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The Buresh Blog

    The tropics remain active overall - daily updates: 'Talking the Tropics With Mike'.   'Velocity Potential Anomalies' show an impressive burst of 'rising air' (green lines) which often signals an active period in the tropics.  So while there will be multiple named storms across the Atlantic Basin into early Oct., ultimately the period will be perceived as active based on whether or not any storms threaten or hit land. More often then not, where tropical systems move & go will be dependent on the positioning & strength of the Bermuda high.  Far enough east or weak enough & many of the deep tropical systems will turn more north over the Atlantic - that's a best case scenario most of the time regarding any landfall threats. Meanwhile... our 'wet season' is winding down.  For the 2nd year in a row, Sept. has been drier than avg.  We could use some rain - especially inland where the past few weeks have particularly dry. September/early Oct. night skies (courtesy 'Sky & Telescope'): Sep. 20 (dawn): Look high in the south to see the waning gibbous Moon in the Hyades, not far right of Aldebaran. Sep. 23 (morning): The Moon is in Gemini and forms a triangle with Castor and Pollux ('the Twins'). Sep. 23: Autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere at the equinox, 3:50 a.m. EDT. Sep. 24 (morning): The waning crescent Moon is to the right of the Beehive Cluster (M44) in Cancer. Sep. 26 (dawn): The thin sliver of the Moon is just 3 left of Regulus in Leo. Sep. 27 (dusk): Look for Venus very low in the west about 30 minutes after sunset.   Oct. 3 (dusk): The waxing crescent Moon and Jupiter are 1 apart after sunset, with Antares 10 to their lower right. Oct. 4 (dusk): Saturn, the Moon, Jupiter, and Antares extend along a 34 -line stretching from south to southwest. Oct. 5 (dusk): The first-quarter Moon and Saturn hover 2 apart just left of the Teapot in Sagittarius.   Moon Phases Full Moon: September 14, 12:33 a.m. EDT (Full Harvest Moon) Last Quarter: September 21, 10:41 p.m. EDT New Moon: September 28, 2:26 p.m. EDT Once in a while I'll post something in this blog that's not necessarily weather related.  And so it is in this case.  My wife & I 'dropped' my oldest daughter at college 15 hours away from home back in August. Of all the 'dad moments' so far in my life, this was one of the most emotional. Upon returning to work, things got busy in a hurry due to the tropics & developing 'Dorian'.  So I must admit my work - as is frequently the case - provided a distraction... & also delayed the writing of this post. A little about my oldest daughter: She's our first which is always particularly memorable.  She is an avid, bordering on rabid book reader.... very observant & astute... trusting... trustworthy.... practical... a really big heart... not the most social... a deep yet somewhat private faith... & very tight with Dad :). Thanks to her scholastic abilities, my daughter had plenty of college opportunities both in & out of the state of Florida. She has a keen interest in the sciences & in getting away from home (?) which closely guided her college choice.  Here are a few of my experiences/observations over the last few months during this 'life change' in the Buresh household: * as parents, it's mind boggling trying to make sense of all the financial aid & details, deadlines, & digital (used to be paper in the old days) work * her HS graduation ceremony was pretty fun & nostalgic with lots of family & friends. When the graduation party was over & the last of the family folk exited, I was thinking there's still 3 months before my daughter leaves.  It's a summer of fun & memories ahead.  The latter was true but the three months flew by! * some of that fun included a visit to the campus for orientation in June.  We met a lot of friendly people, & I came away feeling more comfortable with my daughter's decision.  And I thought: 'to be going to college again!'. * 'Florida Prepaid' is one of the college tuition bargains going.... IF your kid stays in Fl.! (you do not lose that money, however) * We were pleasantly surprised that our daughter diligently picked up & cleaned her room prior to departure in Aug. :) * it was interesting to watch my daughter plan her schedule including work while also saying her good-byes to friends & family in the weeks leading up to her leaving home. * my daughter & I had a nice steak dinner planned at one of her favorite restaurants the Sunday before she was to leave - just the  two of us.  In my head there was so much I had planned... so much I wanted to say.  So much so that I even wrote down some notes & hid the piece of paper in my pocket.  Why is it something like that never goes quite as planned?? * she flew to her University a week early because of more orientation * so my wife & I drove out my daughter's stuff (girls = lots of clothes!) leaving in the evening on an overnight road trip that would get us to our daughter by late morning the next day * we paid a bit extra to be able to move her in a day early - well worth the fee which was recommended by a Facebook parents page my wife is a part of.  We highly recommend parents sign up for such a group if their kids are going off to college - lots of handy hints.  Of course, a lot of 'dribble' too but you just have to filter through what's worthwhile & practical vs. what is not. * there were a LOT of sweaty parents on the moving days.  In fact, it reminded me of Disney World.  Yelling & tired but caring parents, impatient & sometimes crying kids. :) * quite the people watching opportunity!  & a stark difference between the amount of stuff the ladies are moving in vs. the gents.  