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The Buresh Blog

    Our expected change from 3 weeks of dry, quiet weather to a possible early start to the 'wet season' has occurred.  2-day rainfall from Mon.-Tue. has averaged 1-2' but up to 5'+ in a few spots.  More afternoon / early evening showers & storms through at least the weekend. NOAA has declared the nearly year long La Nina (cooling of the equatorial Pacific) 'over'.  The maps below from NOAA shows some lingering cool water but not as cool as past months not to mention warmer than avg. water temps. lurking just to the north & west. Forecast models below show a possible upcoming El Nino by early fall that could last & strengthen into the winter.  I should note that forecast models for an El Nino or La Nina have a notoriously difficult time trying to predict such during the spring months, but the signals are there for a possible progression from La Nina to neutral for several months followed by an El Nino. As for weather impacts.... an El Nino by autumn often indicates a wet fall along the Gulf Coast that could extend into the winter. However, the last El Nino in 2015-'16 was not particularly wet for NE Fl./SE Ga. nor Southern California as is typical.  There are also often implications for the Atlantic Basin hurricane season.  El Nino usually translates into more mid & upper level shear over the Atlantic Basin which hinders the development of tropical cyclones.  But how that affects - or does not affect - the '18 hurricane season will largely depend on when & how fast there is a transition to El Nino.... & that's given that all other conditions are equal (such as water temps., for example). ENSO (Southern Oscillation) index since the El Nino of 2016: EARTH GAUGE - Bike Week & Month (National Environmental Education Foundation) May is National Bike Month and May 14-18, 2018 is Bike to Work Week(link is external). Between 2000 and 2013, bicycle commuting rates in the United States increased by 62%. Bike commuting rates in large, bicycle-friendly communities(link is external)—including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, St. Louis, Portland, and Washington, DC—increased by 105% over the same time period! Need convincing to hop on two wheels? Consider these facts:  Cycling benefits your health. Being active outside improves mental and physical well-being. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk for many health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Cycling benefits the environment…and your wallet. Leaving your car behind for even one trip saves fuel and reduces air pollution. In 2015, traffic congestion in the US wasted about three billion gallons of fuel and kept drivers stuck in their vehicles for more than seven billion extra hours! The total cost of all that congestion? $160 billion or $960 per commuter. Try cycling to work or school just one day this week. Research has shown that the length of about half of all car trips—three miles—can be covered as quickly on a bike when parking and traffic delays are taken into account. These resources will help you on your way: Find National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week events(link is external) in your community. Get tips for riding safely and performing maintenance on your bike(link is external) from the League of American Bicyclists.   Check the Air Quality Index (AQI)(link is external) before you head out. When the AQI hits “Code Orange,” sensitive groups, including people with asthma, lung disease or heart disease, may experience health effects from air pollution. When you need to, adjust your outdoor activities to reduce the amount of pollution you breathe in. No bike? Try carpooling or walking to work or school instead. Sources: Centers for Disease Control. 2009. “Healthy Places: Physical Activity.” Accessed May 15, 2018.  League of American Bicyclists. 2015. 'Bicycle Commuting Data.' Accessed May 15, 2018.  League of American Bicyclists. 2015. 'National Bike Month.' Accessed May 15, 2018. Texas A&M Urban Transportation Institute,. 2015. “Traffic Gridlock Sets New Records for Traveler Misery.” Accessed May 15, 2018. Fun illustration below by Zohar Lazar, 'The Vehicle of the Future': p>0 p>1 p> p>
  • A dry spell looks like it could be coming to an end next week.  Wed. (05/09) was the 16th straight dry day for Jacksonville - the longest since late Oct./Nov.  A weak upper level storm system will meander over or near Fl. & should bring some soaking showers & t'storms off-&-on through a good part of the week. But before the wetter pattern arrives, warm temps. & mostly dry weather will be the story for 'The Players'.  It'll be a relatively short turn-around to the next 'Players' as the tournament will move to March in 2019.  That's a big change when it comes to weather though the tourney was always played in March from the 1980s through 2006.  March days are more than 90 minutes shorter, it's cooler - can be a lot cooler... there's more wind... & usually more rain. This week is 'Hurricane Preparedness Week'.  Always be prepared for the hurricane season which can lead to a more calm approach if/when a storm threatens not to mention much better resiliency after the storm.  The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st - go to the First Alert Hurricane Center. And plan to attend the First Alert Hurricane Expo June 9th at the Morocco Shrine, Southside from 9am - 2pm.   May skies courtesy 'Sky and Telescope': May 17   (dusk):  The thin waxing crescent Moon joins Venus (6° apart). May 21   (evening):  The first quarter Moon and bright star Regulus form a tight pair — less than 1° apart. May 25   (all night):  Spica and the waxing gibbous Moon cross the sky in tandem a little more than 6° apart. May 31   (all night):  The waning gibbous Moon and Saturn rise 2° apart; the separation grows to 4° before sunrise.  June 1   (early morning):  The waning gibbous Moon is 3° left of Saturn above the Teapot asterism in Sagittarius. June 3   (early morning):  Look east-southeast to see the Moon and Mars rising a little more than 3° apart. June 10   (evening):  Three “stars” form a line in the west: brilliant Venus is on the left, Castor on the right, and Pollux almost exactly halfway between them.  Moon Phases Last Quarter       May 7      10:09 p.m. EDT New Moon          May 15    7:48 a.m. EDT First Quarter       May 21    11:49 p.m. EDT Full Moon            May 29,   10:20 a.m. EDT   (Flower Moon; also Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon) Our own local (Nassau Co. near the St. Marys River close to the Fl./Ga. border) & beautiful wildlife sanctuary - White Oak - has BIG news!: Yulee, Fla. (May 8, 2018) — White Oak Conservation is pleased to announce that two whooping crane chicks have hatched, marking the first time White Oak has successfully bred this critically endangered species. The family of four eventually will be released into the wild through a partnership with the International Crane Foundation.     The chicks are mobile and are being reared and fed by their parents, 16-11 and 18-12, at White Oak Conservation, a wildlife refuge in northeastern Florida owned by philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter. 16-11 is also known as Grasshopper, and 18-12 is known as Hemlock.   