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                   Monday, February 11, 2008 - 1:41PM

Wildfires in NC, VA; Freezing thunderstorms in KS, MO

By DAN ROBINSON
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Strong winds have been fanning large wildfires across Virginia and North Carolina into today. Take a look at this satellite animation of a huge wildfire smoke plume over extreme northeastern North Carolina, near the Dismal Swamp along Route 17 close to the Virginia border:

Notice how the plume shifts as the winds change direction from north to west. Also of interest is the rare use of the 'smoke' METAR observation symbol at the Elizabeth City weather station:

The latest flurry of blog posts reflects the fact that we are in the middle of a very active weather pattern that will be continuing for the forseeable future. The winter storm in the midwest this morning has already produced significant ice accumulations in southwest Missouri, as well as causing accidents into Kansas and Oklahoma. The remarkable thing about the area of freezing rain in Kansas and Missouri this morning is how convective in nature it has been - producing copious amounts of lightning. On radar, the system is no different than a summertime thunderstorm complex - except everything at the surface is ice!

This system is moving our direction, and should begin affecting West Virginia sometime after sunset tonight. While the thunderstorms will likely not make it this far, the freezing rain, sleet and snow will.

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