Wednesday, July 02, 2008

thank you...

Today is my last broadcast here at CBS46 and I just wanted to thank everyone for such a wonderful 3 years. While I was always content with working in a small market... being able to work in your hometown (especially when it is a top 10 market) and at the station you interned at in college is a dream come true. I am so glad that I did it.

It has been such a great experience because I have gotten to work with so many talented people that taught me so much. I have also been able to meet so many wonderful viewers at events around town and of course at the hundreds of schools I have visited. To each of you... I thank you. Your hospitality was welcomed and appreciated.

The above pictures came in this week from dedicated viewers. The top one is of mammatus clouds sent in by Chris Buff while the one below is of a beautiful sunset send in by a viewer in Loganville.

As for what is next... the goal is to hang around Atlanta a while longer and pursue some other opportunities here (maybe TV, maybe Starbucks... I'm not sure yet). :-)

I wish you all the best.

Chris Smith

P.S. Laura promises me she will do a better job to keep this blog updated! ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

welcome summer...

Although we have been enjoying summer heat for nearly a month... technically it won't we summer until 7:59 tonight! That is when the sun will ascend to its highest latitude (Tropic of Cancer, 23.5 degrees north latitude) on the celestial sphere making today the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere while it will be the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

One of the common questions we get in the weather department is why today is the highest point for the sun yet our maximum temperatures do not occur until July/August typically?

The reason is something called the 'lag of the seasons' and it is the same reason why it is hotter in the mid-afternoon than at noon. We receive our maximum insolation (the time when the maxiumum solar energy is deposited during the day at a point on the surface of the Earth) at midday and on the first day of summer when the sun is the highest in the sky. Because the Earth, the atmosphere, and oceans store heat they release it at a slower pace than they stored it up. Thus it takes about a month for us to see our highest temperatures on average. The same happens with the first day of winter being in December, but us not seeing out coldest temperatures on average until January.

You can learn more about the 'Summer Solstice' by clicking here.

Have a great Summer!!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

low lakes...

With summer season in full swing it means folks are busy enjoying their neighborhood pools and lakes. While the winter rains helped ease the drought a little replenish many of our lakes, some remain low and continue to get lower. (Check the current lake levels here)

Lake Lanier peaked this spring at 1057.80' on May 24th. That was still more than 13' below full pool!! Since then the lake has dropped almost a foot to 1056.85'. One of the major reasons why is because now that we are into the summer season the sun evaporates nearly .2" of water every day. During the winter very little rain is evaporated because of the low sun angle.

You can do a simple experiment and notice the difference the summer sun makes. Pour a cup of water on the pavement in the sun and time how long it takes to evaporate. Then, pour a cup of water on the driveway in the shade. With full sunshine, the water evaporates much more quickly.

Even with above average rainfall during the summer it is very tough for the lakes to rise much because of the sun. The forecast for the area lakes over the month ahead shows Lake Lanier is expected to drop another foot! So, even with average to above average rainfall our lakes will drop. That's why is is so important that we all do our part to conserve!

A great resource for conservation is called Watersmart. They are a local organization committed to water conservation!

Have a great weekend and hopefully you will enjoy some of those scattered storms around the area.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

GIANT Moon!!!!

No, the moon is not ready to explode after a giant Thanksgiving feast, nor is it ready to crash into Earth. The giant moon you are witnessing this week at moonrise is called the 'solstice moon illusion.'

What is happening is your eyes are playing tricks on you! Scientists are not a 100% sure why and there are several theory's as to why it happens. The neat thing is that while the moon looks huge to you, it is actually a 'normal' size if you look at it through a camera lens.

The 'giant moon' is more apparent this time of year because when the sun is at its highest, the moon is at its lowest. With summer starting Saturday, that is the highest sun of the year and thus the lowest moon.

Although it was originally thought that the moon was being magnified by the atmosphere, we now know this not to be true because images of the moon on film are the same size regardless of elevation.

