A cool but pretty nice Super Bowl weekend for the First Coast. I still don't see any significant rain anytime soon.
January is "in the books". As one would expect, the month was unseasonably mild & dry. Though since the 1950s at JIA, it's only in the top 5 of warmest on record but the 60.2 degree avg. is the highest since 1989 & is a full 7.1 degrees above avg. The high of 85 on the 30th was an all-time Jan. record high at JIA.
Rain was sparse at 1.01" - a full 2.29" below avg. & the 7th month in a row with below avg. rain at JIA. Our Jax N.W.S. provides additional rainfall reports:
JACKSONVILLE VICINITY... NORTHEAST FLORIDA...
JACKSONVILLE BEACH..... 1.29
JACKSONVILLE NAS....... 1.23 GAINESVILLE ......... 0.33
LAKE CITY 2E......... 0.98
BIG TALBOT ISLAND...... 1.05 FEDERAL POINT........ 0.17
LITTLE TALBOT ISLAND... 1.00 ST. AUGUSTINE LITEHS. 0.17
ST. AUGUSTINE ARPT... 0.33
CRAIG FIELD............ 0.86 HASTINGS 4NE......... 0.27
MAYPORT NS............. 0.86 HIGH SPRINGS......... 0.86
SOUTH PONTE VEDRA...... 0.66 JASPER............... 0.85
GUANA RIVER ST PARK.... 0.85 BELL 4NW............. 0.44
BEAUCLERC.............. 1.31 ORANGE SPRINGS 2SSW.. 0.28
PALM COAST NE........ 0.22
CRESCENT CITY........ 0.34
GLEN ST MARY......... 0.80
FERNANDINA BEACH..... 2.15
WHITE SPRINGS 7N..... 1.12
BAXLEY 5NNW............ 0.91 WOODBINE............. 0.71
BRUNSWICK.............. 1.46 ST SIMONS ISLAND..... 0.34
HOMERVILLE 5N.......... 0.86 ALMA................. 0.57
PRIDGEN................ 1.06 PATTERSON............ 0.75
WAYCROSS 4NE........... 0.82 MANOR................ 0.95
NAHUNTA 6NE............ 0.80 HAZLEHURST........... 1.15
FARGO 17NE............. 0.83 DOUGLAS.............. 0.58
JESUP 8S............... 0.77
From the Conservation Center at White Oak:
This week, White Oak animal specialists and veterinarians gave a female Florida panther a final health check before she was loaded into a crate and driven south for release into the Picayune Strand State Forest east of Naples by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists. The female and her brother have called White Oak home for nearly 20 months after their mother was found dead in Collier County from unknown causes and they were too young to survive on their own. Plans are in place for her brother to be released into a different area of south Florida sometime in the future.
The Florida panther is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world, with wild populations estimated to be less than 160 individuals in a restricted range in southern Florida. In partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC, White Oak works to rehabilitate injured or orphaned Florida panthers and return them to their homes in South Florida. The panthers at White Oak are kept in large naturalistic enclosures and have very little interaction with people in order to maintain their wildness and natural instincts. Animal specialists and veterinarians at White Oak monitor the cats remotely through the use of camera traps and radio telemetry collars during their stay to ensure their health and to reduce exposure to humans. Panthers rehabilitated at White Oak have contributed to the wild population, with one female producing at least 12 cubs after her release.
White Oak and FWC experts hope that these panthers will contribute to the critically endangered population after being given a second chance through this unique program.
Earth Gauge: Four Faunal Forecasters
Move over, Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhogs aren’t the only animals who are known to “predict” the weather. Phil may be the most famous, but he’s certainly not the most accurate. Here are four animals that are known for their weather wisdom. Some of these proverbs are true, while others are not. Can you guess which ones are real?
Fact or Fiction? The width of a Woolly Bear Caterpillar’s orange stripe can predict how mild the winter will be.
Fiction! According to an old proverb, if the width of a Woolly Bear Caterpillar’s reddish-brown stripe is wider than usual, the coming winter will be mild. Conversely, a narrower stripe means the coming winter will be harsh. While some scientific evidence suggests that this may be related to the previous winter’s severity, there’s no correlation between the stripe’s width and the following winter’s severity. This proverb gained traction in the 1950s when the insect curator of New York’s American Museum of Natural History spent an afternoon measuring the width of several Woolly Bear Caterpillars. For fun, he used the information to make a prediction about the coming winter and forwarded it to a friend who reported for The New York Herald Tribune. When a relatively mild winter ensued, the resulting publicity solidified this folklore in American culture. He collected data and made predictions from 1948-1956 that roughly held up, but his sample sizes were never large enough to scientifically prove this relationship. The folktale stuck, however, and Woolly Bear Caterpillar events are still held around the country each fall.
Fact or Fiction? Crickets are natural thermometers.
Fact! All you have to do is count the number of cricket chirps you hear in 13 seconds, add 40, and violà: you know what the outside temperature is to within a few degrees Fahrenheit! Amos Dolbear first discovered the relationship between snowy tree crickets and temperature in 1897, and his formula still works today, now known as the Dolbear Law. You can do the math yourself, but now there’s even an app for that. Several good ones are just a short search away. Happy counting!
Fact or Fiction? “If birds flow low, expect rain and a blow.”
Fact! Of course, low-flying birds do not always foretell bad weather, but birds can detect the subtle decreases in air pressure that accompany storms and alter their flight paths accordingly. Birds need to fly fast and efficiently to conserve their energy, so they settle into sweet spots where the air is thin. When the weather is good, domes of high air pressure push these sweet spots up into the air, so birds fly higher. However, when the air pressure drops before the weather gets bad, so do the sweet spots and the birds that look for them. Since low pressure is associated with storms, low flying birds may indeed signal “rain and a blow.”
Fact or Fiction? Cows lie down before it rains.
Fiction! Farmers may swear by this old adage, but there’s no scientific evidence to prove that cows lie down when it’s about to rain. That hasn’t stopped the theories, however. Some people say that cows can sense the increased moisture content in the air and sit down to save a dry spot for themselves. Others have proposed that cows’ stomachs are sensitive to lower barometric pressure and that lying down soothes it. In reality, cows may lie down more often to chew their cud than to prepare for a rainstorm.
(Sources: The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1999. “Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars.” Accessed Online January 25, 2013; Blokpoel, H. and J. Burton, 1975. “Weather and Height of Nocturnal Migration in Eastcentral Alberta: A Radar Study.” Bird-Banding. 46:4, 311-328; Farmer’s Almanac Staff, 2006. “Is It True That Cows Lie Down When It’s About To Rain?” Farmer’sAlmanac.com, Accessed Online January 25, 2013; Castro, Joseph, “Do Cows Really Lie Down When It’s About to Rain?” Life’s Little Mysteries, August 18, 2012. Accessed Online January 25, 2013)
Have a great & safe weekend!