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Latest from Mike Buresh

    Wow - amazing how quickly our vernacular has changed over the last couple weeks: social distancing, isolation, quarantine, homeschooling, recession & on & on. I’ve heard it referred to as “the new normal”, but there’s nothing normal about it. From Matthew CDC: Flattening the Curve Remember that hope is eternal, faith is paramount & love conquers all. I often reflect: “Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can & the Wisdom to know the difference”. Jacksonville Skycam I can say this “forced” social experiment - while it obviously has its ups & downs - has some benefits. For me - spending some true quality time with the family has been priceless. Now, don’t get me wrong - it’s not been a perfect world :), but my wife & I in particular have been able to spend more quality time together than at any time since the first few years of our marriage. It’s literally helped remind me why I so eagerly said “I do” nearly 25 years ago. Now - my teenager - probably (well - I know) - has a somewhat (let’s be honest - a whole lot) different view of things. Though I have to believe this will be a tremendous life lesson for our youth as well.... in the long run. Bike Riding So a lot of homeschooling right now. Some NOAA ideas & links * here *. I’ll post a series of at home weather experiments & projects on my facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/MikeFirstAlert/ A couple of quick, easy & cheap possibilities include building a thermometer (temperature) & anemometer (wind speed). Homemade Thermometer ANEMOMETER: Making an anemometer March is the month for NOAA’s annual call for volunteer weather observers - CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network)- go * here *. These volunteers & observations greatly help our long term analysis of the weather & potentially increase our forecasting accuracy in the future. In the short term, such a network gives us a better idea of localized areas that might be very wet vs. very dry.... or very cool &/or very hot. CoCoRaHS Volunteers Needed The National Snow & Ice Center (NSIDC) has declared that Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent on March 5th this year - 1 week before the 30 year avg. of March 12th. At 5.81 million sq. miles, ice coverage was the 11th lowest in the 42-year satellite record & 228,000 sq. miles below the 1981-2010 avg maximum of 6.04 million sq. miles. The good news is this is more ice than 7 of the last 10 years. Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Arctic Sea Ice Extent
  • So.... we are in uncharted territory, historical to say the least & downright scary in some respects, no doubt. The idea of avoiding crowds & social distancing has medical & statistical merit (Institute of Disease Modeling): Flattening the Curve As a modern society, there’s little to truly compare to. May we pick ourselves up & move forward with confidence, kindness & understanding. Astronomical spring has arrived. Day & night are just about equal in length & the sun’s rays are most perpendicular over the equator. And temps. will be off to the races! Spring Arrives! So since the sports world is shut down.... our Action News Jax sports “folks” sent me a link about Sportsbook “weather betting” (!) - * here *. I’m not saying this is something anyone should participate in, just an observation. :) Beginning late March, the Census Bureau will provide the public with daily data on census self-response rates. The key message right now for anyone with questions about how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 Census: It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. 2010 U.S. Census Self-Response Important Census Dates: January 2020: The Census Bureau begins counting the population in remote Alaska. Mid-March 2020: The Response Rates Map will go live and begin reporting 2020 Census responses. Most households will receive their initial invitations to respond, which will be followed by three additional mailings. People can choose to respond to the census in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, most homes will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Respond based on where you live and sleep most of the time as of April 1, 2020. May 2020: Census takers begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted. This operation, called “Nonresponse Followup,” will last through July. We will still accept selfresponses to the census during this time. December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law. March 31, 2021: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
