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The Buresh Blog

    The wildfire season looks to be peaking rather deep into spring this year as we're stuck in a long stretch of dry & increasingly hot weather.  The upper level (500 mb) forecast (GFS) map below is for Memorial Day & shows a strong high pressure area near the Southeast U.S.  Such a pattern causes sinking air which is not conducive to producing much in the way of widespread or heavy rain. I mentioned in the May 13th post a pulse in the MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) that might try to spur tropical development over the Atlantic Basin (including Gulf &/or Caribbean).  The 'upward motion' - 2nd map below - is still spreading eastward but the upper level high will likely keep any tropical development away from Florida.  At this point it does not look like our 'wet season' will begin before the first week of June. Map below shows moisture anomaly (plus or minus): First Alert CBM Corey Simma found an interesting stat.  The number of wet days through 2019 so far in which Sunday has been the wettest: Late season snows are still occurring(!) for parts of the Rockies & even Minnesota but for the most part the Lower 48 is done with accumulating snow.  For the season: May 18 - 24 is 'National Safe Boating Week'.  Make sure to be careful & smart as we move into the Memorial Day weekend & the summer beyond.  It all begins with a life jacket for everyone on the boat!
  • April & May are peak of the dry &, therefore, wildfire season for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.  Since Feb. 1, not only typically dry but nearly 2.5' below avg.  There are signs of the 'wet season' getting underway across S. Florida which is typically followed by a northward trend so hopefully our local wet season will at least start on time if not a bit early. An interesting 'pulse' in the MJO - Madden-Julian Oscillation - has been detected over the Pacific.  In its simplest terms, such a pulse corellates with 'upward' motion (green lines) which leads to increased convection.  During the tropical season, it can also point to general development of tropical cyclones.  Such a pulse is spreading east from the Pacific into the Atlantic Basin - all the blue & even red is strong convection (t'storms).  So we would expect to see an active (wet) weather pattern over the Lower 48 through the better part of May & MIGHT point to some early season tropical development over the SW Atlantic, Carribbean &/or Gulf of Mexico.  No hype(!) - just something to keep an eye on. May/early June night skies as we head for the summer solstice (SkyandTelescope.com): May 15 (dusk): The waxing gibbous Moon, in Virgo, is about 8° above Spica. May 19–20 (all night): The Moon, a day past full, forms a wide triangle with Jupiter and Antares in the southeast. Follow the trio as it glides across the sky through the night.   May 21 (morning): Look toward the south-southwest well before sunrise to see the Moon some 5° right of Jupiter.   May 22–23 (morning): The thinning Moon approaches and then overtakes Saturn, ending up about 5° left of the ringed planet.   June 1 (dawn): Look toward the east-northeast before sunrise to see Venus. Can you spot the slim sliver of the waning lunar crescent some 6° right of the planet?   June 10 (all night): Jupiter arrives at opposition, rising in the east at sunset and staying up all night. Throughout the month, the majestic planet will be somewhat brighter than in the past five years.   Moon Phases New Moon May 4, 6:46 p.m. EDT First Quarter May 11, 9:12 p.m. EDT Full Moon May 18, 5:11 p.m. EDT (Flower Moon) Last Quarter May 26, 12:34 p.m. EDT
  • Miami air Boeing 737 ended up at the end of the runway nosing into the St. Johns River Fri. evening, May 3rd. It is not known for certain why the plane skidded off the runway as of this writing but the plane was landing during a heavy thunderstorm - winds were gusting to 18 mph out of the W/NW (tailwind) but could have been much stronger with a change in direction at higher altitudes due to the storms... visibility was as low as 2 miles in heavy rain... cloud ceiling (base of clouds) was near 1,500 feet and there was frequent lightning.  The 'nerdy' METAR (Meteorological Aerodrome Report) observation near the time of the incident: KNIP 040145Z 29008G16KT 3SM +TSRA BR SCT008 BKN015CB OVC032 24/22 A2999 RMK AO2 TSB04 FRQ LTGIC OHD TS OHD MOV E T1 SET P0063 T02440222 The cloud tops on these storms were as high as 30,000-40,000 feet as measured on First Alert Doppler HD: First Alert Doppler HD imagery as the Boeing 737 was landing - lightning rainfall rates of 2'+ per hour: Velocity data on First Alert Doppler HD does not show any extreme wind at the surface as was indicated by the weather ob of a wind out of 290 degrees (W/NW) at 8 knots (7 mph) gusting to 16 knots (18 mph): At first light early Saturday, 05/04 from the First Alert Skycam Network at Riverside (~ 8 miles): Air speed at landing was 163 knots (188 mph) ... landing speed was 178 knots (205 mph). This week - through Sat., May 11th - is 'Hurricane Preparedness Week'.  There are daily themes & safety tips * here * - * determining your risk, * develop an evacuation plan, * assemble disaster supplies, * get an insurance checkup, * strengthen your home, * help your neighbor &.... * complete a written plan .   Always prepare for storm season & hurricanes far in advance.  