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

Cold Front "Parade" Continues... NOAA Satellites "Life Savers"... "Earth Gauge": Saving Water on a Budget, W. Coast Precip., Emperor Penguins

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Updated: 1/17 10:34 pm
Our "parade" of cold fronts will continue as the latest cold front brought another push of chilly air for Saturday.  A bit of a reprieve later Sun. & Mon. then another cold front later Tue. will more cold air for midweek.  Little in the way of any precip.  There are signs of the jet stream & general upper level pattern buckling by late in the month which could shift the avg. deep upper level trough to the west (similar to late Dec./early Jan.).  The upshot would be a generally warmer pattern for the First Coast ... but also wetter.

From NOAA - satellites helped save lives:

The same NOAA satellites that helped forecasters predict severe weather, like the Moore, Okla., tornado last May and November's deadly Midwest tornado outbreak, also played a key role in rescuing 253 people from potentially life-threatening scenarios throughout the United States and its surrounding waters last year.


A combination of NOAA polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites detected distress signals from emergency beacons carried by downed pilots, shipwrecked boaters and stranded hikers and relayed information about their location to first responders on the ground.


NOAA satellites are part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking System, called COSPAS-SARSAT. This system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft and boats, and from smaller, handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs.


Of the 253 rescues, 139 were waterborne rescues, 34 were from aviation incidents and 80 were from events on land, where PLBs were used. Other rescue highlights from last year include:

  • Alaska had the most SARSAT rescues, with 101, followed by Florida, with 56;
  • In Alaska, six passengers on a small plane were rescued after it crashed near mountainous terrain outside of Le Conte Bay, Alaska;
  • Four crewmen, ejected from a B-1 bomber before it crashed, were rescued in Broadus, Mont.;
  • A boater was rescued off the coast of Kitty Hawk, N.C., after he sustained a head injury.

"Each life we save underscores the undeniable value of NOAA satellites," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.


When a NOAA satellite finds the location of a distress signal, the information is relayed to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA's Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. From there, the information is quickly sent to a Rescue Coordination Center, operated by either the U.S. Air Force for land rescues or the U.S. Coast Guard for water rescues.


Since 1982, COSPAS-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 35,000 rescues worldwide, including more than 7,250 in the United States and its surrounding waters.


By law, owners of emergency beacons are required to register them with NOAA ** here **. That registration information often helps provide better and faster assistance to people in distress. It may also provide information about the location of the emergency, how many people need assistance, what type of help may be needed and other ways to contact the owner. At the end of 2013, NOAA's registration database contained more than 400,000 registrations.

Earth Gauge: Saving Water on a Budget

Looking for savings on your water bill? If you want to save water but don’t have the budget for a bathroom makeover or landscaping redesign, follow these steps to stop pouring money down the drain.

  • Trash your tissues. Don’t flush them—one less flush per day can save nearly 1,300 gallons of water over the course of a year. That’s enough to wash about 32 loads of laundry!
  • Lighten your number of loads. Did you know washing clothes is the second largest use of indoor water? Combine small loads to eliminate one load per week, and you’ll save 2,100 gallons of water per year.
  • Keep your (water) cool. Fill your water glass with cool water from a pitcher in the fridge. This way the water goes in your glass, not down the drain.

This information is provided by the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program. Learn more at ** here **. 

Climate Fact: Atmospheric Rivers and Precipitation in the West Coast

View animations from NASA and NOAA.

Did you know that rivers exist in the air? Atmospheric rivers—the Amazons of the air—are vast and unbroken streams of wind that carry water vapor from tropical oceans, moving thousands of miles through the sky. Scientists discovered them in 1998, when they noticed that water vapor traveled from the tropics into mid-latitudes in narrow and intense bands of air. Atmospheric rivers are massive not only in their geographical extent, but in the amount of water vapor they transport. A typical atmospheric river is about 250 miles wide and one mile high, and carries as much moisture as seven to 15 Mississippi Rivers or one Amazon River. You may have heard of the Pineapple Express, a subset of atmospheric rivers originating in the waters near Hawaii that travels to the Pacific coast of North America.

Atmospheric rivers can rain themselves out over the oceans, but many travel over continents, bringing moisture. When atmospheric rivers sweep warm and moist air through a mountainous coastal area, such as the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada, air rises and cools and water vapor condenses into precipitation. Atmospheric rivers are one of the most important sources of precipitation, stream flow and flooding in the West Coast. The Sierra Nevada runoff is used for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower. California obtains one-third to half of its water supply from precipitation due to atmospheric rivers. Atmospheric rivers are also responsible for a great portion of wintertime extreme precipitation in the West Coast. They contribute 30 to 40 percent to the seasonal water equivalent, the amount of water contained within the snowpack. The amount of precipitation falling as snow or rain depends on air temperatures in the mountains; during winter, colder surface air temperatures increase the amount of snow accumulation. As far as scientists can tell, climate change affects atmospheric rivers in two opposing ways: in a warming planet, the difference in temperature between the poles and tropics is getting smaller, which can result in weaker storms. But, warmer air holds more water vapor, which can make atmospheric rivers even moister.

Today atmospheric rivers are easy to spot. Atmospheric rivers became visible to scientists when they started using microwave imagers in satellites. Microwaves are not absorbed by water vapor to the same extent as infrared radiation, facilitating their visualization. Despite their importance and impact, atmospheric rivers don’t generate as much publicity, evacuations or early-warning efforts. The scientific community is currently working on better understanding atmospheric rivers and the mechanisms to predict major weather events associated with them, to establish an emergency preparedness program.

(Source: Guan, B., N.P. Molotch, D.E. Waliser, E.J. Fetzer, P.J. Neiman. 2010. Extreme Snowfall Events Linked to Atmospheric Rivers and Surface Air Temperature via Satellite Measurements. Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 37, L20401, doi:10.1029/2010GL044696. and Mackenzie, D. 2013. Atmospheric Rivers: Amazons of the Air. New Scientist 217:38-41. and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 2013. Study Finds Climate Link to ‘Atmospheric River’ Storms. Accessed online 9 January 2014 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Atmospheric River Q&A. Accessed online 9 January 2013)

Climate in the News: “Antarctic Emperor Penguins May Be Adapting to Warmer Temperatures”Science Daily, January 9, 2014.  

A new study of four Antarctic emperor penguin colonies suggest that unexpected breeding behavior may be a sign that the birds are adapting to environmental change.

Have a great & safe weekend!...........

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