You can read more about this optical phenomenon and the theories as to why it happens by clicking here.

Also, here are the moonrise times for the days ahead.

Moonrise 6/17: 8:25 p.m.

Moonrise 6/18: 9:16 p.m.

Moonrise 6/19: 10:01 p.m.

Happy viewing...


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'light'-ning show...

Just wanted to share this picture that a viewer sent me. It was taken by Kevin Turner in Hiram on Monday night. We had some very impressive electrical storms Monday night and Kevin, an amateur photographer, caught this strike. Notice how it forks across the sky and then you have the leader stroke hitting the ground.

If you would like to learn more about lightning and lightning safety just log onto our website at

Thanks Kevin!


Monday, June 09, 2008


The 2008 hurricane season is under way and we have already had our first storm, Arthur, which hit the Belize/Mexico coast last weekend.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting an above average season (see above graphic) for the coming year so we are expecting to stay pretty busy in the weather center. If we are lucky we might be able to get a nice tropical storm to give us some added rain in northern Georgia.

All hurricane season you can keep up with the latest on our website at We have a special hurricane section where you can track the individual storms and get the latest hurricane news.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

drought update...

Although we still desperately need rainfall to continue to improve our drought situation (we are 4.93" down in 2008 & -11.90" June '07-June'08)) the latest drought update says that things are continuing to get better... although very slowly. The above graphic shows the most recent drought statement while the one to the left shows the drought statement from mid-late May. The area lakes are remaining close to full pool with the exception of Lanier which is still a good 13' down. Lake Hartwell on the GA/SC border continues to remain quite low.

It is amazing how a relatively short difference can make a difference between flood and drought. This map shows the areas of flood with green, blue, and purple and areas of below normal rainfall in yellow, orange, and red. This map is covers a period from last October. A persistent ridge of high pressure over the Southeast keeps the heaviest rainfall away from the state of Georgia. This is also the time frame that we have seen an improvement in our drought. Basically, our drought had gotten so bad last year that below average rainfall since last fall has actually improved things.

If there is some more good news, the drought is expected to improve somewhat this summer...

Finally, I want to thank Constance Benegar of Sterling, VA. for sending me this amazing picture of a double rainbow with a lightning strike in the distance! The photo was taken in Warrenton, VA. (about 45 miles from D.C.).

Looks like some of those storms that have been way to our north will impact the metro area later this week!


back to the grind...

I hope you and your family were able to get out and enjoy your Memorial Weekend. I was actually able to get out of town and spend it with my in-laws at their lake house down on Lake Eufaula (on the GA/AL border south of Columbus).

My wife and I had not been to the lake since last Fall and what a difference as far as the lake levels. Between the heavier rains over the winter in Central and Southern Georgia and the fact that they are letting out more water into the Chattahoochee River the lake down there is at full pool. That is much improved from the more than 5' drop we experienced last year. Last Fall we were barely able to get the boat off the lift!

Much of the time we were there last week was spent fishing. Although the fish were not biting at a record rate... we did catch a few. Here is a look at an 10"-11" Shellcracker I caught. In addition to some Shellcrackers, we caught some Bream and a few Catfish (I hate taking those things off!!!). :-)

The weather was great the whole time we were there with highs in the 80s... picture perfect!

Today is my 3rd of 16 straight days working so it's a good thing I rested up! Still, my job still beats working for a living. :-)


WGCL covers Iraq....

As you know, our weather producer, Greg Majewski, has been serving overseas in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan over the past year. The other day he sent me this picture of a flag which flew over the main palace in Baghdad in honor of CBS46 for our support of our troops serving over there. Pretty cool!

Greg, is just 20 days away from being home here in the states. He will be back at work by July 14. I suspect you will see him on air from time to time starting in August. We can't wait to have him back! That being said, Greg might not come back if he gets more visits from Scarlett Johansson! :-)