Each parent takes a chick for the day to minimize competition for food, and both chicks return to their mother at night for warmth. The parents feed the chicks larvae, tadpoles, grasshoppers, dragonflies and other insects, increasing their body weight by 10 percent to 15 percent per day. Their special White Oak habitat covers more than an acre and offers two ponds, natural food items, and protection from predators.   Photos and videos were captured by remote camera, as there is virtually no human interaction with these whooping cranes at White Oak.   This whooping crane family is part of the Eastern Migratory Population, one of two experimental release programs  that seek to protect the existence of this endangered wetland bird. Through decades of dedicated research and captive husbandry, the whooping crane has been kept from the brink of extinction. Only 700 to 800 whooping cranes remain in North America because of hunting, power line collisions, habitat reduction and encroachment.     The adult cranes were introduced for breeding at White Oak in October 2016, and these are their first offspring.  White Oak eventually will release the cranes as a family unit, likely to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Wisconsin, which is the original home of 16-11, the male. Both of the adult cranes were raised by the International Crane Foundation. The hope is that the entire family will migrate in the fall with other cranes at the refuge.   “Our goal is to create an international model for the humane and effective repopulation of endangered species,” Mark Walter said. “We are optimistic that, working with the other groups involved, we can successfully add the whooping crane to this mission.”   This program is managed and monitored collaboratively by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership whose members include the International Crane Foundation , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , Patuxent Wildlife Research Center , Operation Migration , the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources , White Oak , and other partners.   “The International Crane Foundation is very forward-thinking and has been a great partner for us,” said Steve Shurter, CEO of White Oak. “Whooping cranes are a flagship species in wetlands. A thriving whooping crane population means healthy wetlands.”   “We are delighted to be working with White Oak, a great new partner for whooping crane reintroduction. The fact that 16-11 and Hemlock were paired so successfully in captivity and have now hatched two chicks is evidence of the care and dedication White Oak has given these special birds,” said Rich Beilfuss, President and CEO of the International Crane Foundation. Hawaii has been in the news recently - volcanoes & their priceless coral reefs.  Let's begin with the Kilauea volcano.  This volcano has been active since 1983.  In fact, were it not for volcanoes, the Hawaiian islands would not exist at all.  The archipelago is made up of underwater volcanoes or 'hot spots' that push magma to the ocean floor then erupt while the tectonic plate slowly moves west/northwest.  So the older islands are to the west, younger ones to the east.  Great up to date info. - here - from the USGS. On the environmental side..... Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill banning the sale of sunscreen containing chemicals believed to harm coral reefs, environmental guardians are hailing Raw Elements for its role in the bill’s passage. This legislation prohibits the distribution of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate that scientists have found contributes to coral bleaching when washed off in the ocean. The new rules will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. Raw Elements has been a major player in the movement to push bill 2571 along in Hawaii. The company championed education and change on this issue in Hawaii, making the environmental hazards of sunscreen it’s top priority and corporate mission since 2011.  Brian Guadagno, a 20- year Ocean Rescue Lifeguard, was searching for a natural alternative to chemical sunscreens and resolved to create his own certified natural sunscreen. It uses a sustainable, recycled, Non-Nano, uncoated Zinc Oxide as the sole Active Ingredient and is a gentle, Certified Organic ingredient, Eco-Safe, Reef-Safe, Leaping Bunny - Cruelty-Free certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, NPA Certified Natural formula. Adventure Film Maker Alison Teal of Alison’s Adventures, who lives in Hawaii, says, “Growing up in a small fishing village in Hawaii I have seen the devastating direct effects toxic sunscreen has had on our Hawaii reefs. “We are at a tipping point now since research shows we have lost almost 50% of our Reefs since 2011 And Hawaii is a sort of indicator island for the rest of the world,” Teal adds. “Coral reefs are like the rainforests of the sea and provide much of the world’s oxygen. We can stop the total destruction of our underwater world, and the human survival, if we act now!”  An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually with the greatest damage found in popular reef areas in Hawaii and the Caribbean. In 2015, the nonprofit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory surveyed Trunk Bay beach on St. John, where visitors ranged from 2,000 to 5,000 swimmers daily, an estimated over 6,000 pounds of sunscreen was deposited on the reef annually. The same year, it found an average of 412 pounds of sunscreen was deposited daily on the reef at Hanauma Bay, a popular snorkeling destination in Oahu that draws an average of 2,600 swimmers each day. Raw Elements Founder/CEO Brian Guadagno says, 'Hawaii State legislators passing the first bill to ban the sale chemical sunscreens killing their coral reefs is a huge victory. So many individuals, groups, scientists, industry and elected officials came together and worked hard to accomplish this.”   Guadagno adds, “Most importantly, the spirit of the Hawaiian people demonstrated that the natural health of their islands are paramount and they are standing up in defense of that.”   Here are some of the ways in which Raw Elements has contributed: ·        Founding member of the Safe Sunscreen Coalition. ·        Wrote numerous letters to legislators to support the bill. ·        Attended and promoted the sunscreen rally on 4/18. ·        Sponsored the production and distribution of the film 'Reefs at Risk.' ·        Supported and attended the water sampling event with Dr. Downs in 2017. ·        Continue to share and educate the evolving date from Dr. Downs & science community. ·        Continue to educate the public on sun safety and the importance of quality, reef-safe ingredients. ·        Sponsored sunscreen trade-ins and beach cleanups with various organizations throughout the islands including Friends of Hanauma Bay, Sustainable Coastlines, Waikiki Aquarium and more. ·        Engaged in educational partnerships with major thought-leading companies in the tourism and hospitality industry to enact change.    “This is an incredible example of an action that hopefully will pave the way for other states and communities to adopt,” Guardagno adds. “We are honored to be one small part of so many in this movement.'   Teal concludes, “Body health and planetary health go hand and hand and Raw Elements has both covered! Let’s protect our planet one sunscreen application at a time.”
