Category Archives: Weather

A Cool, Rainy Shenandoah Valley Late Summer Day

Can you believe it? I just checked the temperature at 1:30 in the afternoon and it’s 64 degrees in the central Shenandoah Valley.  I’m out on the deck with a sweater on listening to the sound of raindrops on the awning … wind rustling … a little rain spray blowing under the tarp. It feels like camping.

Rain moved in a couple of hours ago and is in the forecast for the rest of the afternoon. It’s one of those comfortable, snuggly days when it’s great to curl up with a book or sit bundled up on the deck, under the awning, listening to the rain falling, whiffing the earth smells, with only the sound of rain and rustling leaves.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved rainy days. I used to bundle up and take my umbrella and sit outdoors back in those days. Camping in the rain is an adventure — a challenge to stay dry while listening to the rain and entertaining myself by either playing games with someone, or writing, or reading.

Fall is right around the corner and days like this are a reminder of that. This rain is part of a cold front coming through that will drop temps over the next few days into daytime highs of 70s and overnight lows in 50s along with lower humidity.

So today I’m home, couched in with the rainy weather, and basically taking the day off.

Meanwhile, the rain picked up, thunder rolled in, and I scooted back into the house before my laptop and I got soaked.

It’s late summer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia….

Hurricane Harvey: Texas Residents Face Devastating Flooding, Power Outages

Graphic from

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Friday night as a Category 4 storm, a monster that had gained power all day and caused numerous warnings and evacuations along the coast from Corpus Christi to Houston. The eye of the hurricane wet ashore at Rockport, Texas, a small beachfront city of 10,000.

As of Saturday morning, San Antonio and the capital city of Austin, where I have a vested interested because it’s where my sister and her family live, were not in the path of destruction but, as weather conditions tend to be, the unexpected can become the expected so all are on alert.

Also as of Saturday morning the hurricane had been downgraded to a Category 1. The Weather Channel has 24/7 coverage of the storm, and a first look Saturday of overnight damage caused by Harvey. Stay safe, Texas residents. #PrayForTexas

Tagged ,

Water hose, 1; SWAC Girl, 0

Ten years ago this week we were dealing with equally hot and dry weather so while looking back through the archives, I came across this adventure. From July 27, 2007….

It was hot today in the Valley although very breezy — a hot breeze. I was outside working in the yard most of the day … weeding and deadheading flowers, trimming forsythia bushes and getting sweaty and tired … and the sun was hot. A late-afternoon thunderstorm ran me inside only to leave us with only thunder, lightning, and wind while all the rain went north of here.

When I went back outside after dinner to water my flowers, SWAC Husband was watering the tomatoes in the garden. I noticed a substantial leak in the hose so decided to try and scoot the leaky section to the garden so all that water would go on vegetables … except the hose didn’t cooperate. It twisted and turned and twisted again like a snake … I jumped and screeched and tried to throw it over the fence … it twisted back on me — yowie, that water was cold! — and … well, let’s just say I’m watered from head to toe!

Next time I’ll turn off the hose first. Got my towel; now I need to go outside and get back to work….

Water hose, 1; SWAC Girl, 0.

First Day of Spring 2017

The first day of Spring arrived at 6:29 this morning and, in Virginia, it comes after a lackluster winter that saw little snow and wildly fluctuating temperatures with plenty of spring-like days.

This first day of spring is brought to you by the animated spring equinox Google doodle. Click here to see the latest in a line of creative entertainment from the premiere search engine — but hurry because it will only be there one day — March 20, 2017.

Spring equinox marks the time of year when day and night are equal — 12 hours each — and then days become longer until the summer equinox on June 21. This year it offers the pleasing nugget of being on a Monday. Kind of take the edge off this first day of the week, doesn’t it….? Spring flowers, spring temperatures, spring sunshine, spring cleaning.

Enjoy spring!

Photo by Mark Robbins


Nor’easter Stella Predicted To Drop Substantial Snow On Virginia

Do you want to build a snowman? Hunker down because some who live in the path of the impending March nor’easter named Stella could see up to two feet of snow, and substantial amounts have been predicted along the East Coast from New England through the Carolinas. With such high snow totals, it’s sure to be boom or bust, depending on location.

In Virginia, the predicted snow comes on the heels of a relatively mild winter that seemed to have more up-and-down temperatures than usual. With the first day of spring a week away, this wintry forecast may seem like a cruel joke but it is March in Virginia so nor’easter blizzards are not unusual.

It’s worth noting that Stella is on a similar path as the March 11-13, 1993, winter “Storm of the Century” that hit the East Coast twenty-four years ago, causing 310 deaths, billions of dollars in damage, and had record low temps as well as thundersnow, extra high winds, and tornadoes. Stella is not predicted to be a repeat of 1993.

