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!


1 comment:

JIWB said...

That makes since Mike, About the birds and fish!