Tuesday, December 14, 2010

41 hours in the Deep Freeze for Frozen Florida! Even colder tonight with Black Ice Threat!

December 14, 2010 1 p.m.

This picture captures the very essence of what we are going through here in Florida. Those monster icicles on my friend Jeff's house were created by him running a water contraption on his roof and nature took care of the rest. Lows last night reached a record-breaking 20 at Jacksonville's airport and the middle 20s by the river and to the beaches. Upper teens hit the normally colder locations to our west and in Southeast Georgia. The amazing part is we were 20 degrees colder than Caribou, Maine and tonight we will be colder than them once again! It is like we have placed the whole state of Florida up in New England. West Palm Beach had a low of 32! Wind chills this morning were as low as 7 degrees which means it felt like the coldest actual temperature ever recorded in Jacksonville which took place in January of 1985. I can say as somebody who has made Florida my home for several years I have NEVER felt this cold in Florida. Today will officially be our coldest December 14th day on record as highs only reach 44. Previously the coldest December 14th day was 46 in 1944!

You see the flag blowing in the wind with stratocumulus clouds and palm trees in the background on Monday morning. Yes, blame the wind. This wind is packing a huge punch because it is blowing over a huge snow pack taking up about 40% of the country to our north and it is not allowing this cold air to warm up like it usually does when it arrives in the Sunshine State. The stratocumulus clouds above are caused by massive cooling in the atmosphere and sometimes produce snow flurries and while I had no reports in Jacksonville I am still trying to verify reports of a few flurries just north of Tampa on Monday morning due to a cold wind that blew over the Gulf and much like lake-effect snow there may have been enough moisture to produce flurries!

The bigger story here at home is the brutal wind. Many folks are complaining that they cannot feel their faces or fingers and that those bitter breezes are beating up their holiday decorations. Yes, the Prangley garland was blew down as well. You have every right to complain. Do you realize here at 1 p.m. on Tuesday our wind chill has gone above freezing for the first time since 7 p.m. Sunday evening. We are talking 41 hours in the deep freeze or Jacksonville having wind chills of 32 or lower! Well the good news is the wind is finally going to relax this afternoon but it only means we will get colder tonight! We will have perfect conditions for cooling. It will be clear, crisp and calm. Expect a low of 19 in Jacksonville which would be the first time we have been in the teens since January 24, 2003 and the first time December has produced lows in the teens here since 1983! Yes, the hits keep on coming. You will want to keep the tarps out like you see below.

One thing that you may not realize is that with the light wind tonight we will likely have a heavy frost. This can sometimes cause icy conditions or what is called black ice on area overpasses and bridges. It is transparent ice that you cannot see and thus the term black ice. It can be caused by car exhaust freezing on the roadway or frost that forms on the bridge. It can also be caused by patchy areas of fog or what is termed freezing fog when it gets this cold that causes transparent or black ice! This is something you normally see about 1,000 miles north of here. Amazing. Since we are not used to icy roads here is what you need to know. You want to slow down while driving and since Jacksonville has plenty of bridges and overpasses you will also want to not use cruise control. If you feel like you are sliding do not slam on the breaks. This can cause you to lose control. You want to take your foot off the accelerator and allow your car to naturally slow down. If you are going into a tailspin you slowly turn your wheel in the direction your car is spinning. Do everything slowly and do not panic. Please drive slowly and safely. This morning there were a few reports of icy bridges and tonight with the light wind and heavier frost it will only get worse.

I need to go pick up some poinsettias and my kids at the bus stop. Make sure to check back for more on when we will finally warm up and blizzard pictures you will not believe! Yes it could always be worse!.....Okay I am back and have the poinsettias and kids and notice I brought them in the garage as soon as possible. There are some years that are so warm that folks keep them outside or even plant them. This year we will not even have to entertain that thought. Tonight it is about protecting the plants, pets, and pipes. A lot of folks are staying warm by staying in and going to all those great holiday musical performances around town. My oldest daughter certainly took the edge off this cold weather with a heart-warming performance! Here is proud Dad with oldest daughter! I hope my daughter or any of her almost high school age friends do not see this...lol...apparently this could cause trouble or embarrassment. I think it is a great picture, don't you?

Here may be a less controversial picture for everybody. This was sent in by my sister-in-law Shelli from Oshkosh, Wisconsin where they had a blizzard and a foot of snow. What was amazing is that you could not even see out your window it was so bad. Check it out!

This picture is actually turned on its side so tilt your head right. Sorry my computer had trouble and will fix it later. You see the actual snow covering a portion of the window and the rest of it is iced over. Snow drifts of 4 to 5 feet have been reported so as some of that snow hits the warmer glass it briefly melts and then re-freezes making it a glazed winter window. Even by Wisconsin standards this is impressive. So after seeing this it sure looks a whole lot better out our winter window doesn't it! Stay warm and now I am going to go try a little science experiment I will tell you about tomorrow.

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