Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tropical Update -- Tuesday Morning

The next tropical depression or tropical storm could be developing soon. Check out the latest on the tropics in this morning's video blog posted below...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Are You Prepared for Tropical Weather ?

We’ve gone from a quiet start to three named tropical systems for our 2009 hurricane season for our Atlantic basin over a very short period of time!

When meteorologists discuss wind speeds of tropical systems and their associated ‘categories’, we’re referring to the Saffir-Simpson wind scale which is used for storms in the Atlantic and eastern North and Central Pacific basins:

• Tropical Storm
Winds 39-73 mph
• Category 1 Hurricane — winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
- Examples: Irene 1999 and Allison 1995
• Category 2 Hurricane — winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings. Some trees blown down.
- Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges(FL & LA) 1998 and Gloria 1985
• Category 3 Hurricane — winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
- Examples: Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995, Alicia 1983 and Betsy 1965
• Category 4 Hurricane — winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
- Examples: Hugo 1989 and Donna 1960
• Category 5 Hurricane — winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.
- Examples: Andrew(FL) 1992, Camille 1969 and Labor Day 1935

While we do not have any tropical system-related watches or warnings at this moment for North Carolina at the moment, it never hurts to have some resources already in your arsenal to keep ahead of the storm:

News 14 Carolina and Weather on the Ones - always a great first start for updates on any changing situations. We are a 24-hour news station, so you can get news/weather information anytime. We have a number of links to the left of the home page, including one specifically for our hurricane season . A new feature on the Weather on the Ones page is our interactive radar . I’ve spent some time playing with it and I’m finding this to be very useful!

Also, Time Warner Cable subscribers can also access information via Carolina On Demand digital channel 1234. By selecting ' Hurricane Season' you can get a number of stories with information brought to you by your Weather on the Ones team of meteorologists to keep you ahead of the storm.

Links to Local / County government Emergency Management related sites - always useful for very localized information for you. Not only links you to various county and state emergency management agencies, but also to sites for NC Department of Transportation, the NC Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and USACE North Carolina Storm Surge maps and information.

Ready North Carolina - a campaign via the NC Division of Emergency Management (part of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety) that provides residents of North Carolina with necessary print/ video information in English and Spanish to prepare for all types of emergencies.

The website for the NC Department of Health, Safety and Human Services - provides links to many necessary services like the Red Cross and North Carolina State Animal Response Team (SART)

Finally, the NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources - provides daily situation reports when necessary.

Tropical Update -- Monday Morning

All of a sudden the tropics became very active over the weekend. Find out the latest on Ana, Bill, and Claudette in this morning's video blog posted below...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday's Flooding Rains near the Coast

Strong storms dumped up to 10 inches of rain on parts of eastern North Carolina Wednesday afternoon. Rainfall amounts that are typically only seen during a tropical storm or hurricane were produced just by nearly stationary afternoon storms. The hardest hit area was in southern Craven County around Cherry Point and Havelock. News 14 Carolina viewer Courtney Jansen sent us the above photos near Lake Road in Havelock.
Here's a look at rainfall reports from Wednesday's storms:
  • Cherry Point: 10.00"
  • New Bern: 5.04"
  • Beaufort: 2.69"
  • Swansboro: 2.22"
  • Jacksonville: 1.79"
  • Wilmington: 0.76"

Localized heavy downpours will be possible again Thursday from storms that are expected to develop mainly during the afternoon hours. Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina and news14.com for weather updates through the day.

If you have weather reports or pictures of Wednesday's storms or any storms in the future, share them with us by e-mailing weather@news14.com.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today's Storm Chances and the Latest on the Tropics

Scattered thunderstorms are likely today across North Carolina. A few could become strong to severe. For the latest on the chance for strong storms, an update on Tropical Depression #2, and an update on another system we're watching in the tropics, check out this morning's video blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Update on the Tropics

Tropical Depression #2 formed early Tuesday morning near the coast of Africa. For more on the forecast for the tropics, check out this morning's video blog posted below...

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to recognize heat-related illness

Heat illnesses are easily preventable by taking precautions in hot weather.

According to the National Institutes of Health, children, elderly, and obese people have a higher risk of developing heat illness. People taking certain medications or drinking alcohol also have a higher risk. However, even a top athlete in superb condition can succumb to heat illness if he or she ignores the warning signs.

If the problem isn't addressed, heat cramps (caused by loss of salt from heavy sweating) can lead to heat exhaustion (caused by dehydration), which can progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke, the most serious of the three, can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death.

The following are common causes of heat emergencies:
Alcohol use
Heart disease
High temperatures or humidity
Certain medications
Prolonged or excessive exercise
Sweat gland problems
Too much clothing

You most at risk doing work or activities in a hot environment-usually during the first few days of an activity you're not used to. You are also at risk if you sweat a great deal during exercise and don't drink enough or drink large amounts of fluids that lack salt.

This is by no means a substitute for medical advice. As with all other medical problems, a doctor should be called if you are not sure what is wrong, if you do not know what to do for the problem, or if the person is not responding to what you are doing for them. Please seek the advice of a physician or emergency room should you feel you have placed yourself at risk for heat-related illness.

Heat cramps:
are muscle pains or spasms - usually in the abdomen, shoulders, arms, or legs - that may occur in association with strenuous activity in a hot environment. Cramping may also be delayed and occur a few hours later

If you have heart problems or are on a low sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.

What to Do:

• Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
• Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
• Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
• Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.