In conjuction with messaging preparation, the NHC will conduct their annual 'awareness tour' with the last stop in our own 'backyard' - Brunswick, Ga.  We hope to see you there.  We'll have the First Alert Storm Tracker & will be talking with the new hurricane center director, Ken Graham as well as several hurricane center forecasters. 0 NHC media / public announcement: What: 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour Where: Brunswick Golden Isles Airport 295 Aviation Pkwy, Brunswick, GA 31525 When: Friday May 10, 2019 Open to the Public: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM Mark your calendars! The Hurricane Hunter aircraft and pilots will be visiting Brunswick, GA on Friday May 10th, 2019.  The 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour will make a stop Brunswick Golden Isles Airport on May 10, 2019. Public tours will occur from 2 – 5pm with all ages welcome to join us! This opportunity will allow the public to tour inside the aircraft, meet and talk with crew members and pilots, and speak with the National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham. Additionally, local first responders will be on site displaying their helicopters, firetrucks, and other emergency response vehicles. We invite you to learn more about all the hazards associated with hurricanes from National Weather Service meteorologists and Georgia Emergency Management. This will be the first visit near the Jacksonville, FL area since 2015 when it was hosted in St Augustine, FL. If you’re interested in the opportunity to meet a hurricane hunter or hurricane specialist, this is your chance to visit them in person to learn more about their exciting mission. Overview Have you ever been fascinated by hurricanes or wondered how it is possible for people to fly safely into them? If the answer is yes, then mark your calendar for the 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour in Brunswick, Georgia on May 10th! Here’s a quick video of what it’s like to be a Hurricane Hunter Hurricane specialists representing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and members of the USAF Reserve will visit five U.S. East Coast cities. Together, they will be showcasing aircraft they use for tropical cyclone interrogation, a WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft along with the NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft. Their visit is intended to raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclone threats and why it’s dangerous to face a land falling storm without a hurricane plan in place. The National Hurricane Director, Ken Graham, and Hurricane Specialist Daniel Brown will also be present to help educate those in vulnerable communities about hurricane preparedness and will be available for interviews. Staff from Emergency Management offices, non-profit organizations including the American Red Cross, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), and Meteorologists from the National Weather Service will be part of the tour at each stop. Among those invited to participate and tour include community groups, media, local elected officials and select local schools (by invitation only) as well as the general public. Public tours will be given from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Registration is not required for public tours. However, due to the schedule of the aircraft crew, public tours will promptly end at 5:00 pm. 1 The NHC has completed its post storm report on historic hurricane Florence - click * here *.  The tropical cyclone dumped record breaking rainfall on parts of the Carolina's in mid September, 2018 & was one of two names retired (Michael was the other name retired).
  • We are at the peak of our wildfire season.  The combination of longer days, warmer temps. & a lack of consistent rainfall all add up to vegetation that's ready to ignite & quickly spread.  We haven't been terribly dry recently but not real wet either.  March rainfall was nearly 2' below average while April was just about where we should be still less than 3 inches.  You can listen to a roundtable discussion on the widlfire season lead by WOKV's Rich Jones * here *. Speaking of May..... averages at JIA: Low / High - 1st: 58 / 82.... 31st: 67 / 88 Rainfall: 2.48' Sunrise / Sunset: 1st - 6:43am / 8:04pm.... 31st - 6:25am / 8:28pm - gain 37 min. of daylight. Our First Alert Weather app has been updated.  A new version was created & uploaded in April but is constantly undergoing revisions & updates. And ... finally.... one of our local Jacksonville church's 'doing good'.  Deermeadows Baptist Church is outfitting a disaster relief trailer: To help our church quickly respond when a disaster hits, and to give us the tools necessary when going into the mission field, we have purchased a new Disaster Relief Trailer. Our Missions Committee and Helping Hands made this trailer possible. Now all we need is to fill it up with tools and equipment. That’s where you come in!    We have created an online registry CLICK HERE  to make this process really easy. Also, note our needed items have a range of prices. We did this so kids can join in on the fun, too!   When you have finalized your purchase, you have two options: Have the item(s) shipped directly to your house. Then, bring your item(s) to church. Have the item(s) shipped directly to Deermeadows: 9780 Baymeadows Rd Jacksonville, FL 32256   Need a donation letter? We have you covered! Those can be picked up at the church office upon request.
