Saturday, March 17, 2012
Sizzling St.Patty's Day but April Fool's Weather Joke May be on Us!
Not just Irish eyes' are smiling. I think most of us are smiling about this weather, although we do need the rain! I even had some thank yous for this weather all the way from Indiana. Okay, I will take at least a little credit, this is such a humbling business. I have to pick my spots. Our weather picture of the day in honor of St. Patrick's Day comes in from northern Ireland where it has been a week full of spectacular green skies. A big solar storm on the sun continues to send huge waves of energy toward the earth lighting up the upper reaches of the atmosphere with brilliant results.
At the surface, and not related to the solar storm, the sun is also making plenty of noise by scorching records with an unusual winter heat wave. Using heat wave and winter in the same sentence is a first for me, but when over 1,000 record highs have been set in this pattern it best describes what is happening. But not so quick. Global temperatures have been falling fast and are running about a degree below average. Temperatures in northern Alaska are so cold that liquid mercury is freezing. So while March which is already our warmest since 2004 may end up being the warmest since 1871 in Jacksonville and over much of the country, April could actually average out cooler than normal and we may need to get the jackets back out!! So I am warning you early about nature's April Fool's joke. The last four times we were this warm in March dating back to 1990, all four times we ended up having below normal temperatures in April. We will see if it happens again.
But for now, it is time to take out the yacht, if you are lucky enough. This will be our fifth 80 degree day in a row. You can see the Khan yacht taking up a huge chunk of our beautiful river on tower cam. Today it is smooth boating as our high high pressure ridge remains in control. There is nothing to move it out or weaken it with a jet stream located in southern Canada. This is what normally happens in June! Something has to give and it will! Expect one of our earliest 80 degree days on record at the beach! A sea breeze will kick in but not until after 2 p.m. and ocean water temperatures will be in the lower 70s which is more than a month ahead of schedule. Check it out! Just be careful of reports of active jellyfish and sharks. There is also a propensity of stronger run-outs with such a long sustained stretch of onshore breezes. Keep the little one in closer to shore!
Enjoy the fun in the sun but do no forget the sunscreen with a burn time in 15 minutes with the UV index in the very high range. But, it will not be picture-perfect day for all of us.
There is a steep temperature gradient due to all our surface heating that could pop a few isolated storms with possible hail this afternoon especially north of Waycross. Nature's attic has temperatures closer to late winter and early Spring instead of May levels we have at the surface. We drop from 84 in Jacksonville at ground level to near zero degrees by time you get up to 20,000 feet. So if any storms do pop this could produce small pea and marble size hail like we saw yesterday just north of Waycross. Notice the storm reports above from yesterday. Pretty impressive. The atmosphere is so dry any activity will likely impact less than 5% of us and any rain should be brief at best. Make sure you stay tuned for your two minute advantage. Live Doppler Radar will start lighting up again in a much bigger way but not until later next week. I will talk more about this here on the blog during the weekend. Also, make sure to tune in tonight at 6, 6:30, and 11 p.m. for the latest on when this needed rain will hit and we will take a look at the bright planet parade in the sky and why you may see bright green objects to go along with the planets!