I'm not sure how some of the students got multiple pickup loads or one of those mini U-Hauls squeezed into a dorm room!  But while watching all this, I decided I'm glad I'm not the one that's a freshman in college. * we moved, scrubbed & cleaned for hours!  How is it that there are cleaning crews for the dorms these days??  Once every two weeks the bathrooms are cleaned for them.  Seriously?? * 'campus town' reminded me of the fun of old days :)  On our way out of town, my wife & I stopped at a few restaurants to buy gift cards which we sent to our daughter in a card a few weeks later. * one of our friends told us they give their college daughter(s) cash every month.  I was like 'really?'.  We have to provide cash too??!! So we do drop a few dollars into her account each month but not a lot.  I feel like this is the start of a teenager officially being independent & responsible.  She's also 'scoring' some cash from time to time courtesy her grandparents. * saying goodbye on that Sunday was nothing short of traumatic.  We took my daughter out for breakfast then walked her up to her dorm room.  We took some pics & traded some idle chit-chat & bad dad jokes. I feel like we lingered as long as we could with the inevitable hanging heavily over us.  When it was 'time'..... I hugged my daughter as hard as one possibly can, as long as I could.  I turned away saying something to the effect 'see ya' later' not wanting her to see my tears.  But she was crying as well, so I decided it was o.k., & I returned to hug & hold her again.  I told her 'this is your chance.  Your time to shine. Go get 'em. Have fun but work hard too.  Be smart. I love you.' -- or at least something along the lines of all that.  * so my wife & I headed out of town in a silent car with still some tears & a pretty deep lump in our throats. During this long drive, we'd be fine talking about something insignificant - often the weather (there were storm clouds!) only to look at one another & begin to tear up again. :) * one of the smarter things we had decided to during this trip was stop at a beach on the way back to Jacksonville for some R & R.  This was a good & necessary recovery period. * something like your first kid going off to college has caused me to really examine - often - the last 18 years of being a dad.  What I did right, what I did wrong - all the events, ballgames, classroom activities, etc. that I made it to..... but also that I missed - usually because of work.   What would I do differently as well as the times I so dearly cherish.   Was I as patient as I could have/should have been? Was I as good a parent as my mom & dad? Did I show her & explain 'things' enough to her so as to be an independent & productive adult? Did I prepare her enough for life's inevitable pitfalls?  And - oh dear - what about boys??!! Photos on my phone that show my daughter as a tiny little baby to now all grown up & such an independent thinker.  Special conversations that grew from the trivial & mundane to something much deeper. So.... in the weeks since we moved our daughter to college, she seems to be very, very happy & truly living the college life.  She was genuinely concerned about hurricane Dorian near our coast as well as how I was doing since she knew I would be working constantly. My wife & I are adjusting & are proud of her.... so far (long ways to go). I think she might miss our dog more than the rest of the family(!).  I still do hate to walk by my daughter's empty & quiet bedroom.   And we have a younger daughter who believes she's now in charge :). Meanwhile.... I'm counting the days to Christmas break. My daughter is in the pic below somewhere(!): Our therapy:
  • The tropics are indeed the topic as we head toward the peak of the hurricane season - Sept. 10th.  About 60% of all Atlantic hurricanes occur between Aug. 20th & Oct. 10th. For the very latest & detailed daily updates, go to 'Talking the Tropics With Mike'. As with every hurricane season: * stay calm * be prepared * be smart * go to the First Alert Hurricane Center online - preps, evacuations routes, maps, graphics, etc. There are many variables & possible outcomes regarding Dorian - path & especially strength.  Check forecasts frequently - at least daily as forecast changes will occur.  Relying on a forecast that days old is not logical. And remember what that 'cone of concern or uncertainty' means.  That cone has everything with the historic track error ranging from the moment the forecast was issued all the way out to 5 days when the avg. error is nearly 200 miles! Be smart, calm & organized BUT not a baby! :) National Hurricane Center average track error starting with 12 hours & ending at the 120 hour forecast from 2014-'18: Ready to roll into fall?!  o.k. - true fall temps. are still a ways off but the averages at JIA: Low / High - 1st: 72 / 89 degrees.... 30th: 66 / 84 degrees Rainfall: 8.19' (wettest month of the year on avg.) Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 7:03am / 7:50pm.... 30th - 7:19am / 7:13pm - l ose 53 min. of daylight
