It has turned into a stormy day for some of us with rainfall closing in on one inch of rain here on the southside of Lafayette. The good news is the upper-level disturbance bringing this rain will continue to shear out and weaken as we head through the evening with the next batch of thunderstorms expected to be closer to the main front back in Illinois. I still think things will improve as we head into our Friday Night frenzy forecast. Make sure to tune in for the latest on Live Doppler 18. I do not expect a repeat of this on our Saturday. So do not hit the panic button. I will explain why tonight at 5,6, and 11.
The latest check on Florida is not good with tornadoes being sighted from Ponte Vedra Beach to the World Golf Village. These places I mention were all the areas where my family was vacationing at just a few weeks ago. You see us on the beach during the better days before Fay hit. I did notice the weather was bizarre when we were there with unusual rain and disturbingly low pressure for that time of year. I was worried this would make my old stomping grounds a target for tropical systems. My fears became a reality today with tons of power outages hitting the area with very few traffic lights working from the Beach to the Downtown area. This is due to tons of huge oak trees toppling over. Wind speeds of 30 to 50 mph with a saturated ground is not a good combination for those beautiful trees. Powerlines are on homes, cars, and front lawns. Folks are trapped in their homes as a result of these hot wires. Up to four inches of rain per hour hit the area with some localized rainfall now surpassing 14 inches in part of Jacksonville. The St. Johns River is becoming a beast as it approaches high tide this afternoon and is well out of its banks. It is feeling the effects of a storm surge of up to 3 feet along along with those record-setting rains. The river has white caps at this point and looks more like the Atlantic Ocean. The water simply has nowhere to go and I am very worried about many of my favorite places to go being washed away with a clean-up that will last not just months, but years. This tropical storm will go down as one of the worst tropical storms on record and is causing the worst flooding in Jacksonville since 1964.
Evacuations are now taking place from Riverside, San Marco, and the Avondale areas along the St. Johns River. Even areas inland from the ocean and away from the river are now going under water which includes the University of North Florida. The JTB/Gate River Parkway ramp looks more like a river and is closed. If that is not enough another tornado warning has gone into effect at my alma mater. So my prayers go out to all my friends and family and I have not been able to get a hold of my parents. My Dad sent this picture of the Prangley palm tree below before Fay moved into Duval County with devastating feeder bands bringing flash flooding and tornadoes. Things went downhill in a hurry late last night as Fay will go down as one of the most unique storms ever and likely one of the toughest storms ever to track. It has certainly played havoc with all meteorologists and forecast all across the country including here at home. Just look out your window. Not one model showed what happened out there today. We can blame Fay.
I do think another 3 to 6 inches of rain is not out of the question for parts of Jacksonville. The good news is Fay is moving westward which should help end the worst of the torrents of rain over Jacksonville. Where will Fay go.....possible back over the Gulf of Mexico which could allow it to build strength and maybe swing up our way by the middle of next week. What a storm. God bless! I will see you soon.