As a sad side note, Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms, expected to peak this weekend which is early because of the warms temps of winter 2016-17, are in danger from winter conditions that are the harshest since record keeping began in 1921. Northern Virginia and the nation’s capital have the potential to see up to a foot of snow.

At our house west of Staunton in the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, we are under a winter weather watch. The forecast as of Monday morning was suggesting we are in the path for 4-8 inches of snow that will begin between 6-8pm, high winds, and overnight lows in the 20s. Temps through Thursday are expected to top out at daytime highs in the low- to mid-30s with overnight lows in the teens. Areas north of here are expecting much more wintry precipitation.

The National Weather Service as well as numerous weather outlets will be updating throughout the storm. The Weather Channel’s head meteorologist Jim Cantore was in Boston on Monday with a platoon of other TWC weather watchers on location through the storm area.

Wherever you are, and whether you’re expecting snow, rain, or nothing at all, be safe and keep a weather eye to the sky.


Extreme Heat Advisory for Virginia

Delegate Steve Landes’s office (R-25th House District) sent out an extreme heat advisory Tuesday morning as a strong of summer temperatures in the upper 90s continues. Stay cool!

Extreme Heat Continues
The extreme heat impacting the Commonwealth continues. It is important to take the appropriate steps to keep you and your families safe. To that end, I wanted to provide you with some helpful links and resources, which you’ll find below and on my website here.

Suggestions & Resources:
Stay tuned to local media outlets for weather information and school closings and delays.

Continue reading


Greenbrier Resort reopens, returning jobs to flood-weary West Virginians

The Greenbrier’s owner, Jim Justice, announces they will reopen on July 12, 2016.

The Greenbrier Resort, that stately National Historic Landmark tucked away in the West Virginia mountains but known to travelers from around the world, reopened Tuesday. It had been closed for more than two weeks after devastating floods hit the Mountain State when a series of thunderstorms dumped 10-12 inches of rain that swelled rivers and streams.

The opening is a monumental step forward in West Virginia’s recovery and the morale of flood-weary citizens:

Nearly 2,000 people work at the resort, making it one of the largest employers in southern West Virginia. “For this region and this state to get back on its feet, the people need to be working,” said [Greenbrier owner Jim] Justice. “A number of team members at The Greenbrier lost everything, and they can’t rebuild if they don’t have a place to work.”

Though the Greenbrier had closed its doors to the public when flood waters destroyed its iconic Old White golf course and damaged other areas of the property, it provided rooms and meals to more than 700 who had been left homeless until a shelter could be set up by the state. It also acted as a drop-off and pick-up point for donations as residents in neighboring states and businesses pitched in to help the thousands in need.

The National Weather Service called June 23 a once-in-a-thousand-years flood. Twenty-three people lost their lives, 51 of 55 counties were declared disaster areas, and 1,500 homes were destroyed while 2,000 others were damaged.

The fatality count includes a 14-year-old girl whose body has never been found, a harrowing experience shared by her father of fast-rising flood waters that washed her away leaving family members clinging to life for nine hours in the raging.

The resort’s reopening gives hope while clean-up continues. Help is still needed — some have lost everything. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are heading to White Sulphur Springs for training camp at the end of July — a fan favorite the past two years — and in September the Greenbrier Tennis Classic is on tap. All will help bring badly needed normalcy back to West Virginia.


As waters recede, clean-up begins after devastating West Virginia floods

Pray for WV 1

Some facts about West Virginia’s devastating flooding:

  • The National Weather Service classified West Virginia’s flooding as a “one-in-a-thousand-year-event.”
  • As of Sunday, 25 lives had been lost.
  • 44 of 55 counties in West Virginia are under a state of emergency, mostly in the southeastern area.
  • Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas counties’ residents qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid after West Virginia was declared a federal disaster area.
  • The Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament, scheduled for July, was cancelled after the Greenbrier Resort’s golf course was destroyed by flood waters.
  • In Kanawha County, a temporary gravel road was built to rescue 500 people trapped when the bridge crossing was destroyed by flooding on Thursday.
  • Thousands are still without power.
  • More than 60 secondary roads were still closed as of Monday.
  • An estimated 8-10 inches of rain led to the massive flooding.
  • Trending hash tag: #StayStrongWV
  • Greenbrier Care Family Practice is giving away hundreds of free tetanus shots; free water is being distributed; Americans are stepping in to help.
  • The Greenbrier Resort, largest employer in Greenbrier County, is closed to the public until further notice but has opened its doors to flood victims and is offering extensive help for its neighbors: Neighbors Loving Neighbors
  • Anyone interested in helping West Virginia is asked to contact the Greenbrier County Emergency Shelter at 304-645-6999 or mail monetary donations to 3584 Davis Stuart Road, Lewisburg, WV, 24901. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at The Greenbrier at The Greenbrier Sports Performance Center, just across the street from the main property on Kate’s Mountain Road. Donations can also be made online at, or by texting the amount you wish to give and the word “neighbor” to 501-697-4362.
  • In Augusta County, a drop-off point for donated items is Augusta Health Care for Women, 39 Beam Lane, Fishersville. Their office administrator’s WV home town is flooded. This is the list of needed items.
  • West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin updates are here.