  • The “Buresh Blog” will take a brief break (vacation not illness!) with the next update due the week of March 23rd....... No surprise when I say the NE Fl. & SE Ga. winter was mild. But looking at the numbers shows just how unseasonable the past few months have been. The total of 3 freezes - Dec. 3 & Jan. 21st & 22nd ranks as the fewest number of freezes since the “official” Jacksonville thermometer was moved to its current location at JIA in 1956. The previous record is 4 set in the winters of 2018-19 (last winter), 2016-17, 1997-1998, 1992-93 & 1971-72. It’s only the 2nd winter (last winter was the first) since 1956 when the temp. did not drop below 30 degrees at least once. And two of the “freezes” were an even 32 degrees a little either way of midnight on Jan. 21 & 22. So that’s why you might have had to mow the lawn every month of the winter! Jacksonville winter freezes This winter is the 9th straight with a below avg. number of freezes (after 3 very cold winter from 2008-11): Jacksonville freezes last 12 years Much of the rest of the U.S. - at least the Lower 48 - followed suit with a mild winter. Only a few very small areas over the Central Rockies had a cooler than avg. winter. Precip. was heavy for much of the country east of the Rockies. For Jacksonville, the 3 months of Dec./Jan./Feb. were 4.8 degrees F above avg. with right at avg. rainfall. U.S. winter temps. & precip. Spring “officially” (astronomically) arrives March 19th. That’s when the sun’s rays are most most vertical over the equator with roughly an equal number of daylight vs. nighttime hours. But not right on the button 50/50 as Jacksonville has 12 hours & 7 min. of daylight & is closest to 12 hours on the 16th (12 hours, 1 min.). That’s because of the elliptical - vs. circular - orbit of the earth around the sun. And so begins the sun’s transit northward to the summer equinox on June 20th. Remember that the seasons are a product of the earth’s tilt on its 23.5 degree axis. Spring average highs for JIA: March 19th - 74 degrees April 1st - 77 degrees May 1st - 82 degrees June 1st - 88 degrees June 19th - 90 degrees Jacksonville’s average first 90 degree day is May 2nd. The Earth's Seasons
  • February continued our string of above avg. temps. with 4 record highs including an all-time Feb. record of 89 on the 13th. Interestingly... every weekend was below avg.(!). Rainfall was generally above average with more than 3-4″ in many places. Jacksonville Feb. temps. Feb. rainfall courtesy our Jax N.W.S.: FL JASPER 5.61 FL BEAUCLERC 2.72 FL JACKSONVILLE BEACH 3.08 FL LAKE CITY 2 E 5.04 FL CRESCENT CITY 1.50 FL GAINESVILLE RGNL AP 2.44 FL HASTINGS 4NE 1.66 FL OCALA 1.89 FL JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP 3.70 FL JACKSONVILLE INTL AP 4.25 FL JACKSONVILLE NAS 3.07 FL MAYPORT NAVAL STATION 3.05 FL BUNNELL EOC 2.20 FL PALM COAST 2.24 FL PALM COAST 6NE 1.53 FL FLAGLER BEACH 1.51 GA PRIDGEN 8.10 GA ALMA BACON CO AP 3.73 GA NAHUNTA 6 NE 5.75 GA BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP 2.53 GA WOODBINE 3.69 GA NAHUNTA (COCORAHS) 4.05 GA KINGSLAND 3 NE (COCORAHS) 3.97 GA KINGSLAND 1 WSW (COCORAHS) 3.91 GA BAXLEY 1 NNE (COCORAHS) 5.61 GA ST MARYS 3 SE (COCORAHS) 4.16 GA BLACKSHEAR 4 WSW (COCORAHS) 4.19 GA JESUP 7N (COCORAHS) 4.72 GA JESUP 10 NNW (COCORAHS) 5.11 GA SCREVEN 2 ENE (COCORAHS) 4.90 GA JEKYLL ISLAND (COCORAHS) 2.56 So.... on to March. Averages at JIA: low / high - 1st: 47 / 71; 31st: 52 / 76 Rainfall: 3.39″ Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:52am / 6:25pm.... 31st - 7:16am EDT / 7:45 EDT - gain 56 min. of daylight! Coming out of a very mild winter for the 2nd year in a row.... the spring season across much of the U.S. has had more days with above avg. temps. (going back to 1970): More warm spring days Spring warming Speaking of spring.... once the clocks are set forward one hour, residents are again allowed to use lawn & landscape irrigation twice a week. From the St. Johns River Management District: With the change of the seasons, the St. Johns River Water Management District’s year-long #WaterLess campaign has shifted to focus on springtime watering needs and a timely reminder to give your sprinkler system a checkup. “As spring approaches, the Water Less campaign emphasizes taking control of your sprinkler system to make it work for you while also saving water,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “When the clocks change to daylight saving time on March 8, it’s an ideal reminder