I was picking up my oldest daughter from the bus stop and noticed this storm damage. Yes, the meteorologist quickly came out of me and without even thinking about it I quickly took this picture. You can also say the Hoosier came out of me. Once you have lived in the Midwest you are changed forever and I would like to think for the much better! :) I am a little more sensitive to weather change and a subtle change in the wind will cause me to wonder what is coming our way. I was used to the weather changing every few minutes. That should make me a better meteorologist that is for sure no matter where I live and here in Florida I will prove to you that there is plenty of weather to track. It is not just the Sunshine State but the Lightning Capital of the World! Then there are hurricanes and the mix of mid-latitude weather with sub-tropical weather that can be quite combustible.
Speaking of a big confrontation between the tropics and mid-latitudes that is exactly what is causing our wild weather...
We have gone from really nice to a riproaring storm. You can see why above we have an upper-level low pressure just southwest of Florida and a subtropical low pressure near the Bahamas. This storm is a two headed monster. If the water temperatures had been about 3 to 5 degrees warmer in the Atlantic it would have gotten a lot more interesting. Right now it looks like the water is just too cool for an official tropical storm in the Atlantic and the Bahamas low is expected to be absorbed in the upper-level low. I still say there is about a 20% chance of this being named Storm Ana as it moves over the warmer Gulf of Mexico which does have water temperatures of 80 or above needed for tropical development. If you are traveling to the Panhandle of Florida for the big Memorial Day weekend I would think twice. If you are heading to the East Coast of Florida it does not look as bad as things heat up and we slowly start to dry out! There will still be a chance of a few pop up thunderstorms each day.
This storm may not get a name but it could be every bit as bad as a tropical storm in many ways. When it comes to rainfall as I will not rule out some portions of Florida receiving 15 to 20 inches of rain on the East Coast and the Panhandle. You see the bands of heavy rain coming off the Atlantic.
In essence before all is said and done portions of Florida will receive more rain between now and Friday than they have seen in the past 6 months. This includes southwest Flagler County that has seen 12 inches of rain already. Even here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas we will see as much rain from this tropical nor'easter than we have had in the past 3 months. Most areas will receive between 5 and 9 inches of rain before all is said and done with the higher amounts to the south and east.
The wind is also whipping up! Whew! There have also been 54 mph wind gusts reported at the Jaksonville Beach pier with wind speeds along the beaches to St. Augustine in the 35 to 40 mph. I have pictures coming here on the blog tomorrow that will amaze you. Remember you only need sustained winds of 39 mph for a tropical storm. But of course it will just not be organized enough over the Atlantic but do not be surprised to see more wind gusts in the 40 to 50 mph range on the beaches through at least tomorrow night. There have already been downed signs and powerlines at Jacksonville Beach along with some power outages and street lights that are out. This is making travel even more difficult. It is hard to believe that some areas did not have a drop of rain for 24 days before this rain hit now we cannot get rid of the rain. Southern portions of the Jacksonville area are still officially in a moderate drought which includes St. Johns County. Well this a drought buster and then some. No more drought to worry about after this monster is done with us. Our fire threat will also be vanquished, but unfortunately we will be going from relief to grief with too much rain on the way. In Florida when it rains it pours! That is one of my favorite weather sayings here and you will certainly see why over the next few days. With the slow movement of this storm beach erosion will also be a problem along with high surf. Look for 10 foot waves to pound the beaches and unfortunately this hybrid nor'easter will cause more beach erosion in spots than a hurricane or tropical storm would of because of not only its slow movement but huge size.
It was like a winter day out there today. Look at that dark sky above and with temperatures in the upper 50s and 60s across the area it felt like it too. I talked to some neighbors that actually got out the hot chocolate. Now you would be laughed at if you lived in the Midwest but do not be offended. Temperatures did run 20 degrees below average today and after being in the middle 90s less than two weeks ago even I had a few chills run down my spine while trying to walk the dog. Keep the hot chocolate coming and send some my way. We can sit down and talk about the blizzard of 2007 that hit the Lafayette area and the May storm of 2009 that will likely be one we will all remember before all is said and done. What you see above is Race Track Road that was brought to a crawl during rush hour with not just heavy rain making it tough to see but plenty of ponding of water causing hydroplaning and accidents. This scene was repeated over many roads during this evening's rush hour and is a sign of things to come. Please slow down and remember to leave plenty of room in front of you over the next few days.
Now I have already had quite a few e-mails about many concerned Hoosiers about this coming up weekend in the Midwest. Here is a sunny picture received from Monticello yesterday from Doralea Farrell. How the tide has changed. You would think this was taken in Florida. LOL Here on this Tuesday evening I am going to stick my neck out there and tell you that the holiday weekend looks dry for the Lafayette area and this includes Monday. Get used to the sunny weather while here in Florida I may not see much sunshine until Saturday. Am I crazy? Well yes since I am a meteorologist. But it is race weekend and this is unheard of for meteorologists to give the all clear for the race on a Tuesday. Well I am now in Florida and I am a little more brave making this call from a thousand miles away. I do know that I still take every forecast seriously no matter who it is for and I know I have nowhere to hide when all our friends from Indiana come and visit this summer. But, the reason I think you will be okay for the Indy 500 is this hybrid tropical system is slowing down the overall pattern. Florida is being swamped with 10 to 20 inches of rain and this storm is moving extremely slowly. The longer it pours outside my window the better news for Indiana and yes it is still pouring. I hear it loud and clear over the radio without a doubt. I do not think this big storm will pull out of the Gulf of Mexico and make a real move toward Indiana until the middle of next week. Now you may have a better chance of having a pool party than me! :)
The European model backs me up on this as you can see above! Now if you are reading this from Indiana make sure to stay updated with my friends at Weather Team 18 as well. One thing is for sure and that is Lafayette will be in the lower to middle 80s the next couple days and it looks like temperatures will once again be near 80 for much of the holiday weekend after a weak and dry front makes it through the area on Friday.
I will catch y'all later. I have some gators to wrestle or at least a tread mill and then some more models that come in later tonight. Sleep tight and do not let the bed bugs bite! Now I need to get the video forecasts up and running....so much to do and so little time. By the way the London Broil did turn out good tonight! Few things make me happier than stormy weather, good food, and company here on the blog. I wanted to thank Ana for being the first Floridian to write me here on the weather blog that originated in a special Midwest town on the Wabash River. Now the sky is the limit and I look forward to enjoying nature to the fullest with you. Life is too short not to have fun and we are all connected weatherwise and otherwise. Thanks for all your support.