  • The 'Buresh Blog' will be on vacation :) for a few days.... next update will be the week of Aug. 26th.... Of course, the tropics could always have different ideas.  Every single day through the hurricane season I update the 'Talking the Tropics With Mike' * here *. Speaking of the tropics.... it was 15 years ago that a blitzkrieg of sorts developed over the Atlantic Basin.  From the first week of Aug. through the end of Sept., 9 named storms formed, 5 of which hit Fl. Tropical storm Bonnie made landfall in the Panhandle on Aug. 12th dropping an F-2 tornado on the northwest side of Jacksonville... Cat. 4 hurricane Charley followed the next day on the SW coast of Fl... hurricanes Frances & Jeanne (more than 3,000 deaths in Haiti) made landfall at the exact same spot on the east coast just a few weeks apart.... & mighty hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola & ravaged the Western Panhandle later in Sept.  To say the 2004 hurricane season had a lasting impact on Fl. would be an understatement.  Consider: (1) hurricane days (like snow days up north) were added to school district calendars & remain a fixture for all school districts to this day. (2) the hurricane deductible was born & is maintained by most Fl. insurance companies to this day. The implication: if a named storm does damage to one's property, a hurricane deductible has to be paid (usually far higher than the standard deductible) before insurance kicks in & pays. (3) the '04 season was the first time since hurricane Andrew that upgraded building codes were tested.  The results were very positive.  And it was 50 years ago the weekend of Aug. 17-18, 1969 - that intense Cat. 5 hurricane Camille hit the Central Gulf Coast roaring ashore near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi during the middle of the night. The relatively small but violent hurricane is one of only 4 (in addition to Labor Day hurricane, 1935... Andrew, 1992... Michael, 2018) Cat. 5 hurricanes to ever make landfall on U.S. soil. The Mobile N.W.S. has an informative online write-up * here *.... vintage photos from the Times-Picayune * here *.   Speaking of El Nino, '04.... NOAA has officially called it 'over'.  There is still some water left near the Western & Central equatorial Pacific but water has noticeably cooled to the east as can be seen in the image below.  So we will need to watch for a potentially more active mid to late hurricane season given this scenario IF all other things are equal (favorable for development).   Forecasts below for a neutral state vs. El Nino & vs. La Nina into spring, 2020 with a model trend of slightly positive ENSO state but still generally below the El Nino threshold: The mid August skies have delivered recently! First pic below from Lauren Jackson Romeo, Vilano Beach - iridescent pileus clouds! The rainbow effect is caused by the ice crystals in the anvil/high level part of the 'thunderhead' (cumulonimbus cloud), reflecting & refracting the sunlight. Randy Harris, St. Augustine: Masyn Warner: 0 Lightning Sun. evening struck the runway at JIA!: 1 Jerome Smith, Jax Beach - Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds! These uncommon clouds are usually difficult to photograph because the formation does not last long.  Caused by differing wind speeds at different levels of the atmosphere. Erin Hires, Bryceville - crepuscular rays!  Caused by the clouds low on the horizon creating shadows as the sun rises. August/early Sept. night skies from Sky & Telescope:   Aug. 24 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon, in Taurus, is just 2° from the red giant star Aldebaran. Aug. 28 (dawn): The sliver of the waning crescent Moon is in or near the Beehive star cluster in Cancer.   Sep. 5 (evening): The first-quarter Moon and Jupiter hang in the south-southwest above Antares, the Scorpion’s heart. Sep. 6 (dusk): The Moon, brilliant Jupiter, and dimmer Saturn grace the sky above the tail of Scorpius. Sep. 7 (dusk): Saturn sits to the upper right of the waxing gibbous Moon, hanging above the Teapot of Sagittarius.   Moon Phases New Moon: July 31, 11:12 p.m. EDT First Quarter: August 7, 12:31 p.m. EDT Full Moon: August 15, 7:29 a.m. EDT (Full Sturgeon Moon; also Full Red Moon) Last Quarter: August 23, 10:56 a.m. EDT New Moon: August 30, 6:37 a.m. EDT
  • Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University & NOAA have issued their Aug. seasonal update.  Not a whole lot of change. If accurate, the next few months - which includes the peak of the hurricane season - will have 12 more named storms.... 7 hurricanes & two 'major' hurricanes according to CSU with similar - though a pretty wide range - numbers from NOAA.  Of course, no telling at this juncture exactly where storms might go & how strong they might be at landfall but one should always be prepared.  I update 'Talking the Tropics With Mike' every day during the hurricane season. July rainfall numbers were mixed for the local area of NE Fl./SE Ga.  It's typical, of course, to have a wide range, but this rainy season has been especially fickle.  From our Jax N.W.S.: FL   JASPER                      4.45                    FL   BEAUCLERC                             7.54 FL   JACKSONVILLE BEACH                    3.46 FL   LAKE CITY                    12.96                  FL   LAKE CITY 2 E                   11.92        FL   GLEN ST MARY 1 W                5.59                  FL   SOUTH PONTE VEDRA BEACH SHOP     FL   PALM COAST 6 NE          7.49     FL   CRESCENT CITY                         7.19             FL   GAINESVILLE RGNL AP             4.27         FL   HASTINGS 4NE              7.63                                          FL   OCALA                    5.56                                                FL   WHITE SPRINGS 7N               4.28           FL   JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP      4.88     FL   JACKSONVILLE INTL AP        5.29              FL   JACKSONVILLE NAS          4.41                                                                     FL   BUNNELL                 8.50                             FL   NW PALM COAST                         7.60 FL   NE PALM COAST                   6.95                           FL   FLAGLER BEACH                 