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The Buresh Blog

    The “Buresh Blog” will take the first week of June off but will be updated again the week of June 8th. BUT “Talking the Tropics With Mike” never rests. With the beginning of the hurricane season June 1st, “Talking the Tropics” will be updated every day through Nov. 30th (the end of the Atlantic hurricane season). Almost like a flip of the switch, our wet season seems to be underway. June/July/Aug. & September are considered the area’s wet season averaging nearly 28″ (more than half the annual 52-53″) of rain. The “switch” usually occurs from anywhere from mid May to mid June (see the image below going back to 2009). Our deficit was becoming significant near & south of I-10 but most areas had a decent soaking Mon. & especially Tue. with more on the way. Our so-called wet season is a product of: (1) the daily intrusion of the sea breeze(s) which trigger (usually) afternoon & sometimes early evening showers & storms (high humidity just about every day, & the sea breeze acts like a front... lifting the air & causing showers/storms) (2) influence of any tropical systems Jacksonville's wet season Jacksonville's wet season JEA reminds folks about watering restrictions: With the arrival of summer temperatures and a drier weather pattern across Northeast Florida, JEA has observed a higher-than-usual customer demand for water in your area. Often this water is used for home irrigation and landscaping. JEA has worked hard to increase our grid capacity in areas of high demand. Even though we're better prepared to meet this growing demand, it's still important to conserve water during times of low rainfall . When you cut back on when and how much water you use, this allows JEA to replenish its reservoirs to meet peak demand periods and support fire protection. If you use water for irrigation, JEA encourages you to irrigate responsibly by taking the following steps: Know and follow mandated watering days established for your area. Change the setting on your irrigation timer to water only between midnight and 4 a.m. This helps avoid evaporation and runoff, which can waste up to 50 percent of water used for irrigation. Avoid late-morning or late-afternoon waterings. Water no more than twice per week during your assigned days and less if you are able, as overwatering can contribute to the growth of certain types of weeds. Even reclaimed water, which is not subject to water restrictions, can be subject to low pressures , so it's important to conserve no matter where your water comes from.   JEA also offers practical tips at jea.com on to save water inside your home. For example, simple fixes such as repairing leaks and using efficient shower heads can significantly reduce the water your household consumes. This is even more important for households that have increased consumption from sheltering at home due to COVID-19. Let’s work together to preserve our most precious natural resource. More Water Conservation Tips at jea.com And June is upon us. The averages at JIA: Low / High - 1st: 67 / 88; 30th: 72 / 91 degrees Rainfall: 6.45″ Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:25am / 8:24pm... 30th - 6:28am / 8:32pm - gain 5 min. of daylight
  • Our first Atlantic named storm has come & gone. “Arthur” formed over the weekend of May 16/17th moving northeast then east just skirting the NC coast. No significant damage occurred with most of the wind & heaviest rain north & east of the center keeping the worst of the storm offshore with the last advisory issued Tue., the 19th (next name on the ’20 list is “Bertha”). Arthur did enhance rip currents are area beaches resulting in the unfortunate death of a swimmer in Crescent Beach (St. Johns Co.). This marks the 6th straight year with an “preseason” storm though such an occurrence is not necessarily rare in May. There have been 52 Atlantic May named storms going back to 1851. Though not always true, early season storms recently have been followed by active hurricane seasons. Early season Atlantic tropical systems Early season tropical cyclones and seasonal totals NOAA has issued their 2020 hurricane seasonal forecast. Like most other tropical forecasters, the expectation is for an above average season sighting above avg. ocean water temps. & at least neutral - if not La Nina - conditions over the equatorial Pacific. Watch “Talking & Tracking the Tropics” * here * - a “deep dive” on the tropics presented by the First Alert Weather Team. NOAA hurricane forecast An article appearing in a recent NYT & Washington Post spread like wildfire across media outlets: “Climate Change is Making Hurricanes Stronger”. Very little actual data was given while certain quotes seemed to be chosen to support the “click & bait” headline. Upon some deeper digging into the work sighted by Dr. Kossin (Nat. Center for