Friday, October 29, 2010

Curse O' Extremo Tiempo Continues into Halloween Weekend & Our Winter


Yes! Isn't nice to see a picture from the last time we had widespread heavy rain and thunderstorms over our area. This was taken by Craig O'Neal in Ponte Vedra Beach back on September 29th. It seems like we have not had a good rain in months. Last night once again many of us missed out on any appreciable rain. The heaviest amounts stayed up in Georgia as expected. But even Brunswick and Waycross did not have much to write home about with just over one-third of an inch of rain reported. By time you moved into North Florida, Lake City only had .05" and a dismal .02" was reported near Bolles School. The rest of us were once again left with a big rain. Nature has gone by the beat of its own drum and I am even beginning to wonder if it has really cast a weather curse over on us. Nobody takes missing a foreast harder than I do, so I will deal with it by having a sense of humor. Although it is tough! I am calling it the curse o' extremo tiempo, which means "extreme weather" in Spanish. Check out this impressive lightning near Saint Simons Island last night that was texted to me. Now this makes me feel even sicker and more superstitious.

It seems as if nature has put a big dome over most of the Jacksonville-St.Augustine viewing area that does not allow any rain to fall. None of our sophisticated weather models had the robust line of showers and storms over Georgia totally vanishing by time it arrived in north Florida. What really happened to our rainfall? Well the front actually wrapped in unusually dry air in the mid and upper levels into our area from the Gulf of Mexico. This is the same dry air that has kept all those tropical systems away from us so far this year. Also our cold front slowed down and by time it arrived late at night we lost a lot of our instability that helps hold together lines of showers and thunderstorms. These were just a couple factors but it goes to show you why I love being a meteorologist. There are great challenges when looking a hundreds of variables every day while forecasting.  This curse o'extremo tiempo began over the winter which was our coldest since 1977. Then came our second hottest summer on record including a 50 day streak of highs reaching 90 or above which was the first time that had taken place since records were kept in 1871. Then came the drought that really has taken a stranglehold this October. It has now been 30 straight days without rain at Jacksonville International Airport. Tampa and Orlando are also going to have their first rain-less October ever! Take a look at last night's rainfall...and the dry doughnut hole over our area. Now this picture really tells the story.

Meteorologically you can say that we have had one of our strongest El Nino's on record give way to a strong La Nina in an usually short time span. These huge changes in Pacific ocean temperatures can cause huge fluctuations in weather all across the globe. Even if they are just a couple of many variables that are looked at, I would say it is one of the main factors of crazy weather not just here at home but all over the globe. This winter our La Nina pattern will cause more wild times. Look for a bad and early fire season along with a warm and dry winter which will cause drought conditions to become worse. Here is the latest NOAA forecast for us this winter showing more dry and warm weather ahead.

This does not mean our November will be dry...I do think we will see a much more active November with closer to normal rainfall. The first part of December could bring a few surprise snow flurries but by mid and late December we will be drying out again in a big way as a ridge of high pressure builds over the southeast and it could last well into the Spring. Temperature-wise we may get off to a cold start this winter but it will not last and I DO NOT agree with the temperature map below. This gives us equal chances of above or below average temperatures. I give us an 80% chance of above-average winter temperatures.

Our drought is a huge concern and we are now 15.36 inches below average for the year. Now as La Nina sets in and hurricane season officially ends on November 30th our concerns will only grow stronger. I had an opportunity to visit with Steve Letro at the National Weather Service. Here is what he had to say.

 "We do see a lot of our rainfall statistics skewed by the presence of a strong La Nina which speaks to drier weather to begin with and anything that comes comes along to try to counter-act that will only act to balance it out rather than produce a significant increase in rainfall which is what we would    really like to see when we are going into a winter as dry as we are right now. This means fire season could be not only bad but come much earlier than normal.

Things can get more significantly  serious in the Spring when things are growing a little bit more but even in the winter we can have significant fire problems as well. The thing that people need to get used to or thinking of over the next few months is getting used to the idea that you will be told not to burn, asked to conserve water and when you do hear these requests from the authorities please make sure when you hear these requests to comply with them." …. 

I could not agree more and while none of us can control the weather including me (I would have made it rain 2 inches everywhere last night) we can at least all do our part to make a bad situation a little bit better. Now since I always keep the glass half full here is the good news in the forecast. If you are going to the big Georgia-Florida game the only bark and bite will come from the field with game-time temperatures in the middle 70s falling to near 70 by game's end. We finally have some fine fall weather. Shelli Krings my sister from Oshkosh, Wisconsin will complete our nice weekend ahead by sending us a nice autumn scene since that is the only thing our picture-perfect forecast is missing! THANKS SHELLI! There may be a few clouds coming off the ocean but our rain chance will remain less than 5%. Since tens of thousands of folks are coming from all over the country this weekend even though we have a lot of weather issues at least nature will provide some nice weather for all the festivities.

Check back over the weekend for a real Halloween forecast you will not find anywhere else....if you are brave enough.....haaaaahhaaaaaahaaaa...take care!!! We will also talk about Shary and Tomas...two tropical systems we will be tracking over the weekend and just how unusual our season has been. Take care, now it is time to run my Friday 7! Weather running mantra..Feeling 20 degrees cooler and no drought can slow you down, run the whole town. Let nature lead the way and make it your best running day.

We are only 107.25 days away from the RUN WITH DONNA MARATHON...It is officially on February 13, 2010...time to go train! Have a great weekend!

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