6.07                     GEORGIA: GA   PRIDGEN                              4.51              GA   ALMA BACON CO AP        7.55                                               GA   NAHUNTA 6 NE            4.30                   GA   FARGO 17 NE            5.66                                    GA   BRUNSWICK             2.94                  GA   BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP       1.72 GA   WOODBINE                     4.82 Doppler radar estimated rainfall for July: Percent of normal July rainfall: Jan. - July, 2019 precipitation is just about right on par for most of Florida, but there has been a large swath of above avg. precip. from the Southwest U.S. to parts of the Northeast U.S.: We're entering the time of year when our seasonal tides are higher than avg. largely dictated by the phase of the moon (full & new).  Any onshore flow (from the east) &/or heavy rain can make tides even higher causing at least minor flooding along & near the coast/intracoastal & the St. Johns River & its tributaries. From Al Sandrik, Jax N.W.S.: Oceanfront: The dates/heights indicated below are for the oceanfront and immediate estuary system near inlets within 2 miles of inlet entrances. Please consult NOAA NOS Tides and Currents for inland estuary points not covered by this document. * Saint Simons Island/Sea Island to Cumberland Island (Saint Simons Light tides +1.0 ft Above MHHW):  August 28-31 Peak 1.603 ft Above MHHW 8/30 September 1-2 Peak 1.248 ft Above MHHW 9/1 September 25-Oct 2 Peak 1.687 ft Above MHHW 9/28 October 25-31 Peak 1.741 ft Above MHHW 10/29 November 25-27 Peak 1.262 ft Above MHHW 11/26 * Amelia Island/Amelia River/Nassau Sound (Fernandina Beach tides +1.0 ft Above MHHW) Dates August 29-31 Peak 1.274 ft Above MHHW 8/30 September 1 Peak 0.999 ft Above MHHW 9/1 Sept. 26 – Oct. 2 Peak 1.431 ft Above MHHW 9/30 November 26 -31 Peak 1.329 ft Above MHHW 11/26 * Nassau Sound to Ponte Vedra Beach (Atlantic Beach tides +1.0 ft Above MHHW) Dates Peak Value August 30 Peak 1.010 ft Above MHHW 8/30 Sept. 27 – Oct. 2 Peak 1.327 ft Above MHHW 9/30 October 26 – 30 Peak 1.434 ft Above MHHW 10/28 November 25-27 Peak 1.137 ft Above MHHW 11/26 * Ponte Vedra Beach to Flagler Beach (St Augustine Beach tides +0.75 ft Above MHHW). Including the City of St Augustine and Davis Shores. Dates Peak Value Peak Date Aug. 28 – Sept. 2 Peak 1.230 ft Above MHHW 8/30 Sept. 25 – Oct. 3 Peak 1.367 ft Above MHHW 9/30 October 25-31 Peak 1.505 ft Above MHHW 10/29 November 24-28 Peak 1.232 ft Above MHHW 11/26 * River/Estuary Areas City of Brunswick (Howe St Pier +1.00 ft Above MHHW) Dates Peak Value Peak Aug. 28-Sept. 3 Peak 1.549 ft Above MHHW 8/31 Sept. 26-Oct. 2 Peak 1.902 ft Above MHHW 9/2 October 26-31 Peak 1.975 ft Above MHHW 10/28 November 24-28 Peak 1.537 ft Above MHHW 11/26 * St Marys/Kings Bay (KBNSB +0.75 ft Above MHHW) Dates Peak Value Peak Date Aug. 28-Sept. 1 Peak 1.137 ft Above MHHW 8/30 Sept. 27-Oct. 1 Peak 1.035 ft Above MHHW 9/30 October 27-30 Peak 1.155 ft Above MHHW 10/28 November 24-28 Peak 1.102 ft Above MHHW 11/26 December 24-26 Peak 0.846 ft Above MHHW 12/25 * St. Johns River. (Southbank Riverwalk +0.75 ft Above MHHW). Note: The St Johns River High astronomical tides go through cycles where the daily high tides are at or above MHHW for the period August 22nd to December 13th. So anytime during that cycle a northeaster or sustained heavy rainfall can influence water levels. The dates below are just the dates that have the highest astronomical tides in the river and thus the potential flooding is given a head start. Dates Peak Value Peak Date Sept. 25-Oct. 3 Peak 0.914 ft Above MHHW 9/27 October 8-13 Peak 0.822 ft Above MHHW 10/10 October 17-31 Peak 1.043 ft Above MHHW 10/28
  • Talking the Tropics With Mike' - updated every single day during the hurricane season! After a hot start to July - the avg. temp. was nearly 3 degrees above avg. in mid July.... a big turn-around with 9 straight days below avg. leveling the 'playing field' in what will end up being a July that was only slightly above avg.  Once again - there's no such thing as 'normal'  in the weather world :) So as we move into Aug..... two weather 'things' stand out in my mind.  The avg. high temp. dips below 90 degrees by late in the month & we LOSE 48 min. of daylight(!).  Averages at JIA for August: Low / High: 1st: 73 / 92 degrees..... 31st: 72 / 89 degrees Rainfall: 6.80' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:45am / 8:21pm.... 31st - 7:03am / 7:51pm > -48 min. Last week - week of July 24th - I examined building codes for Northeast Fl. as it relates to hurricanes.  Interestingly.... Jacksonville & nearby areas have some of the lowest building codes in Florida.  The million dollar question is 'are we tempting fate'?  Yes - we have the lowest percent chance in all of Fl. of being hit by a Cat. 3 or stronger hurricane BUT that chance is NOT zero.  My story begins at Florida International U. where there is a state of the art wind machine - WOW - 'Wall of Wind'.  The story ends with an examination of building codes as it relates to high winds.  It's often been said that mitigation & preparation is the key to resiliency after a storm.  You can find the story * here *. Florida wind speed building codes: For Jacksonville & the NE Fl. coastline.... a hurricane comes within 50 miles - on average - every 12 - 16 years.  The last hurricane to make such a close approach was Matthew when the eye's closest approach was 45 miles offshore of Jacksonville Beach.  The last hurricane with an eye that truly crossed our coast - 'Dora' in 1964 - 55 years ago(!). 'WOW' -  Wall of Wind: With talented videographer Joel Lotz.....
