Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow place like home! Year of the Snow Chasers and Freeze Continues with your Two Minute Advantage

Tuesday, December 28, 2010     4 p.m.

It is great to check in with you. I wanted to thank you for all your great e-mails and fun we had over the Christmas holiday. It was a memorable one and you certainly became like my extended family. This cold weather brought us all together. You see Sheri all hunkered down at the coldest Jags game in history. This is a microcosm of our December which will be the coldest on record. Tonight will bring freeze number 19 this month out of 28 days. In an entire year Jacksonville averages 17 freezes. Yes, this is crazy cold! If you add up all the freezes since January we are now up to an unprecedented 44 freezes! This should be called the year of the freeze! This morning we smashed a record low set back in 1925. The old record was 24 and we were at a bone-chilling 20! We have  now tied or broken a record low in 4 of the last 21 days. I could keep going on with these stats but I think you get the point! Okay, one more...Cecil Field recorded their coldest temperature of the year with a low of 17. We have two more nights of bringing plants in through Thursday morning and then we may get a week or more without a freeze! Hang in there!

The weather may be a bit frightful but it certainly did bring us all together and we certainly bonded after the snow flurries started flying on Sunday. I told you it would not be so bad to stay warm by watching First Coast News. In fact, I think it has exceeded both of our expectations. This weather kind of chased you inside and I wanted to make sure it was worth your while to tune in. Nobody loves snow as much as I do but what made it all worthwhile was sharing it with you on the tube. I enjoyed updating the crawls at the bottom of your television screen, doing snow cut-ins and sharing all your snow pictures. I had so much energy I could have done a two day cut-in and your help and enthusiasm was much appreciated. To talk to kids that have never seen snow before was one thing I had never experienced in this business before and I felt honored to be the one to break the news. It was my most exciting day as a meteorologist since the Blizzard of 2007 in Indiana when our weather team that included Ross Ellet and Kelly Greene were camped out at the station for 3 days! It had that same feel that is for sure.

Yes!!!  It was also great to be the first television station breaking the news about snow falling in the area. This is what it is all about! You saw how important your two minute advantage can really be since some areas only saw a brief burst of snow. Here is what it looked like on First Coast News Live Doppler.

You see some of the white splotches showing snow that had me running laps around the station. The two minute advantage is basically due to First Coast News actually having the only live doppler radar in the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Brunswick viewing area. As a result the data you are seeing is live and at least 2 minutes quicker than any other radar available. Sometimes our radar is 5 or more minutes faster than any other station and this includes the weather channel.

This two minute advantage was crucial on Sunday because we had to be quick to tell everybody where the snow was or they would miss it!  This was important to those that had never seen snow before while others called and asked me where they could go to see it in their cars. Now I have helped storm chasers in the past while in the Midwest...but to send out a convoy of snow chasers on the roads was a first and thrilling beyond belief! You can thank your only live doppler radar that will become even more valuable during severe weather because we know that tornadoes do happen in our area and can come and go in as little as two minutes. You can  count on us to keep your families safe and we also have street-level mapping that can zoom right into your neighborhoods.

Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan has set a plan in motion that you will absolutely benefit all of us over the next year. I cannot wait to get to work every day to help make it happen. Our viewers deserve the best!  It is just another reason to watch. We will give you many reasons to watch!

Some of those bursts of snow on the west side were heavy and it looked quite odd seeing those sago palms with a backdrop of not sunshine but snowflakes.

The snow also briefly whitened some patio furniture around the area near Merril Road and 9A. Last year at this time folks told me they were out on the patio furniture having a picnic....lol.  These pictures back up your only Live Doppler Radar nicely. Thank you for sending these pictures in! Keep them coming! Thanks again for making my Christmas special and yes I am re-writing my meteorological Christmas story!

I wanted to thank my wife for holding up the fort at home and taking care of all those little things while I was at work with the snow. Holidays have always been a time where I am used to working and doing weather shows, since the show always must go on.  Julie has made this possible over the past 16 years I have been in this business. She has helped me balance this crazy work schedule and family and I cannot thank her enough. Yes, my girls had a great Christmas and I did get that valuable time with them between shows thanks to Julie! It takes a special wife to do all she does and she is amazing. Thanks Julie! You are way more impressive than any tornado, hurricane, or blizzard. I love you.

Speaking of thanks I think you will be thanking me soon for bringing 70s back in the forecast. Even a snow-lover like me has had enough of this cold weather! Here is one more glimpse of the Christmas weekend blizzard that had pressures as low as a category one hurricane. It looks like a hurricane in this picture. This hurricane did have pressures as low as 962 mb in Rhode Island which was the equivalent of when Hurricane Bob hit that area back in 1991. Look at that unbelieveable swirl and yes some areas exceeded 30 inches of snow in New Jersey! The circulation around this storm has been keeping us in the deep freeze and now that it is moving away we can get ready for real Florida weather to return and a new weather pattern for a new year! We will talk about this and melting icemen in your forecast tomorrow! Check back my friend! Have a great night!

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