Environmental Information), one can find that the evidence is still not necessarily “cut & dry” in this particular instance. First & foremost, it’s without doubt that the globe is warming & has been for at least several decades - that’s measurable (see 3rd image below). But so much of “crazy” Mother Nature is just assumed or declared to be caused by climate change when, in fact, that’s what the atmosphere & weather is all about: wild swings & great fluctuations. It’s natural chaos at its best. While the last few years have certainly been active seasons that included powerful hurricanes, the longer term trend this century - so far - has been relatively flat - about 3 per season - when it comes to the number of Cat. 3/4/5 storms to form in the Atlantic Basin (2nd image below). Keep in mind that Florida went from 2006 through 2015 without a single hurricane hit - the longest such stretch on record. Climate change & hurricanes Cat. 3+ Atlantic hurricanes since 2000 The graph below from the University of Alabama, Huntsville global temp. report, clearly shows a recent trend - since the 1990s - of above avg. temps. Global temperature trend Exciting times when it comes to space exploration as NASA & SpaceX combine forces to take astronauts into space - the first time astronauts have been taken into space since the end of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011. (I can remember! the first walk of the moon - watching on a black & white t.v. with my aunt) :) NASA SpaceX astronaut capsule Weather is, of course, an important factor for rocket launches & the launch will be scrubbed if: * lightning within 10 nautical miles of the launch pad up to 30 minutes prior to launch * any rain or low clouds (4,500 feet in thickness) * winds greater than 34 mph * too much wind shear (changing height with altitude) * inclement weather/rough seas at the rocket recovery site (usually positioned at least several hundred miles east or northeast of the launch)
  • The tropics are “sort of” perking up early. By sort of, I mean it looks like a subtropical low will develop east of Fl. by the weekend, 05/16-17. No local impacts outside of adding some MPH to our onshore (NE) wind which will enhance an already moderate to high rip current risk. Ultimately, the storm is likely to move NE staying well east of the entire U.S. east coast with no landfall expected. “Preseason” storms have become somewhat the norm over the last 5 years or so. The long range trend of early season storms does not necessarily correlate with overall active seasons. However - more recently - there has seemingly been a correlation to active seasons. 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 all had early season tropical cyclones & ended up being above average seasons. Perhaps more importantly.... there were multiple U.S. landfalls each season. Even 2015 had Cat. 4 “Joaquin” over the SW Atlantic which impacted the Bahamas & infamously sank the El Faro. The “official” Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 - Nov. 30. SW Atlantic satellite imagery Early tropical activity Early Season Tropical Activity Image below by Dr. Phil Klotzbach shows where May named storms have formed going all the way back to 1851: May Atlantic Storm Genesis 'Tis the season for frequent lightning storms. An interesting website * here * shows lightning frequency & totals from all around the U.S.! Remember: “When thunder roars, go indoors”.... & wait at least 30 minutes since the last thunder clap before going outside. Jacksonville annual lightning Jacksonville Jaguars! The Jags regular season schedule has been announced. Avg. temps: Sept. 13: @ home vs. Colts: 88 degrees Sept. 20th @ Titans, Nashville: 81 degrees Sept. 24th @ home vs. Miami: 84 degrees Oct. 4th @ Cincinnati: 72 degrees Oct. 11th @ Houston: 83 degrees (indoor stadium) Oct. 18th @ home vs. Lions: 80 degrees Nov. 1st @ LA Chargers: 72 degrees Nov. 8th @ home vs. Texans: 75 degrees Nov. 15th @ Green Bay: 43 degrees Nov. 22nd @ home vs. Steelers: 72 degrees Nov. 29th @ home vs. Browns: 70 degrees Dec. 6th @ Vikings, Minneapolis: 30 degrees (indoor stadium) Dec. 13th @ home vs. Titans: 67 degrees Dec. 20th @ Baltimore Ravens: 45 degrees Dec. 27th @ home vs. Bears: 65 degrees Jan. 3rd: @ Indianapolis Colts: 36 degrees (indoor stadium) NOAA will have their national weather camp ** virtually ** this year. For info., go * here *. National Weather Camp Night skies into early June (Sky & Telescope): May 14–15 (dawn): The last-quarter Moon slides a few degrees below Mars. May 21 (dusk): Venus and much dimmer Mercury are 1° apart low in the west-northwest. Look 30 minutes after sunset. May 24 (dusk) As twilight deepens, look low in the west for Mercury midway between a thin crescent Moon and Venus. June 3 (dusk): Mercury appears its farthest east (24°) from the Sun, 24° and sets about 2 hours after sunset. June 5 (day): A penumbral (weak) lunar eclipse occurs, visible from Africa, Middle East, west & central Asia, Australia June 7 (night): Saturn, Jupiter, and the waning gibbous Moon appear in a line about 12° long. Moon Phases Full Moon - May 7, 6:45 a.m. EDT (Full Flower Moon) Last Quarter - May 14, 10:03 a.m. EDT New Moon - May 22, 1:39 p.m. EDT First Quarter - May 29, 11:30 p.m. EDT We continue to deal with COVID-19′s impacts in so many ways, but our environment has benefited. The distance traveled dropped dramatically during quarantine in March & April (graphs by Climate Matters) but is now trending upward again upon the “phased reopening”. Florida pollution since March Georgia pollution since March
