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Hot Holiday Weekend + A Few Storms... "Earth Gauge": Back to School, Summer Weather Review, Sea Ice

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Updated: 8/30/2013 9:14 pm

The holiday weekend will be hot & humid with early morning temps. in the 70s & afternoon highs in the low to mid 90s. Scattered afternoon storms will develop that will produce locally heavy downpours & frequent lightning but coverage will vary greatly & movement will be erratic. So while one spot might get 1"+ of rain, little or none might fall just a few miles away.

So the bottom line(s) for the weekend:

-- hot!

-- humid

-- a quick afternoon heavy storm

-- not a washout on any of the 3 days

-- sunburn time 10-20 minutes

 Earth Gauge: Back to School

It’s that time – students and teachers are headed back to school! As you and your family get ready to learn, keep these tips in mind for a healthier, greener school year.

  • Travel to school efficiently. Ten to 14 percent of personal vehicle trips made during peak morning commuting hours are taking kids to school. Increased traffic and idling vehicles create air pollutants that can aggravate asthma and other health conditions. The U.S. EPA monitors air quality at schools around the country and looks for ways to improve air quality near schools, including reducing idling from school buses. You can help reduce morning traffic and protect air quality by carpooling with other parents and kids in the neighborhood. If the weather is nice and school is nearby, encourage your kids to walk or bike to school. If you are concerned about safety, help kids map a safe route to school and make the trip with them. You can map a route using International Walk to School’s Map -- click ** here **.
  • Look for recycled school supplies. Over 30 percent of our trash comes from cardboard and plastic packaging. When buying school supplies, look for pens, pencils, notebooks and notebook paper that are packed with and made from recycled and recyclable materials. Less trash means that we save space in our landfills and help reduce auto emissions from vehicles used to transport the waste. Plus, a tree is saved for every 42 notebooks made from 100 percent recycled paper.
  • Power down. The average U.S. home spends 100 dollars each year to power devices while they are turned off or in standby mode. Plug computers into a power strip – when homework is done, shut down your computer and turn off the power strip to save energy. Unplug cell phone chargers, camera chargers and other charging cords when they aren’t in use.  These “energy vampires” draw a small amount of energy when they are plugged in, even when they are not connected to a device.

(Sources: US EPA. “Clean School Bus USA.”;  International Walk to School, “Community Benefits,”; U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air,”; US EPA. “It’s Our Environment: Going Green as You’re Going Back to School.”; Energy Star. “Standby Power and Energy Vampires”)


Climate Fact: Cool and Wet Conditions With Widespread Flooding in the Southeast  

Mean temperatures in the Southeast were variable. Virginia and parts of eastern North Carolina were up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit above average, whereas Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and south Florida were up to 3 degrees Fahrenheit below average. Minimum temperatures were the third warmest on record for Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. July was the second consecutive month lacking extreme heat, temperatures were up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit below average for most of the region. More than 200 daily low temperatures were tied or broken. Precipitation was above average for most of the region. Gainesville, Florida, Asheville, North Carolina, Roanoke, Virginia, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, and San Juan, Puerto Rico had their wettest Julys on record. High precipitation led to flash flooding in northwest Florida, cracks in the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, crests above flood stage for several rivers in North Carolina and the opening of Lake Hartwell and Lake Okeechobee to control flooding. Conversely, eastern North Carolina was relatively dry with up to 3 inches below normal precipitation. In addition, there were 486 severe weather reports that included thunderstorms, strong winds, nine tornadoes, several waterspouts and lightning strikes. July was the first time in three years that the Southeast was free of drought; however, excessive precipitation affected agriculture in the region. 


Climate in the News: “Sea Ice Decline Spurs the Greening of the Arctic”Science Daily, August 23, 2013Sea ice decline and warming trends are changing the vegetation in nearby arctic coastal areas, according to two University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists.

Have a great & safe weekend!

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