Weather Pattern Turns Very Active Late Wed through Friday

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

NAMMA con scp 021There is a threat for severe storms (even rotation) late in the day Wednesday, especially across Southside. The threat for very heavy rainfall in locally strong storms is also something to watch starting Wednesday evening lasting into Thursday and Friday. 

For those of you who haven't kept up with the forecast from only a couple of days ago, things are changing fast. It was just earlier this week when it looked like pleasant, fall-like air would keep us nice and quiet going into the weekend. Now all of that has changed.

The culprit is an upper level low, moving in our direction from the Great Lakes region. This low was earlier forecast to move east with time and usher in cooler weather for the end of the work week. While low temps will eventually get chilly late this week, the main issues for us our now severe storms and very heavy rain bands. 

Most computer models over the past 36-48 hours have been trending further WEST with the upper low. This pool of swirling cold air aloft will be cut-off from the main jet stream, but will also have its own wind field associated with it. 

Upper lows in the Spring and Fall are often behind periods of very active weather. That's because the circulation around the slow-moving lows allow for rain to develop day after day, forming in bands that sometimes train over the same areas. By Thursday night, the upper low for this week is forecasted to be centered in eastern Tennessee, with the circulation pulling in heavy thunderstorms into Virginia from the south Wednesday, Thursday, and even into Friday.

The other issue with upper lows, and the one this week is the cold air upstairs. When the sun heats the ground and the air near it during the day, the cold air sitting above us will make the air bouyant, meaning it can rise fast into strong and even severe storms. With colder air to work with upstairs, hail is possible with any strong storm. And since cold air is heavier, strong winds are possible as well. 

In fact, the winds will be blowing at different directions and speeds, something called wind shear, Wednesday and Thursday. This combination means we have to watch for severe storms with rotation for all areas, especially Southside VA late in the day Wednesday.

Rainfall amounts will range greatly through Friday, depending on where the heavier rain and thunderstorm bands develop. In general, .50" to 2" of rain are possible area-wide through the day Friday. However, amounts underneath heavier bands could exceed 3-4", with some models showing more than that. 

As this pattern sets up Wednesday, be prepared for rapidly changing weather. Have a plan of action in case warnings are issued. The threats are two-fold... severe storms and flooding in spots through Friday. 


Westlake Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested in Georgia

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

millerjpgSAVANNAH, GA - The suspect accused of robbing the American National Bank in Westlake on August 23 has been arrested in Georgia, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says. 

Zachary Ray Miller, 27, of Newark, Delaware is charged with attempted robbery and attempted carjacking at knifepoint, according to Sheriff Bill Overton. Miller was arrested back on August 26 along with two other white males near Savannah.

Franklin County investigator Tim Taylor traveled to Georgia last week to compare fingerprints and DNA gathered at the Westlake Robbery and from an orange shirt found in a dumpster behind the Westlake Kroger, Overton said.

Miller is also wanted in connection with a robbery on August 20 in Delaware.

Investigators say Miller walked into the American National Bank around 4:30 on August 23 without attempting to hide his identity. Security footage showed Miller at the bank and at the Kroger the day of the robbery.

After the Westlake robbery, investigators say Miller fled on foot and was picked up by the two other men in a white Dodge pickup truck registered in Maryland to one of Miller's relatives. Investigators have linked one of the men to a person living in Franklin County.

More charges are pending against Miller. The crime lab in Roanoke will analyze the evidence and will submit it to the Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. A robbery charge is a class 5 felony in Virginia, punishable by one to 10 years in prison.



Tourism Spending at All-Time High in Franklin Co. for 2015

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

harbFRANKLIN CO. - Data released this week by the Virginia Tourism Corporation shows all regions in Virginia reported an increase in tourism revenue for 2015 over the year before, including Franklin County.

Total tourism revenue in Franklin County for 2015 totalled $105,262,670, an increase over 2014's totals by 2.8 percent. Local tourism jobs were up 3.2 percent with 1,281 persons working in the sector. Tourism-related taxes for the same year totalled $3,089,246, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2014.

Across the entire state of Virginia, $23 billion in travel spending was reported for 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

The local data is based on travelers within the U.S. who spend on trips taken 50 miles or more from where they live.

"With two lakes and two rivers, outdoor recreation and related scenery continues to be a draw," said Franklin Co. tourism development manager David Rotenizer.

"This is terrific news for our community. For five years, Franklin County has continued to witness postitive growth in tourism-related jobs and revenue," Rotenizer said, also noting that visitor spending has surged from $45.8 million in Franklin Co. in 1996 to the latest figure of $105.2 million in 2015.