  • Thankfully April was wet for Jacksonville/NE Fl. & SE Ga. as May is typically the peak of the wildfire season. Central & South Florida along with the Panhandle have been far drier & are experiencing significant wildfires. Local rainfall from our Jax N.W.S.: FL JASPER 7.30 FL BEAUCLERC 4.44 FL JACKSONVILLE BEACH 6.45 FL FERNANDINA BEACH M FL LAKE CITY 2 E 6.87 FL GLEN ST MARY 1 W 7.28 FL CRESCENT CITY 4.59 FL GAINESVILLE RGNL AP 5.84 FL HASTINGS 4NE 3.32 FL OCALA 5.46 FL JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP 4.91 FL JACKSONVILLE INTL AP 6.14 FL JACKSONVILLE NAS 5.24 FL MAYPORT NAVAL STATION 3.85 FL BUNNELL EOC 3.10 FL PALM COAST 2.86 FL PALM COAST 6NE 2.22 FL WEST PALM COAST 3.40 FL BULOW 4.26 FL FLAGLER BEACH 3.92 GA PRIDGEN 7.14 GA ALMA BACON CO AP 4.49 GA NAHUNTA 6 NE 5.80 GA BRUNSWICK 6.47 GA BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP 6.76 GA WOODBINE 7.29 The heavy rain included multiple bouts of severe storms for the local area. The map below shows all the tornado warnings (red) & severe t’storm warnings (yellow) issued during April. NE Fl./SE Ga. April storm warnings While there will be some snow over the far Northern & NE U.S. through Mother’s Day, most of the U.S. has had as much as snow as they will get for the past fall/winter/spring. U.S. 2019-2020 snowfall The week of May 4th is/was “Hurricane Preparedness Week”. If evacuations are at all necessary along the U.S. coast during this hurricane season, the process will likely be more convoluted than ever due to COVID-19 & social distancing. Now is the time to prepare - not as a hurricane is approaching. And remember flood insurance policies do * not * take effect for 30 days & * no * flood policies can be written if a named storm is nearby. More info. * here * - First Alert Hurricane Center. 2020 Hurricane names Certified Broadcast First Alert Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh brought to my attention the interesting graph below for billion-dollar Florida disasters since 1980. Big hurricane hits dominate, of course - 1985 (Elena),1992 (Andrew), 2004 (Charley, Frances, Jeanne & Ivan), 2005 (Katrina & especially Wilma), 2016 (Hermine & Matthew), 2017 (Irma) & 2018 (Michael). Florida Billion Dollar Disaster Events Speaking of the First Alert Weather Center.... I had a teacher ask if we could give her students a virtual tour of the studio & weather center. We did just that - click * here *. So we continue trying to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. I asked my daughter - a junior in HS - if she would write a few thoughts for the “Buresh Blog”. She obliged (I must say I’m very proud of her): “On Wednesday, March 11th, I walked out of my high school thrilled to be given a break. At the time, it would have never crossed my mind that it was the last time I would pull out of that parking lot as a junior. At first, it seemed as if we would just have an extended Spring break and it was as if this national pandemic was celebrated among high school students everywhere. However, as time went on, we started to realize that this was much larger than a two week break from academics. Jobs were lost, seniors were stripped of a graduation, and above all, lives were taken. What started as just a hiatus from education, snowballed into months trapped in quarantine. I looked at this as an opportunity to make the most out of devastation. I took the time to deep clean the messy room of a teenager, go on bike rides, and even paint. All of which have not been given the time of day for longer than I would like to admit. As I have looked around to see what others have used this time for, I see that neighbors are socializing (six feet apart, of course), people are sharing toilet paper, and there has overall been a mutual understanding of kindness amongst most. I am sure everyone has seen the numerous commercials that we are “in this together,” but I have a different proposal. My hope is that the world changes for the better due to this time apart and instead of coming together just to return back to normal, we stay united for much longer than a few months in quarantine.” Teenager paints while in