Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heaviest rain in St. Augustine since February! More on the way!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The fire numbers are staggering and we are not out of the smoky woods by any stretch of the imagination but at least we seeing our thunderstorm season really start to kick in. We have had more rain in just 5 days than the previous 6 weeks and an unheard of rain surplus has developed for the month. There are a few locations that have seen much less than rain which usually is the case here in Florida this time of year. The Okefenokee Swamp has had less than .25" or rain while areas to its east and north have had a whopping 2 to 4 inches of rain. Does smoke in fact have the ability to stabilize the atmosphere at times by blocking out enough sunlight causing it to rain much less over the fire? Absolutely. The smoke also holds down high temperatures and increases low temperatures.

The big news was yesterday was out of St. Johns County that is battling 24 wildfires! St. Augustine had its heaviest one day rainfall total yesterday since February 7th with a quenching 1.54" of rain! Folks were dancing in the street celebrating the rain more than Friday night! St. Marys was thrilled it had 1.5" of rain the last 5 days while Brunswick and Saint Simons Island were very content with 2 inches of rain. I found one spot near Nahunta, Georgia with close to 4 inches! Yes!!

In Florida a good 1 to 2 inch average takes up much of our area although areas of central Putnam County have had closer to .25" of rain. The beaches are in the .50" to 1" range with more for Vilano Beach southward including over 3 inches in Palm Coast. Orange Park, Mandarin, and Julington Creek all average out close to 1.25" while Hilliard and Callahan farther north are ecstatic with their 3" of rain. Yulee has had between 1.5 to 2" while Macclenny and Woodbine checked in with a more tame .50" of rain. Our average rainfall over a five day period this time of year ranges from .70" to .90" of an inch of liquid sunshine. So we had a great week with Jacksonville receiving 3 times its normal rain and then some! One other bonus was found in the sky. Take a look!

I think this is the first rainbow I have seen in 2011 or the year of the extreme weather. Do you realize that 4.2 million across have burned across the US. That is the size of the state of Connecticut. Normally fire season chars about 2 million acres. We do have to realize this fire season is far from over even if the long-range maps still have another 3 to 5 inches of rain on the way over the next 2 weeks. Our evaporation rates this time of year are insanely high or about .25" to .50" a day which means a lot of the rain we received this week has been evaporated. The Division of Forestry says it will take a tropical storm dumping over 10" of widespread rain on us to really help! I do not have any tropical storms on the way but at least more rain. Remember, baby steps! It is better than no steps at all. This makes today's forecast important. Let's take a look!

The set-up is a lot like yesterday although I will stick by yesterday's forecast of less rain. I think about 40% of us will see scattered showers and thunderstorms especially east of highway 301 and the storms will move from west to east. We will be helped by the Gulf Coast and East Coast sea breeze meeting over us and that high pressure really will not build into the area in a big way until Sunday. The west-southwest wind today will shift most of the thicker smoke into Georgia. Brunswick and St. Simons Island will likely have reduced visibilities to near 1 mile even this afternoon before we can kick up a few storms. Air quality will be unhealthy in Georgia for sensitive groups with some improvement by late day and Florida will remain in the moderate range which means there is still a moderate health risk for those with respiratory ailments.

Today's storms will once produce a few strong wind gusts like we saw yesterday. We had a few areas like Oceanway you see above hit with 60 mph winds and St. Augsustine officially recorded a 61 mph wind gust. Remember your lightning safety rules and if you cannot see out of your car under one of those heavy downpours make sure to pull to the side of the road until the storm passes. I look forward to updating more rainfall amounts here on the blog on Sunday and we will talk about taking care of Dad for Father's Day! Make sure to get Dad an early tee time with highs in the middle 90s and a heat index near 100. There will be a whole lot more sun than storms with only 10% seeing a cooling storm tomorrow. A movie would even work really well! Take care and if you are looking to stay cool this weekend. Here are a couple more ideas!

You can go see Lizard Man in St. Augustine at the Ripley's Believe it or Not or you can go see CATS playing all weekend at the Times Union Center. You see I got in the spirit as some of the cast members painted whiskers on my face this morning. I told them it was okay as long as it brought rain and hopefully it will rain cats and dogs. Lizard man lived up to the hype as well on Good Morning Jacksonville this morning. No he was not Barry Williams or Michael Winslow but he lived up to the hype and certainly interesting in his own way! Have a great weekend!

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