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The Buresh Blog

    After a cold January, Feb. is turning out to be the opposite & will finish well above avg.  There are some signs of at least some cold returning by early March. In the meantime, we're 'in the area' of the date of our avg. last freeze: So a few thoughts regarding the mass shooting in Parkland, Fl. at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS...... * you won’t find a banner of any sort on my Twitter feed or FB fan page.  Seems too easy & superficial to me.   * “thoughts & prayers” - once again - too flippant. * just way too many images & sounds bites in my world.  There’s no way for me to shut it off or out while I’m at work since I’m IN a t.v. station.  The video of the kids huddling in the classroom with gunshots booming is just too graphic. * the video from Thu. evening’s vigil where the father speaks about not remembering if he told his deceased daughter the morning of Valentine’s Day that he loved her.  Oh my God - just heart wrenching. * Gun control.  I’m in favor of the 2nd Amendment - I understand the intentions of our forefathers in the writing of our constitution.  Times obviously were far different then.  But I have to believe some logical limits (mental health, certain automatic weapons, a ban from certain public areas) on guns is not a bad thing or irrational thing.  It certainly does not infringe on the spirit of the 2nd Amendment which was written to arm state militia (vs. individual gun ownership). But you know - for all the finger pointing, excuses, & political discourse.... I’m convinced the problem is unique to the United States because of a persistent drain on our moral compass.  And morals, empathy & respecting your fellow man cannot be legislated.  But think about it - if one values another humans life, I would have to think these mass shootings would decline.  I fear the moral fabric of our great country is terribly frayed.   I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the mess that is our society can be blamed  on parenting.... or the lack thereof.   Here’s something really radical: people unfit to parent or that are unwilling to put in the time & effort, just simply should not do it... & I do mean “do it”.  You see - parenting is a tough job.  It’s full time.  Never stops.  & you don’t get paid for it.  In fact, it can drain your wallet.  But the job of parenting - while priceless - just isn’t easy.  And without parents placing their kids in an environment where responsibility, values & consequences are not of utmost importance, then we get a product - eventually an adult - that likely will not contribute to society.... arguably will detract from society.   And a favorable environment does not have to mean “well off” socioeconomically.  Parents HAVE TO spend a lot of time with their kids.  Have expectations for their kids, set limits.  Yup - your kids don’t need you to be their best friend, they need you to be their cops.  It’s not up to the neighbors, your kid’s friends parents, teachers, school administrators, the police or any other gov’t entity to take care of your kids.  It’s up to YOU. Take them to church.  You don’t believe in God?  You don’t like how money factors into religion?  o.k. - that’s fine.  But surrounding your kids with individuals who have a good moral compass can - & will - rub off.  It’s the environment that matters. As a family - go volunteer at the local Salvation Army... a food pantry... a homeless shelter.  Show your kids “the other side of the street”.  Demonstrate empathy, compassion.  This won’t make them sissies, this will help make your kids value what they have while also developing a soul that is willing to give a helping hand, a hand up (not handout)... - & most importantly - without prejudice.  Whether black, Indian, Asian, white, male, female, old, young.... we’re all ultimately in the same boat. How ‘bout checking your kid’s social media accounts?? Crazy, right?  Hey - I’m telling you as a parent of 2 teenagers, you need to do it.  I’m guessing at least 8 our of every 10 sets of parents would be shocked at what they find.  Not necessarily what their child is posting (though maybe) but what others - including “friends” are posting.  It’s insane.  You don’t have to do this secretly, by the way.  Tell your kids you will occasionally check all their accounts.  If they protest, there a bunch of ways to show them you’re being reasonable & it’s your way or nothing at all... beginning with take their dang phone away.  Again - your not their snap chat buddy, you’re their cop! So after the flags are back to full mast.... the school reopens.... the GoFundMe accounts are full... & winter turns into spring.... what will come out of this mass insaneness?  Probably little at all.  A monument will be built no doubt.  A relatively small group in Parkland, Florida will NEVER be the same.  Most of the rest of us will go on with our everyday frenetic pace of life.  Sending our thoughts & prayers & supposedly moving on while making sure our kids aren’t upset with us for “showing them the way”. As a society, we need to - & can - do better.  We need to find a moral compass.  We need to care, to love, to be compassionate.  We need to have the heart that was so missing on this year’s Valentine’s Day.... an Ash Wednesday from which we need to rise & realize we can do better as parents & that it’s not up to someone else or a government, it’s up to US.
