Saturday, June 4, 2011

Florida on fire with smoky sunshine! Tropics starting to ignite.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Here is the scene from Jacksonville Beach this morning where we had several calls about a smoky atmosphere. The beaches have been sheltered from the smoke for the past few weeks thanks to an onshore flow that has dominated our weather. But overnight the land breeze kicked in and the campfire smell spread to the coast. It was a great start to our day with a few rain showers downtown and west to Lake City with a few heavier downpours in southeast Georgia. Springfield recorded .10". I was so excited to see puddles driving into work but unfortunately most of us were missed and it will be the sunny, smoky skies will win out today with no drought relief. Take a look at this Division of Forestry picture. It looks like Florida is on fire!

We have at least four dozen wildfires around the area due to a drought that began last summer. Lightning from the occasional isolated storms that do move through are igniting wildfires. This includes the one off state road 210 that has burned 40 acres and counting and closed Liberty Pines Academy Thursday and Friday. I played tennis near there on Wednesday and it was snowing ash. Some of those ashes were still hot and as large as wet snowflakes you sometimes see up north only they were charred black snowflakes. It was not fun to breathe especially when you are running full speed around a hot tennis court needing all the oxygen you can get. Today the smoke which is still a huge story not only in St. Johns County but Clay, Putnam, Charlton, and Ware Counties will drift west.

So I know it feel like you are choking out at the beaches but expect improving conditions this afternoon. Tonight a light land breeze will once again develop tonight so do not be surprised to see patchy fog and smoke as issues all the way to the beach again by Sunday morning. Be careful as visibilities will be reduced to less than a mile at times.

You will also want to head to the beach for relief today where highs will be in the middle to upper 80s as the sea breeze kicks in. Farther inland it will easily hit the lower to middle 90s. The humidity levels and dew points are on the rise which can sometimes help spark some thunderstorms but it will be tough and any rain isolated with the front this morning dying out and at least two levels of the atmosphere that have strong areas of sinking air.

In the tropics we have "94L" which is the name before a possible named storm designated by the National Hurricane Center to an area they will be paying special attention to. The hurricane hunters will check it out Sunday afternoon and it is located about 100 miles south of Jamaica. The long-range maps have whatever forms not moving much for at least the next couple of days which would keep it in an area more favorable for development. The European Model which is the Hurricane Centers model of choice is still not showing a well organized low pressure developing at all. It just keep a broad area of low pressure in the Caribbean for the next week or so. The National Hurricane Center is giving 94L a 30% it could develop into Tropical Storm Arlene in the next 48 hours. Right now it does look like anything that does form would be slow to develop. There is also dry air wrapping into the system which could impede its development along with a lot of wind shear and rough terrain just to its north which will make it tough for Arlene to form. The main threats with this system continues to be flooding and mud slides from Jamaica to southern Cuba and Hispaniola. I will keep an eye on it for you and post special tropical maps here on the blog once more information comes in.

In the meantime, have a very Brady Saturday or a great Saturday. As always we had a lot of great news and fun on Good Morning Jacksonville this morning. Barry Williams, Lenworth Keise, and I filled up 3 boxes rather than the traditional 9 you saw at the beginning of the Brady Bunch. Yes, it was a special day! I got to do weather and meet Barry Williams or Greg Brady! He was very down to earth and kind in person. He is into weather especially since he became a pilot 4 years ago. You can check out his show at the Alhambra Theater. He is in town through June 19th and playing the role of Oscar Madison of the Odd Couple. You can also see Barry Williams at tonight's Suns game here downtown where he will be singing the Star Spangled Banner! I remember growing up with no cable and no video games and we played outside from sun up to sun down. The Brady Bunch was our entertainment at night. Yes, the good old days! Let's make today a great one too. Remember the sunscreen and I will check back with you here on the blog. I am still working on a video blog so stay tuned for that coming up more often in the coming weeks!

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