Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bye Bye Clouds and Hello Meteor Shower

Tuesday December  13, 2011

It is the sunshine state but the little secret is out! We do have cloudy days and if there is a so-called cloudy season it is peaking right about now. It begins in early December and continues through early January. We have 14 cloudy days in December which ranks first for our cloudiest month. We also receive the lowest percentage of our possible sunshine in December which is at 54%. Now this would still be pleasant for folks used to the clouds in the Northeast and Midwest but for Florida residents spoiled rotten by sunshine through much of the year it is a big deal!

So today the sun finally came out for really the first time since in almost 100 hours here in St. Johns County and I had to snap a picture of it! It was right as the sun was setting but better late than never and I am ready for a good run now. Another reason I am fired up is that we have a meteor shower tonight and the timing is looking good as most of the area will be mostly clear at least through 11 p.m. before the clouds return in the form of fog once again.

It is the Geminid meteor shower! This meteor shower is known for extra bright shooting stars and even earth-grazers that seem to be close enough for you to reach out and grab. Look east and you will want to go out early. I am thinking the best viewing will be before 8:30 p.m. tonight. We have a bright moonrise at 8:33 p.m. and with it still 88% full it will certainly be tough to see any shooting stars thereafter. So get out while you can. Temperatures will be in the 50s and with those strong nor'easter gusts gone it will feel even better.

The good news is even more sunshine is expected tomorrow and with no strong fronts or nor'easters on the horizon I do think our cloudy season is going on recess through the upcoming weekend! Make those tee times now golfers. Expect temperatures to warm nicely into the 70s.

Our Christmas outlook which I have been updating since the calendar turned to December has not changed. I still like above average temperatures in the 70s. This years White Christmas will be far from home. You will have to go to the Rockies out West, the Dakotas and northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In the Northeast I think far northern New England will not have to dream of a White Christmas but the Mid-Atlantic and much of southern New England have very low chances of any snow cover. You will have to go into the Great Lakes snow belt from Watertown to Buffalo to have at least a 50% chance. This is a far cry from last year and 1989 when we were snowed in here in Florida for 3 days! I will keep you updated!

There is an arctic air mass that may drop into the lower 48 as we head toward New Years! Enjoy the shooting stars tonight and our much brighter pattern moving in for the rest of the week. Just be careful of late night and early morning fog.

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