Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Year In Review

I really like this twilight time of year between Christmas and the New Year. As a kid, I always thought it was an extremely short week; not enough time to play with presents. As I got older, I found it was a good time to take stock of the past year and begin making plans for the new year. Its kind of like that great line in the movie "Forest Gump" - you get to start over.

In 2006, there weren't too many weather events that stood out; but those that did were quite memorable. They year began with some dramatic severe weather as tornadoes raced into Georgia from Alabama on January 2nd, just hours from the start of the Sugar Bowl. That game needed to be moved from New Orleans because of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Here's a map showing the six tornadoes that touched down that afternoon:

Our bout of severe weather didn't show up until April 8th when we were slammed by several powerful tornadoes overnight. There's no good time for a tornado, but the very worst time is at night, when most people are asleep. These storms began arriving in Cobb county around 4 am and we were on the air. Personally, it was the highlight of my career so far in Atlanta because I received so much positive feedback from viewers who saw our coverage and took life-saving action. When daylight allowed us to see the first pictures like this, we were amazed that no one was seriously hurt:

The summer was quiet as the developing El Nino pattern squelched the tropics and kept us hotter than we've been in a while. In fact, our big story this summer was the lack of rain and the need to impose water restrictions. Rain finally returned by the fall, although we will end the year with a slight deficit of just around 2 inches. The other big story this summer was the return of dirty air. Air quality and weather go hand-in-hand. When the summer is rainy, we don't have many bad air days. But weeks of dry and hot weather lead to the kind of stagnant weather conditions that caused us to have our smoggiest summer in six years.

The New Year will pretty much start the way 2006 ends, with no real distinguishable weather pattern. El Nino is still going on, so the really cold air that usually descends toward us in January and February may not make a long-lasting appearance. However, El Nino also means that we could see the possibility of some ice or snow sometime before the winter is over and a fairly wet and stormy spring.

Regardless, the year did seem to zip by. I hope that you and yours have a wonderful 2007 and if you see anything interesting in the sky, e-mail us. Who knows? You could be on TV.

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