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Buresh Blog

Posted: 7:12 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017

Active Weather Pattern... Tue. Night Storms/Tornadoes... Lunar Eclipse 


By Mike Buresh

Our weather pattern remains active with successive storm systems cutting across the Deep South bringing heavy rain & storms to the Gulf Coast including Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.  Enough cold air is available at northern latitudes for some heavy snow in what has been a lower than average season of snow so far for much of the area east of the Rockies.  The forecast map below is for the upper levels of the atmosphere valid Mon. afternoon, Feb. 13th.  The strong storm system that helped bring heavy rain & severe storms to the SE U.S. at midweek + heavy snow to New England is moving up into the Canadian Maritimes.  Meanwhile... another strong closed low pressure is moving over Northern Mexico destined for the Gulf Coast [El Nino-like!] by the middle of next week (Feb. 15/16th or so).  There will be the potential for more stormy weather for much of the east coast & Southeast U.S., Jacksonville included.

The active subtropical jet stream contributed to the First Coast's severe storms & tornadoes Tue. night, Feb. 7th.  So far... the Jax N.W.S. has confirmed two EF-1 tornadoes.

(1) Lawtey - along Highway 301 near the Bradford/Clay County line

(2) Heritage Landing in St. Johns Co. about 3 miles southwest of the World Golf Village east of the St. Johns River.

Strong winds hammered a number of areas with a classic squall line that originated from a clustere of supercell t'storms that formed midday Tue. (7th) near New Orleans spawning the first ever EF-3 tornado in Orleans Parish.  The cluster of storms grew "upscale" into a linear (line) of intense to severe t'storms that raced eastward reaching the city limits of Jacksonville in a mere 10 hours after forming over SE Louisiana - some 500+ miles!  It's arguable that this eventual squall line of storms was a progressive derecho - rare for Florida & Jacksonville.  Such a phenomenon is more common to the west & north of the First Coast & especially at higher latitudes during the spring or fall.  First Alert Doppler HD below is at 7:43pm Tue:

See modified from illustration by Dennis Cain below.

As the storms moved into SE Ga. & especially NE Fl., strong inflow from the south & southwest coupled with a nice pool of cool air behind the line of storms made for numerous straight line wind gusts of 45+ mph in addition to the tornadoes.

The First Alert Doppler HD velocity image below shows the very strong winds over NE Clay Co. along Highway 301 with an especially bright area right along Highway 301 at 10:04pm - this could very well be the Lawtey tornado circulation:

One minute later - 10:05pm - the circulation is still evident south of Maxville & northwest of Middleburg while a strong gust front is located on the leading edge of the squall line moving into Clay Co.

Storm damage photos on the Action News Jax website -- here -- & -- here.  There were nearly 200 severe storm reports Tue. centered on the area from Louisiana to Florida.

Fri. night/Feb. 10th/ marks a "penumbral"lunar eclipse which means the moon will not go into the dark inner shadow of the earth (vs. the inner shadow - umbra).  So the moon won't look as bright as usual (sort of gray-ish, if you will).  The eclipse will be ongoing at moonrise - 6:05pm... mid-eclipse will be at 7:44pm & will not be visible after 9:14pm.  Meanwhile.... the countdown continues to the great solar eclipse Aug. 21st!  Images below courtesy "Sky & Telescope":

Mike Buresh

About Mike Buresh

Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh anchors the 5,6, and 11 p.m. newscasts on WJAX-TV and the 10 p.m. newscast on WFOX-TV and can be heard daily on News 104.

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