Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Longest and smokiest day of the year, but winds of change on the way!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It officially is the summer solstice today and our longest day of the year with a sunrise of 6:25 a.m. and sunset of 8:32 p.m. This is due to the sun's most direct rays of the year shining on the northern hemisphere due to the tilt of the earth. The southern hemisphere is celebrating the first day of winter and their shortest day of the year. I think what we will remember most about solstice 2011 is the incredible smoke around the area that was as thick as fog and required dense smoke advisories to be issued as visibilities fell to a quarter-mile.  I shot this picture while out at the beaches and you would think it is our first day of winter. It was a ghost town and felt like you were in a smoke-globe and it looked like a snow-globe at times but instead of snow, ash was falling from the sky! The picture is also dark because the sun was obscured. Our longest day usually brings the brightest sun rays of the year but not today, not even close!

The good news is that it will not be this smoky again, this year, hopefully never again. This is miserable. The pattern change I have been touting is on the way and the upper-flow is changing so that on the first full day of summer tomorrow the smoke will be thickest in Georgia but likely not as bad as today. By Friday I think our entire viewing area will really notice that nature's choke-hold on us will be all but history with increasing south to southwest breezes and more numerous storms to clean up the atmosphere. It could not come soon enough. Here is the Intracoastal Bridge that looks more like London Bridge.

It is another picture that looks more like nightfall is upon us rather than high noon when it was taken! Amazing! There will still be some lowered visibilities tonight even with the sea breeze moving in from the east because the smoke blew all the way out to the Gulf Stream. So improvements are blowing in with the wind but they will be slow improvements. Here is the visible satellite picture that shows the veil of smoke from space.

One thing to note on this beautiful shot is the two seabreezes that will bring isolated storms this evening inland. Look closely and notice the clouds in the Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle this is heralding the pattern change. There is an unusually strong front right now in the Midwest that is moving south and it will shake this pattern to its core and the choking high pressure will skidaddle as it is no match for this front. I am concerned about more tornadoes and severe weather breaking out in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. Here is a picture of some of the interesting clouds from our friends in Indiana.

This is a classic shelf cloud that clobbered Lafayette, Indiana. It brought wind and turned the Sagamore Parkway into a river. Yes, this front means business and is unsually strong for this time of year. There have been about 500 storm reports including about 4 dozen tornadoes including one reported near Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Here in Florida we will have to be on guard for strong storms as well as cooler temperatures aloft settle in by Friday into next week. I am thinking parts of our area could see at least some scattered rain every single day for the next 7 to 10 days. This is what helped us out of the 1998 wildfire debacle. We had 21 of 31 days of rain in jacksonville in July. This year we could easily pull it off again. Bring it on nature!

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