quarantine Lots of back & forth regarding fact vs. fiction when it comes to COVID-19. Much of the problem is this is truly “new” & uncharted territory. Fact is, the science community has few exact answers. It does appear that warm temps. & lots of sunlight can battle COVID to at least some degree. But a new strain like this may not behave like typical viruses. And then there’s the specter of a “second surge” which seems inevitable - it’s just how significant that 2nd “bump” might or might not be. But all viruses since at least the 15th century have had that second peak. And the models are certainly not going to be perfect. We know that when dealing with weather models! I’ve come across a good web site that explains the modeling, why it can be - & often is - highly variable & the data gathering process by which the models reach a conclusion - click * here *. You’re even able to compare model forecasts from the past 4 weeks. From a retweet by Dan Hicken from Spencer Tillman - the photo below - photo from Georgia Tech Alum, Andy McNeal, during the 1918 college football season. The sport was hit by the Spanish flu at the end of World War I. The photo was taken by a student, Thomas Carter. 1918 college football game
  • After a dry Feb. & March, April turned wet - thankfully - which at least delays the wildfire season. Most areas of NE Fl. & SE Ga. ended April 2″ to as much as 6″ above avg. (SE Ga.) The maps below from NOAA show the drought index April 16 vs. April 23rd with the driest conditions in the tan & orange areas. The wet month has - in some areas - nearly wiped out the yearly deficit that was as high as 3-5″. NE Fl./SE Ga. Drought Index NE Fl./SE Ga. Drought Index May is forecast to continue the wetter than avg. pattern that’s recently become established. However, remember - May is typically the peak of the local wildfire season, & it doesn’t take long to dry out this time of year (longer days, more sun, warmer temps.). May rainfall forecast May temp. forecast May averages for Jacksonville: Jacksonville avg. May temps. Jacksonville May avg. rain Jacksonville May sunrise & sunset We’re now down to 1 month (or less) to the 2020 hurricane season. Remember that flood insurance policies do not become active until 1 month after you’ve signed on the dotted line AND policies cannot be written if a named storm is nearby. Virtually all forecasts so far are calling for an active, possibly hyperactive season - see this interesting interactive graphic for the various forecasts.... tweeted out by Dr. Phil Klotzbach. “Talking the Tropics With Mike” is updated every day during the hurricane season beginning June 1st.... or earlier if need be. Go to the First Alert Hurricane Center for seasonal prep info, maps & forecasts. Speaking of the tropics.... the NHC just completed the post storm summary on mighty hurricane Dorian (Aug. 24-Sept. 7, 2019) - click * here *. The storm’s most devastating blow was on the Northern Bahamas. My own summary of the storm - including the forecast headaches & heartaches - can be found * here *. Hurricane Dorian track Dorian approaching Bahamas Hurricane Dorian satellite over Bahamas Dorian damage
  • 'Tis the season for the rituals of spring such as an active sinusoidal jet stream(!). Buresh bottom line: storm systems every few days with severe storms, flooding, heat, cold, ice & snow depending on exactly where you live in the U.S. This buckling of the jet stream has led to frequent frontal passages for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. allowing for a much needed turn to wetter weather. JIA went from nearly 5″ below avg. for the year in late March to within an inch or two of avg. by mid April. All indications are that the “parade” of upper level storm systems & surface fronts will continue through at least the end of April. Forecast upper level (~30,000 feet) below for Thu., 04/23 & Sat., 04/25 & are representative of our “busy” jet stream: Active Jet Stream Active Jet Stream Photo below shows tree damage from an EF-0 tornado near Black Hammock Island (Duval Co.) Wed., April 15: EF-0 Tornado Drops Tree Mid April snow in Iowa - photo courtesy my dad :) : Iowa April Snow April 22 marks the 50th Earth Day. While we (humans) battle COVID-19, the Earth battles man-made ills. Temp. trends - provided by ‘Climate Central’ shows Jacksonville has warmed about almost a degree and-a-half while the U.S. has had a 2.4 degree temp. increase since the first Earth Day in 1970: Earth Day Earth Day Satellite Jacksonville Temp. Trend U.S. Temp. Trend Check out/click these sites for more info. & beautiful images in honor of Earth Day: * NASA Home Resources * Earth rise image from Apollo 8, 1968 * NASA’s satellite fleet * Catalog of NASA’s “Visible Earth” images * NASA’s “Scientific Visualization Studio” April 24th marks the 30th birthday of the Hubble Telescope! Hubble’s launch & subsequent orbit were put in serious jeopardy by the space shuttle “Challenger” disaster in 1986 but finally launched in 1990 thanks to space shuttle “Discovery”. From NASA: Hubble Quick Facts Looking Back Through Time : Hubble has peered back to capture light from distant galaxies that has taken more than 13.4 billion years to reach us.  