Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Dazzling Skylights Tonight & Brighter Days Are Here to Stay

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunny days are here again! I was up before 6 a.m. looking for shooting stars and saw one in the clear eastern sky! I made a wish of course and I was not the only one. I want to thank Dan for sending our weather team this note.

"This morning at 5:30 my wife and I took the dog out for a walk. We live in the Marietta area on the Westside. During our walk I managed to see two "shooting stars" looking west, but she is assured that it was probably just "light in my eyes". Is it a time for meteor showers now, or is my wife right? They were fast moving, but bright and had an arc to them with a tail."

Even though the meteor shower peaked last night we can once again enjoy shooting stars tonight! Look east before our moonrise just after 9 p.m. and for the early bird runners and risers like me another good time would be between 5 and 6 a.m. Send in more notes and pictures if you can so I can share.
If that is not exciting enough the international space station will be making a five minute appearance in the southern sky for five minutes beginning at 6:17 p.m. If you have never seen it before it will look like the space shuttle fly-over only brighter! It looks like a slow-moving shooting star without all the blinking and flashing. It will be a beautiful continuous beam of light.

What a beautiful day here at home  with gorgeous sunshine as forecasted and not one complaint to the weather center. Despite a soggy day across much of the Midwest and a few thunderstorms and needed rain for Texas the country as a whole is finally experiencing some tame weather! This December to remember for a lack of winter weather was a much needed break. Check out the latest data from the National Climatic Data Center! It will be the known as the year of the billion dollar disasters.
According to NCDC, the twelve billion dollar disasters include:

1. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona Wildfires, Spring-Fall, 2011: Greater than $1.0 billion
2. Hurricane Irene, August 20-29, 2011: Great than $7.3 billion
3. Upper Midwest Flooding, Summer, 2011:
Missouri River: Greater than $2.0 billion
Canadian Prairies: Greater than $1.0 billion
4. Mississippi River Flooding, Spring-Summer, 2011: Between $3.0 and $4.0 billion
5. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought, Heatwave, & Wildfires, Spring-Fall, 2011: Near $10.0 billion
6. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes and Severe Weather, June 18-22, 2011: Greater than $1.3 billion
7. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, May 22-27, 2011: Greater than $9.1 billion
8. Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest Tornadoes, April 25-30, 2011: Greater than $10.2 billion
9. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, April 14-16, 2011: Greater than $2.1 billion
10. Southeast/Midwest Tornadoes, April 8-11, 2011: Greater than $2.2 billion
11. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, April 4-5, 2011: Greater than $2.8 billion
12. Groundhog Day Blizzard, January 29-February 3, 2011: Greater than $1.8 billion

I know we had the never-ending fire season in Florida that choked us for a few weeks and the drought that continues but nature really did let us off easy and we have many blessings to count. Today's latest model run has two major models flipping our temperatures to chilly for Christmas weekend but they may flip-flop a few more times before then. They will have trouble seeing the pattern change which I think will not really hit home until New Years Weekend. But we will see. If they are right it may mean we will have a frosty Christmas morning and then warm up into the 60s during the afternoon. But for now I will stick to my forecast of 70s.

Much of the country will have a brown Christmas as you see above. The map shows where there will be one inch of snow or more on Christmas morning. Here in Florida I think we call this year a green Christmas. Another reason I think the models are too fast with the real polar intrusion is the North Atlantic Oscillation does not flip negative until just after Christmas and there usually is a lag time in the weather pattern for change to take hold. But I think the graph below does show a better chance of real winter cold blasts and even snows farther north by New Years. Check out the change!

That is not all! In keeping with today's brighter days ahead theme keep in mind we have now gained a minute of daylight in the evening! Our new sunset is at 5:27 p.m. Now we will still lose more daylight in the morning than gained in the evening until our shortest day of the year on December 21st. But we are gaining about a minute of evening daylight on average every two days from now until the end of the month. It will not be long before we are back out golfing and gardening in the evenings.

Have a great evening. I am taking my daughters to Mom and Dads for a special dinner and we are going to go out looking at more Christmas lights. We love the musical ones, like the one above we found on Loretto Road. Yes it has a singing pumpkin, lots of Elvis music and even Santa. I do not want to forget the beautiful nativity as well! Make sure to drop off non-perishables for the Mandarin food bank. Take care now it is off for some fun...remember we look south and east this evening and early tomorrow morning. Send in some pictures. Thanks!

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