to inspect your automatic sprinkler system and timer.” More than half of all residential water is used outdoors for lawn and landscape irrigation. The year-long Water Less campaign focuses on water-conserving strategies to help curb outdoor water waste while allowing for beautiful, vibrant landscapes. Irrigation systems If you do water your lawn and landscape, you can reduce the amount of water you use by with a well-designed irrigation system and regular maintenance. To make sure you don’t just set it and forget it, the district offers a few easy tips: Check timing devices regularly to make sure they are operating properly. Ensure your system is set to follow watering restrictions , if you need to water at all. Florida law requires that all automatic irrigation systems installed after May 1991 have a functioning rain sensor shut-off switch, which senses when a preset amount of rain has fallen. Install the most water efficient spray heads designed for different uses (turf areas, planting beds, etc.). Fix any broken or misdirected sprinkler heads. Check that water is only spraying on the landscape. Look for leaks and clogs. Visit WaterLessFlorida.com for more outdoor water saving ideas. Join the conversation on social media: #WaterLess #waterconservation #sjrwmd #watermanagement. Spring usually correlates to an uptick in severe weather & so it was for the Tennessee Valley on March 3rd. One tornado in particular - on the ground for more than 60 miles under the cover of darkness - smashed an area from the north & east side of Nashville eastward through Central Tennessee. It appears this will be the longest track tornado for the Volunteer State since at least 1951. The tornado’s intensity was an EF-3 - winds up to 160 mph - with a second even more powerful EF-4 - winds up to 175 mph - to the east of Nashville in Putnam Co. where there were the most deaths & injuries. The EF-3 tornado summary from the Nashville N.W.S. (EF-4 survey ongoing): ...NWS Damage Survey for 03/03/2020 Tornado Event.... Two very damaging tornadoes occurred across Middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of March 3, 2020, resulting in widespread damage and numerous injuries and fatalities. This summary covers the first tornado which tracked across the Nashville metro and areas to the east and was rated EF3.A second tornado severely impacted Putnam County, TN, and was rated EF4. Surveys on that tornado are still ongoing and will be included once all details are known.. Tornado 1 in Davidson, Wilson and Smith Counties...Rating: EF-3 Estimated Peak Wind: 165 MPH Path length /Statute/: 53.4 Miles Path width /Maximum/: 800 Yards Fatalities: 5 Injuries: Over 150 Start date: 03/03/2020 Start time: 12:32 AM CST Start location: 3.6 miles WSW John C. Tune Airport Start Lat/Lon: 36.1724 / -86.9481 End date: 03/03/2020 End time: 01:28 AM CST End location: 3.7 miles W Gordonsville End_lat/lon: 36.1717 / -85.9974 A strong long-track tornado tracked across Davidson and Wilson Counties and into Smith County early on March 3 resulting in 5 fatalities and at least 150 injuries. The tornado began in far western Davidson County and rapidly intensified into EF-2 intensity as it tracked across John C. Tune Airport and into the North Nashville and Germantown areas. The tornado intensified further to EF-3 intensity as it tracked into East Nashville with the most significant damage occurring in and around the FivePoints neighborhood where two fatalities occurred. EF-1 and EF-2 damage continued across the Cumberland River before the tornado strengthened again to EF-3 intensity in the Stanford Estates subdivision in Donelson. EF-2 damage was observed across Hermitage and the remainder of Davidson County.The tornado strengthened to EF-3 intensity for a third time upon entering Wilson County with a 6-mile swath of EF-3 damage observed near the Mt. Juliet area where three more fatalities occurred. EF-1 and EF-2 damage continued along a path that paralleled and occasionally crossed Interstate 40 south and southeast of Lebanon,before finally dissipating 3.7 miles west of Gordonsville in Smith County. EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale Classifies Tornadoes into the following categories.EF0...Weak......65 to 85 MPH EF1...Weak......86 to 110 MPH EF2...Strong....111 to 135 MPH EF3...Strong....136 to 165 MPH EF4...Violent...166 To 200 MPH EF5...Violent...>200 MPH The map below - courtesy “U.S. Tornadoes” - shows that only 0.37% of all tornadoes since 1950 have had a track of 60+ miles: Long track U.S. tornadoes