  • April showers turned into storms Fri., April 19th as a strong upper level disturbance combined with a strong cold front brought a 3-day stretch of severe weather (common this time of year) starting in the Plains Wed.... to the Tennessee & Central Gulf Coast Thu.... then to Jacksonville, the Southeast & east coast Fri. There were 30+ reports of severe weather across NE Fl./SE Ga. including a few funnel clouds & at least one confirmed tornado in Camden Co., Ga.  Records were set for wind gusts & lowest sea level pressure: Brunswick, Ga. funnel cloud: Mobile home destroyed in Waycross, Ga. - 1 injury - family of 3 home at the time of the storm.  Local folks have set up accounts to try to help the family recover - * here *. Confederate Point, Jacksonville: Kingsland, Ga. (likely microburst): Near Callahan, Nassau Co., Fl.: Also on Fri., April 19th.... the NHC upgraded - as anticipated - hurricane Michael to a Cat. 5 upon landfall on the Central Fl. Panhandle - the most intense hurricane to ever hit the Panhandle.... the strongest Fl. landfall since Andrew in 1992... & only the 4th Cat. 5 landfall in U.S. history (Labor Day hurricane, 1935 [Keys]... Camille, 1969 [Central Gulf Coast].... & Andrew, 1992 [Homestead, S. Miami]).  Read my blog posts 'Visiting Ground Zero'... the podcast: 'Surviving Michael'.... & 'Forecasting a Monster'.  The NHC tropical cyclone report is * here *. Mexico Beach: Mexico Beach: 0 Port St. Joe (storm surge): 1 NOAA satellite: 2
  • Monday, April 22nd is Earth Day.  For a list of at least some of the Jacksonville events, go ** here **.  MOSH (Museum of Science & History) will be celebrating all day long - * here *.... as are Florida State Parks - here.  Earth Day coincides with 'Environmental Education Week'.  From NEEF: If you gave students the choice of completing a worksheet or going outside, you already know the winner—nature! Besides being more fun for kids, going outside boosts cognitive function says the American Psychological Association. There’s even been a push to green-up schoolyards, replacing concrete slabs with more natural schoolyards, include outdoor classrooms, native gardens, storm water capture, traditional play equipment, vegetable gardens, trails, trees, and more, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A great way to engage young learners in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lessons is to use the outdoors as a hands-on classroom. Studies such as this 2015 research brief continue to show how “outdoor school helps kids stay more engaged in the classroom by making schoolwork more relevant and fun, through hands-on activities that show children how their lessons in school apply to the world around them.” Whether they’re digging in the dirt or splashing in a stream, many kids enjoy a fun, interactive activity to better understand the world around them. Enter, the Greening STEM educator toolkit. Recently updated and expanded for Environmental Education Week 2019, the toolkit includes teaching resources, case studies, and a community of practice to support the Greening STEM approach. An interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to teaching STEM subjects, Greening STEM uses the natural environment and real-world challenges to engage learners and deliver high-quality STEM education. The Greening STEM toolkit aims to: Give educators a strong case by explaining the reasons this approach is effective. Show educators the way to use this approach by describing the ways to organize a lesson, project, or expedition. Provide the tools to put the approach into action by offering links to suggested activities, lessons, and curriculum that can be used immediately. The Greening STEM toolkit will be launched during NEEF’s Environmental Education Week, happening from April 22-26, 2019. Sign up to stay updated on EE Week! The Jacksonville Jaguars have posted their 2019 football schedule!  Here are the avg. temps. for each game whether home or away: Sun., Sept. 8 - K.C. Chiefs, 1 p.m. - avg. high: 88 degrees(!), record - 98 - watch for afternoon storms Sun., Sept. 15 - at Houston (retractable roof) - avg. high 90 degrees Thu., Sept. 19 -Titans - avg. high 86 degrees (record - 96) but sunset at 7:27pm so temps. typically falling into the 70s by kickoff Sun., Sept. 29 - at Denver - avg. high 73 degrees Sun., Oct. 6 - at Carolina - avg. high 75 degrees Sun., Oct. 13 - Saints, 1pm - avg. high 81 degrees Sun., Oct. 20 - at Cincinnati - avg. high 64 degrees Sun., Oct. 27 - Jets, 1pm - avg. high 78 degrees Sun., Nov. 17 (in London Nov. 3, bye week Nov. 10) at Indianapolis - avg. high 52 (closed stadium) Sun., Nov. 24 - at Tennessee - avg. high 57 degrees Sun., Dec. 1 - Tampa, 1pm - avg high 70 degrees Sun., Dec. 8 - Chargers, 4:05pm - avg. high 68 degrees (sunset - 5:26pm) Sun., Dec. 15 - 4:05pm at Oakland - avg. high 57 degrees (sunset - 4:51pm) Sun., Dec. 22 - at Atlanta (retractable roof) - avg. high 55 degrees Sun., Dec. 29 - Colts, 1pm - avg. high 65 degrees......... then on the playoffs! :) The National Hurricane Center has released a webinar schedule  - April 23, 30.... May 7, 24 & 29.... & June 4th.  Click ** here ** for specific subjects for each webinar.
