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I'm an Emmy Award Winning meteorologist at Fox 61 in Hartford. For the latest forecast updates (and fun stuff too, like food and family pics), please follow me on Facebook, twitter and instagram. I look forward to interacting with you there!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Rest In Peace, Alice Morrin


A very close friend and co-worker, Alice Morrin was invovled in what Police are calling a murder-suicide last night. We report objectively on things like this all the time in the media. But I have never experienced the pain and horror of being emotionally connected to a "Top Story". And today, the world looks a little different to me.

Alice Morrin was hands down, one of the nicest people I have ever met. She was filled with smiles and optimism, the glass always half full. I would tell people she was like my "Connecticut Mommy". When I first came to FOX61 back in October, I didn't have many friends and she took me under her wing. Alice would invite me to dinner and movies with her family, helping me feel comfortable in my new environment. When I was feeling down or had a problem, I could go to Alice in confidence for advice. At the same time, if I had a great day, I could go to Alice to share my joy and excitement.

But Alice wasn't just my Connecticut Mom, she was a real mother to two beautiful girls who she cared about more than anything in this world. Rest in peace Alice, you touched all our hearts in some way or another.

You can find the full story on the FOX61 website here

Wethersfield Tornado--Latest Information & Why The Damage In Farmington WAS NOT Deemed Tornadic


The National Weather Service issued a more detailed report of the severe thunderstorms that ripped through the area on Friday. Let me know if you have any questions...but I think this statement is pretty readable. (Not too technical).

...EF1 TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN WETHERSFIELD CT ON FRIDAY JUNE 26...

LOCATION: WETHERSFIELD...HARTFORD COUNTY...CONNECTICUT
DATE: FRIDAY JUNE 26 2009
TIME: 450-453 PM
MAXIMUM EF SCALE RATING: EF1
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED: 100 MPH
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH: APPROXIMATELY 40 YARDS
PATH LENGTH: APPROXIMATELY 1.7 MILES
*FATALITIES: NONE
*INJURIES: 1

*NOTE THESE NUMBERS COULD CHANGE AFTER ISSUANCE OF THIS PRODUCT.

...SUMMARY...

LATE IN THE AFTERNOON ON JUNE 26...A POWERFUL SEVERE THUNDERSTORM MOVED EAST-SOUTHEASTWARD ACROSS SOUTHERN HARTFORD COUNTY...DOWNING TREES AND POWERLINES ACROSS MANY TOWNS...INCLUDING BURLINGTON...FARMINGTON...PLAINVILLE...WEST HARTFORD...SOUTHINGTON...BRISTOL...NEW BRITAIN...NEWINGTON...WETHERSFIELD... GLASTONBURY... AND MARLBOROUGH. HARDEST HIT WERE THE TOWNS OF WETHERSFIELD AND
FARMINGTON.

ON SATURDAY JUNE 27...TWO NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE (NWS) TEAMS INVESTIGATED THE DAMAGE. THE FIRST SURVEY TEAM WAS FROM THE NWS IN TAUNTON MASSACHUSETTS WHICH LOOKED AT DAMAGE IN THOSE TWO TOWNS AND SPOKE WITH EYEWITNESSES. THEY WERE ACCOMPANIED BY STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT...LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS...AND AN AMATEUR RADIO COORDINATOR FROM WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS. THE SECOND TEAM WAS FROM THE NWS IN UPTON NEW YORK. AIDED BY THE CIVIL AIR PATROL...THEY PERFORMED AN AERIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DAMAGE FROM AS FAR WEST AS TORRINGTON TO AS FAR EAST AS COLCHESTER. THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THESE INVESTIGATIONS.

