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Max October 16, 2014

Posted by vpillmore in snow, snow animal rescue.
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I’ve been all over the place lately and haven’t had much time to update my blog! As all my family and friends know, I love shelter animals. My family and I have been rescuing dogs and cats for years. All of our pets either came from a shelter or were saved from a horrible situation. As a Central New York native, I did not realize how awful the dog and cat situations down south were. There are tons of high-kill shelters where most animals only have about a week to get out safely. Unfortunately, not many do make it out.

I work very closely with a few local rescues here in North Carolina. Our main focus is saving the animals at Harnett County animal shelter in Lillington, North Carolina. While helping the animals is very rewarding, it can also be very emotional. A few months ago I fostered a dog named Max through Operation Dog Tag, a rescue that I currently volunteer for. He was a hilarious and loving dog. We had him for about two weeks and then he was off to Casper Humane Society in Casper, Wyoming to find his forever home. Howls on Wheels transport met with other fosters and myself in Spring Lake, North Carolina to pick up all the foster dogs and get them settled into the van. They made stops in Indiana, Michigan, Wyoming, and Colorado. Below are some of the photos before Max went off to Wyoming! We miss him each and every day. He was one of the hardest dogs to leave us.

My sadness quickly turned into happiness when I found out a couple weeks later that Max was adopted! We were so happy. The Casper Humane Society let me get in touch with Max’s new owner who currently resides in Casper. The family is beyond thankful and happy that they now have Max. Just knowing that I changed a life for Max and a family makes fostering so well worth it.

Anyways, you’re probably wondering how this relates to the weather. Click here to see the video I received from Max’s new owner a couple weeks ago. They have snow in Casper already… and Max LOVES it! Check out this video – he is just so great!

If you are considering adding a new pet to your family… please adopt, don’t shop! If you don’t currently volunteer or work with a local rescue or shelter, I would highly consider it. The experience is very emotional but also VERY rewarding as you work to save so many lives!

Blue Ridge Parkway & Chimney Rock October 15, 2014

Posted by vpillmore in Asheville, Autumn, Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock, Fall, Fog, North Carolina.
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The most beautiful fall drive I’ve ever experienced! I love fall. If you love fall just as much as I do, I suggest you visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. These pictures do not do justice to how amazing it truly is. My fiancé and I visited Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend and got to drive on it for a bit, but I would love to do the full 469-mile route in the future! Check out some of the photos I took below!

P.S. we got to see a bear, too! :)

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We also visited Chimney Rock State Park. On a clear day you can see the mountains and Lake Lure from the top of Chimney Rock. Unfortunately, it was a very foggy day so we couldn’t see much, but it was still pretty neat! After walking down Chimney Rock, we then walked on a trail to Hickory Nut Falls.

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Storm Damage in my Hometown of Rome, NY July 22, 2014

Posted by vpillmore in Uncategorized.
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Of course I missed another crazy storm! Luckily I have some pretty great friends who captured photos for me. My friend got a shoutout from The Weather Channel on live TV! I was so excited and jealous. She also got retweeted for some of her pictures she sent in. Here is one below.

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Another Major Storm Hits the South… Winter Storm Pax! February 17, 2014

Posted by vpillmore in Severe, Winter, Winter Storm Pax.
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This winter has been pretty intense for most of the USA this year. The south eastern parts of the country have seen very cold temperatures and a couple of snow storms, which is not a normal winter for southerners. Living in North Carolina for a over a year has been quite interesting. I’m from Rome, NY, so when southerners get nervous about winter weather, I usually think it’s nothing to worry about… until Winter Storm Pax arrived. I can honestly say that Winter Storm Pax was a dangerous storm and even people from up North would say the same! From getting an inch of snow an hour to almost two inches of solid ice on the roads, this storm was epic to say the least.

It was definitely an epic storm for Jim Cantore.  I tweeted him a picture of the icy roads here in Fayetteville, NC and he replied! This obviously made my day. I was so excited!

Jim Cantore replied to my tweet!

Jim Cantore replied to my tweet!

If you read my previous post about Winter Storm Leon occurring on the day before and day of Sable’s birthday, you will also want to know that Winter Storm Pax came around the time Sable had passed away. I think this is her way of saying everything will be okay! Also as I said before, I never get lucky to experience bad weather, and she is allowing me to do so!