  • After a wet April - twice the avg. rainfall with 5.23' - a dry pattern has emerged heading into May which is not at all unusual.  So we're still not out of the woods regarding the wildfire threat. May averages at JIA: low / high: May 1 - 58 / 82... May 31st - 67 / 88 Rainfall: 2.48' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:43am / 8:05pm... 31st - 6:25am / 8:24pm - gain 37 min. of daylight Rainfall for April from NE Fl./SE Ga. as gathered by the Jax N.W.S.: FL   MAYPORT NAVAL STATION                M                         FL   JASPER                            3.74 FL   BEAUCLERC                         6.70 FL   JACKSONVILLE BEACH                3.29 FL   FERNADINA BEACH                      M FL   LAKE CITY                         3.62 FL   LAKE CITY 2 E                     3.42 FL   GLEN ST MARY 1 W                  2.99     FL   SOUTH PONTE VEDRA BEACH SHOP      5.75 FL   GUANA RIVER STATE PARK N          7.07 FL   PALM COAST 6 NE                   5.55 FL   CRESCENT CITY                     6.14 FL   GAINESVILLE RGNL AP               7.49 FL   HASTINGS 4NE                      4.97 FL   OCALA                             4.83   FL   JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP        3.03 FL   JACKSONVILLE INTL AP              5.23   FL   JACKSONVILLE NAS                  4.09 FL   BELL 4NW                          5.33 FL   FEDERAL POINT                     5.66 FL   BUNNELL                           7.29 FL   PALM COAST                        8.91     FL   FLAGLER BEACH                     6.95 FL   MARINELAND                        7.37   GA   PRIDGEN                           1.60 GA   HOMERVILLE 5 N                    2.94 GA   ALMA BACON CO AP                  2.02                 GA   NAHUNTA 6 NE                      2.70   GA   FARGO 17 NE                       2.28 GA   BRUNSWICK                         3.32 GA   BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP     4.16 GA   WOODBINE                          5.55 RAINFALL REPORTS ARE PRELIMINARY. CO-OP SITES REPORT A 24 HOUR TOTAL NOT BASED ON A MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT CALENDAR DAY. Temps. for April were just about avg. (+0.3 degrees) while most northern latitudes were unseasonably cool experiencing one of their coldest Aprils on record: And we're just a month away from the start of the hurricane season (sigh.).  We have had tropical systems in May over the Atlantic Basin - 27 tropical cyclones going back to 1851, 5 of which were hurricanes.  Forecast models are showing a surface low trying to develop through May 10th not too far from the Bahamas with subtropical development not out of the question.  Image below from Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado St. University: 
  • Our winter & early spring has been one of monthly 'turn-arounds'.  We went from the warmest Feb. on record to several degrees below avg. for March.... & from a dry March to a wet April - the month so far more than double our Apil avg. & nearly 3 times our March rainfall.  That's a good thing considering April & May are usually the peak of our wildfire season. Check out the beautiful picture of circumhorizontal clouds!... from Angie Wilson, Jekyll Island.  The color - sometimes also referred to as 'fire rainbows' is caused by the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds as the sun's rays are reflected & refracted to produce the prism effect.  From the World Meteorological Organization: The circumhorizontal arc occurs only when the elevation of the light source is more than 58°. When the Sun reaches an elevation of about 68°, the circumhorizontal arc reaches its maximum intensity. In countries north or south of latitude 55°, the circumhorizontal arc cannot be seen because the Sun is always lower than 58° there. So, this is one of the few haloes that is not visible everywhere on Earth.  When the angular elevation of the light source is about 68°, the circumhorizontal arc touches the lower part of the 46° halo, if visible. These two halo types are increasingly separated with a light source further from 46°. The arc may be visible without the 46° halo being visible. So the NFL has released the Jaguar's schedule for 2018 - & you will once again be able to see virtually all the games on CBS47/Fox 30 Action News Jax. Despite the fantastic 2017 season, the schedule only ranks as the 25th toughest in the league (Packers have THE toughest). The Jags start out on the road at NY but then have 3 straight at home - heat & heavy rain/storms could be a problem.  One of the colder (& snowy?) games could be Nov. 25th at Buffalo.  The avg. temps. for each game of the regular season: Sept. 9th @ NY Giants, 1pm: 64 / 79 degrees Sept. 16th: vs. New England, 4:25pm: 70 / 87; sunset - 7:31pm Sept. 23rd: vs. Tennessee, 1pm: 68 / 86 Sept. 30th: vs. Jets, 1pm: 66 / 84 Oct. 7th: @ Kansas City, 1pm: 49 / 70 Oct. 14th: @ Dallas, 4:25pm: 57 / 79; sunset - 6:56pm CDT Oct. 21st: vs. Houston, 1pm: 58 / 79 Oct. 28th: Eagles in London (damp, 50s) Nov. 11th: @ Indianapolis (Dome): 37 / 55 Nov. 18th: vs. Steelers, 8:20pm: 50 / 73 Nov. 25th: @ Buffalo, 1pm: 31 / 44 Dec. 2nd: vs. Colts, 1pm: 47 / 69 Dec. 6th: @ Tennessee, 8:20pm: 33 / 52 Dec. 16th: vs. Redskins, 1pm: 44 / 66 Dec. 22nd or 23rd: @ Miami: 62 / 77 Dec. 30th: @ Houston (retractable roof), 1pm: 45 / 63
  • It was announced that - as expected - hurricane names Harvey, Irma & Maria were retired from the 2017 list as well as Nate.  Replacements: Harold, Idalia, Margot, Nigel.  The list of names is picked by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) & are repeated every 6 years.  It's the 2nd highest number of names ever retired in a single year (5 in 2005 including Katrina).  Summary of the '17 retired storm names from the NHC: Hurricane Harvey became a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall along the middle Texas coast on Aug. 25. The storm then stalled, with its center remaining over or near the Texas coast for four days, dropping historic rainfall amounts, of up to five feet, causing catastrophic flooding in parts of southeastern Texas. Harvey is the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history (after inflation), behind only Katrina in 2005. At least 68 people died from the direct effects of the storm in Texas, the largest number in that state since 1919.   Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on Sept. 5. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands. Irma made landfall as a category 4 hurricane in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and struck southwestern Florida as a category 3 the same day. Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. In the U.S., seven direct deaths were reported, and an additional 85 indirect deaths occurred, 80 of which were in Florida. Hundreds more were injured preparing for the storm, during it or in its aftermath.   Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on Sept. 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Maria is the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind Harvey and Katrina. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.   Hurricane Nate crossed northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras as a tropical storm, then made landfall on the northern Gulf Coast as a category 1 hurricane. It brought rainfall that caused significant impacts in Central America, where media reports indicate that these caused 44 deaths in the region. An additional fatality in Panama was due to a “shipwreck,” bringing the death toll directly associated with Nate to 45. An additional nine people were missing in the region. Speaking of the tropics.... the American Meteorological Society's 33rd annual conference on hurricanes & tropical meteorology is/was the week of April 16th at the Ponte Vedra Sawgrass Marriott. See my tweets & Facebook fan page for updates & photos.  A tremendous range of topics from better model forecasting to climate change to some of the devastation from the '17 season to the limits of forecasting hurricane tracks to how & why people react & behave to storm warnings.  Some of my interviews will be posted online as well as within our upcoming hurricane special program. Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day!  For a list of local activities, go here (Facebook).... go - here - for Florida events.  WalletHub has released its list of 'Greenest States' - Florida was 34th.  Greenness of Florida (1=Greenest, 25=Avg.): 13th – Air Quality 18th – Soil Quality 33rd – Water Quality 10th – % of Recycled Municipal Solid Waste 31st – LEED-Certified Buildings per Capita 30th – % of Renewable Energy Consumption 5th – Energy Consumption per Capita 17th – Gasoline Consumption (in Gallons) per Capita Jacksonville mourns the loss of Henri Landwirth who passed away Tue., April 17th at 91.  If you're not familiar - & even if you are - I highly recommend his quick-to-read book 'Gift of Life'.  Henri retired in Ponte Vedra & founded the local nonprofit 'Dignity U Wear', now 'Soles 4 Souls'.  A Holocaust survivor, Henri was determined to make something of himself in America AND to give back to others.  Nationally & internationally Henri is known for 'Give Kids the World' at Disney World where kids suffering from cancer - & their families - can enjoy an all-expense paid trip to get away from the daily rigors of battling cancer.  I had the opportunity to interview & interact with Henri & his work on multiple occasions.  A great story & an even greater man, humanitarian & philanthropist.