SEVERAL POCKETS OF STRAIGHT-LINE WIND DAMAGE WERE NOTED THROUGHOUT THE AFOREMENTIONED TOWNS. IN FARMINGTON...THE STORM HIT GENERALLY AROUND 420 PM. ESTIMATED WIND GUSTS OF 50-60 MPH KNOCKED DOWN TREES IN THE VALLEY VIEW DRIVE AND CEDAR RIDGE DRIVE AREAS...JUST TO THE EAST OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT HEALTH CENTER. THE DAMAGE WAS RANDOM AND MANY OF THE AFFECTED TREES HAD SHALLOW ROOTS WITH HOLLOW CENTERS. FARTHER TO THE NORTHWEST...IN THE UNIONVILLE SECTION OF FARMINGTON...15 TO 20 TREES WERE KNOCKED DOWN ON PERRY STREET NEAR THE FARMINGTON RIVER. THESE WERE HEALTHIER TREES. A DIVERGENT PATTERN WAS SEEN IN THE DAMAGE WHICH AGAIN INDICATED STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...OR A SMALL MICROBURST. WIND SPEEDS WERE ESTIMATED AT 60 TO 70 MPH AT THAT LOCATION. THROUGHOUT THE TOWN...ALL TREES WERE BLOWN DOWN FROM THE WEST-NORTHWEST TO THE EAST-SOUTHEAST. INTERESTINGLY...19 HOURS AFTER THE EVENT...A SOLID PATCH OF HAIL STILL REMAINED ON THE FRONT LAWN AT A HOME ON PERRY STREET.

IN WETHERSFIELD...DAMAGE WAS MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT. NUMEROUS TREES WERE KNOCKED DOWN...SOME DRIVEN COMPLETELY THROUGH HOMES MAKING THEM UNINHABITABLE. STREET LIGHTS WERE STILL OUT. LARGE HEALTHY OAK TREES WERE SLICED IN HALF...SOME NEAR THEIR BASES... AND OTHERS WERE UPROOTED WITH ROOTS EXPOSED. ALTHOUGH MANY TREES WERE SEEN BLOWN DOWN FROM THE WEST-NORTHWEST TO THE EAST-SOUTHEAST...THE GROUND SURVEY WAS ABLE TO DISCERN A DEFINITIVE TORNADO TRACK EMBEDDED WITHIN THIS GENERAL STRAIGHT-LINE DAMAGE.

ON WOLCOTT HILL ROAD NEAR ROBBINS DRIVE...TREES WERE FALLEN FACING DUE SOUTH. FARTHER TO THE SOUTHEAST...IN THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF OLD WETHERSFIELD... A VERY INTERESTING PATTERN WAS FOUND IN THE TREE DAMAGE. ON BROAD STREET AT THE GREEN... TREES AT RAYNOR LANE WERE POINTING TO THE NORTHEAST WHILE ONLY A BLOCK OR TWO NORTH ON ELM STREET...TREES WERE POINTING TO THE SOUTHEAST...INDICATINGCONVERGENCE TOWARD A VERY NARROW TRACK. FOLLOWING ELM STREET SOUTHEASTWARD BETWEEN MAPLE STREET AND INTERSTATE 91...THERE WAS A CORN FIELD. THE FLATTENED CORN STALKS WERE IN A CRISS-CROSS PATTERN AND ABOUT 100 FEET INTO THE CORN FIELD...THERE WERE TALL STALKS THAT WERE SEEMINGLY NOT IMPACTED AT ALL BY THE WINDS. THIS SHARP DELINEATION IS INDICATIVE OF TORNADIC WINDS. FARTHER TO THE NORTHWEST...ALONG THIS SAME NARROW PATH...SIGNIFICANT TREE DAMAGE OCCURRED NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF PARK AVENUE AND NOTT STREET.

ANOTHER INDICATOR OF A TORNADO WAS A MEDIA REPORT OF A STORE ON SILAS DEANE HIGHWAY DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE TOWN HALL WHICH HAD ITS LARGE WINDOWS SUCKED OUTWARD...WITH A KAYAK FROM INSIDE THE STORE BEING DEPOSITED ON THE ROAD IN FRONT OF THE STORE.

SO...THE TRACK STARTED NEAR NOTT STREET AND PARK AVENUE AND CONTINUED SOUTHEASTWARD FOR APPROXIMATELY 1.7 MILES PASSING JUST SOUTH OF THE TOWN HALL AND ACROSS THE GREEN BETWEEN RAYNOR LANE AND ELM STREET AND ENDING JUST AFTER THE CORN FIELD BEFORE INTERSTATE I-91. CALLS BEGAN BEING RECEIVED AT THE 9-1-1 CALL CENTER AT 450 PM.

WITH THE STORM TRAVELING AT 25 TO 30 MPH...THE TORNADO IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE LASTED FOR ABOUT 3 MINUTES IN WETHERSFIELD. STRAIGHT LINE WIND DAMAGE OCCURRED BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THIS...DUE TO THE STRENGTH OF THE LARGER PARENT THUNDERSTORM CELL.