  • After a very dry January - less than a tenth of an inch was measured at JIA! - Feb. has turned wet which is good news as we head into spring & the peak of our wildfire season. 4.25″ officially at JIA for Feb. Jacksonville Feb. rainfall An early Feb. heat wave in Antarctica (their summer) - with temps. of 60+ degrees F - caused some amazing melting on the northern tip of the continent on Eagle Island as shown in the imagery below from NASA. Read the story * here *. This was the third “warm event” for Antarctica over a 4 month period (Nov. & Jan. too). Antarctica glacier melting Time for an examination of ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) as we head into spring. Essentially the ENSO is in a neutral state - & is forecast to stay that way through spring/early summer. There is - & has been much of this winter - some warm sea surface temps. over the Western Pacific but cooling between 100 & 140 degrees W. more recently. All images below courtesy NOAA: ENSO sea surface temps. Forecast models (below) indicate the potential for La Nina conditions later in the summer into autumn. This *might* point to an active Atlantic hurricane season as La Nina conditions * typically * lead to lower shear values over the Atlantic Basin which is one of the factors that favors tropical cyclone development. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 during which I update “Talking the Tropics With Mike” every single day. ENSO Model Forecast La Nina hurricane season Atlantic hurricanes during La Nina
  • February for Jacksonville/NE Fl. & SE Ga. is picking up right where the rest of winter (Dec./Jan.) left off. JIA established an all-time record high for the month of Feb. on the 13th breaking the previous monthly record (since 1871) of 88 degrees on the 24th in 1962 & on the 9th in1937. The 13th was the culmination of 3 straight days with record highs (85 on the 11th & 84 degrees on the 12th) & the 4 record high for the month (85 degrees on the 6th). And not to be outdone.... Feb. was the 3rd straight month with an all-time record high as both Dec. & Jan. has record tying all-time highs of 85 degrees. Jacksonville record Feb. temps. Jacksonville record highs The warm Feb. temps. helped spawn a squall line of severe storms Feb. 6 which rolled across SE Ga. & NE Fl. during the evening hours. There were many reports of strong, sometimes damaging winds along with an EF-0 (winds near 85 mph) tornado on the SW side of Waycross, Ga. - the first tornado touchdown of the year in NE Fl./SE Ga. Our Jax N.W.S. has a web page dedicated to the severe storm outbreak including some pics * here *. Imagery below courtesy the Jax N.W.S.: NE Fl./SE Ga. squall line Speaking of tornadoes.... “U.S. Tornadoes” is running a 2020 tally for tornadoes so far. As one would expect, the majority over the Southeast third or so of the Lower 48: U.S. Tornadoes in through Feb. 17th NE Fl./SE Ga. tornadoes through Feb. 17 An interesting cloud photo sent to me Tue., Feb. 18th from Mark Whyte, St. Johns Co., Fl. The pic below appears to be a lenticular cloud. The typical lenticular cloud is found over mountains with the cloud created by “orographic lift”. But in this case, the “saucer/UFO”-like cloud would have been caused by upper level air rushing up (blown by upper level winds) & over the nearby low level clouds... the air condenses & forms a cloud with very smooth edges. Jacksonville lenticular cloud
  • February has picked up right where the rest of winter has been - unseasonably mild - marking the 49th straight month with at least one day of 80+. A remarkable streak. At this point, there will not likely be a widespread significant freeze this season which brings me to the avg. last freeze dates for the local area (remember “avg.” means 50% of the time the last freeze is before the avg. date & 50% of the time the avg. last freeze is after the avg. date) [not shown: St. Simons Island, Ga. - Feb. 16]: Average last freeze Average last freeze dates for NE Fl. & SE Ga. Night skies into early March (SkyandTelescope.com) Feb. 16 (dawn): The Moon is in Scorpius, just 1° from a medium-bright star known as Graffias. Feb. 18 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is very close to Mars. In fact, the Moon occults (covers) Mars for viewers west of the Mississippi. See https://is.gd/MoonCoversMars for specific times for your location. Feb. 19 (dawn): The thinning Moon and Jupiter sit some 3° to 4° apart. Feb. 20 (dawn): An even more slender lunar crescent lies some 2° to the lower right of Saturn. Feb. 27 (dusk): Watch the waxing lunar