Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring Moves in before Ground Hog Forecast! Venus gets February off to dazzling start!

Monday, January 31, 2011-----11 p.m.

Blog Archive

Here was the picture of Venus and the moon I promised you! So many folks have been commenting on an immensely bright light in the pre-dawn sky. I snapped this picture Sunday morning from my station's parking lot at about five in the morning.You see the crescent moon with Venus directly over it. Yes, that bright light is in fact not a UFO or a plane, but Venus! It is bright because the sunlight is being reflected off its clouds. The evening will also feature another bright planet. Keep your eyes to the sky for Jupiter in the west. Take a nice walk in our warm weather and finish January in style by enjoying nature to the fullest. Tomorrow morning you can get your February off to an outstanding start by looking up to the heavens at Venus. Nature has been putting on quite the show. The four brightest objects in our sky are the moon, Venus, Jupiter and of course we cannot forget the sun! This is how it looked in our beautiful city on Saturday morning from First Coast News. I was extra excited through all my shows after seeing this!

That sunshine has been going to work for us! It was our third consecutive day with most areas at 70 or above. Spring fever continued in Mandarin with a highs of 73 to go with 72 in St. Johns. Macclenny soared to 71 and Glen St. Mary has gone from hot chocolate advisories to shorts! The warmest location was Lake City at 75 degrees! Now we will warm up at least 3 to 5 more degrees over the next couple of days as the counter-clockwise circulation around a historic storm bringing winter weather advisories and warnings to 33 states keeps us unusually warm! It is amazing how nature works. It always tries to find a balance. While some areas will have 2-3 inches of snow per hour with two feet of snow possible near Chicago we could have our warmest weather of the entire year and it will feel more like March. No we do not have to wait for the Ground Hog this year because Spring is here and I think here to stay. Long-range models are showing our temperatures staying warmer than average with only a slight chance of freezing temperatures over the next two weeks! Yes! To get a balance nature has to go to the extreme and it will be extremely nice here at home. But my thoughts and prayers to go out to my Midwest friends. The worst ice storm on record is likely for many parts of Indiana while Chicago and Bloomington, Illinois could see their biggest snowstorm ever. Unreal! My Midwest friends will send us plenty of pictures and we will certainly be counting our blessings! The good news is my Wisconsin family got home ahead of the blizzard so I can breathe a sigh of relief. Since we do have a lot of Midwest folks that check this blog here is a couple synoptic maps that can help you plan ahead.

Yes, this is a historic map and I do think a state of emergency will be needed for Indiana and Illinois. I still think 1 to 2 inches of ice are on the way through a good portion of central Indiana. The 18 to 24 inch areas in the pink could see white-out conditions reducing visibilities to near zero at times in wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph! Expect thunder snow to drop 4 inches of snow per hour at times. This map is breath-taking and really life-threatening so although I love tracking storms, this map is very bittersweet for me and I am just hoping and praying everybody stays safe. When will this storm be at its worst? Check out the latest below.

You see things really go downhill tomorrow afternoon. Chicago's blizzard warning is officially in effect from 3 p.m. Central Time Tuesday through 3 p.m. Wednesday. Let us not forget February is now officially severe weather season here in the south and the bright yellow and orange areas could bring severe thunderstorms with even a tornado threat from Louisiana into Mississippi, Alabama, far western Florida and Tennessee. Yes, this storm will have everything. We may have to keep an eye to the sky here at home in Florida for a strong storm or two by Wednesday. I will have more on this here on the blog tomorrow along with some severe weather tips. After all it is severe weather awareness week.  Enjoy the nice weather here in Florida and be safe if you are in the Midwest. I am glad they already cancelled schools for tomorrow in Lafayette, Indiana where I do not think the kids will be in school until at least next Monday. Hopefully this weather blog's tranquil pictures from Florida will help you feel at least a little better, but as my old neighbor Kathy told tonight during our conversation about the weather while is kind of rude talking about all this nice weather in, I guess it is Kathy. So as not to be rude I better just say good night for now. The Prangleys will all be thinking about you and send our best Florida.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

No more mulligans needed for nature with more 70s on the way! Ground Hog Storm will be one to Remember for Midwest

Sunday, January 30, 2011----12 p.m.

We all woke up to a dazzling Venus brighter than a commercial aircraft next to the jaw-dropping crescent moon. They were the perfect compliments to our finest weekend weather of the year. I have pictures and will post them here this afternoon but I like keeping family first! I am so proud my oldest daughter who just texted me a picture of herself from the par 3 at Palm Valley! Way to go Megan! Does this mean you are ready to go golfing with Dad and teach me how to really swing the club? My relatives are in town from Wisconsin and absolutely loving this weather and I am glad I have had a chance to spend some good quality time with them. They may never leave it is so nice here! Speaking of the Midwest which to me is like my extended family I am not out playing in the sunshine today because you could have a paralyzing storm that will impact and may cost millions. I have had several e-mail requests for a look at this storm that we have all been hearing about and what it means for them and the rest of us.

Some of the latest model runs are mind-boggling and if you live in Indiana all the way up to state road 24 in Monticello. I would prepare for the worst ice storm since March 1991. I have already nick-named it the Ground Hog storm since it is taking place close to and during Ground Hog Day. What makes things worse is there could be 50 mph wind gusts on the backside. A blizzard could develop from Rensselaer northward with somebody seeing two feet of snow near Chicago, which could see one of its top 5 snowstorms ever! I hope I am totally wrong on this, but if you are in the Midwest make sure to have a generator or a friend with a generator because I see clean-up not being on order of a few days, but maybe several weeks with power outages likely and travel not recommended or even possible. Wisconsin looks like it will stay all snow and southern portions could also be measuring it in feet.

All week you have been told the cut-off for ice is Interstate 70 south, but that is ridiculous considering the new pattern across the country. The center of the polar air has shifted north and you have to understand that the more energy you have coming out of the southwest the more the main storm track will shift farther north and west. There is also a southern bias on many of these models because they simply cannot handle all the thermodynamics at work that are constantly changing. Once the model catches on it usually adjusts farther north and west like we have seen so often on the East Coast this winter. This means more ice than snow for most of my beloved Indiana.