  • Talking the Tropics With Mike' - updated every day during the hurricane season. An unseasonable cool front will settle ove the Gulf of Mexico & Florida for several days bringing relief from the weeks of hot temps. in addition to some welcome rain. Cool fronts so far south are not common during late July.  This is the same front that 'busted' the heat wave at northern latitudes & helped spawn tornadic t'storms near Boston.   Locally.... the front will drop temps. into the 80s for highs.  So far in July.... only 2 days have fallen short of 90 degrees, but we'll add to that number with the front in the area. And the front will add to our daily rain & storms with widespread rain that will be heavy at times.  The beaches had recently gone dry as steering winds were not pushing sea breeze-generated storms toward the coast. As a whole, the U.S. remains as drought-free as the lower 48 has been in some 20 years: And we've seen marked improvement across NE Fl./SE Ga.  Maps below are the difference between mid June vs. mid July: The diagrams below show the dry/warm pattern going back to early May:
  • Daily updates on the tropics - 'Talking the Tropics With Mike'..... Our summer of discontent continues on.  As of July 16th, Jacksonville has officially had 20 days at or above 97 degrees which is 2nd most to 1998 when we already had 24 such days.  That stat might 'ring a bell' for long time First Coast residents as that was the year when Central & Northern Florida was literally burning up as wildfires roared deep into the summer as heat was combined with a very slow start to the wet season.  This year - while it's been hot - we've had relatively timely rains for the most part. El Nino Update: It appears the weak El Nino - ongoing since late last fall/winter - is on its way out.  The map below shows some lingering warm water over the West Pacific but either near avg. or even below average over the Central & especially Eastern Pacific. The forecast trend on the modeling - & it is JUST MODELS - is for a continued El Nino decline to neutral status into autumn. This has potentially great implications on the hurricane season.  El Nino seasons are often accompanied by an increase in shear which at least limits the number of tropical systems.  However, a neutral state might imply at least a somewhat more active season - especially later in Aug. through early Oct. - which, afterall, is essentially the peak of the hurricane season.  Pardon this public service announcement: one should always be prepared well in advance for the hurricane season. The week of July 15th marks the 50th anniversary of the amazing Apollo 11 landing on the moon & first walk by humans on the moon. Interesting Twitter feed * here *.  Action News Jax.com has an array of related articles/info./pics & video: Apollo 11: Events mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing Former Navy seal first to welcome crew of Apollo 11 back to earth after historic moon landing [wftv] Apollo 11 mission control meticulously restored for 50th anniversary of moon landing Photos: Apollo 11 mission control rebuilt for 50th anniversary of moon landing Apollo 11 flight manual from historic moon landing could go for $9M at auction 11 things you probably didn't know about the historic moon landing  NCD VIDEO:  What You Need to Know - Buzz Aldrin NCD VIDEO:  Most Iconic NASA Moments   And - yes - I can clearly remember(!) watching the walk on the moon when I was 5 years old in the living room of my aunt's house on a black & white t.v. :) And .... lastly... not weather or space related but fun none-the-less - the movie remake of 'The Lion King'.  Somehow I'm not sure it will live up to its billing, but my daughters & I have plans for a big night to take it in.  We've seen 'The Lion King' on stage 7 times!  So we're not stopping now. :) 
  • For daily updates on the tropics: 'Talking the Tropics With Mike'.  All eyes on the Gulf of Mexico where slow tropical development will be possible this week.  Primary impacts on the local area - Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. - looks to be heavy rain with potentially greater impacts to the west.  Next name on the list: 'Barry'. July & early Aug. night skies courtesy 'Sky and Telescope': July 9 (all night): Saturn arrives at opposition, meaning it’s opposite the Sun in the sky. It rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. The magnificent ringed planet is upper left of the Teapot in Sagittarius and just below the Teaspoon asterism.   July 12–15 (dusk): Waxing gibbous Moon provides eye-catching pairings as it passes from Scorpius into Sagittarius. The first evening it forms a trio with Jupiter and Antares, sliding to the left side of Jupiter on July 13th, and ending up nestled against Saturn on the last evening, less than 2° separating the two.   July 16 (day): A partial lunar eclipse is visible over most of the globe; only North America and northeastern Asia will be excluded from viewing any of the phases.   July 20 (night): As the waning gibbous Moon rises in the east-southeast, contemplate the moment 50 years ago when humankind first stepped onto our closest celestial neighbor.   July 29–30 (all night): The Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks, providing up to 25 shooting stars per hour from very dark locations. This shower lasts several nights, so the peak is not the only time to look. Best in hours before dawn.   Aug. 4–5 (dusk): Thin waxing lunar crescent is in Virgo. On the 4th when it’s some 3° right of star Porrima. On the 5th, it’s 7° upper right of Spica.   Aug. 9 (dawn): Mercury is farthest west of the Sun. Look for it for the next two weeks low on the east-northeastern horizon. Binoculars will improve the view.   Aug. 9 (evening): The waxing gibbous Moon and Jupiter are around 2° apart, with Antares to the pair’s lower right.   Moon Phases New Moon: July 2, 3:16 p.m. EDT (total solar eclipse) First Quarter: July 9, 6:55 a.m. EDT Full Moon: July 16, 5:38 p.m. EDT (Buck Moon; partial lunar eclipse) Last Quarter: July 24, 9:38 p.m. EDT