  • After a Feb. of 'no winter', mother nature continues to remind us who is boss with an active & generally cool weather pattern continuing well into April. The global March temp. report from the University of Alabama, Huntsville shows the cold over the Eastern U.S. & Pacific NW while the overall pattern since the late 1990's continues to show general warming: April / early May skies provided by Sky & Telescope:  April 17-18 (night): Saturn, rising in the east-southeast about 1 a.m., is its farthest from the Sun since 1959. April 18 (evening): A delicate crescent Moon is cradled in the Hyades cluster and less than 2° from bright Aldebaran. April 21 (day/evening): Astronomy Day, celebrated since 1974. List of U.S. astronomy clubs. April 22 (evening): First-quarter Moon is in constellation Cancer, 2° or 3° below fuzzy Beehive star cluster. April 22 (all night): Peak of the modest Lyrid meteor shower, which can yield 5-10 meteors per hour after midnight. April 24 (evening): Use gibbous Moon to spot constellation Leo and its alpha star Regulus, about 3° ahead of the Moon. April 27 (evening): Brilliant Venus, low in west, sits midway between Hyades and Pleiades open star clusters. April 30 (evening): The full Moon and bright Jupiter cross the sky together in the constellation Libra, the Balance Scales. May 6 (predawn): Eta Aquariid meteor shower, bits of Halley’s Comet, peaks. Best time: 90 minutes before dawn. May 8 (evening): Jupiter reaches opposition (opposite the Sun); now closest to us, it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. Moon Phases Last Quarter       April 8,      3:18 a.m.EDT New Moon           April 15,    9:57 p.m. EDT First Quarter       April 22,    5:46 p.m. EDT Full Moon            April 29,    8:58 p.m. EDT (Pink Moon, for phlox; also Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon) The hurricane season is less than 2 months away - begins June 1st - & forecasts are beginning to be issued.  One of the more traditional & generally reliable forecasts was issued by Dr. Phil Klotzbach at Colorado St. University & will be updated in late May.  For the moment, the forecast is for a slightly above avg. season: And while on the topic of hurricanes.... the NHC has issued its post storm summary on devastating hurricane Maria - click here.
  • Coming off a very cool March.... April is acting more like March with wide temp. swings, frequent cold frontal passages & still plenty of snow across the Northern U.S. with some occasional severe storm outbreaks.  It looks like this pattern will hold through mid April before perhaps gradually breaking down. Our April averages at JIA: low / high - 1st: 52 / 77.... 30th: 58 / 82 rainfall: 2.64' sunrise / sunset: 1st - 7:15am / 7:45pm.... 30th - 6:44am / 8:03pm - gain 49 min. of daylight. Back to our weather pattern.  The swing of nearly 7 degrees cooler from Feb. to March is the 2nd biggest turn-around since a similar swing from Feb. to March in 1932.  March - at 59.5 degrees - was much cooler than the record-tying avg. for Feb. of 66.1 degrees.  The back & forth will continue for at least the next 10 days but generally averaging above avg. with the potential for some timely rain since we'll continue to see frontal passages from time to time.  Otherwise we're entering what is usually one of the driest parts of the year - April through mid May. The NHC finally has a new director - Kenneth Graham, former meteorologist in charge at the New Orleans/ Baton Rouge N.W.S.  I had a chance to interview Mr. Graham 5 years after hurricane Katrina when the N.W.S. was instrumental in warning the Gulf Coast prior to the arrival of catastrophic Katrina. So ..... I am fresh back from a true get-away as I took a week - with my family - to camping on the Dry Tortugas where there is no running water AND no cell service! :) .   The latter was one of my favorite parts much to the chagrin of my teenagers.  If you ever get the chance to visit Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas - about 70 miles west of Key West - I highly recommend you make the effort.  I see the fort as sort of the U.S. version of Europe's Coliseum (Colosseum).  Fort Jefferson was started in 1840 as a means to protect the Gulf Coast though ended being more symbolic as the fort was never fired upon nor fired from.  The fort was abandoned in 1873 after a 2nd bout of yellow fever plus a hurricane hit.  The fort was also used as a prison & is famous for being home to Abraham Lincoln conspirators including Dr. Mudd (who was pardoned in 1869).  Today the fort is occupied by the few campers (about 10-12 spaces) - we made some great friends, several National Park rangers & a nearly constant stream of daytime visitors whether by boat or sea plane.  Ft. Jefferson on Garden Key is a true American treasure, & it's a family vacation that will forever be..... let's say for the sake of my kids - 'memorable'..... so mission accomplished :). While on the one week 'sabbatical' (very short as sabbaticals go!), I managed to start reading some books I've been wanting to delve into for some time.  Most anticipated - & not the least disappointing - was 'Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks' by our own local T-U columnist & very talented writer Mark Woods.  Mark spent a short time at Ft. Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas, but I ended up being more fascinated by where I have not been or - in the case of New York City - National parks that I didn't even know existed.  Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, part of Gateway National Recreation Area is nestled right in NYC!  And Mark's very descriptive chapter on one of our nation's newest national parks - Flight 93 National Memorial in rural Pennsylvania - is most poignant.  I found Mark's inner turmoil regarding the death of his mother during his tour of national parks in 2016 (100 year anniversary of 'America's best idea') to parallel my own life.  So there's lots to consider & to ponder - with a mix of beauty, family, personal struggles & national park nostalgia, sometimes crisis all wrapped into one - give 'Lassoing the Sun' some of your time!   My island 'reading tree' is below..... My view of the beach & fort from the 'reading tree': Sunsets were amazing - the lighthouse is about 3 miles away on Loggerhead Key....
