Sunday, June 12, 2011
Air Quality goes downhill, but thunderstorm season is firing up!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Well it is back. It hit me right when I left my house in the wee hours of the morning today....yes that stench. If there is good news it is the smoke should not be as bad as Friday, although if you are at the beaches the smoke has made it to the sand and piers with that light west to southwest wind overnight. Visibilities are down to a mile in St. Augustine as of 9 a.m. I do not think the smoke will hamper travel. The atmospheric temperature profile is much cooler aloft than it was on Friday. Without a strong inversion or rise in temperature with height, I do think the smoke will thin out despite a weaker, later sea breeze. It should be enough to blow it west of the river by mid-afternoon. The big concern I have is the Air Quality Index which has fallen from the good range in most of metro Jacksonville yesterday to the moderate range today. This means there is a moderate risk of health problems for those with respiratory ailments and prolonged exposure outside is not recommended. Even those with normal health will have to slow it down as the humidity starts to rise today. Heat indices could reach near 100 with actual highs of 88 at the beaches to 93 in Jacksonville. The good news is with the cooler air aloft it will also help fire at least a couple thunderstorms on Live Doppler Radar this afternoon. The sea breeze collision will actually be closer to the river today based on the latest model runs with possibly a downpour or two for even Clay and Putnam Counties. Take a look.
Yes, you see the farther south and west you go today the better chance of a storm and our friends in Georgia could even see a boomer. Any storms that do develop could produce 40 to 45 mph gusts and plenty of lightning. We are not in a severe weather pattern but we do have to remember our lightning safety rules. The great news is on Monday even more of us get in on the rain. The latest models are maps are full of color!
The best news of all is the thunderstorms should be slow-movers hopefully squeezing out an atmosphere full of water! We could see highs in the middle 90s with dew points in the lower 70s by Monday. A front from the north and a late day sea breeze could also help trigger storms all the way to the beaches. Saturday evening, Jessica Clark in Orange Park captured the storms that fired up along Interstate 75 with 40,000 foot tops. It looks like thunderstorm season is firing up!
Thunderstorm season is showing signs of life just as we discussed here on the blog since last week. It runs from mid-June through mid-October and we receive about 60% of our yearly rainfall during this period. I checked some analog thunderstorm seasons that match up with this year. Basically we had weather patterns similar to what we are seeing today in 1989 and 2008. The great news is that during both of those years our rainy season produced 36-38 inches of rain compared to the normal of about 30 inches. We average about 50 inches of year per year. Now every year is different and of course I cannot promise all this rain but I am confident we will see a much stormier summer than last year. The La Nina that helped get us in all this mess in the first place last summer is all but gone with water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific closer to average. Talk about a big change, the Climate Prediction Center has the best long-range map I have seen for us in a LONG, LONG time.
We are really in the green shading!! This is the three month outlook for rainfall that really is the heart of our thunderstorm season which is July, August, and September. We are in the above normal category. Let me look again, it is early. Wow! Yes, it is true these long-range models flip more often than freshly-caught flounder but I do like how the analog years are matching up well with this outlook. This is encouraging. I am off to church and yes I will pray for rain like so many told me they were doing during yesterday's National Day of Prayer. Keep those positive thoughts going!