Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer Rainfall Outlook Takes a Rainy Turn!

Normally I would give this kind of weekend a 10 out of 10 but the latest update on our drought is not good. Despite the downpours we had last weekend we are still officially in an exceptional drought and still need a good foot of rain to break out of this arid pattern that started in 2010.

I do give the latest long-range maps an A+ if they are correct! For the first time in 2 years they are showing almost the entire state of Florida receiving above average rainfall beginning in July and continuing into early autumn. This shift and glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark and dry tunnel is thanks to a weak El Nino developing this summer. This warming of the Pacific Ocean normally shifts weather patterns all over the globe including here in Florida.

In the short-term our rain chances stay low through much of next week with an average of only .01" of rain in the next 7 days. A trough of low pressure may help our chances in the 8 to 14 day outlook with 1 to 2 inches of rainfall over our area on average. But for now it is all about sunshine, sand castles, remembering to reapply the sunscreen, and day-dreaming of rain on the hammock which might not be so far-fetched anymore!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Biggest Rain of the Year is Not All Bad News

If we are going to have rain on weekend we better need it! Dating back to the great fires of 1998 we have been 48.3 inches below average on rainfall. To put it in perspective it is like we did not have an entire year of rain since we average about 53 inches of rain per year. This weekend the heaviest rain will be Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning and we will still have to watch for a few strong storms especially from St. Augustine southward. Although Central and South Florida will have the higher risk. Stay safe and remember to slow it down on area roadways.

What makes this the biggest rain-producer of the year. We have a low pressure actually crossing Florida instead of the average track we have seen for the last several months hundreds of miles north of home. We also have a nice moist southwest flow in place with no blocking high pressure. Be safe and get out the jackets next week. Lows could be near 40 by Tuesday morning!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We Stay on the Warm, Dry Side of Historic Storm

We count our blessings today as another tornado outbreak is likely today across the Midwest and Plains. This after 121 tornado reports yesterday! April is known for tornado outbreaks but rarely at this magnitude. We say the importance of live doppler radar yesterday as some towns in Iowa and Oklahoma were almost wiped off the map in as little as two minutes.

This storm will continue to impact our weather but in a much different way. We will be on the warm, dry side of this storm. It will boost highs to near 80 at the beach to the middle 80s inland. A southeast wind will be at 10-15 mph. Boating looks much better today with seas only 3-5 feet. We have what I call a procrastinator's delight and can take advantage of the extra time this year to finish up the taxes.

But, our fun in the sun hits a roadblock next week as our fire danger and smoke increases again next week ahead of a pattern change. The good news is more widespread April showers are back in the forecast, especially by next weekend but the transition could be bumpy. Stay tuned for your two minute advantage.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Smoke-free Weekend but not Totally Rain-Free

We will see a rarity so far this month and that is a few April showers, but most of the activity will be short-lived and mainly from I-95 to the east. These are not your typical April showers that bring May flowers. The latest water vapor loop is showing plenty of dry air in the middle and upper levels which heavier rain and thunderstorms feed off of this time of year. For the 10% of us that do see the rain it will amount to less than .05". This moist ocean flow is being helped by a very weak area of low pressure and it will continue to weaken throughout the day and totally dissipate by Sunday.

The bigger story will be our fresh ocean breezes that may cause some rough fishing today. Make sure to exercise caution. The cobia are biting but so are the seas which will continue to be at 4 to 6 feet with an east wind at 10-20 mph. The big story is that normally cobia season is not until the summer. It has been a strange couple of years here on the First Coast on land and at sea that is for sure! These breezes will also keep it much cooler at the beach today in the lower 70s. Inland areas should recover close to average with highs near 80.

Looking for better pool and  beach weather? Sunday is your day as high pressure builds south and this will warm and brighten things up even more. The wind will slacken a bit for better fishing and turn more to the southeast with highs in the middle 70s beaches to lower 80s inland.

Our warming trend continues next week but with a warmer west wind it will likely increase smoke across the area by late week. Scattered showers and maybe a thunderstorm will be back in the forecast by late Wednesday but at this point rain is not a sure bet for everybody as the front will likely stall to the north.
We will take a closer look at this tonight at 6, 6:30 and 11 on First Coast News.

Long-range we do have "hope" with a couple more fronts on the way thanks to a trough setting up over the East. This lowers the pressure and causes more rising air and condensation bringing better and more widespread rain and it couldn't come soon enough.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

31 Day Streak of Above Average Temperatures Ends Today!

Nature almost skipped right into summer but decided on a Spring rewind. Ready or not our coolest Spring day of the year is here. In fact it will be our coolest day since March 10th with highs only in the upper 60s at the beach to lower 70s inland. A chilly northeast breeze will usher in the chill at 12-25 mph with higher gusts.

A small craft advisory continues for seas building from 8 to 11 feet and a lake wind advisory is in effect. Tonight we will enjoy bright moonlight but it will be chilly with temperatures dropping into the lower to middle 40s inland to the middle 50s at the beach. Have the jackets ready for Easter sunrise at 7:07 a.m.

The good news is polar high pressure moves east Sunday afternoon helping our temperatures bounce back to near 80 degrees with great weather for a trip to Grandmas or even a boat ride! Seas will decrease from 3-5 feet and a surf will be at 2-4 feet with much warmer middle 70s at the beach.

The long-range forecast features another strong spring front by mid-week that will bring more jacket weather but don't expect any rain with a dry northwest flow continuing to dominate our weather.