A Productive Machine : Hubble has taken more than 1.4 million observations that astronomers have used to write over 17,000 scientific publications on topics such as planet, star and galaxy formation, dark matter, dark energy and black holes. Space Mechanics : Astronauts repaired and upgraded Hubble five times in space, including giving Hubble “glasses” to fix a flaw in its mirror that made the images blurry.  Science Bus : The Hubble Space Telescope is about the size of a school bus , roughly 43.5 feet long and 14 feet wide and weighs 27,000 pounds on Earth. Around the World in 95 Minutes : Hubble travels 17,000 mph and completes one orbit around the Earth every 95 minutes, meaning it has made more than 166,000 orbits in its lifetime and has traveled over 4 billion miles. Above the atmosphere : Hubble orbits 340 miles above the Earth’s surface , outside of the distorting effects of our atmosphere. This allows us to look deeper into space and with greater clarity than we can with ground telescopes Cultural Icon : From Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory episodes to music album covers and the clothes you wear, Hubble images are all around you!  Hubble Telescope Mid to late spring marks the period of snakes & gators!..... as in feeding & breeding. So be a little extra careful when & if hiking, walking or biking some of our great local NE Fl./SE Ga. trails. AND check yourself for ticks! Pics below by me - young gator... pygmy rattler (not aggressive but venomous)... Black Racer (territorial but harmless). Nocatee gator! Pygmy Rattler! Snake - Black Racer!
  • The expected turn to a wet weather pattern came to fruition the week of April 13th. As of this writing, rainfall coverage has been 100% with amounts ranging from a half inch to 2″ & more on the way - good news! The active & - at times - wet weather pattern looks like it will continue for at least 10 days or so. The map below is First Alert Doppler HD estimated rainfall for Mon., April 13th: Radar estimated rainfall We were drying out especially fast thanks to an unseasonably warm March & early April. Jacksonville has had 6 90-degree days.... the avg. by mid April is 0. The avg. for an entire year is 82 days. We had 101 90-degree days last year (2019). Spring means it’s “snake time”. Snakes typically reproduce this time of year & are more active with cool nights & warm days. Check the harmless corn (rat) snake which is a prolific climber: Corn Snake NOAA has released maps of the global temps. for the first few months of 2020. March was the 2nd warmest March on record & 423rd month in a row that was above avg. The months Jan./Feb./March were also the 2nd warmest - to only 2016 - on record. Click * here * to see more info. + the maps below. For Jacksonville specifically, March was the 2nd warmest on record at 71.4 degrees - more than 9 degrees above avg. Combining the first 3 months of the year, Jacksonville avg. temp. was 6.3 degrees above avg. with only 2 nights reaching freezing (& barely! - 32 degrees on Jan. 21-22). Global temperature averages Significant Climate & Weather Events in March Interesting maps from NASA showing less air pollution (nitrogen dioxide) across the Northeast U.S. since many “stay at home” orders were put in place to stem the spreading of COVID-19. Pollution Drops during COVID pandemic NASA: Nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation, can be used as an indicator of changes in human activity. The images below show average concentrations of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide as measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA' s Aura satellite, as processed by a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. The left image in the slider shows the average concentration in March of 2015-19, while the right image in the slider shows the average concentration measured in March of this year. Though variations in weather from year to year cause variations in the monthly means for individual years, March 2020 shows the lowest monthly atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels of any March during the OMI data record, which spans 2005 to the present. In fact, the data indicate that the nitrogen dioxide levels in March 2020 are about 30% lower on average across the region of the I-95 corridor from Washington, DC to Boston than when compared to the March mean of 2015-19. Further analysis will be required to rigorously quantify the amount of the change in nitrogen dioxide levels associated with changes in emissions