Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More firestorms than thunderstorms, more fires now than 1998!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New fires are being reported around the area despite last night's rain. The lightning in the area ignited new fires including a new fire in northern Camden County that has caused some evacuations near Horsestamp Place. The fire destroyed one home and 1 business. A new fire was also reported at 318 and 201 in Clay County near Highland. Another fire has fired up just south of Piccolata. Unfortunately an isolated storm and a lightning strike this afternoon near Highway 206 caused an old fire to flare back up. Here is the scene at I-10 and 295. The sky literally turned orange as I drove up Interstate 95 as smoke from the Honey Prairie fire blew in from the northwest. It has been confirmed their is now a state of emergency for Florida due to the wildfires and we have more wildfires now than we saw in 1998!

Smoke that is already thick around the area will likely not thin out overnight and mix with fog. Travelers need to exercise caution with reduced visibilities. Air quality has gone from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups that have respiratory ailments, especially for areas from southeast Georgia near Woodbine to Hilliard, Callahan, over to Mayport. Another problem area is from Bunnell to Palm Coast and Flagler Beach. Any thunderstorm activity tonight will be isolated and less than 5% will see any rain. Lows will be near 68 inland to the middle 70s at the beaches.

On Wednesday this smoke will start drifting west during the afternoon as the sea breeze kicks in so there may be at least some temporary relief from the smoke mainly east of the St. Johns River. But areas near Keystone Heights will see deteriorating air quality and visibilities.

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