Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainbows, Fire Rainbows, & Now Tropical Depression One Forms Oh My!

The big news this morning is tropical depression one has formed and it could briefly become tropical storm Ana before it moves into cooler waters and becomes extratropical. You can see the bright white swirl in the Atlantic which is showing better organization. That bright white color is being caused by thunderstorms reaching up near 60,000 feet and they are now wrapping around its low pressure center giving us a good indication this is not only a tropical depression but it will briefly become tropical storm Ana. The good news is this is a "fish storm" and it poses no threat to land. The NOAA storm track which I agree with takes it quickly out to see as you see below.

I do think it is a sign of a busy start to our hurricane season which officially does not begin until Monday. A few long-range maps just in this morning show more trouble in the tropics by the middle of June. So as of now I still think our tropical season this year peaks in July and August before quickly diminishing in September due to increased wind shear and El Nino conditions. I am forecasting 10 named storms with 4 hurricanes this year which compared to average is slightly below average. But again numbers do not matter, it is all about preparation and mitigation as I learned from Craig Fugate back when I was a meteorologist in Gainesville, Florida. It takes only one storm to ruin your life and Craig helped me do a story on a mock storm we named Zack and what people should be doing as it grew from an area of thunderstorms to a hurricane. It was an education for me to say the least. Craig Fugate is a Florida native from Alachua County and he actually helped develop that county's emergency management back in the late 1980s. Craig became the Florida Emergency Management Director in 2001 and in 2004 he managed the largest federal disaster in our country's history as hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne turned the land of paradise upside down. I am excited to say that Craig is our new FEMA director and I can tell you based on meeting, talking, and working with him in the past I know he will do a great job. Here are a few tips from Craig of what you can do BEFORE hurricane season begins.

1) Develop a family emergency plan.

2) Take a first aid emergency class and learn a skill.

3) In the event of a disaster be prepared to secure the family first and then go and check on a neighbor.

I know these tips work well for everybody in our country whether you live in hurricane country or not. I will have more details on these tips and much more here on the blog over the next few days and weeks including hurricane evacuation routes. This will be a must-see and another reason to check back and also become a blogger. My best advice is for all my friends back in the Midwest is to also follow these tips because as you know tornadoes and severe weather also ravage your area and the meat and potatoes of your tornado season is on the way over the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Now today if you are going to be running some errands and making me proud by stocking up on disaster supplies be ready for another round of storms. By 10 a.m. you can see a new batch of storms already forming on the Gulf side of Florida and they will quickly move our way by early and mid-afternoon. I do think like yesterday most of the rain should be done by 6 p.m. thanks to a nice southwest to west breeze at 25 to 35 mph up at 10,000 feet. This is where you look to see what direction storms are moving from and how fast they will move. Many times in Florida the upper-levels of the atmosphere are stagnant with no strong fronts nearby and thunderstorms hold off until later in the day. But we are in a much faster flow as you see below.

Now since last week when the system with no name came through the area (many are now thinking it should have been named in the meteorological community) I have had nearly 14 inches of rain so we are not done yet. Look for another .25" to .50" of rain today with locally heavier downpours. We will wash, rinse, and repeat one more time tomorrow before our most significant front brining drier air for the weekend moves our way. I will have more on this front here on the blog as it draws closer and I DO THINK PARTS OF FLORIDA WILL SEE SEVERE WEATHER WITH IT TOMORROW AND TOMORROW NIGHT. I cannot leave you on a bad note so here is something to make your day.

Look for more beautiful rainbows to form around the area today. Here is what it looked like yesterday near Creekside High School. I of course quickly pulled off to the side of the road and captured it for you. I also saw my first fire rainbow yesterday! This almost caused an accident on Interstate 95 but luckily I had enough sense to keep on moving and got a better look at it off the Baymeadows exit! What is a fire rainbow and what causes it? Your answer is on the way. I did at least get a picture of the batch of clouds that caused it before it dissipated.
Make it a great day!!!


Anonymous said...

What is a fire rainbow?


Anonymous said...

WOW a fire rainbow, what a treat Mike, I have never seen one!


Justin said...

That is a great rainbow picture Mike. Just be careful pulling off to the side of the road LOL! :)

It has been really nice here in Lafayette IN, today with mostly cloudy skies however we did see a few quick peaks of sun. And nice cool temperatures in the 70s!

Justin In Lafayette, IN.

Anonymous said...

okay. I looked up fire rainbows. WOW! They are awesome. I'm glad you got to see one, Mike. They don't occur very often.


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