INDEPENDENTLY...THE GROUND SURVEY TEAM AND THE AERIAL SURVEY TEAM ESTIMATED WIND SPEEDS OF 80 TO 90 MPH WITH SOME GUSTS PROBABLY AROUND 100 MPH. THE DAMAGE INDICATORS SEEN WERE CONSISTENT WITH AN ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE RANKING OF EF1. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT BOTH TEAMS FOUND THAT THERE WAS LITTLE EVIDENCE IN THE WAY OF
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO HOMES OR BUSINESSES...EXCEPT FOR THOSE WHICH WERE HIT DIRECTLY BY FALLING TREES.

EYEWITNESSES REPORTED A LOUD ROARING NOISE BUT DID NOT OBSERVE THE TORNADO...WHICH WAS LIKELY OBSCURED BY HEAVY RAIN AND LARGE HAIL. QUARTER TO HALF DOLLAR SIZE HAIL WAS COMMON IN WETHERSFIELD.

APPROXIMATELY ONE-QUARTER MILE TO THE NORTH OF THE TRACK...A HOME WAS SLICED IN HALF BY A LARGE OAK TREE WHILE TWO RESIDENTS WERE INSIDE. AMAZINGLY...THEY ESCAPED WITHOUT INJURY. ON JUNE 27...THE DAY AFTER THE EVENT...A TREE LIMB THAT HAD BEEN BROKEN OFF DURING THE STORM BUT WHICH HAD REMAINED HIGH UP IN THE TREE FELL DOWN AND STRUCK A MAN. THIS WAS THE ONLY REPORTED INJURY. WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THIS NARROW TORNADO MAY HAVE AFFECTED OTHER AREAS TO THE SOUTHEAST OF WETHERSFIELD...IT COULD NOT BE CONFIRMED BY THE AERIAL SURVEY TEAM. AGAIN...MOST OF WHAT THEY COULD
SEE FROM THE AIR WAS STRAIGHT-LINE WIND DAMAGE SCATTERED ACROSS THE ENTIRE ROUTE...FROM LITCHFIELD COUNTY...THROUGH THE SOUTHERN HALF OF HARTFORD COUNTY....AND INTO EXTREME NORTHERN NEW LONDON COUNTY.

ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...WE WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR SINCERE APPRECIATION TO ALL PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH THIS SURVEY PROCESS. IN PARTICULAR...THE CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND HOMELAND SECURITY...THE CIVIL AIR PATROL...FARMINGTON AND WETHERSFIELD POLICE CHIEFS...WETHERSFIELD TOWN MANAGER...AND THE WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AMATEUR RADIO COORDINATOR. ALSO...A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE PEOPLE WHO WERE DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY THIS EVENT YET TOOK THE TIME TO SPEAK WITH US.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wethersfield Tornado CONFIRMED

Here is the statement issued by the National Weather Service about Friday night's storms.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
730 PM EDT SAT JUN 27 2009

...PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...

...EF 1 TORNADO CONFIRMED IN WETHERSFIELD ON FRIDAY JUNE 26...

THIS IS A PRELIMINARY STORM SURVEY REPORT. ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE INCLUDED IN A SECOND REPORT TO BE ISSUED ON SUNDAY JUNE 28TH.

A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN TAUNTON MASSACHUSETTS CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY IN FARMINGTON AND WETHERSFIELD CONNECTICUT TODAY DUE TO THE MAJOR DAMAGE WHICH OCCURRED IN THESE TOWNS ON FRIDAY. IN ADDITION...A SURVEY TEAM FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN UPTON NEW YORK CONDUCTED AN AERIAL SURVEY OF THE SAME AREA. THESE SURVEYS CONCLUDED THAT...WHILE MOST OF THE DAMAGE THAT OCCURRED ACROSS SOUTHERN HARTFORD COUNTY WAS DUE TO STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...A NARROW TORNADO OCCURRED IN WETHERSFIELD CONNECTICUT. THIS TORNADO WAS RATED AN EF 1
ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE...INDICATING WIND SPEEDS BETWEEN 85 AND 100 MPH. DUE TO ONGOING STORM WARNING OPERATIONS...MORE INFORMATION WILL COME IN A LATER REPORT TO BE ISSUED TOMORROW...SUNDAY JUNE 28TH.