  • 'Tis the season for hurricane forecasts & preps. First.... Dr. Phil Klotzbach's annual early April forecast for the season (June 1 - Nov. 30) ahead.  'About average' is the call for now.  Much is predicated on at least a weak El Nino (warming of the equatorial Pacific) continuing through the summer which usually at least cuts down on the number of tropical storms & hurricanes. NOAA will issue their forecast in mid to late May. We'll get a chance to see hurricane hunter aircraft up close & personal as well as a myriad of other hurricane info. when the NOAA hurricane awareness tour makes a stop in Brunswick, Ga. May 10th. The National Hurricane Center is offering up a free webinar May 9th for 4th through 6th graders.  Great opportunity for science teaches.  More info. ** here **. Our list of this year's Atlantic Basin tropical cyclone names: Two names were 'retired' from last year - Florence & Michael.  Remember that the list of names repeats every 6 years & is decided upon by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization). April night skies (from Sky and Telescope): Apr. 8 (evening): The waxing crescent Moon, Aldebaran, Mars, and the Pleiades star cluster form a diamond in Taurus. Apr. 9 (evening): The Moon has leapfrogged over Aldebaran and now sits some 5° above the Bull’s brightest star. Apr. 11 (evening): Mars approaches Aldebaran, and will be less than 7° from the red giant for the next seven nights. The star is twice as bright as the planet. Apr. 13 (evening): The waxing gibbous Moon, in Cancer, is 2° from the Beehive Cluster (Messier 44). Apr. 14 (evening): The fattening Moon visits Leo and is about 5° from the Lion’s brightest star, Regulus. Apr. 22 (evening): The Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight. Best viewing is during the pre-dawn hours that day, but the waning gibbous Moon, three days past full, will interfere. Apr. 22 (morning): The Moon, by the claws of Scorpius, is some 7° from Antares. Apr. 23 (night): The thinning Moon, Jupiter, and 51 Ophiuchus form a tight triangle from when they rise shortly before midnight to sunup. Apr. 25 (morning): The Moon and Saturn are some 3° apart. For those in Eastern Australia, New Zealand, and western South America, the Moon will occult the ringed planet on the morning of the 26th. May 2 (dawn): Look toward the east just before sunup to see Venus rise; paralleling the Morning Star’s path some 5° to the lower right you might glimpse the very thin crescent Moon. May 6 (morning): The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is best, especially for viewers at southern latitudes. May 6 (dusk): The thin waxing lunar crescent is 2° to 3° upper right of Aldebaran.   Moon Phases New Moon: April 5, 4:50 a.m. EDT First Quarter: April 12, 3:06 p.m. EDT Full Moon: April 19, 7:12 a.m. EDT (Pink Moon, named for phlox flowers) Last Quarter: April 28, 6:18 p.m. EDT
  • Spring will be in full swing over the next couple months which equates to much warmer temps., longer days & usually pretty dry weather overall.  The dryness is not good news as we're coming off a drier than average March. The combination of two of the drier months of the year, longer days, warmer temps. & high evaporation rates results in the typical peak of the wildfire season.  The 'wet season' - nearly daily thunderstorms & rainfall totaling more than half our annual average - is generally June through September. March rainfall from around NE Fl./SE Ga. courtesy our Jax N.W.S.:   FL   MAYPORT NAVAL STATION           1.47                              FL   JASPER                      2.75                     FL   BEAUCLERC               2.11                      FL   JACKSONVILLE BEACH              2.08  FL   FERNANDINA BEACH           2.77                   FL   LAKE CITY                      3.34                  FL   LAKE CITY 2 E                   3.30                        FL   PALM COAST 6 NE           1.65                FL   CRESCENT CITY                     0.85    FL   GAINESVILLE RGNL AP          1.87         FL   HASTINGS 4NE           2.92                                           FL   OCALA                 0.48                                                FL   WHITE SPRINGS 7N            1.65           FL   JACKSONVILLE CRAIG MUNI AP        2.30     FL   JACKSONVILLE INTL AP         2.04               FL   JACKSONVILLE NAS           1.70                          FL   BELL 4NW                    3.56                FL   FEDERAL POINT             2.26           FL   BUNNELL                     1.77                                        FL   NW PALM COAST                    1.10        FL   PALM COAST                   1.01                  FL   S FLAGLER BEACH                      0.89                           GA   PRIDGEN                               2.20 GA   ALMA BACON CO AP         1.67                                               GA   NAHUNTA 6 NE             2.20                                    GA   BRUNSWICK MALCOLM MCKINNON AP    1.76  GA   WOODBINE                      2.30
  • March has turned dry across Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.  After a good deal of rainfall from Jan. through early March, most areas have had less than a quarter of an inch of rain the last two weeks.  April is - on average - the third driest month of the year, so the patttern will be something to beware of as we approach the peak of the wildfire season. In fact, a few wildfires have broken out locally recently.  Evaporation rates, sunshine, length of days, warmer temps., less rain before the start of our 'wet season' & brown vegetation after the winter all add up to the peak of the wildfire season generally occurring from early to mid April to mid to late May.  Right now is a good time to clear any vegetation away from your home & other structures are on your property.  This 'defensible space' should be at least 30 feet from buildings. Planting vegetation that is fire resistant will be helpful too. Widlfire tips can be found * here *. April is upon us(!)..... the averages at JIA: Low / High - Apirl 1st: 52 / 77 degrees, April 30th: 58 / 82 Rainfall: 2.78' (only Nov. & Dec. average less rainfall) Sunrise / Sunset - 1st - 7:16am / 7:45pm, 30th - 6:44am / 8:04pm - gain 51 min. of daylight.