crescent and Venus, 5° or more apart, sink toward the western horizon. Mar. 1 (dawn): The month opens with Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in a tidy line, 19° long left of the Sagittarius Teapot. The planets linger there throughout March; watch as Mars approaches and then overtakes Jupiter later in the month. Mar. 8: Daylight-saving time starts at 2 a.m. for most of the United States and Canada. Moon Phases First Quarter - February 1, 8:42 p.m. EST Full Moon - February 9, 2:33 a.m. EST (Full Snow Moon) Last Quarter - February 15, 5:17 p.m. EST New Moon February 23, 11:32 a.m. EST First Quarter - March 2, 2:57 p.m. EST From NASA: A major ocean current - Beaufort Gyre - in the Arctic (north of Alaska & Canada) is faster and more turbulent as a result of rapid sea ice melt, a new study from NASA shows. The current is part of a delicate Arctic environment that is now flooded with fresh water, most probably related to climate change. The full story is * here *. Photo below from NASA/Kathryn Hansen: Arctic Ice Melt Global ocean currents Oh the so-called broomstick challenge reared its ugly head recently. The theory that on a certain day (Feb. 10) for a certain amount of time, the gravitational pull of the earth was just right to stand a broom vertically with the handle up (as debunked by NASA [rumored to have started the whole thing]). Well.... it turns out this was a social media ruse (shocking, I know!). This is much like the ol’ stand an egg on its end on the vernal equinox (spring/fall).... that the spin of the earth affects a pitched ball.... & that toilets flush counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. As a college physics professor often used to say - such an effect is “infinitesimally small” or, in other words, “immeasurably small”. No such thing in our beautiful, complicated physical world. And the moral of the story: don’t believe everything you see or read on social media! :) The image below shows the earth’s tilt is always 23.5 degrees which does control our seasons (winter=N. Hemisphere tilted away from the sun; summer=N. Hemisphere tilted toward the sun) while the gravitational pull of the sun & moon help create ocean waves & tides..... but not a broom standing vertically. :) Earth's season
  • For the second winter in a row, spring has sprung early across the deep south.... Jacksonville/NE Fl & SE Ga. included. The result has been the “year without a winter” (so far!) & unseasonably early pollen. Pine pollen was under way the second week of Jan. & has peaked while oak pollen is now kicking in. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that the pollen season will be over (or peak) way early - probably by early March. The map below shows the early - by at least 20 days - start to spring across much of the south. Early spring across the south Move.org has assembled the U.S. sunniest cities. Key West is the only Florida city in the top 10 but a bunch of Fl. cities are in the top 50. Realize our summers are characterized by afternoon thunderstorms which pushes the “Sunshine State” down the list despite many sunny days from late fall through winter into spring. Jacksonville ranks #42 with 64.3% of possible sunshine (out of 100%). Sunniest cities Jacksonville's sunshine rank January ended up “way” warm & dry. Only two nights (happened to be a little either way of midnight the same night so counted as two nights) dipped to 32 degrees. The inland Jacksonville average for freezes is 13 by the end of Jan. There have been only 3 so far! The month ranked as the 6th warmest since 1971 at JIA & was the 48th month in a row with at least one day of 80+. Only 0.18″ of rain fell at JIA. While many spots manages a half inch or more, the month - as a whole - was quite dry. Rainfall from the Jax N.W.S.: NE Fl./SE Ga. Jan. rainfall FL JASPER 1.10 FL BEAUCLERC 1.00 FL JACKSONVILLE BEACH 0.82 FL FERNANDINA BEACH 0.35 FL LAKE CITY 2 E 0.63 FL SOUTH PONTE VEDRA BEACH SHOP M FL CRESCENT CITY 0.56 FL GAINESVILLE RGNL AP 0.76 FL HASTINGS 4NE 0.42 FL OCALA 0.19 FL JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP 0.42 FL JACKSONVILLE INTL AP 0.18 FL JACKSONVILLE NAS 0.55 FL MAYPORT NAVAL STATION 0.36 FL BUNNELL EOC 0.51 FL PALM COAST 0.51 FL PALM COAST 6NE 0.45 FL NORTHWEST PALM COAST 4.10 FL WEST PALM COAST 0.33 FL BULOW 0.28 FL FLAGLER BEACH 0.24 FL SE FLAGLER BEACH 0.41 FL HAMMOCK 4.21 GA PRIDGEN 3.43 GA ALMA BACON CO AP 2.27 GA NAHUNTA 6 NE 0.90 GA BRUNSWICK 1.62 GA BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP 1.53 GA WOODBINE 1.40 Jacksonville Jan. Temps.
