Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nature makes up for lost time as heat wave frys the First Coast

We are going from one extreme to the other. Many areas received about 8 months worth of rain on average over the past 4 weeks. Now it will be tough to buy more than a few drops of rain. The reason for this is a massive heat wave that has set more than 1,000 records builds into our area. This suffocating dome of high pressure will likely not retreat until later next week. This will allow our highs to soar to near 100 in the shade. If you factor in the humidity it will feel like 110! Add another 15-20 degrees if you will be out in the sun!

Remember we are used to the heat in Florida but when it gets this hot we need to take precautions. This heat wave has already led to fatalites and heat kills more folks each year than hurricanes or severe weather. Make sure to avoid overexertion outdoors between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Remember if temperatures in your home surpass 85 degrees fans will not help cool the human body and you could be in danger. Find an air-conditioned area to go to. Check on the elderly and remember the heat takes a greater toll on them and our babies and toddlers. Keep pets in a cool place and make sure their water bowls are filled up.

Nature is making up for lost time. The rain has kept our temperatures well below normal over the past 4 weeks and we have had only 14 days of 90 or above this year compared to our average of 24. We will stay above 90 through at least next weekend! Stay cool and stay safe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Do not cancel plans but pay attention as Debby likely to form this weekend

We are in a holding pattern with our huge 1,500 mile long meteorological menace continuing to slowly develop in the Yucatan. I do think it becomes Debby over the weekend but we have to wait until the hurricane hunters find a true center of low pressure to know where it is going. This will not be known until later on Saturday. So do not cancel vacation plans but just pay attention as all interests from Texas to Florida need to watch it carefully.

Our usually reliable weather models are missing crucial data with a lack of upper air data and buoys where this system is developing. The farther north the hurricane hunters find the center of circulation, the better chance of a Florida storm. The farther south, the better chance of a Texas storm. One thing we do know is that our rain coverage will increase this weekend with many areas easily receiving 1-2" with locally heavier amounts. The drier of the two days will be Saturday. Be safe and check back with us throughout the weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Meteorological Menace Churns in the Gulf

The hurricane hunters are flying into a system near the Yucatan Peninsula on our Friday and it is looking more likely it will be named Debby. But it may not be named until later in the weekend or early next week. Its circulation is right near land and there is plenty of shear on its north side ripping apart its 60,000 foot thunderstorm tops. This lack of organization and slow development favors a westward track next week toward Texas.

This tropical system is so large it will still impact us over the next few days with a good deal of clouds. The good news the storm track would keep the heaviest rain south and west of us this weekend but we will see an increase in rain showers on Sunday into the first part of Monday. So keep the Saturday plans, but have a plan B on Sunday.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Great Drought of 2010-2012 is Breaking! Flood Concerns Rise

This picture tells the story. I want to thank my Dad for sending these pictures in from Mandarin! Rentention ponds that were turning into beach front property or disappearing altogether are filling up quickly! Here is a shot two weeks ago before Jacksonville's only May tropical storm Beryl made landfall.

Now check this out! Only 12 days later I may have to tell my parents to build an ark in the near future. This after another week of heavy rain that pounded the area thanks to a stalled front and a global weather pattern change we call EL NINO! The earth-climate system is reacting to massive warming of the Pacific Ocean and it is seeking equilibrium by shaking up the weather all around the globe. Simply amazing. The developing El Nino has helped energize the subtropical jet stream which helped develop Beryl. You combine this with a relentless tropical flow we can trace back to the rain forests of Central America and voila! It is beginning to look and feel like a rain forest out there.

Be careful what you wish and pray for. This is only the beginning and things may not settle down until next Spring. Indications are this El Nino pattern is here to stay for at least the next 9 months. This will increase flooding, severe weather including tornadoes and based on the latest long-range maps even freezes.

In our e-hurricane guide you can download at I even discussed an increased chance of tropical storms and hurricanes for Florida even though there are expected to be less named storms in the Atlantic Basin as a whole. Keep your guard up, we are already off to the busiest start since 1908. We were lucky this past winter but this coming up winter could be another cold one here on the First Coast. Are you ready for some weather? Let's take a look at the rainfall totals everybody has been asking for.

Talk about a turn-around! Orange Park-Fleming Island and Mandarin have several reports close to 18" of rain. Over an entire summer these areas average about 21". To put it in perspective this is a seasons worth of rain in just under 2 weeks. St. Augustine and the beach has done very well, including Jacksonville Beach which has had 10.9" of rain. Jacksonville airport where our official records are kept has one of the lowest totals by far with just under 7" of rain. As a result for the year we are still considered in a rainfall deficit of just under an inch. But I think it is safe to say that the great drought of 2010-12 is all but over. This morning for River Day some of the boats couldn't make it to where they needed to go because they could not get under the bridge at the Julington Creek marina!

It is nice to see our Georgia friends doing well and reaping the rewards of close to 10" of rain in St. Marys and Brunswick and 7" in Folkston. The Okefenokee has done well with gator gushers tallying between 7 to 9" where a raging fire was still burning this time last year. What a difference a year makes.

This map I am most excited about! Our aquifers are doing much better with over a foot of rain in Keystone with even more in Melrose. Area lakes are up about a foot! Wooohooo!

Last but not least folks from Palatka over to St. Johns and Flagler County are dancing in the streets. These areas were choking on smoke this time last year and this is the heaviest bout of rain in three years! Lawns are turning the darkest green residents have seen in a long time! So please turn off the sprinklers.

We are not done yet! The same front that has stalled over us all week is moving back north and you combine this with the rain forest express and we can expect more heavy downpours on our Saturday. Areas shaded in purple which includes the beaches and the I-95 corridor could pick up in excess of 2 inches. We will have two batches of heavy rain with the second one moving through during the evening hours. Please be careful of flooding and ponding of water on the roadways. It simply will not take much for us to flood with our saturated ground.

Make sure to tune in for your only Live Doppler Radar. I do have good news which includes a drier Sunday and Monday as our relentless front moves north. It will not be totally dry but expect more dry hours! We will take it. It is hard to believe our weather team is now receiving e-mails from folks upset about all this rain. How times have changed! Stay safe, remember I am just the messenger and God bless!