  • The 'Buresh Blog' is updated about once per week.... next one is not due until the week of March 25th.... So 'The Players' goes back to March this year when the golf tournament was played pre 2007.  In my eyes the biggest difference will be the potential for balls in the water on the infamous #17 & the shorter days.  This time of year - vs. May - winds are generally stronger & more from the E/NE.  This will create a crosswind on #17 that will make the delicate tee shot more difficult.  As for daylight - more than 90 min. less this time of year - 11:58 vs. 13:41.  Temps., of course, will be a big deal too with the avg. in mid May of a low of 60 & a high of 84 much warmer than this week's averages of 47 & 72 respectively. Interestingly... a golfball will travel an avg. of 8 yards less at 55 degrees vs. 90 degrees! The Vernal Equinox - first day of astronomical spring - is March 20th & will coincide with a full moon this year.  The Vernal Equinox means the sun's rays are just about perpendicular to the equator which means approximately 12 hours of daylight & 12 hours of night.  Remember earth's seasons have nothing to do with how close to earth is to the sun but rather the tilt of the earth toward (N. Hemisphere summer) or away (N. Hemisphere winter) from the sun. The National Weather Service is always in need of weather observers to expand their reporting network, & you can start today!  CoCoRaHS - Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, Snow Network - is made up of 20,000+ volunteers from around the country (as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, Bahamas & the U.S. Vrigin Islands) who digitally report the weather.  Find out how you can join * here *. White Oak has welcomed a couple of 'charming' baby rhino's. Yulee, Fla. (March 6, 2019)  — It’s a baby boom at White Oak Conservation: Two rhinos were born weeks apart this winter and are being raised at the 17,000-acre wildlife refuge owned by philanthropists, Mark and Kimbra Walter.   Remarkable video and photos of the two baby rhinos are available for media use  here . (Mandatory credit: White Oak Conservation.)   Rhino baby No. 1 is Tidbit, the first southern black rhino born at White Oak in 13 years. When he was born in early November, he was underweight and too small to reach his mother to nurse. He began to weaken quickly, so the wildlife specialists at White Oak intervened and decided to hand-rear and bottle-feed Tidbit.   Tidbit is fed a milk matched to rhinos’ milk, which includes skim and 1 percent cows' milk. Hand-raised animals are often more at risk for medical challenges while young, so the veterinarians and animal teams at White Oak are paying extra attention to Tidbit’s development and weight gain.     Recently, Tidbit got a newborn, critically endangered mountain bongo calf as a buddy. Both animals will live together while they are young and benefit from each other’s companionship. The pair has room to play outside together, and if it’s chilly, they have a heated barn to share.    Rhino baby No. 2 was born in late December. Kali is a greater one-horned rhino, also known as an Indian rhino. Kali was the first calf for her mother, Shomili, who came to White Oak two years ago from San Diego Zoo Safari Park.     Southern black rhinos like Tidbit are native to Africa and are classified as “critically endangered” in the wild. Greater one-horned rhinos like Kali are native to India and Nepal are classified as “vulnerable.” The greatest threat to all rhinos is poachers. About  every eight hours a rhino is killed for its horns , which are in high demand as status symbols in China and Vietnam and also are used in traditional Asian medicine.   “Their use as a prestigious gift for parties shows total indifference to this great animal and its extinction,” said Mark Walter, White Oak’s owner. “My wife and I will continue to do everything we can to protect these animals until the poaching is materially diminished and the populations rise again, but we will not succeed unless the Chinese government does all it can to crack down on the criminal networks financing the trade.”     The Walters own or co-own hundreds of thousands of acres of reserves in Africa, where they fund anti-poaching efforts. Their teams track and monitor rhinos; rehabilitate injured rhinos; move them from high-risk areas; and work with local communities to build support for their safety.   