The second cause for concern is the latest upper air-charts are showing temperatures at 5,000 feet near 34 degrees during the worst part of the storm. This is why heavy freezing rain and thunder freezing rain is looking more likely. The surface temperatures may stay below freezing but that warm air aloft is just too much. It will melt the snow that will not likely re-freeze until it reaches your frozen roads and porches. My prayers are with you and unfortunately this will be a Ground Hog Day that will never be forgotten as things quickly go downhill Tuesday into Wednesday. It will be the most memorable Ground Hog Day weather event in the Midwest since my weather watcher in Tower, Minnesota set the state record low of -60 with exploding trees. Please be safe and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Coming back closer to home this storm will turn us stormy as well. The latest models are lighting up once again with heavy rain amount from one to nearly three inches of rain. I think this is overdone as our southern weather models actually have more issues than those on the East Coast and Midwest believe it or not. Add in the ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and tropical meteorology and you have chaos. Yes, when it is sunny outside I am usually busier than ever. But I do think all of us this week will see at least .50" or more of rain with 1'' amounts not out of the question. The monster Midwest storm will eventually send us a cold front and we could actually have waves of low pressure form along it. I am thinking this front will be farther north which means the heavier rain stays in central and northern Georgia. But we will take any help we can get in this extreme drought. In the short-term we will all have a taste of Spring Fever as we stay on the warm side of this developing storm with well above average temperatures. What is average?  Our weather has been so crazy. Let's take a look.

Our average highs have now gone up to 65 degrees! Notice our average high temperatures have now risen by one degree and will be near 70 in just four short weeks. Meteorological Spring begins on March 1st which is only 29 days away and Daylight Saving time begins March 13th and by then average highs will be in the lower to middle 70s! The longer daylight hours are helping with tonight's sunset not until 6:01 p.m. or 35 minutes later than it was during the shortest day of the year.

Check out the buds on the trees in the background taken from Durbin Creek Elementary yesterday. They are responding to longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures! Are you sniffling and sneezing? It may not be a cold! We have a pollen count now showing up and will make sure to post some readings. Those azaleas will be blooming and bursting along with the trees in the next couple weeks. Yes, Spring Fever is here!

The weather blog will continue to be buzzing throughout the week! Tina Warner has some sunset pictures for me to post and we will talk about more brilliant sunsets on the way over the next few days thanks to the main storm track staying to our north and it will be even warmer by mid-week! Tune in tonight at 6, 6:30, and 11 to find out if tornadoes that could hit Alabama this week will make their way into Florida due to that Ground Hog  Day Storm. We will also talk about how it will impact travel here at home and all across the country and take a look at another historic storm on the way for the deep South after the Ground Hog Storm. More snow for Atlanta? Make sure to tune in and check back here on the blog to make some sense out of our weather that now knows no boundaries. This seems to be the new normal, the new climate. Also stay tuned for and logged onto for your sneak peak at the weather for the Breast Cancer Marathon here in Jacksonville on February 13th. I cannot wait! Also I will show you some of those amazing Venus and moon pictures on and off the tube. Thanks for reading. Now a quick run before work!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow in 60 Degree Weather Making Dreams Come True!

Saturday, January 29, 2011---1 p.m.

There is a sight you do not often see. I took this picture of snow flying in the blue skies with temperatures in the lower 60s at Durbin Creek Elementary School in St.Johns County this morning! Yes, they got out the snow-making machine for the 3rd annual snow day at Durbin Creek. Principal Falaney started this event about three years ago to help raise money for local charities which teaches all the kids how important community involvement really is first-hand. First Coast News Chef Robert was a judge at the chili cook off and I had a great time helping kids make snow balls and snowmen! There were some amazing stools made by some of the kids including a Starry Skies Vincent Van Gogh replica that looked to nice to sit on.

It was a ton of fun for all the kids and they learned one of the most valuable lessons in life. Yes, the more you help others the more amazing life becomes! This was not just a snow day but a dream come true for Hannah Houlihan and her family. Most of the proceeds of this event are going to the MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE foundation which will help fund a Disney Cruise for Hannah and her family. She is a doll and I am glad I got to meet her. The good news is her cancer is in remission and her eyes lit up when she told me she was going on a cruise with her favorite Disney princesses. She is a princess herself and the Houlihan family is very thankful of how wonderful and giving everybody has been. Yes, this certainly was the best snow day I have ever been a part of! Have fun Hannah!

Last year the snow did not totally melt until Monday after this event. This year I think it will be gone by Sunday afternoon since I am forecasting temperatures today near 70 and lower 70s for our Sunday. Yes! Get out and enjoy! The nicest weekend of the year is here! Although New Years weekend was in the 70s we have had 9 freezes since then so I think we will appreciate this even more. We are up to 29 freezes for the winter and after 45 freezes last year those 70s will feel like the best ever! You can see it was a packing snow that made it easy to make snowballs and even miniature snowmen. The kids had the best of both worlds with lots of snow to play in and pleasant weather. The sledding was extra fast because the icy snow was melting. I saw a few wipe-outs! It was the first time I have ever seen kids wear hats and gloves in 60 degree weather, but that snow was cold. I do not think the rest of us will have to get out the hats and gloves the rest of this week or even over the next 10 days! This should make you happy! I snapped this picture of our free First Coast News 10 Day App that is an absolute must have. Our weather team keeps it updated on a daily basis with your exclusive 10 day forecast and street-level radar mapping that did a great job during this past weeks storms. Make sure to add it by searching for FCN Wx or First Coast News Weather.

This would be the warmest stretch of weather since November and the best part is we even have more needed rain for our drought conditions by Ground Hog Day. While much of the country will continue to see adverse weather it does look like Florida will be the place to be as finish January into February. January has been running about 5 degrees below average and this is quite a big pattern change for us. You can see why everybody has been complaining about the weather. The jet stream has brought us 9 polar blasts since December. Our average number of cold outbreaks is only 6 for the entire cold season. Last weekend we set yet another record low of 25, but this weekend we have no freezes to worry about for once!

Now the overall pattern is changing to more of a SPLIT LONGWAVE PATTERN as we go into February. The active polar jet stream that has roughed us up this winter will move well north of us and the weak southern jet stream will occasionally flare up bringing us needed rain. This weekend at least it is the northern jet stream that will stay active so even though we will see a few more clouds on Sunday we will remain dry. This is a great pattern for us and one we just have not seen much of over this strange past year. This means the battle zone will move well north of Florida along with the coldest of the weather as you see below.