Since I had two snow days in a row due to the weather, I had some time to capture some photos of the storm. Take a look below! You will also see my dogs, Toby and Scrappy, playing in the snow – Toby loves it as he is part husky, but Scrappy isn’t a fan of the cold!

Winter Storm Leon February 6, 2014

Posted by vpillmore in Weather, Winter.
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Mike Seidel & I

Last week, Winter Storm Leon brought The Weather Channel to Fayetteville, NC! Since North Carolina isn’t used to the snow, many of the local businesses and schools were closed almost the whole week. Lucky for me, my business was closed, which gave me the opportunity to go downtown and watch Mike Seidel report the weather live! It was such a fun day and I feel so happy that I got to talk to Seidel and take a photo with him.

Another important fact about this day, January 29th, was that it was Sable’s birthday. Sable is my dog who passed away last February due to a long-term illness. The day she passed, North Carolina got snow… and it stuck! We had a few flurries here and there after that, but nothing too wild. Then, the week of Sable’s birthday, I saw on The Weather Channel that Winter Storm Leon was coming. I knew this was a sign that Sable was letting me know she is doing okay.

Everyone who knows me knows that I do not have good luck when it comes to storms. Most people would say I am lucky to never see a major storm, but I think differently. I would love to be around more storms! I have missed earthquakes, dust storms, hail storms, hurricanes, etc. I legitimately get upset when I miss out on all the weather action. So when I heard we were getting snow down here in NC, I knew this was Sable bringing the storm for me. Not only did she bring me the storm, but she gave me the opportunity to see Mike Seidel. What a great day! And a special thank you to my best friend, Sable – love and miss you always.

Sable was the happiest, craziest and best dog I've ever had. <3

Sable was the happiest, craziest and best dog I’ve ever had. <3

Superstorm Sandy October 30, 2012

Posted by vpillmore in Beach, Blizzard, Hurricane Sandy, Severe, Superstorm Sandy, Tropical Storm, Uncategorized, Weather, Wind.
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When the news came out that Hurricane Sandy was going to be historic, many didn’t believe the meteorologists. People, including my own friends and family, said the Weather Channel was just building up this storm too much. I, however, knew this storm was going to be epic. I followed the Weather Channel every minute of the day that I could. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d check for updates, just to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. When the Sandy made landfall, it got very hard to keep up with the news..only because most of it was so devastating. The storm was and still is going strong, but the damage it has brought to Cuba, Jamaica, Bermuda and the United States’ east coast was unbelievable.

My friend Jamie is just as obsessed with the weather as I am. Each hour we were giving each other updates on what we heard or experienced with the storm. We also made sure we kept in touch with our friends in the New York City area to be sure they were taking the proper precautions of the storm and most importantly, to reassure them to take this storm seriously.

I knew the storm was going to be terrifying because another one of my friends, Laci, told me about the wind and flooding going on around her condo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The most important part about this was that the storm did not even make landfall at this point, but it was still causing damaging winds and flooding to surrounding areas. Laci sent me a couple photos of the flooding that was STILL occurring after the storm had passed Florida and made its way to the North Carolina coast. That was when I realized how massive this storm really was.

flooding in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Once Sandy made it to the North Carolina coast, my boyfriend Ryan and I immediately decided to drive to Wrightsville Beach to experience the epic storm. While the storm was not at full potential yet, the winds and waves were still very intense. I walked on the beach for about five minutes before I was completely drenched and full of sand. Again, this is when the storm was not even close to shore yet nor at its full potential.

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My day was made when I put my photos up on Instagram and added the hashtag #iWitnessWeather and received a ‘like’ from the Weather Channel. I had been trying to get their attention for so long – it was awesome to feel noticed for my work! :)

At first I was upset I was not at my home in Rome, NY to experience this massive hurricane, but I quickly changed my mind once Jamie had sent me a video of the waves hitting the coast of Rhode Island. At that point, there were wind gusts of 86 mph were recorded -BEFORE the storm made landfall! It also had 18-24 hours until the storm was going to hit land.

Meteorologists were unsure of where it would actually arrive on land, they were thinking right around New Jersey and Delaware. But when early evening hit on Monday, Sandy made landfall right off of the New Jersey coast.