versus natural variations in weather. If processed and interpreted carefully, nitrogen dioxide levels observed from space serve as an effective proxy for nitrogen dioxide levels at Earth’s surface, though there will likely be differences in the measurements from space and those made at ground level. It is also important to note that satellites that measure nitrogen dioxide cannot see through clouds, so all data shown is for days with low cloudiness. Such nuances in the data make long-term records vital in understanding changes like those shown in this image. Speaking of the pandemic.... science/weather activities & lessons for kids & teachers at the following links: NOAA ..... NASA ..... AMS (American Meteorological Society) ... UCAR ... NEEF ... Nat. Geographic Night skies into May from Sky & Telescope: April 15 (dawn): The Moon is 3° below Saturn, with Mars (left) and Jupiter (right) flanking that pairing. April 16 (dawn): The thinning Moon is 3° to 4° to the lower left of Mars. April 21–22 (night): The Lyrid [LIE-rid] meteor shower peaks in first hours of April 22nd. No interference from the Moon. This shower is variable, yielding up to one meteor every 5 minutes from locations with dark skies. Fireballs are possible. These meteors are particles of dust shed by Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), which orbits the Sun every 415 years. April 25 (dusk): Venus attains its greatest possible brightness, magnitude –4.73, making it look 20 times brighter than Sirius, the brightest nighttime star (far to its left in the south). May 5 (morning): The Eta Aquariid meteor shower peaks. This shower is predicted to be stronger than usual this year, with up to 30 “shooting stars” observable per hour from dark locations despite a bright Moon. Best observing is 3:30 to 5:00 a.m. local time. May 12 (dawn): The waning gibbous Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn for a compact triangle in the pre-dawn sky. Moon Phases Last Quarter - April 14, 6:56 p.m. EDT New Moon - April 22, 10:26 p.m. EDT First Quarter - April 30, 4:38 p.m. EST
  • Abnormally dry conditions have continued to increase across NE Fl. & have been spreading into previously wetter SE Ga. Most of NE Florida is 4-6″ below avg. for the year so far & has become particularly dry since March 1st. SE Drought Monitor Florida Drought Monitor Map That’s critical as we head for the peak of the wildfire season through May. Wildfire Awareness Week highlights being prepared - click * here *. Wildfire Defensible Space There’s some good news in that there are indications of a wetter pattern - at least for a while - in mid April as a large upper level trough of low pressure becomes rather persistent across the Northern U.S. This pattern change will keep a frontal system pretty close to Fl./Ga. bringing higher rain chances. There will also be some big temp. swings while the Northern latitudes endure some ice & snow pretty deep into spring. Jetstream Dips South We just passed the date - April 8th - that marks 4 years to the next “Great American Eclipse”! Only about 64% of the sun will be obscured in Jacksonville but there will be a long track of totality from Texas to Northern Maine. The countdown is on! 2024 Solar Eclipse
  • We’ve just completed a record warm March: 2nd warmest to only 1945 (70.8 degrees vs. 71.4 degrees)... warmest avg. high temp. at 83.3 degrees... most record highs in any month - 9... all-time most humid March with avg. dew point of 58.6 degrees F. March was dry too - 2.22″ below the avg. of 3.95″ at 1.73″. March Jacksonville temps. April averages: April Jacksonville averages As we head into spring, the U.S. tornado season ramps up. Sometimes that can include NE Fl./SE Ga. Such was the case on the last day of March when an approaching cold front triggered a line of thunderstorms that produced occasional damaging wind gusts & an isolated tornado that quickly formed just southwest of Mickler’s Landing & then moved offshore within minutes. U.S. severe weather by mid May The set-up Tue., March 31st for the local area included a strong cold front driven by a potent upper level disturbance that was moving through the Tennessee Valley to the east coast. Afternoon sun helped push temps. into the 80s & while the set-up was not quite ideal (uniform flow from the surface to the upper levels), one storm in particular thrived - possibly due to an outflow boundary that pushed south late in the afternoon - from Baker & Bradford Co. eastward across Northern Clay & Northern St. Johns Co. culminating with a brief EF-0 tornado at Mickler’s Landing. The imagery below is from the First Alert Storm Analyst & shows - from UL to UR to LL to LR: rain, debris ball, winds & rotation - all clear signals (especially the last 3) of a tornado on the ground. The Jax N.W.S. estimated winds to be from 65 to 85 mph. Jacksonville, Fl Storm Analyst