  • Updated every day through the hurricane season: 'Talking the Tropics With Mike'...... mid to late July should be a period where we see our first true activity of the Atlantic hurricane season.  Casting a wary eye on upward 'vertical velocities' that will be spreading across the Atlantic Basin the next few weeks which often correlates with an uptick in tropical activity.  Not a sure thing but something to watch. We're in another hot/dry stretch of weather to begin the month of July.  Our 'wet season' finally kicked in mid June only to sputter again late in the month.  In many spots, rainfall is more than 2' below avg. since June 1st - a big problem since avg. temps. are in the 90s daily.  Our avg. June temp. of 82.4 degrees was the 11th hottest on record for the month. July averages: Low / High - 1st: 72 / 91 degrees... 31st: 73 / 92 Rainfall: 6.55' Sunrise / Sunset - 1st - 6:28am / 8:33pm.... 31st - 6:44am / 8:21pm - lose 26 min. of daylight. June rainfall from our Jax N.W.S.: FL   JASPER                      6.66 FL   MAYO                                  9.13 FL   BEAUCLERC                             5.64 FL   JACKSONVILLE BEACH                    6.33 FL   FERNANDINA BEACH          8.10 FL   LIVE OAK                      2.04 FL   LAKE CITY                             6.24 FL   LAKE CITY 2 E                    5.06 FL   GLEN ST MARY 1 W                2.61                 FL   PALM COAST 6 NE          9.04         FL   CRESCENT CITY                         8.55             FL   GAINESVILLE RGNL AP             9.61     FL   HASTINGS 4NE              6.22                    FL   OCALA                    7.23                          FL   WHITE SPRINGS 7N               4.08           FL   JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP      4.01  FL   JACKSONVILLE INTL AP        4.41           FL   JACKSONVILLE NAS          3.89 FL   JACKSONVILLE WHITEHOUSE FIELD         5.00   FL   BELL 4NW                 6.92             FL   FEDERAL POINT                7.87                                                                                            GA   PRIDGEN                              7.11 GA   ALMA BACON CO AP        3.87 GA   NAHUNTA 6 NE            7.75                   GA   FARGO 17 NE            3.31                GA   BRUNSWICK             6.58      GA   BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP       5.25 GA   WOODBINE                     7.16 Just in time for the long Independence Day weekend, the Environmental Working Group just updated it’s Guide to Sunscreens with 150 more SPF products.   The link to the 2019 Sunscreens Guide: * here*.   Lists of products by category: Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens * here *   Best Moisturizers with SPF * here *   Best Lip Balms with SPF * here *   Best Sunscreens for Kids * here *   And remember, sunscreen is just one tool in the sun safety toolbox.   Dress in protective clothing, such as light cotton fabric with a tight weave and wide-brimmed hats that shade the face, scalp, neck and ears.   Choose a lotion instead of a spray. Sunscreen sprays pose inhalation risks and provide inadequate protection. If you must use a pump or spray, apply it to your hands first and then wipe it on your skin.      Avoid products that contain retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A.   Select a sunscreen with an SPF greater than fifteen but less than 50.   Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

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  • As the city prepares to demolish the Jacksonville Landing, a team is working to salvage some of the items inside. The biggest item Annie Murphy and her team at Eco Relics have salvaged so far from the building is the bar top from Hooters. It's for sale at their shop on Stockton Street.  'We're all about keeping stuff out of landfills, that's our mission,' Murphy said.  They expect to salvage up to 160 items from the iconic landmark before it is torn down, from doors and windows to artwork and lighting.  'It is really cool to see people recognizing certain things, longtime Jacksonville residents,' Murphy said.  She said they were able to salvage some items inside the buildings along the river earlier this month. They can't access the rest of the building until the last tenant moves out in October.  A city spokesperson said over the next couple of weeks, the contractor will be stripping out items not attached to the building structure and then heavy equipment will begin the demolition.  It's expected to be complete by June 2020.  Murphy said the pieces of Jacksonville history her team pulls from the building will be for sale as they're salvaged.
  • A North Carolina sheriff stands accused of urging the murder of a former deputy who had a recording of him using racially offensive language, authorities say. Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday on two counts of felony obstruction of justice, according to court records. Wilkins is accused of trying to get another man to kill former Deputy Joshua Freeman, who he believed was going to expose his racist talk. >> Read more trending news  Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is prosecuting the case, said Wilkins' Aug. 12, 2014, phone conversation with the 'well-known' man who threatened Joshua Freeman's life was caught on tape, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh. Lorrin Freeman and Joshua Freeman are not related. Joshua Freeman worked for the Sheriff's Office from November 2011 to August 2014 but was let go in the days leading up to Wilkins' alleged crimes, WRAL in Raleigh reported. Wilkins, who was reelected in 2018 for a third four-year term, is accused of advising the unnamed man to kill Joshua Freeman, 'whom the defendant knew to have expressed his intention to soon publicly reveal a purported audio recording of the sheriff using racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh,' the indictment states. The court records do not detail what Wilkins is alleged to have said, or what ultimately happened to the recording of his words. The indictment against the sheriff alleges Wilkins encouraged the man to 'take care of it' and said, 'The only way you gonna stop him is kill him.' According to the indictment, Wilkins counseled the would-be gunman on how to kill Joshua Freeman in a way to avoid getting caught. He offered two tips, according to the document: Get rid of the murder weapon and keep quiet. 'You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on,' Wilkins allegedly told the man, the court records allege. 