Friday, March 18, 2011

Strange start to our full super moon weekend but here is your survival guide!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Friday and yes it was a bit foggy this morning with even a fog advisory needed for Palatka and Putnam county due to visibilities reduced to under a quarter mile. You see the view from the bus stop this morning. We also had an eerie looking moon with a wild-looking fog ring around it. Yes, the early bird has plenty to wake up to and more when it comes to nature. The good news is the radiational fog this morning was a sign of this outstanding weather pattern continuing into the weekend. High pressure is in control and it allowed nature to reach its saturation point. It will also allow us to heat up into the middle 80s today! So we have nothing to be scared about when it comes to fog. Just slow down and use the low beams. How about this weekends much ballyhooed moon. Some say it may bring crazy behavior and wild storms along with devastating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Now I am not saying this and there is a lot we simply do not I did the best I could and  after further research through my 10,004 almanacs I have pack-ratted away since a young age, here are the facts. Consider this your survival guide to the super moon weekend of 2011.

What is amazing is the moon will not officially be full until Saturday at 2:10 p.m. It sure was bright this morning! I picked some weeds out of the garden before daybreak! Yes, a first! The moon of course will not get bigger but appear about 15% bigger due to an optical illusion. It will in fact appear 30% brighter. It is the brightest moon really since March of 1993. Now a lot of folks have heard a lot of rumors about the impending doom this moon is expected to bring. I am thinking the only thing it will bring is a romantic, breath-taking beautiful picture-perfect view. Get the cameras ready and yes find a loved one to share it with! You realize that this is being called a super moon. What is that? It is a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is at 90% or greater to its closest approach to earth. Yes, the sun, moon, and earth are all lined up so this causes tides to be a little higher and lower than normal. But right now the impact on our tides looks minimal especially with a west wind on Saturday. Sunday we will have to keep a closer eye on the tides but for now I think we are okay.

Here is the bottom line that will help you breathe easier this weekend. Most folks do not realize that we have about 4 to 5 super moons every year whether it be in the new or full phase occurring close to perigee (the moon's closet point to earth in its orbit). In other words, this super moon phenomenon is common and it really should not be called a super moon as a result. What makes this super moon a little different is that its orbit is taking it slightly closer to the earth. I looked up natural disasters, storms, earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions during these times of super moons and even extreme super moons like this one and there is absolutely no increase in disasters I could come up with. Yes, there is more pull on the earth and we are floating on liquid magma, but I found that global calamities occur at about the same rate or just as often during a traditional old-fashioned moons, blue moons, super moons, and even extreme super moons. The ground hog is right more often than those forecasting all these gloom and doom scenarios.

So I say make those plans with that special someone right now...but wait, what about the apparent earthquake that rattled parts of St. Johns and Flagler Counties this morning? It must be the super moon, right? Wrong. The latest is that it was not a confirmed earthquake and based on folks I talked to that had their windows rattle a little it sounds like military jets caused all the raucous this morning. Here is an earthquake map from the US Geological Survey to back me up.

You can also click this link for more information to see things more clearly. The only earthquake that occurred this morning took place in Arkansas and it was so minor that most folks in the Arklatex did not even feel it. So here at home we are once again home-free of worry. So this brings us to our second blog question of the day. How safe are we from earthquakes on the First Coast? Meteorologist Steve Smith was kind enough to compile some research for us.

What was interesting is that we did have an earthquake here in Jacksonville that folks felt on September 10, 2006. Did you feel it? Steve and Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan did not feel it. So it was very minor and only felt near the top of the taller buildings. But do realize that Florida has its share of minor earthquakes and Tampa has minor tremors several times a year. Most earthquakes in Florida occur near Destin, the Pensacola area and in Key West. There is a major fault line that runs right through Cuba. There is another active fault line about 300 miles west of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico where a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred back in 2006. Swimming pools sloshed back and forth near Tampa and Lakeland and a few dishes and windows broke. No damage was done here on the First Coast. Amazing huh?

Here are some other earthquakes of note here at home:

January 12, 1879...Two severe shocks about 30 seconds each was felt from Fort Meyers to Tallahassee, and from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach with the earthquake epicenter near Keystone Heights! No major damage was reported nor was a magnitude given. St. Augustine did report what sounded like a distant freight car with some reports of cracked windows and dishes.

August 31, 1886...Charleston, South Carolina was devastated by a strong earthquake and it caused church bells to ring in St. Augustine. Wells that were dry started to flow again and water in Lake Jackson was said to disappear!

September, 1886...Jacksonville reported several after-shocks likely associated with the major Charleston earthquake.

October 10, 1900...this was the closest epicenter I could find to Jacksonville because its coordinates have it located at present day Arlington! It was once again a small one but was felt as far away as Lake City.

November 13, 1935..the Palatka earthquake caused people to run from their homes. No damage just a bit scary that is all.

So there you have we can all focus on enjoying a wonderful weekend of spectacular weather! Spring officially begins Sunday evening. I will have more on this here on the blog over the weekend along with a check on the tides and why I think we will have two seasons all in one weekend. We could even challenge record highs on Saturday!

Make sure to join Len and I on Good Morning Jacksonville Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. We always have such great and interesting guests thanks to producer Anne Roy who is very happy her Notre Dame Fighting Irish won today. I am ecstatic about my Purdue Boilermakers thrashing their first round opponent. Make sure to also tune in for some more weather fun at 6:00, 6:30, and 11 p.m. I will set the table for your big dates and plans on both Saturday and Sunday evening! I will give you 100% and a reason to watch every show. I pride myself on making it interesting and with our Florida weather that is not tough to do! Thanks for reading and all your support. You are the reason I am always smiling on camera! I truly am blessed.

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