  • Astronomical spring officially 'arrived' Tue., March 20th but Mother Nature still would rather not cooperate.  Strong mid latitude cyclones continue to bring big temp. fluctuations with a few above avg. days followed by at least several below avg. days along with snow for the northern latitudes.  An interesting map from NOAA on the March 20th shows where & how much snow has fallen this winter so far.  What stands out to me is the expansive coverage deep into the south. Spring for NE Fl./SE Ga. is usually relatively dry (peak of the wildfire season) with the avg. high warming from near 75 on March 21st to 79 on April 15th to 85 on May 15th. NOAA's spring outlook where upper left is the temp. forecast (warm for Jacksonville)... upper right is precip. (near avg. for Jax)... lower left is drought outlook (SE Ga. highlighted)... lower right is the flood outlook (no widespread river flooding for Jax): Spring is typically also our nation's stormiest period as cold air from the north battles warm/humid air pushing north.  The first day of spring was no exception with heavy snow & thunderstorms occurring across wide parts of the country.  The storms brought much needed rain to NE Fl./SE Ga. but also some damaging hail.  Hail forms when updrafts in storms take raindrops high into the cumulonimbus ('mother') cloud, where the drop(s) freeze then begin to fall.  If the updraft is strong enough, this process will persist until the hailstones are heavy enough to overcome the updraft & then will fall to the ground. EARTH GAUGE - NEEF: The average American family can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water every year from easy-to-fix household leaks. That’s the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry! During Fix a Leak Week—March 19-25—the US Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging everyone to be a leak detective by looking for clues to find and fix leaks at home. Start searching in the following places: Your utility bill: If you are a family of four using more than 12,000 gallons of water in January or February, you probably have a leak. Faucets and shower heads: Check for drips and tighten their connections. Hoses and sprinkler heads: Tighten those spigot connections and check your sprinkler system for leaks that could hurt your lawn and your water bill. Toilets: To find a silent leak, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait 10 minutes before you flush. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak!
  • After a record warm Feb., March has come in 'like a lion' with most of the first 2 weeks well below avg. We'll have 12 of the first 16 days of the month colder than average.  So combine Feb. & March, you get 'average'.  Indications are we're in for a warmer last two weeks of March. The National Hurricane Center has issued their post storm summary on hurricane 'Irma' - see / read the 111 page(!) report here.  Irma is now the 5th costliest U.S. hurricane on record, & the name will likely be retired later this month.  My personal Irma review is here. Join me & the rest of the First Alert Weather team - including the First Alert Storm Tracker! - Fri., March 23rd at 12:30pm for 'Severe Weather 101' - an all-inclusive discussion about severe weather & its impacts on you & your family.  Sign up here. The National Weather Service wants your precipitation reports!  CoCoRaHS is a network of personal reporting stations on how much it rained, snowed, hail, etc.  This helps meteorologists fill in the holes between regular weather reporting stations.  Get the 'know how' here. This week - March 12-14th - marks 25 years since the 'Storm of the Century'.  Deep low pressure developed over the Gulf of Mexico & accelerated northeast just inland from the U.S. east coast dropping heavy snow & triggering severe storms & flooding.  Florida was hard hit: 44 dead, record west coast storm surge flooding, 14 tornadoes, up to half a foot of snow in the Panhandle & 65% of Jacksonville without power.  Melbourne, Fl. N.W.S. has issued a detailed summary.  Meteorologists took great pride - & rightfully so - in forecasting the monster storm as forecast models & the then new Doppler radar network did an excellent job given we were just moving into the modern computer era & did not yet have the kind of world wide web reach that exists today.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Venting his frustration in a series of tweets on Sunday, President Donald Trump again demanded to know how the Justice Department, FBI, and Obama Administration handled questions of Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he would request a new review specifically to see if an investigation was opened for ‘political purposes’ involving his campaign. “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the President said. It was one of a number of tweets where Mr. Trump flashed aggravation with the investigation into questions of Russian interference in the 2016 elections this weekend, as he repeated his charge that the feds had gone easy on Hillary Clinton and Democrats, while focusing investigative resources on his own campaign. I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 …in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 ….and why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ great! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018 What seemingly set off Mr. Trump on Sunday was a report in the New York Times, which said Donald Trump Jr. had held a meeting at Trump Tower in the months before the elections, to hear an offer of help from emissaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World,” the President tweeted. The President’s call for a review of how the FBI handled questions about Russian interference is already the subject of a review inside the Justice Department – it wasn’t clear how this request would be dealt with by officials. “There are rules,” said Carrie Cordero, a former Justice Department national security lawyer, who is now a professor at Georgetown University Law School. The Department of Justice doesn't open investigations for political puposes, which is what the president says today he will order tomorrow. There are rules. And I'm convinced there are people left in this government who will follow them. — Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero) May 20, 2018 In Congress, Democrats saw the President’s tweets as a signal of one thing – that he’s worried about what investigators are finding out about the 2016 probe, as they raised questions of whether the President is trying to exert political pressure on the Justice Department. “The President has sent 8 tweets in 5 hours on Hillary and the Mueller investigation,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “He is unhinged.” I would like a lawyer to explain to me why that last tweet from POTUS is not a big deal, because it seems like maybe it’s a pretty big deal. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 20, 2018 “A President who has nothing to hide would not have done another series of tweets this Sunday Morning smearing the DOJ investigation,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
  • An exchange student and a substitute teacher are among the victims of a mass shooting Friday at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas, where 10 people were killed and 10 injured when a gunman opened fire at the school. >> Read more trending news  Shana Fisher Shana Fisher doted on her dog Kallie and was a beautiful, smart, funny and talented girl, her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, told the Houston Chronicle. She turned 16 the same month she was killed. Rodriguez told The Los Angeles Times that her 16-year-old daughter 'had 4 months of problems from this boy (the gunman).” 'He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no,' the Times reported, citing a private message from Rodriguez. Rodriguez told The Associated Press that the week before the shooting, Fisher 'stood up to him' by 'embarrass(ing) him in class.' Rodriguez gave no other details, the AP reported. On Facebook, Rodriguez said she created a fundraiser in her daughter’s memory. “i want to help teachers and parents (be) more aware of teens and their mental state,” she wrote. “My daughter was the most sweet and shy young lady. She never hurt anyone.  “This boy. i cant even do this. i cant even finish this. it isnt even fair. i have to stay strong for Kaylenn, her younger sister. My heart is being ripped out. My baby is gone. i cant even go into her room.” Sabika Sheikh Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh, 18, was among the nine students killed in the massacre, according to news reports.  