Monday, November 29, 2010

Nature's Razzle-Dazzle in the Sky! Jupiter Delights & Rain Returns!

Monday, November 24, 2010 2 p.m.

Technically I am off after a marathon weekend shift but I am getting my second wind especially with rain in the forecast.  Here is a little secret...if you are a true meteorologist and love what you do there really are no days off. Nature has just too much to offer to not look up and take in your surroundings. Speaking of looking up did you check out Jupiter over the weekend. Yes, at first I thought it was a bright plane in the sky but it did not move, nor was it twinkling like the other stars. This is a sure sign that it was a planet. In this case it was Jupiter and you can really get a good look at it thanks to Richard Beedle who is a sky gazer extraordinaire. I think at least one of those small bright lights around Jupiter is its moon Europa. He took this picture from his nice new camera in Lafayette, Indiana. Here in Florida it was just as bright. Of course Jupiter has made big news this autumn by making its closest approach to Earth since 1963. Jupiter will not be this bright again until its next closest pass to earth in 2022. This razzle-dazzle in the sky should continue for the next several weeks. Look for Jupiter as a very bright object in the evening sky setting in the West. The big red spot which is a storm that is about 4 times the size of the earth can be seen clearly with a telescope late this week in the evening hours as well! Check it out. It is an anti-cyclonic storm with 200 mph winds that has lasted for more than 300 years. So you should never complain about our weather ever again! This is just a portion of nature's dazzling display. You need to check out an even brighter Venus in the eastern sky as you wake up. Even better, Saturn will be right next to Venus. It is hard to not get your day started off on the right foot by just keeping your head up!

Here was the scene on our tower cam at Jacksonville Beach just before noon. What are those strange objects on the camera lens? Yes, rain drops. Even though the rain today will be light and brief and confined mainly to the beaches it is a sign of a much more active weather pattern. Our dew points are now in the 60s which is a good sign for rain and lots of it! Last night our in-house weather model was showing most of us receiving over .50" of rain. This is significant, especially since we have not had any heavy widespread rain since November 4th. How badly do we need the rain? Well here is a list of our driest years on record and I think we are now up to 33.03" but this is not a list you want to be on. It is worse than Santa's naughty list. We are running about 16.53 inches below average and our extreme drought continues. This is about 4 years worth of rainfall for Las Vegas, Nevada since they average about 4 inches of rain per year. Amazing!


But today our blue skies have turned gray and we even have some stratus clouds taking over. These stratus clouds will be transformed into nimbostratus (rain-producing stratus clouds) and cumulonimbus clouds over the next couple of days with our rain chances increasing. Our best chance of rain will be tomorrow night into Wednesday morning and we will have to watch for severe weather. Check back here on the blog tomorrow for an update on why we have to watch severe weather in North Florida and South Georgia a little more closely during La Nina years. In the meantime here are the latest model runs telling us how much rain is on the way!

MODEL #1 .17"

MODEL #2 .44"

MODEL #3 .55"

I am certainly leaning toward model #3 with rain amounts over an inch in some areas especially for southeastern Georgia. Convective wind gusts may hit 70 mph if any of the storms do turn severe and with plenty of wind in the upper-levels isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out.  The highest risk would appear to be overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday. Already today numerous tornado warnings have been issued in Texas and Louisiana with damage already reported in Louisiana. As this system moves our way tomorrow we will keep our eyes to the sky. In the meantime, no severe weather is expected tonight and Tuesday morning. Our weather team will keep you updated.

Last but not you realize it is Cyber Monday. This day was first coined in 2005 as the first Monday after Thanksgiving when people shopped on-line for great holiday deals. Usually people would shop at work where broadband was available. But nowadays most folks have broadband at home and they can shop from their living rooms. There will be over 100 million on-line shoppers today and tonight. Here is my weather gift pick of the day for that special weather enthusiast in your life! Hint, hint....Julie...I HOPE YOU ARE READING THIS...LOL

It is the Davis Vantage Pro 2 Weather Station

It is reliable, accurate, and solar-powered. It provides a steady stream of data from your weather station to your personal computer and you can look at all kinds of graphs which includes pressure, wind, temperatures, and even has a rain gauge that automatically empties out at the end of the day.Your data is also available to anybody on the Internet which I think is cool! Here is more information. Click on

Happy shopping and have a great evening!

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