  • An overall warm - above avg. temps. - weather pattern will continue through a good part of the rest of Feb. A Bermuda-like high pressure area will expand over & near Fl. stretching from the Gulf & Caribbean to the SW Atlantic.  This set-up will keep strong & wet storm systems to the north & west of Jacksonville which is where the cold air will reside. How clean is the water near your home?.... From the St. Johns River Management District: Ever wonder how clean that water in a nearby lake, stream or spring is? The St. Johns River Water Management District is now making it easier than ever before to get those answers. Data from more than 400 monitoring stations has been compiled into an interactive webpage to help the public understand what’s going on with water quality in their area “Our vision was to provide an easy way for anyone to learn about water quality throughout the district or at their homes where it matters most,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “It’s interactive. You can view all of the monitoring sites throughout the district or type in your address and see what’s happening locally.” Protecting and restoring water quality is a core mission of the district and this innovative database is one way of keeping the public informed about the strides that are being made each year. Monitoring provides a wealth of information that enables the district to make resource decisions based on accurate and timely information. Throughout its 18-county service area, the district has 207 surface water monitoring stations, 270 groundwater monitoring wells and 26 springs monitoring stations that measure many parameters, such as nitrogen, chloride and water temperature. To access the page, go - here. You may choose one of the many listed parameters and view the map to the right to determine whether they’re increasing, decreasing or largely unchanged. In the spirit of Black History Month.... from Forbes Magazine... Dr. Warren Washington - click here. Dr. Washington is perhaps best known long ago for his work on atmospheric computer modeling followed by his work on climate change. Photo below from UCAR. From NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation): The 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)(link is external) takes place from Friday, February 16 through Monday, February 19. Each year, volunteers tally the birds they see in backyards, parks, and natural areas. 2017 was the biggest count in its history, with bird watchers from more than 140 countries reported 5,940 species—more than half of the known bird species in the world! Which species might show up in this year’s count? Even if you don’t spot any rare species, counting the “regulars” is just as important. Volunteers participating in GBBC help track changes in bird populations at a scale that scientists can’t achieve alone.  So, get counting! Anyone can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count by tallying birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count. Get started with these simple instructions(link is external) for counting and reporting birds. You can also find an online bird guide(link is external), tips for making tricky bird IDs(link is external), and birding apps(link is external).  No backyard? No problem. Head to a public land to count birds! Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Forest Service lands are offering fee-free days(link is external) over Presidents' Day Weekend. GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with partner Bird Studies Canada.
  • The numbers are final & Jan. was indeed colder than avg. - by about 2.6 degrees - & only the 2nd month (June the other one) below avg. since last winter. The globe, however, continued to have above avg. temps. for the month  In fact, New Zealand had their warmest month on record (compared to avg.)...... As part of an ongoing joint project between UAH, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available. The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Global Temperature Report: January 2018 Temperatures fall as La Niña’s effects are felt Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade January temperatures (preliminary) Global composite temp.: +0.26 C (about 0.47 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for January. Northern Hemisphere: +0.46 C (about 0.83 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for January. Southern Hemisphere: +0.06 C (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for January. Tropics: - 0.12 C (about 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for January. December temperatures (revised): Global Composite: +0.41 C above 30-year average Northern Hemisphere: +0.50 C above 30-year average Southern Hemisphere: +0.33 C above 30-year average Tropics: +0.26 C above 30-year average (All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.) Notes on data released Feb. 1, 2018: A La Niña equatorial Pacific Ocean cooling event is making itself felt in the atmosphere, dropping average temperatures in the tropics to their lowest point since June 2012 (-0.15 C), and temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere (+0.06 C) to their coolest since April 2015 (-0.01 C), according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The drop in tropical temperatures (0.38 C) from December to January tied for the third largest one-month drop in the 470 months of satellite temperature data. The largest was 0.51 C from September to October 1991, which followed the eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines. The second largest (0.41 C) was from July to August 2014.  Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest spot on the globe in January was near the Tsambagarav-Uul National Park, in eastern Mongolia. Temperatures there were 3.22 C (about 5.80 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than seasonal norms. Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest place on Earth in January was near Wrangel Island, in the East Siberian Sea. Tropospheric temperatures there averaged 4.75 C (about 8.55 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms. Feb. night skies from 'SkyandTelescope': Feb. 2–16 (evening): The zodiacal light is visible at mid-northern latitudes from dark sites: Look toward the west after sunset for a tall, hazy pyramid of light. Feb. 8 (dawn): Antares, Mars, the waning crescent Moon, and Jupiter form a celestial arc that straddles Scorpio and Libra. Feb. 11 (dawn): Low in the southeast, just before sunrise, a sliver of the crescent Moon hangs 2° above Saturn. Feb. 23 (evening): Look high in the sky to see the first quarter Moon less than 5° left or upper left of Aldebaran. Feb. 28 (all night): The almost-full Moon leads Regulus across the sky. Watch as the gap decreases, with the Moon eventually occulting (covering) the star for much of northern North America. Mar. 3 (dusk): Just 1° separates Venus and Mercury as they sink toward the horizon in the west. Mar. 7 (night): The waning gibbous Moon and Jupiter rise together in the east less than 4° apart shortly before midnight. Mar. 11 (2 a.m.): Daylight-Saving Time begins for most of the United States and Canada. Moon Phases Last Quarter       February 7,         10:54 a.m. EST New Moon           February 15,       4:05 p.m. EST First Quarter       February 23,       3:09 a.m. EST NOTE: Because Full Moons fall on January 31st and March 1st, there is no Full Moon in February. This last occurred in 1999 and will not happen again until 2037 A tsunami 'scare / incident' Tue., Feb. 6 - story - here... NOAA's National Weather Service issued their regular test of a tsunami warning.  But one private forecasting company's App - AccuWeather - sent out the alert as the 'real deal'.  Couple things worth noting: - the First Alert Weather App did not activate the warning - worked properly in other words - the President/CEO of AccuWeather - Barry Myers - is up for nomination for head of NOAA - a highly debated appointment by President Trump since Myers is the head of a private company that technically competes against the government's N.W.S. In reality..... while the tsunami threat for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. is smaller than the west coast, a threat does exist.  A local tsunami is known to have occurred in 1886 after a S. Carolina (Charleston) earthquake - story here.  The tsunami hit Mayport first then traveled up the St. Johns River - much less populated in the late 19th Century, of course.  Then in 1992 a 'rogue' wave - about 10 feet tall - hit Daytona Beach - thought to be spawned by a squall line of thunderstorms offshore OR an underwater landslide.  You can find an extensive list & description of tsunami & tsunami-like wave incidents - here -.
