- Where: Eastern Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and far western North Carolina.
- When: Saturday night through Tuesday
- What: Possible flooding rains and gusty winds.
WYFF News 4 anchor Mike McCormick and WYFF News 4 photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer died Monday when a tree fell on their SUV.
The accident happened on Highway 176 in Polk County while they were covering the impact of heavy rain in that area.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said the engine of the SUV was running and the transmission was in drive when authorities arrived at the scene about 2:30 p.m.
He said the tree that fell on the SUV was about 3 feet in diameter and had stood back off the road.
Tennant said the ground was saturated and the tree’s root system failed.
“I have never seen an event like this one,” Tennant, who has been in fire service in Polk County for 44 years, said.
Tennant said he had just spoken with Mike and Aaron before the accident.
“It personally affected me a little bit because I had done an interview with Mr. McCormick about 10 minutes before we got the call. And we had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and I wanted him to stay safe and of course 10 or 15 minutes later we got the call and it was him and his photographer,” Tennant said. “It’s the first time I ever met either one of those two gentleman, but you feel a sense of responsibility to them.”
Read more – WYFF: http://bit.ly/2IR5aOi
This will be the last update briefing from NWS Morristown concerning Tropical Storm Irma.Winds will increase through the day. We have highlighted the winds with the Wind Advisory. Look for winds of 15-30 mph with gusts of 40-50 mph. Highest winds and gusts will occur in the higher elevations. Highest wind gusts will occur tonight. Trees and power lines will be most susceptible to the higher winds. Therefore, a few power outages could occur. Winds will begin to subside Tuesday afternoon.Rainfall does not look to be a problem. Around 2″ of rainfall is expected along and south of a Dayton, TN to Clay County NC line. Less rainfall is expected north of that line (generally north of I-40).All rivers in our forecast area will remain below action stage, including the highlighted rivers from past briefings (Nolichucky, Pigeon, and French Broad). The rainfall in NC is expected to be less than previously forecast.
Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday over Key West, then again at Marco Island in the Florida Peninsula.
It is tracking to the north and is expected to impact East Tennessee Monday into Tuesday. By the time it reaches the area, it is expected to be downgraded to a tropical depression or lower. Tropical Storm Warnings are currently issued for parts of northern Georgia south of Dalton and northeastern Alabama.
With it’s rapidly changing path, the exact effect on Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains remain to be seen. However, the National Park Service has closed or restricted access to parts of the Smokies out of caution.
Rain looks to be a big issue for the area, while high winds are forecast for the higher elevations and the mountains.
Be advised that these forecasts can change as Irma changes direction and speed. Please continue to monitor local TV and Radio, NOAA Weather Radio, and monitor the NWS online at www.srh.noaa.gov/mrx
Should conditions warrant, East Tennessee SKYWARN will be active on 146.940 MHz with a backup of 146.625 MH
As of this posting, Hurricane Irma is back to a Category 5, with 160MPH sustained winds.
Overnight last night it moved on a more westerly track, putting its eye over the Florida Keys and the Gulf side of Florida’s peninsula.
It is still projected to strike Florida as a Category 5, or a high Category 4 when it makes landfall.
As of 11PM EDT on 9/8/2017, LOCATION: 22.1°N, 77.7°W – 120 mi ESE of CAIBARIEN CUBA.
As it makes its way north through Florida over the weekend, East Tennesseans will want to pay attention early next week as forecast models have the remnants of Irma over northern Georgia and/or Alabama and into Tennessee late Monday through Tuesday. In some models, the center of Irma could come into Tennessee, drift West, then turn towards the East, possibly bringing tropical storm-force winds, and dumping torrential rainfall in the area and causing flooding issues as it changes directions.
Irma’s death toll stands at 22 but it may climb as it makes partial landfall in Cuba before crossing into Florida.
Stay tuned to your local television and radio outlets, listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest, and listen to East Tennessee SKYWARN on 146.940 (alternate 146.625 MHz) as conditions warrant.
Florida is bracing as Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, is feared to hit Florida on Sunday.
The hurricane “remains a dangerous and life-threatening Category 5” storm, Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned Wednesday night at a briefing. Forecast models have put the storm on a track to hit Florida over the weekend, but meteorologists have warned its path could change.
Scott said Florida is “at least 48 hours away from feeling the effects of this massive system.” The Florida Keys, he said, could feel the effects of the storm Friday night and early Saturday.
Read more (via FoxNews): http://fxn.ws/2eMy7wW
While the forecast track currently has Irma going up the Atlantic side of Florida’s coast, should the Hurricane go further west and then come up the Gulf of Mexico and into the Panhandle, it could affect East Tennessee as it comes north. Please stay tuned over the weekend as Irma comes ashore and tracks up the coastline one side or the other of Florida.