West Virginia is our neighbor to the west with family, friends, and fellow Americans who are dealing with tragedy, devastation, and a clean-up that will last days, weeks, months, and perhaps years.

Most of us are watching from afar as the images unfold of towns underwater, mud-caked homes, homes forced off foundations, the twisted metal of vehicles and buildings wrapped around trees, and video of a burning house floating downstream. But Rupert, WV, resident Davina Agee, whose husband is a WV state trooper, shared the dire circumstances and seriousness of it with her boots-on-the-ground experience in a Facebook status she posted on June 24:

It’s clear to me that there are still people that don’t grasp the magnitude of what we have experienced on the West end of Greenbrier County. I am receiving messages from people and being approached by people who may not get it.

Last evening my husband had probably the most traumatic and devastating time in his entire career with the state police. He tied a rope to himself and literally had to swim out in rushing water to try to save people. There were some that he could see and hear but could not get to them to save them. He literally watched people be swept away. He recounted that story to me today with tears in his eyes as he said, “I just couldn’t save them all.”

It was reported to me late last nigh that bodies were floating in the streets of Rainelle. This morning when it was chaos at the Rupert Fire station and I asked what I could do to help, I never imagined they would say, “Can you find us a place to store bodies?”

Let that sink in.

Children were missing parents today, parents were also missing children. One lady escaped her flooding home and slept in her car with two infants and when rescued today, she did not even have shoes. Children were being loaded onto the national guard trucks with people saying, “We don’t know who these children belong to.”

There are still people stranded in homes awaiting rescue. People have been without food or water for over 24 hours now. Many are displaced without important medications. Some have lost everything and have yet to even find their loved ones. But our little communities have come together like no other.

Police officers and fireman have been working tirelessly for 36 hours straight. We are feeding the hungry, clothing those that we can, checking on each other and helping as best we can.

This is not about a delayed golf game. It’s not about the loss of cars or trucks. It’s not even about the homes or buildings anymore. It’s about the people! The human beings. Who can we save and how can we care for them?! Let’s survive this and help as many as we can.

Let’s be strong and carry on. That’s what WV does. That’s who we are. We are survivors and we are strong. We will carry on and we will carry each other.

‪#‎WVStrong‬ ‪#‎TogetherWeSurvive‬ ‪#‎Pray4GBC

In a June 26 follow-up Facebook post, Mrs. Agee responded to those who have thanked her for her eye-witness assessment of the disaster:

People are sending me an overwhelming amount of messages and they all say “thank you for what you’re doing.” Just for the record, I am not to be thanked. I am doing what any red blooded, God fearing, West Virginia girl would be doing at a time like this!

I just happen to have resources to tap into and awesome people to help me. I am not alone. God has sent me dozens, if not hundreds, of wonderful people and helpers that are the ones making everything possible. I love my home town and I love the people.

I am doing what I love. HELPING PEOPLE! I don’t need to be thanked. The real heroes are the ones that swam in freezing water to save lives; the ones who searched and rescued humans; the ones who got up today and shoveled their lives into trash bags and began to start over; the ones who are grieving loved ones and the ones that still haven’t been rescued yet.

Those are the heroes, the ones that are to be recognized and thanked! To God be the glory for all the rescue and relief effort! Thank you to all those helping and recovering. I love you all! I love Greenbrier County and I love all the people sending aid in. Together we will recover and Greenbrier County will rise again!

‪#‎NoThanksNecessary‬ ‪#‎ItsOurDuty‬ ‪#‎HelpingOthers‬!

Prayers for West Virginia.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift


Full moon, summer solstice coincide for first time in 70 years

Go outside and look at the moon, known as the Strawberry Moon. It’s huge on this first night of summer — the first time in 70 years that a full moon has occurred on the summer solstice:

Today marks a special day for astronomy enthusiasts. The summer solstice and June’s strawberry moon will coincide for the first time in nearly 70 years.

Go look at it. Chances are you won’t be around when/if it returns in 70 years.