  • A lunar eclipse this week - Wed., Jan. 31st.  It's been referred to as the 'Super Blue Blood Moon'.  This term comes from the fact that there are two full moons in January - 'once in a blue moon' (not very often but the moon will not be blue)... & the 'blood' is because the moon may have a bit of ar reddish hue.  And because the moon's orbit is closer to earth (elliptical orbit), the moon will APPEAR about 14% bigger & 30% brighter.  But don't get too hyped up for this locally.  The eclipse for Jax/NE Fl./SE Ga. will be partial & will only be from about 6:45 - 7:15am then the moon sets as the sun rises.  So get up early & look low in the western sky.  A much more substantial lunar eclipse will occur in less than a year when a full lunar eclipse will be visible in Jacksonville & all of N. America on Jan. 20th, 2019. Generally not as spectacular as a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse occurs when the earth moves between the sun & moon casting a shadow on the side of the moon that always faces the earth.  Images below courtesy 'Sky & Telescope': We turn our calendars ahead to Feb. this week after a cold January - a month that will end up below average - the first below avg. month since June & only the 2nd month below avg. since Jan., 2017.  In fact,  June, 2017 & Jan., 2018 are the only 2 months below avg. since Feb., 2016 when he back to back months (Jan./Feb.) with below avg. temps.  The general weather pattern looks to stay cool into the middle of Feb. for the Eastern U.S. with Jacksonville sort of on the edge of the storm track & caught in-between the milder vs. colder air. Be aware that pine pollen will start soon - once we see sustained milder temps. - probably mid to late Feb.... followed by the oak pollen season 3-4 weeks or so later. So for February..... Our avg. last freeze for Duval Co. usually occurs about mid month. Low / High: 1st - 43 / 66 degrees.... 28th - 47 / 71 degrees Rainfall: 3.19' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 7:17am / 6:03pm... 28th: 6:53am / 6:24pm - gain 45 min. of daylight
  • The National Hurricane Center posted its hurricane 'Harvey' summary Thu., 01/25.  The hurricane 'Irma' summary will likely follow within a few weeks.  Meanwhile a Florida Select Committee has written & released a list of recommendations to Governor Scott - per his request - following hurricanes Hermine, Matthew & Irma - go here. January is 'Radon Action Month'.... from the National Environmental Education Fund (NEEF): January is  National Radon Action Month(link is external). What is radon? Radon is a radioactive gas produced when uranium in soil decays; it can be found all over the United States. Radon gas moves up through the ground into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation, becoming trapped inside. The EPA estimates that about one out of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it can be harmful—it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States among the population as a whole, and the primary cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  Winter is a good time to test your home for radon. When windows and doors are sealed tightly, radon levels inside your home can rise. Testing(link is external) is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. If you find high levels of radon in your home, the problem can be fixed! Some radon reduction systems can reduce levels in your home by up to 99%. Learn more: Find state-specific resources for radon A Citizen's Guide to Radon Radon-Resistant New Construction for home-buyers Healthy Indoor Air Quality in a Changing Climate Source: US Environmental Protection Agency. 2012. 'A Citizen's Guide to Radon.' Accessed January 18, 2016.  US Environmental Protection Agency. 2017. 'Health Risk of Radon.' Accessed January 16. Stay warm, burn wisely (NEEF) Brrr! When the temperature goes down outside, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can take away the chill inside. Smoke from a crackling fire may smell good, but it can impact air quality in your home and your health. Smoke is a mixture of tiny particles and gases produced when wood burns—the fine particles can get into your eyes and lungs, where they may aggravate some health conditions like lung disease, bronchitis, and asthma. Use these best burn practices from EPA at home to minimize wood smoke, stay warm, and protect your health: Before you burn, make sure your chimney is clean. A clean chimney provides a good draft and reduces the risk of a chimney fire. Have your chimney inspected by a professional at least once per year and regularly clean ashes from your fireplace or wood-burning stove to increase efficiency. Only use seasoned wood for burning. Seasoned wood looks darker, has cracks in the ends, and sounds hollow if smacked against another piece of wood. Use newspaper and dry kindling to start a fire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or propane. Build hot fires, which are more safe and efficient than smoldering fires. Never burn garbage or cardboard, coated or painted wood, particle board, plywood, or wood with glue on it. Burning these materials can release harmful chemicals into the air inside your home. If you burn wood at home—even occasionally—install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to keep you and your family safe. If you already have detectors, check the batteries to make sure they are working properly. Source: US EPA. 2016. 'Burn Wise: Consumers – Best Burn Practices.' Accessed January 31, 2017. 
