First Alert Weather Alert: Severe Thunderstorm Warning expires at 6:15 PM on 4/18, issued at 5:30 PM Bostwick, FL | Crescent City, FL | East Palatka, FL | Edgar, FL

Brief Warm Up... Early Week Rain... Midweek Cold... "Earth Gauge": Saving Water, 2013 Weather, Tea Leaves

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Updated: 1/27 8:20 am

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE:

A nice mild start to the workweek but -- as advertised for the past week -- big changes are on the way as a nasty arctic front dives south & east deep into the Southern U.S.  

First & foremost: the First Alert Forecast for Jacksonville is a cold rain Tue. night/Wed. with temps. dipping into the mid to upper 30s early Wed. -- cold but high enough to preclude any freezing.  Forecast soundings from models (a forecast of temperatures throughout the atmospheric column i.e. different levels from the surface up to at 20,000+ feet) are above freezing -- considerably above freezing in fact for Jax while surface temps. drop into the 30s.  So any sleet & snow would be very difficult to come by in this temp. profile is accurate.  What we need to watch out for is surface temps.  Arctic air is dense & shallow & forecast models often have a hard time modeling the movement & exact temp.

But it looks like Jax gets a cold rain with lows in the 30s to around 40 Tue. night & temps. Wed. struggling just to make the low to mid 40s.  A bit of freezing rain or light sleet could fall as far south as SE Ga. --including Waycross, Nahunta & Folkston & maybe Brunswick early Wed.  Updates, of course, through the day & on CBS 47 & Fox 30.

If you're traveling west or north, look out!  A major freezing rain/sleet/snow storm is going to occur & will impact parts of I-10 (west of Tallahassee)... pats of I-95 (near I-16/Savannah & north).... & I-75 (near/north of Valdosta to Atlanta).  Imagery below from the Jax N.W.S.:

Dark blue shading below is winter storm WATCH... pink is winter storm WARNING:

SUNDAY UPDATE:

A bit of very light sleet fell over parts of Duval Co. & other areas of NE Fl./SE Ga. shortly after midnight Fri. night.  From the Jax N.W.S.:

THIS MORNING...AROUND 1 AM LIGHT SLEET MIXED WITH LIGHT RAIN WAS
OBSERVED AT THE NWS JACKSONVILLE OFFICE AS AN MID LEVEL LEVEL
DISTURBANCE PASSED ESE OVER THE AREA. THE 00Z TALLAHASSEE SOUNDING
SHOWED THE DISTINCTIVE `WARM NOSE` ON THE SOUNDING WITHIN A
SHALLOW COLD LAYER...AND DESPITE SIGNIFICANT DRY AIR IN THE LOWER
LEVELS...THERE WAS STILL ENOUGH MOISTURE TO HELP LIGHT PRECIP FALL 
TO THE GROUND BEFORE DISSIPATION. WHERE THE SLEET FELL...SURFACE
TEMPS WERE STILL IN THE MID TO UPPER 30S SO ACCUMULATION WAS NOT A CONCERN.

So on to the arctic front that entered the Northern U.S. early Sunday (see temp. maps below).  Lots of chatter out there again(!) [see blog post from 01/15].  I did not -- & still do not -- have frozen precip. in our local (SE Ga./NE Fl.) forecast.  Models have generally trended a little milder (above freezing)....slower with precip... & lack consistency -- model run to run consistency & trends are a very important part of forecasting.  At the most -- or worst -- any frozen precip. -- as of this writing -- looks to be confined to inland SE Ga. early Wed. & could easily end up being all liquid.  Some freezing rain/sleet/snow is likely for at least Central Ga. & parts of the Carolina's.  Will, of course, continue to update..... graphic below if from the Jax N.W.S.:

ORIGINAL FRI. POST:

A pretty decent weekend of weather: not as cold with some sun.

All eyes on yet another intense arctic front that will enter the Northern U.S. from Canada Sunday as the polar vortex flexes its muscles again. This intrusion of bitter cold looks every bit as strong -- if not worse -- than the cold outbreak of a couple of weeks ago. At the very least, this cold looks to have more staying power.

As you might guess, this front will play a role in our weather on the First Coast during the upcoming week. Forecast models are having a tough time resolving the exact details -- to no surprise -- given the extreme anomaly of this cold outbreak. It appears some rain will occur early in the week then it will turn cold again with mid to late week freezes likely. Stay tuned!

Earth Gauge: Take the 40 Gallon Challenge

How many gallons of water can you save in a day?  Saving water at home can be as easy as turning the water off while brushing your teeth, which saves up to eight gallons of water per day – and almost 3,000 gallons for the whole year.  That’s enough water to run an Energy Star dishwasher 750 times!

Tip: The 40 Gallon challenge tracks individual water savings county-by-county across the United States.  Using the 40 Gallon Challenge’s interactive map, you can see how much water counties and states are saving and which water-saving techniques are most popular.  Help put your state on the map by pledging to adopt new water-saving techniques at home – like fixing leaky toilets and broken sprinkler heads – to save at least 40 gallons of water a day.

Why 40 gallons? Saving a minimum of 40 gallons a day for 30 days adds up to more than 1,000 gallons per month. Most water providers bill in thousand-gallon increments, so you should see real savings on your water bill if you put to use the recommended water-saving practices.

(Source: The 40 Gallon Challenge, http://www.40gallonchallenge.org/)

2013 Annual State of the Climate Report

For the contiguous U.S., 2013 was 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the 37th warmest year on record, yet the coolest year since 2009. Precipitation was 2.03 inches above the 20th century average, making it the 21st wettest year on record. The year consisted of a warmer-than-average winter, summer and autumn, and a cooler-than-average spring. 2013 was also marked by seven weather and climate disasters that exceeded 1 billion dollars in damages. The national drought shrank significantly, yet it intensified in the West.

Read the 2013 Annual State of the Climate Report 

Climate Fact: Warm Temperatures in the Southeast  

The Southeast region experienced temperatures above normal for the month of December. The Florida Peninsula and coastal sections of Georgia and South Carolina had the greatest departures. Miami, FL had its second warmest December on record, while Fort Myers, Orlando and Daytona Beach, FL had their third warmest December on record. Puerto Rico had its second warmest December on record. The Southeast region had two waves of warm weather during the month of December. The first wave broke or tied over 100 daily high maximum temperature records, while the second wave broke or tied over 250 daily high maximum temperature records. Precipitation was variable, being above normal across the interior of the Southeastern region and below normal in places such as Florida. Precipitation was variable in Puerto Rico and above normal in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Severe weather events in the area included an EF-1 tornado in Palm Coast, FL, damaging thunderstorm winds and lightning strikes. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were reduced by precipitation in much of Virginia, the Carolinas and central Georgia.

Climate in the News: “Reading the Tea Leaves: Impact of Climate Change On World Favorite DrinkScience Daily, January 16, 2014 Climate change is reportedly affecting the cultivation of tea in China, with changes in temperatures and rainfall altering not only the taste, aroma, and potential health benefits of the popular beverage but also the lives of farmers who grow tea for a living.

Have a great & safe weekend!

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