'The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing.' Wilkins and the individual discussed a time in which to kill Joshua Freeman and a location that would ensure it would be Wilkins' own Granville County Sheriff's Office investigators who would get the case, the indictment says. Wilkins assured the man he would not tell investigators of his prior knowledge of the crime. The indictment accuses Wilkins of failing to prevent harm to Joshua Freeman or warn him of the 'credible threat' to his life. It alleges the sheriff also failed to seize the gun the other man planned to use, despite the person showing him the weapon at one point. 'The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman,' the indictment states. Joshua Freeman was never harmed, though the indictment offers no indication why the alleged plot failed. Wilkins went before a magistrate Monday and was released on $20,000 unsecured bond. Court records show he was ordered to have no contact with anyone named in the indictment. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, if he has one. Read the indictment against Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins below.  Brindell Wilkins Indictment by National Content Desk on Scribd 'No one is above the law,' Lorrin Freeman said Monday, according to WRAL. 'It is always painful when someone who has the public trust faces these types of allegations for voters who put them in that place. 'Any time you have someone who is sworn to uphold the public trust, to protect their community, to investigate and report crimes, allegedly engage in this type of conduct, it is something that needs to be brought to justice, and so we will continue to follow the evidence in this case.' Several followers of Wilkins' public Facebook page offered support in the wake of the indictment. 'You will always have our support,' one woman wrote. 'Praying for you and your family.' 'Our friendship goes back 30 years or more and you have always been a great friend to me,' another woman wrote. 'You were there for me many times. I believe in you and you have my support, always.' Lorrin Freeman said Wake County is handling the case because Mike Waters, her counterpart in Granville County, could potentially become an important witness at trial. Waters, who addressed the case in a statement on his office's Facebook page, wrote to Lorrin Freeman in November to ask her to look into the case. Watch Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman discuss the case below, courtesy of the News & Observer. WRAL reported that Joshua Freeman, who Waters represented in 2014 while in private practice, gave the future prosecutor the tape recording of Wilkins' conversation with the man who talked of killing the former deputy. It was not clear Friday how Freeman obtained the recording. Waters said he immediately turned the tape over to the FBI. The Washington Post reported that Waters met with North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents about the recording in January 2017, but nothing happened. 'Quite frankly, it did not get to the top of their investigative list,' Lorrin Freeman told WRAL about SBI agents. Waters gave the recording to a different SBI agent in October 2018, but still, no investigation was initiated, the Post reported. That is when Waters turned to Lorrin Freeman to initiate a probe into the sheriff. She agreed. 'I have reviewed this recording,' Lorrin Freeman wrote to SBI agents, according to the Post. 'It contains a conversation between two individuals, one of whom appears to be the Granville County sheriff, about a former deputy sheriff and culminates in a discussion about committing a homicide.' In his Facebook statement, Waters expressed frustration at the amount of time it took to get an investigation going. 'At all times since (turning over the recording), I have provided assistance to investigators, and once Ms. Freeman opened a criminal investigation, have urged that this matter be given investigative priority,' Waters wrote. 'I understand it is a matter of great importance to the people of Granville County, and it has been a point of frustration that the investigative process has not been more expeditious.' He wrote that any allegations of wrongdoing by law enforcement are troubling, particularly when they involve a sheriff elected by the community. 'Over the next few months, my office will continue to lend assistance to the ongoing investigation as requested, while we continue to do our daily work of protecting victims, prosecuting those who violate the law and seeing that justice is administered,' Waters said. WRAL reported Lorrin Freeman said she worked to obtain obstruction charges against Wilkins because obstruction would be easier to prove in the five-year old case than solicitation of murder or conspiracy. The Granville County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the indictment, but County Attorney Jim Wrenn said the board has no authority to remove Wilkins, an elected official, from office as his criminal case winds its way through the court system, WRAL reported. Lorrin Freeman confirmed that fact to the News & Observer. 'Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses, until convicted,' Freeman told the newspaper. Spectrum News' Charlotte bureau reported that Wilkins has indicated he will not step down. Wrenn said he is considering trying to get Wilkins out of office through the courts but wants to hear the recording himself before making that decision. Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the North Carolina General Assembly, said state law has a provision allowing a judge to suspend a sheriff and allow a county commission to appoint a temporary replacement pending the outcome of a criminal case. 'The statute is there to allow removal of sheriff,' Cohen told Spectrum News. 'One of six causes is, in fact, conviction of felony. Others are some of the things in his indictment, like willful misconduct, corruption, willful neglect or refusal to perform duties of his office. Some of them match the charges in his indictment.' The News & Observer reported that the probe into Wilkins' alleged actions against Joshua Freeman has led to investigations of the Granville County Sheriff's Office's accounting practices, as well as the operations of its drug unit. Freeman was a member of the drug unit when he was with the agency. 'Part of this investigation has centered on why this sort of conversation would have occurred, what the underlying motivation would have been,' Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. 'Additional information has come to light regarding operations and accounting practices of the Granville County narcotics interdiction team.' Those investigations remain ongoing.