With large habitats surrounded by almost 17,000 acres of quiet forest, White Oak provides a protected home in the northeast corner of Florida for three of the five rhino species: black, white and Indian rhinos. Rhinos first came to White Oak in 1985. Black rhinos from Zimbabwe were brought to White Oak in 1993 to start a breeding program in case the wild population was lost. The Indian rhinos came later.   White Oak manages its rhino species as a critical part of collaborative species conservation plans. These plans guide White Oak and its partners as they support conservation efforts and build a sustainable North American population of rhinos as an assurance, or backup, population.    “Given the unabated poaching crisis, every rhino birth is precious,” said White Oak CEO Steve Shurter. “These two rhino calves are valuable additions that support White Oak’s efforts to sustain and secure an assurance population of rhinos.”   Today, White Oak also is launching Rhinogram, a free, monthly emailed newsletter. Those who sign up at  www.whiteoakwildlife.org/rhinogram  will get monthly photos, videos and updates about all of the rhinos of White Oak Conservation.   Facts about black rhinos · In the wild, they live primarily in South Africa and Zimbabwe.  · They are classified as “critically endangered” by the  IUCN Red List . · They have two horns.  · One distinguishing feature is their hooked upper lip.  · They eat leaves from bushes and trees. · By 1993, just 2,300 remained in the wild, down from approximately 65,000 in 1970.  · Thanks to sustained conservation efforts, that number today is around 5,000.     Facts about Indian rhinos · Their official name is the greater one-horned rhino. · In the wild, they live in Nepal and India. · They are classified as a “vulnerable” species by the  IUCN Red List . · Their grey-brown hide is marked by skin folds, giving an armor-plated appearance. · They have one horn, 8-25 inches long. · They eat grasses, leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit and aquatic plants. · Earlier in the 20th Century, fewer than 200 remained in the wild. · Through conservation efforts, the populations in the wild now number about 3,550. Photos below courtesy White Oak: March skies from SkyandTelescope.com: Mar. 11 (evening): The waxing crescent Moon and Mars are 7° apart in the west. They set together around midnight. Mar. 12 (evening): The growing Moon skirts the Hyades star cluster.  Mar. 18 (evening): The waxing gibbous Moon and Regulus start the evening only 2° apart at dusk (5½° apart by dawn). Mar. 20: Astronomical spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere at the equinox, 5:58 p.m. EDT (2:58 p.m. PDT). Mar. 27 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is 4° to the left or upper left of Jupiter. Mar. 29 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon is 3° to the lower left of Saturn.  Apr. 2 (dawn): The waning crescent Moon and Venus are less than 5° apart low in the east. Apr. 8 (evening): The waxing crescent Moon, Aldebaran, Mars, and the Pleiades form a diamond in Taurus.   Moon Phases New Moon March 6, 11:04 a.m. EST  First Quarter March 14, 6:27 a.m. EDT  Full Moon March 20, 9:43 p.m. EDT (Worm Moon) Last Quarter March 28, 12:10 a.m. EDT

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  • It's underway all summer. The Blue Star Museums 2019 program has kicked off, allowing the nation's active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, to visit participating museums free of charge.  The 2019 program officially started on Saturday, May 18th, which is Armed Forces Day, and will run through Labor Day on Monday, September, 2nd.  Locally, military families will be able to visit the following museums free of charge:  Jacksonville  -Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens  -Mandarin Museum & Historical Society  -MOCA Jacksonville  -Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum  Jacksonville Beach  -Beaches Museum  St. Augustine  -Lightner Museum  -St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum  To find museums outside of Northeast Florida, click HERE. The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and participating museums.