  • This winter could go down as the coldest in at least 8 years.  Quite a change from the past 2 winters in particular - not all bad considering the insect population, pollen, etc.  Though when temps. do start to warm more consistently, the pine then oak pollen will likely go through the roof!  Some folks have had sticker shock when comes to their heating bills.  One way to determine & compare how cold a billing period has been is to look at heating degree days (HDD).  65 is the typical base.  Anything below 65 (the avg. temp. for the day) is considering a heating degree day.  For example, Tue., Jan. 16th in Jax had a high of 63, a low of 33 for an average of 48 - 17 degrees below 65 so 17 HDD.  Most utility companies will show this data on your bill.  The graph below shows the avg. per month.  As one would expect, Jan. has the highest avg. at 366 HDD.  Through Jan. 16th this year, Jax already had 269 HDD.  The result will be a higher utility bill. Some good news for those needing some warmth... the outlook for next week (Jan. 22 - 26) is above avg. temps. for much of the Eastern U.S.: Speaking of temps..... As part of an ongoing joint project between UAH, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available. The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade December temperatures (preliminary) Global composite temp.: +0.41 C (about 0.74 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December. Northern Hemisphere: +0.50 C (about 0.90 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December. Southern Hemisphere: +0.33 C (about 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December. Tropics: +0.26 C (about 0.47 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November. November temperatures (revised): Global Composite: +0.36 C above 30-year average Northern Hemisphere: +0.33 C above 30-year average Southern Hemisphere: +0.38 C above 30-year average Tropics: +0.26 C above 30-year average (All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.) Notes on data released Jan. 3, 2018: Globally averaged, 2017 was the third warmest year in the 39-year satellite temperature record, according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The average temperature in the lower troposphere over the globe in 2017 was 0.375 C (about 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms. Warmest years (global) 1979 to 2017  2016   +0.513 C  1998   +0.484 C  2017   +0.375 C  2010   +0.336 C Since the satellite-based global temperature record began in November 1978, the fastest warming region on Earth has been around the North Pole. The troposphere over the Arctic Ocean has warmed at the rate of 0.28 C per decade, or more than twice the global rate of warming. By comparison, the Antarctic continent is warming at the rate of about 0.07 C per decade, while the air above the ocean around the Antarctic is cooling about 0.04 C per decade. (The satellite instruments that collect temperature data do not see all the way to the poles. The satellite orbits miss about the top five degrees latitude in both the Arctic and the Antarctic.) The continental U.S. (both contiguous 48 and the continental 49) have been warming at the rate of about 0.18 C (about 0.32 degrees F) per decade. That means that in the 39 years since satellite instruments started collecting atmospheric temperature data, the air temperature above the U.S. has warmed an average of about 1.25 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest spot on the globe in December was near Timmins, in eastern Ontario. Temperatures there were 3.51 C (about 6.32 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than seasonal norms. Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest place on Earth in December was near Qambo, in the Eastern Tibet autonomous region of China. Tropospheric temperatures there averaged 5.27 C (about 9.49 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms. 2017 - 3rd warmest year on record.... has been 41 years since earth has had a colder than avg. year... 6th warmest on record for N. America : Since Dec., 1978:   2017 U.S. temp. departure: 2017 precip: & the #'s are in on the billion dollar disasters for 2017 for the U.S.  A record 16.... add in hurricane Maria's hit on Puerto Rico, the number is 17:
  • Wow - what a temp. turn-around for the New Year.  After a very warm Christmas, temps. 'went south' in a hurry.  & this included a wintry mix deep into the south on Wed., Jan. 3rd including N. Central Fl.: Dixie Union, Ga. had the heaviest snowfall in the ActionNewsJax viewing area - just W/NW of Waycross, Ga.: Charlton Co., Ga. (Folkston) ice: The first 5 days of Jan. were below 50 degrees in Jacksonville - the 2nd longest stretch on record (8 days - Jan., 1887).The NOAA temp. maps & Jacksonville city trace tell the story: A nice warm-up this week will be short-lived as temps. dive below avg. again for the weekend though not as cold as the first week of the month.  The overall pattern appears to be milder for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. for much of the rest of Jan. Marine life in particular has struggled with the cold snap as intracoastal waters have dipped into the 40s & 50s 'shocking' fish in the photo below.  This is not an uncommon occurrence in Fl. during the more harsh winters in what has been a recent string of unseasonably warm winters.   