Photogallery of tornado damage from FOX61.com
Photogallery from storms on FOX61.com

Meteorologist Joe Fury saw the damage first-hand and made the call on Friday night. But we still have to wait for confirmation and investigation by the National Weather Service. This is why...earlier this month, a TV station relayed a viewer report of a tornado on the ground in Arkansas. Even as the tornado warning expired, the station's meteorologist continued to report a tornado on the ground producing damage due to these viewer's emails. This all turned out to be a hoax, and the FBI is investigating.

Tornado HOAX
Another article about the hoax if you're interested

If you recall, there was an incident in 2007 where WFSB displayed a tornado picture that was a fake. The storm looked potentially tornadic on the radar; however, the photograph looked very unrealistic for Connecticut.
Geoff Fox has a great blog entry about this: http://www.geofffox.com/MT/archives/2007/07/21/know_your_source.php
It should also be noted that the tornado warning issued on that 2007 storm was a result of a police officer spotting a funnel cloud. That was found to be an error. Not all Police officers are certified weather spotters. No damage was found in the area where this alleged tornado was reported.

It's so tough to go live, ad lib, and make quick decisions about the information you're given. But I think we as a station handled the situation Friday well. I leave you with a photo of the calm after the storm. This pic was taken by a viewer named Robert looking southeast from the North Cove region of Essex Village and captures the richness of a clearing summer sky while the sun sets after the storms.

Forecast From 6-26

Severe Weather Coverage 6-26

Narmeen and I broke into programming to tell viewers about the storms moving through the state. There is always a fine line between helping people stay safe but not being too alarmist. And as always lots of adlibbing. Blackberries are great for this because as new watches and warnings came in I could see them immediately and pass them along to you.

Cut-in #1:


Another Cut-in:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forecast From Tuesday Night

This is me trying to be technical so I can get my American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval. It's a certification. I don't think this one is going to make the cut though...a few too many stumbles. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where's June? A Stalled Storm Is Stalling Summer!

With a big trof over the northeast, we have been trapped in a cool and wet pattern. A cut-off low pressure system has been spinning off the coast of southern New England. A cut-off low is (as it's name suggests) "cut-off" from the steering winds of the atmosphere known as the jetstream. Since this storm has no steering winds to move it along, it is literally stuck spinning up unsettled weather day after day! A stalled storm...stalling summer! But it looks like a piece of energy will finally give this storm the boot late tomorrow with summer heat returning Thursday and this time it's sticking around. Who is ready for the 80s?! I am! I am! OK back to being professional....

Here are some June stats (as of June 23):

Average June Temperature: 64.5 degrees
Departure From Avg: 3.0 degrees below normal
Total Rainfall: 5.74"
Departure from Avg: 2.85" above average
Snowfall: Just kidding! It's not that cold.

Cloudy, yes. Damp, yes. But here's the good news...according to Climate Data from the National Weather Service we are spending less money on air-conditioning! Cooling costs this June are 80% lower than they were last year at this time. If there's a silver lining...I'll always find it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Elizabeth Park

I visit Elizabeth Park in Hartford once a week...but this weekend I brought a camera! Check out some of my pics HERE! I am a "budding" photographer...get it? Budding? Sorry, I think meteorologists are born corny.

Anyway, great news! I am working for Garett all week long! So great ready to see a lot of me, hope you can stomach it. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting Goofy with Gweny

Check out the video of me singing along with Gwen Stefani on my Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/RachelWeather


I apologize if you don't have a Facebook account. But trust me it's worth signing up...Not just for my super-amazing videos. But also so you can stalk your lab partner back from middle school!

I also posted video of the paparazzi following in NYC. Ugh...it's hard to be famous. (Kidding, obviously!!)