  • A judge sentenced the man who admitted to killing a Wisconsin couple last year before holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for three months to life in prison without the possibility of supervised release. >> Read more trending news Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, appeared before a Barron County judge for sentencing in the killing of James and Denise Closs and the kidnapping of their daughter, Jayme, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide for gunning down James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. He also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping for abducting Jayme. >> Man pleads guilty to kidnapping Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, killing her parents Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 24: A judge sentenced Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each of the intentional homicide charges to which Patterson pleaded guilty. The judge also gave Patterson the maximum sentence -- 40 years -- for kidnapping Jayme. Update 4:20 p.m. EDT May 24: In a brief, tearful statement in court, Patterson said he “would do like, absolutely anything to take back what I did.” “I would die,” he said. “I would.” Patterson’s attorneys asked a judge to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole until 2072 for the killings of James and Denise Closs. The sentencing hearing is ongoing. Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 24: In a statement read by an attorney Friday in court, Jayme said Patterson took many things from her but that, “He can never take my spirit away.” “He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong,” she said. “He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not. Jake Patterson will never have any power over me.” Chris Gramstrup, an attorney representing Jayme, read the victim impact statement in court. “He stole my parents from me,” Jayme said in the statement. “He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.” Prosecutors said Jayme and her mother heard Patterson shoot and kill James Closs as they huddled together in a bathtub. Denise Closs called 911 as Patterson tried to batter down the bathroom door. Once he broke down the door, he wrestled the phone from Denise Closs and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth, hands and feet, prosecutors said. He told authorities that he thought she was doing a bad job, so he put down his shotgun to do it himself. Once Jayme was restrained, authorities said he picked up his shotgun again and, with Jayme feet from her mother, shot Denise Closs in the head. He then dragged Jayme to his car, threw her in the trunk and drove her to his home, where she was held captive for 88 days. Through Gramstrup, Jayme said her parents “did all they could to make me happy and protect me.” “He took them away from me forever,” Jayme said. “I felt safe in my home and I love my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life.” She said that since her escape in January, “It’s too hard for me to go out in public.” “I get scared and I get anxious,” she said. Prosecutors said Jayme escaped from Patterson’s home Jan. 10 after he left her alone. Original report: Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said members of Jayme’s family are expected to give statements at Friday’s hearing, MPR News reported. The court proceeding is expected to last several hours, according to CNN. Under Wisconsin law, Patterson will face a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide convictions, the Duluth News Tribune reported. The main question for Friday will be whether Patterson will eventually be eligible for parole, according to the newspaper. >> Who is Jake Thomas Patterson? Suspect in Jayme Closs kidnapping identified Authorities said Patterson admitted to targeting Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus while he was driving home from work one day. He told investigators he did not know the Closses before the attack. Jayme told authorities she woke early on the morning of Oct. 15 when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents and then hid with her mother in a bathroom. Investigators said Patterson shot and killed James Closs before he found Jayme and Denise Closs in the bathroom. >> Jayme Closs kidnapping: Suspect charged in Closs murders, bail set at $5 million Jayme said Patterson killed her mother before dragging her to his car and driving her to what would turn out to be his home in Douglas County. He was arrested after Jayme escaped Jan. 10 from his home and flagged down a woman walking her dog. >> Jayme Closs to be given $25K reward after she saved herself from accused kidnapper Jayme told investigators Patterson made her hide under the bed in his bedroom for as many as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She escaped after Patterson left her alone in the home 88 days after he first abducted her. Jayme is living with her aunt and uncle, the Stevens Point Journal reported.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is actively investigating on the Westside, after a man called 911, claiming he had just shot someone attempting to break into his home. Police say this happened on North Dover Cliff Drive in the Pilgrims Trace neighborhood.  When officers arrived, they say they found a man dead in a nearby roadway. He has not yet been identified, but he's described by JSO as a black male between 30 and 40-years-old.  The investigation is still in its early states, but JSO says it does not appear that the two knew each other. We're told the homeowner is being cooperative with investigation.  Police are asking anyone with information on what happened to come forward.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he was OK on Friday after he appeared to nearly faint during a news conference in New York City. >> Read more trending news Nadler, D-N.Y., was appearing Friday at a news conference about plans to expand the city’s use of speed cameras in school zones when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared to notice he looked pale, WABC-TV reported. Video from the news conference showed Nadler looking ill and weak as the mayor asked him if he wanted some water.  The New York Daily News reported that paramedics called a code blue emergency after Nadler appeared to suffer from a brief dizzy spell. He was given water and an orange and later taken by ambulance to Lenox Hill Hospital, according to the Daily News. “Appreciate everyone’s concern,” Nadler said in a statement posted later Friday on Twitter. “Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better. Thank you for your thoughts.”