With water temps. so cold, sea fog will be common - warm, relatively humid continental air adjacent to - & over - the chilly waters of rivers, streams, the intracoastal & ocean - is the classic set-up for the phenomenon & sometimes can persist all day long closer to the coast. January night skies  (Sea & Sky Telescope) - - highlights include a beautiful early morning trio of the crescent moon/Jupiter/Mars... & a full lunar eclipse (partial in Jax) at the end of the month): Jan. 11 (dawn): Jupiter and Mars are joined by the waning crescent Moon. Antares is about 20° to their lower left. Jan. 13 (dawn): Tiny yet bright Mercury is joined by majestic Saturn as they rise less than 1/2° apart in the southeast just before sunrise. The Moon hangs some 6° to the upper right of Saturn. Jan. 15 (dawn): The thinnest sliver of a waning crescent Moon, having just been at its most distant apogee for the year during the night, joins Mercury and Saturn to form a delightful compact triangle. Jan. 27 (morning): As the Moon returns to full, it occults the star Aldebaran in northwestern North America. Jan. 31 (morning): The second full Moon of the month, sometimes called a “Blue Moon”  Jan. 31 (morning): Much of western North America will witness the first total lunar eclipse in more than 2 years. Feb. 1 (evening): The Moon, just past full, trails bright star Regulus by about 5° as both rise in tandem.  Moon Phases Full Moon            January 1,            9:24 p.m. EST  (Wolf Moon) Last Quarter       January 8,            5:25 p.m. EST New Moon           January 16,          9:17 p.m. EST First Quarter       January 24,         5:20 p.m. EST Full Moon            January 31,          8:27 a.m. EST   (Snow Moon, “Blue Moon”)
  • The 2017 local weather review!  After each month in parenthesis - avg. temp. / deviation from avg., rainfall / deviation from avg.  The year in Jacksonville included 19 temperature records & 4 daily rainfall records with 11 months that had above avg. temps. & 8 months with above avg. rainfall.  There were record & near record low sea level pressure readings... hail.... flooding... severe storms & high winds &, of course, mighty hurricane Irma. JANUARY (59.8/+6.7... 4.05'/+0.75') 2nd: 82 - broke record high of 80/1947 20th: tie record high of 83 (1990) 21st: 84 - broke record high of 82/1929 22nd: EF-1 tornado in Camden Co., Ga... 1 killed in Lake City be damaging thunderstorm winds - all part of big tornado outbreak across the deep South/Southeast as 20 are killed by tornadoes.  Record low Jan. sea level pressure in Jacksonville - 29.31' (992.6mb) breaking the record for Jan. of 29.35' (993.9mb) - Jan. 21, 1979. First Alert Doppler HD on Sun., Jan. 22nd just after 6pm as severe storms moves across NE Fl. & SE Ga.: Adel, Ga. EF-3 tornado damage on Jan. 22nd: FEBRUARY (62.3/+5.9...1.35'/-1.84') 7th: 81 breaks the record high of 80/1904 7th: evening severe storms with 2 EF-1 tornadoes - Lawtey & Heritage Landing in NE Fl... many downed trees/power lines from high squall line winds.  The system began in the morning in Louisiana where an EF-3 tornado hit New Orleans. Heritage Landing, Fl EF-1 tornado damage as seen by Sky Action News Jax: Photo of New Orleans EF-3 tornado courtesy New Orleans N.W.S.: 28th: 87 ties record high (1962) MARCH (62.3/+0.6...1.07'/-2.88') 1st: 88 breaks the record high of 87, 1997 16th: 28 - breaks the record low of 30, 1898 - coldest for so late in the season 22nd: W. Nassau Co. - 700 acre wildfire near & west of Bryceville, Fl. APRIL (70.0/+2.9...0.74'/-1.90') 3rd - 89 ties the record high, 2012 5th: 91 breaks the record of 89/1880 6th: W. Mims wildfire in Ga. is ignited by a lightning strike 20th: Tropical storm 'Arlene' develops over the far E. Atlantic & dissipates on the 21st 28th: 94 ties the record high, 1991 MAY (75.4/+1.3....8.65'/+6.17') 6th: thick smoke over Duval Co. from W. Mims wildfire near the Fl./Ga. border 10th: 94 breaks the record of 93/2011 11th: 96 breaks the record of 95/1973 24th: 3-day rainfall of 5-10' puts out many wildfires 30th: O. Park t'storm downburst destroys many trees 31st: 3' hail in Jacksonville Beach + flooding.  66 mph wind gust at JIA - record high for May beating old record of 62 mph on May 27, 1975. JUNE (79.4/-0.5...11.88'/+5.43' 6TH: EF-1 tornado near DuPont, extreme Southern St. Johns Co. 15th: UPS building roof damaged by straight line winds 22nd: Tropical storm 'Cindy' landfall near 4am on the Texas/La. border 26th: Heavy afternoon t'storms - Nocatee home destroyed by lightning, fire. 0 1 JULY (82.8/+0.5... 10.91'/+4.36' - 10th wettest July on record) 10th: 1.97' of rain - daily record (1.45'/1915) 30th: 2.36' - daily record (1.74'/1974) AUGUST (82.4/+0.6...9.09'/+0.29' - June - Aug. - 5th wettest on record [31.50']... May - Aug. - wettest on record (40.53' beats record of 33.73', 1965).  Avg. Aug. dew point of 75.4 degrees was all-time highest recorded for any month since dewpoint records began in 1937. 1st: 68 - tie record low, 1966 9th: 1st Atlantic hurricane of the season - 'Franklin' - Mexico landfall on the 10th 17th: Tropical storm 'Harvey' forms over the Caribbean... dissipates on the 19th... reforms on the 23rd... hits Texas central coast on the 25th near 11pm EDT as Cat. 4 hurricane - 1st U.S. 'major' landfalling hurricane since 'Wilma' in Fl., 2005 21st: The 'Great U.S. Solar Eclipse' - 91% of sun obscured at peak in Jacksonville... totality from the Pacific NW to the Midwest to the S. Carolina coast.  Read the 'Buresh Blog' post about my total solar eclipse experience in S. Carolina. 27th: Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Harvey 30th: Tropical storm 'Irma' forms just off the coast of Africa over the far Eastern Atlantic... becomes a Cat. 3 on the 31st while moving swiftly west. SEPTEMBER (79.0/+0.8...13.33'/+5.14'... [Record 114-day - from May 21 - Sept. 11 - rainfall of 50.16' breaking record of 48.82' from June June 13 - Oct. 4, 2004].) 