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.

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