First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

Active Weather: Warmer, Brief Cold "Snap", Storm Next Week... New Solar Instrument... "Rescue 406"... "Purple With a Purpose"

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Updated: 11/20/2013 10:48 pm

Onshore flow will gradually weaken through Fri., but winds will still be breezy Thu. with some drizzle & rain at times. Showers will become few & far between Fri., & we'll have a nice start to the weekend Sat. Temps. will be warming with highs Thu. in the low to mid 70s... mid to upper 70s Fri. & near 80 degrees(!) Sat. Beaches will be generally about 5-8 degrees cooler at the beaches through Fri. but reach well into the 70s Sat.

A strong cold front Sat. night will usher in a quick but pretty strong shot of chilly temps. & gusty winds Sunday with highs some 15 degrees lower than Sat. Inland areas will dip into the 30s Sun. night.

A pretty strong storm system will roll along the subtropical jet stream next Tue.-Wed. At the very least widespread, locally heavy rain will affect the Southeast U.S. & the First Coast & -- depending on the strength & track of the low pressure system -- possibly severe storms. The good news is that this storm will move away by Thanksgiving.

From NASA:

An instrument that measures the sun's energy output is in orbit after it was launched last night on the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program Satellite-3. The satellite was aboard a Minotaur I rocket that launched at 8:15 p.m. EST from NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.


The instrument, called the Total solar irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE), is funded by NOAA's next-generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and designed to continue measurements of the total energy output of the sun. These measurements are used to measure light from the sun at all wavelengths, which is the primary energy source that drives climate on Earth, and determine if solar changes influence the Earth's climate.


TCTE is one of six payloads on the STPSat-3 satellite, which was built by Ball Aerospace &

Technologies Corp, in Boulder, Colo.


"The TCTE instrument is a creative, fast and low cost solution that will maintain and extend the solar energy data record until the launch of the next such instrument," said Harry Cikanek, JPSS director. "The U.S. Air Force, NOAA and NASA, along with our industry and academic partners, went from an idea to development in a matter of months, and much faster than usual which is notable given the challenges of integrating a new payload on an already designed mission."


The instrument was assembled by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, working with the TCTE program office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., with a quick turnaround to get the instrument ready to fly on the Air Force satellite. "The resourcefulness and ingenuity of the LASP, NASA and NOAA team in building and integrating the TCTE in such a short period demonstrates responsive engineering at its finest," said Kevin Carmack, Polar Free-Flyer project manager at NASA Goddard.


The solar irradiance record from space that began in 1978 is currently measured by the Total Irradiance Monitor deployed in 2003 on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) mission. While SORCE was designed to last for five years, it is still recording data more than 10 years later, but the aging satellite is nearing the end of its battery life.


"TCTE is a scientific mission that supports the national interest in understanding the solar influence on the Earth climate system. It was great how the importance of this scientific goal was recognized and supported by the governmental organizations NOAA, NASA and the Department of Defense, and implemented by the University of Colorado through LASP and industry by Ball Aerospace in such a cost effective and efficient way," said Thomas Sparn, TCTE program manager at LASP.


The TCTE instrument is one of three nearly identical instruments built at the time of the SORCE mission. Because the instrument was already built, it was able to be quickly integrated onto the Air Force satellite with short notice, due to a cancellation of another instrument. TCTE is intended as an interim solution to maintain and extend the data record until the launch of the next measurement mission, the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS), aboard NOAA's Polar Free Flyer, which does not yet have a launch date.

From NOAA & NASA via Scijinks:

A distress call from an emergency beacon goes off somewhere in the world. Satellites orbiting high above Earth receive the signal and relay the person’s location to search and rescue crews on the ground. In SciJinks’ new mobile game, Rescue 406, you will use the information from these satellites to direct the rescue effort. You’ll need to be quick to keep up with an increasing number of people in trouble! Download it today at the Apple iTunes store -- ** here **.

Friday (Nov. 22nd) is "Purple With a Purpose" - it's a day to where purple to show your support for fighting one of the most deadly forms of cancer -- pancreatic cancer. My mom passed away from the disease nearly 6 years ago. Click ** here ** for the (Pancan) Jacksonville Facebook page.

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