Sunday, August 7, 2011

Emily back on CPR! The heat wave and the never-ending drought remain our big concerns!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The big meteorological I am having with some colleagues is why Emily was once again resuscitated by the National Hurricane Center and called a depression once again. Yes, the hurricane hunters flew into it yesterday but even if it had some wind gusts near 35 mph there really was no threat to humans to begin with due to a front and shear to its north. We knew it was going out to sea and we should have let Emily rest in peace. But it is what it is.

Emily is officially a tropical depression this morning and you can see what was left of it. It became more organized after moving over water temperatures in the Bahamas near 88 degrees (deep red ocean colors) the last couple of days. At the same time wind shear relaxed just long enough for it to produce sustained winds of 35 mph. But that only lasted about 8 hours and by late last night it was obvious it was being sheared apart again and that drier air to its north along with wind shear would cause it to weaken once again before heading out to sea. So I think once and for all we can let Emily rest in peace. This will not be the never-ending storm like we saw in 1899 that spun around in the Atlantic for nearly 28 days! This record for the longest lived tropical cyclone at least in the Atlantic basin still stands today! The bigger story is what is steering this fragmented, shredded depression away from Jacksonville.

You've guessed it! It is our heat wave. Check this out! The high pressure ridge to our east with a clock-wise circulation along with a trough to the North is guiding Emily out to sea! This is the same high pressure that is bringing Jacksonville its hottest weather of the year this week. Over the next six days I do not see much change in this pattern so unfortunately the heat goes on and highs will remain well into the 90s and it will feel well over 100 each day. The longer the heat wave goes on the more of a toll it takes on your body. Heat has a cumulative effect so make sure to pay even more attention to the young, elderly, and yes the pets.

Today can be considered the tenth straight day of this heat wave. The Florida definition of a heat wave would be highs of 90 or above with officially above average temperatures. We have had 20 straight days of 90 or above. Now I do not expect us to reach 50 like last year but do expect this scorching pattern to hold through a good portion of August. Notice the latest CPC maps showing the hot stuff over us here at home!

This hot pattern is not just uncomfortable but bad news for our drought. I do think we will see more heat than rain over the next couple of weeks as well which could once again stoke a few wildfires. Officially we are still in a moderate drought in St. Johns County to an extreme drought from the Georgia-Florida border northward. For the year we are actually about .50" of rain above normal at Jacksonville.

But my favorite saying is nobody lives at the airport! I have estimated that many areas on the First Coast from the river east are still running a deficit for the year of at least 2 to 4 inches and maybe more. Don in Switzerland, Florida who has kept tabs on rain since the early 70s thinks this rainfall pattern really went haywire back in 1997 and we really have not recovered from that drought. He may have a point. Time will tell. We have certainly been in a more extreme weather pattern not only in Florida but all across the globe with increased droughts and wild temperature swings. I think folks in Camden County may agree with this assessment along with areas just north of Interstate 10 in Florida into extreme south Georgia where they had a rain deficit of at least 3 inches this year as well on top of last year's devastating rain deficit.

Jacksonville International has officially received over 30" of rain. But the soil moisture has not recovered from last year's monster 18" deficit. This explains why many folks tell me they are wishing for a tropical storm and they do have a point. We do need one to help us really get out of this drought. Of course tropical systems rarely behave and it is tough catch up on rain without having to pay for it in another way with either wind damage and flooding, even if we have been so dry! It is a tropical catch-22! So let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. When it is this hot most of the rain we do receive is evaporated quickly. The good news is that more of a normal precipitation pattern for us is expected this coming winter. Hopefully we can really start to effectively re-charge the soil moisture by then.

Speaking of rain you can see only 30% the lucky ones will see it today! But we do have one change and that is the storm tracks will be from the west instead of the east due to a stronger Gulf Coast sea breeze. So if you are at the beaches you could even see an isolated storm or two primarily after 4 p.m. but at this time I think the heat index of 105-115 will have much more of an impact on you. The biggest threats today will once again be heavy rain and lightning with slow-moving storms. The pattern may bring us an increase in storms briefly on Tuesday otherwise do not count on the rain for your plants.

The tropics do remain active with tropical waves lined up all the way to Africa, but I do think our big surge in named storms will hold off until after August 15th. Things will get very interesting after August 20th with a  pattern would support multiple named storms. Stay tuned and as things get busier you will be able to count on this blog! For now it is off to church I go to see the family and the One that really has all the answers! God bless! Have a wonderful Sunday. Tonight at 6, 6:30 and 11 I will have more on this heat wave and why the average number of 90 degree days in Jacksonville went way up! Yes, it is tougher to get over the proverbial summer hump and it is made worse when you are in a heat wave!

No comments: