Friday, March 4, 2011

Mardi Gras Weekend for St. Marys and nature is cranking up the volume too!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Spring theme continues here on the weather blog today. We have talked about the Spring breezes, blooming plants, trees, outrageous pollen counts and even a few light Spring showers. But nature is cranking up the volume on our Spring party based on the latest weather models. That is right we are talking forte tempetes which is French for strong storms! We are concerned about Spring tides now and maybe even a few stronger Spring thunderstorms threatening Florida. While some areas have had 2 tornado outbreaks in Tennessee over the past week we have been unscathed here in the Sunshine State but things will be a little more interesting for us this weekend. We really do need more significant rain. You see the 29.5 raindrops that fell on my car this morning. This was barely enough to keep wet the sidewalks. This did not provide any real relief for allergy sufferers. It is bad enough we have one of the highest pollen counts in the country but it certainly is made much worse on these windy days like we have been experiencing. This is also compounded by many areas seeing only trace amounts of rain over the past 3 weeks here at home. The good news in this forecast is that we have more significant rain back in the forecast this weekend but we will also have plenty of dry hours for all your plans this weekend which includes the big Mardi Gras celebration in St.Marys on Saturday.

Our Friday will start with a few light showers but we should dry out and it will turn brighter just in time for your TGIF afternoon. Here is the latest sky condition as of 11:30 a.m. It looks like the blue skies are winning out as our weak low pressure offshore starts to move away. Highs will be in the upper 60s beaches to lower 70s inland. The bigger story will be unusually high tides created by the sun, moon, and earth all being aligned. These are called Spring tides. These unusually higher tides can be made worse by a persistently strong onshore wind. Today as a result of an east wind at 20 to 30 mph we will have minor beach erosion at the times of high tide. Our next Mayport high tide is at 8:35 p.m. tonight. Even though the wind will let up on Saturday more beach erosion is possible again Saturday morning with a high tide at 8:54 a.m. The wind will shift to the southwest on Sunday which will help ease any flooding concerns.

Those Spring breezes will eventually bring us a cold front by Sunday afternoon. The latest guidance does show some instability and higher winds aloft near this front which could mix down to the surface if a line of thunderstorms holds together. Already the Storm Prediction Center has put the Panhandle of Florida in a slight risk for strong storms on Saturday. So we will have to watch it closely here at home. Right now the main threats with these storms for us on Sunday will be gusty winds of 40 to 45 mph mph and maybe some pea size hail with cold air aloft. The main line of showers and thunderstorms should move through in the afternoon. The best news is most models are showing a quarter to a half-inch of rain on the way! I do want to make sure you know we are not talking about a significant severe weather outbreak like we saw across the country earlier this week, but we do need to keep our eyes to the sky especially on Sunday. Would I cancel any plans or tee times. Not just yet, we need to see how this system evolves and it certainly will not be an all day rain on Sunday.

One thing that may help hold these thunderstorms together would be the much warmer Gulf of Mexico waters that are now above normal. Remember the weather rules....when thunder roars head indoors and cool water kills storms while warm water intensifies storms! The Storm Prediction Center which always does a great job and I have a couple friends and former interns that work there seem to be in agreement. Check out their latest severe weather discussion this morning for Saturday and Saturday night: ACTIVITY ACROSS THE LOWER MS VLY/DEEP SOUTH WILL CONTINUE TO THRIVE THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT AMIDST A MOISTENING BOUNDARY LAYER AND INCREASING LARGE-SCALE UVV..AMPLE LOW-LEVEL SHEAR WILL LIKELY LINGER ACROSS THE LOWER MS VALLEY/CNTRL GULF COAST STATES FOR AT LEAST A MARGINAL SEVERE THREAT THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. SIXTY PLUS DEG SFC DEW POINTS COMBINED WITH THE MODEST LOW-LEVEL SHEAR IN ERN LA...SERN MS...AND SRN AL MAY YIELD EMBEDDED STRONGER STORMS WITH PERHAPS A BRIEF TORNADO...DAMAGING WIND GUST OR HAIL. MUCH LOWER SVR PROBABILITIES WILL EXIST FARTHER INLAND WITHIN A MORE STABLE ENVIRONMENT. BY SATURDAY NIGHT...THE STRONGEST STORMS WILL DEVELOP SSEWD OFFSHORE IN SLIGHTLY MORE ROBUST INSTABILITY.

This brings us to our blog weather question of the day. When was the last time Jacksonville had a severe thunderstorm watch? Okay time is is your answer and it has been way too long as you can see. Sunday we do have a chance for a weather watch and we will keep you updated!

Have a great day! Tune in tonight at 5, 5:30, 6, and 11. I will have the latest on rain amounts and our severe weather chances. You also will not want to miss your Mardi Gras of weather forecasts. I think Patty is bringing in some props for me to use!! I am heading to the library to prepare for next week's Space Night at Durbin Creek Elementary. I cannot wait.

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