." This number comes from a thermometer here at the station in southwest Raleigh, and is updated almost continuously.
The reading from the airport is usually updated hourly instead, and so in addition to differences due to terrain, elevation, clouds, precipitation or frontal zones in the area, there can sometimes be a "time-lag" difference when temperatures are in the process of changing quickly.
On our web site, the number you see in the upper right-hand corner of most pages comes from our studio location. Anytime you'd like to compare it to the most recent observation from RDU, you can do so by clicking the "current conditions" link near the top of any weather page. There you'll see data from WRAL and RDU on the same page, including a time stamp to let you know when the observations were most recently updated.
Feb. 20, 2014 | Tags: general meteorology, instruments, wral.com
Question: I notice that when radar shows a mass of rain/snow heading towards the Triangle that frequently a pocket seems to form around the Triangle - with the precipitation moving around the Triangle first - then covering us. Why is that? — Robert Dudley
Answer: Yours was a common question as snow approached the area on Wed, Feb 12 as snow moved in from the south. Dan B writes "Looking at the current Radar (Feb 12, 12:00pm) I notice a nice "horseshoe" like pattern of the snow wrapping around Wake county. This seams llke a strange occurrence, what is causing this anomaly?" and Greg Pahel says "It's 11:49 am and just like yesterday as the weather system approaches from the south a very deep U shape is keeping the Triangle precipitation free while the edges go all the way up to the Virginia border on both sides. What is the cause of this? Heating from the urban area? Something about the topography?"
The answer to all of these is that with certain precipitation systems, dry air in the lower atmosphere may result in rapid evaporation of precipitation before it can reach the ground, so that the initial approaching precipitation shield only exists aloft (a phenomenon called "virga"). As precipitation becomes heavier or continues over the same location for a longer period, the air below the precipitation is gradually moistened until it allows the precipitation above to continue all the way to the surface.
This becomes interesting when trying to interpret radar echoes, since the radar beam is tilted upward a bit and climbs to higher and higher altitudes the farther it extends from the transmitter. In effect, it sweeps out a pattern that forms an invisible cone. Imagine that precipitation covers the entire area swept by the radar, but has a uniform base of 2000 feet above the ground, below which it has all evaporated. In this case, the radar beam will pass through clear air until it climbs to 2000 feet or above, and will only show echoes from precipitation at and above that level, and therefore only beyond the distance at which it reaches that height. This would produce a more or less circular "hole" surrounding the radar that would gradually shrink to nothing if the precipitation base slowly lowered to the surface. In reality, it's often more complex, since the base and intensity of the precipitation may vary from place to place, and also often slopes downward from the leading edge toward the core of the system.
Still, this should give you an idea what you were seeing with the approaching snow. Imagine the forward edge of a sloping layer of precipitation coming in from the south. If it extends far enough to the east and west, then the upward-traveling radar beam will show the elevated precipitation to the east, south and west for a time, while areas close to the radar and north of it remain echo-free (the horseshoe shape one of you mentioned). Since the precipitation base sloped downward toward the south, this horseshoe shaped gap contracted as the snow pushed north and that base dipped closer and closer to the surface, eventually resulting in snow on the ground and a fully filled-in radar image.
Feb. 19, 2014 | Tags: past weather, snow, weather radar
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Published: 2007-10-09 14:40:00
Updated: 2013-08-13 13:37:27
Triangle Area Special Offers
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