Sunday, July 24, 2011
Hot enough to fry eggs on your car before nature's free car wash!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
What an amazing sight yesterday off Long Leaf Pine Parkway in St. Johns County. You can see the pyrocumulus cloud and towering cumulus clouds forming yesterday off Greenbriar Road. Some ashfall was reported in Mandarin as this wildfire sparked by lightning on Friday grew to over 180 acres. It is an unfortunate reminder that we are still in an extreme to severe drought from St. Augustine Beach to Keystone Heights and Alachua northward. Many areas are running one to three inches above normal for the month of July but our high evaporation rates this time of year are taking a toll as evidenced by this picture. Our live doppler radar clearly showed this fire yesterday and based on its live scan and wind speeds we were able to tell folks that they should not have to evacuate. Here was the two minute advantage and what it looked like.
Today nature may help firefighter efforts with scattered afternoon rain in the forecast. A wind shift will push smoke all the way to the beach today. So if you smell smoke, that is why. Luckily, it will not be anything close to the way it was earlier in June. Even though rain is in the forecast today, lightning will once again be an issue due to temperatures in nature's attic remaining below normal, so we cannot rule out a few new wildfires once again. We will keep an eye on it with your only Live Doppler Radar.
It certainly came in handy last night! While 95% of us dried out by 8 p.m. as expected, the other 5% had a rain storm that seemed to never end. Here is a picture from Mike Lyons in Mandarin showing the line of thunderstorms that sat over the Callahan area and highway 301.
What a beautiful shot of the thunderheads or cumulonimbus clouds that formed over highway 301 from Bryceville to near Yulee. Beautiful but beastly with 40 mph wind gusts, frequent lightning and lowland flooding as some areas picked up 1 to 2 inches of rain. What caused the never-ending storm? It was amazing! Their were 4 boundaries that all collided just right or what I called the perfect thunderstorm last night druing the 11 p.m. newscast. We had the Atlantic sea breeze meeting the Gulf Coast sea breeze and two outflow boundaries from the northeast and southwest. They all seemed to merge together just right causing plenty of lift. Florida weather is constantly changing and this time of year even though we do not have any large-scale fronts these microscale fronts are just as important to pick out.
Today we can expect more thunderstorms for about 30% of the area as we stay between two high pressure systems. It looks like a stronger northwest flow will take over and could push some of the storms all the way to the beaches. So today keep an eye to the sky not just over inland locations but at the beaches. Thunderstorms will be moving from the west to the east. There is another upper-level disturbance being picked up on satellite pictures this morning that may even enhance some of our rainfall coverage. So I would not be surprised if at least half of us see rain today! Things should fire up nicely after 2 p.m. The good news is these towering clouds will keep our temperatures from reaching 100! Highs should be mainly in the middle 90s.
The bad news is the dewpoints are still oppressive which will make it feel like 105 degrees this afternoon. Also the beaches will not see their usual sea breeze relief with the sea breeze pinned to the coast.
Let's keep this positive with some facts to cool you down: It was only 4 months ago folks many were complaining about our freezing temperatures and wind chills in the teens and 20s. Our first frost is less than 4 months away and average temperatures will start falling one week from today here in Jacksonville. One last fact is that we will not be anywhere close to Jacksonville's heat index record of 120 set back in 1942 nor our highest temperature on record of 105. So as long as we take the heat seriously and remember the pets I think we can get through this hot spell. By Tuesday of next week I do see temperatures back to near normal in the lower 90s with more rain chances.
Speaking of the heat...is it hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk or the hood of your car? Well I kind of gave away the answer already so you can save your car hoods from a mess. Temperatures need to reach 158 degrees for eggs to really fry. The sidewalk and even the blacktop streets rarely get that hot here in Florida except maybe out in Arizona where the dry air can help with the evaporation and frying of the egg better. Since concrete is a poor conductor of heat it usually cools down when you crack an egg open on it. If you want to fry an egg here at home the hood of your car is your best possibility since it is a better conductor of heat and can reach temperatures over 150 degrees. I think I will stick to the traditional frying pan in my kitchen...lol. This is another reminder of why you never take pets on errands this time of year or even think of leaving any kids in your car. It can get just as hot inside your car and make sure you lock your car at all times at home since kids that do not know any better sometimes play in cars with devastating consequences. Hopefully nature will bring many of us a free car wash especially for those frying those eggs outdoors today!