6th: Cat. 5 Irma hits Barbuda, Northern Lesser Antilles & U.S. Virgin Islands 8th: Cat. 1 hurricane 'Katia' makes Mexican coast landfall 9th: Cat. 5 Irma hits the north coast of Cuba 10th: Cat. 4 Irma hits the U.S. Central Keys... then a second U.S. landfall as Cat. 3 near San Marco Island 11th: Irma's closest approach to Jacksonville: 4.54' at JIA - record for the day (4.12'/1960)... record flooding on the St. Johns River, downtown Jax breaking the record set in hurricane 'Dora', 1964.  The all-time highest wind gust of 86 mph was measured at JIA breaking the record of 85 mph on Sept. 9, 1964 (hurricane 'Dora').  The sea level pressure at JIA fell to 29.13' (986.5mb) - 9th lowest on record.... & lowest since the 'Super Storm' of March 13, 1993 (29.05'/987.7mb).  The widespread flooding from Irma set 32 all-time records at coastal tidal gauges & inland river gauges in NE Fl.  All-time high flood crests on the North Fork & South Fork of Black Creek in Clay Co.  All-time records on the middle & upper portions of the Santa Fe River Basin in Columbia Co., Fl. Aerial video of damage - here..... photo gallery here... 'Talking the Tropics With Mike' - Irma recap.... video recap of 2017 hurricane season here... 'Talking the Tropics With Mike': Season review. 20th: Cat. 4 'Maria' hammers Puerto Rico. 30th: Local Nor'easter produces flooding after 2-10' of rain (through Oct. 1) OCTOBER (74.0/+3.6.... 4.01'/+0.08') 7th: Cat. 1 hurricane Nate makes landfall on the SE Louisiana coast followed by a 2nd landfall as Cat. 1 near Biloxi on the 8th 8th: tie record high min of 76 (1941) 13th: tie record high - 89, 1986 14th: tie record high low of 76, 1912 16th: 92 - record high (90/1925) NOVEMBER (65.1/+2.9....2.61'/+0.50') 8th: tie record high - 85, 1986 21st: 1.68' - daily record rainfall (1.16'/1887) 23rd: wet Thanksgiving - 0.74' at JIA but 3-6' SE Duval, St. Johns, Clay Co. DECEMBER (58.2/+2.9.... 2.42'/-0.38') 24th: 83 - tie record high, 2015
  • Lots of folks on the highways & in the air over the next couple weeks.  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to You & Yours! Weather info. & delays on the highways - here..... in the air - here. Latest snow cover map (refresh your browser): John Engle, WOKV anchor sent me a cool link: 'The Year From Above', NYT - here. A series of satellite &/or aerial images of events from the past year.  Note the Aug. 21 satellite time lapse showing the 'Great U.S. Solar Eclipse' - then weakening tropical disturbance 'Harvey' was over the NW Caribbean.  Just 4 days later, the system would turn into a devastating Cat. 4 upon approach to Texas. The St. Johns River Management District wants everyone to 'Skip a Week' - watering their lawn & landscaping that is.  There's the potential to save 2 billion gallons of water! The St. Johns River Water Management District is encouraging homeowners in its 18-county region to “Skip a Week” of lawn and landscape irrigation during the cooler months of December, January and February. “Skipping a week of irrigation when your yard doesn’t need it keeps lawns healthy and helps to conserve drinking water supplies —  if homeowners who irrigate skipped every other week of watering this winter, north and east-central Florida could save more than 1 billion gallons of water,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. During the cooler months, weekly irrigation isn’t always needed. In fact, research shows ½ to ¾ inches of water per irrigation zone every 10–14 days is sufficient. Overwatering makes lawns less able to survive Florida’s inevitable droughts and encourages pests, disease and root rot. Using less water encourages deeper grass and plant roots, which makes them more drought-tolerant and less susceptible to pests and disease. Skipping a week is as simple as manually turning off your irrigation system. To make sure your yard stays healthy, turn on your irrigation system if you see signs your grass needs water. Signs include: - Grass blades are folded in half; - Grass blades are blue-gray; or - Grass blades do not spring back; footprints remain visible on your lawn for several minutes after walking on it. If you see signs your lawn is wilting and decide to irrigate, the University of Florida recommends an average of ½ to ¾ inches of water per application. Saturating the root zone and then letting the soil dry encourages healthy, deep root growth. 'Tis the season.... From Republic Services: 1. When giving holiday gifts, commit to reusing laminated bags and recycling those made of paper. Shipping gifts? Make shredded paper out of old newspapers and be sure to reuse last year’s bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts. 2. After opening gifts, remember to recycle the wrapping paper – even the shiny stuff – but save and reuse the ribbons and bows. 3. Getting a new device this holiday season? Make sure your old phone or tablet does not get tossed in with the recycling. Check with your local service provider on any special instructions or electronics recycling options. 4. Enjoy that holiday latte, just remember the paper cup, plastic lid and paper sleeve should be Empty, Clean & Dry before tossing them into the recycling container. With parties, decorations, gift giving and travel, Americans waste generation per household increases 25 percent, or almost 1,000 pounds of trash, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Remarkably, roughly 80 percent of what is thrown away during the holidays could be recycled or repurposed, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.   The most common non-recyclables contaminating the recycling waste stream during the holiday season include: bubble wrap, cellophane, string/rope, ribbons and bows, batteries, food, clothing, cell phones and Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene foam.   Remember that when it comes to toy packaging, both the cardboard and the plastic are recyclable, but they must be separated from one another. That includes the plastic window on the box of a doll or action figure. Sticky gift tags are not recyclable by themselves, but they are acceptable if fixed to an envelope or wrapping paper.