I am working on the February forecast so make sure to tune in tonight for this on First Coast News at 6,6:30, and 11:00 p.m. You do not have to wait for the Ground Hog this year to find out if Spring is coming I will tell you why we will not see a repeat of last year and if you can put away the heavy coats in the attic for good. I will see you soon. Thanks for reading and to all the great folks in St. Johns County I met at the Durbin Creek elementary SNOW DAY!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Drought to Deluge & Funnels! Severe Weather Season off to a Booming Start

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a night it was and the good news is everybody is safe and sound. It helped having First Coast News Live Doppler Radar or Jacksonville's only real-time radar without a two minute delay. Yesterday some of those severe thunderstorm cells were moving east-northeast at 50 mph and it did a great job keeping up to whatever nature was dishing out. Even better the those 100 mph winds over Jacksonville yesterday did not reach the ground. But they did cause some rotating severe thunderstorms. You can see the funnel cloud spotted near St. Augustine by Steven Hayes. This prompted a tornado warning. The good news is the funnel cloud did not reach the ground. Our weather team zoomed in on this cell with street-level mapping. Check it out above.

Jacksonville's only Live Doppler radar did a great job showing that that it was not only forming that classic hook you see with tornadoes but that it was quickly weakening. I am glad we were the first to put folks in the St. Augustine area at ease. That is what is all about. l quickly formed and dissipated.About one in ten of these whirling dervish clouds reach the ground but not yesterday, so we are certainly counting our blessings. We are especially lucky because the six tornadoes reported around Florida did not occur in our viewing area. Check out the latest reports on the tornadoes from the Storm Prediction Center. Every day is a weather action day for our weather team so make sure to stay tuned! This storm was a good reminder that severe weather season is underway.

There were also 75 mph wind gusts that tore through St. Petersburg, Florida. Here locally the highest wind gusts were closer to the 45 to 55 mph range. The other funnel cloud we had near Palm Coast also did not reach the ground and it was flooding that was the main problem at Flagler Beach as many areas had a month's worth of rain in 5 hours. Check out these impressive doppler reports.

McCoys Creek flooded and Jacksonville set a rainfall record for the date! The storm total reached 2.64" which was the heaviest rain since August 20-21st when we had 2.71" of rain. More importantly the rain wrapped up Jacksonville's first above average rainfall month since August! We had more rain in five hours than we had in the 3 months from October through December! WOW!! This ABOVE AVERAGE RAINFALL was forecasted here on the weather blog way back in early January which made it even more special for me. But, it was not all about celebrating when it came down to lightning with these storms. The most damage reported northeast Florida was from two lightning strikes. One lightning strike caused a house fire in Mandarin and the other earth-shaking strike was in Keystone Heights. This is another good reminder that lightning is the number one weather killer in Florida which is the lightning capital of the country. Severe Weather Awareness Week begins this coming up Sunday and we will review some more weather safety tips to keep you and your family safe. In the meantime, enjoy a much nicer pattern moving in and we may actually have our warmest stretch since November on the way. Yes, I better go get some tee times.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cold La Nina Strikes Again! Back into the Deep Freeze Tonight

The cold La Nina of 2010-11 strikes again. We finally warmed back up a bit last week here at home, but an unsually strong jet stream that is much farther south than normal continues to play havoc with the weather across the country. By the end of the month only California and Washington will have had above average temperatures this winter. It is the coldest La Nina since at least 1917. Our weather will once again average about 10 degrees below average this week. If there is good news it is this chilly pattern is more conducive for us receiving rainfall. Usually we are lucky to see a good rain every couple weeks in a La Nina but we have another good shot at rain Tuesday and at least two more good rain chances after that in the next 12 days. Keep the hot chocolate handy and those warm thoughts. At least climatologically we are past the coldest part of our winter.

Tonight make sure to join me  and we will take a look at how low we will go in your neighborhood and who will have to protect the pipes. I will check back with you here on the blog this evening.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Full Wolf Moon Lights Up the Sky & Plenty of Good Weather to Howl At!

Howl are y'all? It is a big night here at First Coast News. Send us in your best howl imitations. I will share them with you during my main weather. We have an official full moon alert tonight and the moon is officially 100% illuminated at 10:21:24 p.m. tonight. Check it out before the show. We have impeccable viewing conditions.

The full wolf moon is the name given to the January full moon by the native Americans. This was the time of year that wolves hungrily howled at the moon because they were hungry. Food was hard to come by with a thick snow pack that often times developed this time of year in most areas to our north. There are two pictures I am sharing with you above. The first picture shows you the parts of a moon. The second picture of the moon is exactly how it looked through our tower cam over Everbank Field tonight. You can see the moon is showing more of its western side but you can still pick out the sea of rains on its left side. Of course this is my favorite part of the moon created by a huge asteroid impact which was then quickly filled by lava. You can also see the sea of serenity, the sea of tranquility, and the sea of fertility from left to right on the upper part of the moon. The moon is nice and bright out there tonight and is 10 times brighter than it was just a week ago when it was in its first quarter phase. Send in some pictures so I can share them on the air and here on the blog. Hurry, we are running out of time before the big show.

We will also talk about the sea of tranquility to go with your weather pick of the week on Thursday. If that is not enough we will also take a look at the unusual La Nina pattern which will bring us more rain in the 7 day forecast. Will it be enough to break the drought? I will let you know. See you soon and I will check back with you here on the blog to post much more ASAP! Thank you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hot Chocolate Advisory, Frost as thick as Snow, & Black ice threat tonight!

Friday, January 14, 2011       10 p.m.

First off I want to say how great it is to be back in the saddle! I was a little under the weather. I hope you and your family are staying healthy because I know there are a lot of bugs going around out there. This weather certainly does not help matters, that is for sure. We finally warm up to the 70s and then nature puts us right back into the deep freeze. The big stat you have been hearing is it has been so cold and stormy around the country that Florida is the only state without snow cover. Yes, as of yesterday 71% of the country was covered by snow which was more than last years maximum cover in the lower 48 states of 68%. The average snow depth was an amazing 7 inches per square foot! Check out the map below from earlier this week.

Hawaii has even had a foot of snow on the upper elevations of the big island of Hawaii. Unbelievable. So is Florida the only state without snow on the ground? Well, not after today! Fort Caroline Baptist Academy got out the snow machines for the kids. There was enough snow on the ground to make snowmen and lots of snowballs for snowball fight! If it is going to be this cold in Florida we might as well have snow. After all we tied the record low in Jacksonville of 23 this morning set back in 1964. The kids had a ball out in that snow and notice they used beach shovels since you cannot buy snow shovels anywhere in What a great shot we showed you on First Coast News this evening. This snow will likely melt quickly this weekend with highs recovering back closer to normal in the lower 60s!