New Britain Teachers Face Layoffs


I feel bad for the School Board, for Governor Rell, and for anyone who has to make major cuts to any budget. Times are tough and they are forced to lay people off, it's not their fault. What a a burden to know that the decisions you make directly affect people's livelihood.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two Tech Schools Face Closure

I Did A Happy Dance Today

There's really nothing better than getting a pat on the back from your employer and co-workers. Last night was my first NEWS live shot at the station. Sure I can stick a ruler in the snow with the best of 'em during weather coverage. But covering a serious news story at the top of the show scares me! My body shakes and my brain runs through every nightmare scenario (what if my package doesn't run, what if I forget my lines, what if I sneeze, what if I say incorrect information, what if a half naked man starts dancing around me?). But when it's showtime, you take a breath and do the best you can.

I got so many nice complements from the higher ups at the station, I ended up doing a little happy dance when I got home today (I'll have to show you that some time). Then I started thinking (never good)...I just hope I can live up to the high expectations my station has now. What did I get myself into? I'm already nervous about my next assignment and I don't even have it yet! Worrying is my disease. I got it from someone in my family, I will not say any names (DAD).

Swine Flu Claims 3rd Victim

I asked the doctor word for word "is the media blowing swine flu out of proportion?" and he looked me in the eye and said "no, it's is a big deal, this flu will go down in history." Every year when the seasonal flu comes around, our bodies develop anti-bodies to protect us. But since this is a "novel" or new virus, our bodies have no experience on fighting it. Also, there may be many more cases of swine flu that we don't even know about. Many people get better on their own, without seeing a doctor or without getting specifically tested for the swine flu.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ever Stop To Smell The Roses?



Store bought roses are losing their scent...find out why! This story is really interesting!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pollen Levels High This Year



My nose itches just thinking about this story! Apparently some 60 degree days in February were the culprit for a bad allergy season...very interesting since temperatures have been below average the past few months.

Check out the video...Elizabeth Park seems to have bloomed overnight! I was there a few weeks ago and it looked barren. Now it's lush and beautiful. How lucky are we to have such beautiful public parks in West Hartford? The roses you buy in a store are genetically bred for longevity...not for scent. So it's a treat to smell REAL roses. Every kind is unique (some even smell like lemons, weird)! I think I was driving my photographer crazy today smelling every rose I could get my nose on! On a side-note...do you think my hair is getting too long?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You Tube FUN!

This has nothing to do with weather OR reporting. If I post these links on my blog and that makes me unprofessional, so be it! But I need to show you these clips because they're HILARIOUS!

Ever play minesweeper on your PC? Yeah, I'm talking about the weird game with all the squares...Well this is a brief movie based off the game. Love it.

Are you sick of hearing the "Blame It" song by Jaime Foxx? I know I am! Well here's the President's version...Blame it on the E-e-e-e-ecomomy! Catchy & clever! Let me know what you think!

I actually saw both clips for the first time on the FOX61 Morning News. Every morning there's a new section called "viral video".

Reaction To Farmington Manhunt Tuesday



One of the craziest days of my life. It's always great when your assignment editor tells you to watch out for a crazy man on the loose with a gun...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season...IS HERE!

June 1st marked the beginning of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane season. It's not like flicking a switch, tropical storms will not pop up overnight. But activity will be increasing throughout the next several weeks and months before peaking in September.

Every year forecasters put out predictions about the number of storms. Here's one predicting above average activity. And another one calling for a normal season of activity. I ALWAYS take these numbers with a grain of salt. At times us weather-folk have been known to make a mistake on the 7 day forecast...So how can you expect forecasters to predict the number of tropical storms in a whole season?

I do not, nor do I claim to do long-term forecasting (or hurricane forecasting). In fact, any meteorologist on TV who posts hurricane predictions is stealing them from someone else. (An insider secret) I myself am uncomfortable posting someone else's work. Wouldn't you be?

Here are the names this year: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda.

There are six lists of names that continue to rotate. The lists only change when a storm is so devastating, the name is retired and another name replaces it. Sorry to all the Katrinas out there...no more storms named after you!

Any questions, ask!

Hey Man Nice Shot!


Thanks to Eric from Bristol for this gorgeous pic taken Saturday night! Send me your weather pics and I'll post for everyone to enjoy.

Bride Rescues Family From Burning Home: Fact Or Fiction?

A Bridgeport story has been catching national attention. News outlets have been reporting that a bride rescued a family from a burning home while still in a wedding dress. But after visiting the family myself, I found out that this story was more FICTION. In fact, the bride on the scene is embarrassed about all the hype this story is getting. She doesn't want to be portrayed as a hero over something she didn't do!