  • Christmas is less than two weeks away.  And it looks like the weather pattern will be undergoing a significant change - back to the pattern we had much of Nov. but more amplified.  The upper air GFS forecast model chart for early Christmas morn' is below: The implication is warm for Jacksonville/NE Fl. as a Bermuda high-like system sets up centered on the Bahamas (very warm Christmas for the islands!).  This is very much a La Nina type pattern (mild winter).  Storminess would not be far away - from Texas to New England with arctic cold over the Rockies & North Central U.S.  So this should translate into an active period of weather that might even include severe t'storms along a strong cold front.  Stay tuned! Speaking of Christmas.... the map below from NOAA is the probability of a white Christmas: Parts of the deep south were covered in snow the first week of Dec. as a strong & cold weather system blanketed the ground with snow from Mexico & S. Texas to Ga. to New England.  Brian Brettschneider tweeted out the interesting image below showing the percent of winters with measurable snow.  A little less than half the winters drop measurable snow on Atlanta vs. near zero for Jacksonville.  Of course, there have been exceptions including the great snow & ice storm of 1989 which stands as the benchmark for great winter storms in Jacksonville. Audubon's Christmas bird count (NEEF): Every year, thousands of volunteers identify and count birds during  Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) . The annual count—which is in its 118th year—helps researchers, conservation biologists, and others study North American bird populations over time. The first Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place on December 25, 1900 when 27 participants counted and identified about 18,500 birds, mostly in the northeastern US. Today, volunteers brave snow and chilly temperatures to identify and count birds throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Last year, 2,536 counts were completed and 56.1 million birds were reported! What birds will we see this year?  Learn more about CBC and find a count near you . Anyone can participate in the Christmas Bird Count, which takes place from December 14, 2017 to January 5, 2018. The CBC takes place in “count circles” that focus on specific geographic areas. Every circle has a leader, so even if you are a beginner birdwatcher, you’ll be able to count birds with an experienced birder and contribute data to the longest-running wildlife census. If your home happens to be within the boundaries of a count circle, you can count the birds that visit your backyard feeder.

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  • An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show. The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter.  Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond.  The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed. Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention.  He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband.  “Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.” The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall.  Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.” In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter.  A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public.  On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon.  See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below.  Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time.  “Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.” Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said.  >> Read more trending news  “We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.” The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation.  Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head.  The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle.  Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles.  TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful. “They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition. The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said.  Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death.  “It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.”  Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment.  As of Thursday, Jeff West had not admitted involvement in the crime, Lemley said. 
  • Originally arrested on grand theft charges, a Neptune Beach police patrol officer is sentenced to six months in Duval County Jail after pleading guilty to petit theft. Authorities say 33-year-old Christopher Ortiz admitted to stealing $807 in cash from an undercover officer’s wallet on July 17, 2017. Investigators, acting on complaints about missing property from individuals Ortiz had arrested previously, set-up a sting operation involving an undercover officer posing as an impaired driver. Ortiz admitted that he had taken the cash after he had pulled over the undercover officer, then admitted to taking money from three others previously.  “While we are strongly disappointed in Mr. Ortiz’s actions, we are exceptionally pleased with the disposition of this case,” says Neptune Beach Police Chief Richard Pike. “Our commitment to the public’s trust is paramount and vital to our continued success while serving the public.” Ortiz must make full restitution to the three victims identified during the investigation.