  • President Donald Trump called reports that a U.S. intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against him last month 'a ridiculous story' while speaking Friday to reporters in the Oval Office. >> Read more trending news  According to the Washington Post, the president made an unspecified 'promise' to an unidentified foreign leader that concerned the intelligence official. The official filed a complaint Aug. 12, two anonymous former U.S. officials told the newspaper, though lawmakers said Thursday they had yet to see the complaint. The intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal the substance of the complaint. Update 7:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Former Vice President Joe Biden has released a statement on the whistleblower's complaint against President Trump. In it, Biden describes Trump's alleged behavior as 'abhorrent' and calls on him to release a full transcript of the call 'so that the American people can be judged for themselves.' The entire statement reads: Update 4:40 p.m. EDT Sept 20: The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani to determine whether Biden 'worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden.'  Trump made the request about eight times during a phone call in July, according to the Journal. Trump was asked Friday if be brought up Biden in the call with Zelenskiy, and he answered, 'It doesn't matter what I discussed.' But then he used the moment to urge the media 'to look into' Biden's background with Ukraine. Trump and Zelenskiy are to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations next week. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the person behind the complaint filed against him was a 'partisan whistleblower' who 'shouldn't even have information,' though he added that he did not know the person's identity. 'I don't even know exactly who you're talking about,' Trump said. 'I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.' Trump said Friday that he's spoken with several world leaders and that his conversations with them were 'always appropriate.' Details surrounding the complaint remained unclear Friday afternoon, though The Washington Post and The New York Times reported at least some of the allegations centered on Ukraine. Both newspapers cited unidentified sources. Asked if he knew if the whistleblower's complaint centered on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the president responded 'I really don't know' but continued to insist any phone call he made with a head of state was 'perfectly fine and respectful.' Update 9:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: The whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump centers around Ukraine, two anonymous sources confirmed to The Washington Post Thursday evening. The New York Times and ABC News are also citing anonymous sources, saying the complaint involves Ukraine. It's not clear exactly how Ukraine fits into the allegations. However, Trump spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, the Post reported. That call was already under investigation by House Democrats, who are looking into whether Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tried to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping with Trump's re-election campaign, according to The Post. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 19:  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee suggested Thursday that lawmakers could ask a judge to compel White House officials to share with Congress a whistleblower complaint allegedly filed last month against Trump. The complaint was filed Aug. 12 and involved an undisclosed 'promise' made by the president to an unidentified foreign leader, CNN reported Atkinson declined to share details of the complaint during a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, citing a lack of authorization. 'We do know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress,' Schiff told reporters Thursday. 'We do not know -- because we cannot get an answer to the question -- about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress.' He said lawmakers had yet to see the complaint by Thursday afternoon. 'We do not know whether press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of the complaint,' he said. Earlier Thursday, the president denied having done anything inappropriate. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: Trump on Thursday denied any wrongdoing after reports claimed a whistleblower had come forward with a complaint about the president making an unspecified promise to a foreign leader. 'Another Fake News story out there - it never ends!' Trump wrote Thursday in a tweet. 'Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. 'Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!' Original report: The promise occurred during a phone conversation with the leader, one source told the Post. Details about the alleged pledge and the leader's identity was not immediately available. Although Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, believed that the whistleblower complaint warranted 'urgent concern,' acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire so far has declined to provide information about the communication to the House Intelligence Committee, the Post reported. A closed hearing with Atkinson is slated for Thursday, the committee said. Maguire is expected to testify publicly Sept. 26, according to the committee's chairman, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Massachusetts man in his 70s has died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, state health officials said Friday. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the man was a resident of Freetown, a town about 50 miles south of Boston, according to WFXT. 'Our most sincere sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, to their family and their loved ones,' town officials said in a news release. The man was identified as having the 10th confirmed human case of EEE in the state. Officials said eight other cases of EEE have been confirmed in animals, including seven horses and a goat. The man's death was the second reported in the state from EEE. At least two other EEE-related deaths have been reported in recent weeks in Rhode Island and Michigan. 'We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,' Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Friday in a news release. “The unusually warm weather expected this weekend will increase outdoor activity among people and mosquitoes. It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito.” Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several cases of EEE are reported each year, most often in states along the Gulf Coast. The mosquito-borne virus is rare, but serious, and can affect people of all ages, Massachusetts health officials said. Boston25News.com contributed to this report.
  • Here is a look at what impeachment is and why it doesn’t necessarily mean removal from office. How does impeachment work? Impeachment was established by the framers of the Constitution as a way to accuse a president of a crime and to hold a trial to determine if he is guilty of that crime. The Constitution lays out two specific actions, treason and bribery, that could lead to impeachment and removal of a president from office. The system also allows for a broader category to accuse a president of crime, although that category is more vague. A president can also be charged with and found guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What exactly constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors is not defined in the Constitution, making impeachment on that basis more difficult. By design, it is not easy to get rid of a president. Here are the steps in the process for impeaching a president: First, an impeachment resolution must be introduced by a member of the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House must then direct the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary (or a special committee) to hold a hearing on the resolution to decide whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber and when to hold such a vote. A simple majority of the Judiciary Committee must approve the resolution. If the Judiciary Committee approves the resolution, it moves to a full vote on the House floor. If a simple majority of the those present and voting in the House approve an article of impeachment, then the president is impeached. The procedure then moves to the Senate where a “trial” is held to determine if the president committed a crime. There is no set procedure for the trial. How it is conducted would be set by the Senate leadership. Members of the House serve as “managers” in the Senate trial. Managers serve a similar role as prosecutors do in a criminal trial, they present evidence during the procedure. The president would have counsel to represent him at the Senate process. The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presides over the trial. Senators listen to the evidence presented, including closing arguments from each side and retire to deliberate. Senators then reconvene and vote on whether the president is guilty or not guilty of the crimes he is accused of. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. If the president is found guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president is sworn-in as president. The hearing in the Senate, along with a charge in the House that the president has committed a crime is not a legal one. No penalty, other than removal from office, is brought against a president in an impeachment hearing. Impeachment trials have been held twice in the country’s history -- for President Andrew Johnson and for President Bill Clinton -- and both ended in acquittals: meaning the presidents were impeached by the House, but not convicted and removed from office by the Senate. One vote kept Johnson from being convicted of firing the secretary of war in 1868, which went against a tenure act. In 1999, the Senate was 22 votes shy of convicting Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones.

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