The cell dropped a tree in Fleming Island that split a home: Tree on House Fleming Island, Fl. First Alert Doppler HD sequence below shows the damaging storm moving west to east from near Highway 301 through Northern Clay & St. Johns County: NE Florida severe storm radar imagery Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado St. University issued his annual spring tropics forecast April 2nd. The “call” is for an active Atlantic Basin largely based on warmer than avg. ocean temps. & a neutral ENSO possibly leaning La Nina (equatorial Pacific). Yes - this is “just” a forecast but preparation is key. With so much hoarding going on with COVID-19, most should have pretty well stocked hurricane kits this summer. But remember that flood insurance policies will not take effect for 30 days & will not be written if there is a named storm looming. The hurricane season is June 1 - Nov. 30 - always more online - First Alert Hurricane Center. 2020 Hurricane Forecast COVID-19 continues to be top of mind, of course. We likely have a number of weeks - at least - to go before physical distancing can ease at all & nonessential businesses can possibly begin to re-open. Sometimes there are little personal gems during times of crisis. One of those for me was last weekend. My teenage daughter was cleaning her room (unbelievably “scary” in itself! - 5 big garbage bags!) when she came upon a poem I had given her for 8th grade graduation 3 years ago. As I was headed to work, she said: “Dad - that poem you gave me is really good.” I tend to agree (was an English essay project for me in college): “Comes the Dawn” Veronica Shoffstall After awhile you learn the subtle differences, Between holding a hand and chaining a soul, And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning And company doesn’t mean security And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts And presents aren’t promises And you begin to accept your defeats With your head up and your eyes open, With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child, And you learn to build all your roads On today because tomorrow’s ground Is too uncertain for plants, and futures have A way of falling down in mid-flight After awhile you learn that even sunshine Burns if you get too much So you plant your own garden and decorate Your own soul, instead of waiting For someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure, That you really are strong And you really do have worth And you learn and learn…and You learn With every goodbye you learn. Meanwhile... I have continued to post weather experiments/demonstrations & projects - to to my Facebook Fan Page * here *.... the N.W.S. * here *. Below is an easy way to make a rain gauge (& we need rain!): Making a rain gauge Lastly..... PLEASE!: Stocking Up for COVID-19 Stay safe & take care of one another........
  • 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

The Latest News Headlines

  • A driver is dead after crashing into a utility pole during a high-speed police chase on Jacksonville's westside Tuesday night.   The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says just before 6:30 pm, officers noticed a vehicle driving recklessly through a parking lot near Lem Turner Road and I-95, almost hitting a pedestrian.  JSO attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver failed to stop and fled south on I-95 and continued onto I-10 westbound in the emergency lane.  The driver then lost control of the vehicle, went off the road and hit a utility pole near Chaffee Road. The driver, who has not been identified, died at the scene. 
  • A Texas father is facing a first-degree murder charge after authorities said he fatally shot a man accused of abusing his daughter, Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox said. According to KTRE, deputies arrested Lon L. Hall, 63, of Hemphill, on Saturday in the death of his daughter’s boyfriend, 30-year-old Roshaun McQueen. Hall has since been released from the Sabine County Jail on his own recognizance, the Hemphill Daily News and More reported. Authorities said the shooting occurred shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday at a Hemphill home, KTRE reported. McQueen was dead when deputies arrived at the scene, where authorities found Hall and three other women, according to the Daily News. Hall told authorities that he had come to the home after learning that McQueen had choked Hall's daughter, who was McQueen's girlfriend, during a dispute about marijuana, KTRE reported. The woman told her sister about the attack, who alerted Hall and Hall's wife, deputies said. Hall and the two other women then went to the home, where McQueen 'came to the front door with a gun in an aggravated manner,' according to the news station. Hall then fired at McQueen, hitting him in the chest, deputies said. Read more here or here.