  • The first half of January was warm, the last half not so much but still averaged well above average by more than 6 degrees. So it’s on to February (leap year so 29 days!). Averages at JIA: 1st: 43 / 66 degrees.... 29th: 47 / 71 degrees Rainfall: 3.19″ Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 7:17am / 6:02pm.... 29th - 6:53am / 6:25pm - gain 47 min. of daylight(!) NOAA has organized the 2019 “Significant Climate Anomalies & Events”. U.S. highlights included hurricane Dorian brushing the Florida & Carolina coasts after devastating the Northern & NW Bahamas.... lots of flooding across the middle of the country... & very warm Alaska. Global 2019 Climate Events Global 2019 temps. compared to avg. (Jax warmer than avg.): Global 2019 temps. Global 2019 precip. anomalies (blue is wet!) [Jax drier than avg.]: Global 2019 Precip. An interesting paper has been published by Dr. Phil Klotzbach - longtime tropical cyclone researcher - in the AMS (American Meteorological Society) online journal - * here *. In short, Dr. Klotzbach points out that surface pressure (how low) is a better predictor of hurricane damage vs. “maximum sustained winds”. I have a tendency to agree as wind speeds are often way over-estimated & sometimes under-estimated. The abstract: “Atlantic hurricane seasons have a long history of causing significant financial impacts, with Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and Michael combining to incur more than 345 billion USD in direct economic damage during 2017-2018. While Michael’s damage was primarily wind and storm surge-driven, Florence’s and Harvey’s damage was predominantly rainfall and inland flood-driven. Several revised scales have been proposed to replace the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS), which currently only categorizes the hurricane wind threat, while not explicitly handling the totality of storm impacts including storm surge and rainfall. However, most of these newly-proposed scales are not easily calculated in real-time, nor can they be reliably calculated historically. In particular, they depend on storm wind radii, which remain very uncertain. Herein, we analyze the relationship between normalized historical damage caused by continental United States (CONUS) landfalling hurricanes from 1900-2018 with both maximum sustained wind speed (Vmax) and minimum sea level pressure (MSLP). We show that MSLP is a more skillful predictor of normalized damage than Vmax, with a significantly higher rank correlation between normalized damage and MSLP (rrank= 0.77) than between normalized damage and Vmax (rrank= 0.66) for all CONUS landfalling hurricanes. MSLP has served as a much better predictor of hurricane damage in recent years than Vmax, with large hurricanes such as Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012) causing much more damage than anticipated from their SSHWS ranking. MSLP is also a more accurately-measured quantity than is Vmax, making it an ideal quantity for evaluating a hurricane’s potential damage.” Hurricane damage & air pressure
  • After a very warm start to the year/January, a bit of winter reality the past few days (week of Jan. 20th). 3 days in a row from the 20th - 22nd marked the coldest air of the season so far. The previous 2 1/2 weeks were so warm, however, that temps. are still averaging a solid 8 degrees above avg. For the most part temps. don’t look to stray too far from avg. - either above or below - into next week. But there are signs of a more active weather pattern evolving the last few days of Jan. into early Feb. which could/should result in some wetter days. Jacksonville Jan. temps. Only 5 winters since 1971 in Jacksonville have had fewer than 3 freezes through Jan. 22. The average for an entire winter at JIA is 18 freezes. We’ll fall woefully short again this winter. Jacksonville winter freezes The number of freeze warnings issued by our Jax N.W.S. has been in steady decline over the last 5 years (includes NE Fl./SE Ga.): Freeze warnings issued by Jax NWS This mild winter is coming off the warmest decade on record - globally - according to NOAA & NASA. Note the steady temp. increase since 1980 with 5 of the warmest years on record occurring within approximately the last 5 years with 2019 the 2nd warmest on record. Warmest decades Warmest decade on record How 'bout a little “Wild Kingdom” - we’ll talk animals now. :) First.... from close to home - White Oak in Nassau Co. (great place to visit by the way): YULEE, FLA. (Jan. 16, 2020) — White Oak Conservation has adopted two endangered Florida panther kittens after a mysterious neurological disorder left their mother unable to care for them. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) observed the radio-collared mother on trail camera footage in July as she struggled to walk, hobbled by rear leg weakness. In early July, state wildlife officials took in her two male kittens, then estimated to be two weeks old, because they would not have survived on their own, and brought them to Animal Specialty Hospital for care. Following almost two months of nursing care, the kittens were then transferred to ZooTampa at Lowry Park for evaluation and care. The kittens, named Cypress and Pepper, are expected to be transferred to White Oak from ZooTampa next week. (Photos credit: Rachel Ross, ZooTampa.) Both kittens have undergone several health screenings and been given the all-clear. They are about seven months old and will continue to be monitored for signs of the disorder. “These young kittens will live out their lives at White Oak in peace and safety,” said Mark Walter, White Oak’s owner, who leads Walter Conservation with his wife, Kimbra. “These recent health challenges with the panthers in South Florida are poignant reminders that White Oak and our partners must be vigilant and quick to respond if we are to save animals from emerging threats.” Other panthers and bobcats have demonstrated similar rear leg weakness, and FWC is monitoring the issue and exploring possible causes, such as exposure to toxins, infectious disease or a nutritional deficiency. The mother in this case had to be captured and euthanized after her health deteriorated. There are only about 200 left in the wild today; most are isolated in southern and central Florida. Indiscriminate killing in past centuries and, more recently, habitat loss and collisions with cars have resulted in panthers being one of Florida’s most endangered species. Since 1986, White Oak has partnered with Florida wildlife officials to rehabilitate and release 19 sick or injured Florida panthers, many of which were struck by cars, under the direction of senior veterinarian Scott Citino. This includes the first panther family rehabilitated and released into the wild together in 2018. The species was headed toward extinction until the Endangered Species Preservation Act. The Florida panther was among the first to gain protection under the landmark 1966 federal law. But more is needed as Florida continues to lose hundreds of thousands of acres of rural land to provide for new homes and new residents. More concerning are the new roads being built across panther home ranges, often after the areas are sold to housing developers. “We need more private and public lands preserved, and we need dedicated wildlife crossings that enable the panther population to move, expand and thrive,” Walter said. “Otherwise, our generation will be responsible for the extinction of the Florida panther.” Walter Conservation works to save endangered species and preserve large, wild spaces across the globe. Habitat preservation is just as, if not more, critical to species survival; sufficient loss is proven to lead to extinction. This is why the Walters preserve large areas of open lands from North America to Africa, protecting them from further development and managing them in ways that speed species recovery. Facts about Florida panthers: Florida panthers are at the top of the food chain, with no natural predators. They eat only meat. The biggest cause of mortality is collision with vehicles. Panthers are elusive and solitary, coming together only for mating. The females raise their kittens on their own. Gestation is 90-95 days. Kittens are weaned at six months. They may stay with their mother for up to 20 months; siblings may stay together for a few months thereafter. Male home ranges cover up to 200 square miles. Males are intolerant of other males who enter their home ranges. As once-wild home ranges get carved up for development, panthers are brought into greater contact with each other and with humans, putting them at greater risk. This is why habitat preservation is so critical to species survival. Florida panthers Florida panther cubs at White Oak Conservation Meanwhile.... a young injured highly endangered Right Whale calf was discovered in mid January off the coast of Fernandina Beach. The very serious injuries seemed consistent with a vessel strike of some sort. The remarkable effort to try to save the calf are documented * here * - by NOAA Fisheries. Injured Right Whale Right Whale mom & calf Baby Right Whale & mother
  • 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 104.5 WOKV.

    Buresh is a self-professed "weather holic" and his  fascination with weather developed at a very young age while growing up in rural Iowa.  As  early as the second grade, Mike's mom says he was drawing weather maps and "always looking at the sky."

    Mike's passion for weather continues to this day as Mike eats, drinks, breathes and - yes - sleeps weather.  Or as he likes to call it: "All the Weather, All the Time!"

    Mike graduated from Iowa State University in 1987 but began his college studies at Oklahoma University where he became an experienced "storm chaser" in addition to working at the National Weather Service.

    Shortly after graduating, Mike earned the American Meteorological Society's "Seal of Approval" and has also achieved his Certification for Broadcast Meteorologist which certifies that Mike meets specific educational and experience criteria and has passed rigorous testing in his knowledge and communication of meteorology and related sciences needed to be an effective broadcast meteorologist.

    Buresh began his television meteorology career at WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa and most recently at WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio before coming to the First Coast. Mike has calmly, effectively and accurately warned, tracked and informed viewers about tornadoes, waterspouts, floods and many local tropical cyclones including Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Fay, Beryl, Debby and Andrea to name just a few.

