Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Is An Earthquake?

What a week!  First, an unprecedented winter storm now an earthquake!
The big question everyone is asking today, is this rare for South Carolina to have earthquakes?  The answer is no, not at all.  The crazy thing is having an earthquake after this huge winter storm we’ve just been through…by the way, there is NO relation to the winter storm and the earthquake however, Mother Nature’s timing is simply hilarious!  The fact is one of our nations most damaging quakes took place in Charleston (7.3 magnitude) in 1886 destroying nearly the entire city. 
What Is An Earthquake?
Let me give you the Readers Digest version. An earthquake is essentially a vibration inside the Earth that produces shock waves resulting from a sudden movement along a fault line (more on that in a second) the energy released in the quake moves in waves outward in widening circles.  It’s like when you throw a rock in a pond and you see the ripples…the strongest “ripple” is near the center and it moves out from there.  The center of the “ripple” is called the epicenter, which is directly above the focus of the earthquake.
The “Weather” (what’s happening in the atmosphere at this point in time) is always moving and changing, we can easily see and study the atmosphere however, the earth itself is also moving and changing, we just can’t see that happening like we can the atmosphere.
The solid part of the Earth is called the  “Lithosphere,” it’s the inorganic part of the Earth comprising of the crust, minerals, rocks, bedrocks and all types of landforms.  The continents have moved, collided, merged and have been torn apart over millions of years, this still continues today.  Believe it or not, it’s only been in the last 50 years or so that scientist have come to understand how all this actually happened. There is undeniable evidence to support the movement of “plates” in the earth, these plates are moving the continents.  There are 16 different “plate” boundaries around the earth, they are movin and groovin VERY slowly…we’ll get into all of that some other blog.
 A “Fault” is a breaking apart of the Earth’s rock structures. There are a number of different types of faults and they are located all over the Earth.  Faulting takes place along a weakness in the crust of the Earth. The “Crust” of the earth varies. Over land goes down about 40 miles over the oceans about 4 to 5 miles.  The weakness is called a fault zone and where the breaking of the rock structure meets is called a fault line.  It’s the movement of the crust along the fault zone that can produce a sudden rupture…the earthquake.
South Carolina and the entire east coast has numerous small and deeply buried faults. Our faults are not like those out west closer to plate boundaries, there, they can name the faults (San Andreas is a good example)  earthquakes out west happen more frequently.  The type of soil plays a factor in whether or not you feel an earthquake. South Carolina is located on bedrock where places such as the Ohio Valley, known for earthquakes (New Madrid Fault) the soil is loose and sandy.
The cause of our earthquake? Several theories are coming out.  I would say it has more to do with our relation to the Appalachian Mountain chain.  It could easily be some break in sedimentation and rocks that caused the Earth to “move” at the point under Edgefield.
Twitter:    @TimMillerSC

Facebook: TimMillerWis-Tv

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Storm Update (Tuesday Night)

WINTER STORM WARNING goes into effect tonight at 7PM until Noon Thursday.

I’ve tweaked a few things with our next winter storm however, things are still on track for one of the biggest winter weather events we’ve seen in a long time.

Today was a bit of a surprise with the amount of snow that fell in the northern Midlands.  Cold air remained in place giving us more than the 1”-2” of snow first forecast…my thinking this evening is the freezing rain may not reach the northern Midlands until after 9AM

Here’s the latest:


Rain, Rain/Sleet/Snow will end.  A lull between storms will take place this evening through 2A-3A.


I believe things will start out as snow over much of the area.  Could see 1”-2” inch accumulation before snow turns to widespread freezing rain. 

South of Columbia: Light Snow turning to freezing rain by 5AM. 

North of Columbia: Snow will turn to areas of sleet.  Could see accumulation of sleet with as much of 2” very rare event.


(Midlands and South)
Freezing rain (heavy at times) look for .50” to 1” of ice accumulation with some areas up to 1.50” becoming windy, cold and raw!

North of Columbia: Sleet, Sleet changing to freezing rain


(All areas)
Periods of Freezing rain (.10 to .25 additional ice accumulation)


(All areas)
Areas of light Freezing rain, changing to light snow with 1”-2” accumulation possible.


Precipitation ends…storm system moves out. Clearing late

Again, this has the potential to be a very dangerous storm.  Take all precautions      necessary to protect you and your family.  We’ll be on tomorrow morning with the latest.  If you have any questions or see thing you want to share would love to hear from you!

Twitter: @TimMillerSC

Facebook: TimMillerWis-TV

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Storm (Monday Night Update)

WINTER STORM WARNING in effect 7PM Tuesday until Noon Thursday.

Everything is on track for one of the biggest winter weather events we’ve seen in a long time.

If you’ve not prepared today, you’ll have until early afternoon tomorrow to get ready.  The potential for a significant ice event is looking more likely.

Here’s my current thinking on how this will play out over the next 48 hours.


Periods of Rain


Periods of rain at times mixed with sleet.
(South of Columbia: Rain.  North of Columbia: Rain early, changing to sleet, then snow, accumulation possible..less than 1”)


Periods of Rain.
(South of Columbia: Rain.  North of Columbia: Rain/Sleet, back to snow by late afternoon)


Rain mixed at times with sleet.
(South of Columbia: Rain.  North of Columbia: Rain/Snow mix)


Freezing rain, heavy at times with significant ice accumulation. (Near 1” and higher in places)
(South of Columbia: Rain.  North of Columbia: Snow 1”-2” accumulation)


Freezing Rain with additional ice accumulation. Becoming very windy with snow developing by Thursday morning.
(South of Columbia: Rain/Freezing Rain/Sleet  North of Columbia: Snow with a possible additional 1” accumulation.