  • A Colorado man arrested in Utah earlier this year for threatening to “kill as many girls as (he saw)” has been sentenced to serve up to five years in prison, despite prosecutors’ recommendation that he serve probation.  Christopher Wayne Cleary, 27, of Denver, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempt to make a terroristic threat as part of a plea deal with Utah County prosecutors, according to The Deseret News. Cleary, who was arrested in Provo in January, was already on probation in Colorado on two previous convictions of stalking women, the newspaper reported.  Cleary expressed remorse over his words. “I’m just sorry for what happened,” Cleary told the court, according to the News.  Prosecutors in Utah negotiated a plea deal with Cleary for a third-degree felony charge instead of the second-degree felony with which he was initially charged, the News reported. In exchange for his plea -- which would let them secure a felony conviction -- they agreed to recommend no jail time. The plea bargain was aimed at helping Colorado authorities send Cleary to prison for violating his probation in the stalking cases, the News reported.  >> Related story: Man upset over not having girlfriend accused of mass shooting threat to girls Fourth District Judge Christine Johnson on Thursday declined to take the state up on its recommendation, citing her uncertainty of whether Cleary would serve any jail time for probation violation in Colorado, the newspaper said. “I don’t want to be in the position of guessing what Colorado is going to do,” Johnson said during Cleary’s sentencing hearing.  Cleary was arrested Jan. 19, the same day multiple women’s marches were being held in Utah and throughout the country, based on an alarming Facebook post he wrote the night before, the News said. In the post, he bemoaned his lack of romantic prospects and, like several mass shooters who have targeted women, blamed the opposite sex for his plight. “All I wanted was a girlfriend,” Cleary wrote, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Denver Post. “All I wanted was to be loved, yet no one cares about me. I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before, and I’m still a virgin. This is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter ‘cause I’m ready to die and all the girls the turned me down is going to make it right by killing as many girls as I see.” Another post stated, “There’s nothing more dangerous than (a) man ready to die,” the Post reported.  Cleary’s threats alarmed state and federal authorities in Colorado and neighboring Utah, where they traced his cellphone the following day. He was arrested at a McDonald’s in Provo and charged with making a terroristic threat.  Following his arrest, Cleary told investigators he was “upset and not thinking clearly” when he wrote the Facebook posts. According to the Post, he deleted the threats after other people called him and threatened him. Court records obtained by multiple newspapers paint a disturbing portrait of Cleary, who was accused of stalking and harassment by at least eight women and girls dating back at least seven years. The News reported that Cleary was also accused of threatening to bomb a grocery store in 2013 and threatened to commit a mass shooting at a mental health facility in 2016.  >> Read more trending news An 18-year-old Arvada woman called police on New Year’s Eve 2015 and reported that Cleary, with whom she’d been chatting on Facebook, began harassing her online and over the phone after she declined to go on a date with him. According to the Post, the woman told detectives he would use aliases, including one alias on Facebook named John Coleman. “I’ve been watching you,” the person claiming to be Coleman wrote to her on Facebook. “Soon here, you’ll be lying in your deathbed.” During that investigation, Arvada detectives found details of a previous criminal investigation in which Cleary told another woman who spurned his advances she should kill herself, the Post reported. He also posted her name and phone number in an online sex ad, offering her services for $20, court records show. In a prior misdemeanor harassment case from earlier in 2015, Cleary was convicted after talking a woman into posing naked for him and then posting the picture to a fake Facebook page in her name, the newspaper reported.  A harassment case from Denver found Cleary accused of writing threatening messages to a 17-year-old girl, including a message that said, “I own multipul (sic) guns. I can have u dead in a second. One day I’ma snap and kill everyone,” according to court documents. A second Denver case involved a 19-year-old woman who said she lived with Cleary in a hotel room for two weeks, during which time he choked her and urinated on her, the court documents said.  Cleary was convicted in October 2016 on two counts of stalking and harassment involving two of the three alleged victims in Arvada, the Post said. He was sentenced to two years of probation.  Cleary was arrested in yet another stalking case less than a year later. A 43-year-old Lakewood woman who had dated him called 911 Aug. 5, 2017, to report Cleary was stalking her. He was arrested outside the woman’s house. According to the Post, Cleary told investigators the woman was the only person who loved him and he was lonely without her. The woman told police she and Cleary had a sexual relationship -- contradicting Cleary’s claim earlier this year that he was a virgin. The victim told police Cleary, who began stalking her when she broke off the relationship, had called her 45 times that day, threatening her and telling her he hoped she would die.  “I am going to burn your house down,” Cleary told her, according to court records. “I am going to send people to your house to kill you.” Cleary also posted her phone number and address on Craigslist “soliciting sexual acts and rape,” according to a probable cause statement in the case. The woman said she’d received multiple phone calls from strangers due to the ad. The woman told police she lost 20 pounds and began having nightmares and anxiety attacks because of the stalking, the Post reported.  Cleary pleaded guilty to charges of felony stalking and making threats, the newspaper said. A judge in Jefferson County sentenced him last May to three years of probation.  Despite having violated his probation on the Arvada cases, he was not jailed following his guilty plea in the case involving the Lakewood woman, the Post reported. Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, said Cleary’s mental health played a part in his sentencing in that case, as well as in his 2016 stalking conviction, which was handled in Adult Mental Health Court.  “The courts decided to let his mental health issues be a big component of his treatment,” Russell told the Post.  Cleary’s defense attorney in the most recent case, Dustin Parmley, said this week that his client’s violent words are related to his mental illness, which he was reportedly diagnosed with at age 10. Cleary told investigators he takes medication for an impulse control disorder.  Parmley said Cleary’s words have never turned to action. Investigators found no evidence that Cleary had weapons or attempted to obtain any, the Post said.  The newspaper reported that four of the criminal investigations into Cleary ended without charges filed against him.  Cleary will serve his time in Utah before being transferred to Colorado to face probation violation charges there, the News reported. An official with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole told the paper his earliest hearing could take place as soon as September. The News said the board could potentially set a release date at that time, or members could decide to keep him in prison. Cleary could serve the entire five years of his sentence before being returned to Colorado. 

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