Sunday, February 27, 2011

Slippin' n' Sliding to more 80s and a historic finish to February 2011!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wow! The wild weather pattern that seemingly began about 2 years ago continues! Things have heated up and you see my daughter Lauren enjoyed cooling off in the slippin' n' sliding weather yesterday and yes it was plenty warm with areas from Julington Creek and Mandarin to downtown Jacksonville having no trouble reaching the middle 80s. Forget the April pattern we have been talking about. We have gone right into May. The amazing part is while some areas were still in the middle 80s at 3 p.m. folks in Fernandina Beach were shivering in the lower 60s and in Saint Simons Island it was a ocean-chilled 58 on the pier! Welcome to spring time in Florida! While we did not set a record high at Jacksonville International with an official high of 83 we are going to be in the record books here in February before all is said and done.

We are going to go down in the top 3 for having the most 80 degree days in the shortest month of the year. Pretty impressive. That is some big company being on the same list as 1989, 1962, and 2001. In 1962 we set count them six record highs while in 1989 we went right into summer! This brings us to our blog question of the day. Will we have a Spring this year or go straight from winter into summer! Last year of course we did without a doubt. This year we are in a total opposite pattern but it matches up with the La Nina pattern we had in 1989. In 1989 not only did we stay drier than average through the Spring but temperatures stayed well above average. The 90s hit the area by late April and May pushed 100 degrees! So while every year is different and we are seeing plummeting temperatures across the globe I do think we have a better chance this year of going straight from winter to summer here on the First Coast. While rain looks scarce we will have to keep an eye on severe weather. This season could be one of the worst in a long time across the country and it only takes one outbreak hitting close to home to make it a Spring to remember for storms. Of course with all this wild weather I will keep you updated. I hope I am wrong on this forecast and we get heavy rains and some nice classic Spring weather. But right now I remain most concerned about our on-going drought and a robust fire season that officially starts on March 1st.

Our star weather intern Andrew Wulfeck took this picture of the National Weather Service launching a weather balloon at Weather Fest yesterday. This took place at UNF and was a big success. Our own Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan took a ton of questions and enjoyed talking to folks that were excited about First Coast News putting weather first with its commitment to having the areas only real-time live doppler radar. Time does save lives and was of essence on this date in 1984 when an F2 tornado that hit Clay County with wind speeds estimated near 150 mph. It was 30 yards wide and on the ground for 3 miles. It caused a quarter-million dollars worth of damage and injured two people.

Today our main weather issue will be patchy dense fog through at least 10 a.m. and it could linger at the beaches a little longer. So make sure to slow it down so you can enjoy a nice sunny afternoon with temperatures back up near the 80 degree mark. We are going to have to watch for big changes as we head into March. We have a big storm system that is crossing the country with another severe weather outbreak for Arkansas, Oklahoma to Tennessee tonight and tomorrow. This cold front looks like it will hold together better as it moves our way and we could have a few thunderstorms in our viewing area by late Monday into Tuesday. We do need the rain but we may have to be on the outlook for a strong storm or two. Make sure to join  me tonight at 6:00, 6:30, and 11 p.m. to do some storm tracking with me and we will also take a look at challenging record highs before a big cool down to start March.

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