What many people forget about this storm was that it collided with an arctic storm, causing winter storm warnings in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and parts of western North  Carolina. So we had a mix of snow, rain, wind, thunderstorms, and much more that became components of Sandy.

So many disasters occurred Monday evening. It made it hard to watch the Weather Channel and the news: learning about the dangling crane, injuries and deaths, the power outage at the NYU hospital that forced patients to evacuate, flooded subway stations and the Breezy Point fire – and that is just some of the news. Before I went to bed, about 1 million people were without power. When I woke up, nearly 6.5 million people were without power. Less than an hour later, over 8 million people were without power. This is twice the amount of power outages compared to Hurricane Irene, which destroyed the east coast last October.

The scary part about today is, Sandy is still not over.

Hurricane Sandy……the beginning. October 28, 2012

Posted by vpillmore in Beach, Hurricane Sandy, Rain, Severe, Tropical Storm, Uncategorized, Weather, Wind.
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After destroying most of Cuba and Jamaica, Hurricane Sandy has made her way up the southeast coast. She has flooded Miami and left many stranded. Yesterday, I drove to Wrightsville Beach, NC to experience some of the upcoming storm surge. The waves were almost 12 feet high!….and that is while the storm is not even on land yet. We will see what happens when Sandy makes landfall and collides with two other storms creating…FRANKENSTORM.

First snowfall of the year at St. Bonaventure University November 1, 2011

Posted by vpillmore in Uncategorized.
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On October 27th, St. Bonaventure University saw its first snowfall of the year. The snow did not stick to the ground, however it provided a beautiful, unique scene for students, staff and faculty to see the snow fall on the autumn trees and hills.

When will the first major snowstorm hit south western New York State? We can only guess, but by the looks of the upcoming Nor’easter – it could be very, very soon.

First snowfall at SBU. Difficult to see the snow falling, but look closely and you can see it!

All this talk about weather, and not enough about safety! September 28, 2011

Posted by vpillmore in Blizzard, Earthquake, FEMA, Flood, Severe, Thunderstorm, Tornado, Weather.
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In my previous posts, I have talked a little about weather safety tips but not enough. It is surprising to me when I talk to people and they do not know or understand the safety precautions to take when severe weather hits their local area. Extreme weather can happen anywhere at any given moment, and it is important to be prepared. This post will give you some safety tips for the most common severe weather trends.

First off, it is important to know the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means it is possible for the event to happen in your area. A warning means this event IT IS going to hit your area.  For example, a severe thunderstorm watch means there is a possibly a storm may occur; but if the warning comes out then you will definitely be seeing this storm.

Severe Thunderstorm. If a severe thunderstorm is in your area…

  • Stay inside, preferably a room with little to no windows. It is important to stay away from windows because lightning can strike and go through the glass. Also, if there are high wind gusts a window can break and hurt you.
  • Try not to travel. With possible high wind gusts, hail and flooding, you can get injured.
  • If you are stuck outside, try to find shelter. STAY AWAY FROM TREES. Trees are known for being struck by lightning and falling over. Try to find a building or tunnel.
  • Always have a few flashlights with functioning batteries in your home incase an unexpected storm comes and the power goes out. Try to have candles and matches as well just incase something goes wrong with the flashlights. If the power does go out, do not open the refrigerator  unless necessary. By opening the fridge, you are allowing the cold air to get out and your food will go bad.
  • Do not use the phone, take a shower, or anything else that uses gas or electricity.

Tornado. If a tornado is in your area…

  • Follow the same exact instructions as above.
  • Seek shelter IMMEDIATELY.
  • Go to your basement or storm cellar. If you do not have one, get to the lowest elevation possible.
  • If you are stuck outside, try to find a ditch. A tornado will most likely go right over it and not hurt you. But it is obviously better to be inside.
  • If you live in an area where tornadoes are constant (i.e. My sister lives in Tennessee and they have almost nonstop tornadoes in the summer), be prepared ahead of time. Get extra food and water to keep you and your family healthy incase you go a long time without power.
  • Listen to radio news updates.

Below is a YouTube video I found from the deadly Joplin, Missouri tornado (May 2011).