Not to rain on your warmer weather news, but just when you think you have seen everything this winter, think again! Tonight we will not just have frost but heavy frost. This has been known to cause slick bridges and overpasses. So if you are driving late tonight and first thing tomorrow morning especially from areas near Interstate 95 west make sure to exercise extra caution when driving. We had an ocean breeze that kicked in today giving us extra low-level moisture in the atmosphere to work with. This combined with crisp, clear, and calm conditions gives us all the ingredients necessary for a thick frost that may resemble a sugar-coating of snow.

One other thing that could compound problems will be patchy freezing fog that could form in some areas. Freezing fog forms in temperatures below freezing and can cause ice to accumulate on bridges and overpasses. This usually takes place in the far north and Canada not this far south. This ice is known as black ice because it is transparent and the average driver cannot tell it is there. So I would not use cruise control while driving on bridges and overpasses and would certainly slow it down out there. Be safe! The good news is this will be the last night for hard freezes for quite some time. The true hard freeze line where temperatures will be below 27 for two hours or more I would draw from Lake City to Waycross and westward. These are the areas you will want to protect your pipes. Otherwise remember the  other 3 P's which include pets, plants, and people! The rest of us should have more of a normal freeze except for the beaches where temperatures will be in the middle to upper 30s.

Last but not least is if it is going to be this clear and cold we need to keep our icy glass half full! Set your alarm tomorrow morning for 6:30 a.m. and get out a cup of hot chocolate and go outside. By 6:54 a.m. you will see the International Space Station pass over Jacksonville Florida from the west-southwest and it will cross the north-northeast horizon before leaving our view at 6:58 a.m. and it will be able to be seen without binoculars or a telescope. Imagine a slow-moving shooting star that you can enjoy and almost reach out and touch. You can come over to the Prangley house. We will be having an ISS party! Tomorrow here on the blog we will talk about a new weather acronym called the MJO...we all know MOJO from the Jags....but in the weather world the MJO may be just as impressive if you like warmer weather here in Florida. Check back for more! Thanks for reading and I will see you at 11 p.m. if you cannot wait until tomorrow to find out about the MJO!! Take care.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thunderstorms Rattling Area....Strong Thunderstorms Possible











Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wild & Weird Winter Whipping up More Trouble from Sea to Stormy Sea

Sunday, January 9, 2011    1 p.m.

Alright! I got mail today with a weather picture and story. This is what makes me tick and what this blog is all about. Here is what Andy Kovalcik sent in. Thanks Andy!

Hampton Roads area had thunder with a strange snow last night and this is a pic that my sister-in-law took and thought you might like it.

Well Andy I love this picture from Virginia and thank your sister-in-law for me. This is actually the same type of snow we had in many parts of Jacksonville on December 26, 2010. It is called graupel which is created by temperatures dropping much faster than normal with height. When we had this snow here at home the surface temperature was 37 and but temperatures at 5,000 feet were only near 10 degrees! This opaque snow also tends to bounce and it also is quite common during thunder snow events! We saw this in New York City over the holidays when they had thunder, lightning, and snow caused by a vaccuum effect in the atmosphere caused by the quickly rising air created by steep lapse rates along with strong winds aloft. Maybe this scared off all the plows and the thunder was the final straw. Yes this is a type of snow called graupel. While there is no snow in the forecast here at home but things are about to get very interesting once again! It is easy to see why!

Check out the huge plumes of moisture on our water vapor picture depicted in green. There is a ton of energy in the atmosphere ready to be tapped! We are tracking 3 areas of low pressure with a fourth on the way for the Pacific Northwest. This season has been one that will never be forgotten and it is not even 3 weeks old yet! There has been wild weather all over the globe...where do I begin? I need 24 hours to type in all the strange events. Okay.... we have had snow and cold records being set from Europe to Mammoth Mountain California. Mammoth Mountain received over 175 inches of snow in a two week period. Then of course there was the East Coast Blizzard with over 30 inches of snow in my old New Jersey neighborhood. We had our coldest December ever in Jacksonville and Atlanta had their first White Christmas since 1882....There was the second biggest New Year's Eve tornado outbreak ever which was bad enough but then you add in several EF-3 tornadoes and you can only shake your head to the sky. Let us not forget the record rains of more than 40 inches in Australia and the devastating flooding in Brazil (this is their summer of course). Nature is not done yet, not even close. I see the next 10 day period rivaling the first 3 weeks of winter with more extreme weather events ready to whip up from sea to stormy sea. It is already underway with South Bend, Indiana setting a new 24 hour snow record with 26 inches of snow being reported and they have had 40 inches of snow in some spots since Friday which is also a new record. The sky has literally been falling in some areas and that brings us to our blog question of the day sent in from Turkey. Thanks Mahmut, tell all my European friends I said hi and I am glad everybody is okay.

 What is going on with the dead birds and even fish. There is a lot we do not know, I wish I knew. Not only have we had thousands of birds drop dead out of the sky from Arkansas to Louisiana but there are dead turtle doves in Italy. The Chesapeake Bay has lost 2 million fish due to water temperatures running about 10 degrees below average. This is the biggest such temperature anomaly on the entire earth. Here in Florida we are still recovering from 2010 that had a record number of manatees die due to record cold.

Well Mahmut, the birds dying off in Arkansas and in Europe have not been proven to be caused by the weather but I am sure it had some hand in it. These mass kill-offs of wildlife we are being told is a common occurrence and we are being made more aware of it due to the information ages many tools including the Internet and I-phones at our disposal. Well that is only part of the equation. I think birds do not just drop out of the sky due to being scared by fireworks. They were also likely lifted by extreme turbulence in the area that was feeding into developing thunderstorms to the east. Once those birds get at a certain altitude they can become confused and disoriented especially at night. This is likely a better explanation. The turtle doves in Italy? Well as outlandish as our weather has been at home it has been much more extreme in Europe. The best I can do for now is provide you a link I found that can help you keep track of big events and weather events that are impacting wildlife all over the globe. It is pretty interesting to say the least. Thanks again Mahmut!

 Here closer to home check out the high cirrus clouds this morning near downtown Jacksonville off Interstate 95. I snapped this for you on my I-phone.

That bright spot in the sky among the ice crystals and contrails was actually a sun dog and it really captures the essence of what is going on across the country. We are in a dog-eat-dog-pattern and it is a sign of a brewing storm that will create havoc in the deep south with snow and ice from Dallas to Sweet Home Alabama, and eventually Georgia and the Carolinas. Frozen precipitation may come within about 30 miles to the north of Waycross, Georgia and only about 120 miles from Jacksonville. Delta is expecting tons of delays starting tonight and Auburn University is delaying when students come back to school due to an ice storm that could cause tons of downed trees and power outages on top of travel that will be treacherous at best.

