Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunshine State turns Cloudy with Storms Firing up South of Jacksonville

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What an unusual sight in the sky this morning! There were stratus clouds. Florida is not living up to its Sunshine State name but I am not complaining because I did not have any reports of smoke to share on Good Morning Jacksonville. Air quality for Jacksonville was actually in the good range! There still may be a few spots downwind of the bigger fires in southeast Georgia and Nassau County with some smoke issues but it will be nothing compared to what we have gone through the past couple weeks! Visibilities should remain above 5 miles and not fall to less than 1/4 miles! We can breathe again! I actually got my first summer run in outside thanks to the nice change in the pattern. I will never take breathing fresh air again for granted. Today for the first time in two weeks nature will help us with another issue, the heat! Many areas will only have highs in the upper 80s all the way to the beaches!

The stratus clouds out our window were formed from a plume of  moisture we can trace all the way back to the Pacific Ocean this morning and the amazing part is that this moisture was part of what once was called Tropical Storm Beatriz. In the Atlantic we still have not had any named storms yet and I think the area to watch over the next week will once again be in the Pacific. There is a tropical low that I am tracking near Belize this weekend but I have this system staying near land and moving into Mexico next week due to a strong area of high pressure to the north in Texas. So Arlene which will be the first named storm this year in the Atlantic will likely not be forming or knocking on anybody's door anytime soon. Unfortunately I do not see us getting any more help from the tropics this coming up week but things can change in a hurry and I do think the tropics will be more a friend to us than foe as the season goes along. This week we can thank a Midwest front for tapping some of what was left with Beatriz and today I think we will see more clouds than sunshine. Scattered showers and storms will pop this afternoon but do not cancel plans. The rain will only impact about 20% to 40% of the area. Here is the latest breakdown for you.

Unfortunately if we are going to get out of the drought the strong storms come as part of the package. We have had some severe weather to go along with our rain but today I see a more stable atmosphere here close to home due in large part to all those unfamiliar clouds. We may still see a few wind gusts near 45 mph and small hail due to colder air aloft. But nothing too bad. Here is a shot of wind damage that hit the west side of town and western portions of Duval County on Thursday.

This looks more like a scene from the Hoosier state of Indiana not Florida but it goes to show you that you do not need tornadoes to have signficant damage. Wet microburst or strong gushes of air from the top of 50,000 foot thunderstorms can gain a lot of momentum by time they reach the ground causing a lot of damage. Here are the latest Futurecast graphics supporting me. Notice I do not see the bright reflectivities that are indicative of strong storms for our Saturday.

Look to the north and northwest today that is where our rain is moving from and it will drift south and southeast. I think most of the rain should be south of our entire area by 8 p.m. Keystone Heights is asking for more rain and I do think that would be an area with at least better chances to see a nice soaking storm this afternoon. The farther south you go the better chances of rain. You can see it is the time of year where rainfall amounts can vary in a big way. This is normal and it usually evens out over the long-haul.

Notice it is the story of the haves and have nots. The 48 hour rainfall shows some bare patches with .10" or less for areas of Columbia, Baker, Bradford and Union Counties. The good news the heaviest rain we have had has been over the Okefenokee Swamp and the Espanola fires with some spots reporting between 3 to 5 inches of rain since Wednesday! In Jacksonville I know a lot of folks in Julington Creek, Mandarin and even Orange Park are wondering where their heavier rain has been. You see the heaviest of rain has stayed from downtown Jacksonville northward into Georgia. The beaches have done well with an average of .50" to 1" of rain.

This is a start and at least the ground is not as tender dry so that when we do get these thunderstorms they will produce more rain than new wildfires. The fire count should continue to fall. I wish we all lived at the airport. Jacksonville International Airport is now reporing 5.08" of rain compared to the monthly normal of 4.23". This would be the first month with above average rainfall since February! AMEN! If you have missed out on the rain do not panic. I see another 2 to 4 inches over us coming the next couple weeks which is still above average. Keep those umbrellas handy. Have a great weekend and make sure to check out our free weather app you can download by searching FCN WX! I will do several video updates for you to keep you updated on the storms, you can also get your exclusive local 10 day forecast I update every morning and evening as needed, and most importantly your 2 minute advantage to keep you ahead of the storms.

Your only Live Doppler Radar sure came through big time this week. You can see why with this amazing storm picture taken yesterday in St. Augustine. Thank you Athena Masson! Remember warnings are not issued with lightning and if you hear the thunder roar outdoors head indoors. Also wait 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder before going back outside. Stay safe and have a great day!

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