Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nature's Sunday Scoreboard: Tropics 16 Florida 5

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It is teal day Sunday or should I say steambath Sunday. It will feel like 100 degrees once again today. The big news this morning is our 16th named storm of the tropical season has formed in the Atlantic and its name is Philippe. You see the blob of clouds just off Africa. Philippe will likely stay a tropical storm during its lifespan and like Ophelia become a fish storm or re curve out to sea. What has been interesting this tropical season is we have had a lot of named storms but only 3 hurricanes. Our average number of storms is about 10 with 6 hurricanes and right now it is a good possibility we could go through all 21 names of this years alphabet which includes Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.

Watch the Caribbean as we head into October that is for sure with a La Nina re-developing. Keep in mind Florida's busiest month for tropical storm or hurricane impacts is September followed by October and hurricane season stretches all the way to November 30. Heck, we have even had 2 December storms. The only months without a recorded tropical system hitting Florida are January and March. Now where does the 5 come from on nature's scoreboard? Well, we should have had five hurricanes by now since Wilma last hit Florida back in October of 2005. Yes, we are in a hurricane drought to go along with our rainfall drought. Remember Wilma hit South Florida with 105 mph winds the last week of October back in 2005, so we still have a long way to go that is for sure. We need to keep our guard up. As Yogi Berra said, "it ain't over till its over" and even then with nature you never say never.

Today here at home the tropics even have a bearing on our weather. We have a tropical system trying to form into Rina off the Florida east coast. Yesterday the hurricane center gave it a 30% for development and today it is less than 5%, do to strong wind shear tearing it apart. But, I do think this weak system will steal the thunder from a front moving our way from the west. So instead of 70% rain coverage I look for 40% coverage with the best chances south and east of Jacksonville. Keep this in mind if you are deep sea fishing today.

The farther out you go to catch the big one the better your rain chance. Here at home we had more excitement yesterday with our third day in a row of funnel-filled skies around the area. The funnel cloud was spotted near Pomona Park. Check out this great picture sent in from Linda Wargo showing what all the hoopla was about. Luckily, we went to Doppler radar and the weak rotation that caused the funnel to form quickly dissipated and did not reach the ground. About one in ten of these funnels reach the ground in Florida. Luckily yesterday the wind in all directions of the upper-atmosphere were blowing in the same direction. We had a few outflow boundaries to this storms northeast and southwest that likely caused this funnel to form but there just was not enough support for it to reach the ground. 

Today I do not expect funnel weather as our helicity values or expected spin in the atmosphere is even lower with a weakening front to our west and system to our east, but never say never. All strong to severe thunderstorms have the potential of producing tornadoes and not all storms behave. No two storms are alike. My main threats today will remain brief heavy downpours and lightning. Live Doppler radar is there for us in case nature tries to pull any surprises.

The big thing once again today is that it will not be a washout and not to cancel plans. Yes, you can still go to the beach. Cheryl took this shot of some great kids taking part in Surfers for Autism yesterday at Jacksonville Beach. Thank you! This is always such an inspirational event! I wish I could stand up like that on a board. I went surfing a couple weeks ago and I am still recovering, lol! You stay cool and just think if you tune in tonight I will show you when we can open up the windows and enjoy some real refreshing autumn breezes! Hint: this time next week I will be very popular! I better go and need to head to church. Did not have time to proof read! Hope it makes sense! Have a great day!

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