    Jacksonville's Most Accurate Weather 

    Mike and his First Alert forecast have been rated as the "Most Accurate" in the Jacksonville television market according to the independent service "WeatheRate". 

    If you would like the most accurate Chief Meteorologist to visit your school, club or civic organization,  E-mail Mike » . Mike is also an active member of the Jacksonville Salvation Army Advisory Board.

    He has traveled extensively including trips to Australia, Asia, Central and South America, Galapagos Islands and twice to Africa.

    When Mike isn't forecasting your weather he enjoys golf, basketball, football, swimming, water skiing, the beach, reading, community outreach and, most of all, spending time with his lovely wife, daughters and "best friend", Opie, the dog.

    Mike is an avid writer and has a large following in the blog-o-sphere --  "Buresh Blog"  and  "Talking the Tropics With Mike" (hurricane season June 1st-Nov. 30th).

    Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Nearly 860,000 people worldwide -- including more than 189,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, April 1, continue below: US coronavirus deaths hit 4,076, total cases top 189K Update 12:31 a.m. EDT April 1: By early Wednesday morning, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 200,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 189,510 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 4,076 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including the 105,792 reported in Italy and the 95,923 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,550 – or nearly half of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 267 in New Jersey and 259 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 75,795 confirmed cases – or roughly four times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 18,696 and Michigan with 7,615. Three other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 6,932, including 150 deaths • Florida: 6,732, including 84 deaths • Massachusetts: 6,220, including 89 deaths Meanwhile, Illinois, Louisiana and Washington state each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Pennsylvania and Georgia each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Texas and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s complete state-by-state breakdown.
  • Ahead of an approaching cold front, Northeast Florida saw a line of strong storms roll through. Some of those storms prompted severe thunderstorm warnings and a few tornado warnings from the National Weather Service of Jacksonville. The NWS does believe an EF-0 tornado did touch during in northern St. Johns County on Tuesday evening. At this time, WOKV has not received any reports of injuries, but there have been reports of damage and downed trees.
  • Following the recent passage of a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus measure to help families and businesses with the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic, WOKV's Consumer Warrior Clark Howard is breaking down some of the finer details. Howard says adults making up to $75,000 a year will get a $1,200 check, while a married couple making up to $150,000 will get $2,400, with $500 payments per child.  STORY: Are you getting a stimulus check; how much will it be? Use this calculator to find out However, Howard says that $500 payment doesn't include every child.  'You will not get money for your teenager. So, once your teenager goes past 16, they're out of the picture for the $500,' explains Howard.  Howard says this $500 payment also does not apply to other types of dependents, like if you're an adult taking care of your elderly parents.  Get more consumer news and advice from Clark Howard in his latest on-demand podcasts by clicking HERE.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is working hard to make sure people throughout the state who are unemployed are getting the assistance they need during the coronavirus pandemic. That means hiring more staff members to help people who are trying to apply for unemployment benefits. Executive Director Ken Lawson signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor over the weekend to execute the CARES Act in Florida. Lawson says his staff is working hard to implement those resources to Floridians as soon as possible. The week before most businesses closed due to government orders, the Department of Economic Opportunity received 28,000 calls. Last week in just four days, they received 130,000 calls. That higher volume of calls is overwhelming the staff, but it looks like help is on the way. Anyone who calls right now should expect to wait on hold for upwards of an hour, but hopefully that wait time starts dropping soon. The Department of Economic Opportunity is hiring 100 people statewide to answer calls, walk people through the application process, and handle processing applications. Florida residents eligible for reemployment assistance include people quarantined by a medical professional or government agency, people who have been laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period of time or people caring for an immediate family member diagnosed with coronavirus. Any Floridian whose employment has been negatively impacted by the virus can get more information here.
  • Isolation and fear during the coronavirus pandemic can create the perfect storm for domestic abuse. Some experts say victims are like prisoners in their own homes during quarantine.  “We’re talking about a horrible situation. People who normally might be able to call us, reach out to us, stop at our outreach center or go to work and look online to find how they can get help are prisoners in their own home,” Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin, EdD, LCSW, said.  Anyone who needs help and can safely get away from their abuser is asked to call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or Hubbard House in Jacksonville at (904) 354-3114.

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