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.

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