If you walked outside today it is cold by Florida standards. Our San Marco weather watcher who would like to be anonymous at this point did a good job of sending this in. The more the better! Anything weather I love and I cannot do it alone. Keep this good stuff coming! The more data points we have the more accurate the forecast. I believe in people reports first and then correct all of our wrong weather maps second. This way you get a real forecast that you can count on!

01/09/2011 11:50:00 a.m.
Wind Dir: 53°
Wind Spd: 3mph
Wind Gust: 6mph
Humidity: 58%
Temp: 45.6°F
Raw Barom: 30.19in
Tot Rain: 1.16in
Wind Chill: 44.7°F
Heat Index: 47.2°F
Dew Point: 31.7°F
Press Alt: -248ft
Cloud Base: 3477ft
Dens Alt: -1185ft
Humidity H: 67%
Temp Out H: 46.4°F
Barom H: 30.19in
WindCh H: 46.4°F
HeatIx H: 47.2°F
Dew Pt H: 32.4°F
Humidity L: 48%
Temp Out L: 36.8°F
Barom L: 29.92in
WindCh Lo: 31.1°F
HeatIx L: 39.1°F
Dew Pt L: 25.3°F
DailyRain: 0.00in

This morning we did have a freeze in many locations away from the river and ocean. Notice in San Marco they actually held into the middle 30s. The wind stayed up just enough but some wind chills in Georgia this morning were actually in the upper teens in Ware County. Now it may feel  a little like snow outside but rain will be our big story and believe it or not maybe an isolated strong thunderstorm. Check out our main threats.

Already in Texas this morning there have been 13 wind damage reports with 69 mph wind gusts reported in Corpus Christi. There was also a tornado and two hail reports. As this same system moves our way we will have strong winds aloft and near the surface which can really churn things up. Our chances of seeing a tornado are very low but the chance is there. I think we will have a better chance of seeing isolated damaging wind gusts near 60 mph. This will not be widespread severe weather but it was so quiet in 2010 we cannot grow complacent and must keep our guard up! Tonight join me at 6, 6:30, and 11 with more on timing out the rain and storms and stay warm! I also have some incredible severe weather statistics compiled by my friends at the Storm Prediction Center on just how lucky we have been with severe weather here in Florida. We counted our blessings with this past hurricane season and we will have to put severe thunderstorms on that list too. But now it is a new year and one of the wildest starts to any season ever on record. Let's keep our eyes to the sky, stay safe, and stay tuned. I will see you soon!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Exploding trees and Dough throw weather will eventually bring us a large pizza and weather with the works!

Saturday, January 8, 2011    10 a.m.

Weather Blog archive dating back to 2007

What a beautiful sunrise this morning here in Jacksonville! There are many folks around the country that wish they could see the sun today. About 80% of the country is covered in clouds due to not one but two strong jet streams cutting across our beautiful land. Here in Florida we do have a sub-tropical jet stream overhead with wind speeds of over 100 mph. So even though it is bright and sunny today, looks can be deceiving and this jet stream will eventually bring us clouds and rain. But not this weekend and this morning on Good Morning Jacksonville we talked about the sun factor! We receive about 58% of possible sunshine here on the First Coast in January while most areas around the country are below 50% like Atlanta. Chicago is lucky to see 35% of possible sunshine and by Lake Michigan it is closer to 25%. You combine this with the shorter daylight hours and it explains why Seasonal Affective Disorder can impact close to 10% of folks in the far northern US to only about 1% of folks here in Florida. SAD as it is called is a mood disorder that is caused by a lack of sunlight. Here in Florida it helps that we have extra sunshine to work with and our daylight hours are even longer since we are closer to the equator. For instance right now we have 10 hours and 18 minutes of daylight compared to Chicago which only has 9 hours and 19 minutes of daylight. I will talk more about this here on the weather blog in the near future. So even if it will be a bit windy this afternoon I do not think we should complain. We are in Florida and we will have more sun today than most folks up north will see in weeks. We are also much, much warmer!

The nation's ice box or International Falls, Minnesota could see a low of -25 tonight. On the Iron Range it could hit -40 which is cold enough for trees to explode and for mercury to freeze. Yes, you  may have heard of mercury freezing but also trees can explode when it gets that cold. What happens is the sap freezes inside trees. As it expands it causes the bark to split. When the bark splits it sounds like a gunshot going off and yes the tree explodes! This happened when I lived in Duluth, Minnesota. My weather watcher set the state record low of -60 without a wind chill! When I interviewed her live on the air you could hear popping. I thought they were celebrating the new state record low with fireworks but actually it was the trees exploding. Ahhhh the wonders of nature! That Ground Hog Day back in 1996 I will never forget. I can still feel the cold! Now this time around in 2011 Minnesota will not be nearly as cold but it will be cold enough for exploding trees not only tonight but next weekend!

If we look at the latest synoptic map it still looks like today we will have the sun factor helping us out but it will still be breezy at times. The brown shading over us is for a lake wind advisory for wind gusts near 30 mph. You combine this with a cold front moving through and I think it will keep highs right around 60 today. Tonight we will likely have a freeze warning and a freeze could extend all the way to the beach. Make sure to bring in the pets and plants.  Notice the blue shading from Macon northward. That is for a Winter Storm Watch for Sunday night and Monday. They could have snow, sleet, and freezing rain. By later Tuesday and Wednesday expect several inches of snow for the big cities including Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Check out the latest snowfall accumulation map below. Where you see the yellow is where I am expecting the heaviest snow and in some cases it could be well over 6" of the white gold for the kids who love to sled.

While all this is happening Indiana can expect to brace itself for a possible ice storm late next week and weekend. I had a call from Wanda in Boswell, Indiana early this morning before sunrise wondering what was coming her way by next week and it looks like as an Aleutian low pressure re-forms over Alaska the country will once again be flooded with milder air from the Pacific. Indiana lost its 8 inch snow pack in a hurry to start the new year. This warmer air aloft will overrun our cold dome of polar air bringing the dreaded ice threat. It is still early but I had Indiana circled for a major ice storm this month and nothing has changed based on the latest runs. Nature is doing its version of a dough throw and we are certainly the dough.

Speaking of dough throws. You never know what is going to happen on the morning show and this morning Kai Tutor who you can see on you tube here tutored anchor Len Kiese and I on how to actually make a pizza and properly throw the dough. I tried and almost knocked over the tree on the have got to love live television. Kai has won trophies and practices his art in St. Augustine. You can actually see how talented he is and Kai is getting ready to go to Wisconsin to compete in a tournament. He can also break-dance while doing this without missing a beat. What a great kid! Now I am in the mood for pizza! I will eventually get to that large pizza but for now I will continue to monitor the weather for you here at home and all across the country.