Tagged ,

High winds cause tree to fall on sleeping hiker in Blue Ridge Mountains

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The unusually high winds gusting up to 73 mph on the mountaintops of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Wintergreen Resort overnight caused downed trees including one that fell on a sleeping hiker in the wee hours of the morning.  Wintergreen Fire and Rescue posted the following about the incident:

At 2:26AM Wintergreen Fire & Rescue was dispatched to assist a female hiker on the Appalachian Trial in the area of Spy Rock Mountain. The high winds had blown down an approximate 30″ diameter tree which fell on her while she was sleeping.

While traveling to the trail head, units encountered a downed tree completely blocking the Parkway which they had to cut and remove. Crews used a specialized transport ATV to get as close as they could; however, [they] had to hike the final mile +/- on foot using a basket to carry the patient. Her fellow hikers had already extricated her from beneath the tree upon arrival of rescue crews. She arrived at the hospital at approximately 6:00AM.

While crews were preparing for their hike out, the hikers pointed out what they believed to be a mountain fire. Sure enough … currently Piney River Fire, Wintergreen Fire, and the Forestry Department are working to contain.

The winds have subsided today but downed trees and fire continue to pose problems. Be safe out there….


Shenandoah National Park … snow-covered Big Meadows

By Lynn R. Mitchell

This is the view today in Shenandoah National Park at Big Meadows. Growing up, we spent many fun-filled days at this campground, exploring and hiking in God’s sanctuary. Today the park embraces winter … the quiet, peaceful beauty of the mountains covered in a snowy blanket of white. February 9, 2016.

Shenandoah National Park's photo.“Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.”― Mary Oliver

Big Meadows web cam the morning of February 9, 2016. It is truly beautiful in the park today!

Tagged , , ,

Fiery Shenandoah Valley winter sunset

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Sunset. Monday, January 25, 2016. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Tagged , , , ,

January full moon over Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell


The January full moon has just about cleared the tree tops on the ridge behind our house. January 24, 2016. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Tagged , , ,

Day 3: Clean up after the Blizzard of January 22-23, 2016

Snow 17

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

8:30am: Good morning from my snowy corner of the world west of Staunton. It was a frigid 10 degrees overnight with clearing skies after the snowstorm moved out, and a full moon. There’s between 18 inches and 3-4 feet of snow (from drifting) … a winter wonderland with snow-flocked trees and piles of the white stuff along the road and driveway.

To see photos from throughout Virginia during the blizzard, see Day 1: Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016 blizzard and Day 2: Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016 blizzard.”

The snowplows came through in the middle of the night to clear the road. Our thanks to VDOT. And our thanks to Dominion Virginia Power for their part in keeping the lights and heat on through the blizzard.

By this time yesterday we had been up for 3.5 hours as the snow continued to fall and the wind howled. Today we have awakened to a cold sunny morning after the full moon came out overnight and illuminated everything. I woke up briefly sometime in the early hours to see the moon and then went back to sleep.

Our neighbor — bless his heart — is out there again clearing our driveway for the third time during this storm. Today neighbors will check in on each other, clear driveways, and make sure everyone is okay.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Day 2: Live-blogging the January 22-23 Blizzard of 2016

2Saturday morning before sunrise.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

See also Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016, historic Virginia snowstorm with photos from around Virginia of Friday’s snow.

Day 2 of the Blizzard of 2016 in our corner of the Shenandoah Valley: We’re not going anywhere with the forecast calling for heavy snow to continue all day along with high winds and temps in the 20s. Our neighbor made two runs at the driveway yesterday so I suspect he will be back his morning in his effort to prevent the snow from building up too much. What would we do without neighbors?

Since we are west of Staunton, the winds coming through Buffalo Gap and off the slopes of the Appalachians cause snow drifts across our road. It’s nothing unusual … we’ve been dealing with it as long as we’ve been here. Same with driveways as drifting snow buried them under feet of snow. So our neighbor is just trying to keep the drifts broken up.

5:10am: The power blipped making our smoke alarm chirp and waking us both. Nothing like the threat of no electricity to make you spring out of bed and get moving before it goes out for good. For now (5:30), it’s still on. Mr. Mitchell is cooking bacon and eggs and brewing coffee.

5:35am: The wind began howling last night and we could hear it throughout the night. This morning, it continues. Peering through the snow-caked door onto the deck, the amount of snow has increased significantly overnight. It’s 18 degrees out there with a high of mid-20s expected during the storm today. It appears WHSV TV-3 is off the air — no power? — so the Weather Channel is on and Jim Cantore is reporting live from D.C.

NBC-29 has The National Weather Service’s latest winter storm warning issued at 4:16am:

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Virginia politics and more