Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March comes in more like a schnoodle! No snow repeat of 1986!

March 1, 2011

There is Gitty and she is loving the cooler breezes and drier weather moving in this Tuesday afternoon. She was a special visitor at First Coast News and was really getting into all the exciting stories. She even jumped up on one of the editing desks to get a better look. Yes, she is Justin Patterson's pride and joy and you can see why. Yes, you can say March came in more like a friendly schnoodle than a lion. In 1986 March came in like an angry lion when we were covered with a half-inch of snow. That is right! Do you remember? I can confirm that Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan called for snow. He told me everybody was laughing at him because nobody thought it could snow in March. Well Tim and nature got the last laugh. Great job Tim and the weather in March here in Jacksonville is no laughing matter. It has been as cold as 23 back in 1980 and as hot as 91 in 1974. We have been drenched with over 7 inches of rain in just one day back in 1970. In 1993 I will never forget the Super Storm that brought severe storms with 76 mph winds. I was doing weather observations for Tim as an intern and I almost blew off the  roof with my glasses! Not only were the power outages and downed trees but we also saw snow flurries all in a stormy unforgettable span of only 12 hours! So remember if the forecast sounds a bit strange, remember the lion is always lurking when it comes to our weather in March. If Tim and I see snow we will let you know. But for now I think we are safe from snow.

Now this morning some of us were wishing for a bit more rain. Most areas as expected had less than a quarter of an inch with most of us hovering around a tenth of an inch. There were a few spots that did really well in areas that needed it most. This was across areas of Clay, Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler Counties. There was a nice stripe of .25" to .50" of rain from near Middleburg and Palatka and it crossed into the World Golf Village and St. Augustine and points south. This rain could not come soon enough for these areas after yesterday's raging 100 acre wildfire near the Flagler-St. Johns County border.

Here was the aerial view of the fire we showed on First Coast News and you can see the gridlock. The warm, dry southwest winds whipped the fire into a frenzy and reduced visibilities so much that Interstate 95 had to be shut down in both directions. The good news is the fire is under control thanks to the wonderful job by the firefighters. Today we will have a lighter wind and the wind will shift off the ocean bringing in higher humidity which will continue to aid in snuffing out the fire for good. Today fire season officially begins and scenes like this unfortunately could be repeated over the next several weeks. But at least I do see an onshore flow the rest of this week which will help settle things down. The first two weeks of March favor precipitation at least closer to normal with temperatures still remaining above average, but not as warm as we have seen. There will also be a couple cool spells thrown in there and I do think most of us today and tomorrow afternoon will hold in the 60s.

 I expect a very active pattern across much of the United States for at least the first two weeks of March which will actually have more of a bearing on our weather here at home since we have lost the blocking ridge here in the Southeast. We have a blog link of the day that really sums of the pattern. This link does a great job of updating all the storm reports around the country and notice there is plenty going on!


The San Diego National Weather Service did an outstanding job of putting this together and this map will continue to light up with our next big weather-maker moving into California by tomorrow. This could bring another swarm of storms across the country by late week and impact us with heavier rain and maybe even some thunderstorms to watch closely on Sunday! Stay tuned.

Now with a meridonal flow continuing around the country this could have an impact on the Gate River Run which is on March 12th. Here is me and my ravishing wife after the run last year. What a rush running over that bridge. Notice it did get pretty toasty out there last year. This year I am favoring more clouds and cooler weather. Instead of 70s I am favoring temperatures starting in the 50s and maybe topping out near 60 by the end of the race. The latest models are showing a front moving through but there is no way I am putting rain in the forecast just yet. I will continue to fine-tune this forecast here on the blog as we get closer. But, the big thing is temperatures and I am confident of a much cooler Gate River Run this year with more of a northwest wind at 10 to 15 mph. Look for faster times and lots of fun! I look forward to training in today's cooler weather. You take care and make it a great day. Do not let the clouds get you down. Remember the sun is always shining and you can do anything you set your mind to no matter what the weather. Have a good run!

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