  • With a spike in school-related threats following the mass shooting in Parkland, the Clay County Sheriff's Office is announcing the arrest of a second suspect accused of making threats online.  The sheriff's office says early Friday they were informed about threatening messages involving Oakleaf Junior High School, prompting an immediate investigation by their Juvenile Crimes Unit and their Cyber Crimes Unit.  Information they uncovered led them to an Oakleaf Junior High School student, who has since been arrested and is being charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. We’re told she is 13-years-old. This arrest comes only a few hours after Clay County deputies announced the arrest of a 9th grade student at Oakleaf High School student accused of making threats against that school.  The 15-year-old girl in that case is also facing two felony charges and a misdemeanor, including false report/ use firearms in a violent manner and written threats to kill or do bodily harm, as well as Disruption or Interfering with School. Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels recently announced that his deputies would have ‘zero tolerance’ for these kinds of threats.
  • President Donald Trump has called for the arming of qualified teachers in the wake of a deadly shooting that left 17 people dead at a Florida high school, but in Texas dozens of school districts already allow staff members to carry firearms. >> Read more trending news Officials with the Texas Association of School Boards on Thursday told KSAT that they were aware of at least 172 school districts that let staff members carry firearms. Each district individually decides whether to allow staff to carry weapons, board spokeswoman Theresa Gage told the news station. Under state and federal laws, schools are usually considered gun-free zones, but Texas law allows for districts to authorize employees to carry firearms under a pair of programs, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported. >> Related: Teachers to Trump: #ArmMeWith funding, supplies and resources, not guns The Guardian Plan, which allows for certain teachers to be designated as “guardians” who are allowed to carry concealed handguns, was created in 2007 as schools were reeling in the wake of a shooting at Virginia Tech that left more than 30 people dead and nearly two dozen injured, Texas Monthly magazine reported in 2014. Four years after the creation of the Guardian Plan, the state legislature passed the Protection of Texas Children Act. The act allows school districts to arm and train one employee as a school marshal for every 400 students, according to Texas Monthly. Agua Dulce Independent School District Superintendent Wayne Kelly told the Caller-Times that his district chose to participate in the Guardian Plan starting in 2016. To participate in the program, teachers and staff members are required to undergo mental health evaluations and 80 hours of training by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, according to the newspaper. >> Related: Some Ohio school districts arm staff, but don't tell public 'I feel like it would be good because there's a way to stop (school shooters)' under the Guardian and the School Marshal plans, Fabian Crossland, whose son is a kindergartner, told KSAT. Still, the plans have their critics, including Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison. “It’s a bad idea. It’s always been a bad idea, and it will stay a bad idea,” Robison told the Dallas Morning News. “Teachers are there to teach, and they will protect their kids as the teachers did their best to do in Florida. Steps need to be taken to reduce the number of guns floating around in the hands of wrong people. Guns in the hands of teachers are not the solution. It’s a cop-out.” >> Related: Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls for reform to state's gun laws, increase in school security Trump on Friday reiterated his call to allow certain teachers and school administrators to carry concealed weapons in school, arguing that such a move would prevent or drastically cut down on the carnage caused by school shootings. He wrote Thursday on Twitter, “If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school.” “Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings, but not our school?” Trump asked Friday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. “Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places.” According to the Los Angeles Times, schools currently allow staff members to carry guns on campuses in about two dozen states.
  • An Orlando, Florida, doctor has been arrested for Medicaid fraud. The Florida Department of Health and the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said Friday that Dr. Ishrat Sohail is accused of giving vaccines to patients with private insurance. The vaccines were intended for Medicaid patients and uninsured children as part of the Vaccines for Children Program, or VFC, officials said. >> Read more trending news  Officials said Sohail is accused of giving patients partial doses of vaccines while billing insurance for the full amount, officials said. The partial doses also may not provide sufficient protection from potentially dangerous diseases that can be prevented with a full dose of vaccine. The health department is working with the Agency for Health Care Administration and health insurance companies to notify all potentially affected families. At this time, it is estimated that approximately 500 children may have been affected, officials said in a news release. Read: Florida eye doctor gets 17 years for Medicare fraud Sohail’s license to practice medicine in the state of Florida has been suspended by the state. In 2016, the department determined that Sohail administered two vials of VFC vaccines to non-Medicaid patients and billed private insurance companies, officials said. She was suspended from the VFC program for two months.  Read: Florida doctor facing long Medicare fraud sentence Officials said Sohail was placed on a corrective action plan, which limited the number of doses of vaccines available to her and in January, she was found to be in noncompliance. Any child who received a vaccine from Sohail between 2016 and 2018 should contact a new primary care provider and consider revaccination, officials said. There is also the possibility that Sohail did not follow best practices in maintaining the sterility of the vaccines she administered. Officials say that, if a child experienced a severe adverse reaction or infection at the injection site of any vaccine administered by Sohail or her staff, patients should contact the Epidemiology Department at the Department of Health in Orange at 407-858-1485.

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