A chilly Sunday for us will give way to rain on Monday with temperatures in the 40s in Georgia to near 70 in Palatka. We could even have some thunderstorms so it will be interesting and that is what I call weather with the works! Our coldest weather of the year will move in late next week but the cold air will likely only be a glancing blow. We may have a hard freeze for Friday morning before we warm back up next weekend. So all in all I consider us lucky here in Florida considering. It is like we are in la la land compared to the rest of the country. So where do we go to celebrate? I think it is time to go to Disney World!

Although instead of going to the Haunted Mansion or riding the Runaway Train there are a ton of First Coast runners heading down to Orlando. It is looking terrific for running 26.2 miles! Go get 'em. When I ran this marathon a couple years ago it hit near 80 by the end of the race. Not this year. The 40s and 50s are ideal running temperatures and world records have been set in those these kind of temperatures. This forecast pumps me up and I wish I could run it with you. I am training for the Breast Cancer marathon or the Run with Donna on February 13th. This is a good reminder we are only 35 days away now from making a difference. We only have 358 days left this year so let's all make it count! Have a great day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Sunny Beautiful Day in Florida, But the Dynamo Effect Shuts Down Tampa's Main Runway

Friday, January 7, 2011      6:30 p.m.

It was a sunny beautiful day across Florida, but nature always keeps it interesting. We had a really interesting story on First Coast News tonight. The magnetic pole is shifting about 25 miles a year and it has shifted enough that Tampa had to close down their main runway this week. You can see in the graphic above the magnetic north pole it is literally moving north-northwestward toward Siberia and has shifted quite a bit since 1904. In the last 125 years the magnetic pole has shifted about 700 miles.  Now this magnetic shift has nothing to do with geography, this impacts our compasses. This can also have a big impact on air travel. Tampa's runway has not moved but the magnetic shift has been significant enough that the runway that used to point due north is now facing north-northeast! In fact Jacksonville International will re-paint the lines on its runways to show the correct compass directions in 2012 due to this same phenomenon.

What causes this shift of the magnetic pole? Well the earth spins on its axis but there is also a lot of movement taking place in the earth's inner and outer core. They also spin at different rates of speed. This creates a convective or dynamo effect much like we have on earth when a thunderstorm forms from rising air currents.

One other interesting note is this magnetic shift may impact the aurora borealis. The magnetic pole helps create this phenomenon and while folks up in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont and the high latitudes enjoy the aurora or northern lights several times a year it is rare to see it here in Florida. Although on April 6, 2000 there was a huge geomagnetic storm on the sun that lit up the skies all the way down to Orlando! Here is a picture of an aurora in taken near Fairbanks, Alaska in 2008 by Meteorologist Ross Ellett. Ross known to be one of the best weather forecasters in the entire country also loves taking trips North just so he can see the spectacular northern lights but in the future that may not be necessary. What may be happening is not just a magnetic polar shift but a magnetic polar flip-flop where the magnetic north and south pole switch places. While this takes place over the course of thousands of years these poles can wander and at times  be located over Arkansas or even Florida during this flip. So there may be a day well into the future where folks look south to Florida to see the incredible aurora borealis. What is interesting is the last time we saw this magnetic flip-flop was 780,000 years. During the earth's history it has taken place about once every 250,000 years. So we are overdue! Now this will not happen in our lifetime but someday it could be a reality. Pretty amazing! Nature is always full of surprises. Here is a cool link to check out that shows aurora forecasts.

Our Live Doppler Radar also had a little surprise on it this afternoon. Despite crystal clear skies we were picking up an area of dark green which would usually indicate light to moderate rain. What it was actually seeing was a smoke plume from a controlled wildfire in eastern Columbia County. That is the great news! In fact there are no large wildfires burning in our area and the numbers have dropped in half compared to just a couple weeks ago. This thanks to above average rainfall so far in January. We are running a surplus of .69" but we still badly need rain and will continue to pay the price for that 19" deficit as we head into the Spring. But the good news is we will have more green and even a few yellows showing up on our Live Doppler by later Sunday night and Monday. This weekend is still looking dry but we do have a cold front moving through Saturday and we will really feel its impact by Saturday night and Sunday. You will certainly need your winter coats. We could have a freeze and frost by Sunday morning with highs struggling into the 50s on Sunday with increasing clouds.

If  you are looking for something interesting to do this evening you can go cheer on the St. Johns County Ladies Flag Football teams out at Fruit Cove Middle School. Here is the Hoosier Mama team that won the championship back in 2009. They are ready to take back their trophy. There are 14 teams in this league and it is for ladies 25 years and older! Watch out for Heather Patterson, she is the Maurice Jones Drew of the group. I would not want to line up on the other side from her. This weekend there will also be a lot of collisions in the atmosphere taking place that could bring snow as far south as Macon. Make sure to tune in and check back here on the blog for updates. We are also tracking a Siberian Express and I am not talking about a train. I will have an update on how far south it will actually track. Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Heaviest Rain since September & More on the Way to go with your coffee and tea!

Thursday, January 6, 2011  4 p.m.

Weather Blog Archive to 2007

Keep out those little Kitty umbrellas! My daugters had a good time taking turns using them in the rain yesterday! It was pretty exciting around the area and while I did not get into the Hello Kitty thing I did go "rain chasing" in my car to check out how well our street-level mapping performed on our weather app and it passed the test! It was extraordinarily accurate down to the street block. Where it showed heavy downpours the rain was heavy and the light green areas depicting light rain was also on target. My windshield wipers switched from high to low right on cue from the radar. Facebook was also  lighting up with folks raving about the rain last night like our sky as folks enjoyed the rain over coffee and tea. Make sure to add First Coast News on Facebook. We always have fun on there that is for sure!

Now last night when the second batch of rain came through I went outside again. I did not "rain chase" but wanted to check out the lightning. My middle child Abbey was not amused and immediately called me on my cell phone for me and the dog to come back in the house. I was in the car tracking the rain and lightning on our First Coast News weather app of course. Once again it did a great job and passed my rigorous testing. Abbey knew I was safe in the car but that 2% tornado chance really bothered her and since she went through dozens of tornado warnings in Indiana she was taking no chances. I took it as a compliment of love! She may have a future as a meteorologist and she could be a GREAT ONE! Now I did go over several weather maps with her explaining why we were safe. We even went to First Coast News Live Doppler and it was doing a good job at tracking some of those individual cells that were moving at over 35 mph. Yes, it was more than 2 minutes faster than any other radar we could find which came in handy, especially when I had a neighbor trying to take shots of the lightning with her camera. Unforunately most of it was cloud to cloud so maybe next time! The best part of last night was not just the weather bonding with my kids but that it was the heaviest rain for Jacksonville since late September! Those raindrops that I like to call oblate spheroids were flying! St. Augustine even joined in on the fun with over a half-inch of rain. This is just the beginning of our most active pattern since September with the models going nuts over more rain by late Sunday into Monday.