Hurricane Jose is as of now a Category 1 storm, trekking along the same path as Irma, but predicted to go further north than Irma currently is going.
Hurricane Katia has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and is forecast to make landfall in Mexico over the weekend, as it moves slowly southwest.
via WYFF TV: The [National] Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to bring torrential rains during the next few days primarily to the state of Veracruz, which spans along Mexico’s central Gulf coast.
Katia currently presents no threat to the US.
As now-Category 4 Hurricane Harvey bears down on his state, ARRL South Texas Section Manager Lee Cooper, W5LHC, reports that all 97 South Texas counties are on alert, with many preparing to assist coastal areas as needed. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) remains active in “Catastrophic Response Mode” on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz. The VoIP Hurricane Net activated today (connect at *WX_TALK* Echolink conference node: 7203/IRLP 9219. Stations on All-Star can connect to the Echolink side of the system by dialing *033007203). The Southern Territory SATERN Net will activate at least for one day on Saturday, from 0900 until 2000 CT on its regular frequency of 7.262 MHz. WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center activated at 2100 UTC on Friday.
“Our West Gulf Division Communications Task Forces (Rapid Response Teams) are preparing for possible activation into any devastated areas,” Cooper told ARRL. “Several emergency operations centers (EOCs) are activated, and most others are on alert and preparing to activate as needed. The state EOC is activated and fully operational. Army MARS is ramping up and getting ready to deploy to assist in evacuations.”
Mandatory evacuations are underway in parts of the Gulf Coast of Texas as Hurricane Harvey is now a Category 3 Hurricane. With winds over 135MPH sustained. Once it makes landfall, it is expected to linger over the Texas coastline for days, bringing rainfall amounts of 15 to 30 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 40 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast through next Wednesday.
Live data from GOES-16 (Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjcDNxCwWkw
The FCC has added three new “event codes” to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for the 2017 hurricane season. The new rules apply to EAS and NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Two of the EAS codes correspond to a potential Storm Surge Watch/Warning. The National Weather Service (NWS) is still developing and seeking comments on a Storm Surge Watch/Warning for operational use in 2017. The new codes are:
Extreme Wind Warning (EWW): The EWW is an existing operational warning NWS uses for advance notice of sustained surface wind speeds of 115 MPH or greater during major hurricanes. All NWS Gulf and East Coast Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) issue the EWW.
Storm Surge Watch (SSA): The NWS may issue an SSA for the gulf and east coasts when life-threatening inundation is possible from rising water moving inland in the specified area, generally within 48 hours. Weather forecast offices could issue the SSA for tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclones. A WFO may issue the watch even earlier, when conditions such as tropical storm-force winds might limit response time for evacuations or other action. A WFO may also issue the watch for locations that could be isolated by inundation in adjacent areas.
Storm Surge Warning (SSW): WFOs may issue an SSW for the gulf and east coasts when tropical inundation is more imminent — generally within 36 hours. NWS may issue a warning when other conditions, such as the onset of tropical storm-force winds, are expected to reduce the time available to evacuate or take other actions. Like the watch, NWS may issue the warning when an area could be isolated by inundation.
For all three new codes, NWS receivers that provide a limited, caption-like message display will likely show “UNKNOWN WARNING” or “UNKNOWN WATCH.” Receivers equipped with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) will activate with SAME alarm tones. Receivers equipped with the 1,050 Hz Warning Alarm will activate a tone. The NWS Dissemination Team will work with receiver manufacturers to add the new codes to newly manufactured NWR SAME receivers.
Beginning with the 2017 hurricane season, NWS will request an EAS activation using the EWW event code. If the NWS decides to make the SSW operational in 2017, the NWS will request EAS activation for the Storm Surge Warning. In most jurisdictions, the NWS will notrequest EAS activation for the Storm Surge Watch. WFOs are now reaching out to state and local Emergency Communications Committees, state and local emergency management agencies, and broadcasters’ associations for help in implementing the new codes. Local WFOs may issue public information statements and update WFO web pages and air public service announcements over NWR. These service changes will be further discussed at outreach events and with seasonal hurricane program briefings.
The FCC order does not require an upgrade of existing equipment already in use. The FCC “will allow EAS participants to upgrade their existing equipment to include the new event codes” on a voluntary basis; however, EAS equipment manufacturers are required to “make necessary software upgrades to EAS participants” by March 12, 2017. In most cases, broadcasters only need to obtain and implement the manufacturer-provided software update.