Windy and raw. Light snow ending with 1”-2” accumulation possible.

(South of Columbia: Rain/Sleet  North of Columbia: Light snow/flurries)

As you can tell this is a complicated winter event for sure.  Also, things will more than likely change a bit as we move forward.  I’m not expecting any major changes…just may have to adjust some of the timing.  Stay close…stay safe and we’ll get through this together! 

Twitter: @TimMillerSC

Facebook: TimMillerWis-TV

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winter Storm UPDATE

It looks like it’s going to be a serious weather week coming our way.

I would prepare tomorrow for the potential for a significant winter event for the Midlands and the upstate starting late Monday through early Thursday.

We have two separate systems the will affect us over the next several days. We’ll see every type of winter weather possible the uncertainty still is with the track of the storms and the amount of cold air in place when precipitation begins to fall.

There is no doubt we’ll be under some weather watch/advisory issued either tonight or in the morning.  The 32° line will be above and below Columbia at different times during the next few days…that will determine our weather. The first system comes in Tuesday with the second system on Wednesday.  The system on Wednesday will the strong of the two.

Here are my thoughts as of tonight, with the understanding this can and will change. This outline is for the Midlands (Richland, Lexington, Saluda, Kershaw, Sumter and counties south)

Monday Night After 10PM:

Areas of light rain begins

Tuesday Morning:

Rain mixed with sleet

Tuesday Afternoon:

Periods of Rain

Tuesday Evening:

Rain mixed with sleet

Tuesday Night:

Periods of Rain/Freezing Rain

Wednesday Morning:

Rain/Freezing Rain (Some heavy at times)

Wednesday Night:

Rain/Sleet, Mixed with or changing to snow (accumulation possible)

This is a changing event at times hour by hour.  For the latest please feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter:  @TimMillerSC

Facebook: TimMillerWis-tv

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Next Winter Storm

The next several days will be one of the most difficult weather forecast to prepare and predict in a long time.  The data coming in on the next storm system has a number of different scenarios that bring Rain, Freezing Rain, Sleet and Snow all within 50 miles of Columbia. 

Here’s what we don’t know: Where the final line is drawn remains to be seen, all it takes is just a few miles from the “line” and two or three degrees in temperature to make all the difference.  Also, the timing is in question…a weak front to our north may push into the Midlands as early as Monday afternoon giving us our first bit of rain.  That would moisten the atmosphere ahead of the main system on Tuesday…giving the storm system a running start by not having to feed the area with moisture first before precipitation begins.

Here’s what we know: This has the potential to be a major (deadly) winter storm for our state and certainly North Carolina.  The big question at the moment…where does the cold air line start and end?  As soon as we know that information we’ll have a much better handle on what type of precipitation we’ll receive from this storm.  New data will be in Sunday morning. It will be very important to stay in touch over the next few days as we prepare for the latest winter punch.

Twitter:   @TimMillerSC

Facebook:  TimMillerWis-TV

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Weather Model Madness

Whew! It’s been one wild week of weather!  I said Friday, this week has been a long month!
One of the interesting thing’s I’ve noticed over the last week with this storm…seeing more and more posting of raw weather model data online (Facebook and Twitter)  from the general public. I’m careful not to post model information about storms for a number of reasons.  First of all, the storm may not even form second, things change and personally, I’m not into weather model forecasting.  If a model is in line with my forecast then I might post it and talk more in depth about how things will play out. 
People LOVE weather (I’m one of them and have so all my life) however, the only way you can understand the “weather models” is to have an understanding of atmospheric science and meteorology. A Meteorologist will never (or should never) issue a forecast based on a model. Models and other data are used as guides when developing an official forecast.
A weather model is a set of very complex algorithms used in some of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet to give a prediction of future weather events.  (There are many models and we can get into what they all mean during another discussion) How they come up with the numbers and mathematical equations for those computers bore me to tears and I have limited knowledge on how that works…I'm ok with that…I know how to interpret the end result for my career of operational meteorology.  Still, with huge advances in technology there is inherent uncertainty with model statistics that makes accurate forecasting six or more days out simply unreliable.
The development of the Internet and on line search engines like Google, Ask. Com and others, give people access to information and data once reserved for professionals and knowledgeable sources. I think it's great learning and knowing new things however, if you don’t have an understanding of the foundation on which the information is based…do you really know what you’re seeing?  I had a friend make the analogy of going to the Doctor.  More and more people are telling their Doctor…”You say I’m sick however, that’s not what I read on the Internet.”
Now, will things change with posting model information?  More than likely, not!  lol.  I just ask you take the time to listen and trust the people who study and understand how the atmosphere works before you rush out to buy bread and milk! (Hey, I’ve paid good money to be a Meteorologist, let give you my money’s worth)  : )

The National Weather Service out of Peachtree City, GA had a super post on their Facebook site about this model madness:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome To Weather Insider

I've been a weather nut (Geek) all my life!  I was a local weather reporter for WGN-TV Chicago when I was 12 years old and would give the forecast to anyone who would listen!  I should have received my degree in meteorology long ago however, I spend 30 years in radio (started at age 15) and now its time to do the do!  I start at Mississippi State University next week on my road to finally receive my degree!

This blog I hope will do two things.  First, be a great outlet for you to ask questions about the weather so I can work my tail off to find the answers!  Second, to share my thoughts with you on the latest weather model runs, severe weather and general forecast information that you won't find any place else!

Please feel free to ask any question about weather.  No question is silly, now, my answers may be silly or downright crazy and maybe wrong!  : )

Get ready for the fun!  Would love to have you follow me on Twitter and Facebook.  Thank you so much for your support!!



Twitter:   @TimMillerSC