I know this is far out but my confidence is much higher than usual because the pattern that brought us rain is holding in place into the foreseeable future. That .25" to .50" could be well underdone. There will be plenty of dynamics with our next low pressure coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. Monday could be one of those days where temperatures will range from the 40s in Waycross, Georgia by late day to the 70s in Daytona Beach. This combined with a strong jet stream could bring us a few strong thunderstorms. You can already see moisture flaring up off the California coast and it is coming our way! I have not broken the news to Abbey yet on the thunderstorm potential. She would lose sleep over this.

That is one impressive sub-tropical jet stream that we talked about here on the blog yesterday and it will continue to energize our atmosphere with plenty of good rain chances. The good news is I still think a decent weekend is on the way. When all is said and done January will be one of the colder ones on record across much of the country but here in Florida I think we will be the lucky ones. The map below gives you a good idea of what is coming.

This map shows temperatures for next Wednesday and wherever you see blue and white those are well below average temperatures. The white areas depict true Siberian air or an airmass that originated way back in Siberia. Now we will get a pinch of this by late next week and we could have lows back in the 20s by then but only briefly. The good news is that it will likely be a glancing blow of Siberian air thanks to more of broad trough across the lower 48. While most of the country will have brutal cold the only decent weather will be found in south Texas and here at home in Florida. There may also be more chances of rain as the cold air reaching that far south will bring the storm track closer to home and keep the sub-tropical jet energized. The blocking over Greenland does not look as extensive and will shift more toward Hudson Bay over to the Yukon. This is a lot different that the 1068 mb high that set up over Greenland in December which kept the polar flow over us for weeks at a time. That is when it was colder in Miami than southern Greenland. So while we will see a couple shots of cold it will be nothing like we saw in a December we will always remember!

Last but not least I wanted to say a special hello to all the fourth and fifth graders that came for a tour today from Annie R. Morgan. They loved the chroma key and most of the kids were asking for more snow. But no snow is in this forecast. We did talk about a possible ice storm for Atlanta and more snow from the Carolinas to Washington, D.C. by early next week. I think we found a couple future meteorologists and I told them that is how it started for me. I was on a tour here at First Coast News while attending the University of North Florida and knew this was the place for me! It all starts with hard work in school now and listening to your parents and teachers so you can have fun later. Yes, I am having tons of fun especially in this busy pattern.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Unusually strong jet stream fires up Florida! Our most active pattern since September is here to cheer!

January 5, 2011  Wednesday 11 a.m.

There is nothing like a nice soaking rain. Many folks say rain is one of the most relaxing things to listen to especially when they are sleeping. Everything from nature in my book is that perfect mix of being relaxing and exciting all at the same time! I love watching raindrops splash in puddles or over the ocean as the waves crash to the shore. I love running in the rain and I still love walking in the rain with an umbrella and splish-splashing in the puddles with my kids. I love talking about the rain over a cup of coffee or tea. I love showing pictures of rain like you see above. Notice the egret and raindrops finally trying to at least keep that retention pond from totally drying up. I love showing the rain on LIVE DOPPLER RADAR and weather maps full of rain like you see below!

So yes this is our lucky day and night! We will continue to see an increase in rain coverage this afternoon and especially tonight! Yes, great running and sleeping weather. I have even set up a date with my wife already at Starbucks! Why all the hoopla? We are in an extreme drought but more importantly this will be our second real rain in the last 4 days. What I mean by a real rain is that most of us will see a quarter inch or more in the old rain buckets. I see a real change in our overall weather pattern and based on the latest model runs we could easily see a quarter to half-inch of rain in most locations. There may even be enough instability to hear a rumble or two of thunder! Guess how many real rains we had in December? Only go with our one day of snow flurries. It rained about as often as it snowed in December...for real!

Here is a MONTHLY BREAKDOWN OF HOW MANY REAL RAIN DAYS (.25" or greater) that we have had last year.

Jan.    4
Feb.    3
Mar.    3
Apr.    2
May    3
Jun.    5
Jul.     5
Aug.   5
Sep.   5
Oct.    0 (NOT A TYPO- A RECORD)
November    2
December    1 (1 SNOW DAY TOO!)

We had  an embarrassing 38 total days of rain and that 19" rain deficit last year or an average of only about 3 days of rain per month! So far this year we have had one rain day this past weekend with .32" at Jacksonville International, but closer to .75" downtown. We had about .33" at Jacksonville Beach and .25" in St. Augustine. Lake City had a generous 1.10". Well tonight we will add to the rain numbers and will have had officially more REAL RAIN days than all of December and it is only January 5th! Do you hear that? I hear cheering! Yes! Lauren, my daughter and her cheer team you see above say S-C-O-R-E, RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.... RAISE THAT SCORE! Yes, we need more points or in this case a lot of oblate spheroids (the shape of rain drops). It looks like we are going to get it with our most active pattern since September developing. Those girls will have a more to cheer about in the coming weeks on and off the basketball court. Let's take a look a why. Well the main reason will be a nice strong sub-tropical flow over Florida that is taking place and you can track this all the way back to California and Hawaii. Take a look.

This sub-tropical jet stream depicted in blue has wind speeds of about 110 mph over us tonight. This is unusually strong for a La Nina pattern. This enhances lift in the atmosphere. Notice during a La Nina below the stronger jet stream winds usually stay well north of us here in  Florida and we are lucky to get much rain at all since these jet streams are nature's main highway of activity. Our pattern is looking more like an El Nino pattern which is what we had last January that brought us near normal rainfall. A good meteorologist looks at all levels of the atmosphere and does not stereotype patterns. No two snowflakes or rainbows are alike. No two storms are alike and certainly all La Ninas are NOT alike.

So while all the other forecasts out there have us much drier than normal. I am going to go with rainfall this month of near normal or between 3 and 4 inches of rain and we should have at least 5 real rain days of a quarter-inch or more. This active jet stream will be our best friend over the next few weeks. Here is another look into the future. Notice our jet stream staying active here in the South and it may even bring a mixed bag of wintry precipitation to Atlanta  this weekend. Here in Florida it means we will have another good shot at rain!