Sheikh came to the United States as part of the YES program, which was established by Congress after 9/11 and is funded by the State Department. >> Related: Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured, suspect charged with capital murder  The program provides scholarships for high school students from majority Muslim countries to spend an academic year in the U.S. They go to school, live with host families, learn about American values and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington confirmed Sheikh’s death to CBS News.  Sheikh was scheduled to return home next month. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an official statement Saturday on the death of Sheikh. Ann Perkins Substitute teacher Ann Perkins, 64, happened to be teaching Friday when gunfire erupted at the school. She is the only teacher killed in the massacre. She’s described as a “beloved teacher,” who loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. >> Related: Parkland students, families offer condolences to victims of Santa Fe school massacre >> Related: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack Chris Stone A junior at Santa Fe High School, Chris Stone was one of the victims of Friday’s shooting rampage, according to ABC 13. He was a student in an art class at the school, which was the first target the gunman attacked. Stone was among several students who blocked the door to try to prevent the gunman from entering their art classroom, freshman Abel San Miguel, who was in the class, told The Associated Press.  Cynthia Tisdale Cynthia Tisdale was a teacher’s aide at Santa Fe High School, her family told CNN.  Her niece, Leia Olinde, said the family was notified of her death Friday night. Her brother-in-law, John Tisdale, posted on Facebook that Cythnia Tisdale was a member of the Anchor Bible Baptist Church in Pharr, Texas. “We are all heart-broken,” John Tisdale wrote. Kimberly Vaughan KImberly Vaughan was in art class when shots rang out Friday morning. Her mother, Rhonda Hart, announced on Facebook that her daughter was one of the children who did not make it. 'She is in heaven,' Hart said. 'I am heartbroken.' Later on Facebook Hart urged people to “Call your damn senators. Call your congressmen.” “We need gun control. We need to protect our kids,” she wrote. Jared Black Jared Black, 17, really liked comic books, his uncle, John Conrad, told KHOU. Conrad said his nephew loved to draw his own artwork. Black’s birthday party had been scheduled for Saturday, family members said. Black loved playing Minecraft on Xbox and Pokémon Go on his cellphone, they told the Chicago Tribune. Aaron Kyle McLeod  Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15, a freshman who went by Kyle, could always be counted on to make light of any situation, close friend Kali Reeves told the Chicago Tribune.  'He was never one to be a sad or down person, he always had to joke or laugh about things,' Reeves told the Tribune. 'He was just outgoing and super sweet. He definitely didn't deserve this.' Christian Riley Garcia Family members told KHOU that 15-year-old Christian Riley Garcia, who hoped to enlist in the military after high school, “died a true hero.” 'From what we've gathered thus far he got in front of other students and barricaded the door,' his aunt, Sarah Saunders told KHOU. 'He laid down his life so others could have a chance.' Saunders said Christian hoped to enlist in the military when he became of age. He felt it was his calling to serve others. 'He had the biggest heart and the biggest chunk of ours feels to have left with him,'d Saunders said. On Facebook, Crosby Church, which Garcia attended, announced it would have a memorial service Monday to remember Garcia and the others killed in the shooting. “Our hearts are broken to see such deep loss of so many precious individuals,” the church wrote. “We will especially be lifting up (Garcia’s) family -- mother Shannon, father D J little sister Candace who are a part of our body, our family, our church. Angelique Ramirez Family members confirmed to KHOU that Angelique Ramirez was among the victims in the shooting. Sylvia Pritchett, who identified herself as Ramirez's aunt posted on Facebook that 'with a broken heart and a soul that just can't process all this right now, I have to announce my niece was one of the fatalities.' Ramirez’s family told KHOU that the student “was creative beyond belief.” Check back for updates on this developing story.
  • The suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Galveston County Texas was arraigned on capital murder and aggravated assault charges Friday in the deaths of 10 people and the wounding of a police officer.  Thirteen people were also injured in the massacre Friday morning at the high school in southeastern Texas, the FBI said Saturday. >> Read more trending news  The gunman was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school. When he finally surrendered, nine students and one teacher had been killed. Pagourtzis used two weapons in the attack on the school, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a shot gun and a .38-revolver, which belonged to his father.  The governor also confirmed a Molotov cocktail and “various other types of explosive devices” were found at the school and two other locations. >>Read: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack Authorities were interviewing two other people in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear what part, if any, they played in the massacre. >>Read: What are the worst school shootings in modern US history? Update May 20, 8:13 a.m. EST: The Galveston County Criminal District Attorney released the complete list of the people killed in the shooting, the Houston Chronicle reported. The teachers were identified as Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, 64. The students included Shana Fisher, 16; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Jake Stone, 17; Jared Black, 17; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Sabika Sheikh; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; and Kimberly Vaughan. Update May 19, 2:47 p.m. EST: Santa Fe High School students are being allowed to return to campus to pick up their cars and belongings left behind after Friday’s deadly shooting.  According to a post on the Santa Fe ISD Facebook page, students with cars are meeting officials at the junior high cafeteria between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. CST. The school district states that students will not be allowed to go directly to the high school. Update May 19, 2:14 p.m. EST: A teen who was shot in the leg during Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas is in good condition, according to a Twitter update from the University of Texas Medical Branch.  A woman in the intensive care unit (ICU) is in serious condition. John Barnes, the student resource officer and former police officer, remains in critical condition.  Officials gathered Saturday afternoon at Santa Fe High School in an adjacent grassy lot. According to KHOU, the Santa Fe Independent School District superintendent and Santa Fe mayor called for unity and peace. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said there were no new updates to the investigation, KHOU reports.  