Call your doctor if these conditions develop:

• If you are unable to drink sufficient fluids because you have nausea or are vomiting, you may need IV rehydration with normal saline.
• If you have more severe symptoms of heat illness, including dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, headache, malaise, shortness of breath, and high temperatures (greater than 104°F), seek medical care.
• If you have more severe forms of heat illness or think you require IV fluids to rehydrate, seek care at a hospital's emergency department.

Heat exhaustion:
This condition often occurs when people exercise (work or play) in a hot, humid place and body fluids are lost through sweating, causing the body to overheat. The person's temperature may be elevated, but not above 104°F.
Heat exhaustion is typically caused when people who are not well adjusted to heat exercise in a hot, humid environment.
At high temperatures, the body cools itself largely through evaporation of sweat.
When it is very humid, this mechanism does not work properly.
The body loses a combination of fluids and salts (electrolytes).
When this is accompanied by an inadequate replacement of fluids, disturbances in the circulation may result that are similar to a mild form of shock.

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

Often pale with cool, moist skin
Sweating profusely
Muscle cramps or pains
Feels faint or dizzy
May complain of headache, weakness, thirst, and nausea

The physicians writing for the website WebMD continue to advise that for heat exhaustion, a person should go to the hospital if any of the following are present:
Loss of consciousness, confusion, or delirium
Chest or abdominal pain
Inability to drink fluids
Continuous vomiting
Temperature more than 104°F which may be combined with an increasing pulse
Temperature that is rising despite attempts to cool the person
Any person with other serious ongoing medical problems

Heat stroke: This medical condition is life-threatening.
The person's cooling system, which is controlled by the brain, stops working and the internal body temperature rises to the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may result (temperature may reach 105+°F).
Heat stroke may often develop rapidly.
Medical conditions or medications that impair the body's ability to sweat may predispose people to this problem.
According to the website Medicinenet.com, heat stroke happens in the following two ways:
The classic form occurs in people whose cooling mechanisms are impaired.
The form caused by exertion occurs in previously healthy people who are undergoing strenuous activity in a hot environment.

*Infants and the elderly are more likely to have this problem, as are those who are taking antihistamines and certain types of medication for high blood pressure or depression.

Call a doctor for heat exhaustion if the person is unable to keep fluids down or if their mental status begins to deteriorate. Symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain may indicate that the heat exhaustion is accompanied by more serious medical problems.

According to WebMD: A person with suspected heat stroke should always go to the hospital (or call for an ambulance) at once.

Heat stroke symptoms:
Unconscious or has a markedly abnormal mental status (dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or coma)
Flushed, hot, and dry skin (although it may be moist initially from previous sweating or from attempts to cool the person with water)
May have slightly elevated blood pressure at first that falls later
May be hyperventilating
May be experiencing convulsions
Rectal (core) temperature of 105°F or more

Suspected heat stroke is a true, life-threatening medical emergency. Call for an ambulance and request information as to what to do until the ambulance arrives.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Try to keep the fun inside for a time this weekend..

Some of you are already flirting with high temperatures this weekend, and those 'feels like' temperatures that are over 100 degrees!
In some cases, the combination of heat and humidity (what creates the 'heat index' ) is driving the index to over 105-degrees. At that point, the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory.
A heat advisory is issued within 12 hours of the onset of the following conditions: heat index ('feels like ' temperature) of at least 105°F but less than 115°F for less than 3 hours per day, or nighttime lows above 80°F for 2 consecutive days.

In this weekend's case for the Nation's heartland and for some areas in North Carolina, we're dealing with about a 2-day threat of taxing temperatures.

According to the National Weather Service, heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its abilities. In a normal year, about 175 Americans succumb to the demands of summer heat. Human bodies dissipate heat by varying the rate and depth of blood circulation, by losing water through the skin and sweat glands, and as a last resort, by panting, when blood is heated above 98.6°F. Sweating, by itself, does nothing to cool the body, unless the water is removed by evaporation. High relative humidity retards evaporation.

Heat disorders generally have to do with a reduction or collapse of the body's ability to shed heat by circulatory changes and sweating. When heat gain exceeds the level the body can remove, the temperature of the body's inner core begins to rise and heat related illnesses may develop.

As a result, the "Heat Index" (HI) has been developed. The HI is the temperature the body feels when heat and humidity are combined. The table below correlates the actual temperature and relative humidity, producing a HI. (This chart is based upon shady, light wind conditions. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the HI by up to 15°F.)

Here's the basics of what you need to know:

(courtesy: NWS Louisville)

Any value less than 80 is considered comfortable.
Any value greater than 90 is considered extreme.
Any value greater than 100 is considered hazardous.
Any value greater than 110 is considered dangerous.

When the heat index is forecast to be:
80°F to 90°F : Fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and physical activity.

90°F to 105°F : Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion is possible.

105°F to 130°F : Sunstroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are likely, and
heatstroke possible.

and while we're not expecting heat indices of this magnitude, I still included the top of the scale:
130°F or greater : Heat stroke highly likely with continued exposure.

You already know about keeping cool. The basics for dealing with the heat include drinking plenty of fluids…stay in an air-conditioned room…stay out of the sun…and check up on relatives and neighbors. Bring pets indoors and provide plenty of water for them as well.

Here's also a couple of links with more information:


Your Weather on the Ones forecast center will keep you up to date if any advisories are issued or extended for your area. Your latest 7-day forecast for North Carolina is available at news14.com