The big blocking high pressure usually over Alaska is center more toward Hudson Bay and northeastern Canada. This will allow our jet stream to say fired up and farther south than normal. Yes! Make sure to stay with us a First Coast News. Our weather team is fired up.

Remember to stay updated and sign up for text alerts at, we have a free app with your only local 10 day forecast made right here in Jacksonville by our weather team which includes street level mapping. You can also call weather-tel at 904-356-8812, we have you covered 24/7 as well on ABC and NBC and our weather plus digital channel 201, twitter updates galore at #JaxWeather and of course our weather blogs. Do not forget we also have updated forecasts in the Jacksonville Times-Union and St. Augustine Record. All rainfall totals and weather pictures are welcome. Just send them to me at You be safe in all that  relaxing rain. Now it is time for my run. The weather song of the day has got to be Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics. Tomorrow we will talk more about January temperatures so make sure to check back, because it will not be a repeat of what we had in our December to Remember!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ominous dark skies but no severe weather expected just needed rain!

January 2, 2011    Sunday 1:45 p.m.

Live Doppler radar continue to track showers across the area. The heaviest rain will continue to be in Duval County between now and 4 p.m. Some areas could pick up a quarter-inch. The latest live doppler radar scan through the clouds shows cloud tops at 10,000 feet and lightning is no longer being detected. While some areas are reporting dark, ominous skies no severe weather is expected. Another line of broken showers will develop and impact areas farther south including Keystone Heights, Palatka, and St. Augustine between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. while the rest of us dry out as a cold front moves through the area ushing in cooler, drier air.

So great news on both counts! Many areas are seeing the rain without the severe weather and this is on top of a good quarter to half-inch of rain we already received before this last round of rain across our viewing area. Make sure to tune in tonight for the latest rainfall amounts and I will catch up with you here on the blog with your pictures and weather story of the day. I will go out and snap some shots of those interesting clouds for you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Polar bears spotted at Jacksonville Beach & severe season starts sooner than you think!

Saturday, January 1, 2011  1 p.m.

Happy New Year! Here was the scene at Jacksonville Beach this morning. The kids were all smiles and the community came together like never before at the Wave Masters 22nd annual Polar Bear Plunge. This Jacksonville tradition to bring in the New Year with no fear is really growing and catching on. It is not as big as the southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collards for good luck to start the New Year but it is getting there. Today you will have to take those black-eyed peas outside and eat them it is so nice!  I believe in really covering stories and the weather to the fullest so I even jumped in the ocean with everybody to make sure I was truly part of the the record turnout this year! The great part is I did not trip and fall on live TV. I knew I had to run fast to keep the pain to a minimum. It was the second straight year I jumped in the ocean head first. This year the water temperatures were 50 degrees which was about 5 degrees colder than last year. But last year was colder since there was a lot of wind and the air temperatures were about 15 degrees colder. The water did take my breath away for a couple seconds, but I noticed I could feel my hands and feet much quicker than last year. They thawed out in a hurry in that brilliant sunshine and 65 degree weather on the sand.

I had the pleasure of meeting Barry and Denise Durden who organized this event for the not-for-profit organization Wave Masters that gives to charities on the First Coast including helping those with disabilities. They had some great T-shirts with original designs for sale to help raise money at this free event. They confirmed the approximately 600 people that braved the cold water was a new record. Back in 1989 or the last time the ocean was this cold for the event there was only about 40 people! They thank you for your support. There were prizes for the oldest participants which was an 81 year old woman and 79 year old man. The kids were not to be outdone. We had 4 year old girls and a 5 year old boy. The other prizes were for those that traveled the farthest from abroad. This year we had plungers from China and South Korea! Last year we had guests from South Africa! I look forward to taking part in this fine Jacksonville tradition to bring in the New Year with no fear next year. I am going for three in a row but I know it will be a lot tougher.

New Year's Days do not come along like this very often. As of 1 p.m. it is already 75 degrees and my forecast high of 78 looks to be on track. Even out at Jacksonville Beach on the sand it will be in the 70s despite the chilly waters. The all-time record high for New Year's Day in Jacksonville is 81 so we will not be far from it! I say a beach walk is a perfect way to bring in the New Year and you can see our first sunrise on the beach this year was spectacular!

Unfortunately, when we get this warm this time of year it usually means there is a big mid-latitude cyclone to our west or a strong storm system. Sure enough there is and as nice as it is here at home we do have our thoughts and prayers with the six people that have lost their lives with the second biggest tornado New Year's Eve severe weather outbreak across Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and even as far north as Illinois. Check out the more than 100 storm reports which included 27 tornadoes. This is a reminder that SEVERE WEATHER SEASON IS HERE in the SOUTH and it gets started not in February like all the text books tell you but in fact January.  Our real severe weather season is January through March and it peaks in February and early March. If you live in Indiana the peak of tornado season does not arrive until late May through early July. In Wisconsin and Minnesota severe weather peaks from July through September. It has to do with the jet stream. This time of year the jet stream spawns severe weather and causes thunderstorms to rotate makes it farther south. This means we have stronger cold fronts that collide with our warm Florida paradise. This collision can have devastating effect like we saw in Arkansas yesterday. Every year there are at least a couple days in Florida with severe weather in January and today could be one of them.

The Florida Panhandle has a tornado watch but if there is good news for areas near Eglin Air Force Base and Destin it is this storm system is now weakening and we are going more from a tornado threat to a wind threat. The powerful jet stream that spun up those super cells near Cincinnati, Arkansas with wind speeds of EF-3 or near 140 mph have now been lifted north as the front has moved east. There is still a 60 mph low-level jet stream along the front so maybe a brief weak tornado could touch down in southwest Georgia but otherwise I think Florida will be okay including us.

Tonight at 6:00, 6:30, and 11:00 I will tell you why we will have to keep our eyes to the sky with Jackonville's only Live Doppler Radar. We will zoom in on the latest storms moving our way. There could be a few rumbles of thunder in our viewing area tonight and another line of scattered showers and a few thunderstorms later on Sunday. I would not cancel plans and not everybody will see rain but we will take a look at the latest severe weather indices and how much rain you can expect here at home. Every little bit helps in an extreme drought. I will also keep you updated as well here on the blog.  For now though it is back to seeing my family and running out in the sun before I head back to work. Thanks for reading and enjoy the great weather and football. Those folks in town from Michigan are telling me they do not want to go back to all that cold and snow. Yes, we may have a few extra residents here on the First Coast in the near future. Enjoy your chamber of commerce weather.