Update May 19, 11:40 a.m. ET: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an official statement on the death of Sibika Sheikh, the Pakistani exchange student who was one of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting. Update 10:30 p.m. ET: Three of the victims in the shooting massacre have now been identified, according to news reports. A substitute teacher, Ann Perkins, an exchange student, Sibika Sheikh and high school junior Chris Stone are among the victims killed in the rampage. The FBI and ATF are still processing the scene in Santa Fe, using SWAT teams, bomb techs and K-9 teams to search for explosives investigators say the suspect planted around the school. Update 7:20 p.m. ET: Santa Fe High School shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis made his first court appearance in court and was denied bond on capital murder and aggravated assault. Update 6:15 p.m. ET: Police are searching homes and cars for more explosives related to the attack on the school, CNN reported. Pagourtzis, who wanted to kill himself, but surrendered instead, according to authorities, allegedly built explosives and planned to use them in the attack. Federal authorities in Texas, including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are teaming up and scouring the crime scene at the school and surrounding locations, according to the FBI in Houston. “The FBI Houston and ATF Houston are combining resources to meticulously process the scene,” the FBI said in a tweet. Update 5:15 p.m. ET: The suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of 10 people at the school Friday morning and aggravated assault of a peace officer for the shooting injury of school resource officer John Barnes, the Santa Fe Independent School District has confirmed. Pagourtzis is jailed without bond in the Galveston County Jail. Schools superintendent Leigh Wall called the rampage “a terrible tragedy. “Words cannot express the sorrow in our hearts for those we have lost,” Wall said in a statement posted on the district’s website. “Our campus remains an active crime scene with law enforcement personnel from throughout our region supporting Santa Fe ISD Police Chief, Walter Braun.” Wall also pledged to keep the community informed on developments in the investigation. Update 4:10 p.m. ET: The school resource officer, John Barnes,  who was wounded in the shooting rampage at Santa Fe High School is in the operating room and is in critical condition, University of Texas Medical Branch officials said at an afternoon press conference. Barnes was injured in the arm, according to Dr. David Marshall, shot in the elbow. There are two other patients at the hospital, a middle aged woman and a young male, but both are still unidentified. The female patient suffered a fractured leg bone and is now out of surgery. The male suffered a gun shot to the leg and is listed in stable condition, Marshall said. Seven other victims were transported to several other medical centers near Santa Fe. Update 3:15 p.m. ET: Governor Greg Abbott said during a press conference that Pagourtzis used two weapons, both of which were legally owned by his father, a shot gun and a .38-revolver. There are two persons of interest, one who is currently being interviewed by law enforcement and a second who will be.  Abbott says he plans to take action because people need to “do more than just pray for the victims and families. It’s time in Texas that we begin to take action to make sure this tragedy is not repeated ever again.” Abbott vowed to begin roundtable discussions next week to work on solutions to prevent shootings in the future. He plans to speak with anyone with a vested interest in stopping gun violence --  parents, students, those who want to support second amendment rights, safety personnel. He wants to address mental health to help prevent gun violence. He also said that the state needs to make sure schools have resources and can identify those who could pose a risk of violence. According to Abbott, Pagourtzis had journals on his computer that outlined the attack and that he planned on committing suicide after the shooting. Abbott also spoke to parents across the country telling them to “hold your children close tonight and let them know how much you love them.” UTMB confirms that John Barnes is the man who is in critical condition. He is a recently retired detective who started working for the Santa Fe ISD police.    Update 2:33 p.m. ET: Police are talking to Pagourtzis. CNN is reporting he was injured in today’s shooting but did not say what injuries he suffered. Update 2:17 p.m. ET: A second person is now in custody in connection with Friday’s deadly shooting. Earlier police said that a second person had been detained. Update 1:44 p.m. ET: Clear Lake Regional Medical Center officials said that eight patients were taken to their hospital and of the eight, six have been discharged. Of the remaining, one patient is listed in critical condition. The other is listed in fair condition, KHOU reported. KHOU is also reporting that the adult male being treated at UTMB was retired police officer John Barnes.  Update 12:35 p.m. ET: Santa Fe Independent School District police administration chief  Walter Braun said that the campus has been cleared of all students and staff.  Braun said that at least six people, including a SFISD police officer, were transported to area hospitals with injuries.  Doctors clarified that the adult male who has in the operating room did not have a chest wound, but had an upper arm injury, near the chest. The middle age female has been transferred to the operating room for surgery on her leg wound. The teen, who is a 16-year-old male, is in the pediatric ward with a wound to the leg. Update 12:18 p.m. ET: The Santa Fe school district has confirmed via a Twitter post that police have found possible explosive devices at the school and off campus. President Trump spoke earlier about this latest shooting. Update 12:04 p.m. ET: Doctors at UTMB said that the adult male who is undergoing surgery is a middle aged man who has chest injuries. He has been listed in critical condition. Doctors said they are unsure how many times he was shot. The male teen who was admitted to the hospital was shot and has a leg wound and is listed in good condition. The other patient, who was being treated in the emergency room, has a gunshot wound to the leg also and is listed in good condition. Update 11:47 a.m. ET: In a news conference with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales there are between eight and 10 fatalities, but media sources are reporting 9 deaths. The majority of those killed are students according to the sheriff but there were some adult staff fatalities.  Law enforcement is doing a systematic search of the building to make sure that there are no additional injured students or students still in hiding. Police are also looking for any potential devices that were left behind.  Gonzales said it is an active crime scene and a family reunification area that has been set up to get families and their children reunited. As for the shooter, Gonzales did not have an age or identification but said that the shooter was a male student at the school. Another student, again no name or age was available, was detained. Update 11:14 a.m. ET: The University of Texas Medical Branch officials held a news conference. During it they announced that three patients have been taken to UTMB -- two adults and one person under the age of 18. Officials with the hospital said that an adult male was taken to surgery. One adult was still being treated in the emergency room and person under the age of 18 has been admitted to the hospital. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says that one person is in custody, another is detained. A police officer was hurt and is being treated. Update: 11:06 a.m. ET: There are now reports of a possible explosive being found near an area roadway and the potential that the gunman was not alone, KHOU reported.  President Donald Trump has reacted via Twitter about this latest deadly school shooting. Update: 10:40 a.m. ET: Two sources familiar with the situation have told KHOU that there are multiple student fatalities and that an officer was wounded. KHOU reported that once source was a federal official, the other was a county official, both close to the situation. Federal officials told KHOU that the suspected gunman was a student. The district has a dedicated police force, including resource officers, crossing guards and a dispatcher, according to the district website.  Update: 10:20 a.m. ET: The school has confirmed that there are injuries, but there is no information on the extent of those injuries.  Update: 10:01 a.m. ET: Dr. Cris Richardson, the assistant principal of Santa Fe High School, quickly briefed the media outside the school. She told reporters that the active shooter has been arrested and secured. She did not disclose the suspect’s name. School officials are starting to reunite students with their parents. The school district had only two weeks left in the school year. Richardson confirmed that the school has trained for the situation. Richardson had no details on any injuries. Update: 9:54 a.m. ET: University of Texas Medical Branch has told local news outlets that patients are on the way to the hospital. They have no number of patients or their injuries. A news brief from the hospital is expected in a few hours. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office told KPRC that one person is in custody. >>Read: Santa Fe High School Shooting: What to know about Santa Fe Independent School District Update: 9:37 a.m. ET: Witnesses told KTRK that it happened in an art class at the school. Santa Fe Police, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and ATF agents are responding, KTRK reported. Neighboring schools are also in what is called “protect mode” because of the shooting at Santa Fe High School. >>Read: Over 170 Texas school districts allow staff to be armed Update 9:23 a.m. ET: KHOU is reporting that some students were evacuated to a business down the street from the school complex. There are unconfirmed reports that police exchanged fire with the shooter and that there may be injuries, KHOU reported.  The school has also posted a warning to its website that reads:  Important Message SFISD District Response to SFHS Active Shooter This morning an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The district has initiated a lockdown at the high school. We will send out additional information as soon as it is available. The school also posted the message to its Facebook page.  The school usually starts its day at 7:10 a.m., according to the school website and dismisses at 2:35 p.m. On late-arrival days school starts at 9:15 a.m. >>Read: Texas school marshals allowed to carry guns on campus Original story: Details are still coming in, but it has been confirmed that police are on scene for an active shooter situation, KPRC reported. >> Read more trending news  There have not been any official reports of injuries, KPRC reported. However, a medical helicopter has been sent to the scene, KHOU reported.  The school district has confirmed that there was an active shooter situation at the high school. A student at the school told KTRK that fire alarms went off around 7:45 a.m. local time and students left their classrooms. The student told the station that others thought they heard shots fired. She and other students, along with teachers, have found shelter near campus, KTRK reported.
  • Houston police Chief Art Acevedo is calling for gun reform, after 10 people were shot and killed and 10 more hurt in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. >>Read: Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured, suspect arraigned on capital murder charges The gunman was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school. Pagourtzis was arraigned on capital murder and aggravated assault charges Friday.  >>Read: Texas shooting: Who is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspect in the Santa Fe High School attack In the post on his Facebook page, Acevedo said that he has hit “rock bottom” after this deadly shooting. “Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I'm not ashamed to admit I've shed tears of sadness, pain and anger,” Acevedo posted. “I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue.” >> Read more trending news  School resource officer John Barnes was injured in Friday’s shooting. He remains in critical condition, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) tweeted Saturday. According to CNN, Barnes is a former officer with the Houston Police Department. Acevedo also called “shame” to those in power who are not speaking out against gun violence, in a post on Twitter. Acevedo has been vocal about gun control in the past. According to CNN, Acevedo urged others to join him to change legislation after the deadly massacre in Las Vegas last year were 58 people were killed.  Acevedo is the first Hispanic to lead the department. Before that, he was chief of the Austin Police Department, according to the Houston police department website.  He was sworn in as Houston police chief in 2016.
  • Lava from the Kilauea volcano has crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said Sunday. A second lava flow is about 437 yards from the highway, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported. >> Read more trending news Big Island residents may now have to contend with laze -- a mixture of lava and haze -- that forms when hot lava hits the ocean, CNN reported. After making contact with the water, the laze sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air. Laze can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, CNN reported. 'This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows,' the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote on its website. Officials have told people to avoid areas where lava meets the ocean, CNN reported. Powerful eruptions accompanied by thunderous booms punctuated the air Friday around Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island. The volcano spewed lava bombs the size of cows as molten rock flowed from several of the 22 fissures that have opened around the volcano.  More than 40 structures, mostly homes, have been destroyed in the eruption that started more than two weeks ago. Lava has now inundated almost 325 acres around Kilauea. Update May 19, 2018, 2 a.m. EDT: Fast-moving lava isolated about 40 homes in a rural subdivision, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters, the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu reported. According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, police, firefighters and National Guard troops were stopping people from entering the area. Update May 18, 2018 11:30 p.m. EDT: Hawaiian authorities have sent the National Guard, police and fire units into the East Rift Zone in Puna, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency. “There are approximately 40 homes in the area that are isolated. Officials are gaining access by helicopter to the area to assess how many people are there and if they need assistance. All persons in that area are asked to stay where they are and wait for further instructions,” the agency said on its website. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has confirmed another fissure opened on Friday, bringing the total number of fissures to 22.  Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as Kilauea continues its violent eruptions. Update May 18, 2018 8:35 a.m EDT:  More lava is spewing  from the Kilauea volcano as the 21st fissure opened Thursday, CNN reported. Meanwhile, state officials have been handing out masks to protect people who live near Kilauea, ABC News reported. About 18,000 masks have been distributed, CNN reported. The safety measure protects residents from breathing in pieces of rock, glass and crystals that fall as the volcano continues to erupt, ABC News reported. Update May 17, 2018 10:45 p.m EDT: Lava is erupting from points along the fissure system on Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the agency is calling it a “low-level eruption” at this point.  Although lava is still spattering from Fissure 17, the flow has not advanced significantly over the past day, the USGS said. There are currently 18 fissures that have opened due to seismic activity on Kilauea’ over the past two weeks.  Volcanic gas emission are still elevated throughout the area and residents are urged to remain on alert.  “This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area,” the USGS reported late Thursday.  Rain on the Big Island Thursday helped the situation with the ashfall, but volcano experts are warning the situation on Kilauea is  still very dynamic. (Previous story) Several schools were closed as ash continued to fall Thursday due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels. Officials warned people in the area to take shelter and protect themselves from the falling ash. >> Here's how to help victims of Hawaii volcano, earthquakes 'The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area,' officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a 5 a.m. alert. In a subsequent update, USGS officials said the ash plume was moving to the northeast. The plume could be seen in an image taken from a webcam at the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 'Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves,' the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned. Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the situation remained “very, very active and very dynamic,” on Thursday. “The potential for larger explosions is still there,” she said. Officials with the USGS warned Tuesday that an eruption of Kilauea's volcano appeared 'imminent.' >> Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’ The eruption on Kilauea began May 3. It has since forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures -- including dozens of homes -- and created more than two dozen fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano. Check back for updates to this developing story.

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