  • Jacksonville small business owners have another opportunity for help with rent and mortgage payments. The Jacksonville City Council passed a bill creating a $9 million relief grant program.  Grants of $2,000 would be available to 4,500 small local businesses. In order to qualify the business would need to have fewer than 100 employees and be able to demonstrate a loss of 25% of more in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Another resolution approved by City Council would help families struggling to afford basic needs. $5 million in CARES Act funds would be available to local families. A report from the United Way of Northeast Florida found one out of every 3 people couldn’t meet their bills before the pandemic; COVID-19 has only amplified that problem. 
  • The soaking start to this week has triggered the start to NE Florida’s wet season.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh is tracking more rounds of heavy rain today. “Midday and afternoon showers and storms should pick up with a little bit of heating. There still won’t be a whole lot of sun today but enough sun and enough dry periods to get hotter than yesterday, into the 80’s. And we may even manage a strong storm or two if we can get enough sunshine”, said Buresh.  The area saw between 1 and 3 inches of rain on Tuesday, locally more rain near and south of I-10, the area that had been the driest.  A summer-like weather pattern continues through the weekend, with hot, humid conditions and heavy afternoon/evening shower and storms.  Buresh says a weak area of low pressure near Florida is not likely to become tropical before moving ashore in the Carolina’s later today or tonight. He says there is a slight chance it could become a tropical depression but doesn’t change the local forecast.  LISTEN TO THE MIKE BURESH WEATHER PODCAST HERE 
  • Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday after a 10-minute viral video surfaced of one of the officers holding his knee to a man’s neck as the man struggled to breathe one day earlier. The man, identified by attorney Benjamin Crump as George Floyd, was pronounced dead after the incident. Authorities, including the FBI, are investigating the incident, which sparked protests across the city. Here's what we know so far about Floyd: 1. The 46-year-old St. Louis Park resident was a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis. According to the Star Tribune, Floyd had worked at the restaurant for five years and rented a home from the restaurant’s owner, Jovanni Thunstrom. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Thunstrom described Floyd, who grew up in Houston, as not only his employee but also 'a very good friend.' 'Watching this video makes tears come out,' Thunstrom wrote. 'My body is full of emotions, of questions without answer.' He also told the Star Tribune that Floyd 'was family.' 'His co-workers and friends loved him,' Thunstrom said. 2. One restaurant patron described Floyd, who was known as 'Big Floyd,' as a 'gentle giant.' Conga customer Jessi Zendejas said in a Facebook post that the security guard 'loved his hugs from his regulars,' according to the Star Tribune. '[He] would be mad if you didn't stop to greet him because he honestly loved seeing everyone and watching everyone have fun,' Zendejas wrote on social media. Thunstrom echoed the sentiment in an interview with KSTP. 'He wanted me to teach him how to Bachata dance, and I gave up because I couldn't turn him because he was 6-foot-6,' Thunstrom told the news outlet, adding that Floyd 'wasn't the bad guy.' 'He had other problems, but we all have problems,' Thunstrom told KSTP. 'He wasn't the type that was aggressive, disrespectful. He was a very calm, nice guy. I want people to remember him that way.' 3. Floyd's former partner, Christina Dawson, paid tribute to him in a Facebook post. 'They really killed my baby!!' wrote Dawson, who told the Star Tribune that the pair had stayed friends after their split. 'I don't even know what to do, y'all,' she continued. 'This is not real!' 4. Minneapolis police said Floyd resisted arrest after officers responded to a forgery call Monday involving a suspect who 'appeared to be under the influence.' In a statement, the department said officers arrived to find Floyd in his car and asked him to step out. 'After he got out, he physically resisted officers,' the statement continued. 'Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, where he died a short time later. At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.' Read the full statement here. 5. The officer captured on video holding his knee to Floyd’s neck has been identified as Derek Chauvin. Attorney Tom Kelly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Chauvin is his client but did not release any additional details. Earlier Tuesday, Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident were fired from the Police Department, officials said. “This is the right call,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted. State and federal authorities are now investigating the incident, and Minneapolis police are conducting their own internal investigation, the AP reported.

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