Tropical Storm and/or Hurricane. If either of these are in your area…

  • Secure your home. Try to board windows and doors before the storm comes.
  • If you have a boat or floatation device, try to prepare that before the storm comes. This can help you get around incase it is necessary for you to leave your home.
  • Shut your electricity and gas off in your home.
  • If possible do your best to evacuate before the storm, otherwise you may never leave.
  • Listen to radio news updates.

Extreme, Excessive Heat. If you are stuck in high temperatures…

  • STAY HYDRATED. This is the most important. Heat can do a lot of damage to your body. If you are hydrated you can save yourself some health problems.
  • Avoid eating hot foods, such as soup. This will increase your body temperature.
  • Stay inside on the lowest floor. Heat rises, so the higher in the building or house you are, the warmer it will be.
  • If you have to be outside, wear thin clothing and less layers. A good example would be a thin tank top and thin gym shorts. Also, do not wear dark clothing. Dark colors attract the sun more and will bring more heat to your body.

Severe Winter Conditions/Blizzard. If you severe winter conditions are in your area…

  • Stay inside and keep warm. If you know a storm is coming, try to get as much food and water as you can before it hits. Many winter storms can produce several feet of snow, which can trap you in your home.
  • Eat warm foods, such as soup – or drink some hot chocolate.
  • If you are stuck outside, cover your mouth and keep dry. Being wet will make you more cold, making you more prone to hypothermia. Be sure to look for signs of frostbite and hypothermia constantly. If you are with someone you can stay warm by putting your body skin on each other.

    A photo from the 2006 "October Surprise" snow storm in Buffalo, NY.

To read safety procedures for floods and earthquakes, check out my previous blog posts. For more tips on each of the above weather trends log on to the FEMA: Disasters & Maps website. Here you can read about all the types of disasters and learn what to do before, during and after they occur.

Have a disaster story? Feel free to share!

A Rainforest and a Glacier..in the same place? September 28, 2011

Posted by vpillmore in Glacier, Hike, New Zealand, Rainforest, Southern Alps, Weather.
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Not many people can say they hiked a glacier. Fortunately, I had the exciting experience of doing so.

As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, I spent my Australian spring break on the South Island of New Zealand. Our tour group went to Fox Glacier, where we hiked up, around and down the historic glacier. It was a very exhausting walk but it was well worth it, and I would suggest everyone try it someday.

How does climbing a glacier relate to the weather? According to the West Coast of the Southern Alps website, approximately 140 glaciers flow through the Southern Alps; however, only the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers go about 250 meters above sea level and are accompanied by a temperate rainforest. Besides Argentina, this is the only other place you can experience being in a rainforest and seeing a glacier at the same time. It felt strange to be in a somewhat mild climate and witnessing some snow fall on top of a 13-kilometer long glacier. It is almost like getting the best of both warm and cold climates at the same time, but you can choose which one you want to be in with just a few steps. Crazy, right? I thought so.

Here is a slideshow of my hike. The pictures cannot express how amazing it really was!

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So, I encourage you to fly to New Zealand and go climb the Fox or  Franz Josef glaciers to experience this rare climatic change. Before you do so, let me give you a few tips from my hike:

1) Be well rested. This is a long, exhausting hike, and if you are not awake for this then you will most likely not get the best experience. Be ready to be on your feet for over four hours. You also want to be wide awake so you can listen to the tour guide and hear everything he says about the glacier. You will learn a lot if you are able to be alert and pay attention.

2) Stretch. It is important to stretch before you do this hike. You walk up and downhill A LOT. So stretch your legs to ensure you will not get sore. Do this whenever you get a break from the hike, too.

3) Charge your camera. This is something you NEED to keep on record that you did! There are so many amazing things you see on this hike that you will have to have photographs of, or even a video. So be sure your batteries are charged and ready to go.

4) Stay hydrated and eat. You will get very tired from this hike so it is important to stay hydrated to keep your body going. Be sure to bring an ice cold water bottle with you. You can refill this a couple times on the hike. There are small waterfalls on the hike that have non-contaminated spring water. It tasted great! Also, be sure to eat before you hike and bring a few snacks to munch on incase you get hungry. These are essential to keep your energy level up.

Have you already been to these glaciers? Maybe the one in Argentina? I would love to hear of your adventures and see your photos! Please share.

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